on October 1, 2010
I just ordered this Olympus VN-8100PC digital voice recorder a few days ago and so far it has worked pretty good. I had an older digital voice recorder, but it didn't have a USB port, so I couldn't transfer files to my PC which is what I wanted, so I bought this. I've made several recordings and transferred them to my PC and they sound good, all you do is plug it into a USB port on your computer and then you can access this device just like a USB thumb drive.
I decided to go with this one because the older Olympus model VN-6200PC on Amazon has over a hundred reviews that are mostly all positive, and this one is simply an updated more advanced model with 2GB of memory instead. I checked the Olympus website and this one is very close to the 6200PC model that everybody loves, but with more features and an easier looking layout. The most important difference is the ability to record in MP3 format, the 6200PC can only record in WMA format. Also this one has 2GB of memory, so you can record for a long time, and if the memory fills up you can just transfer the files off the device to your computer.
As far as the layout of the on screen menu settings and buttons on the device, it is super easy. I didn't even read the instruction manual to figure everything out, I just played around with it for a few minutes and everything was pretty much self explanatory, it's designed so anybody can use it without having to click through a bunch of settings and crap just to get it to work.
If you buy this device, one very handy accessory to get is the Olympus TP-7 Telephone Recording Device. It sells here on Amazon for $[...] or so and has a ton of reviews all rating it very positive. I bought it with mine and it works perfectly, I recorded a phone conversation earlier today to test it out and it worked great. The main purpose of buying this digital voice recorder was really to record phone conversations using the TP7. All you do is plug the TP7 into the mic input on your digital voice recorder, and then put the ear piece into your ear and when you are on the phone talking to someone hit "record" then when you are done hit "stop" and that is it. The Olympus digital recorders only record in mono, so that means when you play back your phone conversation on your computer speakers/headphones you will only hear sound from one speaker/headphone, but that really isn't a problem or big deal since it's only a conversation you're listening too and not music.
As a side note, hopefully more people realize the VN-6200PC is an old model and do not buy it instantly just because it has a ton of good reviews. I almost did that until I went to the Olympus website and realized this 8100PC model was newer and better then the 6200PC and cost pretty much the same.
If this review helped you, leave a comment or something :)
on October 19, 2010
First bought the Sony that Amazon has at #1- it was actually not good in the fact that it picked up Iphone or other RF interference and ruined 2 of my recordings. Than I tried other Olympus recorders, and found them ok, but I really wanted stereo output and good battery life with little hissing. The Sony had A LOT of hiss in the recording. This one once you turn on the filter in playback eliminates practically all the hiss. Trust me I went through like 5 recorders before settling on this little guy. The only thing I wish it had was a way to add to a recording. Once you stop you have to record a new file, so be sure to just Pause. Probably the most amazing thing about this recorder is the battery life- While the Sony 820 ate up my batteries in one week of classes, this thing hasn't even dropped a bar out of 3!!! Very impressed. Sometimes it takes some searching, but don't buy the top two sellers when you can get this for the same price.
You won't regret it! Plus the Sony comes with NO CASE!!!! I would of liked headphones, but that is not a big deal, the case that comes with this is so needed. Sony, I'm a little disappointed that your product wasn't even close to what Olympus put out.
This is a review for the Olympus WS-700M Digital Voice Recorder 142625 (Blue)
I needed a compact digital recorder for multiple purposes: To record my thoughts while away from my desk, To record myself for later transcription (via DragonSpeak), and to record personal stuff (guitar and ukulele compositions, parties, and my daughter singing). I bought this as a backup to my other Sony PCM-M10 recorder, which is an excellent recorder but I found to be a bit too "large" to conveniently carry around everywhere. I also considered the Sony ICD-PX820 and the Olympus VN 6200pc, but decided to get the Olympus 700M for various reasons I will spell out here.
Firstly, this 700M is the "middle" unit of the latest releases (600S, 700M, 710M). All three have built-in memory (2, 4, and 8 GB, respectively), stereo mics and stereo mic inputs, built-in USB port for direct connect to PC, playback speed control. The differences are in the size of the built-in memory/storage and a few other features. I went for the 700M because I wanted the expandability (microSD card slot) but did not want or need the FM tuner in the 710M. It would have been nice to have the directional mic of the 710M, but again I did not need it. It is just slightly larger than the ipod nano, but the sound is just as good (if not better) with the 700M. The only disadvantage I can see with this unit as an mp3 player is that I have yet to figure out how to create separate subfolders in the music folder. Once I figure it out (if at all possible), I'll post an update.
