updated 03:50 pm EDT, Thu April 30, 2009
New Sony voice recorders
Sony has added six new models to its digital voice recorder line-up, all sporting new designs, long recording times, improved recording quality and support for both Macs and PCs. All devices allow for recording and playing back audio in MP3 format as well as store files on their built-in flash memory. At the top of the range are the ICD-SX700 and ICD-SX700D. The former is capable of recording in Linear PCM as well as MP3 formats and, for Windows users, ships with Sound Forge Audio Studio LE software that lets users edit, mix and burn recordings onto CDs.
Either can convert voice to text thanks to Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software and Sony's Digital Voice Editor software. The ICD-SX700D differs from the ICD-SX700 in that it includes the Dragon NaturallySpeaking Recorder Edition software in addition to a USB docking station and rechargeable batteries. Each has 1GB of built-in storage, allowing users to record up to 372 hours of sound in a low-bitrate Long Play mode or store 17 hours of 128Kbps MP3 music.
The ICD-UX71 and ICD-UX81 models double as recorders and digital music players, capable of MP3 and WMA file playback. They carry support for ID3 tagging that displays artist and album information. Both connect to PCs and Macs via an integrated USB connection, and get power from a single AAA battery. To find an optimal balance between quality and capacity, users can pick from five recording modes. Available in black only, the ICD-UX81 has 2GB of memory, while the ICD-UX71 offers 1GB of storage and can be had in silver, pink or red.
Compared to the model it replaces, the ICD-PX720 has a larger LCD screen along with record and play buttons, and improved playback and volume controls. There are more recording modes to pick from, more file folders, and both extended battery life as well as memory capacity (1GB). The included USB cable and Digital Editor software allows transferring recordings to PCs. A microphone jack allows for stereo recording, and a file protection system helps to prevent accidentally erasing recordings.
The entry-level ICD-BX700 doesn't feature a PC connection, but has been redesigned with a larger screen and controls. It has 1GB of memory.
The Sony ICD-SX700 and ICD-SX700D models are available now for about $150 and $200, the ICD-UX81 and ICD-UX71 for about $150 and $100, the ICD-PX720 for $60, and ICD-BX700 for $40, though online retailers such as Amazon are offering all for significantly less.
ICD-SX700D and ICD-SX700
ICD-UX71 and ICD-UX81