Best Voice Recorder Review – Top Rated Models in 2020 with Buying Guide
Do you want to get your hands on the best voice recorder, but do not know where to start? In this case, you have come to the right place. We have done some research on the products available for sale in this line, read many voice recorder reviews and concluded that the model you should consider is the Olympus WS-853. You will like its clear audio quality and outstanding operability. If you need to record in a large room where there is a distance between the speakers and the microphone, the Intelligent Auto Mode will help you. This option also provides sensitivity adjustment, and the Low-cut filter reduces unnecessary background noise. The Simple Mode makes this gadget super easy to operate, even if you are a beginner. In case the Olympus voice recorder is unavailable, you should also keep the Sony ICDPX370 Mono in mind, as it is an option worth looking at.
Our Top Choice
This recorder stands out due to its clear audio quality. The innovative Intelligent Auto Mode is great for large meeting rooms with a distance between the speakers and the device. Two low noise and high sensitivity microphones provide a highly realistic stereo feeling. Automatic sensitivity adjustment is provided by the Auto Mode. Also, a low-cut filter reduces unnecessary noise from the recordings. Furthermore, the Simple Mode makes the device very easy to operate.
There were a few mentions regarding the very low playback volume of this voice recorder.
If you need a voice activated recorder, this is probably the right option for you.
You can record lectures, meetings, or other events using this device. It will offer you up to 57 hours of battery life, and 4 GB memory space. The gadget records MP3 files, which are compressed and take up less space, a feature that is especially useful when you have to record long meetings or lectures. Thanks to the Auto Voice Recording option the audio capture frames for vocal frequencies will be optimized, offering you clear voice audio with reduced background noise.
This recorder does not come with the easiest menu, as some buyers mentioned.
A reliable digital voice recorder that will not let you down when you need it the most.
This recording device features five built-in mics and four different recording modes. Furthermore, this model also comes with automatic gain control and onboard MS decoding, effects such as compression, limiting and low cut filtering. You can use the recorder as a multi-purpose USB microphone as well. With this unit, you can record rehearsals and concerts in stereo or surround sound. You can even create location videography or YouTube videos with the various options in post-production.
This device is a bit difficult to use, and it is more expensive than other models in this line.
In need of a voice recorder suitable for singers? You should check out this model.
7 Best Voice Recorders (Reviews) in 2020
Finding the best voice recorder can be a hard task, especially when you realize how many options there are out there. Still, after many hours of research, we managed to compile a list of top-rated products that we’ve showcased below, which will make it easy for you to make up your mind.
Best voice activated recorder
- 1. Olympus WS-853 MP3 Digital Stereo Voice Recorder with 8 GB
- 2. Sony ICD-PX370 Mono Digital Voice Recorder with Built-In USB
- 3. Zoom H2n/UK Handy Recorder
- 4. Sony ICD-PX470 Digital Wide-Stereo MP3 Voice Recorder with S-Microphone
- 5. Sony ECM-CS3 – microphones
- 6. Sony ICDTX800B.CE7 Digital PCM/MP3 Voice Recorder with Built-In Micro USB
- 7. Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder Earplug
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Best Voice Recorder Brands
1. Olympus WS-853 MP3 Digital Stereo Voice Recorder with 8 GB
If you are searching for a full-featured, voice-activated recorder, we recommend taking a look at the Olympus voice recorder. This model stands out for its clear audio quality and excellent operability. It features an innovative, Intelligent Auto Mode which is perfect for large meeting rooms when there is a distance between the recorder and the speakers.
In terms of recording quality, this model achieves a highly realistic stereo feeling due to the two low noise and high sensitivity microphones.
The Auto Mode provides automatic sensitivity adjustment, and a Low-cut filter eliminates unnecessary noise from your recordings.
Moreover, this smart voice recorder comes with a wide range of playback features to meet your needs, such as the Voice Balancer for easy listening. The Simple Mode was added to the menu of this device making it very easy to operate, even for beginners. This model can be used for a multitude of situations and by a wide array of users from students to business owners.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($59.99)
Best digital voice recorder
2. Sony ICD-PX370 Mono Digital Voice Recorder with Built-In USB
Record meetings, lectures, and much more using the Sony ICDPX370 Mono. It is a small voice recorder that will offer you up to 57 hours of battery life. This model is also an MP3 voice recorder, as these files are compressed and require less memory, making them ideal for recording long meetings or lectures.
Do you need to record someone talking? Simply turn on the Auto Voice Recording, and the Sony digital model will optimize the audio capture frames for vocal frequencies. You will get only clear voice with reduced background noise.
