Reviews You Can Rely On

The 5 Best Digital Voice Recorders of 2022

We tested digital voice recorders from brands like Sony, Zoom, Tascam, and Olympus to find the best models
Best Digital Voice Recorder of 2022
We buy all of the products from the same retailers as our buyers to eliminate bias.
Credit: Ross Patton
By Clark Tate and Ross Patton  ⋅  Nov 15, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Hunting for the best digital voice recorder? We researched the top models on the market before buying 11 of the most promising options to test head-to-head. Then we started recording: kids explaining their artwork, audio notes in the car, bird song, guitar practice, phone interviews, and controlled test scenarios. We compared audio quality, battery life, how easy it is to export and share files, and playback editing features. Below, we share how each of these voice recorders shines and if and how they falter. Our comprehensive review is designed to help you quickly and easily find the best digital voice recorder for your needs and budget.

Whether you're recording for work or pleasure, the market is full of office devices that help us hone in our audio production. Our in-depth reviews will help you find everything from the best wireless speakers to high-quality bookshelf speakers. If you're looking for a more personal listening experience, we've tested the best noise cancelling headphones as well as the top wireless headphones.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 15, 2022, to include new models from Sony, Zoom, and Tascam.

Top 11 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 11
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $100 List
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$197 List
$199.99 at Amazon
$180 List
$147.99 at Amazon
$37 List
$36.99 at Amazon
$169 List
$149.00 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Good audio quality, easy to use, compact, MP3 playerPhenomenal quality, easy playback, multiple outputs, carrying caseFantastic quality, records surround sound, easy to switch between modesCompact, light, affordableQuality audio recording, two-channel stereo, optimized for music, overdubbing
Cons Not quite production-level audio, linear microphonesPricey, poor battery life, heavyBulky, pricey, too much for basic recordingNo external mic input, so-so user interfaceLearning curve to operate, shorter battery life, large
Bottom Line This sleek and easy-to-use unit is small enough to slip into your pocket, making it a cinch to record high-quality audioThis powerful recorder sets you up to capture and edit production-worthy audioA top-tier model that is capable of capturing sound to be used for VR videos or other 360-degree applicationsThis tiny, inexpensive recorder makes it easy to capture audio on the goCapturing impressive audio quality at a reasonable price point, this musician-focused device is a good studio option
Rating Categories Sony ICDUX570 Zoom H4n Pro Zoom H2n EVISTR 16GB Recorder Tascam DR-07X
Audio Quality (35%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
Playback and Editing (20%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
7.0
Convenience (15%)
7.0
3.0
4.0
8.0
2.0
Battery Life (10%)
5.0
2.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
Storage Space (10%)
6.0
5.0
5.0
7.0
4.0
File Sharing (10%)
8.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Sony ICDUX570 Zoom H4n Pro Zoom H2n EVISTR 16GB Recorder Tascam DR-07X
Music Format WMA, MP3 WAV, MP3 WMA, MP3 MP3, WAV, FLAC, APE, OGG, WMA WMA, MP3
Memory 4 GB Internal, and MicroSD Card (up to 32GB) MicroSD Card (up to 32 GB) MicroSD Card (up to 32 GB) Internal Options of 8, 16, or 32 GB MicroSD Card (up to 16 GB)
Number of Inputs/Outputs 2 4 2 0 2
External Mic? Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Power Type Internal (USB Charged) 2 AA Batteries or AC Adapter 2 AA Batteries (included) or USB Internal (USB Charged) 2 AA Batteries (included) or USB
Claimed Maximum Battery Life 22 hrs
(@ 128 KBps)
11 hrs
(@ 1536 KBps)
20 hrs
(@ 576 KBps)
20 hrs
(@ 64 KBps)
18 hrs
(@ 176 KBps)
Weight 1.76 oz 12.45 oz 4.64 oz 2.20 oz 12.70 oz
Size (LxWxH) 6.1 x 4.3 x 1.4 in 6.3 x 2.9 x 1.4 in 2.6 x 1.7 x 4.5 in 4.0 x 1.1 x 0.4 in 7.3 x 4.8 x 2.2 in
Voice Activation? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Included Accessories None None None USB Cord, Headphones None


