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Best handheld stereo voice recorder for my money

Hello folks,

I am so very new to the recording zone and would love to get some input.

I've been looking on google shopping for a voice recorder that I can use for singing. I'm sure there are much better alternatives to a handheld voice recorder, but that's what I'm looking for.

I want something with stereo voice recording capabilities and obviously something that'll sound better than the voice recorder in my phone.

I would like to spend around $50 or less if possible and was hoping for some suggestions. I keep seeing a lot of Olympus ws500m and 600s and so on... I have no idea what a decent brand would be or what is the absolute best in that price range..

Please note: I am not up on your fancy recording lingo; so please, be gentle.


Boswell Mon, 09/13/2010 - 02:52

If you want any sort of quality, for that money it's got to be second-hand gear. I would keep an eye on Ebay for a minidisc recorder being offered with good external microphone (such as a Sony ECM-MS957 or similar). Minidiscs are old technology now, but still can produce remarkably good quality sound.

You could also look for a Zoom H4, now that H4 owners are trading up to the 4-track H4n. The H4/H4n is a memory-card recorder with built-in stereo microphones, but it is a single unit and therefore a little more difficult to place correctly for a solo performer to operate.

RemyRAD Mon, 09/13/2010 - 10:04

Boswell is talking about a killer unit made by the ZOOM company. I supplied some of my clients with this device because of its incredible capabilities and most reasonable price. This is not just a palm sized voice recorder. This is a complete recording studio in a pack of cigarettes. And like many of these units is equipped with a XY style pair of condenser microphones of the small capsule variety. But that H 4 has 2 microphone inputs with " Phantom power" that studio condenser microphones require. It is also a 24-bit/96 kHz USB audio interface when connected to your computer. But this device has enough internal power with equalization, limiting/compression & effects that while a computer isn't necessary, it still desirable to have that added extra capability that can be customized for your application.

Now to your particular voice recording application. My question to you is spoken word or singing? Pop vocals or operatic? And all a cappella? Or do you need karaoke music? Your question was sort of like I don't have a car but I need to get gas and what kind of gas should I buy? In that respect, I would recommend chili dogs with extra onion. Of course, I like corn dogs with lots of mustard also.

Sushi farts are different
Mx. Remy Ann David

Matimal Tue, 09/14/2010 - 00:18

@Boswell Thanks for the info!

@RemyRAD Haha! Thanks for the gastric details.. :) And thanks for giving a second on the original suggestion. I love that you can link info like that. VERY helpful.

I'm normally into Video Games and I even do tech support for them, so I can understand the ribbing when it comes to my lack of details..

To answer your question, I am very much an amateur. I have started by just studying the music I like and mimicking that, usually a cappella, I try to get my roommate to play guitar for me sometimes. Some spoken word and some singing. Pop vocals. Some of the artists I listen to would be: The Beatles, Klaxons, Led Zeppelin, Rasputina, Queen, The Deadly Syndrome, and so on..

Hope that helps you help me!

RemyRAD Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:10

Since you like to sing, these XY SDC will give you a pleasant result if you don't swallow them. Arm's-length is what you want. For the more pop oriented sound such as Beatles, Zeppelin, I'd recommend you get an affordable SM57/58 even the 48 and an additional foam pop filter. Try that plugged into the H4. You could also digitally transfer in karaoke music in .wav or MP3 into the H4 and then utilize its multitrack recording capability to add your vocal microphone. It's a terrific computer audio USB interface as well. So you might as well take full advantage of it. Get your money's worth! The newer "N" version of the H4 would allow you to put the XY microphones on your friends acoustic guitar while you are simultaneously using the SM58 into the XLR input and recorded to its own track. Very cool. But know you should also have that performance oriented dynamic microphone as well, also.

Now you're talkin'. I mean singing!
Mx. Remy Ann David