Today, I’m going to offer unsolicited advice. Why? Was at the office and made the mistake of plugging my Sony ux560 straight into my computer. Moved my chair to talk to a colleague, crunch! I’d smacked the recorder. Fortunately, nothing broke. It still works, but I was really disappointed for not following my own advice.
So here we are, I’d like you to learn for my experiences (good or bad) and hopefully take better care of your digital voice recorder. And yes, I’ve shared similar advice on the Sony ICD-ux560 review post, but I feel that this topic is worth a separate post, if for anything, to stress the importance of taking care of your digital recorder.
Connecting Sony ICD-ux560 to your Computer
Use a cable. Use a cable. Use a cable. If I could, I’d SHOUT this tip. Please use a USB cable to connect your Sony ICD-ux560 recorder to your computer or USB charger. Because the built in USB is fabricated to slide in and out of the recorder, it’s not securely fixed to the body of the recorder. It can (and does) easily break off. Note to Sony: please do away with the slide out feature, fix a USB female port (preferably micro or Type-C) and ship this recorder with a cable. I’d trade off the convenience for durability.
Anyway, the recorder does not come with a standard USB cable (I consider it to be a must have accessory for the ux560) you’ll need to get one. I know it’s a pain, but they are only $5 on Amazon and worth every penny! Search for female to male Type-A USB cable (this is a good one from Amazon) and you’ll get lots of options. If you have a more recent Mac laptop (2016 or later model), you’ll have to get a cable to connect your Sony ICD-ux560 to your Mac computer. You’ll need a female USB A to male USB Type-C cable (here’s one from Amazon).
I’d recommend you get a short cable (a foot long), so that it’s easily portable. If you have different work stations (like me), get a few of them. And don’t buy an adapter in lieu of a cable. You’ll want something that’s flexible; easily bends when you (accidentally) whack the recorder.
Charging your Sony ICD-ux560
Charge your recorder as often as possible. After you’re done moving/copying files from the recorder to your computer, let it charge. It only takes a couple of hours to fully charge the recorder. Why do you want to charge the recorder as often as possible?
The Sony ICD-ux560 has an in-built lithium-ion battery which can’t be replaced (well you can replace the non-removable battery, but it’s no small feat either). So, you’ll want it to last as long as possible. Now, the key factor that determines how long a rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts is the number of times it fully discharges; aka charge cycles. Most lithium batteries have an estimated 300-500 charge cycles. However, research has shown you can extend the battery life to 2500 cycles (about 10 times) if you recharge it as soon as 75% of the battery charge remains.
My advice, once you’ve recorded about 5 hours of LPCM audio using the Sony ICD-ux560 it’s time to recharge it. I actually run lower discharge cycles on my Sony ICD-ux560. Whenever I use the recorder, usually 1 or 2 hours of recording, I recharge it. I’m hoping that’ll get me about 5000 charge cycles on the recorder.
Storing your Sony ICD-Ux560
Keep your Sony ICD-ux560 cool. Ideally, you want to keep your recorder between 5 °C and 20 °C (41 °F and 68 °F). So, don’t leave your recorder on your car’s dashboard, near a heat source, etc. Find a cool dry place to store your recorder, even when you’re on the go. High temperatures will fry the battery, and are the most likely cause of lithium battery failures.
My second tip is to discharge the recorder to about 50% battery charge before storing it for long periods. Storing your recorder with a full charge reduces battery capacity. Keep in mind that the battery discharges during storage, so make sure that you charge the recorder (to 50%) every 6 months.
Bonus tip: do not store data in your recorder for an extended period (more than a couple of weeks). Make sure that you copy/move your interviews, focus groups, or lectures recordings to a more secure storage as soon as you can. If you don’t have access to a computer, if you are in the field for a few months et al, I’d recommend that you record your interviews into an external microSD card as opposed to the internal memory of the Sony ICD-ux560.
That’s it for this post. Hope you’ve found it useful. If you have other tips you’d like to share on taking care of your Sony ICD-ux560 voice recorder or questions, please post them in the comment section below.