Best Digital Voice Recorder


Sony ICDUX570


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Audio Quality 7.0
  • Playback and Editing 6.0
  • Convenience 7.0
  • Battery Life 5.0
  • Storage Space 6.0
  • File Sharing 8.0
Memory: 4 GB Internal, MicroSD 4 to 32GB | Audio Files: WAV and MP3
REASONS TO BUY
Impressive audio
Straightforward operating system
Highly portable with plenty of optional storage
Can serve as an MP3 player
REASONS TO AVOID
Less than stellar battery life
Just shy of production worthy

Our favorite overall digital voice recorder is the compact Sony ICDUX570. This effective, simple tool features high-quality audio, an intuitive operating system, and an easy-to-read display. We love its automatic recording templates that ensure the two stereo microphones are correctly tuned for the task at hand. You can quickly set up for a voice memo, meeting, lecture, interview, or record music. You can also set the mic sensitivity and choose to reduce background noises manually. Though the recorder picks up background audio in modes like dictation and interview, we found them less brassy and distracting than in many of the other models. The Sony records in uncompressed WAV files and compressed MP3s. The WAV files (which it labels as LPCM, for linear pulse code modulation) are recorded at a 44.1 kHz sampling rate and a 16-bit rate, which is a standard for quality audio. MP3s save on storage space but are harder to edit. With the option to increase storage to 32GB with a microSD card, you won't need to save much. We also like that you can use the recorder as an MP3 player.

You can slow down the playback for easier transcription. The recorder also offers a T-mark button to bookmark your recordings and an A-B repeat function that lets you loop the playback between two chosen points. You can clean up the audio with filters for a clear voice or effects like pop, rock, jazz, or bass. A USB plug slides out of the Sony ICDUX570, so you're ready to connect to your computer and share your files at all times. The battery life, claimed at over 20 hours for the highest quality audio recording, is relatively short. And, while the audio is impressive, it's a bit below par for professional broadcasting. However, the device offers a mini-jack input for an external microphone, which can improve your recordings. All told, the ICDUX570 is a streamlined recorder to make sure you don't miss a beat and could serve as a backup audio file for production in a pinch.

best digital voice recorder
The Sony ICDUX570 is easy-to-use, has great battery life, and has solid audio quality.
Credit: Ross Patton

Sampling and Bit Rates


A 44.1 kHz sampling rate and 16-bit rate is standard for a CD release and plenty for podcasting, according to Audacity. However, they do recommend recording at a higher bit rate to allow for "headroom" in case of unexpectedly loud noises. The bit rate is how much data you are recording every second. Higher bit rates mean higher-quality recordings and require more storage space. Uncompressed WAV files are usually described in these terms, i.e., sampling rate and bit rate. For MP3 files, bit rates are often expressed as kilobytes per second (KBps). A higher KBps means less compression. If you're a photographer, think of WAV files as RAW image files, and MP3s as JPEGs. The latter already have less resolution, so you just can't do as much to edit them.

Best For Creators


Zoom H4n Pro


64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Audio Quality 9.0
  • Playback and Editing 8.0
  • Convenience 3.0
  • Battery Life 2.0
  • Storage Space 5.0
  • File Sharing 5.0
Memory: SD Card 16MB to 32GB | Audio Files: WAV and MP3
REASONS TO BUY
High audio quality
Editing features like effects and punch-in and out editing
Four-track audio recording
Two XLR/TRS inputs to connect guitars, mics, and keyboards directly
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited battery power and storage
Bigger and more complicated
Need additional equipment like SD card, USB cord, AC adapter

The Zoom H4n Pro is the most capable and complex recorder we tested. Zoom advertises that it's meant for podcasting, song production, creating audio for film, and recording things like vocals, piano recitals, meetings, and field recordings. Its audio quality is top-notch, taking advantage of two stereo condenser microphones set up in an XY pattern. Zoom claims this creates better sound definition and clarity while reducing stereo separation and phase cancellation. The mics are also adjustable, rotating to capture an area of 120 degrees or to focus on a single audio source at 90 degrees. The difference is noticeable. Two XLR/TRS jacks let you connect external microphones or instruments like a keyboard or guitar, and you can record one source in high-quality stereo, two sound sources in stereo at the same time, or playback up to four tracks while recording two more. The recorder supports 19 different WAV and MP3 file formats (up to 96 kHz/24-bit and 196 KBps) and offers all the standard features like playback looping and low-cut recording, which reduces low-frequency sounds like wind. The recorder also varies playback speed between 50% and 150%.

