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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.


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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