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119 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and lightweight, but still sturdy--more intuitive than my old Sony voice recorder
The main purpose I am using this recorder for is for class lecture recording and audiobook playback (from Audible,) so this review is based on my experience using it against my old Sony ICD-PX720 for these reasons.

The Olympus DM-620 is the first non-Sony recorder that I've purchased, so my experience with other Olympus models is non-existant. The unit itself...
Published on October 11, 2011 by Ornery Garden Bird

versus
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Recorder; need patience in using it for functionality
Recorder received very timely. I use this for professional dictation. It defaults to windows media format which is NOT good for uploading for typing. The format is too large and is just not acceptable.MP3 format is the same in that the file continues to be a large one.

However, if one is patient and downloads the manual AND uses the software that comes with...
Published on June 4, 2012 by vocman


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119 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and lightweight, but still sturdy--more intuitive than my old Sony voice recorder, October 11, 2011
By 
This review is from: Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder (Office Product)
The main purpose I am using this recorder for is for class lecture recording and audiobook playback (from Audible,) so this review is based on my experience using it against my old Sony ICD-PX720 for these reasons.

The Olympus DM-620 is the first non-Sony recorder that I've purchased, so my experience with other Olympus models is non-existant. The unit itself is compact with a slight heft due to the metal vs plastic construction. I happen to find that more reassuring in a world where just about everything is cased in plastic and has a cheaper construction feel to it.

The screen has a light white/gray/blue (Payne's gray?) back-light which was a bit harder for my eyes to make out when compared to the bright orange-amber back-lights I have seen on other models of recorders. Readability was much greater after adjusting the contrast and brightness settings to a custom setting.

The first thing I noticed about the unit was that it was intuitive, which was something my old Sony recorders were not. Changing the folder on my Sony ICD-PX720 was like pulling teeth, and trying to remember how I did it a few days later was like a revisit to the proverbial dentist. I usually ended up having to dig out the manual to do anything more complicated than turn on, hit record, hit stop. The DM-620 is blissfully easy to navigate.

The DM-620 has small rubber feet on the bottom to keep the recorder from randomly sliding places. They are not sticky and will not prevent it from falling off a steep dash, but it will give a bit more friction when a book bumps into it when moving things around the desk during class. If I was really worried about it, I could get one of those sticky pads that keep things from sliding places, but so far it hasn't tried to escape me by sliding off the desk.

The recorder has two settings for batteries. The default is for the Ni-Cad rechargeables that come with it and the 2nd option being Alkaline batteries. I am presuming this is in case you are in the field and need to do a swap on the fly with either standard alkalines or rechargeables. I prefer this to having an internal (inaccessible) rechargeable battery or propitiatory batteries, so kudos for flexibility.

The recorder has a voice guidance (with a pleasant voice in my opinion anyway) for those of us who are blind even with our glasses on. My recordings are usually done with ample light, but I usually end up playing them back in dim lit areas or sitting by the glow of my monitor alone, so between back-light and voice guidance, things were less chaotic.

File support for 3 file types (PCM/WMA/MP3) is a nice switch from my old Sony which required using their PC software to convert the files. Good for plugging into a computer and quickly moving files off it to the HD without needing conversion software. I have both a PC and a MAC, and this little recorder supports both. My old Sony ICD-PX720 was strictly PC and required the Digital Voice Editor 3 software to pull files off the recorder and copy/convert to the PC hard drive.

Sound quality is quite good. I have recorded crickets chirping down the block, distant dogs, the gurgling of my classmate's stomach, and my professors in great detail. The sensitivity of the microphones can be adjusted (Low/Mid/High)as well as voice filtering factors. I have not played with these settings as much as it worked perfectly well for my needs right out of the box, but I could see if someone wanted to turn down sensitivity a little if they didn't want to hear someone sniffling in the back row of the classroom. There are other settings for "scene" that tell the unit to adjust recording to different conditions, but I have stayed with the normal fare so far with no need to go above or beyond.

Recorder comes with a wrist strap and a soft cushioned case with a loop for a lanyard clip attachment, which helps keep it protected when thrown in my book bag as it travels across campus with me.

