Digital Voice Recorders

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Once introduced, digital recording created striking improvements for voice recorders. The technology itself allowed for devices to become much smaller, while improved noise reduction software enhanced clarity and allowed devices to work well with speech recognition programs.

Hello Direct offers a number of high-quality digital recorders. Each of the 3 products discussed below can fit in the palm of your hand and can simplify (or eliminate) note taking by recording downloadable files. Additionally, 2 have removable storage capabilities, and 1 can even be used to play MP3s. Below is a discussion of each device. After reviewing their individual strengths, you should be able to decide which product best suits your needs.

The Olympus DS-330 Digital Recorder with USB Docking Station
At $149.99, the Olympus DS-330 is the least inexpensive and perhaps the easiest device to use. This product comes with its own USB docking station, enabling you to slide in your recorder and begin downloading with the push of a single button. Small yet easy to operate, the DS-330 can record more than 5 hours of conversation at a time. If you want to transcribe conversations, files can be played back at 25% slower speed—handy for the not-so-swift typists out there.

As is the case with all 3 of these products, since the DS-330 uses a USB port for connectivity, it works with both PCs and Macs. But the DS-330 can also be used for more than simple recording and downloading. Specifically, the device can be used as an external microphone for speech recognition programs. Or, if you need to explain something difficult to express in writing, use the DS-330 to record a verbal message and send it as an attachment to your correspondent.

The Olympus DM-1 Digital Recorder and MP3 Player
Because it recognizes standard MP3 and .WAV formats, this versatile recorder can be used for both business and pleasure. All of the files, whether voice or music, are stored on a removable memory card. This 64 MB card can hold up to 22 hours of voice recordings or you can upload over an hour's worth of music from your computer. Roughly the same size as a movie ticket stub, this memory card files recordings into one of 3 folders, each capable of holding 199 files. Should you need more storage, simply purchase another card and store different clients or different genres of music separately.

Also included with the DM-1 is MusicMatch software—one of the best MP3 editing programs on the market. This software also allows you to convert MP3 files to .WAV files, or vice versa. Stylish, easy to operate, and high capacity, this recorder has won quite a few awards in the industry. Overall, it's my favorite of the three.

The Olympus DS-2000 Digital Recorder
The DS-2000 is marketed to the business set, as its primary advantage over the DM-1 is file retrieval. In addition to the ability to name the 3 folders (the DM-1 folders are permanently named A, B, and C), the DS-2000 also allows you to label each file with an 8-character name. These tags are invaluable for users—particularly lawyers and doctors—who need to quickly access files for specific clients or patients.

In summary
Each of these 3 recorders is easy to use and well designed. Their primary differences are their end uses. For people looking for a straightforward recorder, I would recommend the DS-330. It's inexpensive and very easy to use. However, the DM-1 has the most versatility of the bunch with its ability to upload MP3s. It also has the most stylish design. But if your needs are more business oriented, the DS-2000 provides the best filing options. With its individual labeling, specific recordings are much easier to find. Whatever your needs may be, any of these devices will give you the ease and comfort of downloadable digital voice recording.