Digital Voice Recorder

July 23rd, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

I recently bought an Olympus WS-100 digital voice recorder. This particular recorder was recommended by a contributor to SpeakerNet News.

I like the Olympus WS-100 for several reasons:

  • It uses flash memory, so I don’t have to fuss with microcassettes or mini-CDs.
  • It only weights a couple ounces and is about the size of two packs of gum.
  • It uses a single AAA battery that supposedly lasts about 13 hours of recording/playback time.
  • It can record 27 hours of audio at the lowest quality or 4.5 hours at best quality.
  • It plugs into a USB port, so I can easily download anything I record to my PC or laptop — I access the unit just like an extra hard drive, no extra software required, and audio files are stored in WMA format.
  • I can upload WMA audio files to it and listen to them on the unit, and I can even plug in headphones and use it almost like an IPOD, but with only 64MB on it, I’ll stick with my 1GB IPOD Shuffle as a listening device.
  • I can save multiple recordings in up to five different directories (labeled A, B, C, D, E) and play individual recordings sequentially or jump to a specific recording.
  • The recorder has a small screen to select recordings, and I’ve found it easy and intuitive to use.

While I can use this device to record ideas when I’m out and about, my main reason for buying it is to record speeches. The device has a plug for a microphone, so with a small lavalier mic (which I still have to buy), I can easily record one of my speeches and then save it on my PC. If I get an omnidirectional mic, then I’ll be able to pick up the audience reaction too. Someone recommended the Radio Shack 30-3013 omnidirectional mic, so that’s one I’ll be considering.

One reason I need to record speeches is to create a decent audio demo for professional speaking. Also, Toastmasters’ Accredited Speaker Program requires an audio demo recorded in front of a live audience. Accreditation is difficult to achieve, but I might want to aim for it because it’s a nice stepping stone on the way to professional speaking. Out of about 200,000 Toastmasters members worldwide, there are only 50-some accredited speakers. Two of them live in Las Vegas, and I’m in a club with both of them. One of them is my mentor.

Down the road this digital voice recorder should also make it easy for me to record speeches and share them on this web site. To me that was a key incentive for buying the recorder because then I can share speeches with many more people than the original live audience.

With a small lavalier mic, this recorder makes it easy for anyone to record speeches, presentations, meetings, etc. and then share the recordings with others in digital form. I think it could make for a nice productivity-enhancing device if used intelligently.


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