Even though transcribed interviews can deliver a lot of benefits, recording an interview requires the right equipment.
When the interviewee talks so quickly, you may miss some of what is being said.
There’s also the chance the person may have a voice that’s easily drowned out by background noise or the sound of other conversations in the room.
Using the right digital voice recorder is a big help in this situation.
It allows you to capture the speaker(s)’ words accurately… no matter what else is going on around you.
Yes, this even includes interviewees who speak very fast.
There are many choices for Interview recorder models in the market.
It can be challenging to pick the one that will suit you best.
To make sure that you will be able to get your hands on the best dictaphone for interviews, it helps to do your research before making a purchase.
How to Pick the Best Dictaphone for interviews
Given the wide variety of choices, picking the best Interview recorder is not an easy feat.
You have to set a criteria when deciding. This will help you narrow down your options.
It will also help lessen the time you will spend looking since you already know what features to focus on.
You will not be overwhelmed by what is in front of you.
Even if you’re recording an interview in circumstances that are far from meeting dictation best practices, with the right piece of equipment, you’re sure to get audio that can be transcribed with little trouble.
What should I look for in a digital voice recorder?
Interview recorders can pick up all sounds, but for interviews, it is essential that the voices of the people speaking stand out.
This is where the microphone comes in.
The microphone of your recorder must be exceptional. The microphone will determine how much of the conversation it will pick up.
Voice recording devices can be equipped either with unidirectional or omnidirectional microphones.
Unidirectional means that it will record only the sounds in front of it and blocks the rest. On the other hand, omnidirectional microphones pick up everything.
Unidirectional microphones are limited to recording in one direction but would also cancel out more unnecessary noise.
Use it by placing the recorder right in front of the speaker.
The omnidirectional microphone is useful if more than one person is being interviewed.
However, because it captures all sound, it could also pick up too much noise-either radiated (bounced) or direct.
Consider these points when choosing the voice recorder you would buy.
Background noises cannot be avoided sometimes. It is useful if you can set the meeting in a tame and quiet environment.
However, it is not always possible for every interview that you will have to do that.
It is essential then that your recording device has a noise cancellation feature, which can filter ambient sounds.
“White” noise can often disrupt a sound recording.
It can drown the voice of the main speaker that will make you strain to hear that person.
The noise filter or noise cancellation feature helps clear out low-frequency sounds.
It aids in making the quality of the recording better.
File Format, Storage, and Transfer
It is crucial that your recording can easily be played back on other devices.
There are many ways a file can be saved or converted though not all are very convenient.
Some require additional software just to be played on the computer, and this could be inconvenient sometimes.
Therefore, choose a recorder that saves files in a format that is ready to play.
Two of the best file formats you can choose from are MP3 and WAV. Some recorders use one or the other while some can employ both.
The advantage of the MP3 format is that it takes up less resources.
It does not take much storage space, and it is usually sufficient for everyday recording needs.
It is best for recording lectures, podcasts, or those that require a focus on voice quality.
Your final choice for this feature should lie heavily on your main reason for buying your device.
The length of the recording and the file format will affect the size of the file. You must have enough storage to keep your recording.
Check out the storage capacity of your voice recorder. Determine if it is sufficient for the purpose you intend it for.
Another option is to make sure that aside from the internal memory, it also has memory expansion capacity. Look for an SD card slot.
Check the product description to know the extent of its storage. It will be an inconvenience to be cut off in the middle of an interview because you ran out of storage space.
Finally, make sure that you can transfer the files with ease.
Believe it or not, interview tape recorder devices from decades back actually made file transfer easy from device to device.
After all, tape cassettes were the only game in town. Fast forward to today and you have tons of digital transfer options.
The portable interview recorder you choose must have two or more of these options:
• USB port and data transfer cable
• Built-in USB stick
• External memory or microSD slot
• Bluetooth connectivity
Convenience should also be part of your considerations in finding the best dictaphone for interviews.
Bulky and heavy devices are very uncomfortable to bring along.
They take up a lot of space and can weigh you down.
A good-sized recorder will be easy to store.
Look for one that can easily fit in your pocket or can be left hanging around your neck for easy access.
Aside from this, it must also be easy to operate. You will never know when the sudden need for recording comes.
Imagine doing an interview and being cut off just before you wrap up.
Battery life is essential so that you could avoid inconvenient situations like this.
This is why you have to make sure that your choice includes a battery type that supports long standby time or recording hours.
The charging time for batteries is also an excellent factor to consider.
With good battery life, you will continuously record long interviews without fear of going low on your battery.
