A digital voice recorder is a compact device that converts sound into a digital file format that is easy to store, copy, and play back on a computer or digital player. Although most smartphones come with integrated digital voice recorders, stand-alone audio recorders create higher quality recordings and offer improved features. Choosing the right features for your needs is an essential part of the purchasing process.
Digital Voice Recorder File Formats and Recording Quality
A quality voice recorder blocks ambient sound for clearer recordings, usually through integrated noise filtering software. In addition, it offers variable bit rate sampling. This means that the recorder samples parts of audio frequencies to achieve higher quality recordings and you can set the sampling to control quality and file sizes. It records sound at a high bit rate to capture as much information as possible, but automatically decreases the bit rate when there is silence. This keeps the quality of the recording high, but minimises the size of the file. Different file formats also affect sound quality. The common MP3 format compresses sound data and discards all but the necessary information. This results in smaller data files at the cost of sound quality, but is adequate for most voice recordings. Other file formats that high-end digital voice recorders support include WMA, WAV, AIFF, AU, DSS, and LPEC. Sony voice recorders typically support MP3 and LPEC formats, while Olympus and Philips voice recorders support DSS and additional formats. DSS and LPEC formats offer greater compression than WAV and MP3 formats do.
Digital Voice Recorder Memory
A sound recorder stores audio files using on-board or removable flash memory. The memory capacity and the compression of the audio files determine the number of hours of recording time. Look for a model that supports removable memory if you require longer recording times. You can use multiple memory cards for especially long recording sessions. With on-board memory, you have to clear the memory before you can record again.
Digital Voice Recorder Inputs and Outputs
Digital voice recorders come with integrated mono or stereo microphones as input devices. If you require outstanding audio quality, look for a professional digital recorder that allows you to add an external microphone. This usually requires the presence of a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack. Choose audio outputs suited to your preferences. If you want to use the recorder with headphones, ensure that it comes with a suitable connection. Alternatively, look for a voice recorder with speakers. A USB interface allows you to transfer files to another device via USB cable, but Wi-Fi or Bluetooth allows for wireless transfer. Alternatively, invest in a memory card reader for data transfer.