Before heading to the first shop you know of, even remotely electronic-related, and buying the first handheld voice-recorder that you can find, maybe, you should start by considering a few things. First thing first is to ask yourself why you want to buy this little device: will you record interviews? Lectures by your favourite teacher? …
Before heading to the first shop you know of, even remotely electronic-related, and buying the first handheld voice-recorder that you can find, maybe, you should start by considering a few things.
First thing first is to ask yourself why you want to buy this little device: will you record interviews? Lectures by your favourite teacher? Music?
And more importantly, how often are you going to use it?
Nowadays, digital voice recorders are cheaper and cheaper and affordable for everyone, from students to CEOs of large companies.
Nowadays, smartphones can act as cheap voice recorders but the space allocated to this tool is quite limited and the recording’s quality is quite poor.
So, if you want to record some events or interviews, you need to look for a digital voice recorder.
Although, you don’t need to spend more than £100 to buy a good digital recorder, nowadays; moreover, with the competition from smartphones, the brands that produce digital voice recorders have started adding more and more features even to the cheapest voice recorder they sell.
And, if you think that a voice recorder will be useless to you, thanks to the smartphone that is always in your pocket, then think again.
The microphone of a smartphone is somewhat small and easy to pick noises around you rather than the conversation you are trying to record; on the contrary, a digital voice recorder has a microphone dedicated to the sole task of recording voices and which is bigger, allowing for better sound recording.
Furthermore, a digital voice recorder authorizes for more flexibility, a better battery life (compared to a smartphone where various apps are always on) and easy to use.
Nowadays, you can expect voice recorders to record at least a day’s worth of recording before needing to be put on charge.
Moreover, it is rare, those days, to find a digital voice recorder that won’t connect to your computer to easy transfer of the audio files; make sure the digital voice recorder you buy will have this feature.
There is another caveat that you have to be aware of, before buying a digital voice recording: whilst most digital voice recording use common audio format to record the files (MP3, WMA…) but most expensive voice recorders may have additional audio format to record in (WAV, AIFF, AU…).
Make sure, when you buy your device, that it supports the most common audio format as it is easier to transfer to your computer, share with friends and listen to without the need to do more manipulations first.
Now, most digital voice recorders sold on the market have some sort of built-in noise filtering software but they are not all of equal quality so don’t attach too much importance to it.
And remember that a high quality of recording will reduce the time of recording available as high quality recording takes up more space.
And last but not least, consider the internal memory that is offered on the handset you would like to purchase.
Some digital voice recorder offer only internal memory whilst others – more expensive, usually – will also offer slots for external flash memory cards.
Higher end devices will also offer external jacks connectors which can be used to plug in an external microphone or headphones.
At the end, once you have finished recording what you came for and transferred the file on your computer, rather than typing the transcript by hand yourself – which can be very time-consuming -, there exist some software that will do it for you.
Some digital voice recorder are sold with one of those software attached to it.
So, now that you know everything there is to know about digital voice recorders, here is a selection of a few handsets, in order to help you refine your choice!
Olympus and Sony have always been at the top of the market when talking about digital voice recorders and sell dozens of models of various prices.
It is then normal, to find in good places in our selection, Sony and Olympus devices.
The Sony ICD-UX533 has a lot to offer: it is compact and easily fit in a pocket or a bag, an LCD screen, and numerous features for an easy recording.
It also comes with 2GB of storage and offers a slot for an external flash memory card slot; a setting that allows for background noises to be reduced when recording; and the feature that we find the cleverest and allows the device to stop recording when it ceases to perceive noises or speech.
Sold at the price of £55, it is a digital voice recorder worth investing in!
The second device on our list is the Olympus WS 823, a simple enough digital voice recorder which is a bit limited compared to the Sony model above but still deliver the job in high quality.
The quality of the recording is very impressive, thanks to its dual-microphone design but lacks the versatility of other recorders.
Sold at the RPP of £70, this is a digital voice recorder to consider if you need a device that can handle well light tasks as recording speeches or interviews.
The third device we thought worth figuring in our selection is the Tascam DR-05, which has been on the market for a while but is still a good digital voice recorder.
A 2GB memory card is integrated to the sold device so that you can start recording as soon as you leave the shop!
We like the large screen, which makes it easier to read what is going on during your recording and a handful of features that are great to play with the recording.
Priced around £80, this is a really good digital voice recorder that we recommend buying!
To end this small selection, we would like to evoke the Yamaha Pocketrak PR 7, a small but interesting device.
Designed with musicians in mind, this is also a good device to record lectures, interviews, speeches…
Its crossed microphones allow for high quality accuracy of the audio recording but this model lacks adjustability.
Featuring a metronome and a tuner, this is the recorder to think of if you are a musician; and its price of £62 makes it a real bargain!