May 26, 2023
The Best Voice Recorders for Podcasting and Other Uses
Are you looking for the best voice recorder for your next project?
Whether you're a journalist, student, or simply someone who wants to capture high-quality audio, choosing the ideal device can make all the difference. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. We’re here to help!
Read on to discover the best voice recorders you should try. This article reviews voice recording devices, plus software that’ll cover all your needs. We also guide you through what to consider when choosing your own recorder.
What Is a Voice Recorder?
A voice recorder is a piece of equipment or software that captures and records sound. You can use them for everything from creating a grocery list to recording a podcast. Most modern voice recorders are digital, but you can still find some old-school analog recording options on the market.
What Are the Benefits of a Voice Recorder?
It might seem like a waste to buy a voice recorder device because mobile devices can easily record audio. However, your phone has limits when it comes to quality and capacity. A digital voice recorder produces higher quality content compatible with editing software and other digital devices.
The top three benefits of using a voice recorder:
Improved Microphone Quality
The internal mics in phones are designed to pick up the human voice at a specific distance. Digital recorders have more powerful microphones that capture better quality. This results in a higher-quality recording for your content.
Compatibility and file formats can cause problems when recording with just your mobile device. A voice recorder app or voice recorder device records more types of content and provides recordings that you can upload easily for editing.
A voice recorder will usually have a much longer battery life than a phone. You can simply switch out memory cards and keep recording when using a voice recorder device. Then recharge the device when you need it.
The Types of Voice Recorders and Which to Choose
Know your specific needs as a creator and understand the advantages that different recorder types offer. How you answer these questions will narrow down your options and determine the type of recorder you should get:
Where will I be recording my content?
Podcasters recording in a studio at home will have different needs than someone recording content on the go. Voice recorder software with streaming capabilities is handier in a studio setting while a digital voice recorder with noise-blocking features is much more useful if you travel to guests to record.
What kind of content am I recording?
The content you record will dictate the type of recorder you need. Some recorders have great features for capturing interview audio and creating transcripts. Other digital recorders effectively record all the layers of a live music performance.
What is my budget?
If you don’t have a lot to invest in equipment or software, a free voice recorder app is an economical option. Having a little more cash to operate with means you can take advantage of advanced features and improved quality offered by recording software.
Once you’ve established your budget and know the type of content you’ll be recording and where you’ll record it, learn more about the three different types of voice recorders you can use to capture your content
Digital Voice Recorders
A digital voice recorder is a piece of equipment you use to record audio separate from your system or mobile device. These recorders can be handheld, mounted, or attached to other pieces of equipment for recording. Digital voice recorders have a variety of uses- they can do everything from recording class notes to capturing sound during movie filming.
Voice Recorder Software
No matter if you’re a newbie or a professional, there are great podcasting recorders for every need and budget. Recording software is a gamechanger for podcasters because it simplifies the recording, editing, and distribution processes. Record professional-quality audio and have it edited and streamed to your audience in no time using automated features and social sharing options.
Voice Recorder Apps
Voice recording apps are great when you need to start recording unexpectedly and all you have is your mobile device. Though a phone’s mic won’t provide the best audio, some recording apps allow external mic connections for improved quality. Pay attention to device compatibility to ensure a recording app will work with your phone.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Voice Recorder
Unsure about the features to consider when buying a voice recorder? Form and function can vary greatly among digital voice recorders, but if you pay attention to these three things, you can’t go wrong:
The quality of the audio you capture with a digital voice recorder will depend heavily on the microphones. Pay attention to the type of mics a recorder has and the recording patterns they use to pick up audio. See if the recorder has any built-in features for speech clean-up or noise cancellation.
MP3 is one of the most widely-used recording formats and the format most digital recorders use. If the content service requires something other than the MP3 format, you may have to convert your audio file type using software. Check the recorder specs and the upload requirements of the online platforms you use.
Related article: WAV vs MP3: What's the Difference & Which Is Better for Podcasters
How much memory do you plan to use to store your recordings? Check which forms of storage and memory cards a digital recorder supports. Some digital recorders don’t require a memory card because they come with built-in storage space.
If you’re recording in the field or on-the-go, you’ll want to think about how portable your voice recorder is. Voice recording apps are accessible from anywhere with your phone, but you can also find great digital recorders that are compact and easy to carry around with you. You can also always carry a laptop, but if your laptop is heavy this may not be the most ideal.
