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Submitted by BJ_Marshall on


Can any of you suggest a decent yet inexpensive digital voice recorder?

I went through the entire Interviewing Series (twice!), and now I'm ready to start nailing the important questions I'm likely to get in an interview. I would like to practice with audio, but all the information on the Internet is hard to wade through. Lots of opinions there that I'm not sure I can trust.

Thanks for your help!

tcomeau's picture
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I used my 4G iPod for taking notes. I think the mic was a Belkin, but it might have been a Griffin.

When I replaced it with a 5G, I didn't get a new recorder. For the newer iPods, Belkin makes an iPod dock connector with a mic for under $30.

I now take the occasional audio note with my phone, so I can forward them to myself. I just use it to see how little clips, though, not a whole presentation.

If you have one of the newer Macs with built-in iSight, you can use iMovie to capture the video from your camera, and you can actually see how you're doing.


BJ_Marshall's picture
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It may help to let you in on my current technological state.

I do not have an iPod; I have a 2G Sony Walkman that does not record voice. Maybe I should upgrade to an iPod. I also do not have a digital camera that takes video (we have an old camera), and I do not have a cell phone.


lalam's picture
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I use Olympus WS-210S for notes, lectures and interviews. Works great.

asteriskrntt1's picture

BJ, you don't need an iPod... what Tom uses is an adapter that plugs into the headphone jack of his iPod, but likely can do the same in most MP3 players....


toddw's picture

Olympus sort of owns the low end of this market:


I have a variant of this recorder:


$27 plus $6 for S/H and you're set.

If you need a PC connection (from the sounds of things you probably don't) you can go up model:


$45 plus $6 S/H and you can transfer the audio to your PC.

BJ_Marshall's picture
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Thanks, all.

I ended up getting an Olympus VN-4100. I got it a few weeks ago on sale for $25. It isn't fancy, and I don't like the way my voice sounds in the playback, but it works perfectly for my needs. Two AA batteries will last for about 24 hours of use, it has four "folders" to store content, and the display is simple and easily navigable.

My coworkers can find me during lunch walking around the parking lot talking to myself. And if any of them come to me and say, "Tell me about yourself," I'm ready - HA!


jrumple's picture
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You could use any phone called into your voicemail, but that is a little cumbersome.

With the iPhone 2.0 software I started using an App called iTalk. With the release of iPhone v3.0 there is a voice memo app standard. I haven't used it much.

I know that iTalk allows you to manage the recorded audio files (*.m4a) in iTunes and even send them in an e-mail to someone else.

I like the idea of having this function in a single device so I'm not trying to juggle my cell phone, a voice recorder, GPS maps, iPod, and the other gadgets. It also reduces the number of power chargers I have to carry with me to any given location. (Definitely invest in a car charger.)


rilbrink's picture


Check out some MP3 players with microphones.

I use one dedicated iRiver player (in my case a 5 year old IFP790) for recording voice, both for taking notes in the car as well as meetings.

I find that I can be more focused during discussions since I know that I can always relisten if need be.

The model I use most only has 256 MB, but it can record more than 17 hours of voice MP3's at 32 kHz / 32 BPS (still good voice quality), has Automatic Gain Control (records soft and loud sounds almost at the same level) and has Voice autodetect, so it starts recording as soon as someone starts speaking. Furthermore it can playback at slower or faster speeds, has a "study mode", which allows you to quickly skip back (you can pre-set the number of seconds for the skip) and relisten to something you missed or skip forward. An other model, I have records up to 78 hours of voice...

I love these iRivers as they run for more that 40 hours on one single AA Li-Ion battery.

I know these models are old, but there are probably newer types that have these features as well.

And, heck, you can still use them as an MP3 player and radio as well, just leave about 50 MB free for 3 hours of voice recording and use the rest for podcasts (or music).


Robert Ilbrink
Business Performance Improvement Professional

Gareth's picture

What about the built in Mic you find it some portable computers?