Furthermore, it is fast and convenient to transfer the files to and from your computer. You only need to plug the device into a USB port for an instant connection, and no USB cable is required.
The 4 GB provide plenty of room for your recordings, but if you need more, you can expand the memory capacity with a micro SD card of up to 32 GB.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($39)
Best voice recorder for singers
3. Zoom H2n/UK Handy Recorder
The H2n Handy Recorder from Zoom is a portable recording device that comes with five built-in microphones and four distinct recording modes: Mid-Side, X/Y, two-channel surround, and four-channel surround.
These are not the only available features, as you also get an automatic gain control and onboard MS decoding, limiting and low cut filtering, and effects such as compression. This model can also be used as a voice recorder for singing using the multi-purpose USB microphone.
With the multiple receivers and recording modes, the gadget can handle just about any voice recorder app. You can record live concerts and rehearsals, in both stereo or surround sound.
Furthermore, you get many options in post production so that you can create location videography. You can also make audio for YouTube videos and generate lasting audio documents of major events. This device can also be used as a USB microphone providing input to recording software.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($169.99)
Best voice recorder for lectures
4. Sony ICD-PX470 Digital Wide-Stereo MP3 Voice Recorder with S-Microphone
Record voices and sounds in superior clarity with the Sony ICD-PX470. This model comes with Focus and Wide-Stereo recording so you can target the audio source you want to catch. With the internal memory of 4GB which can be expanded to 32 GB, you are ensured for days.
It is easy, fast, and convenient to transfer the recorded files to and from your computer through the USB port which does not require a cable. Another helpful feature is the fact that the data are marked by date; therefore it is easy to find which ones were recorded on a particular day.
You can bring up the calendar to scan through days and see the files you are looking for.
With this device, you also have the option to select from two popular formats when you record — the linear PCM files, which are larger but capture more details or MP3 files which are compressed and require less memory.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($52.33)
Best voice recorder microphone
5. Sony ECM-CS3 – microphones
As an omnidirectional lavalier microphone, the Sony ECMCS3 offers the sort of performance you require from a lavalier mic.
This model is particularly easy to use. It only takes seconds to clip it onto your clothing so you can conduct an interview.
The device is easy to position thanks to its ability to rotate. You will get clear and crisp results on your PC or DVR, or you can connect a stereo jack for another degree of compatibility.
The four-foot-long cord is enough for most situations since the distance is only from your shirt to your pocket. Another nice feature is the stereo mic which creates less tinkering.
Sony’s ECMCS3 is not just easy to use but also provides exceptional sound quality. You will like the fact that this model is not ideal just for recordings, but for other applications which require quality mics.
Buy from Amazon.com
Best voice recorder for interviews
6. Sony ICDTX800B.CE7 Digital PCM/MP3 Voice Recorder with Built-In Micro USB
You can record all your lectures, meetings, seminars, or interviews in clear and high-quality audio with the Sony ICDUX560BLK, which is also a thin and light device.
Thanks to the new user interface, you can easily search for your files and monitor the recording levels. This model comes with a 4 GB internal memory, but if you need more, you can use a micro SD card of up to 32 GB.
Also, you do not have to worry about battery life, as you have the option to quick charge using the built-in USB and get hours for recording. For example, three minutes of fast charging is enough for an entire hour of usage.
This recorder’s focus and wide microphone modes adapt to each situation offering you crisp and clear audio files with reduced background noise. Due to its size, 3.99L x 1.44W, the recorder is very easy to handle, store, and carry.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($89.99)
Best field recorder
7. Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder Earplug
Get an ingenious four-track audio recording system for music, podcasting, and beyond with the Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder. The H4N is not just an improved model from Zoom, but it is capable of handling a lot of challenges in every way. It comes with advanced X/Y mics, amazingly natural-sounding preamps, and a super-low noise floor.
With this unit, you can record anything from Indy 500 to the fluttering of a hummingbird with remarkable realism.
If you are not new to these devices, you will be impressed by the recording and playback resolutions of up to 24-bit/96 kHz and the improved noise floor of -120 dBu EIN which will help you capture audio at lower volumes with reduced noise and fewer artifacts.
Furthermore, the X/Y stereo recording covers a broad area while focusing on sound sources. The two unidirectional condenser mics can be switched from 90 to 120 degrees, for a tightly focused stereo image or a wider image.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($219.99)
Yearly Guide & Report
There may be many reasons why you need a voice recorder, like capturing ideas for your next meeting, as a business person, or for your next article, as a journalist. Famous songwriters use these devices to store musical ideas.
