best voice recorder for meeting minutes
These can be tricky depending on your computer software, however, which don’t always recognize the folder right away. But if you can’t risk losing a recording, spend the $5 for Just Press Record. Although you’ll need to pay $3.50 for Hi-Q Pro if you want to record more than 10 minutes of audio, Hi-Q has the most features to control recording settings and file formats of any app we tested. But even in the scenarios where it wasn’t the top-rated (the noisy coffee shop and the lecture hall), listeners said audio clips from Parrot were understandable enough. The interface is clean and intuitive, and you can choose between a dark or light theme. Its bright, color screen makes looking at folders and files easy. Start your vinyl music journey here with our picks for turntable, receiver, speakers, and more. It recharges via USB and lets you easily transfer files to a computer. The Olympus doesn’t have quite as many high-quality recording options as the UX560, but it still has a range of formats that let you optimize quality or maximize storage space. Choose from a “noise cut” filter (which rolls off both low and high frequency sounds) or a low-cut filter to reduce boomy lower frequencies and rumbly sounds alone. Is it just as much effort to edit than it would be to start from scratch? But with 8 GB of internal storage, 130 hours of recording time, and a battery the company claims lasts 110 hours when recording in MP3 format, the WS-853 has the best storage and battery life of the recorders we tested. Just Press Record’s interface is intuitive and easy to use—as the app implies, you just tap Record and Stop to create recordings. This software allows you to easily … Wide pick-up range and good audio quality. It also has longer battery life than the UX560 at 55 hours, but it isn’t rechargeable—you have to remember to keep AAA batteries on hand. This recorder includes many of the features we like about the device above, including auto voice recording, which captures vocal frequencies and reduces background noise. *At the time of publishing, the price was $70. Navigating the menus is also more difficult than on our top pick. We eliminated the Olympus VN-722PC in the first iteration of this guide, as it received low scores from our original listening panel. For the fall 2017 update to this guide, Wirecutter’s Anna Perling spoke with several experts to learn what makes a great recorder. Parrot also has the most features of any app we tested, including noise suppression, echo cancellation, automatic gain control, and the ability to skip silences—a combination of features you can’t even get in apps you have to pay for. The voice notes app on your phone is all well and good, but it’s no real replacement for a high quality voice recorder. Some files that we sent via email never arrived, and after trying and failing to pause a recording in the app, it still wouldn’t stop—even after closing the app. You can easily name files right after recording, whereas even with a pricier app like Hi-Q, you need to navigate to a separate screen to rename your files. You can mark locations in your recording on the fly, so you can return to them later as you listen, and voice-activated recording can automatically stop you during pauses in conversation. The PX470 has a battery life of 55 hours, which is longer than that of our main pick, but it doesn’t have a built-in rechargeable battery; it uses AAA batteries. Option to sync to popular cloud platforms like iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox, Multiple storage and recording formats (MP3, MP4, WAV, as well as bitrate and sample rate options) to control for file size and audio quality, $5 or less, since we focused on apps for people who don’t need the features and audio quality of a hardware recorder. Listeners said of the coffee shop sample, “Wow! There are a few basic functions you’ll want from a good voice recorder, including superior audio quality, a size that is convenient to carry, plenty of storage space, and the ability to easily share and edit files. She reported, “The sound quality on our pick is infinitely better than when I use my phone—there's less background fuzz, voices are louder and clearer, and everything sounds a lot closer (vs. tinny and distant). We like recorders that automatically filter out ambient or peripheral noises to enhance the sound of the voice you’re recording. Lets deal with efficiency first. But no problems with durability—it has held up fine thrown in a backpack.”. To remove the annoying ads you’ll need to pay $2, and we don’t think this app is worth it. The Olympus boasts 110 hours of battery life when recording in MP3 at 128 Kbps, or about four times as long as our main pick. It’s always exciting to start a new project or launch a new product line, … Its small size fits neatly... 