Sony ICD-PX470 Review

Sony ICD PX470 Review

Let me begin with a caveat. I am an Olympus fan. I really do like their digital voice recorders. But the recent Sony models are making changing my mind. The Sony ICD-PX470 has become my default backup recorder – and I have a lot of recorders. In this review of the Sony ICD-PX470 I’ll try and explain why I rate this recorder so highly.

Summary: Review of Sony ICD-PX470

Sony ICD-PX470 Review
Sony ICD-PX470
  • Pros: records very good sound; high sensitivity with low background noise. Can record in 16bit 44.1 kHz wav format. 9 different mic sensitivity settings.
  • Cons: Can’t recharge batteries. 32GB max expendable memory. No back-light.
  • Verdict: Great budget recorder. If you are looking for excellent recorder on a budget, this recorder is perfect. Buy the PX470 from amazon, you won’t be disappointed.

I got my Sony ICD-PX470 a couple of months ago and been using it to record interviews and I’ve been impressed. Here’s why.

The Good

I don’t know what Sony did but they’ve definitely improved the internal microphones sound capturing. I didn’t believe their marketing materials that stated “even the sound of birds twittering in the distance can be captured naturally and clearly.” True. The high-sensitivity, low-noise S-microphone are amazing at capturing good quality sound.

Add that to the fact that you can record in 16bit 44.1 kHz wav format (and 3 mp3 formats) – and you have the ability to capture very good sound. For a recorder at this price range (check the current price on amazon), this is amazing.

Finally you get a lot of granular control of the mic sensitivity. You have a choice of 9 different mic sensitivity settings that you can change on the fly and find the perfect setting for your location. And that makes this recorder perfect for recording just about anything; lectures, interviews, focus group discussions, meetings…

The Bad

My main gripe with this recorder is that it does not recharge batteries. You can use rechargeable batteries, but you’ll need a separate charger to recharge them. That’s what I do. It’s a pain to take them out and recharge them using a charger. I wish I could plug the recorder into a USB port and charge the batteries.

If you don’t do a lot of recording, you can use AAA alkaline batteries. You’ll get about 40 hours of recording before you have to replace them. Not bad – but not ideal.

Sony ICD PX-470 Alkaline Battery Life

Sony ICD PX-470 Alkaline battery recording times

The Sony ICD-PX470 comes with 4 GB internal memory. So you’ll only get about 5 hours of 16bit 44.1 kHz audio. You can expand the memory using a Micro SD card, but only to 32GB. Again, if you plan to do a lot of recordings, that’s not ideal. You’ll need to keep an eye on how much memory you have available.

Sony ICD PX-470 Max Recording Time

Sony ICD PX-470 Internal Memory Recording Times

The last feature I find lacking in the Sony ICD-PX470 is backlight. I don’t know why digital recorder manufactures make recorders without a backlight. It makes them useless in low light locations.

I don’t normally record in low light locations, but I find backlight makes it easier for me to see the screen when I’m indoors (where I record most interviews). But I’ve found that I can easily see the PX470 screen when I’m outdoors – in direct sunlight; I guess that’s a plus.

Finally, a friend borrowed this recorder and her main feedback was that the menus were a bit overwhelming – too many options. I’ve used digital recorders for many years and found the menu to be intuitive. However, for a first time user, the menus can be a bit overwhelming?

Sony ICD-PX470 Review


Very happy with this recorder. Lots of features, (did I mention built in USB, mic plug in power, PC – Windows 10 and Mac – High Sierra, compatible?). And at the price I got it, a steal! Buy the Sony PX470 from Amazon.


How much can the memory be expanded?

As stated earlier this recorder supports microSDHC cards (4 GB to 32 GB). I bought a 32GB microSDHC for less than $20 on Amazon, and it works well with my Sony ICD-PX470.

Is it compatible with Mac Computers?

Yes. I recently upgraded to High Sierra 10.13.3, inserted the recorder and it popped up on my mac desktop. I was able to copy, move, paste, and rename files using Finder. The Sound Organizer 2 that comes with the recorder does not work on mac computers. Only works on most versions of Windows (up to Windows 10).  But it’s a basic audio editing program; Audacity is superior.

How long does the battery Last?

According to Sony, 40 hours while recording in the LCPM format, 53 hours to MP3. Playback is 16 hours using the speaker and 37 hours using headphones.

Using the Sony ICD PX-470: Optimal Settings and Tips

How to use the Sony ICD-PX470 to record interviews – optimal settings and a few tips

For a general guide on how to record research interviews, see this popular post. When using the Sony ICD-PX470 to record interviews, have a pair of headphones or ear buds – that’s my first tip. The Sony ICD-PX470 allows you to monitor the recording using your headphones. Plug in your headphones into the headphone jack, press record (big round red button) to start recording and then press record again to pause the recording. The advantage is, you’re still able to monitor, and play around with the settings of the mic(s) input, while the recording is paused.

