How to choose a voice recorder

When choosing a recorder, it is worth considering the planned use devices. Then it becomes clear which constructive or specifications worth paying attention to first queue.

choose a voice recorder


We recommend that you review the rating of the best voice recorders according to experts.

How to choose a recorder: basic criteria

The main criteria for choosing a recorder are:

  1. Type of recorder;

  2. Battery life;

  3. Record format;

  4. Internal storage capacity and card slot memory;

  5. Acoustic characteristics;

  6. Modes of operation of the device;

  7. Additional features.

  8. The manufacturer of the device is also important.

Types of Voice Recorders

The main design differences between different voice recorders no species. However, they can still be classified by acoustic parameters, the number of microphones, etc. into three groups – “musical”, “semi-professional” and “universal”.

Music recorders

Musical recorders have a large number of microphones (there are at least two of them for stereo recording), the presence of balanced linear inputs, parallel recording mode and other features for the most high-quality capture of vocals and instrumental parties.

Of course, music recorders are also high sound quality. Therefore, they are equipped with an internal drive large volume and a slot for memory cards.

Semi-Professional Voice Recorders

Semi-professional voice recorders are similar to musical ones, however their acoustic performance may be worse or lower. They equipped with two omnidirectional microphones for stereo recording, convenient interface, large amount of internal storage or support for high-capacity memory cards, as well as track markers and other additional features.

Such voice recorders are well suited for voice recording: lectures, business negotiations, interviews, etc. But because of the relatively high prices they are hardly suitable for beginner students or journalists.

Universal voice recorders

Universal voice recorders are a good solution for recording voice. They can be equipped with both directional and non-directional microphones; convenient control system; built-in storage or support memory cards, etc. List of features and functions of the universal The voice recorder is very wide and varied.

The main advantage of universal voice recorders is relatively low price. They cost 2-3 times cheaper than semi-professional or musical, making them the best choice for students, novice journalists, performers, etc.

The main criteria for choosing a recorder

voice recorder selection criteria

Battery life

The battery life of the recorder depends on the type of elements power, type of recorder and its acoustic parameters. Insofar as almost all such devices are not equipped with a built-in rechargeable battery, the electricity in them is “supplied” from inserted batteries – format AA or AAA. Calculate the exact time battery life from such batteries is extremely difficult (it depends on capacity, model, type of battery, as well as others parameters), the approximate “survivability” of the recorder is indicated manufacturer.

On average, voice recorders equipped with external batteries are capable of work 6-12 hours in recording mode. Exact parameter value also depends on the bitrate of the created file. For example, MP3 320 kbps will require more electricity than MP3 48 kbps

It is necessary to distinguish between battery life and maximum time records. The second parameter depends on the capacity of the internal drive or an installed memory card, as well as the selected bit rate (quality). But the battery life is directly determined battery capacity and current consumption by microphones and others constructive elements of the recorder.

Recording format and capacity of the internal drive or cards of memory

The “weight” of the created file and the quality depend on the recording format “catching” sounds. Distinguish between compressed and uncompressed (lossless) formats.

  1. The most common compressed format that is used in voice recorders, this is MP3. It is distinguished by small file sizes and direct the dependence of the recording quality on the set bit rate. At the same time if you want to capture only speech (lectures, business negotiations, etc.), high quality is simply not necessary – the speaker can be heard at 8 kbps.

  2. To record audio, such as musical performances or speech in high quality, you need a voice recorder with support for uncompressed (lossless) formats. The most common is WMA. Files encoded in this format are distinguished by a large “weight”. However for post-production it is desirable to use it: MP3 is bad tolerates any processing.

  3. Of course, choosing a recorder with support for uncompressed formats, it is recommended to make sure that it can work with memory cards high capacity (from 16 GB) or equipped with a similar internal drive. But for devices that record only in MP3, the amount of space for recording is not so important. Enough and small internal drives or memory cards for 1-2 GB.

  4. The “size” of a compressed recording file directly depends on the bitrate of this record. The lower it is, the less space occupies the file itself. For example, 1 hour of audio in MP3 320 kbps “weighs” approximately 150-200 MB, and at 8 kbps – already only 3-5 MB.

  5. But 8 kbps is disastrously small. Such a bitrate is suitable only for recording speech and then with a directional microphone (and also without post-production). For high-quality “capture” of the voice of one the speaker needs at least 24 kbit / s, and better – from 48 kbit / s and more.

  6. If you plan to record conferences and other crowded events, you should choose a recorder with CD-quality support recordings – that is, MP3s with a bit rate of at least 256 kbps.

Acoustic characteristics

Among the acoustic characteristics of the most important for the recorder, which is planned to be used for voice recording, is sensitivity. It can be indicated in decibels or meters.

  1. Decibel sensitivity is a “purely technical” parameter. is he indicates how loud the microphone can pick up voice recorder. The lower this parameter, the more sensitive device: captures a whisper, quiet speech or words from a distant the interlocutor. But there will also be “garbage sounds” on the record quite a lot: from aspirations to the sound of passing outside the window the truck.