However, the Zoom H4n Pr0 takes more knowledge, patience, and training to unlock its potential. It's also big. Though it does come with a handy protective case, you can't just slide it into your pocket. Its size, complexity, and short battery life make it more appropriate for recording in your studio or for targeted events. Even in its battery-conserving stamina mode, you only get about 11 hours of recording when going wireless. You can buy a Zoom-specific AC adapter to keep it powered up at the office, and you'll need to buy an SD or SDHC card (ranging from 16 MB to 32 GB). Without one, the internal memory can only record for about 35 seconds. The H4n Pro doesn't come with a USB cord to communicate with your computer, so you'll have to buy one separately. And it's more complicated to find the files on this device than on the less complex models we tested. While the H4n Pro only really makes sense for folks who need to produce worthy broadcast audio for their profession or true passion, this thing is pretty fun — it even has a Karaoke function.

digital voice recorder - best for creators
The powerful Zoom H4n Pro has impressive internal microphones, receives three inputs, and offers overdub editing features. If you want to record music, this is the top option.
Credit: Clark Tate

Best Bang for Your Buck


EVISTR 16GB Recorder


58
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Audio Quality 6.0
  • Playback and Editing 4.0
  • Convenience 8.0
  • Battery Life 4.0
  • Storage Space 7.0
  • File Sharing 6.0
Memory: 16 GB Internal | Audio Files: WAV, MP3, FLAC, APE, OGG, WMA
REASONS TO BUY
Surprisingly good audio
Fits in your pocket
Streamlined functions
Has a good amount of memory
REASONS TO AVOID
No preset recording templates
Tiny screen
Not the best battery life
No mini jack for an external mic

The EVISTR 16GB Recorder offers everything you need to record notes and conversations in the field reliably. It's slim and easily tucks away in a pocket or bag, and Evistr claims that its effective stereo microphone offers dynamic noise canceling. We noticed background noise in our coffee shop test more than in some of the premium options, but it isn't overly distracting. In quiet environments, the recordings shine. Unfortunately, there is no external microphone jack to extend or improve your audio. The default recording quality is 1536 KBps in an uncompressed WAV format comparable to a 44.1kHz/16-bit file, but it will also record in MP3. The streamlined functions and straightforward, quick-start guide make it easy to use. And it has all the usual playback features, including an A-B repeat function to loop your playback audio and up to ten "T-marks" (bookmarks) as you record. There are also seven equalizer modes to alter the sound of your playback, including rock, pop, classical, and techno. And, yes, you can use it as an MP3 player.

The rechargeable internal battery winds down faster than most. If it runs out of juice during recording, you may lose data. On the plus side, you can record while you're charging the device. Be careful, though, you can also lose data if you activate the sleeper time function, which shuts down the recorder even while you're using it, and you need to press stop at the end of every recording to save it. To stave off disaster, you can set the Evistr to automatically save and start a new one every 30 mins, an hour, or two hours. The device has a voice-activated mode (AVR) that automatically starts recording when you cross a predetermined decibel threshold. The user manual warns against relying on it, though, since that setting often misses low decibel tones. The Evistr Recorder has a few glitches, but if you're on your game, this handy and reasonably priced little gadget will capture the audio notes you need.

digital voice recorder - best bang for your buck
Small and simple, the Evistr Recorder captures clear audio and has a nice amount of storage.
Credit: Clark Tate

