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Buying Guide & Review For The Best Voice Recorders

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Voice recorders can be used to record interviews, memos, class lectures and more. Voice recorders can also be used by authors, secretaries when they need to record reports, ideas, and transcriptionists. When they are used for notes taking, you save more time than taking so much time to write with hand. You can also make audio podcast alongside musical arrangements recording.

Voice recorders can also help out in recording memorable moments with friends and family. For instance, the first time your kid starts talking, or when you are being told stories. You can also go on to burn those recordings on CDs so you can easily share them with others

It is important for you to know the merits of purchasing a good voice recorder even if you have a smartphone with the good recorder. Smartphones can be used for recordings occasionally, but for those that would be doing recordings regularly, it is advisable to get a voice recorder. May be you would be recording almost daily for personal use, school, work, then your smartphone has an insufficient memory capacity to save such recordings as a good voice recorder would do. They don’t only have more capacity than your phone, but voice recorders give better recording quality. The life span of the battery of a voice recorder is longer than phones.

 There are several options of voice recorders to choose from, so we are here to aid you through your choice process. We would discuss the different types of voice recorders and then give you a buyer’s guide that will make known to you the features of a good voice recorder. Finally, we would give you a list of ten best voice recorders which will make your search process easier.


How to Choose The Right Voice Recorder?

You need to consider the following things in purchasing your voice recorder:

  1. Budget: You can get most of the best voice recorders at a cheap price, so you don’t need so much money to purchase the best that you need.  But for an additional cost, you can purchase one with more features that offer greater quality audio.

  2. Memory: Your choice should be to get a voice recorder which has enough memory. As some come with just internal memory which can only be freed by transferring the files to a computer, but you can go for those with inbuilt memory and a microSD card slot for unlimited memory space. It is important you ascertain the compatibility of the memory card with the recorder before you get it. The capacity of your memory card should be dependent on your recording plans.

  3. The Purpose: What you need it for is quite important, maybe for recording lectures, conversations, or interviews that need transcriptions afterward, then you should go for a voice recorder with very clear recording, not necessarily an expensive one. If what you need the most in your recorder is the quality of the audio output, maybe you are into music production, skits or vlogs, and then you should get a recorder of higher quality which will offer you some additional features. It might cost you more.

  4. Microphone Jack: With most recorders come inbuilt microphones, but those that give you the option of connecting your personal microphone is better. Inbuilt mics can pick sounds in the immediate surroundings, with the background noise which is not needed. So the inbuilt mics are best when recording indoor, but with an externally connected microphone, you can get good recordings done even in a very noisy environment.

  5. User-friendly: The recorder should have a simple, user-friendly design, with all the buttons easy to access.

  6. Durability: Based on the purpose of use, it is important the recorder is strong enough to withstand some abuse, so it must be of tough materials.

  7. Battery Life: The life span of the battery is dependent on the type of recorder. The one with a longer battery life is preferable.

  8. File Format: The kind of storage format of the recorder is important because not every format can play on all devices. So also, some formats take more space and thereby reducing the recording time.
    Below is listed some regular file formats:


    MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3): These are compressed files with similar quality as that of WAV format but with the advantage of less storage.
    Waveform (WAV): These are uncompressed files which takes much space. Its merit is that of their high quality.
    Windows Media Audio (WMA): These are compressed files which can be played with windows media player Digital Speech Standard (DSS): These formats need additional software for it to play on your computer.

Additional Features:

  • Voice activated recorders: These recorders remain in hibernation mode till they are able to pick a voice before they automatically begin to record. These types of recorders are not best for recording dictations because they delay in starting recording. They can be used to eliminate silent periods in recordings and good for secret recordings, so can be used by law enforcement and surveillance people.

  • Noise cancellation: This feature is essential in a recorder especially when used outdoor or in a noisy environment. The feature reduces background noise in recording to give clearer recording.

  • Track marks: These are quite helpful especially when you need to mark any particular point of your recording for you to easily return back to it later.
    It is possible to speed up or slow down the playback of some recorders. So you can skim over some parts of your recording while you carefully listen to the other parts. There are some miniature digital recorders you could get in case your choice is a small recorder. Their sizes are as small as twice a USB or pencil.

