Updated Oct 11, 2021
Are you in need of a voice recorder but not sure which is the best voice recorder on the market? In this review, we reviewed the best models that you can choose from. Whether you need one for lecture classes, recording thoughts, work meetings or even music recording, you can’t miss your ideal partner here.
So let’s start with the top 7 voice recorders:
7 Best Voice Recorders
SONY ICD PX333 DIGITAL VOICE RECORDER – BEST OVERALL VOICE RECORDER
The Sony ICD-PX333 is an excellent, simple and affordable digital voice recorder. It is great for business, lectures, music, personal dictation and more.
This digital audio recorder comes with two microphones for stereo recording in LP mode or MP3 8kbps. This means it does not record in a lossless format but in compressed formats only.
The Sony ICD-PX333 features Intelligent Noise Cut technology that does a good job at reducing ambient noise in recordings to clear sound when playing back. However, the downside is that this function does not work effectively with every setting.
This device comes with a USB port and cable that makes it easy to transfer recordings to your computer. Additionally, you can create multiple folders, and save them with specific names for easy sorting and retrieval. To add on to this, with 4GB of onboard memory, you have over 178 hours of recording time and Micro SD expansion slot for additional recording space. You also do not have to worry about running out of charge as the recorder runs on 2 AAA batteries to keep you powered for up to about 96 hours.
The user interface is simple and comes with only five buttons. In addition, most of these buttons have multiple functions so it is not hard to figure out what does what. In addition, basic instructions will flash on the screen.
The Scene Select function is great as it automatically sets levels based on the activity being recorded, for instance, voice notes or interviews. It also has a voice-activated mode to let you conveniently make hands-free recordings.
Use the big built-in speaker at the bottom of the recorder for playback and you also have the option of plugging in headphones for more discreet listening.
Sony pairs its software with the ICD-PX333 recorder and can be used to transfer and play files.
- Wonderfully picks the audio
- Has an easy to use interface
- Intuitive functions and menu options
- Has excellent sound quality
- Efficient in energy consumption
- Has a good battery life
- Built-in 4GB and expandable memory
- It has a range of recording options
- Allows fast forward through a recording
- The display is not backlit
- Noise cancellation is not very effective
ZOOM ZH1 H1 HANDY PORTABLE DIGITAL RECORDER – BEST BUDGET VOICE RECORDER
This portable digital recorder has a unique X/Y arrangement of stereo microphones. A great technique for live stereo recording as it provides wide area coverage while still picking sound sources with definition and clarity.
Alternatively, there is an option of connecting a small external microphone via a single line-in on the recorder. However, you cannot record using both this option and the built-in microphone simultaneously.
The H1 records in WAV and MP3 formats.WAV format being the uncompressed raw recording in standard (16 bit/44.1 kHz) or professional quality (24-bit/96 kHz), an important function if recording audio for a video. MP3 recordings, on the other hand, are compressed, meaning that some data has been removed before storage. This makes them smaller than WAV files hence easier to upload or download.
Additionally, the H1 records on a microSD card with a provided 2GB card. However, you can switch up to a 32 GB microSD card to get additional hours of recording time at 16-bit/44.1KHz.
Matters connectivity, the recorder has a 3.5mm microphone input, a 3.5mm headphone output as well as a USB 2.0 port. You can also monitor the device’s sound using headphones or with the recorder’s small built-in speaker.
Another interesting feature of this device is a tripod mount on the back, great for attaching onto a tripod. This gives you more control over directions of the microphones and cuts down on noise coming from a hand-held recording.
The Zoom H1 runs on a single standard AA battery, with an excellent recording time of about 10 hours.
- It comes with a simple and easy to use control layout
- Provides a Micro SD
- Has a wealth of audio quality settings
- Great sound quality, terrific stereo recording, and noise reduction
- Stereo microphones
- Uses only 1 AA battery
- Allows external microphone connectivity
- Ability to easily process the audio recording
- It is affordable
- Comes in a small and Lightweight build
- Good match for DSLR cameras
- Provides a standard tripod mount
- The device can record in either WAV or MP3
- Its plastic build is a bit delicate
- It has no XLR inputs
- Takes a while to turn it on and start recording
- It is not rechargeable via USB
ZOOM H2N – HANDY RECORDER
The Zoom H2N is a handy and versatile digital audio recorder. This recorder features five mic capsules onboard, the only one of its kind. The design enables the H2n to record in four unique recording modes: Mid-Side (MS) stereo, X/Y, 2-channel and 4-channel surround and an additional Spatial Audio through a software update.
