Best Voice Recorder: Be Digital, Be Heard
With the invention of smartphones, voice recorders haven’t been put too much use which is quite surprising because there are so many things it is capable of doing that a smartphone doesn’t guarantee.
Half of the population of the world is using a smartphone that has a recorder on it, but having a handy digital voice recorder is such a bliss. There are some things a voice recorder can pick up that your regular smartphone won’t pick, and this is what has led us to do a review on the best voice recorders on the market.
We live in a digital world where one device can now do the work of three to four devices at the same time. While some people think it is a waste of time and money, others consider fashionable and appreciable.
For instance, during interviews, you can use your digital voice recorder to pick up every word said while your smartphone will pick up both the sounds, noise, and every other thing around, which makes it less audio quality. You can even start your video podcasts with your smartphone, a monopod and voice recorder.
Therefore, a digital voice recorder is defined as a device which receives, captures sound, and produces it in a format in which it can be heard from the device or transferred from such device to another such as a laptop, tablet, etc.
Also, after so many considerations and research on how voice recorders have advantages that can change our lives, we discovered it is a necessity that still needs to be put to use in our different daily activities.
So, here you will find how voice recorder works and what are the different types of voice recorders. We have reviewed the top 7 best voice recorders available for sale with regard to its description, physical appearance (images), features, pros, and cons. We went further to describe factors to consider when buying any of the voice recorders, so buyers could make the right choice. Go digital!
Top 7 Best Voice Recorder 2017-2018
Best Battery life
Best Recording modes
Best value for money
Best for Amateurs
How does it work?
In sound recording, you don’t have to sweat too much because it doesn’t require technical know-how. All you have to do is press some buttons, and you can start to record. When you are done, press another button to stop and save what you have recorded. Now, voice recorders are either as an app on smartphones or as a device; here, we are more interested in how it works as a device.
()The sound which is received and captured is stored as a series of figures. Each of these figures is called samples, and they are representations of the air pressure during the time sound was recorded. These figures do not just come into play, but they are generated by a microphone which is in connection with an analog-to-digital converter.
After a series of mechanisms, the figures are then converted back to analog via a digital-to-analog converter which produces the sound/audio you listen to on speakers.()
Regardless of what mechanism it has gone through, the audio quality is a significant factor because it is responsible for how well you hear what you have just recorded.
Further, it is saved as a file type (Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF), Waveform Audio File (WAV), and MP3) on your device.
Advantages of using a Voice Recorder
There are many advantages of using a voice recorder, other than using it to record conversations and interviews.
- Portability and High level of concentration: Voice recorders are very portable, which means they can be carried from one place to another without you feeling the weight at all. With a smartphone, you can get distracted even though it is portable, but there is a higher chance you concentrate using a digital voice recorder to take down notes.
- Ease with download: Downloading what you have recorded on your digital voice recorder to your computer or tablet is very easy. The digital format enhances this ability.
- Stores any file: Some voice recorders have been designed to not only record audio happenings but to store all kinds of file which means it can replace your standard USB flash drive. Due to this characteristic, transferring files even becomes easier.
- Ability to choose modes: Gone are the days where you have only one recording quality mode, with a digital voice recorder, you are open to a lot of options as regards to the recording quality.
- Adjustable: It is so much comfortable to move recordings to a point you want with the aid of its playback speed. This saves time and helps you skip out unnecessary details.
- Uses index marks: With the index mark, you can pin down a particular part of the recording you are interested in. They act like a website’s bookmark.
There is more to what a digital voice recorder can do; here is just a few.
Types of Voice Recorders
Generally, there are three types of voice recorders which is based on their size and structure. They include; the voice-activated recorders, the miniature recorders, and the stereo recorders.
Surveillance experts and law enforcers often use voice-activated recorders. As the name implies, it is only activated when it detects a voice. Let’s say it is always in a hibernation mode until a voice triggers it and it starts an automatic recording.
Although it is an incredible device, there could be some difficulties, especially when using it for day-to-day activities such as in dictation. Also, the chances are that the voice activation mechanism may experience a delay in recording, which could make you miss out some essential points while recording.
