Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Olympus WS-802 Voice Recorder
Color: BlueStyle: WS-802Change
Price:$132.00 - $299.99
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642 of 647 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2012
I highly recommend the Olympus WS-801 Voice Recorder because :

(1)Very simple, easy to use compared to Sony etc. Press button labeled "REC" to record, button labeled "ERASE" to erase file, button labeled "STOP" to stop recording or playing. No "accidental" erasure.
Red light is lit up and is solid when recording.

(2) Good sound quality when recording cell or land line phone using the Olympus TP-8 Telephone Pick-up Microphone for $14 on Amazon. Background noise is minimal.
Olympus microphones for other special applications, all sold on Amazon, include :
......$16 ME-52W Noise Canceling Microphone with 3.3 feet cord
......$48 ME-51S Stereo Microphone
......$14 ME-12 Noise Canceling Microphone, good for transcription etc
Search by the model number, like ME-52W.

(3) Comparable products like Sony ICDPX312 ($59.99) etc cost more.

(4) Price charged by seller Amazon is lower than 6 sellers I have checked.

(5)Record on the internal built-in 2 GB card. Or record on a microSD card (up to 32 GB, not supplied) inserted into the port of the recorder.

(6) 3 ways to connect to computer :
...(a)insert slide-out USB connector into USB port of a computer
...(b)insert micro SD card into reader port of a computer.
...(c)insert micro SD card into a card reader which is then inserted into USB port of computer.

(7)An user's manual in a pdf format, provides much more details than the printed booklet, is on the CD under directory PDF.

(8)Screen has a 3-bar battery charge indicator. Press + or - to increase or decrease sound volume in increment as shown by bar graph on screen.

(9)Very durable. I have dropped it about 4 feet high at least 30 times with no noticeable damages to outside or sound quality.

(10)Small and light weight. Both WS-801 and TP-8 microphone easily fit inside shirt pocket horizontally or vertically.

Notes :
Uses one removable AAA battery.
One alkaline AAA gives 20 to 27 hours recording depending on sound quality, or
19 to 24 hours playback.
Time for Ni-MH AAA is about 4 hours less.

A 2 GB card gives
508 hours in 8 kbps WMA format, or
32.5 hours of recording in 128 kbps WMA format, or
16.5 hours in 256 kbps MP3 mode, or
500 songs of 4 minutes each at 128 kbps
A 32 GB card has 16 times the capacity of a 2 GB card. 4 GB card has 2 times.

It takes time to research all these information. Please click "Yes" if this review was helpful to you.
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168 of 172 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2012
I love this recorder. I bought it for my son for school, after having good success with an earlier Olympus recorder. I was tempted to keep it for myself. It performs extremely well and has great features. I installed a 16 gig memory card so he has plenty of capacity to record classes and I also was able to add an extensive compliment of classical music (his study music). While not as convenient for playing music as a dedicated music device, it is still easy and quick enough.

Features I particularly appreciate is its ability to automatically edit out pauses, such as in a professor's lecture; its built in USB connection; its inclusion of a rechargeable battery, that can be swapped out with a AAA battery in an emergency; and its ability to locate recordings via a calendar feature (select a certain date from an on screen calendar and it will provide all the recordings from that day).

I tried to think about something I didn't like about it but couldn't come up with any.
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114 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2012
I use the recorder during a Anatomy and Physiology class. Works well for my needs. Crystal clear recording, play back quality is much better through a separate device as opposed to the tiny speaker on device. Not knocking it for what it is, just saying to truly capture how good the microphones are you'll know when you listen through head phones, of after you download the recordings and listen on a PC. I will say however professor is only about 10' to 20' away from me when I record. I did not purchase from Amazon and paid +20 bucks at a brick and mortar. Amazon has a great price.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 11, 2013
Olympus WS-801 Digital Voice Recorder

I couldn't decide on whether I wanted the WS-802 or WS-803 in lieu of the WS-801. After research, I found that I didn't need or want the FM Radio on the WS-803, and although nice the PCM recording option with a 21 kHz high frequency response wasn't necessary for my intended application so the WS-802 wasn't needed. I wasn't going to work on musical instruments, but I did want to record engine and exhaust sounds for my GoPro videos. Since people usually play these videos on YouTube which further compresses videos, I felt the 192 kbps MP3 format with a 40 Hz-19kHz frequency response on the WS-801 was adequate.

