Advice on voice recorders
- What do you want to record with your voice recorder?
- What type of voice recorder are you looking for?
- Memo recorders
- Dictation machines
- Transcription sets
- Which type of sound best suits which recordings?
- Simple voice recordings: mono
- Extensive conversations: stereo
- What is the difference between mono and stereo?
- Which type of microphone suits which situation?
- Memos and interviews: directional microphone
- What is a cardioid microphone?
- Interviews: bi-directional
- Meetings and presentations: omnidirectional
- What is an omnidirectional microphone?
- Zoom microphone
- Low-cut filter: noise suppression
- In what format do you want to make recordings?
- Which accessories make the use of a voice recorder more pleasant?
What do you want to record with your voice recorder?
A voice recorder is often used for recording memos or conversations such as interviews. In that case, a simple voice recorder is sufficient. As soon as the audio source is further removed, or when more speakers are speaking, a more advanced recorder is desirable. For these situations, it's best to purchase a voice recorder that has been optimized for this purpose. For lectures, we advise the use of a voice recorder with a zoom microphone, and for meetings and conferences, we recommend a recorder with omnidirectional microphones. This way, different speakers from all directions are registered.
What type of voice recorder are you looking for?
Voice recorders are also called dictation machines or dictaphones. There are indeed some differences between the two. In addition to these types of voice recorders, there's also a specific recorder for capturing audio recordings. These are the audio recorders.
A dictation machine is generally a small, handy, and simple voice recorder with a simple (mono) microphone. Moreover, you can only record in a highly compressed MP3 and/or WMA format. The quality is somewhat lower, but certainly sufficient for just capturing short messages, memos, or interviews.
The more expensive memo recorders offer you more quality, such as high-quality (stereo) microphones that you can use to make recordings over a longer distance in more recording formats than only MP3 or WMA, but they also offer more functionalities with regard to organizing and editing recordings.
A dictaphone is a more professional voice recorder with more advanced options than a dictation machine. A dictaphone is mainly used for recording long conversations, such as meetings and reports. It's for this reason that these voice recorders have high-quality stereo microphones and more memory. The long conversations can only be recorded in high quality, with different speakers being recorded from all directions. In addition, dictaphones often have a push or slide button that allows you to easily start and end recordings.
To make transcribing long recordings more easy, dictaphones often include transcription sets. With these, you can easily and quickly transcribe recordings behind your computer. With help of a foot pedal, you can, for example, play, pause, and continue your recording while your hands are still on the keyboard. The supplied earbuds allow you to fully focus on your work without being distracted.
Which type of sound best suits which recordings?
Depending on the purpose of the recordings you make, you can choose to record in mono or stereo sound. In addition, the sound quality of the recordings also depends on the type of microphone. During a meeting at a round table, you want to hear everyone on the recording, while in a 1-on-1 interview, only 2 speakers need to be audible. That's why it's important to know which types of microphones are used in voice recorders.
Simple voice recordings: mono
Mono means 'alone' or 'one'. Mono sound is sound that is played back via 1 channel during playback. With these recordings, the spacious effect isn't audible. During playback, for example, all sound seems to come from the same direction. That's why recordings are extremely useful when recording memos or interviews.
Extensive conversations: stereo
Stereo sound, on the other hand, is recorded sound over two channels. This makes it easy to hear the difference between audio sources and to place them in the room. Stereo recordings are therefore useful for recording meetings and music. The disadvantage is that the files are larger.
Which type of microphone suits which situation?
The choice of mono or stereo recordings also depends on the type of microphone. For example, voice recorders mainly distinguish between the directional characteristics of microphones. This characteristic indicates which sounds are picked up by the microphone. This depends on the angle and distance that the sound comes from.
Memos and interviews: directional microphone
A directional microphone is a microphone that is insensitive to sound from the rear. As a result, this type of microphone only detects sound from one direction. These microphones are also called cardioid microphones and are very useful when the audio source is directly in front of the voice recorder. Voice recorders with a directional microphone are therefore extremely suitable for recording a lecture or interview.
Similar to a directional microphone, a bi-directional microphone is oriented. This microphone is sensitive to sound from two sides, which are in line with each other. That's why the microphone is sensitive to noise from the front and from the rear. This type of microphone is little used in voice recorders, but can be useful during interviews when the recorder is positioned between the interviewer and the interviewee.
Meetings and presentations: omnidirectional
An omnidirectional microphone is also called an undirected or 360-degree microphone. This type of microphone measures sound from all directions. That's why this type of microphone is especially useful when you want to record meetings with several people. In addition, this type of microphone is mostly used in tie clip microphones, microphones that are attached to your shirt during presentations. This way, you can move your head freely without the sound quality diminishing when you turn your face away from the microphone.
In some situations, the audio source is further away than desired and it's impossible to get closer. In that case, a zoom microphone is the solution. Similar to a video camera, the microphone zooms in on the remote audio source. This can be very useful in, for example, lecture halls when you have to sit in the last row and your professor is at the front.
Low-cut filter: noise suppression
In some cases, you want to make recordings while you are bothered by ambient sounds. In the open air, for example, you can suffer from white noise caused by wind, or when recording at the table, by the scratch of a pen or a person's coughing. Do you make a lot of recordings in these situations? If so, a low-cut filter is the solution. Sounds with a low frequency won't be recorded.
In what format do you want to make recordings?
You can make recordings in different formats. Not every voice recorder supports all formats, so it's good to know what quality you want to record in and what you want to do with the recordings. This way, you'll know immediately which voice recorder you should purchase.
AAC Advanced Audio Coding is based on MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 encodings. In this format, it's possible to make audio and visual recordings in low quality.
DSS The Digital Speech Standard is an Olympus, Philips, and Grundig brand-related file format. The quality of these recordings is low, but it offers the user the possibility to send along extra information in the file name.
MP3 MP3 is a widely used file format for sound and stands for MPEG Audio Layer III. Sound is converted to a lower quality, which is excellent for making voice recordings. The quality is determined by the bit rate which can be between 32kbits/s and 320kbits/s for MP3 files.
WAV (PCM) Waveform Audio File files are uncompressed recordings. As a result, the file size increases with regard to compressed files, but a big advantage is that the quality is high because no quality is lost. This gives you great freedom when you want to edit recordings or use voice recognition software.
WMA Windows Media Audio files are almost identical to MP3 files, but the files are even further compressed so the quality is lower and the files are less useful for processing. An advantage is that the file size is lower and you can make more or longer recordings with equal memory.
Which accessories make the use of a voice recorder more pleasant?
In addition to separate microphones, you'll find more interesting accessories at Voicerecordershop.nl that make the use of your voice recorder more pleasant. Think of several cases that protect your recorder against scratches, or tripods that you can use to safely put the voice recorder down without it falling over. In addition, tripods ensure that disturbing sounds from the table aren't recorded in your footage. To improve the quality of your recordings even more, purchasing a windshield is also highly recommended. This avoids annoying white noise caused by wind during outdoor shooting.