Miniature Voice Recorders
Miniature voice recorders like it is called are tiny. They are very small that two of them can make up a USB flash device or pen.
They are sometimes designed as pen recorders in which they have improved features such as a built-in camera that digitizes the pen strokes and does a quick conversion into scannable images for note sharing. Miniature recorders are very great until you misplace them.
Stereo Voice Recorders
Lastly, digital voice recorders are known to capture only mono sound; however, we find some that record in stereo; these are called Stereo voice recorders.
They route audio through two or more channels to create greater depth and improved audio quality. Although they are often bigger, better and more expensive than other types, stereo digital voice recorders produce larger audio tracks, that consume more memory than others.
On public opinion, stereo recorders are only suitable when recording music, or during an interview session, apart from that, it is unnecessary.
Buying Guide: What you should consider?
In this buying guide section, one has to consider some factors to get the best of recorders available on the market. These factors include;
Digital voice recorders have two groups they belong; one for amateurs, and the other for professionals, and this has a lot to do when you are buying a recorder.
People who fall in this amateur group are students or regular people who want to take down notes, or unimportant messages. It is quite essential and doesn’t require much effort before you use it.
However, for people that belong to the professional group, such as who want to record their music, or record interviews or reports.
The sound quality of the latter is always better than the former because of how important it is. Therefore, you have to understand what group you belong so that you can know the excellent sound quality.
Generally, digital voice recorders have been designed to be portable and lightweight so that they can fit into your pocket or purse without stress. If you are on a surveillance or spy job, having a small recorder will be suitable, so you don’t get discovered.
On the other end, larger voice recorders can be very heavy and hard to maneuver. These are the types that have an external microphone plugged into them.
However, you shouldn’t say because it is heavy and you go for the wrong product; you should understand what your preference is, and how much storage is available before you buy.
Computer OS Compatibility
Sometimes, some of these devices select the kind of computer OS they want to work on. If you are using a Windows computer, ensure you go for a recorder that works on the version of your windows; a recorder that only operates on Windows 8, may not open files that have been transferred on Windows 10.
Also, Mac computers aren’t left out, it is important you go for what is compatible with your version of computer.
One more factor you should put in consideration is the versatility of your digital voice recorders. Some recorders go beyond just recording what is said; some of them are used to play music and take video recordings.
You should understand that the more the functions it has, the more expensive it is. So, when buying your voice recorder either as an amateur or a professional, know what you want to use it to do. This factor has a lot in hand, and it results in the kind of storage a recorder will have.
When we talk about audio fidelity, we are talking about how accurate a sound is via digital recording.
This factor is dependent on two factors; sampling rate and bit depth.
However, two other factors affect fidelity of sound, and that is the mono and stereo recording. It is important you know what to go for to keep the fidelity of your recordings in check.
We are in an age where technology is what we live for, and it is important we catch up with recent inventions. Digital voice recorders have been made easy so that you don’t need technical know-how before you can operate it.
Some of them even come with instruction manuals on how to use it just for beautiful user experience. However, there could still be a little difficulty in handling them at times; therefore, we recommend that you consider this feature and pick any of the best-rated devices that is easy to handle, so you don’t face problems later.
Mono or Stereo
The difference between these two recording types is based on the number of tracks they are recorded on.
()For instance, a mono is recorded on one track using a microphone which ultimately means you can listen to your recordings on headphones while a stereo has two microphones, and are more expensive than the former. ()
Another difference is in the depth in which you can feel a 3D effect on stereo rather than on mono. There are fluctuations with mono recordings which may ultimately affect the quality of audio produced in the end. To avoid this, know whether you are going for the cheaper one (mono) or the best audio quality one (stereo).
One more important factor is storage capacity. The best kinds of recorders are always between 8GB to 2 TB. The more the storage, the better it is to record audios in interviews, or classes.
For anyone who is just looking for a recorder for just a regular use, a 8GB memory will be preferable; however, for people who would love to record music, videos, or use the music player, storage beyond 8GB will be very suitable.
Lastly, consider the battery life and power of your recorder before you go for it. If you want something to last while you record, check the battery whether in-built or not, battery life and the charging time which both shows how well you can record.
