Digital voice recorder technology has advanced rapidly in the last few years. There are many new digital voice recorders on the market. Due to the large selection of digital voice recorders available it is important to choose the recorder that fits you or your business needs. Many people will use a digital voice recorder for simple things like meetings/memos while others may need a digital voice recorder with transcription capabilities. This is a short guide to help you pin point things you should consider before purchasing a digital voice recorder.
Digital Recording vs. Tape Recording: Digital Voice Recorders are the new standard in voice recording. No longer do you have deal with buying multiple tapes, a broken tape, or poor audio quality. Digital audio lasts longer than tapes and you also can’t feed a tape into a PC. Many tape recorder models are being phased out and development has slowed down. A digital voice recorder is definitely the way to.
Connecting a Digital Voice Recorder to your PC: Most base model digital voice recorder don’t allow you to connect to a pc for downloading audio files. However, you don’t have to pay an arm and leg for a recorder that has PC connectivity. The majority of the mid to upper range voice recorders allow you to connect to a PC via USB cable, docking station or direct connection. I would highly recommend buying a recorder that has PC connectivity.
Data Storage of Digital Voice Recorders: Most digital voice recorders these days can handle storing other types of data in addition to recorded audio. Most recorders have built in flash memory and can double as a USB mass storage device similar to a jump drive that you can store files like documents or images. The Olympus WS series voice recorders actually split apart and one half can be used as a jump drive.
Consider What Features You Need: Will you use your recorder for professional transcription purposes or use it to record memos? You will generally pay more for digital recorders that have transcription features and less for digital recorders that don’t. Compare the digital voice recorders that you are considering and focus on which features you need and don’t need.
Recording time for Digital Voice Recorders: Most digital voice recorders advertise their highest possible recording time; some boast as much as 555 hours with 2 GB’s of memory. Don’t put too much stock in this because this recording time is only on the lowest quality setting, which is awful, in fact I don’t know why anyone would ever choose to record at the lowest quality. On the highest audio quality setting the same 2 GB’s of memory will record only 35 hours of audio. Be sure to verify how long you can record in all the quality modes before you purchase. Also, if you are planning on transcribing your recordings with voice to print software or voice recognition software it will require high quality audio recordings.
Transcribing your Recordings: In order to transcribe your recordings you will need some type of software. Some digital voice recorders come with voice recognition software such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Sony ICD-SX57DR9, Sony ICD-BM1DR9, Sony ICD-MX20VTP). You can hook your recorder up to Dragon NaturallySpeaking and it will type out on your computer what you have dictated into the recorder.