Absolutely essential piece of kit both for recording start sequences including OCS/BFD boats and for finishes.  The new digital dictating machines can have a huge capacity and features such as folders to keep sound files seperated.  They do have one disadvantage in that they have no “Cue and Revue” feature.  Normally to replay the last five or six seconds of your  recording you have to listen to the whole file which, say in the case of a start, may be ninety seconds long.  For this reason a tape machine can be very useful for the start sequence.

It is in fact very difficult to buy any Tape based recorder new as manufacturers change to digital technology.

When buying a dictating machine there are several things to consider.  Recording time (see note on quality).  Will it allow a microphone and Headset to be plugged in?  Does it have a download facility to a laptop?  This can be really useful at bigger events where you may have to retain every day and every race recordings.

Stop Press: Have just replaced one of my Digital Recorders that went for a swim in the bottom of a RIB and it comes with a form of cue and revue.

Tips for use:

1. The longest playing time setting is usually not good enough quality so experiment with your machine to sort out the balance between quality and recording time.

2. When recording finishes and you have several races per day I would normally record in sections of say 15 seconds then stop and start the tape again.  This is because if you have to, say, sort out the finishing order where you have called out several boats very quickly - you may need to replay one part of the tape many times to get the finish order correct so small sessions make this easier.

3. When recording finishes occasionally name the race e.g. “Half way through finishing Race 3 next boat is XXXX”  This means it is easier to find your place on a recording.


Got a different dictating machine that you use? - Tell us about it - email us a photograph and we will include it

Goldyip GP-506

Needed a Tape Recorder quickly and bought this one on eBay for around £12.00.  It takes normal Audio Cassette Tapes.

Basically its rubbish - the sound quality is awful - avoid cheapy Chinese recorders.

Olympus Pearlcorder S713

This takes the smaller Micro Cassettes which limit the recording time but great for Starts because of the Cue and Revue facility.

This one also has the facility to plug in a microphone and speaker.  I would use this with a cheap headset when you need the free hand to hold on.

No longer available new.  

Olympus VN510 and VN733PC

The Olympus VN510 (the white one) around £33.00 with only 512Mb of memory gives a recording capacity of about 5½ hours on the better quality setting.  No folders, no additional memory card and no download to Laptop but does have Microphone and headphone sockets.  Good backup Recorder

The Olympus VN733PC (The black one) around £60.00 with loads of memory and a slot for additional.  Around sixty seven hours on good quality setting, folders to segregate recordings, download to PC via mini USB port.

This is my current main recorder - must work out how the Cue and revue works before the season starts!

Digital Recorder

Another Cheap Chinese Recorder - Digital this time for around £18.00 on eBay.  

The buttons are a fiddle to use and the sound quality poor - another to avoid.