The H2N is incredibly easy to use with its newly rewritten user interface. Key controls are easily accessible that make studio-quality recording an easy task. This device also houses a variety of comprehensive functions that include auto-Gain, a compressor, time stamping and more. Additionally, a bright, backlit 1.8” LCD screen provides crystal-clear monitoring and will ease your navigation through all of the unit’s functions
Zoom H2N only allows WAV and MP3, in a range of 16-bit/44.1kHz to 24-bit/96 kHz and from 48 Kbps to 320 Kbps, respectively. It also uses SD/SDHC cards for audio storage and can further accommodate max 32GB SDHC card to give longer recording time. Additionally, it also comes with a 2GB SD card to get you started.
You can import your files to your Mac or PC by use of the device’s High-Speed USB 2.0 interface. Once transferred, you can now easily make your adjustments and store your recording accordingly. Additionally, a second USB mode turns the device into an audio interface. This lets you record directly to your computer and use the headphone output for monitoring.
With a new data recovery feature, you do not have to worry about losing your recordings to unexpected errors. This feature automatically restores your data when you power on the H2n.
The H2N offers a gain wheel that allows perfect gain control for any given application, conveniently positioned for single hand operation.
Zoom, from its website, offers a downloadable VST M/S Decoder plug-in that you use with Steinberg’s WaveLab LE7. This software is bundled free with the Zoom H2n that you can use for audio editing and professional-quality processing.
This recorder also features a remote control port which, when connected can be used to control several features.
The H2N operates on two standard AA alkaline batteries that will offer over 20 hours of continuous operation. Additionally, the recorder can also operate via an AC adapter that is sold separately.
- Good quality sound
- Extremely portable
- Has an impressive microphone array and preamps
- The battery life is outstanding
- Uses a Mic gain wheel
- Has great sensitivity
- High recording resolution
- Difficulty in picking up low frequencies
- The battery cover can be a bit tricky to open
- The rocker selection control can be a bit difficult to operate
OLYMPUS VN-722PC VOICE RECORDERS – BEST RECORDING TIME VOICE RECORDER
The Olympus VN-722PC is an easy-to-use digital voice recorder that comes with a simple and straightforward design. Ideal for beginners recording meetings, lectures, and even conferences.
This recorder features a large LCD display which when tuned to Simple Mode, will only show crucial information in large fonts for easy operation. In addition, the recorder will limit the functions to only the frequently used ones.
There is also a scene select feature where you can optimize the settings depending on the event you are covering. In addition to that, it can work with added available options like the Telephone Recording or Duplication functions.
The VN-722PC recorder features a low-noise, built-in mono microphone with a large diameter. This microphone records sound from every direction to give you very clear recordings. In fact, it is highly functional in such a way that it will even eliminate any breathing sounds.
Another impressive feature of this recorder is the calendar function that marks your recordings with a date. This feature makes it very simple to search through the files when needed.
There is also a conveniently built-in stand attached to the back of the recorder. It keeps it upright to view the display and easily access the buttons while recording.
VN-722PC offers 4 GB internal memory that gives you 1600 hours of recording time before it runs low on space. Combined with two AAA alkaline batteries that provide 100 hours of battery life, you will not worry about interrupted recording. Alternatively, there is an option of purchasing NI-MH rechargeable batteries to have you covered in the event the batteries die.
Bundled with the recorder is a compact portable USB cable for easy file transfer to your PC. There is also additional space to store extra micro SD cards for more storage space if needed.
- It can easily look up previous recordings due to its PC connection
- It is sturdy and well built
- Comes with internal memory and expandable memory (32GB)
- It records clearly
- Can use both disposable and Rechargeable batteries
- It comes with a noise filtering microphone
- Offers USB file transfer
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Does not have solid direction on the screen menu
- The USB cable is only 2 inches long
SONY ICD-PX440 STEREO IC DIGITAL VOICE RECORDER – BEST DESIGN VOICE RECORDER
The Sony ICD-PX440 is a compact and lightweight digital voice recorder that perfectly fits well in a pocket.
This audio recorder comes with two microphones for stereo recording and records in compressed 192kbps MP3 as its highest fidelity. That means the recordings are not of very good quality as those of higher-end devices. However, this device’s recording range is between 10 to 15 meters of quality reception.