A bonus feature I was not expecting but have totally fallen in love with was Audible audiobook compatibility, podcast support, and general music file (MP3/WMA)support. Being able to put a bit of music or books on the recorder just adds one more thing to like about it.

Recording time lets me record my classes all day without worrying about needing to dig for extra batteries and that includes the time I spend listening to whatever book/music I have stuffed on it.

The Mini-SD card support is also a good bonus feature for virtually unlimited capacity.

Quirks noticed:

Since the speaker is on the back of the unit, if you place the recorder someplace soft and fluffy (such as on your mattress or placed on a pillow) it will muffle the sound. I solve this by placing the recorder on its side or leaning it against another object when using the speaker instead of headphones.

Using the recorder in a dim light or darkened setting can be awkward until you train yourself to go for the right button to kick the back-light back on without stopping playback.

More complex settings like scene editing and manual mic adjusting require digging through the full manual which is buried as a file on the recorder or fetching it online.

Defaults to WMA 128 instead of the lossless PCM -- easily changed, but not always noticed if you aren't looking to see what format you are recording in

Happy Thoughts:

Sound quality great!

standard USB mini-plug(on the unit end) instead of a non-standard plug

intuitive navigation for people like me who are deep-tree menu challenged

battery lid is attached, which is a blessing that some may not realize until get in a situation where they dug into various pockets for their spare batteries and can't remember where they auto-piloted and set the battery lid down at...

Overall, the DM-620 has been a wonderful little unit with plenty of features to satisfy workhorse needs such as lecture recording and entertainment (audiobooks and music file support.)
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent piece of equipment, November 21, 2011
By 
Bill Cunningham (SILVER SPRING, MD, US) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder (Office Product)
I see higher priced digital recorders, but it's hard to believe they can be much better than this for recording lectures and meetings. The sensitivity is amazing. I recently graduated from cassette tapes and I can't believe how much better this is. Very long recording capability and very long battery life is great. The recorder does a decent job of recording live music with good pickup of the bass. The controls are pretty straight forward, but you should read the directions because it has so many features. The fast forward and reverse are accelerating so they move slowly if you are going just a minute or so away, and the acceleration moves you to an hour away point pretty quickly. I have my music on a micro chip so I can use this to listen to music. You can set it to play a song over and over, the folder of songs over and over or everything over and over - very nice features. Micro chip also gives you huge storage. My computer sees the device as a disk drive so moving lectures from the recorder to my computer is very quick and easy.
My only issue, is that you have to pay attention when using the reverse and fast forward because the buttons are very small. You have to hold down the reverse button, and if you accidentally let go and push it again before you hit play, you will go back to the beginning of your recording, and have to fast forward back to the original point. The digital display tells you where you are on the recording and how long the recording is in total, so look to see where you are before you begin to rewind. This is probably unavoidable due to the compact size of the device.
You can charge this with your computer usb port. I bought an adapter so I can charge it from a wall plug too.
You can vary the speed of playback ... and there are way too many features to describe.
-Bill
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The DM-620 Is Excellent, August 11, 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder (Office Product)
I have been using the Olympus DM-620 for 3 weeks to record interviews of relatives for family history, phone calls and work meetings. The DM-620 is excellent!!!

Pros:
- Great audio recording quality
- Excellent microphone sensitivity
- Records in WAV, MP3 or MWA
- Every little pre-amp hiss
- Backlit screen
- Metal not plastic body
- Long battery life (comes with 2 AA rechargeable batteries)
- Unit can recharge batteries via USB
- Nylon carrying case fits well in shirt pocket
- Option Olympus TP-7 Telephone Recording Device works very well

Cons:
- An optional leather case with belt loop is not available
- It would be nice to set recording setting per audio folder since changing recording settings can take 5 to 10 seconds
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Recorder; need patience in using it for functionality, June 4, 2012
By 
vocman (Scottsdale, AZ) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder (Office Product)
Recorder received very timely. I use this for professional dictation. It defaults to windows media format which is NOT good for uploading for typing. The format is too large and is just not acceptable.MP3 format is the same in that the file continues to be a large one.

