Best Audio Recorders for Writers and Journalists

Audio recorders are a necessity for journalists, but can also be a convenience for researchers and writers of all types.

If you have an idea that you absolutely must get down or you are trying to interview someone, the right audio recorder can make all the difference.

Here are the qualities that audio must have:

  • Small without any sacrifices.
  • Enough capacity so that you can record without needing to delete files.
  • Make it easy to transfer files into editing software.
  • Simple playback features, including speed adjustment, volume, and ability to skip quickly around the file.
  • Audio quality of both the recording and playback; an audio recorder can also be overly sensitive and can drown out voices with an air conditioner or other background noise.

Here are the audio recorders that exceed our expectations.

Olympus WS-853

The Olympus WS-853 offers higher-end features, including stereo recording and an expandable SD card slot, so you never run out of recording space for high-quality audio.

The Olympus WS-853 also features a “Simple” mode for people who need only the most minimal of information. Users can also switch to “Normal” mode, which offers more information at a glance. An intelligent Auto Mode automatically adjusts microphone sensitivity depending on the size of the space and the number of people around you. You also get a build-in stand to lower the risk of vibrations being picked up, a built-in USB port allows you to connect directly to your computer, and noise cancellation aids playback clarity.

Sony PCMD100 Portable High Resolution Audio/Voice Recorder

The Sony PCMD100 is more than $1,000, but you get what you pay for. This is for the writer without a budget and the serious journalist that demands that every little sound can be captured, so nothing is missed.

The PCMD100 records 24 bit audio at 192kHz, supports uncompressed audio formats including FLAC, offers two-position stereo microphones, 32GB of built-in storage with SD-XC expansion capability, and a USM port for faster file transfers. This one is built like a tank and can be used for not only interviewing, but also concerts, meetings with several people in the room talking, and almost any other situation you can think of. 

EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder

The EVISTR EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder is a more affordable option for those on a budget or who work in environments where there is less background noise, and the subject is directly in front of the recorder. It is also quite narrow and not thick, making it easy to carry.

This recorder features dynamic noise cancellation, records at 128kpbs in MP3 format or available WAV, voice-activated functionality, so the device only records when someone is speaking to eliminate dead space, and on-recorder buttons make it easy to access all of the device’s functionality. At less than $40, this is a solid recorder that will meet most people’s needs.

Final Thoughts

The voice recorder market is robust. You can buy a standalone recorder as featured above, or you could even use your smartphone. However, if using your smartphone, consider buying an add-on microphone and don’t rely on the built-in microphone as your results may vary. 

With so many options available, you should never miss an opportunity to jot down an idea or grab a quick interview while at work or at networking events.