It is easy enough to operate. Without any experience with any Olympus recording devices, I found it relatively easy to use out of the box without reading the instructions. The files are labeled by day and time stamps, and the file names are progressive (WS700###). There are 5 folders, labeled Folder A-E.
I've plugged this unit into WinXP Pro (32-bit), WinVista, and Win7 and recognized. It is also recoginized by Mac OS X Snow Leopard (I no longer have Tiger, so I can't speak for this OS, but supposedly it is supported). I will bring it to work one day to see if it will work on Linux OS. Stay tuned.
It comes with a single rechargeable AAA alkaline battery that recharges by plugging the device to a computer via USB (as long as the USB port provides power out, which some of the older PC's USB ports do not). It can be directly plugged into your Mac or PC (USB Direct) through a USB connector that slides out of the bottom, so no cables are required. It does come with a cable extender to plug it in to a usb port while the recorder is sitting flat on a surface. It also comes with earphones, which is a decent set, but I prefer using my ultimate ears or klipsch headsets.
It has a Variable Control Voice Actuator (VCVA), a "voice activation" feature which sets the audio device to record automatically only when sound is detected at a pre-set level and stop when sound drops below the threshold level. I've tried this, but never really used it too much for dictation purposes. The purpose of this function is to eliminate "dead air" during recordings, conserving memory and shortening file times. I've always just pressed the record button to pause, if needed.
It allows for Index Marks, which are digital tags that can be inserted while recording or during playback. It is a useful function, which can be used to skip forward and backward in recordings to pre-selected reference points. This can help with finding specific areas in the recording (such as a particular sound byte).
It has a larger backlit LCD screen (compared to previous models). Not having any of the other or older models, I cannot say whether this is a good or bad thing, but I always favor the larger screens to avoid the smaller fonts.
The stereo mic inputs allow me to use my stereo Sony mics (I have both the Sony ECM-DS70P Electret Condenser Stereo Microphone and the Sony ECM-DS30P Electret Condenser Digital Microphone), and I the recording is significantly improved for some cases (recording jam sessions) and not too different for others (dictation). The recording levels can be monitored for both channels on the display. I like that the option is available.
The reason I did not pick the Olympus VN 6200pc is because it lacked stereo recording. I wanted the stereo recording capability because I want to be able to use this recorder on impromptu jam sessions (family gatherings, parties, or just at home). I was tempted to get the Sony ICD-PX820 because although the built-in mic is mono, the mic jack can take a stereo mic (which I have) and record in stereo. Also, neither the VN 6200 or the PX820 have an expansion slot (the WS 700M has a microSD slot), and this is a major factor that swayed me because I want the expandability. Because of these reasons (among others I will not elaborate on) I decided to purchase the Olympus WS 700M.
Overall, I am truly enjoying this recorder. If I need a higher quality audio recorder, I bring my Sony PCM M10 along. This Olympus WS 700M is a great portable recorder that I can bring every day and everywhere. I highly recommend it. For the extra $$ over the other two units, I think it is worth it. I like the portability, and I've been truly enjoying this gadget. For the price and quality, this unit deserves a five-star rating.
Comparison with other WS series:
600S - Base recorder
2GB internal memory,
mp3 and WMA recording,
Comes in metallic silver color
No memory slot (the 700M and 710M have a microSD card slot, up to 16GB expandable),
No Noise cancellation (included in 700M and 710M),
No FM tuner (710M only),
No USB battery charge function (in 700M and 710M).