However, if one is patient and downloads the manual AND uses the software that comes with it, there is option to change the format to a *dss file. That is the only format acceptable for uploading and downloading as the quality is high and it is compressed to a small file. Olympus charges another 10.00 dollars to get the premium software which is downloadable. The 10.00 fee is unnecessary and offensive.

I believe dss is unique to olympus. Be sure that your typist has the software for this format. Beware that if one stops, listens and then records onward, a new file is recorded. Pausing without rewinding or stopping eliminates extra files. This can be cumbersome. Higher end recorders do not do this like the ds2300. Hope this helps.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great feature set...incredible amount of time needed to learn all of it, though!, February 7, 2014
By 
This review is from: Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder (Office Product)
The Olympus DM-620 is a fully featured digital voice recorder. In search of a market! Too fully featured to be called a 'consumer' grade DVR (digital voice recorder) while not full featured enough to be called a 'professional' grade piece of audio gear. Olympus, on their own web site calls it a digital voice recorder / music recorder. Is it a dictation device? Is it a music / concert recording device? Is it a reporting device? Is it a lecture hall recorder? It's all of those and more; truly a jack of all trades and master of none.

As of my writing this (Feb. 2014) there are 47 reviews and they cover the gamut of this device's features, pitfalls and strengths. I will cover things found out though using the Olympus DM-620 for a good long while and items not covered in the manuals or Olympus web site(s).

1. Three microphones. That's awesome because this thing records in stereo WITH a middle channel. For capturing all the nuances of an outdoor recording, you'd be hard pressed to beat this little recorder. I recorded a stream in the mountains of Virginia and you can hear EVERTHING; left channel, right channel, water gurgling, water splashing...you get my meaning...you hear it ALL.
2. Micro SD card. Can go all the way to 32Gb microSD and add the 4Gb internal it gives you, overall, 36Gb of recording time. I don't care WHAT format you use, that's a LOT of recording time.
3. Rechargeable batteries included. Plus you can use regular AAA's (alkaline). Downside is you have to charge using USB or buy an optional wall charger.
4. Some have reviewed on here that this recorder is all metal. It isn't. It's a metal front with a plastic back. What do you expect for under $200? It's plenty durable, nonetheless.
5. Menu items, after a TON of time playing with it, becomes fairly intuitive. Many settings can be changed on-the-fly while recording. Very, very nice that one. It should be because the manual absolutely stinks. And the printed manual that comes with it is only a subset of the PDF you have to go online and download. Printed manual = 14 pages in English. PDF manual = 113 pages in English!
6. If there is anything less intuitive than the manual, it's the software, Olympus' "Sonority". 150% non-intuitive. I use "Audacity" which is 100% more intuitive (and FREE!), but Sonority utilizes the DM-620 better. Ready for the ultimate insult? The additional "Add Ins' are: Additional recording Add In = $10 (gives you ability to save in more formats) and the Music / Additional Effects Add In = $49.99 (20+ more effects plus spectrum analyzer). Yep, you read it correctly right here: An ADDITIONAL $60 to have the software 'unlocked' and fully operational. Very, very bad call on Olympus' part, but, I hate to say it: It's worth it. Total flexibility when it's unlocked and great effects. It's no "Pro Tools' audio software but it's darned good.

I use the little bugger for two things: recording outdoor sounds (rivers, forest leaves falling, birds, etc.) and for that I use wide open microphones, PCM @ 48 kHz / 16 bit, no filters and it sounds like heaven. Downside is it has no tripod mount so you have to either make your own or I use a binocular strap mount and fix it down with that. For .25 cents extra, Olympus COULD HAVE put in a trip screw mount. I also use it for dictation and it's good there; not great like a dedicated pure dictation recorder but you can adjust it to narrowing the microphones (ZOOM, they call it), set in a low pass filter and you sound really, really good in recorded sound.

This would make anyone a great little recorder for lectures, a reporters tool, even a studio tool due to it having true stereo recording capability. But I will say it now: if you don't take the time to learn the bazillion settings and controls on this recorder, you will pull your hair out due to frustration.

