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Digital Voice Recorder -- Any recommendations?
Old 2nd February 2007
Gear Nut
Open Sky's Avatar

Question Digital Voice Recorder -- Any recommendations?

I'm looking for one of these little recorders--you know the type--keep it in your pocket and use it to record quick ideas, etc. Doesn't need to be fancy, just easy to use and with files that are easy to export to a Mac. Any advice? Thanks!
Old 2nd February 2007
Gear Head

Most voice recorders these days are USB class devices, meaning that OSX handles them as removable drives when you hook them up. No drivers, totally transparent.

Formats: most recent recorders seem to be either MP3 or WMA. In my case, Flip4Mac's little OSX utility handles WMA.
I use a 2-year old Olympus on a Mac. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how far technology has come -- the recent generations have quality and features that far surpass traditional voice recording needs.

If I were to buy one now, I'd pick one with a built-in stereo mic. Less accessories = less hassle. (a USB cable and mic take up more space than the recorder itself)

I'd pick stereo, even for the simplest "memo-pad" tasks. The directional information in stereo recordings really improves speech intelligibility, esp. with the ridiculously high background noise in typical voice recording situations. The $100 price difference payed off in my first pass of transcribing text.

As you can tell, I'm a believer. Certainly beats the hell out of microcassettes, or the old answering machine trick.

Hope this helps!
Old 2nd February 2007
Lives for gear

The Nagra ARES-M looks bitchin'.
Old 2nd February 2007
Lives for gear
Pasta4lnch's Avatar
i think belkin makes an attachment for your ipod . . . don't really know anything about it . . .
Old 2nd February 2007
Gear Nut
Open Sky's Avatar

Thanks, guys. I'd get that iPod one, but it doesn't work with my mini.

Looks like the Olympus ones ought to do the trick, and won't cost a lot.


Old 2nd February 2007
Gear Nut

Zoom H4

costs $299 or less (look up the Zoom H4 on

SD card of 2 GB can be had fairly cheaply (I got 3 of them for around $47.00 a piece for one of those recommended on Zoom's H4 website):

which is found in the FAQ's on Zoom's H4 website:

you can look up SD cards (or the particular one you're looking for) on ([]=215:105) to see the best price for a particular model. Although I understand that pretty much any SD card will work--maybe the faster access time cards are recommended for higher bit rate recordings. I got the fast SanDisk 2GB Ultra II Secure Digital Card for $47.00 (

The 2 GB SD card supposedly holds around 6 hours of 44.1 16 bit (CD quality) recording. The Zoom H4 has two high quality built in mics. You can import it into your computer easily (Zoom H4 is a recognized hard drive) and then edit it in your DAW program such as Cubase, Pro Tools, etc.

I got one and I'm very impressed with the general sound quality, compact size, and ease of use. One of the coolest things about it is that you can use the built in mics (excellent sounding) or plug in up to 2 mics which can be phantom powered into the bottom of the Zoom H4.

There have been very good reviews of the Zoom H4 around (see Pro Audio, Tape Op magazine, I think Electronic Musician magazine, etc)

I think it's a great unit! Especially when you consider the price of $299 or less, and the fact that it will do full 48 volt phantom power for 2 mics, is easy to use, has 2 mics built in, etc.

Not working for Zoom, but I think it's a great buy. The Edirol might be one to consider as well for $100 more.


Last edited by Dr. Gonzo; 2nd February 2007 at 10:01 PM.. Reason: new info
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