These are just five of the main factors you should keep in mind when choosing the best dictaphone for interviews.
You may also look at the control keys, backlight display, microphone jack, and other minor features.
What is crucial is that you can have all the essential factors provided above to maximize the use of your device.
Now that you already know what to look for in a voice recorder, it is time to start your search.
As mentioned earlier, there are so many to choose from.
Many options will meet your demands.
How will you decide? I suggest that you read product reviews.
Reviews help you look deeper into a product without having to buy it yet.
You will see the pros and cons of each item.
You will also see other customer experiences and how consistent the product performs.
This way, you will be more informed. There is a lesser chance of regret.
Here are some reviews that might help you decide which voice recorder to purchase.
Editor’s choice: Sony ICDUX560BLK
Among the voice recorders in this list, Sony ICDUX560BLK stands out the most in terms of overall value and performance.
This device’s selling point is its multiple recording options: normal, narrow/focus, and wide/stereo.
It is very portable with dimensions of 4.25 x 1.13 x 6.75 inches and around 0.01 pounds.
You can bring it along with you all the time with no hassle.
File transfer can be done via microSD with 4GB storage. It uses two AAA batteries, which come with the purchase.
This voice recorder also charges quickly.
A 3-minute charging time enables you to use the device for up to 1 hour.
• User-friendly interface
• Recording level indicator
• Fast charging battery and can be used for a long time
• Built-in USB eases file transfer
• Small but resilient
• The button lock switch prevents accidental switches
• No brightness adjustments for the screen
• If the USB fails, you can no longer transfer file
Best Voice Recorders for Interviews priced $75 and below
This product boasts of its 16GB memory capacity. It has a built-in microphone, records MP3, WMA, and WAV audio formats, and comes with one lithium polymer battery.
This voice recorder captures 1536kbps crystal clear audio.
It is handy, with dimensions of 3.94 x 1.06 x 0.39. It cancels noise effectively for better playback.
• Easy file transfer to a computer using a USB cable
• Simple interface, straightforward buttons.
• It is voice-activated. It can be set to record only when the speaker talks
• Long battery life
• Time-stamped recording for easier file management.
• Comes with a free ebook.
• The microphone can be overly sensitive to sounds.
• The screen display is not big enough.
• You need to go through the manual for the more intricate details of the device.
This is a user-friendly voice recorder. Its simple interface allows faster access to recordings.
It comes with a built-in USB connector for ease of file transfer.
The Auto Voice Recognition helps reduce white noise for a clearer recording.
The device is lightweight, weighing around 0.35 pounds and with dimensions of 4.31 x 1.44 x 7 inches. It records audio in MP3 format.
Inside the box are (2) AAA alkaline batteries that can last up to 57 hours.
• Long battery life
• Plays back the file you chose to delete to ensure you picked the right one
• Plug and play, easy to operate
• Superior playback volume and clarity
• Difficulty going back to specific points on the recording
• Recordings get deleted when the battery dies
• The other recording features do not work as great as the automatic recording
If you need long hours of recording, this is the brand for you. Its 16GB storage allows 288 hours of recording.
File transfer is also a breeze with both USB 2.0 and microSD functions available.
It is only around 0.53oz and 2.83×0.82×0.51 inches, very lightweight, and convenient to carry.
The device has built-in batteries that can last up to 8 hours, with just 2 hours of charging.
It is easy to operate using one key-recording.
Its highly sensitive microphone picks up conversations clearly and saves them in WAV format.
• Long battery life, short charging time.
• Big storage capacity for longer recordings
• Very portable, easy to use, and carry
• Two-options for file transfer
• Highly sensitive microphone for better recording
• Refund option and 100 days warranty
• Can be played directly on Android/PC
• Not all background noise is filtered
• May be too small for others
• Not very sturdy needs to be handled with care
This product is equipped with a dual sensitive microphone for superior recording.
It stores up to 16GB of files in MP3 format and can be expanded to 32GB using external memory.
It is convenient, just 2.4oz and 45.84 x 15.12 x 6.12 inches.
It has a built-in lithium 800mAh rechargeable battery for up to 45 hours of non-stop recording.
• Very clear voice recording due to its dual microphone
• High memory capacity
• Long battery life
• Simple interface
• Lifetime software upgrade service
• Password protection for better safekeeping of files.
• 16 levels of play speed options.
• Audio playback is quite challenging
• No user guide
• Does not cut out much background noise
Mibao is a 16GB digital voice recorder that is very portable, with a sleek, high-precision metal structure.