Different Types of Voice Recorders

Voice recorders are of two major types:

Digital Voice Recorders

These voice recorders are among the most common types available. They can change sound into the digital file but do not need cassette tapes. You can play your recorded sounds immediately on your smartphones, computer or tablets after recording. They give you the chance to keep several recordings on files. You can easily publish your recordings on any webpage if you are into podcasting.

They do not involve changing of cassette tapes and are more durable than the analog recorders. With the elimination of tapes, your recordings are saved on storage, and you won’t need to have loads of tapes somewhere. It becomes easy for you to just store your recordings on the computer and you have them save for a long time.

They come in small and compact sizes easy to move around. This type of recorders gives better recording quality than the analog recorders. With high quality digital voice recorders, you can even eradicate all undesirable background noise completely, so you get clearer recordings. But they are quite expensive than the analog recorders.

Analog Voice Recorders

This type of recorders is used to record straight onto cassettes, and you change the tape for another as soon as it is full. They are not as expensive as digital voice recorders. These are good options for you if you are not planning to keep a lot of recordings because you will have to keep storing many cassette tapes which will take up spaces and quite inconvenient. Different types of cassette tapes are available for you to get, all with varying lengths of recording time.

They are usually of big sizes so as to have enough space to accommodate cassette tapes, so they are much bigger than digital recorders. To playback a particular recording, you will have to rewind or fast forward to get the particular one you need. One major disadvantage is the risk of losing your files if the cassette is damaged or lost. But if you need a budget recorder, the analog recorder is a good option.

OUR TOP 10 VOICE RECORDER LIST

Olympus VN-7200

Olympus VN-7200

Olympus VN-7200 is rated the best digital voice recorder. It delivers an enormous recording time of 1,151 hours when it is in low mode (LP). It also has a standard mode (SP) and high-quality mode (HQ) which makes it possible for you to have the best quality of indifferent sound scenarios. It is inbuilt with a 2GB storage capacity. 

When you want to begin your recording, you can make use of voice activation property as soon as it picks a sound, which also stops recording immediately the sound is gone. By this, recording what you want is easier, and you won’t have to click any buttons. It has a record and a stop button which makes it possible for easy usability while with a toggle wheel, you can easily skip recordings to the particular one you want. It is designed to be user friendly with all buttons well placed.


When you are listening to recordings, it is possible to listen at a reduced speed of 25% slower and at an increased speed of 50% faster. The advantage of this feature is that you can listen to your recording much slowly to easily pick certain information you need and to easily speed faster to a particular part or section of your recording. It also has an index marks function that makes it possible to mark any part of your recording for stress-free retrieval.

This VN-7200 has a small size, and it is lightweight, which then makes it easy to be moved about either in your bag or pocket. They can be taken anywhere and used anytime.

Although it comes with some more features such as voice activation, so also three separate recording settings, yet it is not costly which makes it perfect as a good and budget-friendly quality recorder. It still remains the best for recording lectures, voice memos, and interviews.

Sony ICD PX312

Sony Digital Flash Voice Recorder

The Sony ICD-PX312 is built with tons of memory capacity, with 2GB flash memory and a memory card slot with which you can do a recording of about 530 hours in the inbuilt memory, as well you can slot in your personal memory card if you need more storage. It has a battery that lasts for as long as 72 hours. It has compatibility with both MACs and PCs which makes it quite easy for you to send your recordings to a computer. So you can store it, edit or share with others.

The ICD-PX312 can perfectly be used to record interviews. It can also be used for recording lectures, notes, and live music. It comes with big buttons and large display which makes it easy to control. ICD-PX312 records to about 192kbps in MP3 format so as to guarantee a high level of quality recordings.


it has the scene select system, which makes it possible for you to choose recording modes that have been pre-determined. Then, whether you are recording notes, lectures or music, the device automatically changes to the required optimal recording settings. With a headphone jack, you can connect your own headphones to listen to playback. It also has microphone jack that makes it possible to connect your microphone.