Below, you will find some of the best digital voice recorders with good battery life.
1. Leoie Voice Record Mini 8GB Digital Sound Audio Recorder – Best Battery life
Leioe Digital recorder is a special kind of device, often regarded as a superior 2-in-1 recorderwith so many amazing features that produce great sound quality.
It is an LCD type of recorder with a standard USB 2.0 interface, and record for up to 650 hours. The strength and power of this recorder is like nothing we have ever seen, and that is why it is one of the top products out there for buyers.
In addition to all the wonderful attributes it has, it adopts a 128*64 pixels LCD screen which is a feature that shows all things going on within the system. It comes with a 8GB memory and an external microphone which makes it suitable for recording lectures, interviews, and down taking notes.
()Also, there are seven equalizer modes which are responds well to its music player, and they include; NOP, ROCK, POP, CLASSOL, SOFT, FUNK, JAZZ, and DABB.()
Furthermore, we can prove that it is made of a durable material due to its hard plastic which helps it withstand an amount of external force.
On the power it is, it comes with a built-in lithium rechargeable battery with a charging time of 2 hours that lasts very well; hence, why it could take down lectures and notes.
Lastly, with music playing format of MP3 and WMA, and a recording format of WAV, it is a must-have in every home or office.
- Seven topnotch eq modes
- comes with an external Microphone
- A 3.5mm Earphones and one 3.5mm Audio Cable
- 1 USB Charging Cable
- 1 Phone Line and A User Manual
- Windows 2000/XP supporting system
- Superior quality design
- Large memory of 8GB
- Strong battery life
- Two music and one recording format for perfect quality
- Fast charging time
- Comes with a screen for visibility and display
- Color deviation on screen could happen
- A little bit tough to operate at-times
2. Zoom H1n Handy Recorder – Best Body
Zoom H1n is identified by its streamlined body which is a feature that attracts many buyers because they know how handy and undiscoverable it is.
It comes with a protective for the mic called the enclosure, as well as built-in stereo condenser which makes it produce a good audio quality. In everything you do with the device, it is all controlled by one major button which is the centerpiece of the device, and with one touch, you can start or stop recording.
Also, this device has other characteristics such as the playback speed control which is used to control the recorded piece to a desired point, saving the stress of listening to other parts of the recording.
Not only the playback speed control is involved for audio manipulation, but the voice-emphasize filter and stereo overdubbing features. Altogether, to make sure you get the best out of what you have recorded, alongside a 120-dB distortion-free recording.
Although it is small, it is durable and capable of professional projects with the aid of its localized and intuitive options. It uses a monochrome LCD to view all actions taken or going on in the device. Lastly, it supports on the max. of 24-bit/96 kHz audio in BWF-compliant WAV or series of MP3 formats
- 1-year warranty period
- One-touch button to start and stop recording
- Monochrome 1.25 inches LCD screen
- 120-dB audio quality
- Built-in battery
- External Mic
- Tune-in port
- Small and portable
- Easy to use
- Excellent quality and highly versatile
- Easy to transfer files to PC
- Not suitable for voice covers and YouTube videos
- You need to buy an external SD card
3. FiiO M3K HiFi Metal Shell Music Player with 16GB Memory Card and Digital Voice Recorder – Best Storage
If there is something extraordinary about M3K voice recorder, it is its ample storage capacity of 2 TB which can be used to store recordings and music. It is designed with an Ingenic processor which is an important property that makes it an outstanding device with long-lasting experience.
One of the many incredible things about this device is its high-fidelity recording features and so many ultramodern features.
With its Autonomous USB DAC function, you have a shot at enjoying audio with a bit depth of 192kHz/24 bit. The battery life is yet another thing that makes it an excellent device for recording at 24 hours usage time, and 38 days standby time which makes it ultra-long-lasting.
It has five buttons that control every action carried out on the device such as next/previous track, confirmation, back and menu keys.
Also, it has 6 Eq modes including; Rock, Classical, Jazz, Pop, Dance, Metal and Vocal, all to make sure you have good sound quality. Lastly, an aluminum body encasing and tempered glass makes it super strong and durable.
