Voice Recorder Review

 

 
 
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Sony ICD-SX46

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Sony ICD-SX46 Reviewer's Comments

 

I bought this recorder because I wanted something higher quality and with a better design than the $60 unit I had previously used. I have now tested the unit for almost 3 months before writing the review.

The design is so so at best. They did a good job with the menu but it is still short some features that should have been obvious. For example, they did a great job having options to turn off the tally light, turn the beep on or off and almost everything else. But the one important option they should have included was the ability to start and stop recording with the record button. As it is designed you have to press one button to record and another to stop. This is very annoying when you are driving and make a note. You have to remember to press a 2nd button otherwise you will only pause the recording and at the end of the day you will have one really long message.

Button layout was one of the biggest problems with ALL of the units tested. Almost no one could get it right. The designs were poorly layed out and difficult to use. This was the best of the lot since the button was on the side for recording. If only you could press the same button to stop recording it would have been almost perfect. It is still slightly better than other companies like olympus and panasonic who actually design their voice records to be difficult to use.

One of the features of the SX46 is that it supposedly can be plugged into the usb port. Well that much is true. Unfortunately plugging it into a usb port is not very useful in itself and that is all I could do with mine. I took this recorer to record a seminar/conference. I recorded 4 days within the 17 hr capacity of the recorder. When I went to transfer the files via usb to my laptop I found there was no way to do it. The recorder never shows up as a drive. The designers at sony forgot to design it so you can actually copy files from the unit. There is no way to directly communicate with the recorder. It never appears as a drive eventhough windows will beep and acknowlege it is connected. I went to sony's website to try and find their proprietary software since I am in a hotel room and do not have my documentation with me. I see they let you download a patch but not the actual software. When I returned home I found my software cd from sony. I installed it. Clicked the dvedit program it installed and immediately received a "The program cannot be started because the preferences data is destroyed". What does that mean. I check the install folder and I cant even find anything that looks like an ini or preferences file. This program does not work, clearly no one bothered to test. If they had setup the unit to show up as a drive on my PC I would not have this problem at all. I click uninstall and I happen to have the installation folder still open. As uninstall runs I notice that two out of 42 files disappear. Then the uninstaller exits. BUT ALL OF THE FILES ARE STILL ON MY HARDDRIVE! Sonys uninstaller did not uninstall anything. The program is still here. I can still click on the dvedit.exe and it still works. The only thing that changed is that the program is no longer listed in my programs menu.


I finally had to plug the recorder into my sound card and record the notes that way. There is no way to access the recordings over USB as promised on the package and in the instructions.

 

This recorder did do a good job of recording a seminar with good audio. The audio was actually excellent. I turned the recorder on and left it in my pocket. It recorded everything clearly. I used Audacity software to normalize the volume and it came out super. Fortunately I did experiment with settings before going to the conference. There is a feature I was considering using that turns the recording on when there is sound and off when there is no sound. At least the VOX feature is supposed to work like that. With this recorder, the voice turns on after the person starts speaking so you miss every first word. This feature is useless for recording voice. Maybe it could be used to record in a room like a security monitor but even then you will not record the start of every conversation. This was also a problem during normal recording. When you want to record a message such as "555-1234" when you play it back all you get is ...ive-1234. The first part is cut off. Even after the unit beeps to indicate it is recording, it does not record for a full one second. You have to remember this otherwise you will lose important information.

 

Playback through the internal speaker is extermely poor. The panasonic speaker was the best. The sony speaker is too small and too quiet. I keep the volume maxed out all the time and still have to hold it to my ear to hear it sometimes. The recorded sound quality is excellent but you may need to use ear buds or play it through your computer sound card to hear it.

 

Overall, this unit needs a lot of improvement but it is still the best of the lot. It is easy to use, the record button is easy to find without fumbling or having to look at the unit. It has excellent sound quality and a long record time.

 



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Reader Reviews

 

 

READER REVIEWS showing 1 of 1 viewer reviews

 

If that review is as all accurate and that is the best of the lot then
it makes no sense at all to spend $120 when a tape unit can be easily
bought for about $30. And most of the other digital recorders are
discontinued.

I don't see how anyone in their right mind would buy that unit when it
acknowledges that it cannot be connected to a computer even with the
built in USB connector, which is one of the main desirable features on
it.

Actually I previously bought and returned this unit. I returned it
before trying to connect it to my computer. I'm a computer programmer
(with 30+ years experience) and I found it too complex and confusing
for normal use.

Moshe
Potomac, Maryland

 

EDITORS NOTE: Cassette recorders only record about 30 minutes and tapes have a limited life plus they are much larger. Tape based recorders are no longer used unless a record needs to be kept of the recording. Digital recorders can record from 4-100+ hours and have many other features.

 



 
 
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