© 2014 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
How often have you had to call Tech Support for help in getting something to work only to say to yourself, “what did they say to do”? Sound all too familiar? Sangean may have just the frustration eliminator.
The Sangean DAR-101 is a compact digital MP3 recorder that has the ability to record voice with its stereo internal microphone or an external microphone input, record from various other audio sources, and most importantly, from your telephone. The telephone feature is the unique feature that I will focus on for this article, as it’s a hard to find useful option.
There have been numerous products in the past to make phone recordings possible, but most offered poor and clumsy connection options, used magnetic tape and offered marginal reproduction quality. The DAR-101 includes a special patch cord that interconnects with the industry standard RJ12/22 modular jack found on most telephone wall outlets, making hook-up to your phone line simple. It records on a commonly available SD/MMC/SDHC card in the MP3 format with various storage capacities up to 32gb. It has a built-in 3” speaker, headphone and line out jacks for various monitoring capabilities. A date/time stamp is included that shows up as part of the file description. A twelve-second-beep tone is selectable, that when engaged indicates to the other party that the conversation is being recorded. This feature generally satisfies local laws that may require some form of notification that the call is being recorded. Naturally, you can always verbally inform the other party that you are recording the call. The record level may be manually adjusted, or a setting allows for AGC (automatic gain control). There are three recording speeds, a/k/a density settings. Voice activation is included which is handy for unattended operation. An easy to read LCD display with backlight control is built-in to aid in making record level and system adjustments as well as finding recorded files/folders. The recorder can be battery powered, or plugged in the wall with the supplied 9 VAC plug-in power supply.
(TIP: CAUTION ~ Laws regulating telephone recordings vary from state-to-state and are subject to change. The main thing to remember is that if you plan to use such recordings to play to others, or in some sort of legal action, the other party usually needs to be aware of the recording taking place. To satisfy this requirement, the twelve-second-beep feature, or a verbal announcement, generally satisfies this requirement. A few states, such as Texas, simply require that one of the two parties be aware of a recording in progress. As strange as this seems, the party making the recording is in the know, therefore the requirement has been met. Check your local laws to ensure you’re in compliance and that the law has not changed.)
I have extensively tested the Sangean DAR-101 using a Vonage VOIP phone line and find that it performs exceptionally well. It’s easy to use and the sound quality is outstanding! It’s a great note taker. I utilize it when conducting many of my interviews. I use a 8gb SDHC card, although it will support up to a 32gb one, at a speed of 192kbps. This affords me months of recordings before needing to erase the card’s memory. Instead of using the built-in playback capability, I opt to remove the card for playback and to store a particular interview on my computer where I can also title it for future reference. Typically an optional card reader is needed to do this since most computers do not have one built-in. Since all files are time/date stamped, I can easily locate and copy the particular file I’m interested in to the desktop, still retaining the original on the card. iTunes is a common program used for this purpose.
(TIP: Be sure that you use a card reader that matches the type of card you’re using, as in SD/MMC/SDHC.)
GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★
MSRP: $100.99 (Available at retail and on line)
For more information go to: http://bit.ly/1yXFHoh
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, make any legality of use claims, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings. Some information for this article may be gathered from various news sources available to the author.