It saves files as MP3 audio, WAV, and WMA formats, which can be transferred to another device using its USB port.
This voice recorder is equipped with multi-directional microphones that record sound clearly.
It also has noise cancellation features to help in a more pristine recording.
• High storage capacity, expandable up to 64GB
• User-friendly interface
• Backlit LCD
• Voice-activated recording
• Supports long-distance recording
• Equipped with noise reduction technology
• Add-on features such as music and FM radio
• 24-hour playback capability
• 60-day money-back guarantee
• Slow internal memory function
• It takes time to start recording
• Screen timeout every 60 seconds prevent automatic voice recording
Best Voice Recorders for Interviews priced $150 and below
This voice recorder infuses analog with digital. It has the simplicity of an analog recorder and the advancement of Olympus technology.
The Olympus VN-7200 is a very portable, with just 6.1 x 5.2 x 1.8 inches in dimensions and 0.4pounds weight.
It comes with 2 AAA batteries. The recording time is 1151 long in three different modes.
It is also equipped with voice activation technology.
• Options for fast or slow playback
• Clear sound recording
• Very affordable for the quality
• Easy to operate
• Made with high-quality materials
• It has no PC interface
• Need to buy additional accessories for connectivity
• Slow file transfer using cable
Convenience in file transfer is the strongest selling point of this device.
It gives you three options: USB, microSD, and Secure Digital Card. Files are saved in WMA and MP3 formats.
Its internal memory capacity is 2GB, equivalent to 823 hours of recording but is expandable through its SD card slot.
It uses one Lithium battery, which comes with your purchase. It is also very handy at 4.3 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches and 0.16 pounds.
• Has a built-in stand
• Can edit, archive, and connect to email via USB
• Intuitive buttons
• Fantastic voice-recording quality
• Easy file transfer to your Mac or PC
• Low internal memory
• Tiny display screen
• Only selected types of earphones are compatible
This product is known for its high-sensitivity built-in microphone.
It is very portable at 8.2 x 6.2 x 4.7 inches.
It saves media in MP3, WMA, and WAV formats.
The storage capacity of this device is expandable up to 32GB. This can be connected to other devices via microSD or USB.
This voice recorder operates using a built-in lithium battery.
• User-friendly interface
• More options for file transfer
• Built-in USB allows for direct connection
• Headphone jacks available for convenient listening to recordings
• Up to 5 hours and 20 minutes recording and playback
• Comes with 32GB MicroSD and hard case cover for convenient handling
• Excessively bright display backlight
• Cannot customize file names
• Can still improve on its material
This is a portable, versatile, digital recorder.
This device is built with an ultra-sensitive microphone, easy-to-use playback, and storage time of up to 260 hours.
Its 8GB memory is expandable using a microSD card. It can be easily connected to your PC with its built-in USB port.
It cuts noise effectively and has a wide dynamic range.
It is very compact and lightweight, 4.4 x 1.5 x 0.71 inches, making it very convenient to bring along.
This voice recorder uses 2 AAA batteries for more extended playback.
• Adjustable microphone sensitivity
• Its simple mode is perfect for beginners
• Has two-directional microphone for better sound pickup
• Clear audio recording
• Superb operability
• Auto mode adjusts to match the level of the sound source
• Comes with a cleaning cloth
• The batteries provided can be replaced with better ones.
• The earphone jack on the side may be inconvenient
• Does not have lecture setting or zoom mic
Best Voice Recorders for Interviews priced $150 and above
SONY ICD PX333
This is one of the hottest selling voice recorders because it checks all the features you need to look for in a voice recorder.
It has microSD and USB transfer options. Memory storage for this is at 4GB but can be further expanded if needed using the memory card slot.
It uses two AAA batteries for longer hours of recording.
It cuts noise intelligently and saves files as mono MP3. It can be easily transferred to your ac/PC using the provided USB cable.
It is sleek and easy to carry around is 0.82 x 1.48 x 4.49 inches and 74grams
• A-B repeat function
• Exceptional sound quality
• Easy to use
• Convenient file transfer
• It has a superior noise cancellation feature
• System Requirements: Windows XP (SP3), Vista (SP2), 7, 8 Mac OS X 10.3.9 to 10.8
• Needs to adjust microphone sensitivity
• Best to keep in a case for safety
This voice recorder offers convenience at your fingertips. This device is straightforward to use with its scene select function.
It can transfer files to your Mac or PC easily using its USB cable.
This voice recorder can store up to 1,073 hours of recording in its 4GB built-in memory that is still expandable using a MicroSD/M2.
