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Thread: Digital Voice Recorder reviews

  1. #1
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Lets talk about digital voice recorders! What model do you have? Where did you get it? Approximate cost?

    What are the good points and bad points? Features you love, features that are missing?

    I looked quite a bit, and could find no threads on this matter.

    TFred


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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    One feature that would be valuable, although I have not seen it offered on any recorders in my limited search, would be a continuous running looped overwrite mode.

    You would turn your recorder on in this mode when you entered some public environment, and the recorder would start recording. It would maintain a pre-set loop period of time, say 20 minutes, recorded, overwriting the front (older than the 20 minutes) as it went along.

    Until you pushed a magic button which would then enter a "normal" mode, starting at that point adding on to the previously recorded 20 minutes, until you manually stopped the recording.

    This feature would give you up to 20 minutes after the actual beginning of an "encounter" to "start" the recording. No more fumbling around when you suspect you may or may not need to record an incident. This would allow the opportunity for a much more discrete activation, that is not time critical to when the most stressful conversations (the first ones) are taking place.

    TFred


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    No offense, TFred.

    They're just not that complicated.

    You can get all the useful info readingthe makers descriptions of features.

    Decide which are important to you weighed against cost.

    Spend a little time figuring out where and how you'll carry it, and where you do and don't want the buttons located on the machine.
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  4. #4
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Citizen wrote:
    No offense, TFred.

    They're just not that complicated.

    You can get all the useful info readingthe makers descriptions of features.

    Decide which are important to you weighed against cost.

    Spend a little time figuring out where and how you'll carry it, and where you do and don't want the buttons located on the machine.
    No offense taken... but just as with every product, real life does not usually, or at least not always, match the manufacturer's advertising...

    I see dozens of models out there, and I think there must be some wisdom to be gained from personal experience here!

    TFred


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    TFred wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    No offense, TFred.

    They're just not that complicated.

    You can get all the useful info readingthe makers descriptions of features.

    Decide which are important to you weighed against cost.

    Spend a little time figuring out where and how you'll carry it, and where you do and don't want the buttons located on the machine.
    No offense taken... but just as with every product, real life does not usually, or at least not always, match the manufacturer's advertising...

    I see dozens of models out there, and I think there must be some wisdom to be gained from personal experience here!
    I'd watch out for claims about the "spy" type models.

    Otherwise, if Sony says it can record 145 hrs, then it probably can.

    Just realize that most all probably fail to distinguish between recording time (memory capacity) and recording time (battery life).
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    I love my Olympus WS-311m

    Love the fact that you can plug it in as a USB and download everything and upload podcasts.

    Great battery life.

    Very nice!!

    About $70.

    Ric

    http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_se...p?id=1308&fl=2

    olympus ws-311m

    Built-in stereo microphone
    512MB internal Flash Memory
    WMA recording format
    138 hours of recording time in LP mode
    Six recording modes: Use STXQ, STHQ and STSP for stereo recording or HQ, LP and SP for extended recording
    Variable Control Voice Actuator (VCVA) records only when sound is sensed
    One long-life battery (supplied) provides 21 hours of continuous operation
    The Low Cut Filter minimizes air conditioner noise and other similar noises
    Organize

    Five file folders, each holding up to 200 files, provide unparalleled organization
    Up to 16 index marks can be set in a file
    USB Storage Device can store many file types, not just audio files
    Lock files to avoid accidentally erasing important information
    Connect

    "USB Direct" design provides direct connect to a PC
    High speed USB 2.0 provides fast download times
    Playback

    WMA and MP3 Music Player/li>
    Noise Cancel feature cuts out unwanted background noise
    Voice Filter enhances the human voice by cutting low and high frequency noises during playback
    Slow and fast playback speed variations
    Repeat and Random playback
    WOW XTTM technology provides rich bass and
    three-dimensional stereo sound
    Customize the sound with a built-in equalizer

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Love my Sony PS 20. Great battery life and it records forever. Mini USB allows uploading to a computer. I paid less than $50 at Best Buy.
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    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Bill in VA wrote:
    I've got an Olympus VN-4100PC. IIRC I paid about $60 for it at Radio Shack and it'll record 144 hours of conversation/sound so there's no need for a continuous loop.
    I have the same recorder, but with rechargeable batteries it will only record for about 5-6 hours straight on hi-fi.

    Has anyone have numbers on their recorder's continuous recording abilities- where battery life limits things?

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Sam's Club provided an Olympus WS-210S http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_se...p?product=1322for $20 less than suggested retail. It was a great replacement for the larger Sony IC recorder http://www.etronics.com/p-40008-sony...736373D3233303that was giving me troubles copying files to my computer. (It goes on sale in the Richmond Va Craig's List soon for $100 OBO with Dragon Naturally Speaking software & docking station.)

