A Buyers Guide to Dictaphones and Digital Voice Recorders



Voice memos, interviews, conferences, meetings, and phone calls can all be recorded with ease using a dictaphone or digital voice recorder (DVR). As a brand name, Dictaphone is synonymous with dictation recorders that store audio on cassette tapes as opposed to the more modern Digital Voice Recorders (DVR) that store audio in memory.

Electronic Voice Memorizer (DVR)

• Transferring audio files from your DVR to your computer via the USB port can save you time typing.

To start watching a program again after using a digital video recorder, one need only press the play button.

• Your DVR assigns a unique number and date/time stamp to every audio file you record.

• The DVR typically contains 2–5 audio folders for improved organizing.

Messages can be moved, duplicated, and deleted on some DVRs.

Meetings and conferences can continue without interruption while you change recordings without worrying about missing something crucial.

• Some digital video recorders feature built-in software that translates audio into text for simple transcription.

• External memory cards and memory expansion slots are standard on modern DVRs. Keep an eye out for this as it will allow you to record for longer and transfer audio files to your computer more quickly.

• One or two AAA batteries (alkaline or rechargeable) are often used to power the DVR.

Dictaphone/Cassette Recorder

You can pick from mini, micro, or standard cassettes (15min per side) include one-half the material included in Micro and Standard (30mins per side)

Dictaphone cassettes can be played on any device that accepts that size of cassette.

If you’re using a digital dictaphone and run out of storage capacity, you’ll need to delete old recordings or buy an additional memory card, but if you’re using a cassette tape Dictaphone, you can just buy more tapes.

While digital voice recorders have improved in recent years, dictaphones still have the advantage when it comes to battery life.

You can save money by using a dictaphone instead.

There is no way to record digital data onto a Dictaphone tape.

You can buy a machine that can permanently wipe data from micro and small cassettes so that you can reuse them.

• Many include specialized tools for recording phone calls.

What Is the Best Voice Recorder for You?

Cheaper desktop digital voice recorders (DVRs) or dictaphones are great for recording phone calls and can be used with transcription software to transcribe the recordings. There are a wide variety of portable Dictaphone models available, each with its own set of features and size considerations.

What’s Better, a Recorder with Push Buttons or One You Operate With Your Thumb?

The ability to enter dictation is a common feature of push-button cassette recorders, but it can be challenging to find the exact segment you need. Rewinding, inserting, playing, and stopping are all a breeze using the Thumb slide switch.

How about this mode?

A total of three distinct recording qualities are available, each with its own unique recording time constraints. As recording duration increases, quality declines.

High Quality (HQ) – Approximately 43 Minutes
To be precise, an SP (short play) is a production that is no longer than 65 minutes in length.
Album length: around 121 minutes

Keep in mind that although while the advertised recording duration is the longest, the actual recording time on a Dictaphone or DVR will be significantly less than half of that if you use the highest quality setting. You wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a meeting or interview and realize you ran out of memory because you switched to the higher quality mode on your DVR.

On a Dictaphone or DVR, you can choose between two different sensitivity settings. The microphone is most uni-directional and sensitive to speech in the LOW setting, making it ideal for dictation. Sensitivity is extremely high, so it catches up ambient noise and sounds from all directions.

What Else Should You Know About Dictaphones and Digital Voice Recorders?

Without having to press any buttons, dictaphones or DVRs equipped with a Voice Activate System (VAS) can begin recording as soon as they detect your voice (or other sound). Super useful for situations where you can’t use your hands.

It has an alarm to remind you to record, or you can set a timer to record automatically between two times.

• Hands-free recording with the included tie-clip microphone

Use earbuds when you don’t want to wake up the neighbors.

• Battery charge status indication and rechargeable power source

• Microphones may be either permanently attached or removable. Find a Dictaphone or DVR that has a microphone jack if you plan on recording audio, especially music.

• Speakers, which can be either built-in or removable depending on the model.

• There is a wide range in the amount of digital storage included.

Keep your hands free for typing or playing an instrument with a foot pedal.

When inputting or playing back, you can use the automated backspace feature to go back the specified amount of time.

Equipment for Transcribing and Docking

For digital transcription, a foot pedal attached to a computer is always necessary. In this way, you can convert audio files from your Dictaphone or DVR into text by listening to a short segment and typing it out.

Docking stations simplify the process of transferring recorded material to a computer. If your Dictaphone sees regular use, you may want to invest in a model that can both dock and recharge your recorder’s batteries.


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