This is a multi-functional voice recorder with auto record and A-B repeat, which allows you to flag a particular section and easily jump back and forth. You can easily download recordings onto your computer via USB, but this device also allows for downloading MP3s from your computer and onto the recorder itself. At that size, it’s not as convenient to carry around in a pocket. It’s the only recorder we tested to come with a case—a neoprene sleeve—which is useful for protecting the recorder during storage. (Newer phones may have better microphones, but our experts said that on most smartphones, the app will have more of an effect on recording quality than the microphone. Our office recordings received the highest ratings from our listening panel, and only Hi-Q Pro (our upgrade pick, below) had higher overall recording ratings from our panel. Genius!But how well do they really work? Like the UX560, the Olympus has a voice-activated recording setting to automatically stop and start recordings based on volume levels so you don’t have to manually pause if you’re recording a lecture or conversation with lots of breaks. The recorder is also the easiest to navigate, with an intuitive toggle menu to access settings and recordings. Wirecutter colleagues agreed that $100 was the maximum amount that most people should spend on a voice recorder. This voice recorder may look basic but it’s anything but. But even in the scenarios where it wasn’t the top-rated (the noisy coffee shop and the lecture hall), listeners said audio clips from Parrot were understandable enough. The UX560 did the best in the coffee shop scene: One listener said, “You could hear some background noise, but it never drowned out the speaker.” Of the office test, a listener observed that “this was a calming recording to listen to. Several Wirecutter staffers have also noted that the app will produce corrupted, unplayable files that can’t be opened. This Olympus voice recorder is a must-have in our reporting kit, thanks to its high-quality MP3 recording, 8GB of internal memory and ability to transfer files to a micro SD card or to your device via USB. (If true-to-life sound is your primary goal but you don’t know what hardware to get, the podcasting site Transom.org is a great place to start.). If you need to record in a pinch, it’ll work well. Storage Space: A good voice recorder will have a large memory capacity so you can continue recording for long periods of time without needing to delete files. That meant 192 Kbps for all recorders except for the Olympus, which maxes out at 128 Kbps (though even this should be good enough for voice recordings). You should also be able to skip ahead or skip backwards in small increments in case you need to repeat a section or find a particular moment. Ezvid is a free meeting recording software for Windows. Annoyingly, this app also automatically plays recordings when you select them to share. The only people who should consider spending more are professionals who need to publish the audio they record, and they likely already know which recorder is best for their specific needs. Although this is frustrating, none of the iOS apps we tested had great organization options. The interface is clean and intuitive, and you can choose between a dark or light theme. The PX470 has a battery life of 55 hours, which is longer than that of our main pick, but it doesn’t have a built-in rechargeable battery; it uses AAA batteries. We removed our iOS pick, Apple’s Voice Memos app, as there have been issues with the app corrupting recordings, making them unlistenable. Zoom H1n Handy Portable Digital Recorder Bundle. Voice Recorder for iOS is free and has a wide range of file formats, but comes with ads and has the clunkiest design of all the iOS apps we tested. You can also optimize the audio with the device’s four preset scenes: music, meeting, interview, or dictation. Dolby secret tested a professional music recording “234” last year, and on the same lines released Dolby On for on iOS.… This has made the best voice to text applications increasingly valuable to users in a range of different environments, from education to business. Previously she wrote food and lifestyle pieces for Saveur and Kinfolk magazines. The Olympus has one of the largest screens of the models tested, larger than that of our main pick. For the lecture scene, Anna sat in the back of Sahithya Reddivari’s engineering class at Georgia State University in Clarkston, Georgia, and lined recorders up next to each other, with the mics facing toward the lecturer. In most cases, the simplest way to do this is with a usb plug-in. Ideally, recorders will have functions to adjust speed, which is particularly helpful any time you’re doing transcriptions. She reported, “The sound quality on our pick is infinitely better than when I use my phone—there's less background fuzz, voices are louder and clearer, and everything sounds a lot closer (vs. tinny and distant). The WS-853 also has voice-activated recording to stop and restart recordings after silences, and a pop-out USB 3.0 connector for easy recharging and file transfer. Playback controls let you slow down or speed up your recordings for easier transcribing. This recorder also includes a USB connection which allows you to plug the device directly into your computer to download files. Put Amazon's Alexa to work for you with these great smart-home devices. The PX470 has transcription-friendly playback options nearly identical to the more expensive UX560’s that work just as well, including Clear Voice noise cancellation, a transcription mode with a cleaner interface, A-B Repeat, and digital pitch control, but it doesn’t have a track mark list to jump to highlighted parts of a recording. You can automatically upload your recordings to Dropbox, or share files via Bluetooth, Android Beam, Gmail, Messages, Facebook Messenger, and Google Drive. Sony’s ICDUX560BLK digital voice recorder is another terrific option that offers ... Best Value: Zoom H1n Handy Recorder … The voices were the tiniest bit unnatural, but overall this is definitely my favorite sample so far.”