    I have come to agree with Ed that wearing it in a lanyard around the neck can be a good way to use a voice recorder - especially this extremely lightweight Olympus model. Check with Grapeshot about carrying a recorder in a magazine holder - maybe not the best idea if you are not careful which way the <play> button is positioned. Also, there were comments about developing a "Bat Belt" with the holster, magazine holders, voice recorder and cellphone all hanging off my waist. Moving a few things around has ended that.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    Campaign Veteran Nelson_Muntz's Avatar
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    Hey TFred, don't sweat the continuous loop thing. Not necessary. Not only do most of the mainstream VRs have a long tape life - not necessarily battery life, but when you place them on record and go about your business they tape when there is sound that triggers the mic.

    You'll find that when you play back a recording the time will be compressed, as it doesn't actually record (or much with clothing rustling) until there is sound.

  12. #12
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    skidmark wrote:
    I have come to agree with Ed that wearing it in a lanyard around the neck can be a good way to use a voice recorder - especially this extremely lightweight Olympus model.
    I like it that way best.. After I start record.. I slide the HOLD switch so that bumping buttons does nothing. The recordings are excellent. I have all kinds.. Panasonic, Olympus, Sony. They all are about the same.. but the SOFTWARE with the panasonic was best to edit the recorded files.
    Carry On.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Bill in VA wrote:
    I've got an Olympus VN-4100PC. IIRC I paid about $60 for it at Radio Shack and it'll record 144 hours of conversation/sound so there's no need for a continuous loop.
    Bought the same recorder, Olympus VN-4100PC, as a factory refurbished unit for $38.00 with full warrantee - have had the need for it twice already and it performed like a champ!

    BTW - no more batbelt - I just drop it in my shirt pocket - does fine there.

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    While I don't have one, for those who own an iPhone or iPod Touch, there are some good recording apps available.

    Just check the App Store... it's constantly being updated.

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    Regular Member zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry too much about the looping... I just got a Sony, it will record over 260 hours in LP mode. Tested it out at this weeks VCDL meeting, having it in my shirt pocket while sitting in the second row it picked up everything very legibly.

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    I got an Olympus and tested it out at a restaurant.

    I was shocked at how much of the ambient conversations it picked up, crystal clear even though the recorder was in my shirt pocket.

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    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    I bought this one. It is not the best quality, and is a little thick, but it holds 1GB, and there is little chance that an LEO would know what it is and take it.

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.3093

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...mp;forum_id=55


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    Campaign Veteran Nelson_Muntz's Avatar
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    Does it have any blinking lights anywhere when recording, Sarge? That's usually the giveaway that gets their attention.

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    Regular Member zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    The one I've got is the Sony ICD-P620. You can turn off the recording light in the options.

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    Another plug for my olympus ws-311m...my wife washed and dried it in the laundry and it still works!!!!

  21. #21
    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    Nelson_Muntz wrote:
    Does it have any blinking lights anywhere when recording, Sarge? That's usually the giveaway that gets their attention.
    Yes, it does. If you look at the (upside down) photo, you can see them on the 5, 6 and 7 o'clock position. The 6 and 7 will flash back and forth.
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

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    Well, I picked up a RCA RP5120 w/microphone from Radio Shack. The DVR has 104hrs of recording, USB cord, Automatic Voice Activated Cord, Date/Time stamp, LCD screen, Key Lock. It was 33 bucks @ Wal-Mart. The mic was 25 bucks at Radio Shack.

    Just tried it out with the microphone. I spoke at a normal level at about where the microphone will be and it picked up everything (expected). My wife spoke at a very LOW level at about 15 feet away (she's sick) and it was audible, quiet, but audible (surprising, I could barely hear her). This is all inside with no real ambient sound, but works great so far! I will take it for a real test run tomorrow and check back in.

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    Took the RCA for a go today. Put it in my pants pocket and ran the wired mic to the inside of my left sleeve where I used the tie clip to keep it on.

    Picked up everything fine. Very happy with it especially for 30 bucks!

  24. #24
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Doing some prelimiary research in this area, it seems one major feature that needs to be pointed out is the ability to connect and download the voice recordings to a computer.

    The lower priced models don't have this capability, but of course the higher priced ones do.

    For those that can off load the files, the software features also seem to be rather important. Some I have seen can convert the raw .wav files to .mp3 format, saving tons of space. Others don't seem to have that ability.

    TFred


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    TFred wrote:
    Doing some prelimiary research in this area, it seems one major feature that needs to be pointed out is the ability to connect and download the voice recordings to a computer.

    The lower priced models don't have this capability, but of course the higher priced ones do.

    For those that can off load the files, the software features also seem to be rather important. Some I have seen can convert the raw .wav files to .mp3 format, saving tons of space. Others don't seem to have that ability.

    TFred
    my cheap RCA has a USB. Haven't tried it yet. will soon.

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