The Technicalities of Buying a GOOD Digital Voice Recorder

Discussion in 'Digital Recorders' started by topdog, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. topdog

    topdog Guest

    Howdy folks, pls bear with me if this post is unnecessarily long.

    I'm trying to buy a few digital voice recorders (DVR) to do some recording. I had previously gotten 2 olympus WS 100, but it didn't turn out to do the specific job that I wanted, especially quality wise. So I am in the market again.

    Now here's the thing. The main things I'm looking for in a DVR is high quality recording and long recording time - minimum of 9 hours, and long battery life, minimum of 9 hours.

    So far the DVR's I've seen that seem to have the potential to do my job are the DVR's in the Olympus stables. For eg.

    Just click on the various models on the middle left side of the page for more DVRs.

    Now... Lets analyze the WS 210 and DS 30.

    As I'm not very technical, and the reason I know this is much bcos of the about $200 I 'wasted' in buying the WS 100 (cost price and shipping) as I did not know what to look for in a DVR. And as I am hoping not looking to do any more unnecessary 'wasting' of money to learn what I must, hence this long post.

    So I'm thinking, given that those 2 models already have other features I am looking for: Long battery life (13 and 32 hrs,) Long recording time (35 and 17 hrs in HQ mode). I am now thinking that the last main pointer is to get the right recording quality to match thees other features.

    For example,

    WS 210:
    Sampling Frequency Stereo XQ Mode: 44.1 kHz
    Stereo HQ Mode: 44.1 kHz
    Stereo SP Mode: 22.0 kHz
    HQ Mode:44.1kHz
    SP Mode: 22.0kHz
    LP Mode: 8.0kHz

    Overall Frequency Response Stereo XQ Mode: 150-17,000Hz
    Stereo HQ Mode: 150-15,000 Hz
    Stereo SP Mode: 150-9,000Hz
    HQ Mode:150-13,000Hz
    SP Mode: 150-7,000Hz
    LP Mode: 150-3,000Hz

    DS 30:
    Sampling Frequency STXQ/STHQ/HQ: 44.1 kHz /SP: 22 kHz /LP: 8kHz

    Overall Frequency Response STXQ: 50-19000Hz/ STHQ: 50-16000Hz/ HQ: 50-13000Hz/ SP:100-8000Hz/ LP:100-3000Hz

    Can anyone pls explain to me the diff btw Sampling Frequency and Overall Frequency Response and how these affect quality. Also what Overall Frequency Response should I be looking at for best quality? I think I have established that anything below 44.1Khz is not good for quality.

    My limited experience tells me that anything below 44.1 Khz is not good enough quality wise. is this correct? So since both DVR's have recording time to quality ratio of: HQ mode: 17 hours 00 minutes (DS 30), and HQ Mode: 35 hours 25 minutes (WS210) and as both of these HQ modes record at 44.1Khz then I am on the right track yes with either of these items yes? is there anything else I should be looking at/for quality wise?

    Next, I think I have learnt a bit about the importance of the sound input device, as I will be using a lav/clip-on mic for these recordings... Going by the 680 ohms impedance (DS 30) and 2 kohms impedance (ws210) are these figures good enough to give me a good quality input??? If not what impedance figures should I be gunning for for good quality input, both for this DVR and any mic that I get to use???

    Lastly, is there any other general advice you can offer me? Perhaps other DVR's I shoud look at? Bear in mind that I have a budget of about 150$ for each DVR. For eg, some1 suggested but it falls short in recording time and battery life.

    Thanks for your patience and help.

    God bless.
  2. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Sampling frequency/rate is the rate at which your analogous voice is looked at by your digital converter.
    Frequency response is the actual frequencies, bass is low, treble is high, that can be picked up by the mic attached to your unit without significant drop off in efficiency.

    44.1khz is fine, your cd's are played at that sampling rate.
    Nfi about your Dictaphone problem, call a sales rep or ten and explain what you want to do and see what they say. Then pick the best product/salesperson combo ring 'em back and say you'll order one as long as it does what you think it will and you can get a refund if it doesn't. Otherwise go test 'em for yourself.

    Btw the impedance of a mic has _nothing_ to do with the sound quality AFAIK. Correct if wrong though.
  3. topdog

    topdog Guest

    The problem here is that I am not in the US (or North America) and shipping costs to Africa where I am are a **itch. I'm also wary of maintenance costs, as if and when in the future the units develop a fault, getting them back there to be fixed will/might be a problem.

    Really? hmm... for I coulda swore it did. But more input needed here pls and thank you.
  4. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    Jan 10, 2008
    New York
    I'm still big on using cassettes for this purpose because I haven't found a digital VR that I like. I had a Sony Minidisc recorder which was very nice but the functionality annoyed me... especially the lack of hearing playback during ffwd or rewind. And digital distortion is also a little harder to avoid on these units than conventional digital recording gear.

    Anyway, I noticed that those 2 Olympus ones record in WMA format which kind of stinks. Maybe you could find one that records in WAV or MP3? If you're planning on doing transfers to other types of gear like a PC for example, WMA will work, but in the grand scope of things, it's not too far a step up from Real Audio. You'd have to convert to MP3 or WAV to get it to play in a lot of softwares, and hardware players, and with the file sizes/lengths you're talking about it could take awhile.

    Just my opinion which is probably worthless because as I said, I still use full size cassettes. :) No having to Xfer anything, compatible in any deck, more accurate seeks, no having to dump data... just swap to a new tape, the list goes on. But obviously that's no answer to your question and a route that would be useless to you... I just say be careful with the WMA thing, and maybe seek another option if you decide it's something that could complicate your situation.
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