10 Best Voice Recorder 2018 Full Buying Guide and Reviews
Best Voice Recorder: Whether you are a student, journalist, or just someone who likes to document their thoughts, there is no end to how important a digital voice recorder can be. With the advent of smartphones, documenting images and sounds have become an almost integral part of our lives. But in no way have they impacted the importance of a digital voice recorder for those who take it seriously. This is our guide to help you find the best voice recorder for your requirements, whatever your budget, or purpose, be.
Best Voice Recorder Reviews
The Best Voice Recorders (Digital) of 2018: Your Best Buying Guide
Olympus DM-901 Voice Recorder with 4 GB Built-In-Memory
Our top pick for the Best Voice Recorder is the Olympus DM-901, which despite certain obvious shortcomings, proves to be the strongest contender in terms of performance. We found this model to be of great efficiency when put to test in a variety of scenarios, whether it be inside a classroom or in a meeting. Speaking of the latter, one of the most impressive things to note is that this device has an intelligent recording capability, skipping the silent bits and only recording the conversations. This not only helps in shrinking the size and length of the recording but also helps in saving storage space. The 4GB capacity of the Olympus DM-901 roughly translates to around 800 hours of non-stop recording, giving you ample space to keep all your files in the same place and accessible. The memory can be further expanded to 64 GB. The DM-901 is also Wi-Fi enables, so that it can connect wirelessly to a smartphone that can be used to control it from a distance. In addition, all the regular features that are essential for a good voice recorder have gone into making this one of our favorites for use anywhere.
- Great interface (you will need some time to get used to it)
- Lots of space
- Multiple recording formats
- WiFi connectivity proves to be great in application
- Setting it up can be time-consuming
- The smartphone app design isn’t the best
If you want an option for the best voice recorder device under $200, the Olympus DM-901 should be an obvious choice. It is an intelligent recorder that can make your life as a student, a lecturer, or a journalist much easier. The noise cancellation works well, and we found that it records very well even in a noisy environment. This is what it all boils down to at the end, after all.
TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
The first things that you will notice when you pick up the TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder is that it almost resembles some kind of a military grade device. Although intimidating to look at (and it does some getting used to), the DR-100mkII is probably the best voice recorder in this list if we consider only the recording quality. Armed with two sets of superior quality microphones (two cardioid and two omnidirectional), it picks up sounds from all sources with ease, making sure to catch even some distant sounds where other recorders fail to produce a decipherable representation. What makes it even better are the other features that make it a truly professional recorder for high-demanding audio-related professionals. The recorder includes a USB cable and a remote control for increased ease of use. You can place the recorder close to the source and operate it remotely. Also, there is a dual battery system on board to ensure you never run out of juice even in the middle of a long recording session. We highly recommend this for musicians.
- Attractive features that are quite functional
- Battery system is thoughtful
- Great mics for recording clean, intelligible sounds
- The locking XLR cable is a common source of complaint among users
The TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder looks like a professional grade device, and when put to performance, lives up to its claims. It records some of the cleanest sounds that we have had the pleasure of recording and works particularly well for musical uses, not misreading a single note of an instrument or vocals. The overall construction is very thoughtful, and if you can spend as much money as this one requires, you won’t regret it.
Zoom H2n Handy Recorder
Considered by many as the best digital voice recorder, the Zoom H2n is a stunning piece of equipment that can easily let you go from concert recording to the studio. The Zoom H2n comes with all of five built-in microphones that let you do almost anything that you want to with it. It is one of the most versatile recording devices that you can find on the market, and thanks to its humongous battery life, it can literally be taken anywhere. Its 20+ hours worth of battery life speaks volumes for itself, while the fact that you can record audio in several modes is another huge plus. You can use a bunch of filters that are on-board, and use various compression techniques to suit your needs, while purchasing the accessory kit will give you access to a lot of new functionality enhancing tools, such as a remote control equipment. What we like best is the fact that the audio recorded on the Zoom H2n is made to last, meaning that they will definitely not degrade over time. There are several connection options on board which you can use to make professional grade recordings.
