So. Yesterday, I opened my email and found this question from a reader. “[Sony ICD-]ux560 was provided by my company for dictation purposes. Unless I missed something, it doesn’t seem to allow me to “edit as I go”. In other words, I dictate a paragraph or sentence, review it and want to “redo” it…or I misspeak and, before continuing, I want to correct (i.e. “type over”) what I just said. Is that possible? If not, any recommendations for another recorder? Ren.
And it got me reminiscing the good old days of tape recorders (boy, do I miss those). When you could stop a recording, rewind, hit record and redo another take. Is this possible with modern digital voice recorders? Yes it is. Though it’s a function that only found in digital voice recorders that are primarily built for dictation. It’s commonly known as an overwrite function.
How does it work? The overwrite function enables you add a new recording to a file from a selected point whilst deleting remainder of the file after the selected point. What Ren alluded to as “edit as you go”; and very similar to what you’d do on a tape recorder. And the recorders that I’m going to recommend below also have an add/insert function that allows you to add a recording at a selected point whilst not deleting the remainder of the file. Very cool.
The voice recorders that I recommend for recording interviews, lectures, meetings etc do not have this overwrite function. So, you’ll not find this function on the Sony ICD-PX470, Sony ICD-ux560, Zoom Hn1 or the Olympus 853. And that’s because these recorders are not primarily dictation recorders (here’s a great post on best voice recorders for dictation), for you’re only likely to use the overwrite function when dictating.
But not to worry, here are my 3 recommendations for digital voice recorders with the overwrite function.
1. Sony ICD-PX240
If you are looking for a digital recorder with the overwrite function, the Sony ICD-PX240 is your best bet. It comes with a USB port that allows you to copy your dictations to your computer or power the recorder – very useful if you are recording for an extended period and you don’t want to rely on AAA batteries.
The Sony ICD-PX240 has an Overwrite and Add function. That’s the function that you’ll use to “type over” your dictations. The add function is useful for those instances when you realize that you missed something and you’d like to add it to the dictation without deleting what you’ve already recorded.
With 4GB internal memory, that allows you to record 43 hours of super high quality (192kbps mp3) audio, you’ll have more than enough storage for your dictations. Runs on 2 AAA batteries, Alkaline or NH rechargeable batteries, but you cannot recharge the batteries using the recorder. Here is a more detailed review of the Sony ICD-PX240.
Really like this recorder, it’s inexpensive and has everything you need for dictation. And the sound quality is quite good considering it’s a mono recorder – more than adequate for dictations. Slightly more expensive than the BX140, but the USB port is worth the extra $10. Buy it now on Amazon.
2. Olympus DS-9000
Now, the Olympus DS-9000 is a professional dictation recorder that comes with a myriad of functions and features – including the ability to control it using a foot pedal! And you can upgrade to the DS-9500 that has even more features. If you are serious about dictation, this the recorder you should get.
DS-9000 supports the Append, Overwrite, and Insert functions. The append function enables you to add a new recording to the end of a previously recorded file. The overwrite function allows you add a new recording from a selected position of a previously recorded dictation and delete the rest of the file from the selected position. The insert function adds audio into the middle of a previously recorded dictation without deleting the previous recording.
As you can imagine, the Olympus DS-9000 is not cheap, but it does come with some features that you’ll not find on other recorders. For instance, it’ll allow you to encrypt and password protect your recordings. If you are working with sensitive data (HIPPA), this is an important feature; it’ll protect your data in case you lose the recorder. Buy it now on Amazon.
3. Sony ICD-BX140
The Sony ICD-BX140 is an entry level dictation voice recorder. It has one microphone – it only records mono audio – that has decent audio quality. It records audio into the mp3 format using 4 preset recording modes: the super high quality mode (SHQ) is the default recording mode and record 192kbps mp3s.
The BX140 comes with 4GB internal memory – that allows you to record 43 hours of audio while using the SHQ recording mode. Like the very similar Sony PX240, it has the Overwrite and Add function. Very useful when you need to edit your dictation on the go.
Runs on 2 AAA batteries, and you cannot recharge rechargeable batteries using this recorder. The biggest disadvantage of this recorder is you cannot easily transfer the recorded files from the Sony ICD-BX140 to your computer. And that’s because this voice recorder does not have a USB interface or a microSD slot. If you need to transfer the files to your computer, consider the Sony ICD-PX240. Overall a good recorder, cheaper than the PX240, buy it now on Amazon.
That’s it for this post on digital voice recorders with overwrite function. Hope you have found it useful and thank you Ren for getting in touch. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please post them in the comment section below. And please consider us for all of your transcription services needs – yes, we provide dictation transcription services.