The best voice recorder for you depends on a few factors, such as budget, desired extra features as well as memory count. Nothing beats having a pocket-sized, convenient and nifty device handy when we have some recording needs to be done in the field. We remember when we made music a lot more frequently, having a recorder in our pocket just in case we ever had a tune to hum to make into a song later on was always beneficial. One of our favorite picks ended up being the Sony ICD-PX333 for quite a few reasons. However, we understand that some may desire a different recorder pertaining to their exact needs. That’s why we took the time to survey some of the highly rated and preferred models by many users out there. Let’s see what the top 10 best voice recorders came out to be.
The benefits of a voice recorder
A voice recorder is a device that enables the user to record audio files of different types and qualities (MP3, .wav, etc.). Some come with a large internal memory for multiple hours of recording, while other, more advanced models come with some external memory card slots. Today’s popular voice recorders come with a digital enhancer to improve the quality of recorded sound and added recording\playback options, such as bookmarking for individual marking of certain files so that the user can easily find them later when listening to recorded material.
As compared to multitrack recorders and portable audio recorders (we do have a few in here), voice recorders are definitely a bit cheaper in price (and most likely audio quality). However, this is typically a good thing — those who use voice recorders usually don’t need to spend extra money on near-studio quality as well as all of the bells and whistles other types of recorders offer. Some just want the raw, simplistic recorder to capture voices and sounds to use for later. When it comes to the exact recommended uses of voice recorders, it really is up to you and what you want to make out of it. We’ve heard some common applications include interviews, memos and notes, lectures, sound effects outside for music\movies\shows, or really anything else that may require some on-the-go recording.
Picking the best voice recorder for you
- Your price range – The best voice recorders in the market these days are pretty cheap, so when it comes to those on a budget, we’re in luck. There is a decent difference in range, however the higher you go, the better audio quality, build and features you’ll be getting, so it’s really up to you.
- Intended use? The use of your voice recorder will be a decent-sized factor when it comes to choosing the best. Are you recording interviews, lectures and conversations for later on that will be possibly transcribed or written down later? Then audio quality isn’t a big deal at all (all of these will give you feasible quality to at least hear what was said at a future time). Do you want to use these voice recordings for music production, skits, vlogs, etc.? Then audio quality will be a bigger factor (usually people use portable audio recorders for that).
- Additional features – Do you want a device that will merely record that golden voice of yours? Or perhaps a few extra features on the side that’ll enhance your experience or sound clips? We know many who just need a simple recording feature, while others like different recording modes, interchangeable battery, voice activation, indexing, multiple mics, and more . Just keep in mind the more extra features a voice recorder has, typically the higher the price.
- Memory size – First off, some have only internal memory (that you can of course drag and drop into your computer or delete on the fly), while others have some memory card slots to further increase your capacity. For those with internal memory, you can typically record almost a thousand hours at a time. However, we’ve some external slots go all the way up to 16 GB. It’s not a complete must, but definitely something to keep in mind.
The top 10 best voice recorders
To start off our list of the best voice recorders in the market, we have the Sony ICD-PX333. If you are looking for a popular model in the matters of technical quality and sound clarity at a very affordable price, this one tops most. Thanks to the capable 300 mW speaker on the front of the recorder, you’re getting accurate recordings without having to worry about which direction you’re pointing at. You can record over 1,000 hours of audio material (1073 hours precisely), and the quality of recording will be equally clear whether you are recording a meeting, music, a dictation or an interview – just choose the settings for the particular recording type. The ICD-PX333 also comes with a nifty ‘noise cut feature’ that will enhance the voice quality while at the same time minimizing background noise, which never hurts with really any intended use out there. Additionally, you can add bookmarks to every recording so that it will be very easy to find a particular recording when you need it. It lastly comes with LCD display for convenient usage and ease of searching through recorded content. It’s solid not only because of the great price tag, but great quality and extra features it provides as well.