- Records in multiple formats
- Standard batteries are a great convenience
- Fits everywhere, including in your pocket
- Some essential accessories need to be purchased separately
The Zoom H2n Handy Voice Recorder is just what its name implies- a very good equipment to keep in hand when you are on the go. Its compact sizing proves to be very useful when you are willing to take the studio with you everywhere, and the range of connectivity it offers means that you can use it for professional purposes when the need arises. The Zoom H2n has a lot of takers, and you can find all the evidence you need online.
Sony ICD-PX440 Stereo IC Digital Voice Recorder
When it comes to one of the best voice recorders for those on a tight budget, the Sony ICD-PX440 suffices for most of the tasks that it is put to. While definitely not an ideal device for professions like, say, journalism, this model works particularly well for students and others who need to get hours of recordings done on a daily basis. If you are hopping from one class to the other, you will find this device particularly useful. This is because of the fact that this device packs in a whopping 4GB of memory, facilitating well over 1000 hours of recording time. The one downside of the Sony ICD-PX440 is the fact that its screen lacks a backlight, which makes it difficult without the right lighting. However, this lack is more than made up for with all the great features that it packs into its tiny body. The memory can be expanded with the aid of a microSD slot, and it is super convenient to connect it to a Windows PC or a Mac, making transferring files a breeze of an activity. You can choose between different preset modes to make sure you get the most out of a situation, and the intelligent noise-cutting ability of the Sony ICD-PX440 also makes it an ideal companion to have on yourself for use inside a classroom.
- 4 GB space, 1000 hours of recording
- Pre set modes to help you make the perfect choice
- Good for indoor uses
- Non-backlit screen
The Sony ICD-PX440 is a great choice for those who do not have the time or the patience to sit around setting up a mode to adjust to the situation. You can choose from 5 different formats, and all you really need to do is press a button and start recording. It’s small enough to be carried everywhere, and can record sounds without all the interruptions in between that are bound to happen.
Eleckey Digital Voice Recorder
If you need a digital voice recorder for simpler purposes, such as recording memos so that you don’t forget something during the day, or just to maintain your very own digital diary, then the Eleckey Digital Voice Recorder may just suffice for your needs. While it does not match up to the heavyweights listed on this compilation of the best voice recorders, it comes packed to the rafters with some very decent features at a very budget price. Let us begin with the memory; with 8GB of internal storage, you can have many hours of recording with this neat little device. But coming to the more important factors, this voice recorder comes with two two ultra-sensitive microphones for the ultimate in noiseless audio recording on a budget. We also like the fact that it is super easy to use. With its single-press recording technology, all you have to do is to press the Rec button located right at the center of the device to begin recording. Stopping the recording and saving the audio file is just as easy: simply press the Rec button once again to ensure that your recording is safely accumulated. There is also an automatic setting on board, which makes the recorder start recording as soon as it detects any sound.
- Sleek design
- Simple and very easy to use
- Clear audio recording, courtesy of the two built-in microphones
- The manual is terrible, so don’t expect any help from that
The Eleckey Digital Voice Recorder with 8GB of inbuilt storage and two noise-canceling mics is the best voice recorder device on a budget. While one shouldn’t expect the quality that is offered with the Olympus or Sony models, it does relatively well for more humble purposes, such as recording office minutes and memos. The added bonus is the fact that it looks great, is easy to carry, and is fantastic to work with as well.
EVISTR Digital Voice Recorder L169
The Eleckey Digital Voice Recorder isn’t the only budget option on his list. The EVISTR Digital Voice Recorder L169 with 8GB of internal storage capacity is a worthy competition, and its basic but strong features list make sure you get every penny’s worth that you spend on it. While many of the more expensive voice recorders require a complex set up procedure, the EVISTR L169 Digital Voice Recorder can be used without any such hassle. Simply pick it out of the box and start recording. In terms of recording quality, you can record audio in a number of resolutions, which is great if you are trying to save space. But be aware that the lower quality feeds may not do you any good if the recording environment is demanding. However, it does well in more than a few fields. With the help of this best digital voice recorder on a budget, you can easily record up to 560 hours of audio, with a single full charge of the built-in battery lasting you up to 20 hours of continuous recording. It also comes with a built-in MP3 player, so you can spare your smartphone’s battery if you wish to listen to some music. The controls on this one are simple, and you will get more than your money’s worth with this unit.
