We skipped over the Sony ICD-PX333 for this round of testing in favor of the comparable, newer PX470. Just don’t forget to press stop while recording or it will not save. Although the Olympus doesn’t have a scene setting aimed at recording music like our main pick, it has presets that tailor recording settings for dictation, meetings, conferences, and telephone recordings. In fact this recorder’s biggest claim to fame is its large memory and super-powered battery life. This recorder includes many of the features we like about the device above, including auto voice recording, which captures vocal frequencies and reduces background noise. While our panel ranked the Sony PX470 lower than the UX560 in overall audio quality, the PX470 did get the highest scores for our interview recorded in a quiet office. Wirecutter staff writer Anna Perling has been using our top pick, the Sony UX560, to record interviews over the past year. Olympus’ “True Stereo Mic” uses two microphones positioned at a 90 degree angle to deliver an authentic stereo experience. You can mark locations in your recording on the fly, so you can return to them later as you listen, and voice-activated recording can automatically stop you during pauses in conversation. For the office scene, Anna read a different Seinfeld monologue in a quiet room in her house to mimic dictation, placing recorders on a table 2 feet away from her mouth. Jerad Lewis, an engineer at TDK, said, “In terms of the noise performance, the MEMS mics that are in phones are getting to the level where they’re probably on par with what’s used in these voice recorders.” But our testing and audio listening panel found that apps still aren’t quite there yet. These days, the audio quality and functionality that you can get from a recorder costing $100 or less is more than good enough to earn it a place in your kit if you record vocal audio fairly frequently and care even a little about sound quality. Recording modes do the work for you: Selecting a scene automatically changes the recorder’s settings for that situation. It can easily fit into a shirt pocket or in the pocket of skinny jeans, while the other recorders are almost twice as thick and fit better in a purse or bag. On the other hand, it does have a convenient erase button for one-step file deletion. 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. Voice Recorder, Portable 16GB Recorder Device Voice Activated Recorder with Playback, USB Audio Recorder for Lecture, Meeting, Interview 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 $38.99 $ 38 . $399.00. Put Amazon's Alexa to work for you with these great smart-home devices. Like many of the other recorders we looked at, it comes with an adequate amount of onboard storage (4 GB) but accepts microSD cards, so you can record and store hundreds of hours of recorded audio should you need it. (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. We found its menu system harder to navigate, and its recordings didn’t fare as well in our listening tests compared with the Sony UX560’s. In 2015, we looked at eight models, and for this 2017 update we looked at four more. Dolby secret tested a professional music recording “234” last year, and on the same lines released Dolby On for on iOS.… The Sony UX560 ranked roughly the same as two other models in two of the three recording settings. The Sony UX560 is an easy-to-use recorder that provides crisp, clear audio in the most-common recording situations. Here’s how to pick. The voices were the tiniest bit unnatural, but overall this is definitely my favorite sample so far.”. The UX560 offers a range of file and recording formats so you can opt for better audio quality or smaller file sizes. Want more Rolling Stone? With a good voice recorder, you don’t have to worry … Other free apps, like Easy Voice Recorder, require several taps to get to the appropriate menu. The UX560’s other playback options, however, made it overall a better choice than the Olympus for people looking to transcribe interviews or lectures: an A-B Repeat function lets you go back and replay the same section repeatedly, and digital pitch control lets you adjust the playback speed if you need to listen more closely to difficult-to-decipher passages. You can kind of hear some room interference, but that's such a minor problem for a voice recorder that it's barely worth mentioning. Wirecutter colleagues agreed that $100 was the maximum amount that most people should spend on a voice recorder. You can automatically upload your recordings to Dropbox, or share files via Bluetooth, Android Beam, Gmail, Messages, Facebook Messenger, and Google Drive. If you can’t find the Sony UX560, or its price increases dramatically, we also like the Olympus WS-853 for its superior combination of storage space and battery life, each of which was better than with everything else we tested. 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. Listeners said of the coffee shop sample, “Wow! It rated poorly in the lecture test, however, as listeners said that background and foreground noises overpowered the speaker’s voice. This voice recorder may look basic but it’s anything but. Press record on the app, and the software listens, transcribes and then gives you the meeting minutes draft. 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. In our tests, only recordings made in quieter environments like a home office had decent transcription accuracy, so you can’t rely on Just Press Record to transcribe everything, but it’s a nice option for dictation or interviews in quieter settings. It also has a built-in USB 3.0 plug for easy file upload. I used the recorder [with] my phone as a backup when recording an interview in a retail store, and I was surprised at how much better the recorder did. (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.). She also consulted with Wirecutter writer Lauren Dragan, who has a degree in audio production and vocal performance, heads our headphone coverage, and has designed audio-quality and appraisal-testing procedures for our site; Lauren helped Anna design a listening panel to assess the audio quality of the recorders we tested. Jerad Lewis, field application engineer at TDK, phone interview, May 23, 2017, Rob O’Reilly, senior member of technical staff at Analog Devices, phone interview, June 6, 2017, Lauren Dragan, Wirecutter headphones writer, phone interview, The Best Digital Voice Recorders of 2017, Top Ten Reviews, January 27, 2017, Best Voice Recorders, Consumer Search, February 9, 2017, Portable Digital Recorders Buying Guide, B&H Photo, The 6 Best Voice Recorders to Buy in 2017, Lifewire, July 14, 2017. We also like the robust 16GB of memory, making them better for recording long lectures or meetings DVT2510/00 Tracer! And feel of the models tested, larger than that of our pick. 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