2. With a good voice recorder, you don’t have to worry … The Philips recorder lacks this function altogether; on the Olympus, Anna was able to rename files and folders from her Mac, but the device no longer saw them (the Olympus manual does warn against this possibility). This recorder also lacks a convenient erase button, so you’ll need to navigate through its menu to delete recordings. ), We recorded with noise cut (high- and low-pass filters) enabled on the recorders that had it (all of our test models except for the Philips) and scene-setting features appropriate for a given test situation turned on, based on the recommendations of our experts. It also offers a better collection of features than the other models we tested, with an easy-to-navigate menu system, a bright backlit screen, 39 hours of recording time (in MP3 format), 27-hour battery life, voice-activated recording to pause and restart after silences, and a pop-out USB 3.0 connector that lets you recharge the recorder and transfer files to a computer easily. The Olympus WS-853 is the recorder we’d get if our main pick is unavailable. The Philips DVT2510/00 Voice Tracer is an entry-level model that offers fewer features than the competition. This is a multi-functional voice recorder with auto record and A-B repeat, which allows you to flag a particular section and easily jump back and forth. Many apps can sync automatically to Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud so you can share or store your files without having to transfer them to a computer via USB. The Parrot app for Android has the best range of recording options and the cleanest interface of the free Android apps we tested. ... Set up in minutes and capture the whole meeting. I used the recorder [with] my phone as a backup when recording an interview in a retail store, and I was surprised at how much better the recorder did. It rated poorly in the lecture test, however, as listeners said that background and foreground noises overpowered the speaker’s voice. You can also optimize the audio with the device’s four preset scenes: music, meeting, interview, or dictation. These days, the audio quality and functionality that you can get from a recorder costing $100 or less is more than good enough to earn it a place in your kit if you record vocal audio fairly frequently and care even a little about sound quality. Like our pick, it’s slim enough to fit in a pants pocket, although it’s nearly twice as thick (0.71 inch) as the UX560. After your conversation, interview, or meeting, you can revisit parts of the recording by playing back the timestamped audio … If you must use an iPhone app, use Just Press Record. It allows up to 72 hours of WAV recording, or 1,000 hours of MP3, which is more than enough for most purposes. We liked that it’s one of the simplest ways to start and stop recording, it’s easy to quickly share your audio files, and it doesn’t include annoying ads like many free apps. Zoom H1n Handy Portable Digital Recorder Bundle. Wirecutter colleagues agreed that $100 was the maximum amount that most people should spend on a voice recorder. The PX470 doesn’t look as sleek as the UX560 (as you might expect for a cheaper model). 3. This voice recorder may look basic but it’s anything but. The UX560 is similar to our previous, now-discontinued pick, also from Sony. It’s also physically larger, measuring twice as thick as the UX560. Olympus introduces a ton of technical features that help it stand out too, including an “Intelligent Auto Mode” function that automatically adjusts microphone pickup and sensitivity based on how loud someone is speaking. Although its audio quality isn’t as good as our main pick’s, the Olympus WS-853 has more internal storage and longer battery life. If you need to record only occasionally, it may be more convenient to record with a smartphone that you already have (and usually have with you) rather than spending money on a device you’ll infrequently use. © Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. Our listening panel gave Just Press Record the highest audio-quality scores for an iOS app. Customizable recording settings, along with automatic transcription and cloud backup, make this a better option for important recordings. While our panel ranked the Sony PX470 lower than the UX560 in overall audio quality, the PX470 did get the highest scores for our interview recorded in a quiet office. You can kind of hear some room interference, but that's such a minor problem for a voice recorder that it's barely worth mentioning. Press record on the app, and the software listens, transcribes and then gives you the meeting minutes draft. We used to recommend Apple’s Voice Memos app but after hearing several reports about Voice Memos being unreliable, we removed it. The UX560 is a small, compact recorder that feels nice in the hand, and its matte plastic and sleek design make it look a little less cheap than others that were tested. Recordings were understandable enough, however, and if you don’t need the absolute best audio quality, the PX470 will save you some money. Just Press Record has an easy-to-navigate interface, with one large red button that you press to start and stop recordings. The best part: this voice recorder doubles as a music player, with the