Ease of Use
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that your audio recording device is easy to use. Go for a device that offers easy navigation and has a comfortable display to work with.
The Best Voice Recorders for 2023
Best Digital Recorders
There’s a digital voice recorder on the market for every need and budget. To get the best quality recording and the top audio recorder, understand your recording environment and the other equipment you use. Some recorders have features that make them well-suited for live music, while others have built-in voice enhancement features great for interviews. We’ll review some of the top digital voice recorders available and explain what type of recording each one is best for. You can start by watching the video below and then read on for a full guide on portable recorders.
1. Sony PCM-D10 Portable Studio Recorder
This portable audio recorder performs well under any circumstances. The adjustable mics can be arranged to pick up sound in three different polar patterns, which makes it highly versatile. The PCM-D10 is compatible with other recording equipment that can easily connect using the recorder’s XLR/TRS combo jacks. This portable device also has the ability to stream your recordings directly to a wireless speaker via Bluetooth.
Microphone Quality: Dual Adjustable Mics (XY, L/R Zoom, Wide Angle)
Recording Format: MP3, LPCM
Storage Capacity: 16GB internal memory, supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC Cards
Battery Life: 32-44 hours (recording resolution dependent)
- Adjustable internal mics provide three recording configurations
- Monitor recording levels from your smartphone
- Separate dials for left and right channels provide more control
Best Used For: This digital voice recorder outperforms other recorders when it comes to capturing live music.
2. Tascam DR-05X Portable Audio Recorder
The Tascam recorder captures audio as two separate high-quality tracks every time you hit record. This gives more control when it comes time for editing. It’s easy to attach external mics to this recorder to implore the sound quality even further. The Tascam can be powered by battery, USB, or AC adapter, so you never have to worry about losing power during recording.
Microphone Quality: Built-In Omnidirectional Condenser Stereo Pair, A/B Configuration
Recording Format: BWF, MP3, WAV
Storage Capacity: No Internal storage, supports microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC
Battery Life: 17.5 hours stereo recording @ 16-bit / 44.1 kHz resolution
- A 128 x 64-pixel graphic monochrome LCD display with a backlight
- Can be mounted, used as a hand-held device, or attached to a camera
- Auto gain, EQ, limiter, low-cut filter, and reverb
Best Used For: Its multiple power options and inputs make it great for long shoots and connecting multiple pieces of equipment while recording videos.
3. Philips DPM6000 Pocket Memo Digital Voice Recorder
This recorder has advanced speech recognition features designed for business professionals. The Philips DPM6000 performs well when recording business meetings and personal notes on the go. It has convenient features for quick file editing with the push of a button: insert, overwrite, and append parts of your recording.
Microphone Quality: 2Mic Stereo
Recording Format: DDS, MP3
Storage Capacity: 1GB
Battery Life: Up to 23 hours
- SpeechExec workflow software for managing data
- High-quality recordings in DDS and MP3 formats
- Easy USB rechargeable battery and connectivity
Best Used For: The Philips DPM6000 is perfect for business professionals who need to record business meetings, create dictations, and make frequent notes.
4. Olympus WS-852 Digital Voice Recorder
The Olympus WS-852 provides convenience and quality at a great price, with hours of battery life. The dual-microphone placement enables high-quality stereo audio capture. It’s simple to manage large audio clips by connecting the recorder directly to your system using its USB port, which can also be used for charging. The WS-852 has a voice filter that enhances spoken words and auto-adjustment features to improve the quality of recordings.
Microphone Quality: Stereo - 90° degree layout
Recording Format: MP3
Storage Capacity: 4GB internal memory, supports microSD
Battery Life: 110 hours of recording time, 90 hours playback
- Auto Mode function automatically adjusts microphone sensitivity
- Pocket Mode effectively records voices from your breast pocket
- Stereo-quality recordings captured by dual microphones
Best Used For: This recorder is ideal for capturing interviews, meetings, class notes, or personal dictations because of the built-in speech enhancement features.
5. Zoom Podtrak P4
The Zoom Podtrack P4 is particularly made with podcasters in mind. It offers flexibility with it’s 4 input jacks, so podcasters and their guests can choose exactly which microphones they want to record with. You can also plug in headphones, so each person being recorded can clearly hear how the audio is being captured. This voice recorder also gives you the option to record remotely if you plug it into your phone or computer. It has echo cancellation and has customizable sound pads for adding in effects while recording.