. But – ta da! Amazon Alexa vs. Google Assistant: Which Voice Assistant Is Best for You? But if you can’t risk losing a recording, spend the $5 for Just Press Record. It records in MP3 audio; these files are compressed and require less memory, making them better for recording long lectures or meetings. As with the Sony UX560, a pop-out USB 3.0 plug lets you easily upload files to a computer and recharge the two replaceable AAA batteries, which takes about 3 hours. While most people won’t need these features, Hi-Q also scored the highest in our audio-quality tests of the Android apps we tested. We used to recommend Apple’s Voice Memos app but after hearing several reports about Voice Memos being unreliable, we removed it. Start your vinyl music journey here with our picks for turntable, receiver, speakers, and more. We looked at the latest offerings from reputable manufacturers of recorders like Olympus, Sony, and Philips, and we browsed Amazon’s 40 best-selling digital voice recorders. Otherwise this was a pleasant if somewhat filtered recording.” The panel picked the Philips DVT2510 in the lecture recordings, but just by half a point (on a scale of one to three, with three being the highest score), and listeners said that the lecturer still sounded clear on the UX560’s recording. There are a few basic functions you’ll want from a good voice recorder, including superior audio quality, a size that is convenient to carry, plenty of storage space, and the ability to easily share and edit files. The PX470’s menu system is similar to that of the UX560 and has an identical button layout. – tech has moved on so much that now there are tools that transcribe your meetings for you. Parrot has the most ways to fine-tune recording and playback out of the free apps we tested. After your conversation, interview, or meeting, you can revisit parts of the recording by playing back the timestamped audio … How Black Lives Matter Inspired a New Generation of Youth Activists, Taylor Swift’s Cruel Winter: Why ‘Marjorie’ Is Her Heart-Shredding Masterpiece, Karl Rove Rips Trump: ‘Americans Don’t Like Sore Losers’, This Surprise Amazon Deal Gets You a 50-Inch 4K TV For Just $279, Pornhub Upended the Porn Industry. In a new round of testing in mid-2017, the UX560 received the highest overall ratings from our panel of test listeners. This voice recorder may look basic but it’s anything but. If you’re a musician, a professional podcaster, or a radio journalist who needs to publish audio, or if you belong to some other profession that requires the use of a high-quality audio recorder on a regular basis, this guide isn’t for you. The Parrot app for Android has the best range of recording options and the cleanest interface of the free Android apps we tested. To find out what makes a good recorder, we spoke to two experts: Jerad Lewis from TDK, and Rob O’Reilly at Analog Devices. Good voice-recording apps have easy-to-use interfaces that let you quickly navigate files and folders, as opposed to the more complicated file storage systems of most hardware voice recorders. The mics automatically monitor the distance between the person speaking and the recorder, to make the recording feel more accurate. The recorder comes with 4 GB of storage, which allows for roughly 39 hours of recording time using MP3 format at 192 Kbps; that’s comparable to what you get with most of the recorders we tested. © 2020 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, More storage and longer battery life, lower-quality audio, If you mainly record in quiet environments, the best iOS and Android voice-recording apps. One of Just Press Record’s most useful features is that the app can automatically transcribe your recordings to text after you stop recording; you can share the transcript with a couple of taps. Buying guide for best digital voice recorders. These included Jerad Lewis, a field application engineer working at TDK, which manufactures microphones, including MEMS mics (microelectromechanical microphones for smartphones), and Rob O’Reilly, a senior member technical staff at Analog Devices (which makes a range of audio and video electronic devices). Omnidirectional. It recharges via USB and lets you easily transfer files to a computer. Our research shows that a meeting … Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant make listening to radio, controlling smart devices, and creating reminders as simple as asking for it. EVISTR Digital Voice Recorder. Of the coffee shop scene, one listener said that “the sound quality itself was actually pretty good” though the background noises were “a bit loud and distracting.”. While playing back audio, the WS853 can compensate somewhat for problems you might have run into while recording: a noise-cancellation setting can reduce overall background hiss (though this comes at the expense of battery life), while a voice balancer setting can even out recordings that were made with the mic sensitivity set too low or high by compressing the overall level for a more even sound (though you might run into increased noise). © Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. You can additionally select a mic to record from. If you’re on a budget, we recommend Sony’s ICD-PX470. After doing 52 hours of research and testing 12 voice recorders over the past two years (adding four recent models for this update) in real-world settings—a college classroom, a noisy coffee shop, and a quiet office—we’ve determined that the best audio recorder for most people interested in capturing meetings, lectures, dictation, and in-person interviews is the Sony UX560. If you do a lot of transcribing, this is a particularly useful device, as it includes 16 levels to adjust play speed and functions to jump quickly to a particular point you’d like to replay. So if you’re trying to type up a lecture or interview with a particularly fast-talker, you can slow down the voice speed and save yourself the trouble of rewinding the same 15 seconds over and over. It’s also packed with helpful features, like a voice-activated mode, so it will start up automatically when your lecturer begins speaking, for example. Lets deal with efficiency first. With a good voice recorder, you don’t have to worry … We also paid close attention to the availability of each model we were considering, and we excluded any recorders that companies couldn’t confirm were still being made. Once she had the recordings, she noted how each recorder and app let her store the files, and how easy or difficult it was to transfer those files to her computer, label and organize them, and then upload them to Dropbox. It recorded the most intelligible audio of all the recorders we tested and offers the most useful collection of features: It’s rechargeable via USB; it has a legible, backlit screen; and its menu system is the easiest to navigate. Just Press Record doesn’t allow you to name folders and organize them; it automatically creates folders of recordings by date. The screen on the UX560’s fades and eventually shuts off during recording, which is a little disconcerting, but an LED indicates that you’re still recording. You also get quick access to the most-important settings, like file format and bit rate options, right at the top of the screen. Choosing the best voice recorder was a challenge because many of the high-end voice recorders are designed with a specific audience or purpose in … We dismissed transcription and call recorder apps, since this guide is geared toward in-person recording of meetings, lectures, and interviews. Selecting the Clear Voice function during playback helped reduce background noise in our coffee shop and lecture recordings but didn’t make as big of a difference as the noise-cancel feature on the Olympus. The effects of both features were more obvious than Sony’s Clear Voice mode and did help make recorded voices clearer, but the Olympus lacks Sony’s handy track mark list, dedicated transcription mode to let you fast-forward and rewind, and digital pitch control to slow or speed recordings, making it overall less useful for transcribing than the UX560. 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