ability to play MP3 files through the built-in speakers or by plugging in a pair of headphones. Like all of the iOS apps we considered, you can easily share recordings made using Voice Memos via email, iMessage, Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, or any other app or service that integrates with iOS’s Share Sheet. It has a noise-reduction chip to enhance human voice recording and most people agree that the sound quality produced is excellent. The best recorders will have the ability to record in multiple file formats; offer settings that automatically adjust their microphones’ sensitivity for best results in common scenarios like lectures, meetings, and interviews; and have filters (EQ, akin to the bass and treble controls on a stereo system) to reduce excess low and high frequency background noise while you’re recording. Oddly, you won’t be able to use the A-B Repeat to replay the same section repeatedly in transcription mode. Ezvid is a free meeting recording software for Windows. The UX560 is also the slimmest recorder we tested—at 0.43 inch thick it can easily fit in a shirt or pants pocket. It records in MP3 audio; these files are compressed and require less memory, making them better for recording long lectures or meetings. Just Press Record doesn’t allow you to name folders and organize them; it automatically creates folders of recordings by date. Audio Quality: Excellent audio quality is a must. The two read a Seinfeld dialogue, with the mics facing toward the “interviewee,” or main speaker, to mimic an interview. The Sony UX560 received the highest overall scores from our listening panel, and it has the best combination of features of any recorder we tested. These included Jerad Lewis, a field application engineer working at TDK, which manufactures microphones, including MEMS mics (microelectromechanical microphones for smartphones), and Rob O’Reilly, a senior member technical staff at Analog Devices (which makes a range of audio and video electronic devices). Simple Record and Stop buttons at the top of the home screen are intuitive to use. The UX560 has a transcription mode that will give you a cleaner interface with fewer distractions while transcribing if that’s something you prefer, but you can still fast-forward, rewind, and adjust the digital pitch control in regular playback mode. It has 4 GB of storage with a microSD slot if you want to add memory—similar to what you get with our top pick, but less than what you get with our runner-up. Sony ICDUX560BLK voice recorder. Olympus is a worldwide leading manufacturer of sound … We found its menu system harder to navigate, and its recordings didn’t fare as well in our listening tests compared with the Sony UX560’s. Once she had the recordings, she noted how each recorder and app let her store the files, and how easy or difficult it was to transfer those files to her computer, label and organize them, and then upload them to Dropbox. The UX560 has a built-in USB 3.0 plug, which can be extended or retracted by sliding a button on the side of the recorder that lets you connect the recorder to your computer to download your recordings. While most people won’t need these features, Hi-Q also scored the highest in our audio-quality tests of the Android apps we tested. Smartphone microphones and noise-cancellation systems are optimized for close-up voice capture as well, and while some apps will let you tweak settings for better recording quality, you can generally get better results from a dedicated recorder. Other free apps, like Easy Voice Recorder, require several taps to get to the appropriate menu. Some even use software-based noise cancellation to digitally reduce noise in your recorded files. The best voice recorders won’t interrupt your recording with a pesky phone call, and they include a variety of helpful functions like easy start and stop, volume settings, and noise filtering, which can vastly improve the audio quality. Best for class. The UX560 was the easiest recorder to navigate and use among those tested. The PX470 is also slightly larger and bulkier—while the UX560 is about the thickness of an iPhone, the PX470 is closer to the thickness of two iPhones. The PX470’s menu system is similar to that of the UX560 and has an identical button layout. Our research shows that a meeting … For better audio quality, you can plug in an external mic, though we think that would be unnecessary for most people given the good results we were able to get with the onboard mics in our varied test situations. Voice Memo’s interface has clearly indicated Record, Play, and Done buttons; but it also lets you trim, save, and delete recordings without having to navigate away from its main screen, functions that set it apart from other iOS apps we tested. The Sony UX560 is an easy-to-use recorder that provides crisp, clear audio in the most-common recording situations. A covered but easily accessible microSD slot allows for 32 GB more of storage space if you need more recording hours. You can share files to Gmail, messages, and Facebook