Hands down, the Sony ICD ux560 is the best digital recorder for small focus group discussions, interviews, and nursing school lectures. In this Sony ICD ux560 review, we dive deeper into the digital recorder to find out its features, performance, and what to expect.
The ICD ux560 is thin and lightweight. The photos of the device do not do it justice to reflect how light it feels on the hand.
Sony ICD ux560 Review: Summary
The recorder powers up instantly (takes less than a second to power up!). Therefore, you can be sure of not missing the initial parts of your lectures. Its sound is also amazing. When you listen to the recordings, you will feel as if you are in the room where the lecture was recorded. The sound quality is amazing to the point of rivaling what you get from an external mic like the Blue Yeti.
The sound may not be as good as that of the Blue Yeti’s but it is close.
The Sony ICD ux560 stands out for its excellent sound recordings, instant power up, and lightweight. The device records in the LPCM format, which gives it an edge over other digital recorders for lecture notes. We haven’t found any other digital recorder on the market that records in this format.
The ux560 also has a lot of recording options. You can test 9 different “mic sensitivity” options to find one that would be ideal for the setting you will be recording in.
Another notable feature of the device is the built-in USB that has a 3.5mm mic input that has plug-in power. If you are recording in noisy locations, you can plug in lavalier (e) microphones as external microphones.
In normal and dim environments, the Sony ICD ux560 LCD screen is crisp, sharp and clear. The screen has white text on a dark background, which turns to dark text on white background when selected.
We also love the clarity of this device.
- Small In-Built Memory
One of the issues we have with the ux560 is that it only has 4GB inbuilt memory. The capacity is enough to record audio using compressed mp3 format for about 40 hours or so. However, the best format to use when recording nursing lecture notes is LPCM format.
To counter the issue of the small internal memory, you can buy a micro SD card. The device supports microSDHC cards with a capacity of 4GB to 32GB. If you prefer microSDXC cards, the device supports 64GB or more.
TIP: You can buy the Scandisk Ultra 128GB Micro SDXC, which will give you an additional 160 hours of recording LPCM audio.
- Hard-to-See Screen in Direct Sunlight
When the sun is directly shining on the digital recorder screen, you will have a difficult time seeing the menus. If you have to record some lectures in the outdoors when the sun is shining, you will have to create a shadow on the screen, for example, using your hand in order to see the menus.
However, since you are likely to be doing most of your lecture recording inside, this is not a major issue.
- In-Built Battery
While the inbuilt battery is a genius idea, we have to wonder what would happen if it fails. You cannot replace an in-built battery by yourself, and this may mean taking the device to a repair shop, which can cost you some money.
Having said that, from our experience and Sony ICD ux560 reviews on Amazon, no customer has had any issues with the battery.
Still on the inbuilt battery, since you cannot replace it with some extra packs of batteries, you have to carry a battery power bank, just in case. You can use the same battery power bank that you use for your phone to charge the battery.
However, one thing we have to acknowledge is that the Sony ICD ux560 battery is so darn good. We have never had to use a battery bank to charge it. According to Sony, the battery can record for 23 hours without needing to be charged. Moreover, every time you connect it to your computer to transfer files, it automatically starts charging.
- Lack of Accessories
Finally, we feel that Sony could have done a bit more by including some accessories in the Sony ICD ux560 kit. For example, we would have prefers it to come with a cable to connect to the PC, a pair of earbuds, and a pouch. When you make your order, you only get the device.
If you have other pouches, you can see whether they fit the recorder and dress it to protect it from damage. Otherwise, there is a nice selection of cheap pouches for digital recorders on Amazon. For the earbuds and cables, you can use any regular ones that you may have.
We also recommend getting a USB-A female to male cable. Moreover, if your laptop does not have a USB-A port, get the appropriate cable adapter. Always use a cable to connect your digital USB recorders to the computer to avoid accidentally knocking off the PC from the table when the recorder is attached to it.
- Crisp, sharp, and clear LCD screen
- 5mm mic input with plug-in power
- Records in LPCM format
- Amazing sound
- Powers up instantly
- Very lightweight
- The screen is hard to read when it’s in direct sunlight
- Has only 4GB inbuilt memory
The only major concern with this recorder is the built-in battery. However, the advantages of the battery (low profile an instant power up) counter the cons/
We highly recommend the Sony ICD ux560 as the best recorder for lectures.
How do you charge the Sony ICD ux560?
There are three ways in which you can charge this recorder:
i) Using a battery power bank. This is an excellent option if you are away from your office or are traveling. The device takes about 2.5 hours to completely charge.
ii) Using a USB charger. You can use your phone charger. Simply connect it to the recorder and it will start charging.
iii) USB computer charging. You can slide out the built-in USB and plug it into your PC to charge.
How much can the Sony ICD ux560 memory be expanded?
Theoretically, the device can support up to 2TB microSDXC cards. However, the largest microSDXC card available on the market tops at 256GB. We recommend that you get a card that has more space than you need if you intend to use it also on other devices.
Where can I find the Sony ICD ux560 user manual?
You can download the user manual here.
How long does the Sony ICD ux560 battery last?
When recording in LCPM format, the battery lasts 23 hours. If recording in MP3 format, it will last for 27 hours. Playback is 30 to 45 hours using headphones and 5 hours using the speaker.
Charging the battery for 3 minutes will allow you to record up to 1 hour or audio.
Can I use the Sony ICD ux560 with my Mac?
Yes, the device is compatible with Mac computers. The Sound Organizer that comes with the device works on both Macs and Windows PCs.