Microphone Quality: No built-in mic but has 4 XLR microphone inputs
Recording Format: WAV
Storage Capacity: Supports SD, SDHC and SDXC cards at up to 512 GB
Battery Life: 3-8 hours depending on battery type
- Can be used with any top-end high-quality microphones
- Customizable sound pads for your own pre-recorded audio effects
- Can also work as an audio interface
Best Used For: This voice recorder is best for anyone who’s looking to record with multiple people while having more flexibility in terms of what microphones they want to record with. Instead of relying on one built-in microphone, the Zoom Podtrack P4 gives makes sure everyone can have their own dedicated mic.
Best Voice Recorder Software
Having the right voice recorder can make or break your content! Invest in the right recording software and you don’t have to worry about quality or getting your content to your listeners.
The best software will act as a one-stop-shop for recording, editing, and distributing your content. When reviewing voice recorder softer for your podcast, pay attention to:
- Audio editing ability and advanced features
- Remote recording capabilities
- Streaming platform integrations
- Local recording abilities
We’ve reviewed some of our top picks for recording software, but we’ve also got an article that goes into audio recording software in more depth.
Riverside’s intuitive interface makes recording content a seamless experience. Everything records directly on your device instead of relying on internet connection. This means you’re guaranteed studio-quality results with up to 4K video and 48kHz audio resolution, no matter where you are. While Riverside specializes in recording, our built-in editing features ensures you can create content from beginning to end on one easy platform.
Editing Capabilities: Yes
Remote Recording: Yes
- High-resolution local recording so you don’t have to worry about internet connection ruining quality
- Separate audio, video and screen track recordings for each participant to give you more editing flexibility
- Up to 8 participants in one recording, and up to 1000 audience live members
- Producer mode so you can invite an assistant to work behind the scenes without accidentally recording them
- Media board for live editing and sound effects
- Mobile app for recording on any Anddroid or iOS device
- Text-based audio editing, so trimming and polishing your audio is as easy as editing a text transcript
- Clips tool for creating sharable short videos for social media
- Automatic audio-fine tuning tools to polish your audio in just a few clicks.
- Automated ai transcriptions in over 100 languages for easier video captions and content repurposing
Experience all these benefits and more! Start recording with Riverside.
GarageBand was designed for musicians to easily record music, but it can also be used just as easily to create other content. The recording software has features that make it easy to mix audio and add music and other effects to your recordings. Unfortunately, this software currently only works on Apple devices.
Editing Capabilities: Yes
Remote Recording: No
- Easy-to-use audio and MIDI editing features
- Integrates with a variety of other third-party apps and plug-ins
- Export recorded audio directly to major platforms like SoundCloud, iTunes, and YouTube
Some content creators are using Zoom for recording because it’s super easy to use. Zoom was originally designed for business professionals, but podcasters and other creators have found ways to adapt its features. The biggest drawback of Zoom is you can’t perform any edits on the audio or video you record. The platform also relies on your internet connection, which doesn’t make it the most reliable.
Editing Capabilities: No
Remote Recording: Yes
Best Features For Podcasters:
- Easy-to-use remote video and audio recording features
- Audio is automatically compressed to make it easier to store and upload online
- Record yourself and your guest or co-host at the same time with the Split Screen feature
Best Voice Recorder Apps
Though you won’t get the same quality as a digital voice recorder or recording software, you can use your phone as a recording device. Some recording software integrates across platforms with app extensions. The Riverside mobile app lets you turn your phone into a recording studio no matter where you are.
Voice recording apps are designed with on-the-go convenience in mind and are highly versatile, making them great for business, education, and entertainment purposes. Not all apps are available for both Android devices and iOS systems - be sure the app you choose to use is compatible with the type of phone you have!
Read our full guide on the best voice recorder apps for a detailed list, but here are some recommendations of simple voice recording apps you can try:
Alice was designed for journalists who need a reliable recording option when they need to record fast while out in the field. The voice recording App was created by journalists and is used by major news outlets that include The New York Times, WIRED, and Politico.
Free to Download: No
Device Compatibility: Android, iOs
- A combination recorder and transcribing system with audio playback from within a transcript
- Record calls directly from your system’s microphone
- Privacy-focused: there are no ads, data mining, or tracking systems in the app
Best Used For: Alice is ideal for journalists who need to record interviews and sound bites and have them transcribed.