710M - everything in the 700M plus the following features:
8GB internal memory (4GB in 700M)
Comes in Metallic black color
For those who want a more detailed specs layout:
-Multi format recording: mp3, WMA, and PCM
-Built-in 4GB flash memory and microSD slot
-Input level: -70dBv
-VCVA (or Variable Control Voice Actuator)
-Max Output: 80mW
-Speaker: 18 mm round dynamic speaker
-Microphone jack: 3.5mm; impedance 2k ohms (mono)
-Earphone jack: 3.5mm; impedance 8 ohms (mono)
-Power Supply: AAA NiMH rechargeable battery, or AAA alkaline battery
-Battery life: Approximately 25h alkaline (not yet tested NiMH)
Overall Frequency Response (these are straight from the Olympus site):
PCM 44.1kHz/16bit: 40Hz-21kHz
MP3 256kbps: 40Hz-20 kHz
MP3 128 kbps: 40Hz-17 kHz
ST XQ mode: 40Hz-19 kHz
ST HQ mode: 40Hz-16 kHz
ST SP mode: 40Hz-9 kHz
HQ mode: 40Hz-13kHz
SP mode: 40Hz-8kHz
LP mode: 40Hz-3kHz
PCM 44.1kHz/16bit: Approximately 6 hours
MP3 256kbps: Approximately 34 hours
MP3 128kbps: Approximately 69 hours
ST XQ mode: Approximately 67 hours
ST HQ mode Approximately 134 hours
ST SP mode Approximately 270 hours
HQ mode: Approximately 270 hours
SP mode: Approximately 532 hours
LP mode: Approximately 1058 hours
on November 27, 2010
I bought this recorder for 2 reasons:
1: to record meetings in a room about 20x30 with all tile floors and
2: because it recorded in MP3 mode.
Ive had Olympus brand recorders in the past and they've been perfect. This is my first recorder with downloadable files. It does either MP3 or WMA files. With me owning a MAC it's MUCH easier with the MP3 files. I can download each meeting and add to my iPhone with ease and always have those meetings with me to reference. It's a great little recorder but when the speaker gets across the room it becomes hard to hear him on the recorder.
I purchased the MW52 Olympus microphone here on Amazon as well to hopefully improve he recordings. A HUGE improvement on voice pick up!!! I highly recommend this combo for any meeting setup!
on December 11, 2010
I did some research before purchasing the Olympus WS-700M. The prior good reviews in general regarding Olympus, and the fact that this was the only one on the store shelf with a rechargeable battery, clinched the deal for me. Other contenders were up and down the Olympus and Sony product lines. I limited my search to the generally good variety of stock on hand at my local Staples, since I needed the device quickly for an upcoming assignment.
I purchased this product primarily for conferences, lectures and meetings, but the day I purchased it (today), I took it to a Christmas concert and recorded 1 hour and 28 minutes of music using a custom recording setting (mp3 256 kbps). We piped the music from the device through the aux jack of the car stereo on the long drive home and were absolutely blown away by how well it recorded! Silent and loud passages reproduced exceptionally well (and I used to sell audio equipment - I was something of an audiophile back in the day).
The only pings I would give it probably do not merit a decision not to buy. The first is that it is incredibly light and has a plasticy "feel" to it. While the construction is solid, I suspect the manufacturer used a cheap grade of plastic. If it were in your back pocket and you forgot about it and sat down, the last sound you would ever likely hear from it would be "crack!", and you'd likely end up with plastic splinters in your derriere. The buttons themselves have a good feel to them with a nice tactile "positive click" feedback, and it is not a very mechanical device beyond that. So the likelihood of the construction being an issue under normal use is probably nil. The other ping is somewhat amusing. It has to do with the user manual, which is written in somewhat awkward English. Some actual cut-and-pastes from the pdf:
While the recorder is during
stop mode, press and hold the
Charging is completed when
battery indication becomes to [F].
It's definitely not what I would call a deal-breaker, but there it is. So while during shopping check this one out and I'll bet it becomes to you, too.
To sum up:
Great sound quality and capture
Ample built-in memory with a micro-SD slot for even more expansion and flexibilty
Multiple modes of sound capture (MP3 128 and 256, WAV)
Easy to attach via usb - the device itself plugs in, so no looking for cables/dongles
Rechargeable battery - that means no need to guess when to buy new batteries, no guessing how much battery life remains, and ability to charge on the road
Easy to transfer files from device to PC and versa vica
Dual, easy-to-read sound level meters
Easy-to-read LCD display, backlit
Almost as compact as a bic lighter, easily fits in any pocket
Owner's Manual a bit confusing (but curiously humorous)
on February 20, 2011
I recently purchased both a Panasonic RR-US591 and an Olympus VN8100PC. The Panasonic typically costs about twice as much as the Olympus, but I was fortunate to find the Panasonic on sale for 50% off. I did a few tests on both, using just the basic features of each. Here is what I found:
1. More features than the Panasonic. These include the ability to split files and set index mark points in the file. (But the index points are not transferred with the file if it's loaded onto a computer.)
