One of the critical components of any paranormal research kit is a digital voice recorder. They are used by paranormal researchers during investigations in an attempt to capture audio evidence of the afterlife. But choosing the perfect recorder is often a daunting task, with a wide range of features and prices available on the market. For those just beginning in the paranormal field and for those interested in upgrading, below are a few tips for finding the perfect digital voice recorder.
Digital voice recorders are used by paranormal researchers to capture various types of audio evidence during investigations. First, audible voice phenomena (AVP) are unexplained sounds that are audible to the paranormal investigator during the recording process. Second, electronic voice phenomena (EVP) are unexplained sounds that are inaudible to the researcher during the recording process, but they are captured by sensitive digital recorders using sound frequencies and power levels outside the human range of hearing. Third, digital voice recorders are also useful for documenting the research process and recording witness interviews.
When choosing a digital voice recorder, two variables should be considered that are largely responsible for the recorder’s sensitivity: The frequency response and the bit rate. The frequency response determines what part of the audio spectrum the recorder is able to capture, such as 40 to 19,000 HZ. The wider the frequency response, the greater the recording range of the device. Next, the bit rate determines how much digital information is stored as you record. The higher the bit rate, the more audio data is collected over time.
Since no one knows the actual frequencies at which authentic EVP and AVP might occur, it is impossible to determine the perfect frequency response of a digital recorder. However, the wider the frequency response the better chance a digital recorder has to capture audio phenomena at various frequencies. Further, a common bit rate for digital voice recorders on the market is 128 kbps, and it seems to perform well for most paranormal researchers. However, there are recorders with higher (and lower) bit rates on the market, so this is something to consider when shopping.
Other factors to think about when choosing a digital voice recorder include the number of microphones (one vs. two), the amount of built-in memory, the type of PC interface, the power supply and the battery life. Each individual should determine which variables are most important and choose accordingly. Whether you’re a seasoned paranormal investigator or a beginner, choosing the perfect digital voice recorder shouldn’t be difficult. Simply try to maximize the device’s sensitivity and features that fit within your budget.
Digital Voice Recorder Spotlight: Olympus WS-801 (MSRP: $79.99)
Records in WMA Stereo file format at 128 kbps, with a frequency response of 40 to 19,000 HZ. Records in MP3 Stereo file format at 192 kbps, with a frequency response of 40 to 19,000 HZ. Built-in USB connection (no need for a cord) and comes with a rechargeable AAA Ni-MH battery that lasts approximately 27 hours. Has two microphones and 2 GB built-in flash memory.