Sony ICD ux570

The Good

  • Very light, 48 g (1.70 oz) easily portable.
  • 3.7v Internal battery, powers up instantly, fumble for batteries, no worries, takes 3 hours to fully charge it.
  • With the right settings, you get amazing sound

The Bad

  • The USB is a weak link, will likely break off.
  • No easy way to rename files, create folders.
  • Lacks the overwrite function – makes it a poor choice for dictation.

Bottom line

Simply put, the ux570 is the best voice recorder money can buy. I recommend the ux570 for recording interviews, lectures, focus group discussions, and meeting without any hesitation. 

The Sony ICD-ux570 is the latest in line of their digital voice recorders. In this review, I’ll highlight the features of the ux570 that I like, and don’t like.

Keep in mind though, when using a digital recorder, I generally focus on features that make a recorder great, or not so great, for recording interviews, lectures, focus group discussions, and meetings. A recorder that will help qualitative researcher’s record better audio for transcription. 

And having used the ux570 for a few months, I have to say I’ve found my go to recorder for all my voice recording needs. In 2020, I recommend the ux570 as the best voice recorder for qualitative researchers.

Here’s why.

The Good.

Sony ux570 ; the good

Weighing at 48 g (1.70 oz), which is the weight of a Kit Kat or Hennessey’s bar, the ux570 is very light. It’s also small; compared to other voice recorders. And the only component that surfers from its compact design is the speaker – which is tiny on the ux570.

The ux570 comes with a 3.7v internal battery. From my experience with the older ux560 (which also has an internal battery), it makes this recorder very convenient in a few ways:

  1. You don’t have to fumble looking for batteries when you want to record. And don’t have to carry extra batteries.
  2. You get a minimum of 20 hours of recording from one charge!
  3. It’s easy and fast to charge, takes 3 hours to fully charge it. And you can charge or power the ux570 using a portable charger/power-bank.
  4. Powers up instantly; most recorders I own take a few seconds to power up. By the time you release the power button, the ux570 is powered and ready to record. You can start recording within a second.

Using the right settings, and the ux570 does come with a good number of recording settings, you can record clear voice recording. This device captures very little background noise, has impressive signal to noise ratio and has a couple of filters (LCF and NCF) that can help you record less noise in a noisy location. 

In comparison to other recorders, the LCD screen on the ux570 is large, crisp and clear. And Sony have done a very good job of designing the display of elements on the screen. For instant, when you are on the recording window, you can easily see the set mic sensitivity setting, recording format (LPCM or mp3), filter and recording folder! I always check my recording folder before each recording and I no longer need check it in the Rec Information menu. Thank you Sony.

Finally, let me mention a few of the features that are unique to the ux570. The ux570 comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack that’s also a line out – so you can use it to monitor your recording. It also comes with a powered 3.5mm TRS mic input, most high quality microphones require a powered input (Giant squid, ME33s etc). This recorder comes with a microSD slot that supports higher capacity microSDXC cards, a rarity among voice recorders. And comes with 4GB of internal memory.

The Bad

Sony ux570 USB

There’s not much that is wrong with the ux570, but the USB connector is the Achilles heel of this voice recorder.  And that’s from my experience using the older ux560 that had the same retractable USB connector. The problem is when you connect the ux570 to your laptop or PC, either to charge it or transfer files to your computer, it’s held up by that USB connector. And if you bump on it, the recorder acts as a lever and all that force is transferred to your computer through that connector.

This cause your laptop to fly through the air, or if you have connected the ux570 to your desktop, the connector will likely break off. And without that connector, you cannot charge the recorder. Having bumped my ux560 a few times while it was connected to my desktop, the mechanism that holds the connector in place broke, so I struggle to insert it into a USB port and the forward button no longer works.

If you buy the ux570, I recommend that you also buy a female to male USB-A cable, and never connect your ux570 directly to your computer, always use this cable. If anyone from Sony reads this, please replace this connector with a port, I’d rather have to always carry a cable, and is it too much to ask for USB-3 speeds? 7 MB/s reads are so 2013…

With the ux570 you can record your audio into 2 audio formats, mp3 or LPCM (wav). With the mp3 file format, you have a few options: 192k, 128k, and 48k.  For the wav format you have one option; 44.1kHz/16bit format.  If you need to record audio at a higher bitrate, look elsewhere.

The ux570 lacks the overwrite function, that you can find on cheaper Sony models, which make the ux570 a poor choice for dictation.