An outstanding bargain for the price, a workhorse in the field and totally rewarding if you'll invest the time learning it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Recordings!!, July 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder (Office Product)
I work as a court reporter, and this is my backup recorder. I stick it on the table, set it to where it's reaching straight out and to the sides in a 180 degree angle, put it on the highest MP3 setting, and let it go. The recordings it makes have been fantastic!! Nice rich sound, clear as a bell, am very, very satisfied!! I make sure mine is 100 percent charged before heading out on depositions, so I have not run across the issue of it running out of juice during a recording. I will check it on breaks to kind of see where it is and have an extra power cord on hand that I could charge it up some with should the need arise, so that would never be a worry.

I had the DM-520 before this for about four years, was very happy with it, but there's no comparison IMO between the recordings achieved by the two. Happy I purchased, absolutely worth it for what I am using it for!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Digital Recorder, January 26, 2013
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I have been recording audio lectures for 40 years on everything from cassette tape, CD's, direct to computer, and earlier generations of digital recorders. This Olympus DM-620 is the finest portable recorder I've ever used. Don't let its size fool you, it has big capabilities.

The fidelity for small group meetings needs to be heard to be believed. Even when a mix of soft and loud voices are present, each can be heard clearly. I've never missed a recording with this Olympus, plus the battery life is excellent. Many digital recorders don't have a built-in speaker like the Olympus DM-620 does, in case you want to check your recording while in the field. Plus it comes standard with 4Gig's of memory and you can easily add more if you need it. Plug a USB cord into it and you can transfer your files into your computer in seconds.

I have compared this recorder's quality to audios produced using individual mikes passed through an amplified mixer with heavily shielded cords and directly into computers and this Olympus equals or exceeds the quality of that equipment. I've recorded in the field and in meetings with different environments and background noises, and each time this Olympus GM-620 has done an outstanding job for me. Plus you can slip it out of your shirt pocket to make a few notes whenever you need to. The built-in mikes are so good I never carry mikes with me any more.

It is easy to use, "she," the Olympus, talks to you as you go through the settings and the screen illustrates the many features clearly. It is so small you can slip into your pocket and hardly know its there. If you are looking for a digital recorder, this is a really, really, good little recorder at an excellent price from Amazon. I sure hope that Olympus keep this model in its inventory, in case I ever lose mine!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recorder, lousy instructions, July 5, 2013
This review is from: Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder (Office Product)
As you can see -- my 5 star rating reflects the device, and not peripheral stuff like instructions. I usually spend minimal time with instructions anyway, and after the first day they end up in some drawer never to see the light of day again.

I am a retired engineer, so I usually can figure out most navigation menus -- and this device is no different. But while I am still on the instructions, let me just say they are in VERY small print, and do not go into hardly any explanations of what the three recording mediums are -- and this is my downfall as I don't spend a lot of time on audio equipment. The three options are PCM (I know nothing about), MP3 (I know a little), and WMA (I know nothing). So, I went to the Guide To Recording Times in the back of the manual and chose WMA simply because it seemed to give me the longest recording time. I would appreciate ANY advice on this from someone knowledgeable.

After fumbling a bit with the menu, I was able to figure out how you advance to the exact topic you want. It is a little confusing, but once you learn it, it should stick as long as you use this recorder frequently.

As for folder/file structure -- I see their methodology and it is ok with me. There is a master file index (DM6200XX) that keeps track of every time you record something. This is not re-settable as far as I can tell. However, there are five folders (A-E) and each folder can hold 200 files. Each time you stop recording and then start again, you advance to a new file. These Folders and files ARE erasable and done so without any confusion. I cannot imagine anyone needing more flexibility than that.

Indexing works great! Each file can take up to 6 indexes. When recording, enter the indexes at will. During playback, on the big black control button, simply tap the right hand Advance arrow ONCE and your playback will immediately jump to that index and continue playing from there. (If you want to advance slowly, press and hold the same button.) Each index is numbered 1-6. To go backwards, tap the left hand arrow ONCE which will take you back to the last Index. If you want to go further back, immediately tap it again and it will jump back to the prior index, etc.

Update #2
I had several questions that neither the regular manual or the Quick Start pamphlet answered. But I found this link that does a good job of answering questions:

[...]

and here is a MUCH better Instruction Manual I found online:

[...]

