Sony ICD-BM1 Digital Voice Recorder
With the variety of digital voice recorders available, determining the best one for your needs can be difficult. This article was written to provide you with a better understanding of Sony’s ICD-BM1 digital voice recorder, its features, capabilities and the terminology commonly associated with it and other digital recorders on the market.
Let’s begin by discussing a few differences between digital and analog recording. Analog recording is the process of taking an audio signal, then translating it into electronic pulses. Essentially, those electronic pulses are impressed onto a cassette tape. Analog files are non-transferable to the computer, whereas, most digital recorders have a USB PC/interface directly on the recorder and all the necessary cables are sold with the recorder. Digital recording is the process of breaking the signal into a binary format, where the audio data is represented by a series of 1 and 0. This binary code is then sent through the circuit; then converted back into audio data. A benefit of digital recording is that it is the exact order of the transmission. This process helps clarity and record quality.
Record quality is a key factor to consider when purchasing a digital voice recorder. The Sony ICD-BM1 offers exceptional record quality as well as sound. Sony has developed an exclusive LPEC codec. Codec, an acronym for Compression/Decompression, is how the recorded sound is converted into a digital signal then stored onto the memory stick. LPEC is an acronym for Long Term Predicted Excitation. This is a unique method which ensures that the dictation will be recorded with the highest quality sound while at the same time maximizing the recording time.
The Sony ICD-BM1 offers three recording modes, SP (Standard Play) mode, LP (Long Play) mode and ST (Stereo) mode. These modes differ in their sampling rate. The Sampling Rate is the number of times the recorded signal is polled. The higher the sampling rate; the better the record quality. The LP mode has a sampling rate of 8 kHz, the SP mode 16 kHz and the ST mode has a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. Another important factor regarding the record quality is Frequency Response. The greater the frequency response, the more natural sounding the recording is. The Sony ICD-BM1 digital voice recorder has a frequency response ranging from 60Hz up to 11,000Hz (Stereo Mode) providing a high quality clear recording.
The Sony ICD-BM1 comes equipped with USB connectivity for high speed copying of files to the PC. USB is an acronym for Universal Serial Bus, and is a computer standard designed to eliminate the guesswork in connecting peripherals to your PC. The transfer speed is approximately 25 seconds per 1 hour of dictation.
Removable Memory Sticks are used for storage. The record time varies depending on the record mode being used as well as the size of the memory stick.
In SP mode a 16MB would hold 130 minutes of dictation, 32MB would hold 260 minutes, 64MB would hold 520 and 128MB memory stick would hold 1020 minutes of dictation. The recorder is sold with (1) 16MB memory stick, additional memory sticks can be purchased at www.voicerecognition.com, including 16MB, 32MB, 64MB and 128MB Memory Sticks.
With such a long list of impressive features; we can only briefly discuss a few. The recorder has a slide control switch operation system. This is a four position switch that controls the Record, Stop, Play and Backspace operation. This makes the operation extremely simple and allows the user to concentrate on dictating, not on how to operate the recorder. The recorder also offers advanced digital VOR (Voice Operated Recording). This feature allows hands-free recording without missing a single syllable. The recorder allows Digital Pitch Control during playback; this is a helpful feature for both the author and the transcriptionist. The DPC (Digital Pitch Control) can range from (-) Minus 50% to (+) Plus 100%. The DPC is only active in playback mode and can either speed up or slow down the playback without affecting the pitch. This ensures that the playback is clear and sounds like the user.
The Sony ICD-BM1 offers full editing capabilities including an overwrite/cut feature which eliminates any possible confusion for the transcriptionist.
The add function allows simple additions to previously recorded dictation. The priority button causes a recording to be automatically moved to the front of the list. In other words, if you have recorded 5 dictations, the 6th can easily be processed first by setting the priority to the highest level. The divide feature allows the recording to be divided into multiple parts. The recorder also features repeat, which in play mode, repeats the message over and over.
The recorder is packaged with the Sony Digital Voice Editor software, a powerful tool to help you handle the messages recorded with your Sony IC recorder on your computer. The Digital Voice Editor allows you to transfer and save the recordings/dictations on your computer's hard disk, to play them back, and to edit them. Key features of the Digital Voice Editor include: Viewing messages, Saving IC recorder messages on your computer's hard disk, Adding your messages from your PC to the IC recorder, Playing back a message, Using the Transcribing Keys to dictate a message, Editing a message, Sending a voice e-mail message, Convert Speech to Text, using Dragon NaturallySpeakings voice recognition software. The software can also be used to transfer the recorded data through the network.
Digital voice recorders are handy tools that can be used for a number of purposes, whether you are an author, a journalist, a teacher or student, you will experience a need for a digital voice recorder. Professionals often use it to record important meetings, law enforcement for surveillance, or students for class room lectures. Physician’s find the recorder extremely useful for dictating patients notes in the office or on the road. Many attorneys’ use the recorder for legal deposition, mediation, etc.
With the help of Dragon NaturallySpeaking®, the Sony ICD-BM1 digital voice recorder can accomplish more then ever. The Sony Digital Voice Editor is integrated with Dragon NaturallySpeaking® making it very user friendly. The Sony software automatically converts the file and launches Dragon NaturallySpeaking®. Dragon NaturallySpeaking® speech recognition software is a powerful desktop productivity tool that enables professional users to work faster and delivers a compelling ROI to any organization. Dictate memos, reports, and other documents, enter data, fill-in forms, send e-mails, browse the Web, and control the desktop-all by voice. Dragon works with virtually all Windows-based applications. The software allows you to listen to incoming e-mails and documents read aloud. Create your own documents on the spot or send your recorded dictation to be transcribed elsewhere. Dragon works on a PC or with the Sony ICD-BM1 digital recorder.
The combination of these two products will enable one to speak into the recorder, then, have that speech converted into text on a PC or laptop. Dragon NaturallySpeaking® has Medical and Legal editions to accommodate terminology commonly used in those professions.