Finally, I’m really confused by Sony’s design choices when it comes to playback. The speaker on the ux570 is really small. It a disservice to the recording capabilities of this recorder. And that lends me think that Sony does not want you to use the ux570 as a playback device. Understandable as they have a good selection of mp3 players. However, the ux570 has 7 buttons that are dedicated to playback. I don’t get it.

Bottom Line

Sony ICD-ux570 Carrying Case

The ux570 is a wonderful little voice recorder. It’s compact, easily portable and can easily fit in your pocket or bag. Records good audio using the 44.1kHz/16bit audio format and the right setting and allows you to monitor your recording. The LCF and NCF filters are powerful and help reduce noise when recording in a noisy location. And the ux570 provides plugin power through it’s 3.5mm TRS mic input.

The USB connector is poorly designed and can lead to a lot of mishaps, I recommend you buy a male to female USB-A cable and use it connect the ux570 to your computer.  Without any reservations, I recommend the Sony ICD-ux570 for recording interviews, lectures, focus group discussions and meetings. Buy the Sony ICD-ux570 from Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Can you recommend a male to female USB-A cable?

A. Here’s a dedicate page with all the ux570 accessories I recommend:  male to female USB-A cable, microSD card, lav/clip-on microphone, boundary microphones, carrying case, portable charger, and splitter cable.

Q.  How do you transfer your recording from the ux570 to a computer?

A. Simply plug the ux570, preferably using a cable, to your computer and then navigate to the Rec_File folder in the ux570 where all the recording are stored.

Q. Does the ux570 work on Mac?

A. Yes, tested it on all Mojave and all previous MacOS. Not tested on Catalina. If you have, let me know in the comments sections below.

Q. How many playback speeds does this recorder have?

A. With the ux570 you have a playback speed of 0.25x to 3.0x. With 0.1x increments.

Q. Can I use the ux570 for transcription?

A. Yes you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The ux570 comes with the Sony Organizer which you can use for manual transcription (Play/Pause recording and change playback speed).

Q. Does the Sony ux570 record in DS2?

A. No it does not. It only records in mp3 and wav format.

Q. How long does ux570 battery last?

A. Here’s a handy chart.

Q. Is it possible to record phone interviews using the ux570?

A. Yes, here is a great how to guide [record phone interviews link].

Q. Would you recommend the ux570 for recording violin lessons?

A. Nope. I’d recommend the Tascam DR-05x [link to review].

Q. Does the ux570 work well for outdoor interviews?

A. Yes, when used with clip-on/lav microphones.

Q. Does the headphone jack give a live output?

A. Yes it does, and you can use it to monitor your recording or as a line out to another device (camera etc).

Q. Can I only use a TRS terminated mic with the ux570?

A. You directly connect a 3.5mm TS or a TRS terminated mic and it will work with the ux570. If you have a TRRS terminated mic, you’ll need a TRRS to TRS adapter for it to work with ux570.

Q. Will the ux570 record someone 40 feet away?

A. Really?

Q. Please don’t answer a question with another question.

A. Why not?

Q. Can you record using the ux570 while charging?

A. Yes, if you are using a portable charger or USB charger. If you are charging it using a computer, you cannot record while it’s connected to the computer.

Q. Sony ICD-ux570 or Tascam DR-05x, which one would you recommend for voice recordings?

A. Sony ICD-ux570.

Q. Sony ICD-ux570 or Zoom H1n, which one would you recommend for voice recordings?

A. Sony ICD-ux570.

Q. Sony ICD-ux570 or Sony ICD-PX470, which one would you recommend for voice recordings?

A. Sony ICD-ux570. The PX470 is about $20-$30 cheaper, but the internal battery alone is worth the price of the ux570.

Q. My question isn’t listed here, what should I do?

A. Eat more marshmallows. Or you could leave a comment below.

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1 year ago

What lapel mics would you recommend to use with the Sony ICD-ux570 for outdoor walking interviews?

John Redman
John Redman
11 months ago

What to you mean by TRS mic input. What is a TRS microphone?

10 months ago

What software, if any, is good to transcribe interviews using the UX570, Dragon (Pro or Standard) or something else?

Last edited 10 months ago by Ron
6 months ago

I intend to use this to record my lectures. At what (maximum) distance can I sit for the recording to be good enough to understand the lectures again?
Also, since it is a classroom, the background noises of students talking will be present. Will the mic be too sensitive to those disturbances too?

19 days ago

Thanks for this review, very helpful. Can this device record one single recording for as long as the battery and memory lasts? Some of the specs on retail sites state that it can only record for one hour at a time. Thanks!