Buying Guide to Digital Voice Recorders

The days of trying to find tiny cassette tapes for your voice recorder are long gone. Digital voice recorders have made it easier than ever to record important meetings, personal notes and even podcasts. Here’s what you need to know before you buy your own digital voice recorder.


Even though you won’t have to scavenge for tiny tapes, there is still a limit to how much audio you can record on a digital voice recorder. Most now come with a flash memory card that offers at least 50 megs of storage. Remember, sound files are large, particularly if you want good quality. If you plan on recording meetings or long conversations, you will need at least 512 megs of memory. Try to find a digital voice recorder that offers at least 1 gig of memory. They are more expensive, but in the long run, you’ll get more use of your digital voice recorder.


A newer digital voice recorder will typically offer a USB connection so that you can easily download your recorded files to your computer. An older or inexpensive digital voice recorder may come with a removable flash card. This will require you to use either a flash card reader that is already in your computer, or you may need a special device to transfer the file. In order to cut down on compatibility problems, first make sure what kind of flash cards your computer can read if any.

When selecting a digital voice recorder, make sure it comes with a bridge device if it does not offer a USB connection. It is also a good idea to make sure that your digital voice recorder comes with the necessary cables and drivers to cut down on having to purchase or find these later. Mac users may also experience difficulties with their digital voice recorder if it is not specifically meant for use with this platform. Always read the fine print on a package before purchasing your digital voice recorder to save time and expense. If you are in doubt on its capabilities, check with a sales person or do some research online.

Size and Capabilities

A digital voice recorder should be small and easy to carry. Most will now easily fit in the palm of your hand, making it easier to carry them around with you. Shop for a digital voice recorder that offers a smaller size, combined with a durable exterior to make sure you get the best deal. A high-impact plastic exterior will be more durable and less prone to scratching than a metal exterior and will protect your data.

The capabilities that you need for your digital voice recorder will be determined by how you plan to use it. For example, if you are just making a recording of a meeting as a backup, you should not need to worry as much about the quality of the audio file. However, if you plan to use your digital voice recorder to record podcasts on the go, or if you need the audio files for legal records, the quality should be very high. This will depend on the type of microphone that your digital voice recorder offers. Look for a model that is a little more expensive, and offers a large recording interface. This will help you catch conversations and soft speakers more accurately.

A digital voice recorder may also be connected to your cellphone, or PDA, depending on the model. If you are looking to completely interconnect all of your devices, once again, carefully read the product documentation to ensure that you won’t be disappointed with your purchase.

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