- Best budget voice recorder
- Simple controls with push button tech
- Good battery life
- Built-in MP3 player
- Not good for more demanding environments
The EVISTR Digital Voice Recorder L169 – 8GB option will be best for those who are looking for a decent secondary recorder in case their main unit runs out of space or runs into some other problems. The recording quality may not be on par with the Sony or Olympus models, but it does a good job for simpler, more humble purposes. The MP3 player is an added bonus, for it helps save your phone’s battery. However, it may not be a good idea to store music if you are a regular recorder.
Not only does the Philips DPM6000 look like a neat little old-school mobile phone, but its recording technology is also top notch. To start with the basics, it comes with two very competent microphones for the very best stereo recording results. It can record in flawless DSS and MP3 formats to make sure you get the highest quality in dictation or any other kind of recording. The DSS system is a tech that compresses the audio file without losing out on quality. In fact, the Philips DPM6000 scores really high on our list for the best voice recorder quality. The display is a huge upgrade from some of the options that we have listed above, and the color scheme is both soothing and extremely functional. The device is also extremely well designed, which is great in helping you select the setting of your choice. Especially of note is the Priority Setting, which makes sure to process the most important recordings on a priority basis so that you never miss out on an important file. Its ergonomic design makes it easy to use with one hand, and the slide button features especially come in handy in this respect.
- Great for one-handed use
- Superior recording technology
- For all its quality recording, the device doesn’t last long
The Philips DPM6000 is a great dictaphone and a very handy device for transcriptions. It boats of some of the most superior recording and playback technology seen in the market today, and although it is expensive, we feel like it is worth the money. Not only does it look modern and sleek, it does justice to its claims, which are quite lofty. All in all, the Philips DPM6000 is a solid upgrade from the previous versions.
Roland R-26 6-Channel Voice Recorder
The Roland R-26 6-Channel Portable Recorder is definitely one of the most pricey digital voice recorders on this list, but when it comes from a company as reputed in sound as Roland, one has got to sit up and take notice. In that respect, it is pretty safe to say that the Roland R-26 is easily one of the best voice recorders, and unless you need to hold back because of the sizeable hole it will burn in your wallet, you should definitely go for this one if you need a recorder for professional requirements. It comes with two different, but complementary, types of microphones (directional and omnidirectional), which can be used in various combinations to ensure you get the most out of it. You can also connect an external mic to its sleek body to up the ante. We believe that this one would be the best fit for those in the audio profession, as the recordings are truly professional grade. If you are a musician looking for the best digital voice recorder, then you could definitely go for this one. It’s great for just about anywhere you pitch it, be it a concert, lectures, music recordings to be used in a professional piece, and a lot more.
- Best voice recorder for singers and for professional grade use
- Can be used just about anywhere
- Can be complicated to use for those who have no experience
The Roland R-26 6-Channel Portable Recorder is definitely the best voice recorder on this list, and if you have the money for it and work in the audio profession, then there is no better option other than the Roland R-26. It has multiple connectivity options, a priority setting for optimum sorting abilities, and a lot of excellent features that can be expected nowhere else. Above all else, it is extremely sleek in looks and easy to carry.
Sony ICDUX560BLK Stereo Digital Voice Recorder
The second Sony product on our list of the best voice recorders, the Sony 560BLK is a great option for students and professionals alike (though not quite in the same sense as the Roland unit up above). It packs in a great set of specs and features at a very reasonable price that most would find comfortable. It’s a great option for budding musicians as it picks up true sound better than most other options in its range, and can perform equally well in classrooms, meetings, and other personal usages. It is armed with a quality s-microphone that picks up sound that remains true to the original, and recordings are saved in high-quality MP3 or LPCM formats. The 4GB storage with around 160 hours of recording time isn’t a huge deal, but that can be expanded to 32 GB if the need strikes you. With all that space, files can easily be lost or forgotten. But the Sony 560BLK ensures that doesn’t happen with its excellent sorting capabilities. At its price range, it is one of the best digital voice recorder for lectures, students, and others that you can find.
