Best Digital Voice Recorders

Review & Comparison, Last Update March 16, 2017
What a lecture it was! You have been listening carefully and even made some notes. But oops, some important points are missing. Next time bring a digital voice recorder with you and don't miss a thing! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Supported Formats
Memory
Frequency Response
Recording quality and time
Power source/battery life
Usability
Interface
Warranty
 
PROS
Olympus digital recorder is equipped with an integrated USB connector. Just plug it in directly into your PC for a hustle-free data transfer or/and battery charge. You can use it as a USB memory device.
CONS
A built-in speaker is not loud enough.
OUR VERDICT
This multifunctional digital voice recorder features a number of adjustable settings to allow its use under various conditions, like in a large lecture hall, in a conference room, in a small meeting room, etc.
detailed parameters
Supported Formats
PCM / MP3 / WMA
Memory
Internal memory: 4GB
External memory: MicroSD (2GB - 32GB)
Frequency Response
70 Hz - 20 kHz
Recording quality and time
PCM (44.1kHz/16bit): 5 hrs 45 min,
MP3 (128 kbps): 65 hrs,
WMA (8 kbps): 1000 hrs
Power source/battery life
NI-MH BR404 (rechargeable battery): 37 hrs of battery life,
1 x AAA alkaline battery
Usability
Recording scene select
Low cut filter
Voice playback
Voice balancer
Noise cancellation
Voice changer
Calendar search
A-B repeat
Built-in display
Interface
USB
EAR Jack
MIC Jack
MicroSD Slot
Warranty
1 year
PROS
With two charging options, from PC and USB 5V / 1A AC adapter, the recorder offers users flexibility of use and can provide up to 1536 kbps transfer speed. Compatible with the latest Windows 10 OS.
CONS
Lower recording quality, with the external microphone being used.
OUR VERDICT
A professional-class device that can be used as an MP3 player as well as a recorder for capturing conversations without loss in sound quality.
detailed parameters
Supported Formats
MP3 / WAV
Memory
Internal memory: 8GB
Frequency Response
Sample Rate: 48 kHz
Recording quality and time
MP3 (64 kbps): 96 hrs,
WAV (512 kbps)
Power source/battery life
Built-in 360mAh Li-ion (rechargeable battery): 28 hrs record time,
1 x AAA alkaline battery: 14.5 hrs
Usability
Variable speed playback WAV recording file editing
Long recording time
Built-in display
A-B repeat
Interface
Micro USB
EAR Jack
MIC Jack
Warranty
Amazon's 30-day return policy
PROS
If you need a recorder to capture sound in MP3 format, the Sony digital voice recorder is the one to go for. Automatic recording of the sound after it's been detected and a noise-reduction function add up to its usability.
CONS
The only power source is 2 x AAA batteries.
OUR VERDICT
A winning combination of user-friendly design (large buttons and LCD screen) and high recording quality makes Sony ICD-BX140 a practical and reliable solution for recording sound.
detailed parameters
Supported Formats
HVXC / MP3
Memory
Internal memory: 4GB
Frequency Response
HVXC 2 kbps (MONAURAL): 100 Hz -3 kHz,
MP3 8 kbps (MONAURAL): 75 Hz - 3 kHz,
MP3 128 kbps: 75 Hz - 15 kHz,
MP3 192 kbps: 75 Hz - 15 kHz
Recording quality and time
MP3 (8 kbps): 1043 hrs,
MP3 (128 kbps): 65 hrs 10 min,
MP3 (192 kbps): 43 hrs 25 min
Power source/battery life
2 x AAA alkaline batteries: up to 45 hrs
Usability
Noise cut function
Voice operated recording (VOR) function
Built-in Display
Built-in 300 mW speaker
Interface
Headphone Jack, Microphone In
Warranty
1 year
PROS
For better recording experience, it's possible to rearrange the mics of the recorder in either XY or AB patterns. Thanks to the BP-6AA external battery, the recorder can also work 50 hours longer than most competing models.
CONS
Has no internal memory.
OUR VERDICT
TASCAM DR-40 digital recorder is an excellent choice for musicians. To provide the highest recording quality, the device has variable operation modes and can be connected to mixer and external condenser microphone.
detailed parameters
Supported Formats
WAV / BWF / MP3
Memory
External memory: SD card (64MB - 2GB), SDHC card (4GB - 2GB)
Frequency Response
20 Hz - 40 kHz
Recording quality and time
MP3 (32 to 320 kbps)
Power source/battery life
3 x AA alkaline batteries: 20.5 hrs Ni-MH batteries: 17 hrs
Usability
MS decoding function
Auto-record function
Pre-recording function
Peak reduction function
Seamless gain control
Low-cut filter
Level align feature
Equalizer setting
Mark function
Built-in display
Interface
SD Slot
Mini USB
2.5mm TRS Jack
XLR/TRS combo Jack
3.5mm stereo mini Jack
Warranty
1 year
PROS
Comes with a remote control to allow switching between modes at a distance. The automatic level control (ALC) enables the highest recording quality both close to and further away from the sound source.
CONS
A low internal memory capacity.
OUR VERDICT
Considering the price of the recorder, not surprisingly it's become one of the favorite choices of students and lecturers. Attractive, stylish design alongside the recording quality bring this recorder pen on par with much more expensive models.
detailed parameters
Supported Formats
PCM / XHQ / HQ / LP
Memory
Internal memory: 1GB
Frequency Response
Not specified
Recording quality and time
PCM (705kbps): 3 hrs,
XHQ (128kbps): 16 hrs,
HQ (32kbps): 65 hrs,
LP (16kbps): 130 hrs
Power source/battery life
Built-in rechargeable battery: 13 hrs
Usability
LCD Screen
Voice activation mode
Continuous record mode
Interface
Audio Jack
Warranty
1 year