Next, you need to find the optimal recording settings for your location. Finding the optimal recording setting that work best for your location enables you to record the highest quality audio possible. When looking for the optimal setting, there are two audio qualities to optimize; noise and audibility. You want to record as little noise as possible, while capturing your interviewee thoughts/opinions clearly. How do you achieve this with the Sony ICD-PX470?

While the recording is paused, press BACK (bottom left hand corner) and go to the Settings Menu. Select Recording Settings (using the Play button). Select Built-in Mic Sensitivity (using the play button), select For Voice. You have 4 sensitivities to choose from. You have High, Medium or Low and Auto (which you should never use). Scroll through the High, Medium or Low setting using the UP or Down buttons and use the Play button to make a selection.

You can also have 3 more mic settings to choose from OFF, Focused and Wide.  In the Recording Settings menu, select the Focused/Wide menu. Make your selection, OFF, Focused, or Wide, using the play button. While making these changes you should be hear through your headphones what setting captures the best audio for your location.

To increase audibility, choose a higher mic sensitivity setting and wide coverage. To decrease background noise, choose a lower mic sensitivity setting and more focused coverage. A High (Wide) setting will give you great audibility – but you might have a lot of background noise coming through.  So it’s great for conducting interviews in a very quiet location. A Low (Focused) setting, will let in very little background noise, but at the expense of audibility – great for recording interviews in a noisy location.

The default setting I start with, while conducting interviews, is the Medium setting. It works well for most of my interview locations (with fans, fridge, or AC in the background). If I find that very little background noise is coming through, I change the setting to Medium (Wide) or High and see how much noise comes through. If there’s a lot of background noise coming through, I go in the opposite direction, choose Medium (Focused) or Low. One of those 4 settings works 90% of the time.

Sony ICD-PX470

The only instance I’ve found these settings not to work well is when I’m recording interviews in a location with a lot of background noise (mostly cafes/restaurants). From experience, I always use lavalier mics – I get better quality audio. But before I got my lavs, I used a Low (Focused) setting on the Sony ICD-PX470 and got pretty good audio. A couple of tips, place the recorder facing the interviewee. And place the recorder near the interviewee. You’ll get decent audio in cafes, but I’d recommend using lav mics.

How to use the Sony ICD-PX470 to record lectures– optimal settings and a few tips.

The Sony ICD-PX470 is the budget recorder I recommend for recording lectures. The setting that I’ve found to work best for lectures is the Medium (Focused) or the Low (Focused) setting. I’ve also found in some lecture halls, turning on the NCF (Noise Cut Filter) helps to cut out background noise. To turn on the NCF, while in Record Menu press OPTION, Select Recording Filter > NCF (Noise Cut). Again you’ll want to monitor the recording while making these changes to enable you get the best recording of the lecture.

Those are the settings I’d recommend using on the Sony ICD-PX470 when recording interviews and lectures. To reiterate, here are the best practices while using the Sony ICD-PX470. 1), use a pair of headphones to monitor and adjust settings (to optimize for audibility) while the recording is paused. 2)  By default, the recorder records in the mp3 format. Change the REC Mode to LPCM 44.1kHz. 3) Change the placement of the recorder, facing up or towards the subject(s), to reduce background noise or increase audibility. 4) The Medium (Wide/Focused) Mic Sensitivity setting works wells for recording interviews, and Medium (Focused) or the Low (Focused) for recording lectures.

That’s it for this post. Sorry it’s so long! I hope you’ve found it useful. If you have any questions/suggestions, please post them in the comment section below. Happy recording.


Sony ICD-PX470 User Manual


Isaac here. At Weloty, we provide bespoke academic transcription services to qualitative researchers. If you wish to hire us, get in touch. Please note that if you choose to buy the products we recommend as a result of our research and testing, we’ll get paid some money through an affiliate commission from the retailer when you make a purchase. You can find out more here.

24 responses to “Sony ICD-PX470 Review”

  1. Ng Yee Tat Avatar
    Ng Yee Tat

    Thank you for your detailed review of Sony voice recorders PX470 and UX560 and Olympus WS-853.

    I was disappointed to find out that Olympus’ WS-853 performed poor as compared to Sony’s offerings.

    Could you please tell me this PX-470 essentially is capable of recording the same very good voice recordings in lectures like the UX-560?

    I can live with the battery differences.