With an advanced Intelligent Noise Cut™ technology by Sony, there is a significant reduction in ambient noise, so playbacks can be heard clearly. With a “T-MARK” button you can mark a particular point in your recording, and you can easily locate it later. Track marks of about 98 can be used.

With a Voice Operated recording feature, recording time can be saved by recording just periods when there are sounds instead of including silent periods in between the recording. This is possible because the function helps it to stop recording and start only when sufficient sound is coming from the microphone. You can mark the start and end of a particular recording with the A-B repeat function, and also be able to play that section repeatedly. This tool is very useful in times when you are trying to learn a strange language because you are able to listen again and again while practicing.

You can make use of the alarm for automatically fixing a date when you want the particular recording to be played. At the point where you want to correct a recording, the particular section you need to be corrected can be overwritten upon during playback.

With a digital pitch control feature present, you can easily listen to a recording slower or faster without any change in the pitch. The ICD-PX312 has a fast-forward or rewinds function to be able to find any particular point in the recording that you need.

This is a multilingual, recording device with a menu language offered in English, Spanish or French. It has a light and compact design, so you can easily take it anywhere with you.

It comes with a lot of whistles and bells for you to get the very best recording. This is definitely among the best digital recorders.

SONY ICD PX333 Digital Voice Recorder

SONY ICD PX333 Digital Voice Recorder

Next is Sony ICD-PX333, which has internal memory of 4GB that allows you to have recording time of up to 1,037 hours in LP mode. It also allows you to insert your personal memory card whenever you have used up the inbuilt memory space with your removable memory card; you can easily transfer your recordings easily and faster to your computer. You can do this easily with USB cable that comes with it.


Good for the purpose of personal dictation, school, and business, this ICD-PX333 ease the process of recording. You can choose a recording mode that has been predetermined with the Scene Select Function for the recorder’s setting to be optimized automatically for recording notes, lectures, and more. With this feature, you can get the best recording quality regardless of the condition you find yourself.

It has an Intelligent Noise Cut function that decreases ambient noise thereby producing a clearer recording because just the required sound is recorded. Whenever you wish to listen to particular recordings repeatedly, it is possible with the use of AB repeat function.

The Track Mark feature gives you the chance to mark about 98 tracks for a recorded file and can be moved to by skipping others for a playback

Whenever you wish to edit any part of your recording, make use of the overwrite feature which enables you to overwrite or add to your recording.

This recorder is an MP3 format voice recorder with a 96 hours' battery life and uses two AAA batteries. It has a Voice Activation function that allows it eliminates any period of silence and records just when it is able to pick up sounds.

This recorder is compact, light, and small, so can be easily kept in pockets or bags. This Sony ICD-PX333 is a good option because it is a low-budget and quality recorder with several handy features

Olympus VN-722PC

Olympus VN-722PC

The Olympus VN-722PC is built with 4GB memory, and it offers recording time of 1600 hours. It has a microSD slot which allows you to add extra storage. It can take an additional 32GB memory card.

It has a simple design with a big LCD screen, large buttons, and speakers. It is users friendly that beginners won’t have issue operating it. It comes with a “Simple Mode” which is a good feature for starters because it makes it list only from commonly used functions with its text in larger fonts.

It is good for recording interview or notes, reminders and it is perfect for almost any kind of recordings.


It records sounds from every direction with a big microphone but lowers noise from the background for clear recordings. It also eradicates breathing sounds that makes it good for recording dictations. And with the inbuilt stand, you can brace the recorders back for easy access to the buttons and view the display. This feature also aids the reduction of noise coming from the front leading to a purer recording.

For you to access the best mode based on your setting, you can make use of the available scene selection modes. The “Duplication” and “Telephone Recording” function can be used when you use the recorder with any other accessory. You can easily copy cassette tapes recordings or telephone conversations

It automatically marks each recording with a date which makes it easy for you to locate a particular recording. By just checking for the date you did the recording, you can easily find the recording file you need. It can take index marks of about 99 for you to easily find a particular section in the recording.

