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A. What are Audio and Cellphone Recording Devices?

Audio and Cellphone Recorders are devices designed to digitally record audio in a variety of scenarios. These devices can be used to covertly record audio without anyone knowing, obtain audio of a phone conversation and much more.

Audio and Cellphone Recorders are good for:

1.    Recording audio covertly.

2.    Recording phone conversations.

3.    Obtaining high quality audio recordings.

B. Audio and Cellphone Recorder Feature Checklist:

1. Brand  Knowing who builds your audio recorder can tell you as much about the device as the rest of the features. If a product is built by a reputable company, such as MemoQ, Lawmate, Diasonic or Forus, the product will be built to high standards and will normally be quite easy to operate. Generally, devices marked as Generic are generic products made in China. Some devices built in China are built extremely well (consider the iPhone which is built in China), while some are builty poorly and are difficult to use.

2. Recording Time – One important consideration when buying an audio recording device is determining how long the device can record for. This is a different from battery life. Recording time tells you how much audio can be stored on the recording device. This can differ based on the quality of audio. Generally, audio takes up much less room than video, and these devices will all hold much more audio than their battery life lasts.

3. Battery Life – This is one of the most important features for a covert audio recorder. One consideration is how long the standby time is for the audio recorder. Another is how much actually audio can be recorded before the battery will die.

4. Covert Design – If you need to record audio covertly, you will probably be looking for an audio recorder with a covert design. 

5. Phone Recording – Can the device record audio from a landline phone, cellphone or both?

6. Recording ModesThese recorders may include various recording modes such as: sound/voice activation, continouos recording and scheduled recording. Sound/ Voice activation helps reduce the amount of storage and will provide you with files that have activity saving you from reviewing hours or possibly days of unnecessary audio. This setting allows you to set the device to record when it hears any audio. Continuous recording means you control when it is recording and when it stops recording. This feature is standard with any audio recorder. Scheduled recording can be quite useful if you know that audio will occur on specific dates and at specific times.

7. Audio Quality – There is a range in audio clarity. With many of these devices, you can choose the audio quality to achieve longer recording times. Please note that sometimes the audio quality you hear is more dependent on what you listen to the recordings on (speakers or headphones) than the device itself.

8. Microphone Sensitivity – How close do you need to be to the audio source you wish to record. 

9. Build Quality  Is the device built well with quality components?

10. Visible Flashing Lights –  Are there visible flashing lights located on the device during recording? These are often placed on the device so the user knows when they are recording. Usually if there are flashing lights, these are easily covered up with a piece of tape.

11. Playback Options - How can you playback the audio? All of these devices include USB cables so that you can connect the devices to a computer and playback or transfer the audio from there. Some of the devices also include headphones or internal speakers for on the go playback.

12. Audio Format - What kind of file format does the device record in. Audio formats can be easily converted via computer software.

C. Audio Recording Devices:

1. Flash Drive Audio Recorder– 2GB or 4GB - $24.95, $34.95 - Click to View Product

Brand: Generic (Made in China)

Recording Time: 2GB - 40 Hours, 4GB - 80 Hours

Battery Life: 4 Hours

Covert Design: Looks like a USB Flash Drive

Phone Recording: No

Recording Modes: Continuous

Audio Quality: Average

Mac Compatible: Yes

Microphone Sensitivity: 4-8 Ft

Build Quality: Low

Visible Flashing Lights: Yes, on the side of the flash drive

Playback Options: USB only

Audio Format: .WAV file

Strengths: Covert design, cheap price, fairly easy to operate, mac compatible.

Weaknesses: Poorly written instruction manual, only average audio quality, no sound activated modes, low build quality, visible flashing lights when recording.

2. 2GB Pen Voice Recorder with 15 Hour Battery - $69.95 - Click to View Product

Brand: Generic (Made in China)

Recording Time: 15 Hours

Battery Life: 15 Hours

Covert Design: Looks like a pen.

