Some information on suitable equipment
by S. B.
To record EVP, no high-tech equipment is required. A cassette recorder and a good microphone is already sufficient for the beginning. However, you should pay attention to specific things regarding the equipment in order not to pay for bad buys unnecessarily.
Although the built-in microphone of the cassette recorder may be sufficient for EVP recordings, it's recommended to use an external microphone, since it's usually more sensitive and doesn't transfer the running noises of the equipment so much, which could cover faint voices. External microphones which can be connected to the microphone jack of a cassette recorder are available in the trade. If no background sound or only a very faint one like splashing water is used, the use of a microphone preamplifier is recommended.
Very good suited for our purposes is the "Hannover Microphone" recommended by the VTF that is produced by a VTF colleague and which is only delivered to VTF members. It's an electret microphone with pre-amplifier which can also be made by practiced electronic hobbyists.
A cassette recorder which is used for EVP recordings should have at least the following features:
The tape counter is essential for the fast retrieval of your recordings or of individual voices. The "Review" button is important during evaluation of the recording: It allows to repeatedly rewind short sections of the tape during playback very fast while the "Play" button keeps pressed.
In addition, the following options are very helpful:
Suitable models are for instance the Panasonic RQ-2102 or the Philips AQ 6455.
For the professional operation, the "Marantz PMD 222" is recommended, an apparatus with a lot of extras, specifically made for reporters.
An apparatus developed specifically for the requirements of EVP recordings is the so-called "Bremer Recorder" which is delivered only to VTF members. It's a redesigned "Panasonic RQ-2102" which allows recording and playback at different speeds and additionally has a tone control.
Besides there are various dictating machines available for use with normal Compact cassettes. They are small and light and can easily be taken along everywhere. Possible manufactors are Panasonic, Sony, Aiwa and Grundig. For example the "Panasonic RQ-L349" should be mentioned.
There are also digital dictating machines available, which dont use cassettes at all, but have a memory chip built in to store the recordings. As an example, the Panasonic RR-DR60 should be mentioned, which offers a recording time of up to 60 minutes. However, to analyze an EVP recording, the recording has to be copied to a usual cassette recorder or to a computer. For this, some models have a USB interface to connect them to a computer.
For quite some time now, MiniDisc recorders are used successfully (see articles Tonbandstimmen von der Scheibe and Einige Fragen und Antworten zum Einspielen mit MiniDisc-Recorder).
For listening to the recordings in reverse playback, you need a special player that allows you to playback the tape in the opposite direction. Usual cassette recorders are not capable for reverse playback, but any autoreverse walkman usual in the trade can be modified to achieve this.
A computer with sound card is virtually ideal vor EVP research, since it offers a lot of applications in one device like recording, analyzing, filtering and archiving of voices. Here you'll find some directions for recording and analyzing EVP using a computer.