It functions with two AAA batteries which provide battery life of 100 hours. This feature is the advantage recorder has over smartphones recording because smartphones batteries can’t last that long,

A USB cable is included for you to easily send files of your recordings to a computer. It is an MP3 format voice recorder that can record to about 320kbps. The VN-722PC device also comes with a stereo minijack input and minijack headphone output which can be used for an external microphone. 

It is possible for you to adjust the recorder’s speed, to make it faster to get to the desired point or to reduce it for a careful review, It is possible for you to protect some of your important files so as to avoid any case of deleting them accidentally or being edited or erased. You can also remove this protection anytime you wish to. With a “hold” function, you can lock the buttons so as to avoid any accidental recordings.

Olympus DP-201

Olympus DP-201

It comes with 2GB internal memory and offers recording time of 202 hours and uses 2 AAA batteries. The battery can last for up to 70 hours in SP mode for it to give continuous recording time without any interruption.

The bigger the LCD screen, the better it shows all the important features such as note dates, recording progress, battery life, and more. It has the RECORD, PLAY, and STOP buttons sited under the screen to aid easy access. With an inbuilt speaker, you can listen to the playback without connecting it to any other audio gadget.

With a Playback Speed Control, you can modify the speed while listening to the recordings. To make it faster to get to the desired point or to reduce it for a careful review, 

It uses a Noise Cancellation feature to minimize the background noises so as to give a clear and clean recording, so this makes it a recorder in noisy environments or when outside.  To locate a particular file, you just have to utilize the Calendar Search feature to find out files based on the dates of recording. When you need to delete any file, you can delete every file recorded in a day or do a selective deletion of files one after the other.

By hitting a mic sensitivity button, you can pick up more quiet sounds. If you like listening to the playbacks with headphones rather than the inbuilt speakers, then you can easily plug the headphones in through a headphone jack at the upper part of the recorder device.

This DP-201 is portable because of its small size and comes with a simple design that makes it simple to use. With it, you can have a great experience of recording your reminders, ideas, and thoughts. You can simply take it to school or work to record business meetings or lectures

Olympus VN-702PC

Olympus VN-702PC

This recorder is equipped with an internal memory of 2GB and a memory card slot. It records in WMA and MP3 format.

TASCAM DR-40 4-Track

TASCAM DR-40 4-Track

This recorder comes with a 4 track recording mode, so it offers several recording choices. The inbuilt condenser microphones create a very clear playback.

Dictopro Digital Voice Recorder

Dictopro Digital Voice Recorder

It is voice activated recorder designed with an internal storage of 8GB.  With the USB cable that comes with it, you can send files to PC or MAC. The 2 ultra-sensitive microphones deliver recordings of HD quality.

Sony ICD-UX533BLK

Sony ICD-UX533BLK

This comes with internal memory of 4GB to offer you a recording time of 1,073 hours. The memory card slot offers space for additional storage. It can record as well as play back in AAC, WMA, WAV, and MP3 formats.

DB9PRO

dB9PRO

This is a portable little recorder which also functions as a flash drive of 8GB capacity. It saves recordings in just WAV format, and it has the capacity to store audio of 96 hours.

Summary

Voice recorders offer a better recording experience than that of a recording app on a smartphone and can be used for several purposes. With them taking notes becomes hassle-free, helps you to record your favorite music, it helps you refresh your memory on what happened in your business meetings, it brings back valuable moments with family and friends, and many more.

There are many reasons you might want to get a voice recorder, so going for a good one is key as you will be able to use it for whatever you need it for. The choice of many is digital recorder rather than analog recorders.

A major feature of the recorder that requires keen consideration is the storage memory capacity. If the purpose for getting it is to record regularly, then going for a recorder with a memory card slot is wise. You should also remember to check the format output of the recorder to be certain it has compatibility with your computer or equipment. Make up your mind on the additional features you want, like noise cancellation, voice activated mode, etc. 

Our list of ten best voice recorders is based on the reviews of users and should make your search process easier.

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