Sony ICD-SX800


  • Plugging this audio recorder into the computer (connecting to its MiniUSB port) makes it show up as data storage device. So you can get the recordings off the device without any software on the computer.
  • Sound quality is exceptional.
  • You can plug the device into a power-only USB wall adapter. It can then be powered without batteries. (If you plug it into any PC/Mac it will show "Connecting..." and block the device.)


  • The audio jack only outputs sound as long as you have a recording running. So you cannot simply use it as a microphone connected to your computer.

Recording Time

Codec / Quality Recording Time
LPCM 44/16 Approx. 3 hr. 10 min.
LPCM 22/16 Approx. 6 hr. 25 min.
MP3 192k Approx. 23 hr. 35 min. = ~ 1.0 days
MP3 128k Approx. 35 hr. 25 min. = ~ 1.4 days
MP3 48k Approx. 94 hr. 40 min. = ~ 3.9 days
LPEC STHQ Approx. 34 hr. 55 min. = ~ 1.4 days
LPEC ST Approx. 92 hr. 15 min. = ~ 3.8 days
LPEC STLP Approx. 177 hr. 40 min. = ~ 7.4 days
LPEC SP Approx. 281 hr. 20 min. = ~ 11.7 days
LPEC LP Approx. 750 hr. 15 min. = ~ 31.3 days

Interesting Microphones

Microphones recommended in the manual:

Recording and Playback on Linux

Using rec and play from sox:

rec -r 44100 -t wav - | tee file.wav | play -

Features and their explanation

  • SYNC REC (Synchronized Recording)
    The synchronized recording pauses when no sound is detected for more than 2 seconds. The IC recorder starts recording again as a new message when sound is detected. (Only possible when input is set to AUDIO IN, not MIC IN.)
  • VOR (Voice Operated Recording)
    Make the IC recorder start recording when the IC recorder detects sound, and pause when no sound is heard, eliminating recording during soundless periods.
  • LCF (Low Cut Filter)
    Allows you to cut out frequencies < 200 Hz to reduce the roaring noise from wind, etc., this helps to record a sound source more clearly.
  • Pre-Recording
    Allows you to record sound sources for a maximum of 5 seconds prior to the point when the recording is started. Sounds for 5 seconds are buffered in the memory. (Press and hold the RECORD button to enter the recording standby mode)
  • Limiter Function
    Setting the input level automatically to prevent sound distortion. (Does not work when operated in LOW, HIGH, S-HIGH or MUSIC recoding level)
    Switch to activate the directional microphone to record a particular sound at a conference/meeting, etc. When set to “ON,” the sound is recorded in the monaural mode even when you select the stereo recording mode.
  • DPC (Digital Pitch Control)
    Adjust the playback speed between +200% and –75% of normal speed in the menu. The message will be played back in natural tones.
    The distortion of very low and high frequencies which are outside the human voice range will be reduced in playback mode, allowing you to hear human voices more clearly.
  • V-UP (Digital Voice Up)
    Set to MEDIUM or MAXIMUM and low-level parts of a recorded messages will be amplified, allowing you to hear even low/small voices more easily.
    This function enables you to fast forward in messages. If disabled, pressing ⏪ or ⏩ will move to the previous/next message.

Recording Levels

  • LOW: To record dictation with a microphone in front of your mouth, a sound near the IC recorder, or a loud sound.
  • HIGH: To record the sound of a normal conversation or meeting, such as a recording made in a conference room or during interviews.
  • S-HIGH: To record a sound far away from the IC recorder or a low sound, such as a recording made in a spacious room.
  • MUSIC: To record more natural acoustic sound, as well as preventing sound distortion.
  • MANUAL: During manual recording, you can adjust the recording level manually.

Recording Modes:

  • LPCM 44/16: Stereo (44.1 kHz/16 bit/WAV) You can record with stereo high- quality sound equivalent to a CD.
  • LPCM 22/16: Stereo (22.05 kHz/16 bit/WAV) You can record for a longer time with high-quality stereo sound
  • MP3 192k: Stereo (44.1 kHz/192 kbps, MPEG1 Layer3) You can record with high-quality stereo sound.
  • MP3 128k: Stereo (44.1 kHz/128 kbps, MPEG1 Layer3) You can record with stereo sound.
  • MP3 48k: Monaural (44.1 kHz/48 kbps, MPEG1 Layer3) You can record with monaural sound.
  • LPEC STHQ: Stereo (44.1 kHz/128 kbps) You can record with high-quality stereo sound.
  • LPEC ST: Stereo (44.1 kHz/48 kbps) You can record with standard stereo sound.
  • LPEC STLP: Stereo (44.1 kHz/24 kbps) You can record for a longer time with stereo sound.
  • LPEC SP: Monaural (16 kHz/16 kbps) You can record with standard monaural sound.
  • LPEC LP: Monaural (8 kHz/6 kbps) You can record for a longer time with monaural sound.

I don't recommend to use the LPEC modes as this is a custom proprietary SONY file format. If you want to use the files with other devices you have to convert them first (with the Sony / Windows software).


from the manual pp. 129-130

Specification Value
Frequency range for LPCM 44/16 50 - 20,000 Hz
Speaker diameter 16 mm
Power output 150 mW
Mass Approx. 75 g including 2xAAA batteries
Microphone jack (minijack, stereo) min. 0.9 mV, 3 kilohms or lower impedance microphone
Headphone jack (minijack, stereo) output for 8 - 300 ohms headphones
Playback speed control (DPC) –75% to +200%
Power requirements Two NH-AAA rechargeable batteries: 2.4 V DC
Two LR03 (size AAA) alkaline batteries: 3.0 V DC
Operating temperature 5 ̊C - 35 ̊C