Best for VR Recording


Zoom H2n


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Audio Quality 8.0
  • Playback and Editing 6.0
  • Convenience 4.0
  • Battery Life 4.0
  • Storage Space 5.0
  • File Sharing 5.0
Memory: SD Card 16MB to 32GB | Audio Files: WAV and MP3
REASONS TO BUY
4-channel recording
Spatial audio mode
Large mic gain dial
REASONS TO AVOID
Overkill for many applications
Bulky
Pricey

The Zoom H2n brings a lot more to the table than a basic audio recorder. All of the buttons, dials, and switches are large, labeled well, and easy to use. Underneath the mesh screen, there are five microphones — two are positioned in an X/Y configuration, while the others are in a mid-side arrangement. The dial located on the top of the cover allows you to quickly select between the four recording modes, which range from mid-side stereo up to four channels. The H2n truly shines with an ability to record in surround sound. With the pair of X/Y microphones working in concert with the three mid-side microphones, this model doesn't just record audio coming from one side or the other. It actually differentiates between sounds coming from up, down, and all around you. In four-channel mode, it produces two individual tracks per recording meant to be routed to each side of a stereo system or each ear of a pair of headphones. If you have the equipment, software, and know-how, this model is fully capable of recording spatial audio to be used for fully-immersive VR videos.

The complex capabilities of the Zoom H2n won't appeal to everyone. If you're looking for basic functions to record college lectures, meetings, or job interviews, you probably don't need four-channel spatial audio, surround-sound mode. The H2n still has the most basic digital voice recorder capabilities, but it might just be more recorder than you need or want to pay for. This model is also bulky and heavy — it is not meant to be slipped into a pocket or purse. The user interface is easy to use once you learn it, but it's far from modern. Compared to the newest, simplest, pocket-sized models, the H2n feels like a bit of a dinosaur. Complaints aside, the Zoom H2n is the way to go for recording 360-degree spatial audio for applications such as VR videos.

digital voice recorder - best for vr recording
The Zoom H2n captures spacial audio to be used for surround sound videos and virtual reality applications.
Credit: Ross Patton

Best Battery Life for Low-Quality Recordings


Olympus WS-853


57
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Audio Quality 5.0
  • Playback and Editing 3.0
  • Convenience 6.0
  • Battery Life 8.0
  • Storage Space 8.0
  • File Sharing 8.0
Storage: 8GB Internal, MicroSD 2 to 32GB | Audio Files MP3
REASONS TO BUY
Great battery life and storage space
Add a microSD to increase memory
Comes with a carrying case
Built-in USB charging and downloading
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the best audio quality
Operating system is not intuitive

The Olympus WS-853 is a fairly compact recorder with reasonable sound quality and all the basic functions you need, including an external microphone jack and a built-in speaker. And we love that it comes with a carrying case. The operating system offers pre-set scenes optimized for typical recording scenarios like telephone recording and conferences. It also has an intelligent auto mode that adjusts the recording level based on the volume of the incoming sounds. Adjustable playback speed makes it easy to navigate your recordings quickly. Where the WS-853 really shines, however, is in storage and battery life. Not because it has so much more than any of the other options tested, but because it records in highly compressed MP3 files at 8 KBps. These files are tiny, so they don't take up much space or battery power. You can also add a microSD card to increase memory capacity up to 32 GB.

Unsurprisingly, audio files at this compression level are not pleasant to listen to (though you can choose a bit rate up to 128 KBps if you don't need the battery to last as long). On top of that, this device isn't that user-friendly. The operating system is not intuitive, and the included manual is overwhelming. Honestly, the box is more informative, as is the downloadable manual. The Olympus WS-853 is best for those who need the longest-lasting battery life and maximum storage to back up hours of notes at important meetings or lectures.

digital voice recorder - the olympus ws-853 provides plenty of storage and battery life if...
The Olympus WS-853 provides plenty of storage and battery life if you don't mind recording very low-quality audio files.
Credit: Clark Tate