It also has noise reduction ability for a clearer recording.
• Compact and portable
• Long battery life
• Great sound quality
• Filters noise well
• High-sensitivity sound pick up
• Can transfer files conveniently
• Has a built-in USB connector for easy connectivity
• Does not have a backlit screen
• Small display screen
• Low grip due to smooth surface
This device can record up to 493 hours with its 2GB built-in memory.
If you need more storage, it can be expanded to 32GB with its MicroSD/SDHC slot.
Files are stored as MP3 or WMA and can be transferred directly to your PC using its built-in USB connector.
It is powered by one AAA battery. It is lightweight and compact at 4 x 1.6 x 0.6 inches.
• The direct USB connector allows easy file transfer
• The calendar function helps to organize files
• Eliminates dead air during playback on transcription mode
• Expandable memory for more extended recording
• Recording scene selection function available
• No rewind function
• Requires earphones for better sound quality
• Can be quite challenging to use without reading the manual
This device is designed to record up to 514 hours in its 2GB memory. Its microSD allows for memory expansion and easy file transfer.
It saves files as WMA Stereo recording or as MP3. It can be directly linked to your MAC or PC for more convenience.
It is also portable, weighing only 0.11 pounds and measures 3.9 x 1.6 x 0.6 inches.
It has noise cancellation functions and variable control voice actuator.
• Expandable features for more storage
• Easy file transfer
• Multi-format options for files
• Can start and stop recording hands-free
• Scene selection to match your meeting venue
• The calendar function helps organize files
• Some background noise cannot be filtered
• The battery does not charge automatically when plugged in
• Does not have voice activation
This voice recorder has 4GB memory for 1600 recording.
It can convert files to MP3 or WMA.
It can be directly connected to your PC for convenient file transfer. The device has an expandable memory of up to 32GB using a microSD.
The Olympus VN-722PC is very handy at 4.3 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches and 2.5 ounces. It is powered by 2 AAA batteries that come with the box.
• 1.5-inch display for better navigation
• User-friendly, great for beginners
• Long battery life, up to 100 hours
• Portable USB cable that comes with a strap
• Great sound pick up
• Tiny text on the screen has to be adjusted to be able to read
• Playback volume is quite soft
• The instructions on the manual are not so clear
Best digital recorder for interviews FAQ
What is the best way to record interviews?
The best way to record interviews is to use a recording device.
This will help catch all the material details of the interview.
It also helps to be prepared before meeting the resource speaker.
Write down well-researched questions for smoother conversation flow.
Which is better: digital voice recorder or smartphone?
Digital voice recorders are designed for voice recording. Thus, it is a better choice than a smartphone.
However, there are available apps that can function as a digital voice recorder using a smartphone.
For convenience, you may use a smartphone if you do not require high-quality audio recording.
What is the best recording device for interviews?
There are many options to choose from. The best device will strongly depend on your intent on using it.
Check the audio recording and playback, the storage, file conversion, and file transfer options to help you decide.
How much is the cheapest voice recorder?
There are voice recorders that range below $25. However, you need to check the features if they meet your requirements.
How does a digital voice recorder work?
The sound being recorded is stored and then converted into a stream of numbers.
The numbers are produced by the microphone, which is connected to an analog to digital converter (ADC).
These numbers will be converted back into sound using a digital to analog converter (DAC) when played back through the speaker.
The most common playback file formats being used today are MP3, .wma, .wav, and .dss.
What should I look for in a voice recorder?
The features that you must focus on when looking for a voice recorder are memory capacity, battery life, audio performance, microphone, file storage, and convenience.
What is the best file format for a voice recorder?
MP3 format is a good choice for recording. It is small and can be played on most devices without having to convert anything.
However, if you need a clearer and bigger file, opt for WAV instead.
How do I transfer my recording to my computer?
File transfer from your recording device to your computer can be done using a USB cable, memory stick, or Bluetooth.
Check the features of your device to see which of these are provided.
Can I use my smartphone as a voice recorder?
Your smartphone can be used as a voice recorder if you have the app for this function.
Go to the app store or play store, and then download the app that does voice recording.
Do you need permission to record an interview?
Most countries have laws that prohibit recording conversations without expressed permission from either of the parties.
So, yes. Ethically, permission is required before recording an interview.
The Final Word on Picking The Best Voice Recorder for Interviews
With this guide, you now will have a good idea of picking the best voice recorder based on the factors to consider mentioned above.
Make sure to do your research not only to make an informed and right decision but also to get the most value for your money.
With the right recorder, your interviews will be clear and complete.