Way back when, well almost a couple of months ago, when I heard of the new WS series digital voice recorders being released from Olympus came three brand new features that I couldn’t wait to have a play with. You may remember the blog post with the Dalek which announced Voice Playback (officially called Voice Detect), Voice Changer and Voice Balancer. I have been putting a demo Olympus WS-812 through its paces the last few days in readiness for a WS series review and ran a test of the Voice Detect feature for your reading and listening pleasure.
What is Voice Detect? It is smart audio processing that Olympus have built into both the Olympus WS-812 and WS-813 digital voice recorders that attempts to remove audio white space or silent portions of audio, essentially removing pauses between speech. This feature has been available for some time in the Olympus Sonority software supplied with the Olympus LS-3,DM-3,DM-5 and now is starting to appear in the recorders themselves. You have the choice of processing individual audio files with Voice Detect or you can set an option on the recorder itself to automatically Voice Detect on every file you record.
Below is some short sample audio that I recorded on the Olympus WS-812 of me talking to myself. The first audio file is the original with long pauses between spoken paragraphs. The second audio sample is playback after Voice Detect has been applied:
**Note. The sample audio with Voice Detect ON was re-recorded hence the slightly poorer audio quality, not caused by Voice Detect.
Applying Voice Detect to individual audio files is easy. First select [Voice Detect] from the [File Menu]. Then traverse the folders to locate the audio file that you want to process (most of the time the file will be in FolderA unless you have selected otherwise). Then press [OK] and Voice Detect processing will begin. The progress of the audio file conversion is displayed on the screen of the WS-812/WS-813.
Once Voice Detect has been applied to an audio file you will see the icon to the left, indicating that white audio space has been removed from the file. Playback through the recorder will be of the condensed audio.
Unfortunately the processed audio file can not be taken off the recorder, Voice Detect will only be applied when you play back your audio on the recorder itself. Dragging and dropping the file to your Mac or PC will revert the audio file to the live, as recorded, audio with white space still intact. This is a shame as a Voice Detected processed audio file off the recorder and loaded into transcription software or used as streaming audio on a website would be a fantastic feature.
Still, if you listen to your audio on your voice recorder to take notes from your interviews or meetings this will certainly save you some time as you listen back. Here is a tip, always listen back with the supplied ear buds rather than listening through the recorders in-built speaker. The speaker is really only there to give you a warm fuzzy feeling that you have actually recorded something. To hear the amazing audio quality that the WS series can pick up, plug in and pop in your Olympus ear buds (or iPhone ear buds, yes they do also work with the Olympus WS series digital voice recorders).