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The Best Voice Recorders for Podcasting and Other Uses

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The Best Voice Recorders for Podcasting and Other Uses

Although podcasters often use their phones as a convenient voice recorder, mobile devices don’t produce the best recording quality. If you really want to capture professional audio, you’ll need a reliable voice recorder. 

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of using a voice recorder for your content, and the different types out there. We’ll explain what you should look for when choosing a voice recorder and review some of our favorite voice recording devices and software.

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. 

Versatility 

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.

Reliability 

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 Recorders for Podcasting: 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 Recorders for Recording Instantly

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:

Audio Quality

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. 

Recording Format

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

Storage Capacity

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. 

The Best Digital Voice Recorders for 2021

There’s a digital voice recorder on the market for every need and budget. To get the best quality recording, 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. 

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)

Top Features:

  • Adjustable internal mics provide three recording configurations 
  • Monitor recording levels from your smartphone
  • Separate dials for left and right channels provide more control 

Price: $499.99

Best Used For: This digital voice recorder outperforms other recorders when it comes to capturing live music.  

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

Top Features:

  • 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

Price: $119.99

Best Used For: Its multiple power options and inputs make it great for long shoots and connecting multiple pieces of equipment while recording videos.

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 

Top Features:

  • SpeechExec workflow software for managing data
  • High-quality recordings in DDS and MP3 formats 
  • Easy USB rechargeable battery and connectivity 

Price: $249

Best Used For: The Philips DPM6000 is perfect for business professionals who need to record business meetings, create dictations, and make frequent notes. 

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 

Top Features:

  • Auto Mode function automatically adjusts microphone sensitivity
  • Pocket Mode effectively records voices from your breast pocket
  • Stereo-quality recordings captured by dual microphones 

Price: $59.99

Best Used For: This recorder is ideal for capturing interviews, meetings, class notes, or personal dictations because of the built-in speech enhancement features. 

Best Voice Recorder for Podcast Recording: Recording Software

Having the right podcast recorder can make or break your podcast operation! Invest in the right podcast 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 podcast 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 podcast recording software and highlighted the features podcasters will love. 

Riverside.fm

Riverside.fm has everything you could ask for when it comes to podcast software. Riverside.fm’s intuitive interface makes it simple to record, edit, and stream your content all from one place. The automated features streamline the editing process and greatly reduce the time spent post-production. Riverside.fm records audio and video locally and separate 48kHz WAV audio tracks are saved for each recording participant. 

Editing Capabilities: Yes

Streaming-Ready: Yes

Remote Recording: Yes 

Best Features For Podcasters: 

  • Interact with guests and co-hosts live without being recorded in Producer Moder
  • The Magic Editor Tool uses automated features to streamline editing 
  • Use the Media Board feature to add effects and edit audio live to save time in post-production 

Anchor

Anchor’s is Spotify’s podcast production program. It focuses on analytics and monetization opportunities to help podcasters grow their show and make money doing it. The recording program supports distribution across all major listening apps and you can get your content on Spotify fast with only a couple of clicks. 

Editing Capabilities: Yes

Streaming-Ready: No

Remote Recording: Yes

Best Features For Podcasters:

  • Free, unlimited hosting for your podcast files 
  • Earn money through subscription and paid ad programs 
  • Easy integration for simple recording across all devices 

GarageBand

GarageBand was designed for musicians to easily record music, but it can also be used just as easily to create content for a podcast. 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

Streaming-Ready: No

Remote Recording: No 

Best Features For Podcasters:

  • 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

Zoom

Some podcasters are using Zoom to record their content because it’s super easy to record audio and video calls. 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.

Editing Capabilities: No

Streaming-Ready: Yes

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 

Spreaker Studio

Spreaker Studio lets you record and edit from your home studio or on the go with your mobile device. This recording program was developed by iHeart and features advanced options for monetization and distribution. The Spreaker Studio does not have built-in remote recording features, but can integrate with the Skype app to record guest audio. 

Editing Capabilities: Yes

Streaming-Ready: Yes

Remote Recording: No 

Best Features For Podcasters:

  • Podcast analytics provide listener data for content improvement 
  • Engage with listeners while you’re broadcasting using the Live Podcast chat feature
  • Edit on-the-go with the Spreaker Studio mobile app    

Best Voice Recorder Apps for Recording Right Away

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.fm iOS 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!

Keep reading to learn more about some of the best podcast recorder apps and our recommendations for how you can get the most from them. 

Alice

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 

Key Features:

  • 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.

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 

Key Features:

  • 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. 

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 

Key Features:

  • 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. 

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 

Key Features:

  • 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. 

Tape-a-Talk

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 

Key Features:

  • 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. 

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

Key Features:

  • 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. 

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, however, we recommend selecting one where you can do your recording, editing, and publishing all in one place. Riverside.fm uses localized recording to produce HD audio and provides automated editing options and social sharing integrations. 

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. 

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