Monday, August 9, 2010

Recommended Digital Voice Recorders for Dragon NaturallySpeaking Transcription

In December 2009 I researched digital voice recorders (DVRs) that would work well for transcribing voice notes taken by students using the Sylencer handheld microphone and Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) version 10.1. This research was performed for a study I am conducting for the University of Calgary Disability Resource Centre. The students that we are evaluating these technologies for may have physical or learning impairments. DNS cannot be used in the classroom with a conventional microphone because the user's speech is audible and thus disruptive, and the background noise interferes with DNS's recognition accuracy. We hypothesize that the Sylencer will mitigate these two factors.
Voice notes can be made directly onto a laptop that is running DNS or recorded onto a DVR to be transcribed after the fact. The following voice recorders are recommended for transcription and ease of use. All three models have been tested and perform well.
FeatureSony ICD-SX68/SX700Olympus DS-30/40/50Philips Digital Voice Tracer LFH 660/662
Transcription accuracyHigh (5+ out of 6) according to nuance.comshould be as high as SonyVery high (6+ out of 6) according to
File format compatible with DNS?SX68 records in proprietary format (MSV); need Sony Digital Video Editor software to convert to e.g. WAV. SX700 also records in either WAV (5/6 accuracy) or MP3 (4/6 accuracy) in which case you can just browse to file in DNS.Yes. Recording in WMA so just browse to file in DNS.660 records in MP3 so just browse to file in DNS. 662 also records in WAV.
ButtonsSmallAFB says “buttons are easily discernible by touch and are logically arranged”. Olympus review says “new layout that spaces the control buttons on the face in such a way that they are easy to use, whereas the 300 series were a little close together and you had to be very careful you knew what you were pressing”.Larger than Sony and most appear on front (versus side)
Display Size/FormatVery small, landscapeLarger, portraitLarger, portrait
Feature setJust right for dictation, lecture recordingFeatures beyond our needs e.g. auto podcast transfer, Audible e-book supportSeems right for dictation, lecture recording
Add to or split a recordingYes – can add to end of previous recording or overwrite part of it; can divide a recording into 2 during recording or playback. Included Digital Voice Editor software can divide a recording into 2 or combine up to 5 recordings into one.No. Must purchase the upgraded version of the DSS Player software (it’s called DSS Player Plus, and costs $10 US) to join (unlimited number of files) or split (one file into two) files.Can split a file into 2 during playback. Only the LFH 860/870/880 models enable you to make additions to a recording and overlap parts of a recording.
Accessibility featuresNoVoice Guide, Beep ControlNo
CapacitySX68: 512 MB. SX700: 1 GB.256/512/1000 MB depending on model660: 1 GB. 662: 2 GB.
Recording time @ highest qualitySX68: 13.5 hr. SX700: WAV 1.5 hr., MP3 11.5 hr., STHQ 17.5 hr. 17.5 hr (for 1GB DS-50)660: 17.5 hr. 662: WAV 6.4 hr., MP3 23 hr.
Power source2 NH-AAA batteries, recharged via USB connection to PCIncludes 2 AAA alkaline batteries; can also use AAA NI-MH batteries, recharged by external charger. So must replace batteries when low.660: Includes 2 AAA / LR03 Alkaline batteries; can presumably also use AAA NI-MH batteries, recharged by external charger (so must replace batteries when low). 662: includes 2 rechargeable Philips batteries LFH91542, recharged via USB connection to PC.
PriceSX68 is discontinued. SX700 is $200 US on$279.50 US on amazon.com660 is discontinued. 662 is $149.99 US at


Sony ICD-SX700 Operating Instructions
Olympus DS-50 Online Instructions
Philips LFH0662 User Manual


Recorder ratings for DNS on
Top 7 Digital Voice Recorder Transcribers
  • 1. Sony ICD-SX700D
  • 5. Olympus DS-40
  • 6. Sony ICD-SX68DR9
A Mountain of a Machine: A Review of the Olympus DS-40 Digital Voice Recorder Olympus DS-40 Digital Voice Recorder Reviews Digital Voice Recorder Reviews

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