Panasonic RR-930: I Can't Think of Anything Clever to Say
by Montepenny | Sep 18 '01

Pros: Quick erase, back space control, speed control... this machine has it all.
Cons: Even a great transcription machine cannot make transcription fun.
The Bottom Line: This machine is easy to use and worth the money for transcriptionists and people who interview frequently.
Recommended: Yes

I know what you're thinking: I cannot wait to read a review about the exciting, ultra-sexy Panasonic RR-930 Microcassette Transcriber.

Well, wait no more... I am here to tell you that the Panasonic RR-930 is a great transcriber through and through. Of course, I am not a medical transcriptionist, so it is a bit odd that I am reviewing a transcriber machine.

You see, I interview people several times every month for various articles and I am always recording telephone conversations. In fact, I write a rather long feature story every month that is based on an interview session that lasts anywhere between 1 1/2 hours and 6 hours.

That's a lot of notes to transcribe!


Overall, the Panasonic RR-930 has been steady as a rock. The endurance of this machine is unbelievable. Between my wife and myself, we have logged many, many hours on this device, which has never once had a problem. It hasn't so much as eaten a tape.

We haven't had to repair it once and it has always performed flawlessly and reliably even though it hasn't exactly been treated with the best of care. If you gaze at the foot pedal, it looks completely worn out, but it still functions beautifully. In a word, the 930 is tough. It will last you a long, long time.


Pop in your microcassette and the fun really begins. The 930 has the standard cassette player options: STOP/EJECT, FAST FORWARD, PLAY, REWIND and RECORD. If you simulateneously push the FAST FORWARD and RECORD buttons, you can erase the tape very quickly. This option is especially handy for medical transcriptionists and other people who have to erase audio tapes on a daily basis -- you know, like people who work for the president and record every conversation.

If you push PLAY and PAUSE simultaneously, then you can use the foot pedal to control when the tape plays and stops. The foot pedal is broken into two parts, so the set-up is similiar to driving a car. The right side plays the tape and the left side rewinds the tape if you failed to pick up something on your first listen. It doesn't take long at all to master these controls.

The machine also has separate settings for volume, tone, back space control and speed control. Basically, you can set the volume and tone precisely at the level you want so you have an easier time transcribing from the tapes because you can hear them better.

The back space control will set how much you want the tape to rewind (if at all) once you let up on the play pedal. The speed control will play the tape very slow or very fast, depending on how good of a typist you are. Basically, once you set these options to your specifications, then you will type as efficiently as humanly possible.

When I first started, I was quite slow, but I have adjusted the machine and now can probably type anywhere from 70 to 90 w.p.m. while I am transcribing my interviews.

The machine also has the usual transcriber features, such as a 3-digit tape counter, headphone jack, microphone jack, 2-speed tape selector and a pair of headphones. The foot pedal is also included. You won't need to buy any additional features for this machine.


I really cannot say anything negative about the Panasonic RR-930. Sure, it might make this review more interesting, but it would not be honest. If you are worried about investing a lot of money, at least you can be content with the fact that the machine performs admirably and consistently.

I believe the price is still pretty much the same as it was a few years ago. If you are willing to price hunt on the Internet, you may find this for $200. Of course, you may have to pay a lot of shipping and handling, too, so it might not be worth it. My advice is to try Staples or Office Max if time is of essence.