Additionally, Sony ICD-PX440 features Intelligent Noise Cut technology. It has three settings that reduce ambient noise while recording to give a clear end product.
With a cue marker function, you can mark important points in your recording and store up to 98 Track Marks in each recorded file. This function comes in handy during playback for easier navigation.
Sony ICD-PX440 has an A-B repeat function that enables continuous and automatic replay of a recording. All that is needed is to place marks at the points where you want the loop to begin and to end. It will repeat this selection for you. This is a great feature for studying or learning a language. In addition, there is also a Search feature for rewinding and fast-forwarding in short increments.
The recorder comes with a 4GB internal storage. Additionally, there is a USB port and cable, to easily transfer your recordings to the computer. For long hours of recordings, Sony ICD-PX440 also has a removable microSD memory card for additional storage space of 32GB.
This device’s only power source is a pair of AAA batteries that has excellent battery life.
- It is lightweight and compact
- Has a simple and easy to navigate user interface
- Comes with USB cable for file transfer
- Great battery life for long hours
- Easy to manage your recordings
- Has special EQ filters for sound clarity
- The plastic build feels flimsy
- Overall audio quality is average
- Voice reduction is not good in some settings
OLYMPUS VN721PC 2GB DIGITAL VOICE RECORDER – BEST BATTERY LIFE VOICE RECORDER
The VN-721PC is a very versatile digital voice recorder ideal for notes taking, lectures, or even reminders. This recorder features an LCD display as well as an inbuilt speaker with a conveniently designed interface for ease of use.
VN-721PC also comes with a large diameter microphone that records sound from every direction with less noise for clearer recording. In addition to the inbuilt speaker and microphone, there are also 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks.
It offers a simple mode function for beginners so that it only shows necessary information in large font. This also limits the menu to most frequently used functions. Additionally, there is also the normal mode with full functionality available for advanced users.
Another impressive and important feature is the built-in stand attached to the back of the recorder. This helps to keep the recorder propped allowing the users to view the display as well as easily access the buttons. It also contributes to high-quality recording since it reduces the noise directly emitted from the surface.
From the menu, you can easily select optimum recording settings in accordance with the scenes you want to record from. Also, with some added options, you can now easily record telephone conversations as well as a duplicate from cassette tapes.
The VN-721PC offers 2GB of internal memory enabling you to record for long hours without running short of space.
Recording and playback with this recorder are in standard high-function WMA format. It also allows mass storage of audio files for saving and emailing as well as transfers to your computer via USB connectivity.
The recorder features a Calendar Search Function that allows the user to easily search for files by date, and easily play them back.
Another good feature is the Voice Activation function. This saves time by automatically starting and stopping the recorder when there is sound and when the sound stops.
As good as that sounds, perhaps the standout attribute of this model is its battery life. We are talking of more than 100 hours of battery life.
Then there’s the Voice Activation function which makes automatic starting and stopping of the recorder. An extra benefit that saves time and energy.
- Comes with a very intuitive interface and clear display
- Picks distant sounds easily
- Comes with USB cable for easy file transfer
- Has a good sound quality
- The noise filters are very effective
- It is compact and light
- The speaker is loud
- Excellent battery life
- Does not support MP3 recording format
- The LCD display is not backlit
Olympus’ LS-P2 is a compact and portable digital voice recorder with a combination of advanced technology and cutting-edge design.
The LS-P2 comes with a three microphone system. These are both directional and omnidirectional microphones for effectively capturing the depth and fullness of the sound. The two stereo microphones are arranged at a 90° angle while the central microphone captures the low-range sounds. This Tresmic combination extends a wide frequency response down to 20Hz.
The linear PCM recording is supported by up to 24 bits and sampling frequencies of up to 96 kHz. Additionally, the mics can also handle SPLs of up to 120dB without clipping. For longer recording time, MP3 recordings from 8 to 320 kbps are also available.
LS-P2 uses the latest technologies of zoom microphone. This microphone gives the power of proximity to noisy environments or for distant recordings. It allows the expansion and contraction of the microphone range by adjusting the direction with a plus and a minus button.
The recorder also has a voice playback function that allows skipping of non-voice sections while playing back. This saves time, as you will only play the parts with vocal content. Additionally, the file editing function will help you split, trim, or remove altogether the unwanted spaces between audible materials.
LS-P2 runs on a single AAA battery and can also charge the included NiMH battery using the USB connector. With the USB connector, you can easily transfer your data directly to your PC without having to use an external cable.