2. Easy Voice Recorder Pro
This highly versatile app lets you record meetings, music, personal notes, and more using your phone. The free version lets you record audio in PCM, AAC, and AMR formats and the paid pro version gives you more control with advanced recording and sharing features.
Free to Download: Yes - Paid Pro Version Available
Device Compatibility: Android, iOs
- Background recording lets you use your phone for other things without interrupting your recording session
- Pro version has Bluetooth mic recording capabilities
- Pro version features data management options: organize your recordings and save them to external memory cards
Best Used For: The free version of this app is perfect for personal and professional recordings and excels at recording lectures, interviews, and dictations.
3. Otter Voice Notes
Otter Voice Notes was created with businesses and business professionals in mind. The voice recorder app makes it easy to record business meetings and other conversations and have them transcribed and stored. The app’s features let you easily search, play, edit, and organize your transcripts for easy access and recall.
Free to Download: No
Device Compatibility: Android, iOs
- Use their voice recorder online for studio recordings or the voice recorder app to record in the field using your phone
- Get real-time transcriptions that are available within minutes of recording
- Playback features let you browse and jump around in audio transcripts easily
Best Used For: Businesses and other enterprises looking for a recording and transcription program to keep organized will love Otter Voice notes.
4. Samsung Voice Recorder
The Samsung Voice Recorder download is free and you can use the app to start recording immediately without any kind of sign up process. Though it only has basic recording functions, it’s a great free option when you need to record something fast. Use the recorder in conjunction with audio editing software to clean up any quality issues.
Free to Download: Yes
Device Compatibility: Android
- Reject calls during recording without interrupting the recording session
- Easily share audio recordings via email and text messages
- “Voice Memo” mode automatically converts speech to text for transcripts
Best Used For: This app is a good free option for recording quick notes, quotes, and dictations on the go.
The Tape-a-Talk app is great for podcasters and creators of all types. The app’s settings can be changed and customized for your unique needs, whether it’s recording speech, music, or another type of audio. You have the option of saving your recordings to your phone or an external storage device.
Free to Download: Yes - Paid Pro Version Available
Device Compatibility: Android
- Supports uncompressed audio and AAC recording
- Pro Version integrates with cloud storage and sharing programs: Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and OneDrive
- Easily transfer files recorded over WiFi using Pro Version transfer features
Best Used For: Tape-a-Talk’s Pro Version has features that make it great for recording everything from live music to interviews.
6. Voice Memo App
Anyone looking for a voice recorder on iPhone can use the Voice Memo app to record and edit audio and organize it in the iCloud menu. The app is designed to integrate well across all Apple devices - you can even record right from your wrist using an Apple Watch. The program’s organization features make it easy for you to quickly access your recordings for editing and sharing.
Free to Download: Yes
Device Compatibility: iOS
- Compatible with built-in microphones, Bluetooth equipment, and external mics
- Simple pinch-to-zoom and single-tap editing features
- Organize recordings in folders and with favorite labels for quick access
Best Used For: This app is great for creators who use Apple products because recordings can be shared and synced quickly and easily across iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers.
Best Voice Recorders
To sum up, what’s the best voice recorder for you? This is personalized based on your setting and what you particularly need.
Best Voice Recorder for Beginners
If you’re a complete beginner, you should go for a voice recorder that’s easy to use instead of one full of complicated features you can’t understand. You might be better off with a voice recording app, but keep in mind this doesn’t always offer the best recording quality. You can try Alice or Tape-a-talk, or for better quality, you can try Riverside’s software and app that’s suitable for all levels. If you’re looking to use a digital voice recorder, go for the Olympus WS-852 which comes with a Simple Mode feature, making recording easier for beginners.
Best Voice Recorder for recording in the field
If you’re recording in the field, you’ll want something compact and portable. You can try one of the voice recorder apps, or you can try any pocket-size digital recorder. The Philips DPM6000 is good for recording meetings on the go, or you can try the Zoom H1N which is ideal for noisier environments.
Best Voice Recorder for Podcasting
When it comes to podcasting, there may be certain extra features you should look out for. For example, you may want to add background music or sound effects while recording, and your recording quality is definitely going to be a lot more important to you than someone just recording notes for their own use. This is why we suggest you try Riverside that is particularly designed with podcasters in mind. You can record locally in high-quality and invite up to 7 guests to join you no matter where they are.
