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  • Writer's pictureGreg Stewart

Introducing the Sony ICD ST-25 Recorder

Most people involved in paranormal research are likely familiar with the Panasonic DR-60 Audio Recorder. This basic recorder, first manufactured in the late 1990s, is often considered the holy grail for audio work. There are unverified claims that the device was pulled from the market because users were returning them, alleging that additional sounds and talking distorted the recordings. I have not seen any formal response from the manufacturer regarding this, however, with it later being suggested that what was recorded might have been spirit voices it is perhaps understandable that they would not wish to comment.

Over the decades, as the device became sought after by paranormal researchers worldwide, the price skyrocketed. Today, it is usually advertised for around $2000 to $3000, quite a leap from its reputed original price of £10!

Of course, the DR-60 has its fair share of doubters. Its scarcity and price put it out of reach for many, and those considering the investment want to ensure they're not being misled. Some suggest the device records its own internal workings which, when replayed, can sound like voices. Others propose that it picks up stray radio waves, playing back voices from radio stations and other sources. Another common theory is that, as the device is usually used in voice activation mode, it picks up various small sounds around it. When played back, these noises are compacted and may sound like voices.

At Scottish Paranormal, we are fortunate to own a DR-60 and have extensively tested it in various situations to address some of the criticisms it receives. For instance, if it recorded internal workings, we would expect similar recordings each time which is not the case. While there's often some background noise that may be connected to the device, it varies and there is often additional audio captured over it. Also, considering it is in voice activation mode, something needs to trigger it to record. If the sound of the internal workings were sufficient to activate it, then it would presumably record continuously. We have placed the device in a Faraday box to eliminate radio waves, yet still captured responses, and try to keep recordings to around 10 seconds, which reduces the chance of natural bit sounds from the immediate environment being recorded and compressed. Sometimes we capture nothing, other times we get something yet even after analysis we cannot make it out to be a definite response. Occasionally we receive clear and precise answers. The only consistent thing about the DR-60 is its inconsistency.

I'm not trying to suggest that everything captured is paranormal, nor am I dismissing those who have different experiences or doubts about the device. I can only share our experiences.

This got me thinking, though. The DR-60 was one of the earliest mass-market digital voice recorders, replacing the cassette tape recorders used previously. Other manufacturers must have released their digital devices around the same time. Were there other devices with similar 'faults' that could yield similar results in the paranormal field? After reading numerous articles, I found mention of the Sony ICD ST-25 as a potentially similar device. I also noted that well-known medium and paranormal researcher Chris Fleming was using one.

With this knowledge, I decided to get one, and it wasn't as easy as you might think. It's a vintage recorder, and it seems that other researchers have had similar thoughts to my own. The few that became available over the following weeks were advertised at around $200 to $300 and sold quickly. The one I saw listed at $50 was quickly snatched up within minutes. It's still a fair amount to pay for something so old but significantly less than a DR-60.

I did manage to secure one, and I recently received it. I conducted five trial recordings after setting it up. Of those, I'd say two had unusual elements. Some basic editing to remove background hiss and enhance the audio revealed potential direct responses, which I've combined in the attached video.

My research with the ST-25 continues. Is it as good as the DR60? Not based on the initial recordings. Does it produce interesting results? Yes, definitely. Time will tell whether this device becomes a useful resource, and while I remain hopeful, I am also open-minded about what it captures. I will see how it performs when out on investigation, and it would be interesting to carry out an audio session using both devices at the same time to explore any similarities in what they capture.

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12 oct. 2023
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Fantastic article. I look forward to hearing more about your results with it.

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