- Powerful X1000E Processor
- Ultra-long battery life
- High-fidelity recording
- AB Repeat
- Master of Decoding
- Cool User Interface
- 2TB storage capacity
- Aluminum Body Design
- IPS Touch Screen
- A fantastic product with so many advanced features
- Produces a great sound quality
- Sleek and portable
- Incredible storage which makes it useful for all kinds of recording
- One of the best voice recorder and excellent music player
- No warranty period listed
4. Walmeck 8GB Intelligent Digital Audio Voice Phone Recorder – Best Recording modes
Walmeck digital phone recorder is another unique device which is known for its six recording modes as well as 8GB storage capacity. It has an LCD screen and recording indicator which is easy to operate, with a standard USB 2.0 interface, and can record for up to 576h Long REC (VOR) or 96hFineREC (VOR) or 48h HQREC (VOR).
It is designed with a 3D sound effect and a voice-activated function (VAR) which makes a must-have for law enforcement agents. Also, it is made of a metallic material and plastic overall which makes it highly durable and strong against external force.
Additional features it supports are the loop, pause, play and delete functions for effectiveness, as well as a recording rate of 192 Kbps; it has a built-in microphone and speaker, as well as an external mic & earphone, all for great user experience.
On the power it is, it comes with a built-in lithium rechargeable battery life of 25 hours that lasts very well; hence, why it could take down a series of lectures and notes.
- The package comes with a lot of accessories like one earphone, USB cable, Audio cable, Telephone line cable.
- An external Mic
- A Telephone Adapter
- It comes at a good value for money.
- It comes with a User Manual for smooth operation
- It supports MP3 / WMA / WAV music format
- It has six recording modes to choose from
- Very lightweight and robust in design (metal casing)
- Operates on Windows 98 and above OS
- Supports up to 22 languages
- Good storage capacity of 8 GB
- No warranty available for this product
5. Sony ICD-UX560F Digital Voice Recorder with Built-in USB (Silver) – Best Color
Sony ICD-UX560F Digital Voice Recorder is an interesting kind of device with regard to its beautiful silver color and features. It has everything to make a good sound record, and the results are never disappointing. It is manufactured by one of the best brands in the world of electronics, Sony, and this makes people run to it more than any type.
Based on its features, it is equipped with a 4GB storage capacity which is quite small compared to the others, but what it has that others don’t is its expandable MicroSD (SDHC and SDXC) cards for additional storage. Therefore, it can record several things including notes, interviews, songs, etc.
There are two ways in which it records; the MP3 and LPCM mode which are both aided by a high sensitivity S-shaped, focus and wide microphone.
Aside from being a recorder, it has an FM which is used to listen and record radio channels without disturbance. For easy connection to a computer, it has an in-built USB port. Lastly, it has a 1-year warranty and a single lithium (AAA) battery that can last a user for hours.
- 1-year warranty
- Lightweight body with Shiny silver color
- 4GB storage capacity + additional storage
- External microphone
- It has a noise reducer, which makes it excellent to use in crowded places
- FM channel
- Comes with built-in lithium battery
- It can be easily carried from one location to another
- It offers dual functions; audio and radio record.
- Very easy to use
- Useful for all kinds of operations
- Excellent audio and radio quality
- The battery back-up is excellent
- Along with computer compatibility, it is compatible with your smartphone
- Short warranty period
- Product doesn’t state if it supports any OS
6. ProTech Electronics Mini USB Voice Recorder Voice Recorder – Best value for money
ProTech is also another 2-in-1 digital recorder with amazing features which makes it a good value for money, especially if you want something cheap and top notch.
It is portable with an 8GB flash drive memory capacity which can record anything, in classes, interviews, etc. There is something spectacular about it when comes in connection with Windows 10 or Mac where you have to update chipset properly to use the device.
The mechanism of operation of the device is direct and straightforward (which means it is very easy to operate). It also includes features like the auto-save in order to make sure your recordings are saved the way they should.
Even when the earphones are plugged in, it automatically enters playback mode and where the file can be reviewed.