  2. Sensitivity in meters – more user friendly parameter. It shows the maximum distance to the person whose speech can catch the device. The higher the sensitivity – the better voice recorder for recording lectures, business negotiations and such events at which the distance to the speaker can be big enough.

  3. For voice recorders that you plan to use for recording music or similar “tight” audio also matters signal to noise ratio. Noise is the internal sound distortion voice recorder caused, for example, by a lack of design or features of the materials used. Higher ratio signal / noise – the more “clean” the recording is.

  4. The signal-to-noise ratio may be indicated by the SNR parameter. In that case it is measured in decibels and indicates the excess volume a useful signal over the volume of parasitic noise. For up to 60 dB SNR is enough for high-quality recording, but for very quality (e.g. music or voice for later processing) – already 60-100 dB.

Voice Recording Modes

By default, the recorder picks up almost everything around sounds. Because of this, the recording density increases, and it can unnecessary noises appear. To improve sound quality manufacturers can add additional modes of operation that provide the most clear acoustic picture.

The most common operating modes are:

  1. Voice Activation In this mode, the recorder itself turns recording on and off depending on what says interlocutor or not. This is very convenient since in the final track there are no moments of silence, however, on budget devices, the mode voice activation may be delayed, and some words the speaker is simply “lost”;

  2. Interview mode. In it, the recorder “cuts off” the recording parasitic noise and increases the clarity of voice. Intonation however, persist;

  3. Street Mode In it, the recorder “cuts off” everything that does not look like vote. At the same time, intonations are lost, but the interlocutor is heard much better.

It is advisable that these modes are customizable. Those. it could be independently set the threshold for turning on or off when voice activation or the level of parasitic noise in the “Street” and “Interview”. Then the recording quality will be maximum.

Additional features

Among the additional features that will prove useful in various cases, we can distinguish:

  1. Connect an optional external microphone. Suitable for maximally clear speech recording, multichannel recording (for example, musical performances), recordings of interviews or business conferences;

  2. Auto gain. In this mode, the recorder itself lowers or increases the volume of speech recorded. Suitable for “capture” speech, but not music;

  3. The presence of a built-in speaker. You can listen to recordings directly from voice recorder;

  4. Stereo recording. Useful when using two microphones and recording. interviews or music to create surround sound;

  5. USB powered. Useful for long recordings. Allows power the recorder from a powerbank or network adapter;

  6. Connect to a computer via USB. Can do without card readers;

  7. Setting the direction of the recording. A very useful feature if planned to record interviews, business negotiations, conferences and similar events in which several people participate;

  8. Adapter for connecting to the phone. Records calls.

Choosing a recorder equipped with additional features is worth in the event that they are needed.

Choosing a voice recorder for lectures

When choosing a voice recorder for recording lectures, you should pay attention to the following parameters:

  1. The directionality of the microphone. Useful for recording in noisy audiences. – then on the finished audio file the lecturer’s voice will be heard as clearly as possible;

  2. Sensitivity. If the recorder is located far from lecturer – it should be high (both in dB and in meters);

  3. Battery life. For students it is recommended to choose voice recorders with built-in rechargeable battery since a set of batteries is enough for 1-3 days of constant recording;

  4. The capacity of the internal drive or memory card. To record in high quality, it must be above 4-8 GB to fit collected audio files at least a week everyday use;

  5. Type – “semi-professional” or “universal.” Musical voice recorders due to the peculiar acoustic scene and directivity microphones are not suitable.

  6. Of course, budget is also important.

Choosing a voice recorder for hidden recording

voice recorder for hidden recording

Before choosing a recorder for hidden recording, it is worth considering that audio files are only material evidence in court, if the interlocutor is informed that his speech may to be recorded. In addition, the recorder itself must support authentication tags that indicate that the audio file is not changed and not modified.

When choosing a voice recorder for hidden recording, pay attention to the following parameters:

  1. The presence of a jack for connecting an external microphone. It will allow place the “loop” somewhere under the clothes, and hide the recorder itself inside pockets;

  2. Microphone sensitivity She must be tall;

  3. The quality of the recording. It is desirable that this be a lossless recording, but if not possible, high bitrate MP3s.

  4. And, of course, you should pay attention to the size of devices. The smaller they are, the easier it is to hide it.

The best manufacturers of voice recorders

Among the manufacturers of voice recorders are:

  1. Zoom One of the best music manufacturers, professional and business voice recorders;

  2. Tascam. It mainly produces music recorders;

  3. Edic-Mini. Russian brand, produces universal voice recorders. The main plus is the presence of authenticity marks on the record;

  4. Sony Known for their quality music devices. Recorders belong to the middle price segment, but differ high quality;

  5. Olympus High-quality voice recorders of the middle price category.

  6. Ritmix is ​​the leader in the budget segment. However she has both high-quality and relatively “average” even for their price models.

In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose quadrocopter, secrets of choosing an MP3 player and the main factors of choice inexpensive phone.

Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

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