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I use this dictaphone for interviews. The benefits of this one if that it's very small, light and very portable. The batteries last for ages and it can carry loads of different tracks. In High Quality recording mode, you get a whopping 30 hours + of recording time (Which, unless you are not human, is more than enough) or over triple in Low Quality. Recording is done at the touch of the button, and they are saved as "files", which are then grouped into a folder. 4 Folders are automatically set into the player.
However - One really annoying feature is that when re-playing a recording, you can't rewind. This seems very strange and is VERY frustrating. You have to start the track all over again if you want to listen to a previous bit. Also, it's difficult to move the tracks onto a computer, you listen to them on the dictaphone.
The mic is fine for quiet places where you are quite close to the other person. However, in noisier places (I carried out interviews backstage, with several people and in bars) it becomes very difficult to hear what's going on. There is no way to increase the sensitivity.
I'd recommend buying an extra mic to plug into this.
The player is ergonomic and alot smaller than I expected, which is great. My only problem design wise is that the recording LED is tiny, and can't be seen very well. All in all, this is cute and it works and it's probably appropriate for some, but for the work I'm doing I'm upgrading to something a bit more powerful.
I am a musician doing a music technology with popular music degree. I do regular gigs, write a lot of songs and play and jam with a varied and large quantity of different musicians. Due to my course at University and the musicians I do concerts with I am always writing different songs. The problem I, and many many other musicians, have is that the best songs and ideas for songs come at the most in-appropriate times. This is where the Sony ICD-B 500 comes in handy.
The problem with this piece of hardware is that over time it has become obsolete. Mobile phones have really started to take over the portable, low quality recording scene. I can record on my mobile phone the same quality recording, almost, as this device and I have a pretty cheap phone. Also, doing all your recording on a phone means that there is nothing else you need to remember to take out with you: no extra weight, no extra thought, no extra space is needed with a mobile phone. And in relation to such technology, the dictaphone isn't particularly cheap. This model costs almost £30 and when you can get a mobile phone that does the same thing along with rining, texting, taking photos etc... what is the point?
On the other hand, I own one of these devices and It is invaluable in the context of the amount I use it. The thing about a dictaphone is that it is their for the purpose of recording. Rather than taking out my mobile phone I will always use this. It has an awfullot of memory and I know that if I am likely to find a recording I have done and don't remember it will be on this. I have no reason to be deleting things, to make room for txt messages or photos. The fact that it is purpose built means that I use it more often.
Two days ago I picked up my dictaphone to have a listen to some of the things I have recorded and I found a song I had started to write. I had completely forgotten about this song until listening to it because at the time I recorded it on the device I was writing something else, and the other thing took priority. I hadn't remembered this other song, due to intoxiction of a kind, and started to learn it again. This would have never happened on my mobile phone because I just don't think of it like that.
The mobile phone is a disposable product with no where near the charm of the dictaphone. Everyone has a mobile phone and there is nothing special about any of them really, just a popular necessity. Having a dictaphone makes you want to record your thoughts and songs.
In comparison to other dictaphones this is a good price, light, pretty high quality, has at least 1825 mins of voice or sound recording.
My main issue with this is that it doesn't have anything direct to put in your computer. Sure, you can use the headphone output to plug into your computers microphone input but really we all want USB!!!
It's easy to delete things, easy to record, has pretty good quality and is small, light and easy to remember. Personally, I never need anything on my computer from this anyway because the play back is pretty good. On the other hand, if you need it on your computer all you need is a programme like Audacity and it's very easy.
My opinion is you don't need anythign better than this, keep to tradition and get a easy but useful dictaphone!
During my working day I tend to have to make many note, usually on paper, which can so often become confusing due to my somewhat 'scruffily rushed scribble, even losing some in transit, (and I really do need to brush up on my shorthand).
Anyway, a while back, to save the planet of course, I decided to stop using paper to make my notes on and moved over to digital recording, (isn't technology great?).
So I spent some time looking into some of the voice recorders that are on the market, including the likes of the rather pricey Olympus DS-50 with added MP3 player and its sister ship, the LS-10 PCM, which, for over a hundred quid, would not make me think about saving the rain forest.
But whilst browsing I came across a rather brilliant little darling which, for the smallish price, I felt was quite adequate enough for what I needed in my daily work.
** WHAT IS IT THEN...
It is a digital voice recorder but if you want the technical bits then...
It is approximately 35mm wide by 110mm long by 18mm thick and comes in at a feather weight 35 grams.
