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Digital voice recorders: 5 Things you need to know

digital voice recorder

1 A digital audio recorder is better than a tape recorder

The digital audio recorder is used to collect Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVPs). A digital audio recorder is used like a tape recorder audio. However, you’ll find that a digital audio recorder is much more effective than an audio cassette for a number of key reasons:

  • The digital recorder can record for a longer period of time than a tape
  • They are better able to provide crystal-clear audio quality
  • Cassette recorders have moving parts, which create noise that can corrupt your findings
  • A digital recorder has more features than a recorder has to offer
  • Since there are no cassette tapes, digital voice recorders are oftentimes more compact and easier to travel with
  • It is easier to download audio files from a digital recorder to a computer to analyze the audio recordings
  • Digital audio is more organized than a tape. The digital recordings can be saved as files in folders on your computer instead of having a bunch of tapes around

2 Some digital voice recorders are only compatible with Windows computers

Many digital voice recorders are compatible with both Windows PC and Apple computers.  However, there are some that only work with either a Windows or an Apple computer.  When shopping for a digital recorder, it is important that you make sure that the recorder is compatible with your system.  Your recorder will come with instructions on how to connect your recorder to your computer and how to transfer files across devices.

3 The most common digital voice recorder types can be broken down into three categories.

  • Professional level digital voice recorders. These  professional-grade digital voice recorders are designed for audiophiles and ghost hunters that seek a feature-rich device that delivers the highest sound quality. As a result, these digital voice recorders are typically more expensive, costing several hundred dollars and up. The digital voice recorders that you find at this price point oftentimes have ‘extras’ such as attachable stands, more than one adjustable microphones, extra inputs to for external microphones and added software.
  • Mid-range digital voice recorders.  At this level, which ranges between $100 to $200, you can get a high-quality digital voice recorder that doesn’t have many of the added features of the professional level devices. Most mid-range digital voice recorders come with powerful microphones that deliver crisp sound.  Also, since they have fewer features, digital voice recorders at this level tend to be a little more user-friendly.
  • Cheap digital voice recorders. This range covers digital voice recorders that cost under $100. Here you can find much simpler but straightforward and very usable digital voice recorders.  These devices meet most of the core needs of the average ghost hunter who simply want to record some EVPs.  Digital voice recorders in this range tend to have few or even no extra features, lower recording quality and limited file format support. Most only have only an input for one microphone.

4 Cellphones make crappy digital voice recorders

Let’s face it, most smartphone microphones stink.  Sure, it’s fine for when you’re using it as a mic but they perform poorly when there is a lot of ambient noise like wind. The reality is that even the cheap digital recorders outperform smartphone audio. But there is hope. There are new products like the iRig MIC Cast, which is an pocket-sized, portable voice recording microphone.

Ghost_Cellphone_by_LazyCupcake

5 Get a digital voice recorder with an omnichannel microphone

There are two basic types of microphones: unidirectional and omnichannel.  Unidirectional microphones only capture the sound that is right in front of them.  Omnichannel microphones pick up the sound that is all around them.  For this reason, most ghost hunters recommend using an omnichannel microphone – you’re more likely to capture sounds nearby and not in front of the mic.

 

Ghost Cellphone image courtesy of LazyCupcake

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SB11 Spirit Box: must-have ghost hunting equipment

SB11 Spirit Box

A few years ago, DAS Distribution unveiled the SB7 Spirit Box, a compact Spirit Box designed to help non-physical entities communicate through electronic devices with people like us. The SB7 is quite possibly the best-know if not most popular spirit box used by ghost hunters and paranormal enthusists to generate EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena).

The SB7 Spirit Box is manufactured by Pro-Measure, a division of DAS Distribution. If you’re not familiar with them, DAS Distribution is a much-respected company founded by Gary Galk that has been a pioneer in the field of ghost hunting equipment since 2006. Several years later, we’re here, welcoming the next generation SB into the world, the SB11 Spirit Box.

And, wow, is it a beauty!

The SB11 Spirit Box ITC Device is said to be the most advanced “Spirit Box” on the market. Released during Fall of 2014 this premium ghost hunting device is full of a lot of appealing features.

So how does it measure up?  Let’s find out…

SB11 Spirit Box has advanced sweep

The SB11 Spirit Box comes with two internal radio channels, which each work independently.  You can either sweep a single channel, or sweep both simultaneously. Sweeping both does eat up a bit more battery life, but creates more opportunity for the spirit box to produce EVPs.

You can scan either AM or FM frequency band, scanning either forwards or backwards. You can also select you sweep rate.  The SB11 Spirit Box offers a 50-350ms sweep rate of 50ms to 350ms for AM and 50 thru 300 for FM. This is an improvement over the SB7 Spirit Box, which began at 76 MHz.

SB11 Spirit Box audio quality

The SB11 Spirit Box comes with two internal speakers that deliver higher quality audio than what we’ve heard from other spirit boxes.  The speakers can also be turned up loud, which makes it much easier to hear whispered words, names or sentences or other messages.  An external set of speakers is not needed as with other spirit boxes. However, you may still want to get the Altec Lansing Orbit external speakers, which are a bit better and are commonly used by ghost hunters.

