Product Report: Olympus DS 5000

By Greg Sitek —

DS-5000 In docking station

We can’t live without cell phones, smart phones, computers or a number of other things. Well there’s another one you’ll want to have and add to collection of high tech tools. It’s the Olympus DS 5000 digital voice recorder.

What would you do with a digital tape recorder? Once you have one in your hand you find that you’ll never what to leave home without it. It soon becomes one of your more valued management tools. Note taking on the job is easily reduced to the pressing of a button. Or if you’re in a meeting turn it on, lay it down and every word is captured for future reference.

Unlike antique-styled tape machines, this 3.88-ounce modern marvel is approximately an inch-and-a-half wide, four and a quarter inches long and maybe a half-inch thick. It easily fits in any pocket.

Bernadette Fowler, administrative assistant art Spears/Votta & Associates, Inc., a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering firm for commercial construction said that the company has been using these recorders for approximately three years. The project managers use them while walking a jobsite to develop their field reports for jobsite documentation.  They will also use the recorders to recorder meetings or as dictation devices when they come back to the office.

Fowler’s responsibility is to transcribe these reports and turn them into permanent records or documentation. When asked how she likes them her immediate response was, “I love them. With the old tape type devices, depending on how many times the tape had been used, clarity was a problem. The volume would vary; there was a lot of background noise but with these the noise-cancelling feature virtually eliminates background noise. “

Getting the material to Fowler for transcription is just as simple as plugging the recorder into a small, approximately three-inch

DS-5000 on the job

by three-inch, docking station and downloading the file to the company server. The software notifies the administrative assistants that there files to be transcribed.  “We go in and download the file to our transcription device,” Fowler explained, “ and do the transcription. Once the audio is stored it can be accessed and listened to whenever needed.”

If necessary the files can be e-mailed to the office and processed. The recorders are equipped to use “micro SD” cards to store the original recordings or for additional storage capacity; or to playback previously recorded material that can be stored on the “SD card.” Or if necessary, the “SD card can be dropped off at the office or mailed should it be necessary to get the recordings in and not have access to the internal company server or e-mail.

The recorders can use either rechargeable battery packs or disposable AAA batteries. The PMs at Spears & Votta use the disposable batteries and Fowler said, “Battery life is about the same as it is in a digital camera. There is a low-battery indicator on the units.” She added that learning to use them was very easy since they had been using recording devices for some time, stating that these DS 5000 were very user friendly. “The record, start, stop, rewind, fast forward, are easy to understand,” she added.

Fowler said that typically the PMs will submit three files on an average and that the files can run from 20 minutes to an hour. When asked how the field personnel like the recorders she commented, “ I haven’t heard any complaints but in the office we really appreciate them. The old tapes could be a problem. I remember having to do surgery on some of them, going in with an Exacto knife, cutting the tape and taping it back together and then hoping we didn’t lose anything.”

I got to test drive one of the recorders and had a fit when I had to return it. I used it in the car, at meetings, on the phone to record interviews (like the one with Bernadette Fowler), for notes and was trying to figure some way of dictating articles and sending them to Fowler to be transcribed.

It’s a time saver and even if you have an excellent memory it’s amazing how much can slip our mind when we hurry. While test-driving the unit that had been loaned to me, I made notes about everything and discovered how much more productive I was. If you have never used a recorder as a memory assistant, it certainly is worth trying. And, it is simple to store the recording in an electronic file on your computer.

The DS-5000:

USB mass storage class

Large LCD screen

File encryption and decryption

Slide switch operation.

Quiet and easy to use slide switch results in high performance, comfort, and increased productivity.

DSS player pro software.

Dss player pro software provides direct recording to your pc, automatic retrieval of typed documents, automatic distribution of recordings via email, and much more.

Three programmable buttons.

Provides customized functions to suit your dictation needs. The recorder firmware can also be programmed for additional functionality and flexibility.

Memory and storage.

Supports SD and micro SD, dual memory cards.

Device lock function with password.

Lock or password protect your files to keep them safe and secure.

Multi-function cradle.

Recharges the ni-mh battery pack, allows hands-free recording, and provides for fast and easy uploading/downloading of data to your computer.

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