The microcassette voice recorder quickly became an indispensable tool of business and government after it was introduced. The idea of a handheld device that could record meetings, interviews, and speeches without the need for pen and paper was an instant success. The only problems with those early models were their short battery life and even shorter recording time. Fortunately, both problems have been largely solved with the introduction of digital voice recorders. Their sales are growing fast and have already overtaken the microcassette models, which will soon be consigned to the pages of history.
Olympus is a Japanese company that was formed nearly one hundred years ago. It has produced many different products over the years but the one most people associate with the Olympus brand is cameras. Olympus started out making film cameras and has gone on to become one of the largest manufacturers of digital cameras in the world. Among the other products the company produce are lenses, binoculars, digital audio players, and media equipment. They also make a large range of microcassette and digital voice recorders.
An Olympus digital voice recorder is a small handheld device that records audio and stores it in a digital format. It is more convenient than a microcassette voice recorder because it uses less power and can store many more hours of audio. Another advantage is that the recorded audio is stored in files that can be played straight away on a computer or MP3 player, without having to go through a lengthy conversion process first. There are basic models for taking notes, models with an integrated music player, and professional models that record high quality audio.
Even a fast typist would have trouble keeping up with the pace of an average speaker. An Olympus digital voice recorder is ideal for recording speech so it can be transcribed at a later time. The notetaker models are not as advanced as the linear PCM and professional models but that hardly matters because they are only intended for recording speech. There are three settings for audio quality which directly determine how much recording time is available, plus there are three settings for the playback speed. The audio is stored in the internal flash memory as Windows Media Audio (WMA) files, which can be played on just about every computer and digital music player.
The voice and music models combine a notetaker with an integrated music player. Their extra capacity frees people from having to carry around another device just to play their extensive digital music collection. These models support the hugely popular MP3 format, along with other common digital music formats. They have a microSD/SDHC slot that allows them to play music stored on one of these high capacity memory cards. They have a large amount of internal flash memory that can store hundreds of audio files, and their advanced function enhance the playback of music files.
The linear PCM models are used mostly by musicians and scientists who want the convenience of a handheld device that has the performance of a larger recorder. Linear PCM is a high quality audio format commonly used for CD audio. Unlike other formats, it is uncompressed so there is no loss of detail between what the microphones pick up and what is recorded to memory. The professional models are designed for people in business and government who frequently dictate letters and can take advantages of the DSS Pro dictation system. These models are quite expensive but the time saved by using them makes their cost seem modest.
The small size of the microphones can be a problem for certain tasks, especially when trying to capture audio from a particular direction. Accessory microphones can be used in place of the standard ones to improve audio quality. These include the compact gun microphone, compact zoom microphone, and the noise-cancellation microphone. A telephone recording kit is also available but users need to be aware of the legal restrictions placed on such kits. Another useful accessory is the transcription kit, which has a pedal that makes it easier for the transcriber to step through an audio file while writing down its contents.