Best Digital Voice Recorder 2016
Personal pocket sized voice recorders have evolved into a handy gadgets used by a variety of people. Popular uses for voice recorders include recording notes, recording lectures and dictating documents.
With the new digital recorders you can transfer and store your recordings to your PC. You can even use advanced software to convert the files to written documents. The best software for doing so is currently Dragon Naturally Speaking.
In best digital voice recorder 2016, I shortly review a premium recorder, a budget option as well as the best selling recorder on the market. I will also recommend a microphone attachment that makes using your recorder easier. Lastly I look at a recorder that allows you to record high quality sound from multiple sources.
Sony ICD-SX712 2 GB Flash Memory Digital Voice Recorder
The Sony ICD-SX 712 digital recorder is a small hand held device that is designed for recording in a variety of situations (weighing only 2.4 oz). With 2 GB of built in memory it can be used to record up to 500 hours of conversations, notes or memos in LP mode. If you get a 16GB microSD you can extend it to 4,000 hours of recording time. Or it can record stereo quality live music performances without any compression of the original sound in its Linear PCM mode. The quality of the music recordings is good enough for amateurs, but for serious musicians the Zoom H4n. I review the Zoom later in this article.
It is powered by two NiMH AAA rechargeable batteries that can last from 25 hours for high quality recording or up to 100 hours with its lowest recording mode. Features include a microphone with selectable directionality, a noise cut function, and a direct USB connection that can be used to transfer recordings to and from a PC. The USB cable can also be used for charging the recorder batteries. It comes with a built in jacks for earphones or a microphone, and includes software to organize your recordings.
Sony ICD-PX820 Digital Voice Recorder
The Sony ICD-PX820 can connect to your computer through the USB cord to download your recordings to your computer or upload recordings onto the recorder. PC and Mac compatible it has 534 hours of recording time in LP mode on its 2 GB internal flash memory.
The recorder has voice operated command recognition, which can start and stop recording automatically, hands free. Stereo recording is available with an optional microphone or the sensitivity of the built in mike can be adjusted to suit conditions. Dictation correction and its add function allows a recording to be edited or to add comments during playback.
The ICD-PX820 is compatible with speech recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking and other types of speech to text software although no software is supplied with the product.
The Sony ICD-BX800 is our best budget digital recorder of 2016 pick.
The device can record up to 534 hours in LP mode on its 2 GB built in flash memory. It has 4 different operating modes with the best being MP3 quality. Included are a large front speaker and extra-large buttons for easy control.
The Sony ICD-BX800 supports stereo recording with an optional external microphone or the built in mike that can be adjusted for sensitivity. It also has the ability to correct and edit your recordings, during playback.
With a size of a little over 4.3” in height, 1.3” in width, .7” of thickness it is a little larger than other digital recorders but still a handy product to have. One problem is that it does not have a PC interface or USB connection which makes it impossible to convert the recordings to text.
Zoom H4n Handy Portable Digital Recorder
The Zoom portable digital recorder is a sophisticated hand held recorder for those people who need high quality recordings. It has two mikes which make stereo recording easy even for the novice. You can record four channel stereo with either the built in mikes or using external microphones. Then you can use the built in mixer to blend the channels.
The Zoom has a rubberized exterior that makes it easy to grip and resists surface scratches. The unit comes with a hard plastic carrying case, USB cable, 1 GB memory card, ac adapter, microphone stand, and foam windscreen. Zoom considers this their most advanced portable recorder that is hand held and is able to use up to a 32 MB media card. It also features an especially large 1.9 inch LCD screen to clearly see what you can do with the recorder. Finally there is also a remote wire control device that makes the device even more user-friendly and adaptable to a variety of uses.
Olympus ME-15 Microphone
The Olympus ME-15 microphone is a small microphone that can be attached to a tie or collar using the included tie-pin clip to make recording conversations easy.
It can pick up a wide range of sounds and has a 3.3 foot cord to extend its usable range yet weighs just .3 ounces. Using a microphone like this can reduce the background noise that can be produced when holding a recorder and increase the quality of the recordings.
The Olympus ME-15 can be used with a number of different recorders but is best for recordings made at close range. One problem is when using the optional clip you can pick up the background rustling noises of clothing.