5 Tips to Pick the Right Voice Recorder: Making Transcription Easy
One of the biggest contributing factors to the quality of audio transcription is the quality of the audio itself. The clearer something is, the easier it will be for your transcriber.
If the microphone is low-quality and there’s a lot of background noise being picked up, then it will not only compromise the accuracy of the transcription but it may also be delayed if it’s particularly difficult to hear. In some cases, transcription services may even charge more if your recording isn’t very clear.
Thankfully, there’s a very easy way to ensure that your audio recording, even if it has multiple people talking, passes the test and receives a quick and accurate transcription. The secret is in the way you record your audio. In most cases, this comes down to the voice recorder that you use.
The differences in voice recorders
Voice recorders can have many differences. Whether it’s the audio quality, the storage medium or even the types of microphones it supports, there are countless different options. Voice recorders today are far more advanced than the tape-based ones of the past and they come at many different price points.
There are several different factors that will determine the type of voice recorder you should invest in. For instance, if you’re going to be recording outside most of the time then noise cancellation and background noise removal will be very important. If you’re going to record interviews where you and your interviewee will be sitting at opposite ends of a table, then a bidirectional microphone may be the best option.
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Your line of work or hobby will also affect the type of voice recorder you’re looking for. Some people prefer small recorders that they can take out at a moment’s notice to start recording immediately, while others prefer to have more options and longer recording times and therefore don’t mind having a small bit of setup at the beginning.
With so many differences, features and price points, it can be difficult choosing the right one. However, having an idea of what you’re going to use your voice recorder for will ultimately go a long way to ensure that your recordings are easier to transcribe. So to help you out, let’s take a look at five tips for picking the right voice recorder.
1. Audio quality and clarity are important
When searching for the best digital voice recorder for transcription, it’s vital that you consider the quality of the recording and the clarity. The quality will often determine how easy it is to understand and is measured in bitrate — the higher the bits per second, the clearer the sound quality. Clear audio also has the advantage of being more suitable for an automated speech recognition service.
Although ASR accuracy caps at 80%, data security and privacy aren’t factors and the services using ASR will occasionally have someone checking the odd recording and transcript for a quality check. While ASR with high-quality recordings isn’t a replacement for human-based transcription, it can certainly improve the overall service.
A high-quality microphone is often the main component to consider, but clarity can also be a factor. For instance, if you’re in a quiet room with several speakers, then an omnidirectional microphone can be great for picking up multiple speakers, but if you’re in a busy area then it’s going to pick up lots of background noise which can compromise clarity. If you’re planning to use your voice recorder in a busy area, then make sure it has a way to omit background noise or only pick up sounds coming from a single direction.
2. Storage space for recordings
The last thing you want is to run out of storage space during a recording. Not only will it slow down your work process, but depending on the quality of your voice recorder it may not even warn you when your storage is low.
Having plenty of storage on your device is important especially if you’re going to be recording long conversations away from your office or a computer that you can upload them to.
Thankfully, if you do have access to something like a laptop then it should be fairly easy to transfer the audio files as long as it supports USB transfer. Some voice recorders use removable memory cards which can also be convenient to use if your device has the right slots for it. Do keep in mind that most voice recorders that can record at higher qualities will typically use up more space.
3. Convenience of the voice recorder
People use voice recorders for many different reasons. Some people use them to record voice clips of interviews when they’re out in public, so a small recorder can be stored in their pocket and used when necessary. However, if you’re setting up a voice recorder for planned interviews and don’t mind spending some time setting up, then you have larger options available to you.
A small voice recorder can be no larger than a typical smartphone and pack some amazing features. However, do keep in mind that a smaller and more convenient recorder will be more expensive. When looking for the best digital voice recorder for transcription, you should expect to pay a premium for convenience if that’s an important factor for you.
4. Battery life
Voice recorders typically come with very durable batteries that can last much longer than a device such as your smartphone, which has mixed uses. Since a voice recorder is dedicated to only recording audio, you’ll get much more longevity out of a single charge.
However, it’s still worth taking into consideration how large the battery of a voice recorder is before purchasing it. You’ll want to consider how much battery you’ll actually need, and you should also think about how this plays into the cost and convenience of the device.
For example, a larger device will typically have more space for a larger battery, so if convenience is a limiting factor then you might need to go for a more expensive model with a condensed build or a larger voice recorder with a larger battery.
Similarly, you’ll need to think about how often you’ll be around a power source. If you’re going to be out in the field making audio recordings for most of the day, then you’ll want a battery that can at least last 24 hours of use. Some voice recorders also use regular batteries that are disposable, so these might be a better option if you’re going to be away from a source of power for a long period of time.
5. Basic editing features
Something that will make your entire workflow much simpler is to have basic editing features on your voice recorder. This will usually come at a much higher price due to the processing power required to edit a recording on-the-fly, but it can be incredibly convenient if you don’t need to cut files manually on your computer before you decide to send them to a transcriber.
Being able to conveniently cut, trim, delete and merge files will make it far easier for the transcriber. You’ll be able to cut out sections of an interview if you don’t think they are relevant, which can ultimately help cut down on the costs of transcription. Breaking a file down into chapters or sections can also help with ASR since the files will be transcribed and checked faster, meaning you’ll get results without having to wait a long period of time.
Picking the right voice recorder for you
Whatever your recording needs, make sure you get the right voice recorder to suit your needs. Whether size, battery life or storage space matter to you, it’s vital you know exactly what you want out of the recorder before buying.
Doing this research will not only make the process of recording audio more efficient, but it will also help you afterwards when getting your audio professionally transcribed. Streamlining the transcription process can save you money and time, and allow you to get the insights you need from your recordings.