Phone Recording: No

Recording Modes: Continuous

Audio Quality: Good

Mac Compatible: Yes

Microphone Sensitivity: Excellent 15 ft, 30 ft diameter

Build Quality: Good

Visible Flashing Lights: None

Playback Options: USB only

Audio Format: .WAV file

Strengths: Good quality audio, interesting function design -- start recording by opening the pen, stop recording by closing the pen, mac compatible, long battery life.

Weaknesses:Poorly written instruction manual, design makes it impossible to write with the pen without recording audio, no sound activation or scheduled recording modes, doesn't look like an expensive pen.

3. Lawmate Audio Recording Car Remote - $99.95 - Click to View Product

Brand: Lawmate

Recording Time: 15 Hours

Battery Life: 50 Hours Standby / 15 Hours Recording Time

Covert Design: Looks like a Car Door Remote

Phone Recording: No

Recording Modes: Continuous, Sound Activated

Audio Quality: High

Mac Compatible: Yes

Microphone Sensitivity: Excellent 15 ft, 30 ft diameter

 

Build Quality: Good

Visible Flashing Lights: None

Playback Options: USB & via included headphones.

Audio Format: MP3 file

Strengths: Excellent covert design, Lawmate build quality, records in sound activation mode, very easy controls, high quality audio, long 15 hour battery life, Mac compatible, playback through included headphones.

Weaknesses: No scheduled recording mode, poorly written instruction manual, will only make sense for covert use if you have a car.

4. MemoQ Digital Audio Recording Pen - MQ92: $99.95 - Click to View Product

Brand: MemoQ

Recording Time: 70 Hours

Battery Life: 10 Hours

Covert Design: Looks like a pen.

Phone Recording: No

Recording Modes: Continuous

Audio Quality: High

Mac Compatible: Yes

Microphone Sensitivity:Excellent 15 ft, 30 ft diameter

Build Quality: Excellent

Visible Flashing Lights: None

Playback Options: USB

Audio Format: MP3 file

Strengths: Excellent covert design, MemoQ build quality, cheapest of the MemoQ audio pens, very easy to operate, high quality audio, Mac compatible.

Weaknesses: No sound activated or scheduled recording mode, only a 6 hour battery life, can only playback through USB.

 

5. MemoQ MR-720 Mini Digital Voice Recorder- $99.95 - Click to View Product

Brand: MemoQ

Recording Time: 36 Hours

Battery Life: 7 Hours

Covert Design: Looks like a miniature audio recorder

Phone Recording: Yes, but does not include phone adaptors (much be purchased seperately)

Voice Activated Mode: Yes

Audio Quality: High

Mac Compatible: Yes

Microphone Sensitivity: Excellent 15 ft, 30 ft diameter  

Build Quality: Excellent

Visible Flashing Lights: None

Playback Options: USB or internal speaker or included headphones

Audio Format: MP3

Strengths: MemoQ build quality, extremely small size and weight, can playback through speakers or included headphones, includes phone recording functions, sound activated recording, pc and mac compatible, cheap good quality digital voice recorder.

Weaknesses: Does not include any phone recording adaptors (must be purchased seperately), battery life is only 7 hours, does not record in PCM audio quality.

 

6. FSV-U2 Cell Phone Recorder - $99.95 - Click to View Product

 

Brand: MemoQ / Forus

Recording Time: 144 Hours

Battery Life: 20 Hours

Covert Design: No

Phone Recording: Cellphone only (works with any cellphone)

Voice Activated Mode: Yes

Audio Quality: High

Mac Compatible: Yes

Microphone Sensitivity: Excellent 15 ft, 30 ft diameter  

Build Quality: Excellent

Visible Flashing Lights: Yes

Playback Options: USB or internal speaker or included headphones

Audio Format: MP3

Strengths: Smallest cell phone recorder available, Works with any cell phone, MemoQ / Forus build quality, sound activation mode, very easy to operate, high quality audio, PC & Mac compatible.

Weaknesses: Does not work with landline phones, does not record in PCM quality.