Messenger, and transfer files via Bluetooth. Learn more. With omnidirectional microphones for accurate recording from any position, an antirustle filter and a noise cancellation function, it's easy to obtain crisp sound, even from inside a shirt pocket. Parrot has the most ways to fine-tune recording and playback out of the free apps we tested. We hit record on all the hardware recorders at the same time in order to directly compare how each captured the same audio; for the apps, we took turns recording with an iPhone 6 and a Samsung HTC 10. If you need to record in a pinch, it’ll work well. The best voice recorder The Sony UX560 is an easy-to-use recorder that provides crisp, clear audio in the most-common recording situations. The screen, however, is smaller, dimmer, and harder to read than the UX560’s. Sony Mono Digital Voice Recorder. Anna then conducted a blind listening panel: Four Wirecutter staffers listened to 15-second samples of each unlabeled recording and rated the overall audio quality and intelligibility of words for each. Scene selection presets let you optimize EQ and microphone sensitivity settings for lectures, meetings, interviews, voice notes, and loud and soft music scenarios. It’s intuitive to use out of the box: Pressing the home button leads you to a simple toggle menu where you can record, fine-tune settings, and listen to music (that can be uploaded to the device from a computer) or recordings. Although this is frustrating, none of the iOS apps we tested had great organization options. It seemed counterintuitive to navigate using the up and down buttons to access different folders, and to have to press the side buttons twice to select items; it’s also missing a back button. We experienced some glitches while testing the $4 Easy Voice Recorder on Android. For listening on the device itself, it has a built-in speaker as well as an earphone jack. This voice recorder may look basic but it’s anything but. It also has a built-in USB 3.0 plug for easy file upload. Portable voice recorders are enormously helpful tools in many settings, whether you’re a college student recording a lecture, a musician recording a particular melody, a journalist recording an interview, or a professional recording an important meeting. Parrot is the rare free recording app that isn’t littered with ads. The PX333 also records only in mono, compared with stereo for the PX470. 8.6. Send us a tip using our anonymous form. Otter beat out all the other apps on this list by a wide margin, largely thanks to the great … *At the time of publishing, the price was $63. It’s also simple to share both files and transcriptions via iMessage, Mail, Drive, and more from the iOS Share screen. The WS-853 also has voice-activated recording to stop and restart recordings after silences, and a pop-out USB 3.0 connector for easy recharging and file transfer. It’s also packed with helpful features, like a voice-activated mode, so it will start up automatically when your lecturer begins speaking, for example. (Newer phones may have better microphones, but our experts said that on most smartphones, the app will have more of an effect on recording quality than the microphone. Multiple buttons at the top of the home screen make it quick to adjust recording settings. Choosing the best voice recorder was a challenge because many of the high-end voice recorders are designed with a specific audience or purpose in … For the coffee shop scene, she headed to a crowded Starbucks and sat near the bar with her mom. The larger screen makes the menus slightly easier to see in daylight, but the Olympus’s screen isn’t backlit, making it harder to use in low-light settings. Want more Rolling Stone? Plus, the UX560 conveniently comes with a built-in rechargeable battery, so you won’t need to keep spare batteries on hand (though you will need to bring a charger or wall adapter if you need to charge on the go). Soniclear recorder provides a clear voice quality of even the softest voice around the room. The built-in microphone and 4GB of storage will get you up to 1,570 hours of recording in WMA format, … The recorder comes with 4 GB of storage, which allows for roughly 39 hours of recording time using MP3 format at 192 Kbps; that’s comparable to what you get with most of the recorders we tested. Recorders have built-in storage space, more file-management options, and longer-lasting batteries that are dedicated to recording and playback—you won’t need to worry about saving battery power for sending and receiving texts, emails, or phone calls. If you want the most granular control of recording format, sample rate and bit rate to optimize for file size, audio quality, or even just to use open-source formats like OGG or FLAC, it’s the app for you. (If true-to-life sound is your primary goal but you don’t know what hardware to get, the podcasting site Transom.org is a great place to start.). For supported versions, you can synchronize Dragon Anywhere with your desktop and do voice work on your computer as well. Annoyingly, this app also automatically plays recordings