What is the difference between micro mini cassette and digital dictaphone voice recorder?

At Dictate Australia we often get calls from people who have been using their trusy Pearlcorder micro or mini cassette dictaphone for years who are in a slight panic. Either their analogue tape dictaphone has given up the ghost or they can’t find replacement cassettes or their tape based transcription kit has retired after years of service. My advice to all these people is go digital. Why? Here are four good reasons:

1. Audio Quality

Digital voice recorders utilise the latest digital technology. That means they have amazing audio pickup and can record for hours on end. The audio quality from a digital voice recorder is far superior to that of analogue tapes. Whether you are recording single speaker notes, an interview or large meetings the audio quality on good digital voice recorders is crisp and clear.

2. Happy Typist

Because the audio quality is so good from a digital voice recorder you will have a happy typist. No more will she have to strain to hear every word. If you go digital your typists can transcribe the audio on their PC or Mac, if the audio is quiet it can be boosted, if you are too loud they can turn the audio down, if you speak slowly they can speed you up to match their typing speed all using transcription software. With digital audio the clarity is better meaning your transcribed documents will have fewer timestamps or inaudible words and will likely be transcribed faster.

3. Easily Store Your Dictations

So you record to a tape, when the tape is finished then what? You write neatly on the cassette insert and file the cassette case in a drawer or in a cabinet. If you need to quickly access your audio you have to hunt through tens or hundreds of tapes to find the right one. When you do find the right tape you then have to spend time fast-forwarding through the tape trying to find the audio you need. With digital the audio is stored as a computer file. You can keep your audio on your PC or Mac, on your server, on your website even. Your audio can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world, quickly and easily if you store digital audio. You could even burn your audio to a CD or DVD for safe keeping.

4. Free Yourself from an On Site Typist

Yes we all love our on-site typist but in this day and age an on-site typist can be an expensive commodity for any business. Requiring a desk, a computer, insurance and taxes your typists can be a costly necessity just to be there to physically pass a micro cassette to. With digital audio your dictation can be sent anywhere in the world in seconds. This opens you up to either letting your trusty typist work from home or allows you to outsource your dictation to a professional outsource transcription service like our partner company The Transcription People – Australia.

I know what you are thinking, “my dictation is confidential can I trust sending it over the Internet?“. Well yes is the answer to that one. But with some provisos. If you use a professional transcription service they should have a secure file transfer mechanism in place which will encrypt your audio as it travels from your digital voice recorder to their dedicated secure server. Avoid sending confidential audio by email unless both the sender and receiver use a secure certificate. Avoid sending your audio across a secure connection to a third party, such as a service like SendThisFile, although the file transfer may be secure your audio is housed on a server out of the control of your transcription service.

The Transcription People own and administer their own servers so you can be sure that your audio is going securely and directly to them.

What To Look For?

Digital voice recorders come in two types, digital dictaphones and digital note takers. Digital dictaphones are generally aimed at people who dictate letters and notes, usually but not restricted to people in the legal and medical fields. Digital note takers are typically used for recording interviews, meetings, focus groups and lecture or conference audio. Click here for our previous blog post on the difference between a digital dictaphone and a digital note taker.

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