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voice recorders

Buying Guides - Voice Recorders

About Voice Recorders

Voice recorders are tape recorders. Some use regular cassette tapes, some use microcassette tapes and others have built-in memory for recording. Voice recorders are ideal for quick note taking or dictation in the office and the classroom. Most offer manual or special voice-activated recording. They are light, compact and can easily slip into a pocket or briefcase.

Ask Yourself These Questions...

When considering the purchase of a voice recorder, ask yourself the following questions. Your answers can help you choose the voice recorder that best suits your needs.

How will the recorder be used?

Will you use the recorder to take notes in class, for dictation while you travel or for use during interviews? Your specific usage requirements can help you determine the type (standard cassette or microcassette) and size of recorder you need, or any special features (like voice-activated recording) you require.

Who will be using the recorder?

Will it be you, your 78-year-old grandmother or your 12-year-old son? This can help determine what kind of ease-of-use and durability features you should look for.

What type of features do you desire?

More advanced features, like one-touch record, voice-activated recording, multiple playback speeds and cue marker indexing, are offered on some recorders.

Cassette versus digital?

Do you want to have a permanent cassette copy of your recording to keep or share with others? In this case, you need a regular cassette or microcassette. For size and convenience, consider a digital recorder.

How much do you want to spend?

Voice recorders vary in price, although most models are very affordable. Voice recorders range in price from approximately $40 to more than $400, although most fall into the $60 to $150 price range. Of course, the price depends on the type of recorder you choose and the number of features and benefits it offers.

Consider These Important Features...

Most voice recorders offer a number of features and benefits, including some from the following list

  • Voice-activated recording system. Activates the recorder only when audible sound is present, conserving tape and eliminating soundless passages.
  • Index marker. Allows you to easily mark and return to a specific position on the tape.
  • Two-speed recording. Allows you to record at normal or extended speed to maximize your recording time.
  • One-touch record. Allows you to start recording with the touch of a button.
  • Auto reverse. Automatically changes the tape direction at the end of a tape side so you can continuously play or record both sides of a tape.
  • Built-in monaural microphone. Allows you to make quality recordings without having to use an external microphone.
  • Pause/lock control. Allows you to edit as you record and locks the controls to prevent accidental operation.
  • Cue/review. Allows you to listen to recordings at high speed to help you find a particular section and stop there.
  • Microphone jack. Allows the use of an external microphone.
  • LED battery level indicator. Provides visible indication of remaining battery power.
  • Auto shut-off. Automatically shuts off the recorder at the end of the reverse side of the tape.
  • Multiple power sources. Allow you to power your recorder from internal batteries, standard AC power or from a car's battery.
  • Front speaker. Provides excellent sound quality to monitor playback.
  • Recording time. Displays the amount of time desired for recording without replacing a cassette or deleting files already saved.