What is a Digital Voice Recorder

After a conference, meeting or lecture it is not so easy to recall all the details even if you have made some notes. A digital voice recorder is a handy and functional device that allows high-quality sound recording, audio files storage and reproduction. Most modern devices have pretty large internal and/or external memory and a whole bunch of useful features. A digital audio recorder comes useful when interviewing people, attaining lecturers, recording phone calls and in many other situations when it's important to save conversation sequence. We have reviewed five best models available on the market to narrow down your choice and help you choose the one you'll find more suitable for your needs.

It's not necessarily to pay more for a digital recorder only because its memory isn't too big. You can keep your spending sensible and get a microSD card optionally when you do need to expand internal capacity.

While a lot of digital voice recorders can perform the functions of MP3 players, we still recommend you to get a dedicated device and enjoy your playlist in decent quality.

What Features to Compare

Recording formats

The first thing to consider when choosing a digital voice recorder is what audio formats it supports. The most popular are MP3, WMA and WAV. Should you pair your recorder with other gadgets, go for the recorder that allows saving files in MP3 files. WMA format will be even better quality-wise if space isn't an issue for you.

Memory 

Obviously, you also need to check the memory capacity of the chosen digital voice recorder, even though, in most cases, the internal memory of recorders can be expanded with a microSD card later on. There found digital recorders that can use even flash cards; they will be an ideal option for professional users.

Recording Quality and Time

What you should also consider is how long it takes to make a record in the highest quality. This will also tell you of the internal space you will need to save these files, for the longer the record, the more weighty it is. Speaking of bit rates, follow these simple guides:

  • 128 kbps will be good for capturing conversations, lectures, webinars, etc.
  • 256 kbps ensures better sounding much closer to the original, preventing distortions, yet, the media will also require more of the internal memory capacity. 
  • 320 kbps is obviously the best bit rate, offering the finest sound quality. 

Frequency response is another important parameter, especially for those who plan to use their voice recorders for capturing music. You can find it in the range of 70 Hz - 20 kHz and 20 Hz - 40 kHz, with the latter being more appropriate for the media recording. 

Power Supply and Usability

Digital voice recorders are usually powered by either a built-in rechargeable battery or AA/AAA batteries and feature indicators that will tell you when it's time to recharge or replace batteries. Most modern digital recorders allow from 10 up to 100 hours of wireless operation, depending on the model. The device usually comes with a USB connector, Micro or Mini USB cable for charging the unit and for the data transfer. Some models have a headphones jack and/or external microphone/mixer audio jacks. Extras such as voice activation mode and a timer add up to the usability of digital audio recorders, enabling much more comfortable use. 