- Crisp recording
- Sophisticated controls
- Excellent file management system
- Capable of quick charging
- Can be somewhat complex to use
The Sony 560BLK model wins over other options in its range in terms of versatility. It is great for using in several different scenarios, each of which can have its own set of demands, and the controls are great for wide range of functions. There are many things to love about this gem of a budget rec0rder, including its very compact size, and therefore, portable nature. However, if you want a truly professional grade voice recorder, then you could look at the Roland R-26.
Olympus Digital Voice Recorder WS-853
Yet another great option that is comparable to the Sony 560BLK in price and usability is the Olympus WS-853 Digital Voice Recorder. It comes with a highly sensitive True Stereo Mic that records in quality MP3 that can result in some of the best stereo recordings that one can hope for. What’s more is that the intelligent mic can adapt to the environment to adjust the settings automatically for the best results. While most recorders worth their salt can be a bit complicated for use, especially if one is unfamiliar with the brand, the Olympus WS-853 has on board what is called a Simple Mode, which helps beginners feel their way around without the complexities. Other audio improvement features include noise cancellation and voice balancer, both of which have ample to contribute to the playback quality. Moreover, its performance is made better by the thoughtful design and aesthetics: there is a built-in stand aboard the device that lets you record without the interruption of surface distraction by way of vibrations. It sports a sleek build, is easy to carry, and is a great choice at its price all around.
- Great audio improvement features
- Powerful stereo microphone
- Built-in stand
- Playback doesn’t get very loud, if that’s what you are after
The Olympus WS-853 Digital Voice Recorder is a great choice for lecturers, students and professionals alike, and is the right device to have on you for many different purposes. The recording functions of this device are excellent, and thoughtful connectivity options ensure that transferring is easy as a breeze. Sorting through your files is also easier, and you don’t have to worry about losing a particular type of recording among a sea of others
Who Should Buy A Digital Voice Recorder
Using a voice recorder has been largely associated in popular culture with spy service, and if anyone is imagined using one in their daily lives, it has been relegated to journalists solely. However, the best voice recorders can have multiple uses for people from all walks of life. Take this scenario, for instance. You are a singer, or a musician, who suddenly has a tune floating in their mind. That moment, when you have the perfect idea playing in your head, can just as easily be lost. But if you happen to have a voice recorder on you, then you will be able to hum the tune into the device, do a bunch of experiments, save it, and use it later.
Voice recorders can be used for a number of other uses as well. If you have one of these nifty tools on your person, you will never have to miss a crucial part of a lecture while taking notes. Record the whole thing, jot down the important bits in your notebook, and be done with it. Or, say, you are preparing a lecture, and a quick, fleeting anecdote comes to your head that would make the lecture that much more interesting and relatable. Instead of risking losing that precious moment, you can choose to record the same for later use. In fact, there is no end to the usefulness of having the best digital voice recorder on yourself. If you are a medical professional, such as a doctor, you can use these devices to ensure you don’t miss out on any details of an important case. The same applies if you are a lawyer, a creative professional, or a someone who works in crime. People from diverse backgrounds can have many uses for the best voice recorders.
Is It Necessary To Buy A Digital Voice Recorder?
This is an important question, especially in today’s date. With the arrival of smartphones, these devices that we carry on our person at all times have become something of a lifeline, because of the fact that they hardly have anything that they cannot do. Including recording, both in video and in audio formats. For the occasional user, there are tons of free smartphone apps available in the market to be used for such purposes. However, for people who require the utility of a voice recorder for more serious use, even the best voice recorder apps can hardly match up to the efficiency of a device that is a dedicated digital voice recorder.
First off is the question of audio quality. Most of the free applications available for recording voices afford poor quality. Even if the app itself boasts of high quality recording, you will be nowhere without the presence of a good physical recorder. That, unfortunately, is completely dependent on the input quality of your device itself. Which is often not quite one of the most attended to features on a smartphone.
Next comes the quality of the app itself. Free ones, including the best voice recorder app, mostly offer basic recording functions, which are limited in their scope in terms of both quality and length of the recording. This is where the best digital voice recorders have a greater edge over smartphone apps. The latter cannot always capture distant voices and sounds as clearly as the best digital voice recorders, and most of the time can only stand in for the actual devices for a temporary period, especially if you need to rely on them more often.
