Sony ICDUX560BLK Stereo Digital Voice Recorder with Built-in USB
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- Record in MP3/LPCM with a high sensitivity s-microphone
- Up to 4 GB of built-in storage, expandable via microSD (SDHC/SDXC) cards
- Focus and wide microphone modes to suit lectures or meetings
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From the manufacturer
Sony ICDUX560BLK Digital Voice Recorder
Capture all your meetings, lectures and radio broadcasts in clear, high-quality audio with the thin and light UX560F, with optimised settings for each situation. Through the new user interface, easily search for your recordings and music files to play, and monitor the recording levels. With up to 4 GB of internal memory, expandable via MicroSD cards (SDHC and SDXC supported) and quick charge via built-in USB, you'll always be prepared for hours of recording.
- Record in MP3/LPCM with a high-sensitivity S-Microphone
- Up to 4 GB of built-in storage, expandable via MicroSD (SDHC/SDXC) cards
- Focus and wide microphone modes to suit lectures or meetings
- Direct USB built-in for easy connection to PC
- FM radio to listen to or record radio broadcasts
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
To give it a difficult test, I put it in my pocket in a soft sleeve and went to an outdoor garage sale. Though you could hear some of the rustling noise from my pants fabric, it was minor and it picked up the conversations clearly enough to be discernible in this difficult environment. However, I don't recommend using it this way. Putting it on a belt pouch would definitely give excellent results with little or no rustling noises. If you'd like to keep your interviews unobtrusive, this is a great way to do it. You don't need to put it in someone's face like a microphone to get a clear recording.
Put a large memory card (micro SD) into its available card slot and you can easily capture thousands of hours of recording. The internal battery lasts for more than one day of continuous recording and charges easily and quickly from any USB charger. Plug it into a portable USB power bank and you can extend the recording time to many days or weeks of continuous recording if necessary. Not using throw-away batteries saves size and weight. It saves the recorded files in standard Mp3 format that any computer or smartphone can utilize. Highly recommended for clear voice recording, meetings, interviews or personal notes. An excellent device for a modest price.
Note: if you've never used a voice recorder, don't be fooled into thinking that your smartphone can replace one. A phone is designed to capture voice at very close range and picks up a lot of unwanted noise. Voice recorders are designed to capture the specific sound frequencies of voice and suppress unwanted extraneous noises like wind and machine hum.
Update September 27, 2017:
I went on location to interview a rock singer. I went to his concert the evening before the interview. Not having high hopes, I put the Sony voice recorder in a belt holster, set it to auto and medium high audio quality and let it record during the entire concert. It was at my side, under my shirt and I'm surrounded by screaming fans constantly bumping me. Needless to say the place was LOUD, like eardrum damaging loud. I listened to the recording the next day and WOW. I can clearly hear his intros between songs (which is all I wanted), nearly every word and easily discernible. The sound quality of the music is not good, which I didn't need anyway. I can't believe this worked. Next day we met outside the hotel and walked to a restaurant along a busy street, again with the recorder at my side in a belt holster, sat down outside the restaurant, cars wizzing by and talked. It caught all our conversations clearly. Later we drove around in a convertible with the top down (not as good, but still discernible). That evening we went out to dinner at a busy restaurant, seven of us sitting around the table, the recorder in the center and let run. Caught everyone speaking clearly. Just wow. GREAT voice recorder. Stop shopping and buy this beauty!
Ps: The battery life is crazy good. After 6 hours of multiple recording sessions through the day, it hasn't even dropped one bar. I kept a mobile USB battery pack with me just in case, but never needed or used it.
UPDATE - While this is a great unit I have had to return two of them in the first 3 months. Same problem, after a time the USB port fails and the unit can no longer transfer files. I'm hoping the third one is the charm.
I had the Sony ICD-PX470 in my cart, which is similar but a little less expensive. It takes two AAA cells, which I thought I'd actually prefer to a built-in battery, as I usually do. I have a large stock of NiMH low self-discharge AA and AAA rechargeables along with several intelligent chargers (I told you I'm an electronics nut) so I'd have no problem swapping out the batteries. In fact I often prefer replaceable batteries so I'll never be caught waiting for a built-in battery to recharge. Then I read a review which revealed that the PX470's clock had to be reset with each battery change, and I knew that would irritate me so I started looking at this more expensive model more closely and decided it was worth the extra cost — plus, it's even smaller, plus it has a backlight.
The built-in lithium polymer battery can power this device for such a long time that I doubt running out of juice will ever be a problem. I haven't been charging mine, except for the time it's connected to my computer (but I connect only when I want to transfer or rename something), and it's only now gone down to 3/4 bars. I think one full charging would keep it going through a full day of maximum use. [Update 6/18: I've been using it on & off for at least a month since last charging it or connecting to a computer and it's still at 3/4 bars. Since i's best not to regularly run lithium-ion batteries all the way down, I connected the USB port to my phone charger and it charged quickly.]
The speaker is tiny (see my photo), but the sound is surprisingly good for its size... similar to that of a top-grade smartphone. If you want to hear the full quality of the recordings, use a headphone or transfer to a computer and use any quality of speakers you need.
I had expected the software to be a joke, but it most definitely is not! I'm impressed with its features and ease of use. The recorder appears as a USB thumbdrive which makes transferring files and creating and renaming folders as easy as can be (under Windows Explorer). But the software makes it even easier ... plus has transcription capabilities with hot-keys and speed control with DPC (Digital Pitch Control).
I've covered only a small fraction of the capabilities of this remarkable device. It has great flexibility in recording options which I'm sure others will test out and report.
At the time of my purchase this listing had only two photos which didn't clearly reveal the product, so I have added a few more in case they may help anyone.
I'm sure I will eventually find faults to this awesome recorder (nothing's perfect). I'll try to come back and post what I find.
UPDATE 5/11/2018: Coming back down to earth, I've found that turning it on and getting it ready to record is proving to be a little less convenient than I had originally thought — you have to pull the power switch on the right side down, which is possible to do with your thumb if you can get a good grip, but it's easiest to use your thumbnail to catch on the raised center dot to pull down. It takes about one second to boot up, then push the red record button and count another second for the recording to start. I still have to look at it to be sure it's recording unless I can hear the faint beep (a setting to control the beep volume would be a helpful improvement). Again, the software is very powerful and is actually a large part of this recorder's value... good enough to consider when evaluating the cost. Although you can treat this as a USB thumb drive to move files around using Windows Explorer, using the software adds significant functionality.
UPDATE 6/11/2018: I am continuing to find this device useful for my needs, which include saving miscellaneous thoughts that I want to remember, better ways of saying something I want to say, long forgotten things suddenly remembered, new facts and sources, and anything else I want to remember which can be stated verbally. For me, the competition is writing a note on my Note8 or writing a note on one of my computers. One concern is backing up. Notes on my Note8 are supposedly backed up to Samsung's cloud, otherwise I haven't yet tried to figure out another method. Notes on my computers can be backed up any number of ways or saved in the cloud. The problem is... I'm not always around my computers. I keep my Note8 and this tiny voice recorder in a small pouch that I always keep with me, attached to my belt if I'm out and about so I can pull either out at a moment's notice. I really like jotting notes down on my Note8, but using this recorder has its advantages. Right now I believe using the recorder is more secure because it's easier to backup (so far) and can't be hacked except when connected to a hostile environment as a USB drive.
Bad: There is no way to append previously recorded messages. Complexity: The delete a file option is not in the same place. Depending which mode etc it may be first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth! There is no quick way to delete a file without looking at the screen and going through a series of menus. I would prefer a delete button.