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
66
Sony ICDUX570
sony icdux570 digital voice recorder
$100
Editors' Choice Award
64
Zoom H4n Pro
zoom h4n pro digital voice recorder
$197
Editors' Choice Award
60
Zoom H2n
zoom h2n digital voice recorder
$180
Top Pick Award
58
EVISTR 16GB Recorder
evistr 16gb recorder digital voice recorder
$37
Best Buy Award
58
Tascam DR-07X
tascam dr-07x digital voice recorder
$169
57
Olympus WS-853
olympus ws-853 digital voice recorder
$69
Top Pick Award
54
Sony PX370 Mono
sony px370 mono digital voice recorder
$60
51
Zoom H1n
zoom h1n digital voice recorder
$120
50
Aiworth 16GB Voice Activated
aiworth 16gb voice activated digital voice recorder
$32
48
G 48GB Voice Recorder
g 48gb voice recorder digital voice recorder
$47
41
Aomago Voice Activated
aomago voice activated digital voice recorder
$22

digital voice recorder - the tascam dr-07x can record using either x/y or a/b microphone...
The Tascam DR-07X can record using either X/Y or A/B microphone positions.
Credit: Ross Patton

Why You Should Trust Us


We designed a series of objective tests to help us uncover the strengths and weaknesses of these digital voice recorders. Most users — from students recording lectures to professional musicians recording field sessions — will care most about the audio quality of their recordings. To test this metric, we set up five specific tests that replicate real-world situations. For the first two, we sat in the office and read the poem "Sea Fever" by John Masefield twice in front of each recorder. The first time with no background noise and the second time with a TV show playing in the background to mimic conversation. Next, we set the recorders up in a semi-circle around an interviewee with music and background noise to mimic a coffee shop setting. Then, we recorded a three-person meeting. Finally, we used an Olympus telephone pickup microphone to conduct a phone interview with each device. Then we downloaded all the files, noting how difficult it was to do so, and played them back to back to compare audio quality and specs like memory storage and battery life. By the end of our extensive testing period, these digital voice recorders underwent 143 individual tests to help us parse out the very best models on the market.

We break down our overall score into six key metrics:
  • Audio Quality (35% of overall score weighting)
  • Playback and Editing (20% weighting)
  • Convenience (15% weighting)
  • Battery Life (10% weighting)
  • Storage Space (10% weighting)
  • File Sharing (10% weighting)

We chose Lead Tester Clark Tate and Review Editor Ross Patton to head up our testing. Clark is a freelance journalist who often records interviews, settings, or conferences. While she uses smartphone apps on occasion, she prefers dedicated audio recorders for their superior sound quality. She is also building a podcast and appreciates the importance of capturing good audio now more than ever before. During his tenure with GearLab, Ross has tested hundreds of tech products, from headsets to drones. Aside from the time he's spent in the lab, Ross grew up with a music studio in his house and has been immersed in the audio world his entire life.

We recorded living room conversations to compare each model&#039;s audio...
We recorded living room conversations to compare each model's audio quality side-by-side.
The Zoom H4n has ports for studio-grade microphones.
The Zoom H4n has ports for studio-grade microphones.
We set each model up while watching movies to compare their...
We set each model up while watching movies to compare their performance.

Analysis and Test Results


From recording your thoughts at a moment's notice to capturing a piano recital in all its glory, a digital voice recorder, like a camera, is an extension of your memory. It's a great way to memorialize the soundscapes of your life. Read on to find the perfect tool to capture all the beautiful and bizarre sounds that surround you.


Value


Before purchasing a digital voice recorder, it is important to consider how you plan on using this device. If you're looking for basic recording functions for lectures, conversations, or just for fun, there's no reason to buy a more expensive model than the EVISTR 16GB Recorder. If you aren't that concerned about audio quality and simply need to record hours of audio without worrying having to worry about storage capacity or battery life, the Olympus WS-853 is worth every penny. Considering its internal memory and wide range of functionality, the Sony ICDUX570 is a very reasonably priced option. Our two favorite Zoom models, the H4n Pro and H2n, both cost quite a bit, but their audio quality and capabilities are professional-grade.

digital voice recorder - these audio recorders are designed for vastly different applications...
These audio recorders are designed for vastly different applications and are priced accordingly, so it is important to consider how you will use a digital voice recorder before you commit to one in particular.
Credit: Ross Patton

Audio Quality


Audio quality varies widely across these devices, so it's important to consider how you'll use your recordings. If you just want to leave yourself voice memos or record meetings for your personal notes, you don't need to go crazy here. If you want to record in a setting with lots of background noise, use the audio in a presentation, pull together a podcast, or produce music, you'll benefit from the highest quality recordings.


