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best evp capture voice recorder/ or other recorder to buy?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Jun 21st, 2008 04:29 PM
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Slider2732
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Joined: Mar 3rd, 2008
Location: Muskogee, Oklahoma USA
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Having used quite a few different types over the last 5 years, i'll throw in my 2 cents :)

There are several con's and pro's to both digital and tape recorders...
Digital:
Good - No tapes, long continuous recording times, no tape mechanism noise, usually longer battery life, no head wear or cleaning to worry about, comparable pricing point to tape based nowadays, extras like a clock on the LCD screens.
Bad - Usually damn awful playback quality at anything other than top quality setting, tinny sound due to compression methods to get the most recording space out of the unit, often not easy to work out what to press, easy deletion of whole files in low light etc, recordings can't be taken away and stored, unless put on PC and burned to CD-R.
Tape:
Good - Familiarity to nearly everyone, great recording range in terms of distance and frequency, useable in any conditions and normally more robust in dusty/rain locations, often cheaper for similar build quality as digitals.
Bad - New tapes must be used every time to avoid bleed through and false positives from earlier recordings, battery life should still be up to many hours, but temporary slowing with ageing batteries can also trigger false positives and so new batteries each time used is a recommendation, tape mechanism noise can intrude on cheap units, tapes can break.

Tips and Tricks
Try to use an external microphone, as this will largely stop tape mechanism noise on tape recorders.
A bit of foam (sort of like a mini version of TV large boom mics) placed over the microphone will help to cut out any wind noise.
Tapes should be used just once and immediately written on to record location, date, time.
When starting a recording, it's good practice to state where you are, what the date and time are, who is around, what the weather is like and any other considerations that might lead to a false positive thought about a recording on later playback.
While recording, if someone is heard to shout off in the distance, make a note to the recorder.
When asking questions of a possible spirit, treat them like a friend, not expecting to gain answers to personal questions. Goading is one method often used, but treating a deceased person with a bit of respect often brings the clearest EVP's, in my experience.
Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net) is a free and great editing program for any possible EVP's heard and needing anlysis.
Further analysis can be done using SpeechPro Denoiser. You get 30 seconds of audio crunching ability in the free version, which is fine for our purposes :) It can really bring out a recording from a mess and is apparently how black box flight recorders data is sometimes cleaned up. If you've ever heard that computerized 'cleaned up' type of recording on TV, it's that prog that's often used. I'm not sure of the download location, but a quick Google should bring it up...i'm sure folks here have the program anyway and someone can pass it along. I actually don't have it right now, as i'm on a laptop in a hotel room, while house hunting in Oklahoma !
Good headphones would be another tip, much may never even be heard when standard PC speakers are used to listen back.


A run down of some units we use in my Spirited Investigations group.
Digital:
RCA RP 5015A
Many features, 2 recording qualities though the longer version is very poor quality bitrate. Time shown on the screen. Many locations to store recordings. Fiddly buttons. External mic and ear sockets. Not very good as there's too much hiss on playback!

RCA RP 5012B
You'd think this would be an older version than the one above. I believe it is, but it's MUCH better. Better constructed, easier to use, smaller. Recordings sound much cleaner too. Ear socket.


Tape:
Olympus Pearlcorder S-702
My personal favourite and actually a gift from a fellow researcher some years ago. It's still going and been used thousands of times. Great build quality and battery life. Easy to use, but no frills. No tape counter. Microcassette.

Panasonic RN-305
Got 2 of these on Ebay for $1 a couple of years ago. Both arrived with known damaged casings and so a review is tainted. Voice activation if required. Good playback quality though not superb (they were second hand and so even cleaning the heads isn't a definitive indication of the quality). No tape counter. Microcassette.
Of note, perhaps, I took one of these apart for my Anrede project, to give live EVP. The circuit boards are really quite small and easy to hack for the project.

Sony M-570V
'Clear Voice Plus'
Voice activated or standard running, great battery longevity, 3 digit tape counter, great build quality, clean and clear recordings, no discernable tape mechanism noise even with internal mic, microcassette, still current in Walmart..I think it sells for about $25



In summary, I would go for the Sony as a first recorder. It's commonly avaliable, from a trusted manufacturer and at a good price.

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