Onboard with this recorder is 8GB of internal memory and a Micro SD card slot for additional storage. The LS-P2 can also connect to peripheral Bluetooth devices. This is great for wire-free recording and playback as well as for remote control. There is also a free control app for android called Olympus Audio Controller BT that you will find helpful.
Another useful thing is the included tripod adapter for hands-free operation. This fits well with a third-party shock mount.
- Features a versatile three-mic array
- Many useful record and playback functions
- Has Bluetooth connectivity and audio playback
- Excellent sound quality
- Long battery life
- Easy to master and use interface
- It comes with a USB connector
- Optional use of rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries
- Has an easy to read LCD display
- The free control app is available for Android only
- Only 44.1/48kHz 16-bit recording options
VOICE RECORDER BUYING GUIDE – How to choose the best voice recorder
From the above 7 best voice recorder reviews, you can see that voice recorders vary from one model to another.
This is why it is of great importance that you pay close attention to the features of each model in accordance to your needs.
In this buying guide, we will look at the key features to consider when shopping for a voice recorder.
Sound quality and audio file formats
For any type of recording, the sound quality is vital.
You will find that most digital voice recorders have multiple sound quality settings. For instance, Long Play setting has the lowest quality, Standard Play has medium quality, and High Quality has the highest quality. Typically, higher quality recordings need more memory and consequently reduce the recording time. It is therefore advisable to supplement the recording time with extra storage devices such as flash drives or SD cards.
Additionally, we have two types of audio file formats. Compressed and Uncompressed. Higher compression generally means lower quality sound. Therefore, you should look for a recorder that will capture uncompressed audio in AIFF or PCM (Wav) formats. These formats store the audio in its raw uncompressed form. This means you get to maintain the original recording quality.
Most voice recorders come with built-in flash memory. With this, you can record and store data within the recorder then transfer to your computer using USB connection.
Some voice recorders will also offer expandable memory, most of them up to 32GB. This allows you to create additional memory in the form of a memory stick or an SD card for unlimited capacity. Additionally, certain models offer the option of organizing media files and recordings into separate folders.
Almost all voice recorders have built-in microphones. However, there are those that offer an optional connection to an external microphone. Inbuilt mics are best for indoor recordings since they typically pick sounds in the nearest surroundings, including the background noise.
On the other hand, with external microphones, you get higher quality recordings even in noisy environment.
These microphones come in two types, unidirectional (cardioid) and omnidirectional. With Unidirectional microphones, you capture sound from a selected source, suppressing any other unwanted noise. Ideal for one-on-one interviews. With Omnidirectional microphones, you evenly capture sound from all directions. Some high-quality voice recorders can also adjust the built-in microphone sensitivity as well as monitor the recording levels.
The battery life of voice recorders varies from one model to another. If you are a heavy user, however, pick one with rechargeable batteries.
Some voice recorders can be difficult to use with non-intuitive menus. You should look for a recorder with a simple, user-friendly design, with buttons that are easy to access.
Voice-activated recorders remain in standby mode until they pick up a voice then automatically begin to record. These types of voice recorders are good for discrete recordings, therefore can be used by surveillance people.
When recording, you may experience some background noise, especially if you are outside as opposed to recording indoors. Some voice recorders come with built-in noise reduction that may even include preset features for recording in various settings.
This is an essential feature of a voice recorder for clearer recording.
Do you need a voice recorder for transcription use?
If you plan to convert your recordings into text, then you may want to look for a recorder that comes with transcription software or one that allows an integration of a downloadable one. This will come in handy as opposed to manually transcribe everything later.
What is your budget?
Prices for voice recorders hugely vary with some going for as low as $10 and others for as high as $1000. The market options are endless. However, while it is preferable to get the most detailed sound possible, there is no need to spend a lot of money on a limb. There are so many great voice recorders that deliver great sound at a reasonable price.
What is the purpose of your voice recorder?
It is important to consider what you intend to use the voice recorder for before purchasing one. Consider a voice recorder with very clear recordings of lectures, interviews or even conversations that need transcribing afterward.
For quality audio output, for instance, music production or vlogging, you might want to consider getting a recorder of a higher quality. It may be costly but will pack some useful advanced features.
Best Voice Recorder For You
Having covered the different features and things to consider before purchasing a voice recorder, you are now in a position to make an informed purchase. We also hope this voice recorders review has helped you compare and choose a product that suits your needs best.
Which do you think is the best voice recorder for you?