In our tests, the Zoom H4n Pro, Zoom H2n, Tascam DR-07X, and the Sony ICDUX570 produce the highest quality audio recordings using only their internal microphones. Of these, the H4n Pro and Tascam DR-07X are commonly used to produce music or audio for videos and podcasts. The H4n Pro's microphones are permanently mounted in the crossed XY configuration, which allows them to take in a field of 90 or 120 degrees. The DR-07X's microphones can pivot to be used in either XY or AB positions, the latter of which is best for recording full bands or capturing "room sounds." The Sony ICDUX570's stereo microphones are more modest, but the unit is also more portable and easier to use. It serves as an excellent backup option for production needs.

digital voice recorder - one of our favorite options for top-quality audio is the zoom h4n...
One of our favorite options for top-quality audio is the Zoom H4n Pro (left), displayed next to the Sony ICDUX560 (replaced by the updated ICDUX570; center) and the Evistr Recorder (right) to highlight just how big a professional field recorder can be.
Credit: Clark Tate

The Zoom H2n has five individual microphones. Two are positioned in the XY configuration, while the other three are in a mid-side arrangement that helps to record spatial sounds. When recording in four-channel mode, this model uses all five microphones to create two multi-directional files, each of which is meant to be transmitted to different speakers. If you have the software and the equipment, this model can be used to create audio files to be used in fully-immersive virtual reality videos and experiences. The downside to the exceptional audio quality of the Zoom H4n Pro, Zoom H2n, and the Tascam DR-07X is that they have far fewer preset recording formats than other, more simple models.

digital voice recorder - the zoom h2n has a dial on top of the microphone screen that allows...
The Zoom H2n has a dial on top of the microphone screen that allows you to select between the four different audio settings.
Credit: Ross Patton

Just behind the top-tier models in terms of quality are the Sony ICDUX570 and the Zoom H1n. Both of these models are geared more toward recording conversations than music or accompanying a video camera. The Sony ICDUX570 lets you choose between meeting, dictation, or conference recording modes, while the Zoom H1n has features such as automatic gain and a volume limiter that take the guesswork out of settings.

Use Notes


To get the most out of your recorder right out of the gate, make a test file and listen to the playback to make sure your sound levels work for you. Many of them also let you record your audio in real-time with a microphone or your computer. And be sure to back up your files as often as possible.

Most of the digital voice recorders we tested also accept external microphones, which can be of higher quality or placed more favorably (e.g., on an interviewee's lapel) to capture better audio. Only the Zoom H4n Pro provides two connection types: a more common mini jack and the more secure and higher quality XLR input. You can also plug electric instruments directly into the H4n Pro, making it the best option for serious musicians. The Tascam DR-07X, Olympus WS-853, Amago Voice Activated, Aiworth Voice Activated Recorder, Zoom H1n, Zoom H2n and the two Sony recorders — the ICDUX570 and PX370 Mono — all have mini jack stereo microphone inputs. The Evistr Recorder is one of the few models we tested that does not support an external mic.

digital voice recorder - with two xlr/trs jacks you can connect devices like external...
With two XLR/TRS jacks you can connect devices like external microphones, keyboards, or guitars to the Zoom H4n Pro.
Credit: Clark Tate

Along with your microphone's quality, the file formats available on your recording device also affect the audio quality and how versatile your files will be. You can record audio files in a compressed format like an MP3 or an uncompressed format like WAV. Compressing a file saves space but results in less refined audio that is more limiting if you want to edit it. To capture the highest quality audio, you'll want a recorder that captures audio in WAV, which you can compress into an MP3 after editing. WAV files of 1536 KBps or a 44.1 kHz sample rate at 16-bit are standard high-quality files. The Sony ICDUX570, Tascam DR-07X, Evistr Recorder, and all three Zoom models — the H4n Pro, the H2n and the H1n — all record at this level.

