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Audio Recording Device Buying GuideUpdated a year ago

From recording university lectures and podcast interviews, to documenting threats or broken promises, there’s no substitute for having the truth in people’s own words.


Why Do You Need An Audio Recording Device?

So who are these for? Everyone from students to investigators. There’s a wide range of applications, such as:


- Interviews

Whether you’re a journalist, podcaster, or just trying to document process at work, having a dedicated tool for capturing audio can be a lifesaver. Once you’ve added something like our Digital Voice Recorder into your workflow, you’ll wonder how you got along without one.


- Inspiration

Creatives know all too well the frustration of inspiration striking at inopportune times.  Whether you’re a writer, poet, musician, game designer, or just have a creative streak you’ve yet to express, capturing ideas as they come can be essential to the creative process. Don’t let that hit song or bestselling novel slip through your fingers: strike while the iron’s hot!


- Documentation

Long, information-dense presentations can be a struggle to keep up with. Capture a university lecture or document your long corporate meeting, then review the notes like a podcast on your way home. Something like our Heart Pendant Spy Microphone lets you unobtrusively document everything without being a distraction.


- Investigation

Private investigators, secret shoppers, and anyone in an unhealthy relationship (personal or professional) can benefit greatly from covertly recording what people actually say. Law Enforcement Grade voice recorders like the LawMate® AR-300 Key Voice Recorder ensure that you reliably document clear, unambiguous evidence: leaving nothing to chance.


Can’t You Just Use Your Smartphone?

Plenty of apps promise to turn your mobile device into a handheld recorder. And for some purposes, that can even work: if you just need to jot down a few seconds of speech now and then, you might be able to get away with using your smartphone. But for all their bells and whistles, modern smartphones aren’t always known for their pristine audio quality: and launching your app can waste precious seconds, missing crucial evidence.

Furthermore, if you intend record lengthy content like an interview, there’s the serious risk of running headfirst into a lack of storage space. Even if you delete all your apps, music, and so forth, take it from people who’ve been there: it’s entirely too easy to run out of space in the field. And once that happens, you’re pretty much done: killing the flow of interviews, failing to document your new idea, and missing crucial evidence.

There’s a reason why professionals rely on specialized gear. In our opinion, if something is important enough to record, then it’s important enough to make sure you actually record it.


What Features Do You Need?

Modern spy gear can seem daunting at first glance, and audio recorders are no exception. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed by an avalanche of features, most audio recorders are remarkably simple and easy to use.

Some features to keep in mind:


- USB Connectivity

Accessibility and ease of use are the name of the game here, and our selection of modern recording devices makes it easy. Say goodbye to proprietary connection and storage: say hello to USB and micro SD cards. It’s important to easily charge, download, and listen to your files: so get a recording device that makes it easy for you.


- Audio quality

As with any recording gear, higher quality is always better, but there’s always a trade-off. High-resolution audio takes up more storage space, and can be marginally more expensive to acquire. To get the best of both worlds, products like the DVR-616 voice activated recorder recorder let you choose between MP3 and higher quality PCM recording formats, based on your current needs.


- Voice Activation

Perfect for covertly recording conversations or taking notes while you’re driving, a voice activated recorder automatically captures the important stuff while ignoring silence. You can leave them on standby, waiting for something to happen, or dictate notes during your commute: it’s like having an invisible assistant, getting everything on tape.


- Concealability

If all you need is a dictation device, then something like our Digital Voice Recorder should do the trick. But even if you don’t need to covertly record today, that doesn’t meant that you won’t want to do so tomorrow: so whether it’s a watch, key, or USB drive, there are plenty of perfectly-concealed devices available.

And hey: we’ve also got a spy camera hidden in a voice recorder: options abound.


Where Should You Place Your Recording Device?

Distance matters, but not as much as you might think. While your microphone will get the best signal at less than 2 metres, you can still pick up conversations from 6 or 7 metres away, though this does run a greater risk of being muffled by noise.

For audio recorders kept on your person, a clear line is best: something like our Awaretech Pen or Lawmate’s Key Voice Recorder works great on a keychain, purse, etc. Even if you have it in your pocket, the sound will be muffled, but should still be legible at a couple metres. It’s not a bad idea to make some test recordings to get used to how your audio recorder captures sound in different situations.


Making The Right Choice For YOU

In broad terms, covert recording equipment can be broken down into three broad categories: Professional Grade, Consumer Grade, and Junk. You can find plenty of junk for sale online, but you won’t find it here, because we don’t carry any. We don’t sell any products that we wouldn’t recommend: when you buy an audio recording device from The Spy Store, you’re getting something that’s been tested and used by people who live and breathe this stuff.

One you understand your needs, it’s a simple matter of selecting the audio recorder that’s right for you. And if you’re curious about features, or just want an expert opinion, our staff is always happy to answer any questions you have.

Seriously, we love this stuff. Feel free to call or use the chat function: we’re always happy to help.

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