2. Carrying case included.
3. The specification for low frequency response is better than the Panasonic (80Hz versus 180 Hz).
4. Record in either MP3 or WMA format. (The Panasonic only permits MP3).
5. Five scene settings, compared with only three zoom settings (including manual) for the Panasonic.
1. The manual has poor grammar and is not easy to understand in a few places.
2. The USB cable is very short. This is OK for plugging into a laptop, but for a desktop PC, the Olympus might be left hanging in mid air if the USB socket is more than six inches above the bottom of the desktop case.
1. Stereo capability. (But I personally see little value in this, since the two microphones are within an inch of each other.)
2. Easy to change the mic function (zoom, wide). However, changing the mic sensitivity still requires using a menu item, just like the Olympus.
3. Includes a small, built-in, fold-out stand that raises the front of the unit up about 1/4 inch. This is intended for use with the mic zoom feature, but it also seems to help slightly with audio echo when the unit is on a hard surface like a table.
4. The maximum mic sensitivity produces higher volume that the highest setting on the Olympus.
5. The clock setting is maintained for about a minute when the batteries are removed, enough time to put in fresh ones. The Olympus loses its clock setting immediately.
1. Retail cost
2. Recording hiss (see below)
1. Panasonic's mic zoom feature is similar to the scene capability of the Olympus. However, the Panasonic zoom seemed to do a little better job of keeping out unwanted noise in the two different situations which compare directly with two of the Olympus' scene settings.
2. The Panasonic's EQ capability can be set to reduce high range noise only or both high and low range noise. The Olympus Low cut filter only reduces low range noise. However, the Panasonic EQ capability is only used during playback, whereas the Olympus Low Cut is used during record. This means that the Panasonic EQ has no effect in reducing noise on the audio file itself. If the file is loaded onto a computer, the noise is still there. So these two features really don't compare with each other.
3. The Olympus specifies that NiMh batteries will work, but Panasonic only specifies alkaline. I tested NiMh in both, and they work fine.
4. The Panasonic does a better job of recording low-volume sounds, probably because it has higher mic sensitivity (more volume). But using the highest mic sensitivity on the Panasonic produces a lot of high-frequency hiss. This hiss is very noticeable during quite times on the recording. The EQ feature definitely reduces it, but this works only if the recording is played back on the Panasonic and not on a computer.
5. I judged the overall sound quality of the Panasonic to be better than the Olympus. Recordings on the Olympus sounded somewhat muffled and untrue to the original source, whereas the Panasonic sound was full and was nearly like the original sound. Recorded music on the Panasonic was bright, and the high frequency notes were crisp, almost as if it was not a copy of a copy. Even though the low frequency response of the Panasonic is not supposed to be as good as the Oly, I could tell no difference in music low notes. Even the bass notes came through OK on both. (I did this comparison on a computer with headphones.) Voices were easier to understand on the Panasonic, although both exhibited some echo on voices recorded across a room.
6. Both units are very sensitive to being handled while recording. Just the movement of fingers and palm on the cases created loud rubbing sounds that would overwhelm any recorded audio. If you need to hold it to take dictation, do it such that the fingers don't move at all and such that the unit does not move around in the hand.
7. Both units have the ability to speed or slow the playback. Such a feature always degrades the playback quality and makes the voices slightly garbled. But I thought the Panasonic quality at 50% speed was better than the Olympus.
8. Both units can be used as an MP3 player. I didn't try this on the Olympus, but it probably works fine. On the Panasonic with earphones, the music is excellent. Note that the MP3 file must be loaded into the special MUSIC folder, else it won't play.
Bottom line for me: I decided to keep the Panasonic and return the Olympus for a refund. The reason is that my main use is recording music during a jam session with several instruments situated around a large living room. Panasonic's sound is much better in that situation. For voice lectures, the Olympus would probably be a fine choice. I would not pay twice the price for the Panasonic, even with the better sound quality. But since I got it on sale for half off, the better sound was worth sacrificing the few extra features of the Olympus. Plus, the Panasonic has twice the memory.
on February 21, 2011
Wow. I'm very impressed with this recorder. The reviews encouraged me to give this a recorder a try.
Appearance- It's very snazzy. It's very clean and just really looks nice compared to the appearance of others. Kind of trivial, but it's a nice little bonus.
Battery life- I've only used this for a week, but have recorded six hours of lectures so far and the battery indicator hasn't even gone down one bar yet. So far so good.