7. MemoQ Phone Recorder - MR-220 - $109.95 - Click to View Product

Brand: MemoQ

Recording Time: 72 Hours

Battery Life: 20 Hours

Covert Design: Looks like an audio recorder

Phone Recording: Landline and Cellphones (landline adaptor included, cellphone adaptor must be purchased seperately)

Voice Activated Mode: Yes

Audio Quality: Very High (PCM Quality)

Mac Compatible: Yes

Microphone Sensitivity: Excellent 15 ft, 30 ft diameter  

 

Build Quality: Excellent

Visible Flashing Lights: None

Playback Options: USB or internal speaker or included headphones

Audio Format: MP3 or PCM file

Strengths:MemoQ build quality, sound activation mode, very easy to operate, high quality audio, PC & Mac compatible.

Weaknesses: Does not include cellphone recording adaptors (must be purchased seperately).

 

8. Executive Gold Digital Voice and Audio Spy Pen - MQ72: $119.95 - Click to View Product

Brand: MemoQ

Recording Time: 35 Hours

Battery Life: 12 Hours

Covert Design: Looks like a pen.

Phone Recording: No

Recording Modes: Sound activated, Continuous mode.

Audio Quality: High

Mac Compatible: No

Microphone Sensitivity:Excellent 15 ft, 30 ft diameter

Build Quality: Excellent

Visible Flashing Lights: None

Playback Options: USB or Included Headphones

Audio Format: MP3 file

Strengths: Excellent covert design, MemoQ build quality, sound activated mode, includes headphones with attached remote for playback and configuration, sleek professional pen design, very easy to operate, high quality audio, Mac compatible, long battery life.

Weaknesses: No scheduled recording mode, headphone jack may invite suspicions and limit the covert use.

9. MemoQ Slim Audio Recording Pen - MQ77: $139.95 - Click to View Product

Brand: MemoQ

Recording Time: 35 Hours

Battery Life: 12 Hours

Covert Design: Looks like a pen.

Phone Recording: No

Recording Modes: Sound activated, Continuous mode.

Audio Quality: High

Mac Compatible: No

Microphone Sensitivity:Excellent 15 ft, 30 ft diameter

Build Quality: Excellent

Visible Flashing Lights: None

Playback Options: USB or Included Headphones

Audio Format: MP3 file

Strengths: Excellent covert design, MemoQ build quality, sound activated mode, includes headphones with attached remote for playback and configuration, sleek professional pen design, very easy to operate, high quality audio, Mac compatible, long battery life.

Weaknesses: No scheduled recording mode, headphone jack may invite suspicions and limit the covert use.

10. Diasonic DDR-5300 Audio & Phone Recorder - $139.95 - Click to View Product


Brand: Diasonic

Battery Life: 17 Hours

Covert Design: Looks like an Audio Recorder

Phone Recording: Landline and Cellphones.

Voice Activated Mode: Yes

Audio Quality: Excellent

Mac Compatible: Yes

Microphone Sensitivity: Excellent 15 ft, 30 ft diameter

 

Build Quality: Excellent

 

Visible Flashing Lights: None

 

Playback Options: USB or internal speaker or included headphones

Audio Format: MP3 or PCM file

Strengths:MemoQ build quality, sound activation mode, very easy to operate, high quality audio, PC & Mac compatible.

Weaknesses: Does not include cellphone recording adaptors (must be purchased seperately).

11. Micro Digital Audio Recorder - $499.99 - Click to View Product

Recording Time: 9 Hours

Brand: Spy Tec

Battery Life: 85 Hours

Covert Design: The smallest high-end audio recorder on the market; about the size of a matchstick.  

Phone Recording: Landline and Cellphones.

Voice Activated Mode: Yes

Audio Quality: Excellent

Mac Compatible: No

Microphone Sensitivity: 30 ft. in Normal Speaking Voice

Additional Features: Schedule Recordings, Password Protected, Timer Recording, Power Saver Mode.