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Review of Olympus WS-822 GMT 4 GB Built-In-Memory

Olympus WS-822 GMT 4 GB Built-In-Memory

Olympus WS-822 GMT 4 GB Built-In-Memory

Convenience and Quality

Ease of use and advanced functions are what we all expect from a cutting-edge device. With this in mind, one of the things Olympus manufacturer has added to its recorder is a built-in USB connector, making it possible to plug it right into PC and transfer the recorded files much quicker. From the same connector, the recorder can also be recharged. Olympus WS-822 can be used not as a recorder but also as a USB memory device, which definitely adds to its multifunctionality. To make the search of the recorded files easier, the recorder features a calendar function so that a user could find any file simply by date. The number of recording settings include Lecture, Conference, Meeting, Dictation, or DNS, allowing the Olympus WS-822 use in various situations. 

Review of Olympus WS-822 GMT 4 GB Built-In-Memory

Olympus, the Home of Gods

This worldwide renowned company was founded in Japan, back in 1919 and surprisingly at the time was engaged in the production not of the electronics but medical equipment. It was only in 1936 when the company decided to change its course in favor of electronics manufacturing and presented its first Semi-Olympus I camera to the world. Today, the quality of products by Olympus isn't doubted by anyone and millions of people worldwide opt for its cameras, lenses and, of course, digital voice recorders. 

Olympus WS-822 GMT 4 GB Built-In-Memory in the use

More Products to Consider

If you need to make notes and draw sketches during a lecture or conference, a digital pen will come in handy. All the digitized data can be sent to your gadgets for further editing.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Olympus WS-822 GMT 4 GB Built-In-Memory
Olympus WS-822 GMT 4 GB Built-In-Memory
 
Review of Trustin TR6622 Portable Rechargeable 8GB

Trustin TR6622 Portable Rechargeable 8GB

Trustin TR6622 Portable Rechargeable 8GB

Voice Recorder + MP3 Player

Believe it or not, Trustin audio recorder has one of the extras that most of its rivals lack - MP3 functionality, so you can use it not only for recording voice or sound, but actually for listening to music like you would do with a conventional player. The recorder comes with a micro USB cable, allowing easy data transfer between the device and your PC, and offers capacious internal memory of 8 GB making it proper for storing up to 800 tracks in 320 kbps MP3 format.

Review of Trustin TR6622 Portable Rechargeable 8GB

Recording Phone Calls

Another distinguishing feature of the recorder is it allows recording right from your cell phone. All you need is to connect it to your phone via a cable and click to record. Easy as that. 

To sum up, Trustin audio recorder is an excellent choice for recording ambient sounds alongside conversations and audio files from other gadgets.

Trustin TR6622 Portable Rechargeable 8GB in the use

Art Inspires Innovation

Can you recall a famous “Home Alone” scene when the main hero, Kavin McCalister uses a Talkboy voice recorder to reproduce the captured conversation? They have actually used a non-working preproduction model. It was only after "Home Alone 2" that the working version of this audio recorder was released. It is not surprising that this cassette player and recorder became super popular with movie fans!

More Products to Consider

Get these cool earbuds and enjoy listening to your favorite music to the full.


Trustin TR6622 Portable Rechargeable 8GB
Trustin TR6622 Portable Rechargeable 8GB
 
Review of Sony ICD-BX140 4GB

Sony ICD-BX140 4GB

Sony ICD-BX140 4GB

Quality by Sony

Boasting the highest product quality and always keeping in tune with the times, Sony holds the leading position among the top electronics manufacturers for quite a long while already. For this review, we've decided to pick its ICD-BX140 voice recorder that brags a winning combination of high-quality materials and thought-out design and all this at an attractive price. The ICD-BX140 voice recorder supports HVXC and MP3 formats and provides a decent frequency response with the highest bit rate of 192 kbps in MP3 format. The frequency response within the range of 75 Hz - 15 kHz makes it a good fit for recording conversations, lectures, music, with minor distortions. 

Review of Sony ICD-BX140 4GB

All You Need for Quality Recording

What we like about the ICD-BX140 is that it's got all the features that can make any device pretty special. The recorder is neatly designed with only few control buttons and a monochrome LCD display. Thanks to the built-in 300 mW speaker, it allows reproducing the recorded files without using headphones. The internal memory capacity isn't big but still sufficient for most users making 4GB in total and allowing recording files with the total length of up to 1043 hours (at 8 kbps) and 65 hours 10 minutes (at 128 kbps); you're to choose the recording quality. The recorder is powered by 2 AAA batteries that come included and can work for up to 45 hours before the batteries need to be replaced. 