Another great device feature is the mute button, which is found on the side of the SB11 Spirit Box. This mute button lets you momentarily shut off the sound while you’re asking a question.

SB11 Spirit Box’s red LED flashlight is great for night-time use

While spirit boxes are sometimes used during daylight hours, the reality is that they’re most often used at night. With this in mind, the SB11 Spirit Box was designed to also house a handy high intensity red LED flashlight.  The red LED light can reach up to 50 feet in the dark and won’t decrease your night vision as much as other wavelengths of light.  Not to mention that, by having the flashlight built into the SB11 Spirit Box, you have one less piece of equipment to take with you on your ghost hunt expedition.

SB11 Spirit Box’s temperature monitor helps validate a ghost event

The SB11 Spirit Box comes with an ambient temperature meter that detects hot and cold spots of +5/-5 degrees, which are oftentimes associated with spiritual energy. The Ambient Temperature Meter detects and uses red and blue LED lights and ascending or descending tones to indicate changes to colder or warmer temperature. This is great for confirming a temperature change when a suspected ghost voice is picked up. Note that the red LED flashlight can’t be used simultaneously with the temperature monitor.

SB11 Spirit Box does a ‘stand-up job’

Wait, there’s more! The SB11 Spirit Box also comes with a very helpful built-in tilt stand so that you can prop up your device during an EVP session.

Power source for the SB11 Spirit Box

This device uses 9V batteries. How long the battery lasts depends on a variety of factors such as if you’re running both radio channels at the same time and, of course, if some nearby spirit decides to drain the battery itself.

SB11 Spirit Box Sturdiness

The SB11 Spirit Box’s hard casing is very sturdy and it would take a lot to damage it. So if you’re startled by a spirit and fling the device out of your hand, don’t worry, it should easily survive the drop to the floor!

SB11 Spirit Box Pricing and Availability

The SB11 Spirit Box will available in black, black and black (a little joke there).  The price is under $160.  Meanwhile, the SB7 Spirit Box, which has fewer features, is available for under $75.

SB11 Spirit Box Tips

Make sure you always record with video or/and a voice recorder when you use the SB11 Spirit Box so that you can go back and analyze the suspected spirit voice further. When new features are developed, you can purchase an upgrade to the SB11 Spirit Box without having to buy a new device. And remember to pack extra batteries!

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SB7 Spirit Box: the first mass-produced Spirit Box

SB7 Spirit Box

The first generation SB7 Spirit Box, at its launch, became the world’s first mass-produced Spirit Box.  What is a spirit box?  Spirit Boxes are a relatively new (and some say controversial) tool in the modern ghost hunter’s toolbox.  The very first Spirit Box created, which was called ‘Frank’s Box’, was a custom-made version created by Frank Sumption in 2002.  Also know as a ‘Ghost Box’, Spirit Boxes are devices that are modified radio transmitters.  They use radio frequency sweeps to generate white noise that can be used by spirits to communicate with us. Spirit Boxes like the SB7 Spirit Box provide results similar that of an EVP recorder, but in real time.

The SB7 Spirit Box was first unveiled on October 30, 2009. It appeared on a Ghost Adventures show from the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum during which the renowned Chris Fleming used it SB7 to communicate with the other side. An updated version, the SB11 Spirit Box, was made available for purchase during 2014.

SB7 Spirit Box has advanced sweep

The SB7 Spirit Box scans two radio frequencies: AM and FM. The FM Sweep runs 100ms to 350ms and the AM Sweep runs 200ms to 500ms. They can each be scanned either forwards or backwards. There is also a seven step adjustable sweep rate and the volume of the output can be adjusted during your session.  Many earlier types of Spirit Box only scanned one radio frequency, which limited the amount of raw material that available for the spirits to use to communicate.

The SB7 Spirit Box also offers a proprietary high frequency synthetic noise or “white noise” that is distributed between frequency steps.

SB7 Spirit Box is portable and backlit for night-time use

Unlike older types, the SB7 Spirit Box is portable.  At nearly four inches tall and under 3 ounces, it’s the size and weight of a cell phone. The SB7 Spirit Box also comes with a bright backlit display, which makes working with the Spirit Box easy in the dark.

The Spirit Box, which uses three “AAA” batteries, has Black Portable Hard Case Cover Shell that provides protection from jostling and drops.

SB7 Spirit Box Pricing and Availability

The SB7 Spirit Box is available on this website.  An upgraded version of this tool, the SB11 Spirit Box, is also available.

SB7 Spirit Box Tips

    • You’ll need a digital voice recording device to record your sessions so that you can capture the spirit responses, which you may not hear during your session
    • Experiment with different sweep rates and also play with the forward and reverse sweep to better understand the SB7 Spirit Box and which sweeps work best for you.
    • The Spirit Box includes one 1-inch internal speaker. It’s a fine speaker but you may want high-quality audio so that you can better catch the words and other communications.  If so, we recommend the Altec Lansing Speaker, which is a high-quality and lightweight external speaker.

 

Do you own or plan to buy a Spirit Box? Let us know in the Comments section below!