when you select them to share. That said, audio heard through earphones is much superior to the sound produced by the built-in speaker. The best smartphone apps for occasional recording, senior member of technical staff at Analog Devices, The 6 Best Voice Recorders to Buy in 2017, The Best Record Player Setup for Beginners. For example, you can access mic source and effects by tapping the on-screen Settings button once. This Olympus voice recorder is a must-have in our reporting kit, thanks to its high-quality MP3 recording, 8GB of internal memory and ability to transfer files to a micro SD card or to your device via USB. You can browse files and folders on the same page. The PX470 has transcription-friendly playback options nearly identical to the more expensive UX560’s that work just as well, including Clear Voice noise cancellation, a transcription mode with a cleaner interface, A-B Repeat, and digital pitch control, but it doesn’t have a track mark list to jump to highlighted parts of a recording. With Parrot, you can opt to store files in compressed and uncompressed formats, with options will let you adjust your file size and audio quality to your needs.) The main complaint from listeners was that the lecture and coffee shop audio samples sounded “tinny.” We also found that the Olympus’s menu system is less intuitive than that of the UX560. It recorded the most intelligible audio of all the recorders we tested and offers the most useful collection of features: It’s rechargeable via USB; it has a legible, backlit screen; and its menu system is the easiest to navigate. The Olympus is made of shiny plastic and has raised buttons that some people will find easier to use. “There are a lot of recorders out there today that will do a good job recording conversations in the presence of lots of other background noise,” said O’Reilly of Analog Devices. We skipped over the Sony ICD-PX333 for this round of testing in favor of the comparable, newer PX470. The Olympus’s 8 GB of storage is double that of most of the models we considered, including the UX560, and you can expand it even further with a microSD card. Good voice-recording apps have easy-to-use interfaces that let you quickly navigate files and folders, as opposed to the more complicated file storage systems of most hardware voice recorders. Wirecutter is reader-supported. 99 Put Amazon's Alexa to work for you with these great smart-home devices. At that size, it’s not as convenient to carry around in a pocket. Here’s how to pick. Noise-cancellation technology helps to filter out ambient noise — say, traffic or an air conditioner — so you can clearer playback. For people who need to record audio regularly for school or work, a dedicated device will give you better audio quality and more features than an app. So if you’re trying to type up a lecture or interview with a particularly fast-talker, you can slow down the voice speed and save yourself the trouble of rewinding the same 15 seconds over and over. The Sony PX470, the budget pick, barely edged out the UX560 in a quiet office. That meant 192 Kbps for all recorders except for the Olympus, which maxes out at 128 Kbps (though even this should be good enough for voice recordings). © 2020 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, More storage and longer battery life, lower-quality audio, If you mainly record in quiet environments, the best iOS and Android voice-recording apps. She also consulted with Wirecutter writer Lauren Dragan, who has a degree in audio production and vocal performance, heads our headphone coverage, and has designed audio-quality and appraisal-testing procedures for our site; Lauren helped Anna design a listening panel to assess the audio quality of the recorders we tested. The Sony UX560’s extra features make an already-great recorder stand out from the rest. Otter. The UX560 offers a range of file and recording formats so you can opt for better audio quality or smaller file sizes. We dismissed transcription and call recorder apps, since this guide is geared toward in-person recording of meetings, lectures, and interviews. To find out what makes a good recorder, we spoke to two experts: Jerad Lewis from TDK, and Rob O’Reilly at Analog Devices. If your smart speaker is a Google Home, here are the best devices that work with it. The UX560’s bright, backlit screen makes the display easier to read than the other recorders we tested except the Philips DVT2510, which has a color display. Like other picks, this recorder has a voice-activation function, as well as power-on password protection which is useful for any sensitive recordings. Like many of the other recorders we looked at, it comes with an adequate amount of onboard storage (4 GB) but accepts microSD cards, so you can record and store hundreds of hours of recorded audio should you need it. We looked at the latest offerings from reputable manufacturers of recorders like Olympus, Sony, and Philips, and we browsed Amazon’s 40 best-selling digital voice recorders.
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