About 20 years ago tape recorders were great in taking notes even though the sound quality were not that great and since each tape can last about 90 minutes of recording for each side, we would need to constantly switch them to different sides.
Currently using an iPad for the meetings, which does its job pretty good, but there are still room for improvements. The recording is pretty good, but hard to type fast enough especially if there is a fast speaker. This also drains the iPad's battery super fast. A 5 hour recording would drain the battery from 100% down to a low 20%.
The other day I saw a pretty neat digital pen tool called the Livescribe Pulse. This device can read, record, and play back recorded notes. The pen has a sensor embedded near the tip, which captures and saves in its memory whatever you write or draw on a special dot-matrix paper, which the paper would be an extra copy. The only drawback I see with this device is that in order to use it, you will need to use it with its special paper, which cost about $15 - $20 per notepad. The pen has 2GB of built-in memory and the battery last about 2 days.
I haven't stumbled upon a perfect digital note-taking device or software yet, even though there are many great tools that are almost there. Takings notes is especially important and having a great tool does help.