Over the past 16 years of working for SpyCentre Security, I have personally watched the transformation the hidden audio market has made. From large pens with 3 hours of battery life that could MAYBE download to your Windows 2000 or XP machine (and if you had a MAC, you had to trade it in for a Windows computer if you bought one of these digital voice recorders because there is no possibility it would have download to anything Apple!)
The audio quality wasn't bad at all; you just had to be about 5 feet from what you wanted to capture due to the low-quality components used on items back then. Hidden audio recorders have improved tremendously. Below I have included some of the most important things to look for in a recording device.
Now you can get a spy pen that can last for 31 hours on a full charge, downloads directly to a MAC or PC, and the audio quality is the same format that iTunes (MP3) uses on all of their music files. This pen is great for high-definition audio recording from 40 feet away in optimal conditions. Before we jump into the top 8 hidden recorders, I would like to mention that a cell phone is a great option for recording conversations.
Digital voice recorders are much more discrete and effective. Also, most of these listening devices offer unmatched battery life and voice-activated recording, allowing them to record for days discreetly -- even when you are away. The comparison table below highlights some of our favorite devices.
Microphone Quality: The quality of the microphone is essential. It makes a difference between clear recordings and muffled ones. The recorders on this list have the ability to hear up to 40 feet in optimal conditions. The less background noise, the further and clearer you will pick up voices and make them out when playing back the recordings.
Battery Life: Having a long battery life is crucial to making sure you are ready when you need to be. While it may mean a bit of a heavier recorder, it will also mean less downtime spent charging.
Voice Activation: A great feature for conserving storage space, a hidden recording device with voice activation will begin to record if it detects noise and will stop recording if no noise is detected for a period of time. I also want to point out that many of today's audio recorders offer both voice activation and continuous recording, which can be helpful with varying noise volumes or if you do not want to miss a single thing and don't mind playing through longer media files.
Size of Device: While a small device may be easier to conceal or carry around with you, it will likely have a smaller battery, meaning shorter battery life. The upside is that smaller recorders normally have a much faster recharge time, 1 to 2 hours in most instances. With today's modern voice recorders, you can recharge them with your laptop, desktop, or any powered USB supply that you use for your smart devices.
Disguise: Some recorders are disguised as pens, power banks, USB drives, or even watches! Others are smaller in size, making them easier to hide. If you need to record something without being noticed, this is a fantastic option as it allows these devices to blend in naturally at school, work, or home.
The name isn't clever, it's true! This small recording device measures at .7in x 1.8in x .24in.But aside from the fact that it truly is tiny, it is featured packed and simple to use. Activation and recording are all built into one; turn the unit on located at the top left of the device. That's it. Once it's on, it's recording, giving you the flexibility to turn this small digital voice recorder on and off at a moment's notice anywhere; leave it in your pocket or purse or out on a counter. Not only is this voice-activated recorder easy to operate, but it also has a large audio pick-up range of up to 40 feet in optimal conditions.
Our high-quality digital voice recorder with a built-in 8GB flash memory allows it to store 90 hours of recordings and last for up to 10 hours on a full charge (2-hour recharge). You can quickly switch to voice-activated recording or leave the device in continuous, depending on what the situation calls for. It can be downloaded to a Mac or PC, and forget about old clunky software folks, not with this little guy, plug and play your files with the included USB cable.
If you do not have a computer handy to listen to your files, use the included headset and listen to them right off the device. (For even more control, our new mini micro recorder allows more playback control with "skip" and "delete" features right on the device!)
Spy recorder pens have been around for some time, and the idea has been around for even longer; think of all those cool James Bond movies where they used pens to set off bombs and free themselves from captivity. Well, this little digital voice recorder pen may not trigger a remote detonation. But it may help rectify issues at work or home with verbal abuse, lying, infidelity, and more.
This tiny drive measures 2.5 x 3/4 x .5 and has voice-activated recording or continuous recording. 24-hour battery life allows for a full day of continuous recording, that's quite a bit of recording for such a small device, and you're only looking at 2 hours to charge this device fully. To activate this digital voice recorder, all you have to do is turn the little switch on the back of the device left or right, left for continuous or right for voice-activated recording.
Time and date stamped recording is available for this model but only for PC users currently. But anyone with a Mac or PC can download the files from these digital voice recorders right onto their computers, and you don't need any software; once again, plug and play.
One of the best features of this device is that it can be plugged into any powered USB port or computer and set to record in either continuous or voice-activated, taking battery life out of the equation, giving you a 24/7 audio recorder. If you choose to use this recorder, be sure to clear your device's memory so it can continue to operate while recording.
This covert power bank recorder is one of our best devices for those scenarios where you need several hundred hours of recording. Disguised as a working power bank, use it at home in the conference room, office, dorm, or sitting on your table. Even better, it has magnets on the backside so you can secure it to a metal surface.
This simple spy voice recorder looks just like a Fitbit or fitness tracker, making it a perfect device for covert recording. Not only that this voice recorder actually looks nice, I mean nice enough to wear with not just casual clothes but also special events, work, weddings really anywhere.
I really enjoy this recorder because the manufacturer put an embedded mic on both the left and right sides, allowing for optimal pick-up all around you. This recorder has all the features we as consumers expect; it's rechargeable and downloadable through a computer, stores 90 hours, and can continuously record for up to 8 hours.
Here is another USB flash drive recorder. This has to be one of the simplest and affordable recording devices I have tried out so far. Being a USB flash drive makes it so much easier to use since they are common nowadays. This recording device has time and date stamped audio recordings, 13 hours of battery life (2-3 hour charge), and can store 90 hours of recordings on its 8GB flash memory.
Like the pro version, this model has a simple one-touch voice record mode; slide the switch to on, on the bottom of the recorder, and your recording. Like the previous models, you can leave this out overtly or hide it, drop it in your pocket, or put it in your purse. You can download your audio clips on a PC or Mac. This is definitely one of the best recording devices you can get for the money.
It can pick up audio within 40 feet in optimal conditions like the rest of the recorders on this list and really functions as a USB flash drive so you could store important files on this thumb drive when your not using it for a voice recorder.
Another great feature of this recording device is the "Whisper amplification," which lets you prioritize quieter sounds over loud sounds. Many added features on this recorder that we haven't offered before, making it a truly futuristic recorder. And it is still super-tiny. It's 2.5 inches long, less than an inch wide, and only half-an-inch thick, making it one of the smallest recording devices in the industry.
The LawMate Keychain Voice Recorder with Voice Activation is one of the handiest on-the-fly recorders we sell for people who need to record audio inside of vehicles. Since it looks like a car remote, this voice recorder blends in well with any environment. Leave it lying anywhere in the car, and no one will give it a second look. To complete the disguise, add it to a keychain with an old car key on it.
You can also leave this digital recorder around the house or place of business. And no one will think anything of it when you come rushing back into a room to retrieve your recording device because you "forgot your keychain." With 35 hours of data storage available, you will need to recharge this one a few times before maxing out the data bank.
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You might think that the webcam is the bigger concern, but it turns out that a well-placed microphone is the key to an incredibly clever new hacking technique that sounds like it's straight out of science fiction. Researchers have figured out how to remotely spy on a computer screen by listening in with a microphone. 2b1af7f3a8