User interface- Very easy to navigate. The information included with the recorder also explains how to switch folders, access the menu, etc. There's also a setting to make the font two different sizes, both very clear. By default, it's on the larger font which I found to be more than adequate. I switched to the smaller one and it's still highly visible. What I liked is that I can turn off the beeping indicator when you press buttons. There are a few people in class who have theirs on and it's kind of annoying to hear that beep when they pause during lecture. I'm glad this one has the capability to turn that off. There is also an amber light that illuminates when in record mode. Helps prevent any accidental non recordings or leaving it paused too long (something I've been guilty of in the past).
What's also nice is the plug n play capability. Included is the usb cable that you connect it to the computer with. It reads it as it would a flash drive. You just access it as you would a flash drive or HDD, and can go through the different folders (I've designated each for a specific class, so it makes finding the files easier) to find the file you need. From there, you can drag and drop the files onto your computer. Very simple.
Quality- Crystal. I was using an MP3 player before and would have to convert the files to increase the volume to hear adequately via computer (the sound played back on the MP3 player was barely audible). The sound files created with the Olympus recorder (choice of MP3 or WAV files)don't require any modifying and can be played "as is" either on the computer or the recorder itself. The speaker on the unit works very well too. Depending on the lecture, turning it up to full blast is too loud, which is good. It means that you don't have to turn the volume up really high in order to hear clearly.
Bonus- I like that this one came with a case. Keeps it protected while in my bag.
Overall, I would highly recommend this, especially for college students in long lectures. I was prompted to buy this because I would zone out the second half of 2 hour lectures and miss a lot. This helps greatly, especially to review while I'm on the computer.
Edit- 3-15-11: the battery life is amazing. The recorder is almost filled to capacity with about 15-16 hours recorded and wow. The battery indicator has 3 bars, and it's only now teetering back and forth from full to two bars left.
Update- 1-2-12- It's been almost a year and I stand by my first impressions of this recorder. It's been awesome and I haven't had any problems with it. :)
on August 3, 2011
This recorder is woefully inadequate when it comes to the software that it runs on. In less than six months I have gone through two of these recorders. The complaint is the same each time - at some point, the recorder will simply refuse to start up properly. At some point very early in the ownership nightmare, you WILL be stuck on the "OLYMPUS"-screen-of-death that will remind you of Windows 98. Removing the batteries and replacing them will only work about ten percent of the time and at that point, you will have likely missed the opportunity to record what you wanted to in the first place. And sometimes, you don't even get the "OLYMPUS"-screen-of-death - - - when that happens, the on-switch simply does nothing!
My first recorder started doing this within a whopping 30 days! I sent this recorder in to Olympus and it was replaced with another in a timely manner, no questions asked. However, the replacement recorder lasted an incredible four months before doing the same thing - - - just outside of the 90 day warranty!
Do yourself and your sanity a favor and pass on this poorly designed product.
on November 11, 2010
Ever since my original Olympus DW-90, I have been impressed with the capabilities and smart design of the Olympus Voice Recorders. The latest of the WS series, the WS-710M adds more features. Additionally, it provides 8GB of storage space, a built-in FM tuner, and battery charge function. The MicroSD slot adds flexibility as well, for music, files, etc.. This is a PERFECT lecture, voice notes, seminar, or music listening device. It records in Stereo, via PCM/MP3/or WMA. The other brands that I've tried simply don't offer the features, or stand up to the daily use (abuse) that I get from my Digital Voice Recorders. Getting a soft case in the box with the recorder was a nice surprise, and will protect the recorder very well. Already through my first seminar, and a weekend of lectures, the WS-710M proved itself a best-buy. Clear audio, ease of use, and delivered what it claims. Bonus: it comes with a rechargeable battery!
The second review of this item was poor and unfair. They failed to research the device, and posted an unfair comparison to an technically different type of recorder. It was an apples to oranges comparison.
on December 6, 2010
I needed a recorder for my Voice Lessons and Olympus WS-600S fits my needs pretty well! I was impressed by a quality of the stereo recordings, that are great in almost any environment. Recorder itself is very small and light, it feels a little fragile so you might want to pickup a case for it. Since I got it I now carry this gadget with me everywhere. It's great for recording in the conference room, taking personal notes and of course my voice lessons class. It works pretty well with external microphone too, and there are tons of settings. Transferring files to computer is a breeze, just extract USB connector, plug it in and in Windows you can just drag and drop files from it like from any flash drive.
One con I can think of is that this recorder has bad built-in speaker, but I don't really care about the speaker, since I listen everything back from my computer.