Up next, the Olympus VN-7200 is definitely one of the best voice recorder models in the market if you were looking for something a bit cheaper than the previously recommended model. Its most important features include 2GB of storage for over 1,100 hours of recording, indexing content for easy tracking and processing, and 3 frequency response modes. The sound quality isn’t necessarily studio-quality for precise recording for music, but it gets the job done for smaller applications such as lectures, interviews (that will be written down later), or voice memos for that golden idea you get while you’re in line at the bank. This VN-7200 also comes with a user-friendly slow and fast playback mode, which isn’t a must per se, but quite convenient if you feel the need to use it. It enables three different recording modes: SP, LP and HQ, which give you the option to independently choose the sound quality for a particular recording and smartly consolidate storage space. Additionally, there is a voice activation feature that enables you to start recording with a voice command. We’d say grab this voice recorder if you were looking for something that will be a bit easier on the wallet, yet still provides quite a few bells and whistles while we’re at it.
The Philips DVT6000 is a great option to check out and is a bit higher in quality (audio, build as well as features) as compared to the prior two models. Thanks to its excellent technical features, you can rely on it for high-quality voice recording. The DVT6000 comes with three built-in microphones that will automatically adjust their sound quality according to the sound source and direction by removing background noise and focusing on the sound in front of you. The motion sensor will detect if the recorder is in the hand or put down on a surface and adjust the sound sensitivity of the mic accordingly to ensure some accurate quality of recorded material. It can record PCM and MP3 files, and with 4Gb internal memory (that can be expanded up to 32GB thanks to the MicroSD memory card slot), you can record thousands of hours of audio. Another convenient feature is the rechargeable integrated battery as well as a plug and play feature that will work with Linux, Mac and Windows OS. This one is great if you were concerned with audio quality as well as having almost unlimited memory without having to be constrained to internal storage like the others.
The Olympus VN-722PC is another great model by the brand and this one is an easy-to-use voice recorder that lands within the middle price-point. The VN-722PC is a versatile voice recorder for most different types of recordings you will see yourself come across: meetings, interviews, sound effects for music. You have the options of either WMA and MP3 format. It comes with a pretty large and easy to read LCD screen (black and white) as well as a speaker that ensures ease of use even for the complete beginners. It comes with 4GB memory as well as an option for additional MicroSD memory card storage, which means that the initial 1600 recording hours can be significantly expanded. Another great feature with this one that we really like is it also comes with a built in-stand so that you can use it while holding it or by putting it down on a desk (definitely preferred over merely laying it down next to you). The voice activation feature tops off the great list of extra features in this one, and that will enable you to activate the recording function simply by using your voice (helps to save on battery as well as storage).
Here’s another one of Sony’s top models in the voice recorder world. If you are looking for a versatile and multi-functional pick, then the Sony ICD-UX533 is definitely an eye-opener since it’s a 3-in-1 device that can record, play music as an MP3 music player as well as serve as a mere USB stick memory. The unique ‘S-Microphone System’ and noise-cut feature enable high quality recording with minimum background noise – and there is a sufficient amount of internal memory for up to 1073 hours of recording on top of it all. The ICD-UX533 comes with a large LCD display and several different ‘recording options’, including record music, interviews, and meeting\dictation, and playback in MP3, AAC or WMA formats. Thanks to the USB feature, you can conveniently transfer content to a computer and share online. For a few more additional features, it comes with a convenient tech for bookmarking so that you can mark recordings to easily track and jump between them later on. This was WireCutter’s pick for the best voice recorder.
Yamaha Pocketrak PR7
Here’s one of the more unique, technically considered a ‘portable audio recorder’ out there to take a look at. The Yamaha Pocketrak PR7 is a lot more expensive than others in this guide however considered to be an advanced voice recorder that definitely comes with the justified price if it’s what you’re looking for. This is an elegant and highly functional voice recorder that enables you to record different music and audio content (meetings, dictation and interviews). It comes with advanced features such as a metronome and tuner, marker editing and overdubbing – all easily accessible on its simple to use interface. The advanced ‘XY stereo mic‘ (the two mics that point at each other in the photo) is aligned with the right and left microphones that enables high-quality recording with first-grade sound localization. Due to this, we highly recommend it if you plan on using recordings professionally for music, shows, skits, movies and more. The Pocketrak PR7 enables linear PCM recording at 24-bit at 96 kHz, which ensures superb audio quality that rivals some home studio microphones. There are also several recording settings that enable great sound quality within different environments and surroundings, including the OFF, NEAR, BAND, FIELD and SPEECH setting. The Yamaha Pocketrak PR7 enables the user to adjust the playback speed from 50% up to 200%, which isn’t a must but may come in handy if you need to quickly survey your sounds.
