Olympus Voice Recorders are among the most well known in the industry. Models range from basic consumer voice recorders to high end recorders designed for professional dictation and transcription. There are three series or lines of voice recorders that Olympus makes, the DS, WS, and VN series.
DS-Series - The DS-40, DS-50, and DS-61 are generally used to record memos, meetings, interviews, and light dictation/transcription, these units record in WMA format and can playback WMA/MP3. The DS-2400 recorder is geared toward professional dictation and transcription, we would not recommend the DS-2400 unless you will be using the recorder for professional transcription and dictation. The DS-2400 records in DSS and DS2 (digital speech standard) audio format which is exclusive to Olympus & Philips. The audio files recorded the DS-2400 units can only be played back and edited with DSS software that comes with the recorder.
WS-Series - These are designed with the everyday consumer in mind. They are incredibly compact (close to the size of a 1st generation Ipod nano) and can double as a music player with equalizer. They record audio files in WMA (Windows Media Audio) format and can playback MP3/WMA formats. They have several microphone sensitivity settings and quality recording modes. If you are looking for a recorder for everyday recording (meetings, lectures, interviews, memos) and doubles as a music player we would highly recommend the WS-Series. We place these in the same class as the Philips Voice Tracer Series below.
VN-Series – These recorders will record your voice and other sounds without all the other bells and whistles. Some of these models have PC connectivity and some don’t. They record in WMA format so these files can be easily played back using windows media player.
Philips has a professional line and consumer line of voice recorders. The Voice Tracer line is designed with the consumer in mind and can handle most recording tasks. The Pocket-Memo series is designed with the professional in mind and is geared toward professional dictation and transcription.
Voice Tracer – Incredibly well designed and reasonably priced. These units record in MP3 format which is one of the most popular forms of audio. There are five models in this series with prices ranging from $58.95 to $148.95. All of these units have PC connectivity and are designed with the everyday consumer in mind and are perfect for recording meetings, memos, lectures or interviews. We would place them in a similar class as the Olympus WS-Series. To view a comparison chart of the Voice Tracer models CLICK HERE!
Pocket-Memo – They record in the DSS format and are designed for Professional Dictation and Transcription. We would not recommend the Pocket-Memo unless you need them for professional medical or legal transcription. The DSS file format is the industry standard for philips and olympus professional dictation. The DSS files can only be played back and edited with the DSS software that comes with the units.
Denpa is a lesser known brand of digital voice recorder but should not be overlooked. You get a lot of bang for the buck with these recorders without having to pay extra for the brand name. These also can double as a portable music player just like the Olympus WS-Series. These record in MP3 format just like the Philips Voice Tracers do. In addition to recording in MP3 format these recorders pack a few more features than the voice tracers and other models we have listed. These extra features include:
* Five equalizer (NORMAL,ROCK,JAZZ,CLASS, PIANO)
* Direct USB connection (no cord required)
* Phone call recording
* FM Radio Playback and Recording
* AC Adaptor
* Clip on Microphone
Sony models include the ICD-BM, MX, and SX voice recorders. The BM and MX models feature expandable memory card slots so that you can expand the recording times! Also, these recorders are all compatible with Dragon naturally speaking, in fact many of the models include a copy of the dragon software. When a recording is clearly dictated into the recorder all you have to do is hook it up to your computer and press play, and it will type out your recordings (when you have dragon naturally speaking installed). These recorders can be used for general use and professional use. One of the main drawbacks of these recorders is the audio format they record in, they record in .MSV which is a recording format exclusive to Sony voice recorders. In order to get your recording out of the .MSV format and play them on another device you will need to convert them to .WAV format and then to MP3 or WMA.