The Sony ICD-AX412 falls short compared to some high-end models, but it earns high marks as a digital voice recorder for everyday use. Great battery life and a useful noise-canceling feature are key pluses among those who feel this recorder delivers impressive sound quality and function for a reasonable price. This voice recorder has been officially discontinued by Sony, but remains widely available at retail at the time of this report.
Cancel the background crud. With a powerful noise-canceling function that cuts out extra background bleed-in, the Sony ICD-AX412 is a very capable pocket recorder that delivers ample recording quality for documenting meetings, interviews and lectures. The lower-fidelity MP3 format will undoubtedly be a deal-breaker for users looking for pro-grade features, though the vast majority of user reviews indicate that the ICD-AX412's recording quality is quite good for the cost.
Are you a Mac or a PC? The Sony ICD-AX412's straightforward controls are easy to understand, and the highly portable design is good for on-the-go recordings. The MP3 recordings take up less room than higher-fidelity formats, leaving plenty of room on the built-in 2 GB flash memory to work with, and that's easily expanded with memory cards. Transferring the MP3 files to a PC is simple and easy to do. However, many owners report that the included software isn't compatible with Mac computers, and may require a third-party plug-in or software. The lack of LED backlighting is a common complaint for users who record in dark settings.
Cheap and functional. The Sony ICD-AX412 delivers a lot of bang for the buck, even if it's not quite as proficient as the Olympus DM-620 (Est. $110). On the other hand, it's also a little bit pricier than some other basic recorders that perform about as well, such as the Olympus VN-702PC (Est. $45) . Still, though the quality takes a hit in comparison to recorders supporting a wider range of audio formats, this MP3 voice recorder is a reasonable choice for general use.
Bryan Gardiner names the Sony AX412 the best voice recorder overall. The digital voice recorder "wasn't great at everything," he writes, "but it was quite good at a few really important things," citing voice clarity, features and consistent performance.
Review: The Best Voice Recorder, Bryan Gardiner, Aug. 15, 2013
Amazon.com's users value the Sony ICD-AX412 for its reliability, peripheral noise-reduction functions, ease of use and overall sound quality. It earns a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 following more than 155 owner-written reviews, though some grouse over the lack of LED backlighting and unclear instructions.
Review: Sony ICD-AX412 Stereo Digital Voice Recorder, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
Great battery life and ease of use are the Sony ICD-AX412's big draws among users at BHPhotoVideo.com, who give the recorder a score of 4.6 stars out of 5, from more than 45 total reviews. Some users complain the included software isn't Mac-compatible, though the device itself is.
Review: Sony ICDAX412 Digital Voice Recorder, Contributors to BHPhotoVideo.com, As of April 2014
Retailer BestBuy.com's customer reviews place the Sony ICD-AX412 at 4.6 stars out of 5, from more than 35 user comments. Owners particularly enjoy the recorder's portability, reasonable sound quality and value for the price.
Review: Sony - Digital Voice Recorder, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of April 2014