Many students record lectures that they can later listen to again to better prepare for a test. You might think that your iPhone voice recorder is enough, and in some cases that is true. But for other situations, you will need a more capable voice recording software.
The reason why you would need a recorder will affect the quality and price you are willing to pay, but there still are some features to look for, so that you don’t end up wasting money on something you can’t even use.
The quality of the audio files you are going to record may have a say in the audio quality you are looking for, but you still want to be able to hear your recordings clearly. If you only want a device for personal notes and memos, you probably will not spend too much money and time to find the right gadget.
However, if you are going to use it for interviews, conversations in noisy places, meetings in large rooms, or concerts, you are going to need a unit that provides high audio quality. The first pointer in this direction is looking for a recorder that comes with built-in noise reduction.
Battery Life and Connection
This is a portable device, and therefore battery life is an essential aspect. How would it be if your recorder ran out of battery in the middle of an important interview? That just cannot be!
Some models run on replaceable batteries, and others recharge via USB. There are even some that have a built-in USB port which does not require an extra cord for you to carry around.
To make the appropriate choice, think about what type of recorder would be the most convenient for your needs in this perspective.
As previously mentioned, this is a portable device, so size is essential. You should be able to tuck a recorder into your purse or pocket with ease.
Usually, there is a tradeoff between recording quality and size because of the microphone. What you need to do is find a model that can make a compromise and create a balance between the two factors.
Available Storage Space
Going back to the example with the battery running out in the middle of an interview, the same situation can occur, but with the space running low preventing you from recording anything else. Depending on what you need a recorder for, you should check out the recording file types.
MP3s are compressed and require less space. These files are perfect for interviews and conversations in general. If you need to record music, for example, the MP3 files lose some of the audio quality. In this case, other file formats are more appropriate, but they will also take up more memory space.
Depending on these factors, make sure to check the available storage space of the recorder, and even supply it with an SD card.
Operating System Compatibility
In most cases, the recorded files need to be transferred from the device to a computer, which is usually done through a USB connection.
Although most recorders are compatible with both Windows and Apple operating systems, you should check this out before making the purchase, so that you do not end up with a recorder full of files you have nowhere to move.
Again, depending on what you intend to use the recorder for, you might appreciate and even need a few extra features that will enhance your experience and sound quality.
Besides the basic recording function, there are a few more we can mention such as different recording modes, voice activation, interchangeable battery, indexing, or multiple microphones. You might need an online voice recorder, or a voice recorder and editor.
When you see how many options there really are, especially if you are new to these products, it will be hard to decide on just one.
The interface of a voice recorder can be measured by the following standards — ease of use and how comprehensive and advanced the controls are.
There are voice recorders which have a simple user interface that is ideal for beginners and users who do not need a lot of options and features.
But if you require more from your voice recorder, a more expensive model usually has many ways to fine-tune your recordings.
Best Voice Recorder Brands
Who in the world hasn’t heard about SONY? It is one of the most powerful names in consumer electronics. The Walkman was introduced by this company in 1979 and, at the time, it was the world’s first portable music player that used the compact cassette.
Then, in 1992, Sony introduced the MiniDisc as an alternative to Philips’ Digital Compact Cassette. Since then, the company promoted its own audio compression technologies known as the ATRAC, a competitor to the more widely used MP3.
In 2004, Sony released the Hi-MD which allows the recording and playback of audio on their 1 GB Hi-MD discs.
Olympus is a known brand for their high-quality music recorders, high-end recorders, conference solutions, or notetakers. It is a Japanese manufacturer of reprography and optical products.
The company was established on October 12th, 1919 and was initially specialized in microscopes and thermometers. It was Olympus that first introduced the Microcassette. The Pearlcorder L400 that was released in the 80s was the smallest and lightest microcassette voice recorder which was ever offered for sale.
Another interesting fact about this company is the Variable Control Actuator, a digital technology that was created by Olympus which is implemented in many of their digital voice recording devices.
Another Japanese company, Zoom, was founded in 1983, in Tokyo and has been offering creators all around the globe innovative and affordable audio equipment. Their field recorders feature cutting-edge technology, and the handy devices are designed with the right types of microphones and recording capabilities for music, film, live stream, or broadcasts.
Since we live in a digital world, video playing is also a big player in the professional life of any musician who wants to reach as many fans as possible.
Zoom has developed technologies and equipment in this direction as well. And let’s not forget about their digital mixers and guitar pedals that are sought for by many artists.