digital voice recorder - the sony icdux570 is our go-to digital voice recorder for most...
The Sony ICDUX570 is our go-to digital voice recorder for most applications.
Credit: Ross Patton

Playback and Editing


Of the recorders geared towards note-taking and interviews, the T-mark (or bookmark) function, A-B playback loops, and variable playback speeds do the most to help you sort through your audio files. Equalizing features are also nice and can help you hear your recordings more clearly. All of the recorders in the test provide most of these basic functions. However, we couldn't find any bookmarking functions on the Aiworth Voice Activated or Aomago Voice Activated recorders.


The music and production-oriented Zoom H4n Pro and Tascam DR-07X recorders are another story altogether. Of these two models, the H4n Pro gives you more playback and editing options. This recorder has three inputs and allows you to playback four tracks while recording two more. You can add effects that sound like Fender guitars, play a song and karaoke over it, and cut out a portion of the track with the punch-in/out function. The Tascam DR-07X's features are dialed back a bit, with fewer inputs and fewer playback channels available at a time.

digital voice recorder - the tascam dr-07x offers enough capability for musicians, but keeps...
The Tascam DR-07X offers enough capability for musicians, but keeps it simple enough for folks who only want to record and playback conversations in high-quality audio.
Credit: Ross Patton


You can sort through and playback files using the Zoom H2n, but you certainly will not be able to recognize the intricacies of surround sound recordings from its basic speaker. In order to edit and utilize these files, you'll need to upload them to a computer and use the appropriate software.

digital voice recorder - the zoom h4n pro &amp;#40;left&amp;#41; is fit for a desk, while the sony...
The Zoom H4n Pro (left) is fit for a desk, while the Sony ICDUX560 (updated to the ICDUX570; center) and the Evistr Recorder (right) are small enough to fit in your pocket.
Credit: Clark Tate

Convenience


Compared to some of the other pocket-sized models we tested, the Zoom H4n Pro, Zoom H2n, Zoom H1n, and Tascam DR-07X are behemoths. All of them require you to carry a bag to tote them around for any length of time. Because of their leanings towards professional musical recording, video accompaniment, and podcasting production, it is far easier to imagine them hanging out in an office, studio, or with a video production crew.


The rest are all pretty darn compact; the tiniest models are the Evistr Recorder, Aiworth Voice Activated, and Amago Voice Activated recorders. These three models fit easily into a pant pocket (yes, even a typically undersized woman's pant pocket). The Sony ICDUX570 is a bit broader but still exceptionally thin. Its size would never keep you from carrying it, just in case. The Olympus WS-853 and Sony PX370 Mono are thicker and often require a jacket pocket or a bag to carry them.

digital voice recorder - the two sony options, as well as the olympus ws-853, all include an...
The two Sony options, as well as the Olympus WS-853, all include an internal USB connector that ensures you can charge them on the go, even if you forget a USB cord.
Credit: Clark Tate

Battery Life


Two factors have a big impact on battery life in digital voice recorders; battery type and which audio recording quality level you choose. The Sony ICDUX570, Evistr Recorder, Aiworth Voice Activated Recorder, and Aomago Voice Activated Recorder have built-in rechargeable batteries to thank for their svelte size. These digital voice recorders all charge via USB cord, except for the ICDUX570. It has a clever pop-out USB port, so you never have to worry about being caught without your charger.