The WS-801 interface is fairly straight forward. I loved the menu system. The backlight is definitely useful when recording in low-light or night conditions, while the amber LED is a great indicator that it is functioning. I had to refer to the instruction sheet a few times for explanations on certain features, but I was able to figure it out within a few minutes.

The built-in 2GB of memory is more than adequate for most recording duties. The direct USB plug is rather neat but I am unsure of its long-term durability. Speaking of durability, I have a Sony ICD-PX720 that I used maybe 12 times in 2009. It no longer works properly and locks up frequently. The Sony menu system was rubbish because it used shortened phrases that made no sense. It kept saying my NiMH batteries were almost depleted.

The direct USB port makes it difficult to connect the WS-801 when you have limited space, such as a laptop or USB hub. You will want to consider a short USB extension cable.

The Olympus is more graphical and more intuitive. It also provides a lot more information on-screen, such as audio levels for EACH microphone! I was pleasantly surprised to see a pair of microphones on the WS-801 which worked splendidly although I did find myself reducing the recording level due to the sensitivity of the mics.

The WS-801 is compatible with NiMH rechargeable batteries by setting it appropriately when first powered on. It takes a single AAA cell, which makes the WS-801 unit very lightweight.

I really appreciate the direct USB interface without having to use proprietary software to access the sound files. The recordings are stored as MP3 or WMA files which can be directly copied and moved for further post-production editing as needed.

Overall: 5/5 stars, intuitive menu, NiMH compatible, backlit LCD, great quality, lightweight, stereo microphones, outstanding audio frequency response
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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2013
The recorder worked well for less than 6 months. Although used gently in a home office, the microphone input broke. Olympus customer service initially seemed helpful and asked me to mail the recorder in for warranty repair. I sent in the device with a letter and a copy ofthe Amazon invoice to show the device is less than a year old. After I didn't hear from Olympus for two weeks, I called and was told that Olympus was sitting on the device because they didn't have my receipt and asked me to fax it in. I did; they apparently lost my fax. I faxed again; no response. I e-mailed Olympus, and was told that the warranty didn't hold because I bought the device from Amazon so it was "probably" used. I thought I bought a new recorder. Olympus is just sitting on the recorder, providing no information, and not even sending it back to me--even though they told me to send it to them for warranty repair. What egregiously bad customer service!

Given that the device broke after less than 6 months, and the warranty has not been honored, I will never trust the Olympus brand for anything again.

Update: Once I finally got the recorder back from Olympus, Amazon allowed me to return the defective recorder. The customer service agent didn't tell me, however, that I would be charged a restocking fee equivalent to about 20% of the price I paid.
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69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2012
This Olympus digital voice recorder records in stereo via two built-in microphones or you can use an external stereo mike with the standard 1/8" small plug. The overall quality of sound capture with the built-in microphones is execellant. As advertised, the overall quality of either voice or music captured by microphones is much better in this model. While the older models were good this WS-801 is execellant for a small hand held recorder. The storage capacity is great with up to 32 GBytes on the Micro SD plug in card.
I am using an 8GB card. The recorder has 2 GB on board. There are 3 types of stereo download types for music from internet sites &/or CD's. I use the MP3
setting and at 192 k for better quality capture on music. I have owned 3 of these small Olympus recorder's & all have been really outstanding quality & performance for the size of these small size and light weight recorders.
One thing Olympus has on these recorders that some other famous brands do not is equalizers that allow you to adjust the finish sound product.
A quality product that you should enjoy.
The Footman
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
Since the software for my Olympus DS-330 was never updated by the Olympus company to allow it to run on Win-7 but the quality of Olympus recorders has always been excellent, I decided to try this recorder. At first it was a bit confusing to use because it lacked the full complement of buttons I'd gotten used to. Then it became apparent that the multi-function buttons on this model were actually easier to use than the complement of buttons on my DS-330.