If you’re looking for a digital recorder, we suggest the Zoom Podtrack H4, or you can read our guide on more of the best podcasting recorders.
Best Audio Recording Device for Interviews
If you're looking for the best voice recording device for interviews, any of the devices we've listed above should do a good job. Two great interview recorders are the Zoom H1N and the Olympus WS-852. You may want to think about what your priorities are, though. If you're recording for keeping track of something and you aren't concerned about the quality then you don't need a high-end voice recorder.
Start Recording With the Right Equipment and Software
Voice recorders come in all shapes and sizes and can have a range of features and capabilities. Consider your needs for your content, recording environment, and budget. Once you do, you’ll know which type of recorder you need and the features that will support your content the best.
The recorder you use will affect your recording quality, so don't take choosing a voice recorder lightly. Pay close attention to microphone quality and look for built-in background noise reduction features. The most important thing is to make sure your needs line up with what your voice recorder is capable of.
Voice Recorder and Recording Software FAQs
Do you still have questions about how voice recorders and voice recorder software works? Our FAQ is full of information to find a great voice recording program or device.
What’s the difference between a dictaphone and a voice recorder?
Voice recorders and dictaphones often provide the same functionality. However, a dictaphone is designed to pick up the speech of one person talking while a voice recorder can capture multiple input sources. Voice recorders provide much better quality if more than one person or sound is being recorded.
What’s the best voice recorder software?
There’s no cut-and-dry answer for which voice recorder software is best. That said, Riverside is your best bet if you’re looking for professional quality audio and video without worrying about your internet ruining your resolution. With local recording and up to 4K video you’ll easily record studio-quality content hassle-free. See for yourself and start recording on Riverside today!
What is the best voice recorder for singing?
GarageBand is a great choice to record singing. It’s free to use and is packed full of features to edit and fine-tune music. This voice recorder was designed for people who want to make music, so it has many features that are perfect for singers and musicians.
Which phone has the best sound recording quality?
There’s no consensus on which phone is able to record the best sound quality. If you want to use your phone to record content, consider investing in external microphones to improve your recording quality.
How to record good audio for YouTube?
You can record quality audio for YouTube using an online voice recorder or any voice recording app. To get good audio, make sure your recording environment is free of unwanted noise and invest in a decent microphone.
What recorder do YouTubers use?
YouTubers use a variety of recorders to capture content for their channels. Many recorders have been developed with gamers and other content creator types in mind. Some of the top recorders used by YouTubers include Camtasia, Bandicam, and ShadowPlay.
What is an audio interface and do you need one?
An audio interface converts sounds made by an instrument or microphone into a digital format to be read by computer software and other recording equipment. You probably don’t need one, but it depends on your recording setup. Microphones can be connected directly to digital voice recorders, which eliminates the need for an audio interface.
How do I choose a good voice recorder?
The key to choosing a good voice recorder is knowing what you’ll be using it for and where you’ll be recording. Make sure your voice recorder has features and specs that best support how you plan on using it. Make a list of what you need and then find a voice recorder that checks all or most of those boxes.
What is the best way to record your voice?
If you’re looking to record your voice in high-quality then it’s best to use a dedicated digital recorder or voice recording software like the ones we’ve mentioned above. An easier option is to also use a simple voice recording app.
What is the best voice recorder on PC?
There are many voice recorders you can use on your PC. We have a full guide on recording software, but these are some of the best PC-based voice recorders:
- Adobe Audition
How can you record a podcast for free?
Recording a podcast for free follows the same process as you would record a podcast any other way. The only difference is that you’ll have to use equipment you already own, and you’ll have to choose podcast software that’s free or comes with a free plan. You can definitely still record a high-end podcast in this way, but we would recommend at least using a good-quality microphone for the best results.
How do you record a podcast on a PC?
As we covered, you can record a podcast on your computer using podcast recording software. If you’re using Riverside, follow these steps to record a podcast on your computer:
- Set up your equipment and connect it correctly to your PC.
- Login into your Riverside account and open or create a new studio.
- Test your equipment is working in Riverside’s Lobby.
- Enter your studio and click the Record button to start recording your podcast on your computer.
- Stop recording when you are done and wait for all your files to upload.
- Download and export your separate track files on your computer or edit directly on Riverside’s Editor.