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Digital Voice Recorders

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I've used one since I started. I wear it on a lanyard around my neck. 2500 inspections and no problems...except the time I bent over to look at a pool. They don't like getting wet! They save me a ton of time over writing notes.

BTW, the two I've owned have both been Sony. I paid around $50 for one and got the other discontinued for $29. They live a long time on 2 AAA batteries. I have to remember to wait until I push record before talking. That's the only time I ever have a problem.

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Originally posted by chrisprickett

I've used one since I started. I wear it on a lanyard around my neck. 2500 inspections and no problems...except the time I bent over to look at a pool. They don't like getting wet! They save me a ton of time over writing notes.

Many years ago, I used the old "Voice-It" recorders. They worked fine. However, I didn't like using them because people would listen in while I was talking. I found this very annoying.

Like Chris, I once dropped the thing in water -- a nasty, muddy sump. Interestingly, it continued to work, but everything I played back sounded like, "gar, gar, gar, gar, gar, gar."

My wife said it sounded better than my real voice. Witty one, she.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I record roughly half of my inspections on an Olympus DS-330. After the inspection, it goes into a docking station and the audio files are downloaded into the computer. The files are then played back through medical transcription software controlled by a foot pedal. It takes under 30 seconds from the time I slide it into the dock to hands free playback.

The DS-330 is incredibly small and light. I doubt that it weighs much more than two ounces, even with the batteries. Like Chris, I wear it on a lanyard around my neck. The lanyard came with my ID badge at the ’04 ASHI Leadership Day. I added a fishing lure swivel to attach it, and have been using it ever since.

At first, I used the voice activation setting, but couldn’t get the sensitivity low enough, even after adding a layer or two of electrical tape over the mic hole. I got tired of having to sit through dogs barking, ladder sounds and noisy people during playback. Now, I just use the manual record button.

I use the digital recorder when I have a very large, crappy or complicated building. It also comes in handy if I know I’ll have a tight schedule, the inspection site turns out to be chaotic, or there’s a PIA seller. In addition to greatly streamlining the inspection, I can stay focused on inspecting, rather than constantly switching back and forth between inspection and clerical modes. For me, it makes inspections much easier with less chance of error. It also helps keep the buyer focused on me instead of starting side conversations with others as I’m entering data – conversations that I have to interrupt time after time.

Even though this setup works flawlessly, it adds a LOT of time doing the report. I’m basically doing the inspection over again that night. I could probably do most of the report from memory, but I’m just not comfortable doing that.




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Like Joe I use an Olympus. My current model is a VN-1000 (about $40-$50 "street" price). My first lasted around 2½ years (now a back-up due to "tinny" playback...too much rain?). I'm a little lower-tech with my lanyard and have been using the same sneaker shoe lace since I started.

I probably played back my first 30 to 40 inspections before trying one day to do it from memory (and the photos). I found/find that I can easily write about 95% of most reports this way. I try to take photos of serial numbers (always check the picture for focus) but some just can't be shot. At the end of the report I grab a beverage and go and sit in my basement smoking area (no lectures please) and replay the notes at fast speed. I jot down serial numbers, bad outlet locations, etc, and anything I might have missed. About the only times this doesn't seem to work for me is the rare occasion where I get my arm twisted into doing more than one a day (I'm old and it's all I need or desire). Then I'll normally play and notate the recording first.

Although my recorder has voice activation (I think most all do) I have myself trained to just use the record and pause buttons. I'm not that crazy about listening to myself blather on so I also try to be very brief on the recorder.

I considered getting the more expensive models with USB download and voice recognition software, but after hearing wind noise, dogs barking, traffic sounds, running water, appliances, fans, and clients talking in the background I'm not convinced of it's practicality.

Anyway, count me as a fan of DVRs. Probably not for everybody and it may not shorten overall insection/report time but it does keep my hands free and my eyes on the home.

Added...I just noticed Bill's concern about the pause feature timing out. I don't find that an issue. I like to split up the recording a bit anyway so I normally stop, and then later start a new file about 10 times during an inspection. On the times I've forgotten or paused long enough to time out...no big deal. My recorder will do 100 files per folder. You just have to hit one more button per file during playback.

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Hi to all,

I use a hot shoe connectable Olympus, and I love it. It was a bit pricey when I bought it, but Amazon has them now at a sensible price point.

BTW, why didn't anyone mention lanyards before I dropped 2 of them of commercial buildings (they are not noted for their ability to bounce!)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0008E ... 4?n=172282



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