Sony ICD-UX570 Review

Sony ICD ux570
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 your computer, a USB charger, or a portable 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 will 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 on recording phone interviews.

Q. Would you recommend the UX570 for recording violin lessons?

A. Nope. I’d recommend the Tascam DR-05x.

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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Isaac

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.

18 responses to “Sony ICD-UX570 Review”

  1. EDJ Avatar
    EDJ

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

    1. Isaac Avatar

      My go-to lav mic for the ux570 is the Giant squid microphone.
      I reviewed it here.

  2. John Redman Avatar
    John Redman

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

  3. Ron Avatar
    Ron

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

    1. Isaac Avatar

      For manual transcription, I recommend F4 – that’s what we use.
      There’s a plethora of speech to text cloud services – and I recommend using an cloud service as opposed to Dragon etc.
      They are better and probably cheaper (not sure how much Dragon costs and from my experience it’s not much better than the speech to text that comes with your Operating System).
      And most of the cloud services use Google, Microsoft, IBM or Amazon AI. How good they are is dependent on the engine they are using. Recommend you try a few of them and find one that works for you.

  4. NS Avatar
    NS

    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?

    1. Isaac Avatar

      It’s really hard to say because there are so many variables; classroom acoustics, recorders settings, lecturers etc.
      I have some great tips on recording lectures in this post.

  5. Nigel Avatar
    Nigel

    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!

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Yes Nigel, with the UX570 you can record for as long as you want. The limiting factor is memory, and there’s a setting to switch to MicroSD memory if the inbuilt memory fills up. The recorder will also charge while recording, so you can connect it to a power source and as long as you have enough memory (and this recorder supports 256GB MicroSD cards), you can record indefinitely.
      I have recorded 22 hours of continuous recording using my UX570 using the internal memory.
      Keep in mind that the WAV file format has a max file size limit of 4GB, but the recorder will instantly start a new file once you hit this limit, so your recording will be split up into 4GB files. And mp3s have a max file limit of 1GB.

  6. Novice Ethnographer Avatar
    Novice Ethnographer

    Your review here and YouTube videos have been so helpful – Sony should reward you for that! I have purchased this recorder for my doctoral studies. As a requirement for a class, we are to record Zoom meetings and use a backup external audio device to record the meeting. I purchased a Y splitter so that I can attach my earphones with mic and the UX570 to the computer (Macbook Pro). To connect the UX570 to the Y splitter, I used a 3.5mm to 3.5mm (male to male), gold plated with two rings. Strange thing is that I can get the UX570 to record the audio of my interview participant, but not my voice. Is it possible to get it to record both of our voices? Or does the Y splitter prevent that? Of course I could ditch the earphones with mic, but I find that I am shouting at my screen when I use the built-in mic on my computer. Also, using the earphones reduces other noises. I appreciate any advice you would be willing to give. Thanks again!

    1. Isaac Avatar

      I answered a similar question in this video.
      Just swap the phone for your Macbook and near the end I talk about connecting earphones.
      If you are still stumped, let me know the specific Y splitter that you have and I’ll let you know what else you need to get.

  7. Ted Avatar
    Ted

    I have the ux560 model that I love but want to have a backup for. Is the ux570 an actual improvement? Should I get a ux570 instead?
    Thanks.

  8. Nick Avatar
    Nick

    Does it have voice activation

    1. Isaac Avatar

      It does, but it’s not very good.

  9. Leonard Avatar
    Leonard

    Can you charge the ICD-UX570 without using your computer – for example in a USB wall outlet?

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Yes, you can charge it or power it using a USB charger.

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