Sony ICD-BX140 4GB in the use

Simple and Efficient

For enhanced listening experience, we'd recommend you to get earbuds additionally.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Sony ICD-BX140 4GB
Sony ICD-BX140 4GB
 
Review of Tascam DR-40 4-Track Portable

Tascam DR-40 4-Track Portable

Tascam DR-40 4-Track Portable

Musicians will Appreciate

To get a professional-grade recording quality, you need to use a quality recorder like this TASCAM DR-40. First of all, the device is equipped with two built-in microphones, which you can re-arrange in two positions, X-Y and A-B accordingly, depending on the effect you'd like to achieve. Being found in professional equipment only, this peculiarity makes the TASCAM DR-40 next-higher with pro recording systems. Unlike the rivals, the TASCAM DR-40 has XLR/TRS combo jacks for connecting external microphones and a mixer, or even a conventional condenser mic. Speaking of the recording specs, the unit has shown great performance under 125dB SPL capturing voices and clear sounds of the big group of people; in turn, this makes it suitable for recording not only lectures and conversations but actually concerts of your favorite bands. 

Review of Tascam DR-40 4-Track Portable

Interesting Fact

Did you know that there were only tree people singing while recording the opera part of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”? Being able to create a wide vocal range, May, Mercury, and Taylor had to keep singing their parts again and again. The thing is that back in 1975 there was only 24-track analog tape available. Musicians had to make 180 separate overdubs, which were then used to make a chorus. Singing for 10-12 hours per day, and having spent three weeks recording the whole thing, they managed to create one of the most beautiful and popular singles ever known.

Tascam DR-40 4-Track Portable in the use

To Use with Your Digital Recorder

To enjoy your favorite tracks wherever you go, buy one of 5 best MP3 players.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Tascam DR-40 4-Track Portable
Tascam DR-40 4-Track Portable
 
Review of PenRecorderPro SL200 Small Recording Device

PenRecorderPro SL200 Small Recording Device

PenRecorderPro SL200 Small Recording Device

A Kind of Magic

Innovations intermingle with each sphere of our lives, expanding our opportunities. Not surprisingly, there found so many exciting solutions today. The PenRecorderPro SL200 is definitely one of them and worth a special attention. At first sight, it looks pretty much like a regular ball point pen, yet, it isn't a pen but a full-fledged recorder packed in a small size like this to fit in any bag and be there at your fingertips when you need it. Thanks to its discreet look, there's no chance it will ever attract attention of your lecturer even if you keep it blank open on your desk, recording a lecturer. Unlike a pen, though, the SL200 has a small LCD screen that shows the battery life, record time and the chosen mode. 

Review of PenRecorderPro SL200 Small Recording Device

Super Practical

According to statistics, PenRecorderPro SL200 is one of the most popular and frequently bought recorders on the market. Not without a reason, of course. That it doesn't look plain like a recorder comes its one of the evident advantages. It also offers user-friendly navigation and control with automatic volume adjustment. All you need to activate it is to slide its switch up. Packed with a remote control, it allows reproducing the recorded files without the need for you to be in the proximity to the "pen", which is handy considering the needs of most students. To listen to the recorded media, you don't necessarily need to have headphones on you, due to the integrated speaker. Yet, if you don't want the sound from your recorder to be outheard by others, we'd recommend you to get a set of wireless headphones. The SL200 is compatible with both Windows and Mac OSes and can work for up to 13 hours on a single charge.

PenRecorderPro SL200 Small Recording Device in the use

More Products to Consider

If you are interested in security and spy equipment, consider getting a hidden camera that will let you keep an eye on your property when you're away from home.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


PenRecorderPro SL200 Small Recording Device
PenRecorderPro SL200 Small Recording Device
 

Sources:

1. How to Choose the Right Voice Recorder for Your NeedseBay. March 10, 2016.

2. James Tanner Understanding and Buying Digital Voice RecordersFamilySearch. June 28, 2013.

3. Susan Ward Before You Buy a Digital Voice Recorder, The Balance. September 09, 2016.

4. Choosing your digital voice recorderCCM. September 2016.

5. Bit rateWikipedia. February 5, 2017.

6. Doug Boyd Digital Audio Recording: The BasicsOHDA.

7. Gary Altunian What Are the Different Types of Music Files? Lifewire. October 14, 2016. 

8. Common Audio File FormatsShutterstock.

9. R. Kayne What is a Digital Voice Recorder? wiseGEEK. February 2, 2017.

10. Digital recordingWikipedia. December 14, 2016.