My primary purpose for purchasing this recorder is: I often spend my weekends as a Principal Race Officer, conducting sailboat races from local events all the way up to National events. It is extremely important to record the happenings aboard the Signal Boat -- especially during the starting sequences and the finishes of each race. You'd be surprised how fraught with error this can be, and having a decent recording is worth its weight in gold. I have finally joined the 21st century and decided to retire my old Panasonic cassette recorder (quite hefty at about 2 lbs, and 1.6 x 6.4 x 3.9 inches) which only allowed me about 180 minutes of accumulated recording (90 mins on each side) and would be a real PIA when you suddenly reached that 90 min period right in the middle of a sequence. This old device (vintage 1982?) was quite nice back then. Here is a link if anyone wants to take a trip down memory lane.

[...]

But the biggest limitation to the old device, (other than the max recording time) was of course no ability to separate by file structure. My new DM 620 handles that in spades. My plans right now for my next big event coming up in two weeks (a 3-day National Championship) is to use folders A, B, and C for each day, and they use files 001 to 005 for each race of each day.

So far, I like the quality of this new recorder. A metal package and has some "heft" to it, which I always equate to quality. Once you learn how to set this thing up, the operating buttons are easy to follow. I think the quality of the speaker output is about what you'd expect on something this small, but holy smokes - put on the earphones and this thing sounds a recording studio.

I of course will use this recorder for other things too, when the opportunity crops up, but right now, I have no specific things in mind.

Like I started off saying -- I am giving this a 5 Star rating because it meets or exceeds all of my expectations. For instance, I knew from reading all the reviews prior to purchasing that the instruction manual would be challenging, therefore I am certainly not going to gig them when I knew beforehand. BTW, there is a smaller "get started" pamphlet that actually is more user-friendly. but I still found myself breaking out a magnifying glass to read the small print.

Update #3 -- What a bummer -- Amazon just dropped the price $7.58. New price is $112.17. I could have waited one week and SAVED.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Works great with 1 very serious flaw., March 27, 2012
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This review is from: Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder (Office Product)
I loved this recorder when I first heard the quality of the recordings. I am a court reporter so it's very important that I get every single word dictated onto this recorder clearly, which it achieves.

Well, I make a lot of recordings throughout the day, week, month. This recorder saves the recordings under a name like "DSJ2000698" which has no real rhyme or reason. WHY? Why not have the date stamp like "032312" at least to start it out, and then if it needs to have an additional number at the end to note that it's the second recording of the day and what not, fine. I don't have time to go into each file and rename them to something that I can relate to a certain job when there are so many. But this is not a very serious flaw, I suppose. Maybe just for me.

SERIOUS FLAW ALERT: NO NOTIFICATION SOUND OF LOW OR DYING BATTERY. Yes, in the middle of a 3-hour long doctor deposition, my recorder battery must have died. I looked down and noticed it about 15 minutes into it being dead. It didn't make one single peep, and I lost that recording forever. In my field, this can cost you your whole career. I have heard of court reporters losing audio of transcripts, and guilty/innocent verdicts being overthrown because of it.

A simple "low battery beep" would have earned this recorder 5 stars. But I give it 2 simply because the audio quality is impeccable. I guess if it was hidden or you were secretly recording something would be the only reason you would ever appreciate not having that feature.

Disappointing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...what a great recorder!, February 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder (Office Product)
It HAS a timed recorder function so if you have it connected to a radio that is playing then if you want to record a radio show like I do every night from 1am til 5 am, then it does it on its own. The next day, you can listen to the show in your car on the way to work or whatever. It does everything very well, except for playback audio volume being a bit lower than the last Olympus voice recorder I had. I really like the way it can be plugged in and recharge the batteries and how long the recorder will run on the charged batteries before requiring another charge. Also, even while I am recording at the lowest resolution rate to get the most time since all I am doing is recording a radio talk show, the recording sounds wonderful even the music is very clear as well. I am amazed! This unit is much better than my last one which I lost in Las Vegas. It cost about 1/3 more than the old one, but is more than worth it. I am a customer for life! Thanks Olympus.
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Olympus 142665 DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder
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