It has a single output speaker on the front of the unit with a output power of 250mW.
With a built in memory of 256 MB the recording time varies, depending upon the quality wanted, but it ranges from 1825 minutes, (30+ hours), in High Quality to 9015 minutes, (150 hours), in Long play.
On the 1 ½ inch screen (20mm by 25mm) the clear display shows the time and date, plus the recording information when in use and battery level
On the top of the unit is the built in microphone and also two sockets for an external microphone, plus a DC connecter point and headphones.
To power the unit requires 2 AAA batteries , (which are actually supplied, which is good).
It also offers microphone sensitivity selection and VOR, (voice operated recording), which really is a useful little addition in itself.
** WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH IT..?
I do recommend a quick read of the instructions which come with the unit, just pick a language from the many offered.
But here's a brief of what it can do...
Once you squeeze the supplied batteries into the back of the unit the LCD briefly displays the word 'Access', whilst the unit starts up.
Then it's a matter of setting the clock, (which will have to be done when ever you change the batteries), but doing so is a simple process.
But once this is done you're on your way to begin using the voice recorder to make paperless notes a thing of the past.
When you press and hold the 'Display/menu' button you get access to...
* microphone sensitivity... hi or low.
* VOR on or off. (which, when on, starts the unit when sound/voice is heard, automatically pausing when there's no sound/voice. Thus saving recording space.
* Continue on or off.
* Folder selection, (allows you to store files in separate folders)
* Move file option, (allows you to move files between folders).
* Date/time setting
* Button beeping noise on or off.
* Alarm option on or off, (allows you to set an alarm for specific file notification).
You can scroll through these option using the 'fast forward' or 'rewind' button when in 'Menu' mode.
The on/off button is a slider on the side of the unit, together with the volume switch and erase button. When you slide the button up the display flashes 'Hold' briefly, then the unit switches off.
This pocket size little beauty is capable of many things, (well, voice recording and organisational qualities with-in it), but to explain them all here would take a lot of space, (and some people may call it padding), so all I suggest for full details is read the instructions and then have a play with the unit.
But once you get used to using it, which takes all of five minutes, you'll realise just how easy to use it actually is. Then you'll be wondering why you've been writing on scraps of paper for all that time.
** MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE...
When I first got my hands on this voice recorder I was instantly amazed with the weight of the package, thinking that I had purchased more than a 'dicta-phone',
but once I opened the package I realised that the heavy weight was in fact several instruction pamphlets in many different languages, and the actual 'voice recorder' weighed next to nothing, the batteries that came with it probably weighing more.
So after I struggled with the annoyingly rigid plastic coffin which the unit came in I took a good look at it, actually remarking on how flimsy it felt in my hands with its plastic casing and delicate looks, although the little sticker below the speaker does try and make the unit look more impressive.
So, after tossing the unwanted manuals in the recycling bin, (thinking of the planet of course), I started playing about with it , browsing through the instruction manual as I went, which I do advise, and I was quite impressed with the results. In fact, it was just what I needed for work and the price was so low I felt as though I had actually robbed Amazon.
Firstly, the size of the unit allowed it to fit easily into my pocket, being around the size as a ten pack of Benson and Hedges, only slightly narrower, and it is capable of recording ample voice footage for a daily use, allowing me to get back to my laptop to finalise the report required, using the brilliantly taken voice recording footage of the days work as reference.
And the VOR is just an excellent idea and so easy to use, saving me having to keep pressing the pause button when there is nothing to be said, instantly beginning to record as soon as the conversation commences. Brilliant idea.
And with its one touch record button that important instant message that you have just remembered is recorded in a split second.
When I purchased my Sony ICD-B500 digital voice recorder from www.amazon.co.uk I managed to get it for just under £18.00, but as I look on the site now, I see that the same device is on sale for nearly £25.00, so I think I got a real bargain, although at £25.00 it is still worth investing in if you want a cheep form of extra memory without the need for writers cramp.
The only slightly negative side to this unit are probably the speaker sound, which can be a little wobbly depending upon how you made the recording, closeness to the microphone, background noise etc.etc. But as you shouldn't really need to play your MP3 songs out of it then the sound quality wont be a problem as you can clearly hear you recorded voice.
But apart from that I can't think of any other negatives about this low price little gem, I've even dropped it a few times, accidentally of course, and this little flimsy looking gem just keeps on ticking, so to speak.
If you need a voice recorder then I definitely suggest getting this now before the price goes higher.... You'll be glad you did.
It may not be the best on the market but for the price it certainly is value for money