Finding a good one-piece, clip-on voice recorder (dictation recorder)

published Oct 10, 2019 10:50   by admin ( last modified Dec 15, 2019 02:52 )

Up to €/$/£200 I have found these candidates:

  • Sony ICD-TX800 at around 200 €/$/£, a bit on the expensive side
  • Olympus VP-10 at around 100 €/$/£, great sound according to Youtube videos, but I've tried the clip and it slides off of garments, so it is out of the race
  • Sony icd-tx650 at around 150 €/$/£, seems to have built-in compression that gives a weird pumping effect according to a Youtube video. But this video shows it working great



As an extra precaution, I like to mic myself up with an extra device when I do a presentation or lecture that is recorded to video. It should be:

  • A self-sufficient unit
  • Discrete and small enough to not draw questions or opinions (but can be clearly visible)
  • Out of the way enough to not irritate the person who mics me up with the usual gear
  • Equipped with a strong enough clip to stay put in different positions


Another use case is for micing up a person I would interview. In that case it should be:

  • Easy enough to place on any garment so that a good recording can be obtained
  • Look classy enough so that the subject does not feel uncomfortable with say a taped-together contraption

keywords: dictaphone


Update 2019-12-14: I got the Sony icd-tx650. Have used it once to mike up a female speaker, and it distorted a bit at the medium recording level setting. I have now adjusted it to low and see if that will work for the next recording session. The Sony icd-tx650 remained firmly in place, clipped to a t-shirt collar.

It makes sense to use the low recording level for miking up a person with the device on the t-shirt collar, as compared to e.g. recording a room, or pointing the recorder at a lecturer from some distance. In both those cases higher sensitivity is needed.

Soon we should see 24-bit recording with enough headroom so that recording levels don't matter. It's already used for medium-end and high-end audio recorders and the Motu M2 sound interface.