Furthermore, a 8GB memory as mentioned earlier can store sound recordings for about 96 hours, alongside a fantastic battery life which can last for about 14 hours. It supports a U disk function, and the battery is a nonstandard type which gives it so much power for effectiveness. Lastly, ProTech as a brand offers a 1-month warranty on products to customers, and no doubt, this product is not exempted.
- 1 Mini USB Player
- A USB cable and an Earphone
- Built-in battery
- 5.10 watts power
- 8GB Flash drive memory
- Supported by Mac, Windows, and Android
- The memory is quite good and can be used in different scenarios such as classes, events, interviews
- Incredible features for top performance
- Good sound recording of 96 hours and a battery life of 14 hours
- Very portable and easy to use
- Price is affordable
- Warranty period is too short
7. Sony ICDPX470.CE7 4GB Digital Voice Recorder – Best for Amateurs
Sony ICDPX470.CE7 4GB Digital Voice Recorder is the prequel version of Sony ICD-UX560F Digital Voice Recorder. The only difference between these two devices is that the former has no additional storage while the latter does for maximum performance.
Since it is a product from Sony; it is also a good device judging by its black color, and nice features. It offers a good sound record and quality, and it is pretty basic for all kinds of menial jobs like taking lectures.
On the basis of its attributes, it is built with a 4GB storage capacity which is everything needed since what has to be done is not much. Notwithstanding, there are two ways in which it records; the MP3 and LPCM mode which are both aided by a high sensitivity S-shaped, focus and wide microphone.
- 1-year warranty
- Lightweight and Black color body
- 4GB storage capacity
- USB connection
- External microphone
- It can be easily carried from one location to another
- It offers dual functions; audio and radio record
- Very easy to use
- Durability is quite good
- Useful for all kinds of operations
- Excellent audio and radio quality
- Instruction manual for guidance
- Short warranty period
- Loses quality shortly after it is used
- No OS compatible device stated in its review
Frequently Asked Questions
We have had questions about the use of voice recorders, and here are some of the frequently asked ones and answers we have provided.
1. Which is better: Digital voice recorder or Built-in smartphone recorder?
There has been a lot of debate on which is better between digital voice recorder and app-based recorder on regular smartphones. However, in the end, both of them do one thing – they record events that has happened and save them till whenever you are ready to listen to them. They work using a similar mechanism, in which audibility is through the speakers.
Smartphone recorders make things easier because while you may want to stay discrete, you can record all you want while Digital voice recorders can either blend in or stay noticeable. If we are to judge by the advantage of both, we will choose digital voice recorders over the other because it can pick up sounds better.
Most times, when using phone recorders, there is a bit of noise it picks up which may affect the audio quality, but there is nothing like that in voice recorders (that is what it has been designed to do).
Mobile phone recorders can be very tempting to run to, but consider if you want to listen well or not before you make that decision. In cases where you have to record lecture notes, conversations and interviews, a digital recorder is the perfect device that will come to your rescue and not your mobile phone.
2. Who produces the best kinds of voice recorders?
According to our review above, several brands produce the best kinds of voice recorders. These brands have been on the market for so long, and have made sure they manufacture products that will suit consumer needs. It may be difficult to pinpoint who is the best among them because there is a great need for considering some factors in the buying guide. Few of the top brands are; Sony, Walmeck, Zoom, etc., and one of their best products have been reviewed above.
3. Can deleted recordings be retrieved?
The answer is not quite straight, and it depends on how deleted the recording. If it was deleted from the digital voice recorder, it may never be retrieved again; however, if it had been sent to a laptop or tablet before it was deleted, there are ways you can retrieve it back. This isn’t a big issue, but users are advised to make multiple copies of important recordings so that if you lose one, there is another somewhere ready for you.
Judging by what is above, it is obvious that we have done a good job at bringing you some of the best voice recorders available on the market. We have considered a lot of factors, and successfully handpicked and reviewed the top 7 types with reference to description, features, pros, and cons. This isn’t something you find easily, and you will be happy you consulted this article before you proceed to buy a digital voice recorder.
In conclusion, save yourself by having to go through the stress of buying a product, and you end up buying the wrong one.
With this article, there is the buying guide to consider, as well as suggestions on the best kinds with features. Buy the best digital voice recorder, and discovered how important it is for everyday use.