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What Kind of Digital Recorder Should I Purchase?

 offers digital recorders with a wide range of pricing and features, but basically it breaks down into three main areas.

  • If you need something for quick reminders (don't forget to pick up the milk…) or for study aids, pick up a VN- or WS-series voice recorder. Most of these compact and more affordable recorders will even enable you to upload your files to a PC.
  • If you need to store digital recordings to a PC for archival purposes and you want great sound quality, get a DS-series recorder. These recorders are capable of storing a great deal of recording time (one to two days' worth of recordings in most cases) and come with convenient docking stations for easy file transfers to or from a computer.
  • If dictation is your thing, check out our professional models. Recorders like the DS-4000 have slide switch controls and software that you can customize for transcription from a secretary or from a 3rd party dictation service. These recorders will cost you a little more money but will be worth every penny.

Which File Format Is Best For Me?

Entry-level digital voice recorders such as our VN-series use a file format called ADPCM. Some newer recorders, like our WS-series, use a format called "Triple Rate". Both of these formats are built for capacity, designed to give you the most recording time possible. If price and recording time are your priorities, you can't go wrong with recorders featuring either of these formats.
DS-series recorders use a file format called DSS. This file format has the ability to store helpful and detailed file information in the header. With a DSS file, you can actually see the name of the person who made the recording (in instances where the recorder may be shared between different users), the date of the recording, and a variety of other data. DS-series recorders also have a lot of extra features designed for people that use their recorders every day, such as business users who dictate their correspondence, or journalists. You'll need to use Olympus software to listen to DSS files on your PC, but a free "mini-player" is available on our web site for someone that you might be sending the files out to. A number of recent recorders use WMA format. WMA stands for Windows Media Audio and is a popular format used in digital music programs such as Rhapsody and Napster. This file is similar to DSS, with the main advantage being that you can listen to these files through Windows Media Player on your computer. If you want the best possible sound quality, some Olympus recorders allow you to record in WAV format. This format is lofty in file size - a one minute file can be as large as 4 megabytes - but the sound is uncompressed and the quality is awesome.

Cassette or Digital?

Olympus invented the Microcassette recorder in 1969, then re-invented digital recording 30 years later with a world-class line of digital voice recorders. At this point, you may be wondering if you should replace an existing microcassette recorder, or if it's time to upgrade to digital.

If the issue is price, don't worry; you'll soon discover that price doesn't have to be much of a concern. Digital recorders start at £20.99, and you will save money by not having to purchase tapes. However, some of the lower priced digital recorders cannot download their recordings to a PC, meaning that you'll be stuck without a permanent copy. If storing your recordings (like meetings, lectures, study notes, etc.) for easy access is your goal, go with a Microcassette recorder.

If you need something for quick reminders, if you want a ton of recording time, or if you're thinking of storing recordings on a PC, pick up a digital voice recorder

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