Yes, another Sony voice recorder appearance in this guide, but it’s all for a reason. The Sony ICD-BX140 is definitely one of the best voice recorder choices for those on an extremely strict budget. Recording of meetings, interviews, and other applications audio quality won’t be as important is key here. It’s one of the cheapest models in here, and it’s all enabled in MP3 and HVCX formats; playback is easy and functional thanks to the built-in 300 mW speaker. The battery has a life span of up to 45 hours, while 4 GB of internal memory enables recording of over 1040 hours of materials. The noise-cut feature minimizes background noise while ensuring feasible quality of recorded material. You can bookmark recorded files to find them easier when you need to play them back later and it comes with a built-in stand for convenient usage on a desk as well as when using it by hand. If you opt for it, it can adjust the sound direction and quality to ensure top recording sound depending on where you’re at. If you wanted a simple device to record voices and sounds at a super low price, here’s your solution.
Thanks to its jam-packed additive features and super clear quality of recording, the Olympus WS-853 is definitely one of the best voice recorder options when you are choosing between all of these models. This particular Olympus model comes with something called ‘Intelligent Auto Mode’ feature that automatically adjusts the volume of the recording source with the level of recording. It is equipped with 2 directional mics to easily record with excellent quality no matter from which direction the sound comes. The WS-853 is also equipped with a ‘simple mode’ for beginners that conveniently limits the number of menu functions to present first those that are most often used (even great for experienced users who don’t have time to mess with everything). The built-in stand will enable easy usage whether you are holding the recorder in your hand or if it is on a desk and it comes with direct USB connection for convenient transfer of recorded files onto a computer (it can also be charged over this USB port).
Here’s a bit of a rare brand (since we’ve so many reputable creators such as Sony and Olympus). The Trustin TR6622 is pretty cheap but worth the mention for several reasons: average sound quality, a pretty excellent design and an easy and simple to use interface. The built-in microphone enables decent recording in WAV and MP3 formats and the standard 4GB of internal memory means you will be able to record over 1100 hours of material. The TR6622 comes with a built-in Li-ion rechargeable battery that will enable 28 hours of non-stop recording. On the other hand, the USB connection enables not only the transfer of recorded sounds onto a computer but also recharging of the unit. Like many others, you can also bookmark recorded files and even protect them with a password to prevent unauthorized access. The built-in stand gives us convenient usage both on a desk or when you hold it and standard LCD display will enable easy usage even for beginner users. If brand name isn’t important to you and you were looking for another super cheap voice recorder, here it is.
To top off our list, we have another very high-quality portable recorder that has a lot more features than our average voice recorder in here. The Tascam DR-05 is a lot cheaper than the previous higher-end model (the Yamaha) so if you were in search for a bit of a cheaper option but still wanted some high quality, here’s a great choice. This one will enable you to easily record different types of audio material, including music, sound effects, interviews, meetings or dictations. It will record in WAV and MP3 formats, and due to two built-in microphones (that withhold up to 125dB SPL), this voice recorder will reliably capture sound no matter from which direction it arrives. It isn’t as high-quality as the XY mic build but it comes in close. At the same time, it will minimize background noise and ensure amazing quality of recorded material. With unique voice recording features such as Quick Menu, Variable Speed Audition and Peak Reduction, it is definitely one of the best voice recorder models on the market in terms of bells and whistles. The DR-05 also enables you to bookmark recordings so that you can easily track them when you need to. At the same time, the interface is easy and simple to use, with all functions at the user’s fingertips.