Voice recorders have been around for a while now: view any press conference and you'll invariably see a clutch of reporters thrusting their tape or digital machines into someone's face. Some of the new models now come with advanced features, all there to make your life easier and to do more than you ever would have dreamed. The technology is continually improving, making voice recorders a useful and intelligent piece of equipment for anyone.
Lets take a closer look at the technology and at some of the functions you shouldn't have to do without.
A tale of two formats.
Voice recorders are available in two styles: cassette and digital. Cassette recorders have been around much longer, but they can be a bit limited. Tape models still use either full-size cassettes or the much smaller micro-cassettes.
The advantage to audiotapes is that it's easy to pop them out and archive them when you're finished. The downside is that tapes can be recorded over, lost or damaged in a hot car, or otherwise physically harmed, rendering them useless.
The vast majority of new voice recorders are digital, and for good reason.
Digital does it better.
Organization - Once you're finished recording a segment, it'll be no problem to find it again. With a digital recorder, you can mark your files and sort them into different folders for quick retrieval. It will also help you make sure the recording of you singing "My Way" doesn't get aired in your next meeting. And you don't have to fast-forward or rewind between files; it's instantaneous.
Archiving - Information is precious - a fact you're most aware of when you don't have it. Digital files take up less space than cassettes, and are easier to carry around. Plus, you can quickly pull up recordings stored on your laptop's hard drive when you need to support a point in a meeting. If you tend to record a lot of shorter messages, look for a model that can store a higher number of individual files.
Durability and security - Digital archives last longer than audiotapes. So if you typically record ideas that you simply must hang on to, digital is the way to go. Digital makes it easier to transfer files to PC and to archive on data CDs or DVDs, too.
Portability - Most recorders use the Digital Speech Standard (DSS) format, while others allow you to record in a WMA or MP3. This means you can play your audio files on any of the numerous devices or applications that can handle MP3s and WMAs.
Flexibility - Thanks to flash drives, you can pack a lot of technology into a very small package. In addition to the voice recorder, these compact all-in-one devices also perform very well as full-featured MP3 music players, and some even feature an FM radio.
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