These options are great from a portability perspective — and you don't have to worry about buying batteries — but built-in batteries don't make for the best battery life. You can't expect much more than 20 hours of recording time with these models. The Aiworth Voice Activated Recorder claims it can record nearly 50 hours of low-quality audio at 32 KBps. But most folks will prefer to record higher-quality audio.

digital voice recorder - the olympic ws-853 recorder offers exceptional battery life, but...
The Olympic WS-853 recorder offers exceptional battery life, but only if you're recording mono sound at 8 KBps.
Credit: Clark Tate

The best battery power features in the two smaller recorders with removable batteries: the Olympus WS-853 and the Sony PX370. This Olympus model offers incredibly long battery life for its lowest-quality recordings, claiming up to 110 hours of recording time in the 8 KBps setting. (That's if you use alkaline dry cell batteries instead of the rechargeable batteries that come with the device. With the rechargeable batteries, the manufacturer claims about 74 hours.) It's worth noting that the audio recorded at this bit rate is not pleasant to listen to, particularly if you have any background noise to contend with. Still, it will serve its purpose if you just want to make sure you don't miss anything in a lecture or meeting.

digital voice recorder - the more compact models, such as the sony icdux570, have more...
The more compact models, such as the Sony ICDUX570, have more efficient power consumption than the larger studio-grade models.
Credit: Ross Patton

The Sony PX370 is a better option if you want long battery life at a reasonable audio quality. Sony claims about 55 hours of recordings at a 192 KBps bit rate. It's not stellar sound quality, but it works. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the more powerful recorders don't last that long on their batteries alone, with the Zoom H4n Pro and H1n performing worst of all. The Zoom H2n and Tascam DR-07X last quite a bit longer, but it would be wise to invest in an auxiliary power source if you plan on running any of these models for an extended period of time.

digital voice recorder - you can customize the h4n pro&#039;s storage space with sd cards.
You can customize the H4n Pro's storage space with SD cards.
Credit: Clark Tate

Storage Space


There is internal storage, and there is external storage. Several models in our review have the former, but the studio-grade versions do not. The Olympus WS-853 and the Sony ICDUX570 and PX370 have internal memory, but also offer a microSD slot for expansion.


While the Sony ICDUX570 offers only 4GB of internal storage, it accommodates microSD cards from 4 to 32 GB, making it a great option if you use your recorder often. In contrast, the Olympus WS-853 offers 8GB of internal storage but maxes about at 32GB with a microSD card. The Sony PX370 has 4 GB internally and accepts microSD cards up to 32 GB.

digital voice recorder - in addition to its internal memory, the sony icux570 has a microsd...
In addition to its internal memory, the Sony ICUX570 has a microSD slot for memory expansion.
Credit: Ross Patton

Of the studio recorders, neither the Zoom H4n Pro nor the Tascam DR-07X has any internal storage to speak of, so picking up a top-ranked microSD card is a must straight away. The Zoom H4n Pro, H2n, and H1n work with microSD cards from 16 MB to 32 GB. So you'll have to download your files more often than you would with the Tascam model, which works with microSD cards from 2 GB up to an amazing 128 GB. The Evistr Recorder provides 16GB of integrated storage, while the Aomago and Aiworth recorders offer 8 GB each.

digital voice recorder - the sony options have an internal usb to make transferring files a...
The Sony options have an internal USB to make transferring files a cordless affair.
Credit: Clark Tate

File Sharing


Almost all of these recorders make it easy to download and share files. The Evistr, Aiworth, and Aomago recorders all come with USB cords to charge their batteries and communicate with your computer. All you have to do is open the external file to play your WAV or MP3 file with the exception of the Aomago. We couldn't figure out how to get those files to play and don't recommend the device.


The Sony ICDUX570 and PX370 and the Olympus WS-853 recorders have internal USB connections. You just have to slide them out to download your files — it doesn't get any easier than that. Of them, the ICDUX570 is our favorite since its internal operating system makes it so easy to organize your files in the first place.

digital voice recorder - from pocket-sized to tripod worthy, we&#039;ve tested a digital recorder...
From pocket-sized to tripod worthy, we've tested a digital recorder that will suit your needs and budget.
Credit: Clark Tate

Conclusion


We designed this article to help you better understand what goes into selecting the best digital voice recorder for your next project. Whether you need a professional-level device for podcast production or simply are tired of jotting down notes during meetings, we have likely tested a model to suit your needs. Best of luck in your digital note-taking or producing pursuits.

Clark Tate and Ross Patton


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