If you are considering buying a new dictation machine there are a number of things that you should take into account.
Not the least of these is whether to stick with the old cassette type dictation machine or whether to go digital. There is no doubt that the cassette type of machine is now falling out of favour, although one manufacturer does state that, particularly in the legal profession, there is still quite a demand for this type of machine
However, there is really no arguing that digital dictation is the way forward. Not all digital dictation machines are created equal, and while a number of features should be considered as standard, some
machines have advanced features which you may or may not require.
Many office equipment retailers stock dictation machines, but, of course, they will usually only stock a limited range. In order to have as wide a choice as possible, it is a good idea to check out websites such as eBay and Amazon.
When choosing a dictation machine, it is as well to bear in mind that, as analogue recording machines are waning in popularity, it is becoming harder to find and purchase the cassettes they require. Furthermore, the cassettes eventually wear, and tapes become stretched which means that, if you do a lot of dictation, you will often need to buy new ones.
If you purchase a digital recording machine, your recording is saved to either a hard drive, or a flash drive. Either way, you can wipe the memory clean and use it again and again. In theory, you could use a digital dictation machine forever.
As a chartered surveyor, you need a machine that is small and lightweight, and preferably one that will fit into a pocket or handbag comfortably. Digital dictation machines use different types of audio files such as MP3, WAV, or AIFF, so you need to determine that the particular format is compatible with your PC or laptop. If any particular form of software is required this will be mentioned in the product description, but you also need to make sure that that is compatible also.
You need to check sound quality, and this is determined by something called the sampling rate of a recording. Many basic dictation machines record at a rate of 44 kHz which is adequate for straightforward audio playback or personal use. A higher rate of kHz will produce clearer sound, which may be preferable for a surveyor using outsourced typing services such as ours. This will ensure that your typist can hear your recording clearly and produce the report that you require first time, every time. In addition, if you use an external microphone you will find that this enhances the sound quality and at the same time reduces any external interference.
As regards editing, you can do this, either on the digital dictation machine, or it can be performed on files uploaded to your computer or laptop. However, since most of the time you will be dictating on the go, you need to ensure that you purchase a machine which enables on-device editing.
You should really only consider a machine that comes with a USB docking station for connection to a computer or laptop, so that you can upload your files. Some machines have a backlight that is useful in low light situations such as investigating a cellar, and you also need to consider whether it gives you Short Play or Long Play. With Long Play you get a longer recording time, but Short Play gives you better quality. The recording time will usually be measured in time rather than file capacity.
You also need to check the battery life. Most digital dictation machines are rechargeable, and you need to check on the length of recording time, and playback time, available from one charge.
You may want to consider purchasing an external microphone. While you will not use this when out in the field, it makes for better quality recording if you dictate your report to your machine when you are back in the office.
Using outsourced typing services such as the ones offered by WWY, you most certainly want to use a digital dictation machine that allows you to download your files onto a laptop or computer and transfer them to us via email. You can also transfer them from your mobile phone using an app that we can provide.