Finally, we come to the most important bit- the issue of space. Whether you are a student or a professional, you can buy the best voice recorder device suited to your needs based on this very important criteria. If you tend to record in short bursts, then perhaps you can overlook this issue. However, if you need to record longer sessions (which is the case for professionals like journalists, or students in upper levels of education), then you simply cannot rely on a smartphone. First off, the quality will be hampered to a great extent. But a bigger problem is the space issue. A smartphone app may stop recording midway, as many of them have caps on the length of the recording. Another major hindrance is the space available. Your smartphone uses the limited space available on board to store a lot of data, and the fact that it is basically a multitool means that it can only afford limited space. Large recording clips are a pain to store on a smartphone and of the clip size exceeds the space available, then you end up losing the entire thing. Once again, a smartphone recording app will suffice in case you use the audio recording function only occasionally, but for more serious purposes, you need to get your hands on the best voice recorder device. Additionally, using your smartphone as a voice recorder will definitely drain its battery, failing you in times of need.
Things To Consider Before Buying the Best Voice Recorder
Just as it is important to be educated on the options available when it comes to any electronic equipment. Considering that these tools are usually needed by those who require them for professional reasons, there are numerous factors to consider before you get your hands on the best voice recorder for your needs. So without any further delay, let us jump right ahead to our exclusive buying guide for the best digital voice recorder.
Memory: There are many options available on the market for the best voice recorder, but a major matter of distinction between all of them is the memory capacity. Of course, this will be largely dependent on the kind of work you need it for, but buying a voice recorder that comes with a lot of storage capacity is always a good idea. Having a large memory capacity lessens the need to delete or transfer the files to some other storage too often, making it easier to keep all your recordings on your person at all times. However, there is no need to go overboard and buy one with thousands of hours of recording capacity when you are prone to reviewing and removing the files often.
Portability: The whole point of buying the best voice recorders for everyday use is to keep them handy for anytime you might need them. So obviously, portability plays a big role on this front. Make sure your device is small enough to be carried in your bag (or in your pocket, if you prefer, although sweat can hamper the performance). Also important is to consider the weight of the device, as you don’t want it to add a bunch of extra weight on top of all the gear that you probably already carry.
External Support: You may need to transfer your recordings from your digital voice recorder to multiple platforms. For this purpose, you need to keep an eye out for two factors. The first is the number of supported formats. The best digital voice recorders will be able to save your clips in varied formats that are supported on most external devices. So make sure you get one that saves all your clips in MP3, WAV, and other popularly supported formats. The second factor for your consideration is the presence of a USB port or some other technology that will make transferring the files the breeze of a task it is supposed to be.
Recording Quality: Unless you have a good recording microphone on board, you are likely to get grainy textures on your recordings that will only degrade over time and transfer. However, higher quality audio also traditionally end up occupying more space. The very best voice recorders are capable of recording higher quality audios in multiple modes using sophisticated technology to shrink the file size by a significant amount. However, keep in mind that these are more expensive.
Price: It is true that the more sophisticated digital voice recorders will set you back by more than you expect to shell out for such as device. Moreover, there are some reputed players in the business, making the competition a stiff one. However, the price of a device almost always remains directly proportional to the number of features afforded by the same. If you need it for simpler purposes such as recording your thoughts or maintaining a voiced diary, then you may not need all the flashy features. But for professionals, there are options that go well over $300 that are worth every penny spent on them. Our list of the best voice recorders will include all kinds, making it easier to take your pick among them.
This brings our list of the best voice recorders to a conclusion. The digital voice recorder market is flooded with options, and while there are many options that seem to be alluring enough to buy, it takes a lot of research and knowledge to make the right choice. Our guide has been compiled as an attempt at helping out potential buyers and is fit for consultation for those who are new to this as well. If you have any questions about any of the products listed here, you can shoot us a query in the comments section. Have a favorite that we have missed out on? Let us know! Meanwhile, we hope you and your newly bought voice recorder go a long way.