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The Era of Digital Voice Recorders

Digital voice recorders are to the 21st century what cassettes were to the later decades of the last century.

As with many other technological breakthroughs, it was not a “wonder machine” from the get-go. Rather, it was a bulky alternative to many analogue machines found in those early days. But as time passed, the digital voice recorder continued to evolve, and now today’s highly versatile devices can handle truly prodigious amounts of data, in all manners of formats in ever smaller packages. Learn what a digital voice recorder is and the types below.

A digital voice recorder is essentially a small portable device created to record both human speech as well as any other sounds, in many formats and soundtracks. This machine is far superior (in terms of reproduction quality) to its analogue counterpart i.e. cassette based dictaphones. Moreover, it does not require external media such as a CD or a cassette or even a USB device to function, but rather has its own internal memory card. On the other hand, many types of voice recorders exist that have their own 2.0 USB connection so that they could be hooked up to external USB devices to further enhance their memory.

The sound files so created on a digital voice recorder are managed in a file system on both internal hard drive and removable flash drive (in terms of user preference). These files can be easily played back on a desktop or a notebook for audio editing or transcription purposes. In fact, such a device mated to speech recognition software equipped desktop can easily turn large volumes of spoken speech to written text that could subsequently be edited and maintained for record keeping purposes.

The sound files may be digitally recorded in MP3, WMA, WAV, DSS and DS2 format. Here each file format offers its own compression ratio depending on both sound quality as well as the ability to edit such files.

Today, there are many devices available in the market at different rates and all of them offer different features such as prolonged battery life, sound quality, clarity, flexibility (the many formats a device can handle) clarity of sound reproduction as well as external connectivity.

The setting on most such devices can easily be adjusted based on their application. As a general rule, simple playback does not require greater memory utilization. On the other hand, speech recognition requires extreme clarity for crisp sound so that the voice recognition software can pick up every subtle nuance and turn it into text accordingly. The higher the sound quality, the more the memory would be used to save that particular sound file.

This is why it is considered more convenient to opt for a device that offers external memory capability. While such devices may be slightly pricier than their internal hard drive only counterparts, the value addition they bring is well worth the cost, especially if the user plans on using the machine for professional purposes such as turning voice into text transcriptions.