The benefits of dictaphones and call recorders are increasing with advancing sophisticated technology. They are useful for a variety of functions in many different industries. From personal note-taking to performance improvement in companies. Yet while there is so much choice out there, which is the best call or voice recorder for you?
What will you be recording?
First of all, do you need a dictaphone or a call recorder?
Although their basic principles are similar they have very different functions. Dictaphones are voice recorders so are used for recording live sounds, such as speech or music. Call recorders, like their name suggests, record telephone calls made from either mobile phones or landlines.
If it is a dictaphone you need, then the next important question is, will you be recording speech or music?
Devices can be tailored to either of these uses. For example some devices that are specifically designed for recording music, have certain features such as multi-track recording functionality, LED tuner or built-in amplifier.
Where and who will you be recording?
This will determine the type of microphone that you will need, either directional or omni-directional.
The difference between these types is the pickup patterns, an omnidirectional microphone would pick up sound from all directions but directional microphones have a much narrower pick up area. Omnidirectional microphones can pick up unwanted sources if not used in the correct situation.
So for example for recording large meetings where sound is coming from many different sources you would need an omnidirectional microphone. But for recording someone’s speech, when you want to eliminate sound from external sources, a directional microphone would be best.
How much will you use it?
This determines the kind of storage capacity and battery life that would be suitable.
If you will be using the device a lot without time to charge then you need a device with a long battery life. Equally, if you will be recording large amounts in a day, to avoid having to download and remove your files between uses, purchase a recorder with a large storage space.
It is also worth remembering that high quality recordings take up more storage space, so you need to consider what radio quality your recordings will be.
Depending on what sound quality you want/need, there are several features that some devices have to boost the sound quality. For example, noise-cancelling microphones to cut out background noise and Voice Balancers to equalise the sounds of the recording so they are all at the same volume. This can be specifically useful when recording a meeting or conference where many people are speaking.
What will you use your dictaphone with?
This is to do with compatibility: you must check that your device is compatible with your operating system and that it can connect to the laptop/mobile device that you will use.
To optimise the quality and ease of use there are a range of dictaphone accessories. These include microphones, earphones and also transcription kits so your device is better suited to your personal needs.