What is important about a voice recorder?

Voice Recorder – Fact of the matter

As a transcription service provider, we are frequently asked by our clients which voice recorder they should be using.

For someone with ongoing recording and transcription needs, an excellent voice recorder is certainly a worthy investment. Those of us involved in transcription know this with certainty: transcript quality is commensurate with recording quality. An excellent recording results in an excellent transcript. A recording that is far from a mic, in an echoey room, filled with static – or in any other way having the clarity of the recording compromised – leads to a transcript replete with these markings: [inaudible] or [unclear].

So, what is important about a voice recorder?

Well, a number of things, actually.

First, as most cell phones have a recording capacity, it is important to consider whether or not a dedicated recording device is a requirement – most high-end smartphones/tablets have apps that can be used for digital voice recording. For example, Apple iPhone 4S and later models include cloud-based text to speech dictation. So if your voice recording needs are only occasional, a smartphone app will likely suffice.

But for ongoing recording needs, a dedicated voice recorder has a number of advantages:

More battery life. Nothing much could be worse than having your recording cut out, especially at a critical moment! To avoid this, some digital voice recorders have a battery life of 48 hours or more. In addition, most voice recorders use normal batteries so spares can be carried for such a moment as necessary – in the middle of something important – so you can carry on recording without missing much more than a beat!

Ease of use. Today’s voice recorders are really simple – a button to record/pause/stop/play. This way your brain is focused on the material of interview, NOT on the device necessary to record the interview.

Sound quality. This one is the clincher. Some of the more expensive dedicated voice recorders are essentially miniature ‘recording studios’, capable of making concert-hall sound quality recordings using high fidelity directional microphones and multi-track stereo technology. Some even have triple microphones to record simulated 3D sound as well as built-in editing and voice-over capability. Now that’s something the typical phone recorder certainly cannot do!

So again, a good voice recorder is imperative.