    1. Isaac Avatar

      My pleasure.
      Yes, Sony are making wonderful recorders.
      The Olympus 823 is probably the best Olympus digital recorder that I own, but sadly Olympus no longer make them. Very sad.
      The Sony PX470 records wonderful sound, not as good as the ux-560 (captures a tad more noise), but very good. If you are willing to live with having to frequently replace the batteries, it’s a great choice for recording lectures.
      All the best.

  2. ilene Avatar

    I just bought this recorder, and still learning it, but I desperately need to know how to save to my computer, and to transcribe the recordings.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Ilene, easy enough. Flip the PX470, press and hold the USB slide lever on the back, and then slide it in the direction of
      the arrow to push out the USB connector. Insert the connector into the USB port of your computer. The recorder should automatically be detected by your PC or Mac as an external storage device. Click to open the storage drive and copy and paste the files from the recorder to your computer.
      Do you wish to transcribe the recording(s) or hire a professional transcriber?

  3. Ivan Avatar

    This little thing is nearly perfect! I’m using it to record notes for the novel I’m writing.This is a wonderful digital recorder, probably the best I ever used. Sound is crystal clear,i can record myself talking from another room with heavy audible traffic in front of my home and I can hear myself just fine during playback.Very pleased with this, it does everything I want it do. Recording & playback quality are excellent! Very easy to use and portable, ideal for my working style. Great product, would recommend to anyone!

    Thank you for your detailed review Isaac.

    1. Isaac Avatar
  4. Ivan Avatar

    Wishing the new year brings you good health,tremendous joy and good luck for you that takes you to newer heights of success. Happy New Year 2019 Isaac!

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Happy New Year to you too, Ivan.

  5. Anthony Avatar

    Thank you, Isaac. I just bought one and your detailed review is helpful.

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Tony, my pleasure.
      Enjoy your new recorder.

  6. Ron Arruda Avatar
    Ron Arruda

    Thanks very much for your thorough review and tips. I’m buying my first recorder for college now, and this is just what I need!

    1. Isaac Avatar

      My pleasure.
      Happy learning.

  7. Laura Avatar

    Hi Isaac

    We are looking at purchasing this to use as a micorphone/recording device that can record direct into our PC dictation software. Do you thin this would be possible or is it designed to record to the SD then transferred to PC?

    Many thanks

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Laura, yes the PX470 is designed to record then transfer to your PC using the SD card or USB slot.
      The Zoom H1n is what you are looking for (here’s my review of the H1n). It’s a recorder that also acts as a USB microphone that can directly record to your PC dictation software.
      If you get the H1n, also get the accessories pack that comes with a handy desktop stand and a USB cable to connect the recorder to your PC.


  8. Fernando Metallo Avatar
    Fernando Metallo

    Hello what the best voice to text software to use with the ICD-PX470. I want to be able to convert the .wav files to text?

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Fernando, I’m not an expert on voice to text software. I find it easier to manually transcribe the files; for me, most voice to text software are not accurate enough to be efficient. Having said that, Dragon is probably your best bet. You can use the pro version to transcribe .wav files.
      There are also a lot of online voice to text services (using Google/IBM speech to text API) that you can try out.

  9. Paul Avatar

    Does the px470 have threads for mounting on a tripod?

    1. Isaac Avatar

      No it does not. Nor does the ux560. Have a look at the Zoom H1n and Tascam DR-05x…

  10. James Price Avatar
    James Price

    Can I record directly from a hi-fi unit or my PC using a stereo jack into the mic jack?

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Yes you can. Check out this post. I wrote it for the UX560, but it also holds true for to the PX470.

  11. Jane Avatar

    Hi there! Great work!
    I just have my icd px 470 delivered today. I have the 32 gb placed on the slot. My question is how can i program it that the recordings will be recorded on the sd and not on internal nemory. I tried changing the memory via settings but it wont show any option for a memory card.
    And also how can i know if the sd card inserted is accepted by the machine. Is there a way to check on the function menu?


    1. Isaac Avatar

      Go to Settings>Recording Settings>Recording Folder and change the memory selection to SD Card. If you have inserted an SD card into the recorder and the recorder has recognized it, then you’ll see your recording folder has changed. If not, you get the error message: “No SD card.”

      The menu on the PX470, UX560 and UX570 are very similar. So, check out this post for more information.

  12. Eric Avatar

    Hello Isaac, thank you for your excellent review. I have had this recorder for a couple of weeks and I like it very much. I too wish it had a backlight

    I wonder if you could help me with something?

    Recently I was only able to record a single message, any subsequent recording would overwrite it. I don’t know how I got into that mode. Do you know what I did wrong?

    Thank you.

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Glad to hear that you like the recorder.
      I’ve not had a similar experience with this recorder – I do know that it does not have an overwrite function.
      Maybe the storage memory is full?

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