The sound quality on this recorder is superb. The ease of transfer for archiving on my laptop/external drives is pure simplicity and requires no special software - you just use Windows Explorer to copy/move/delete files as you would from any folder on any drive. The charging is equally simple and a nice feature to avoid buying new batteries all the time. With a 32GB micro-SD card inserted, I have 541 (yes, you read that correctly - 541) hours of record time which doesn't include the internal memory capacity. Will I ever use that much time before I transfer the data to archive? It's unlikely unless I get abducted by space aliens, Charles Manson, or someone scary like Dr. Orly Taitz, an occurrence no one would believe without lots of proof.

The only drawback to this product is that it doesn't include a case or sleeve of some type to prevent scratches or damage to the recorder when carrying it in a pocket or briefcase. Happily, Amazon sells a sleeve protector for this recorder which I bought.

I would recommend this recorder to anyone with a need for recording meetings, conversations, or just making audio notes.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2012
This player is much smaller than my previous recorder, but it feels cheaper.
The VN-8100PC I also own has less hiss and better sound quality.

This recorder has a convenient USB that can be a pro or a con. Nice to have it built in so as not to loose an additional cable, but bad in that it covers other USB ports on the pc.

It records in stereo which is a plus, but I am having problems when I use the lapel mic as it only records on the left channel. My other recorder is not stereo but record on both right and left channels when I use the same Olympus mic. I wrote to Olympus asking about this and am still waiting on an answer. The manual says this happens when you plug a mono mic and try and record in stereo mode. Still can't find an option to record in either stereo or mono in the first place and the manual does not explain hot to do this.

My other recorder was cheaper, sounded better, had bigger text and buttons and was easier to us.

Update Spoke to customer support about not being able to record on both channels with their lapel mic and was informed that it will only record on both channels in WMA mode in certain settings and not on both channels in MP3 mode. My older recorder did not have this limitation.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
It's an amazing little recorder.

You can download the 94-page Detailed Instructions manual from the Olympus site.

I won't repeat the long list of useful features.

- - - Pricing - - -

Amazon price is very bouncy. Low tide is around 65-69. There's an "Online Price Alert" that will email you whenever this or any amazon product dips below your target price. Google it. It's nicely done. Or try camelcamelcamel.

- - - Minor Gripes - - -

These may or may not bother you. Maybe we are all becoming spoiled children. Blame Apple.

1. Hold-ability - It's so small and light that it's easy to fumble. Would be nicer if there was rubbery material on the side or back. I found some rubber bands that fit around it. That helps.

2. It feels cheap, like maybe it was a prize in a cereal box. (Or see its 2-ounce weight as an advantage.) The lightweight buttons feel kind of cheap, and maybe some of them should be recessed -- bumping them will pause a recording in progress.

3. Menu navigation is not super intuitive. A fair amount of experimenting and wrong presses are part of the game.

4. The slide-out USB connector is very handy at times, and a hassle at other times. Sometimes the host ports have obstructions that prevent you from plugging in a slide-out connector like this. You may end up needing a USB *extension* cable for these situations. This is a specialty cable that you probably don't already have. (Olympus VN-702 has a standard Mini-USB port)

5. The screen is small and busy with tiny symbols that you may not recall the meaning of. Of course, this is because Olympus has successfully packed a lot of features into a compact device.

6. Only 3 Recording Levels (Low - Medium - High). The Instruction Manual claims that the WS-802 and WS-803 also have 30 Manual-settable recording levels, but it looks like that's a mistake. I found no way to fine-tune recording level on the WS-802.

7. Manual is confusing in places - For example, Features like Equalizer, Voice Balancer, Noise Cancel, etc. "work only in [Recorder] mode." Well, these are not recording functions, they are playback functions. Eventually, you'll figure out that "[Recorder] mode" means the recording and playback functions of the device, excluding music loaded from an a external source.

- - - Alternatives - - -

- Olympus models (numerous) - see their comparison table

Olympus VN-702PC might be a cleaner, simpler device, if you don't need advanced features.

Sony ICD-PX312

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2012
I chose this recorder for the price and for simplicity. It is easy to use, and adequate for recording practice sessions with my singing group.
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