Olympus WS-812 digital voice recorder from Dictate Australia

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:

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**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.

How to apply Voice Detect to an audio file on Olympus WS-812 or WS-813 digital voice recorder

Olympus Voice Detect on Audio File on Olympus WS-812 WS-813Once 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).

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15 Responses to New Voice Detect Feature In Olympus WS-812/WS-813 – Removes White Space From Audio Recordings

  1. Dr. A. says:

    I’m a linguist and I’m looking to buy a new digital voice recorder. Should I go for the WS-812 or for the WS-813?
    I read on Amazon that the WS-813 records in MP3, WMA, and WAV, but on a different site I read that the WS-813 doesn’t record in WAV format, so it seems like the only difference between them is the 4GB of extra memory of the WS-813. Is that the only difference between them??

    Thanks for your help.

    Alfie

  2. Dave says:

    Hello Alfie

    Thanks for dropping by. The WS-813 does record in WAV format, any recorder which records in PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) or “really high quality” audio will produce an uncompressed .WAV file. Other than the size of the memory and the colour the WS-812 and WS-813 are the same. I tend to push most people to the WS-812 as the 4Gb in-built memory is huge amounts for voice recording.

    You won’t be disappointed, the WS series are excellent little recorders.

    Hope that helps.

    Dave
    Dictate Australia

  3. Dr. A says:

    Thank you very much for your help, Dave.
    I assume then that the WS-812 also records in WAV then?

    If the only difference is the memory and the colour, then I think I’ll go for the WS-812. I will mainly work with audio using my computer and I won’t have any limitations in terms of memory space on my PC.
    I guess that if I wanted extra memory for whatever reason I could also add a micro SD card.

    Thanks again for your prompt reply.

    Alfie

  4. Dave says:

    Hello

    Yes it will record in .WAV and also .mp3 and .wma.

    Yes if you need more memory you can add the microSD card, but for just recording voice 4Gb is plenty unless you are spening a long time away from a computer.

    Thanks

    Dave
    Dictate

  5. Dr. A. says:

    Thank you very much again, I found your comments extremely useful.

    All the best.

    Alfie

  6. peetr says:

    hallo..
    can you recommend this recorder for music (gigs, practicing, performance) as a working device..?
    I know ther are better choices, but they are also much more expensive..
    thanks!

  7. Dave says:

    Hello Peetr

    Great question ..

    Ok yes the WS series can record music but they are designed for recording voice so the a volume range that it can cope with is limited. So you could use a WS for recording say piano practice or to record chords being played on a guitar. For something with HUGE fluctuations in audio volume, like a convert situation it would not be a good option.

    Fortunatly Olympus has though of this and have a range of recorders that can cope, this is the LS series of music recorders. By the way they are also fantastic at recording voice !

    So yes you will pay more for an LS series but to be honest not that much more. In Australia our current range of LS series is: LS-3, LS-20 and LS-100. The LS-20M is music and video, the LS-100 is a high end music recorder (XLR inputs, multi track etc) so I would look at the LS-3.

    I hope that helps. Spend the little extra and you will get the results you want.

    Dave
    Dictate

  8. Kaye says:

    Hi,
    We need a recorder to record minutes of a meeting and was wondering if the WS-812 would do the trick. There are generaly 10-12 people in the meetings sitting at a long table. Will this recorder have the capacity to pick up each voice or would you recommend something else. Kaye

  9. Dave says:

    Hello Kaye

    Thank you for your visit and for your comment.

    Generally for meetings of this size I would recommend the Olympus LS-3 or DM-3 as they are best suited for larger boardroom meetings. However, if in these meetings you can clearly hear every speaker then so will the recorder in which case the WS-812 would be find. Just place the recorder in the middle of the table allowing the speakers to talk over the recorder.

    I hope that helps.

    Dave
    Dictate

  10. ashley says:

    Is there a way to review the original recording, instead of the way it is “edited” if you will with voice detect?

  11. Dave says:

    Hello Ashley

    Yes there is, voice detect only work on the recorder. So if you just drag your audio off to your Mac or PC and play the audio through any audio player (QuickTime,Windows Media PLayer etc) it will be the original recording.

    Hope that helps.

    Dave
    Dictate

  12. Graham says:

    Hi – I was looking to purchase the WS-812 and then came across some information warning me to stay clear of Olympus Digital Voice Recorders specifically. This is because (allegedly) if you are trying to sync video with audio from Olympus products, the audio will start in sync for the first 10-15 seconds and then for some strange reason will then go out of sync after this. I do not know if this information is only valid on earlier Olympus products or it is still the case today and wondered seeing as you have this product do you happen to know if this is the case?

  13. Dave says:

    Hello Graham

    Thank you for your comment. I have to say no I have never heard of this issue, the Olympus recorders will record in real-time, like any recorders so should always sync. There are features in some recorders which can remove white noise space from recordings but this only happens on the device. Exported audio remains intact and in real time. If you could direct me to the link(s) where you read this concern I would be interested to read it also.

    Thanks

    Dave
    Dictate

  14. Graham says:

    Hi Dave,

    I have quickly produced a one page website on this subject at http://testandtrial.weebly.com/ which shows the portion of this video that you asked to see and added as much other relevant information that I could think of there.

  15. Dave says:

    Hey Graham

    Thanks for that page and for the audio, I had a listen, to be honest I doubt it is the recorder. Olympus even as far back as five years ago were making superb quality voice recorders and it really doesn’t make sense for them to not record in real time. Back then however there was more focus on WMA audio files so could be something with the codec perhaps on the audio playback but thats clutching at straws. Now all Olympus recorders record in MP3 and of course the very high quality PCM uncompressed WAV, I am assuming you are in Canada by your .ca email address which is unfortunate, if you were in AU I would happily send you a recorder to run a test with.

    The DM-3 recorder might be a good option for you due to its zoom mic, you could narrow the audio record range and aim the recorder at the on camera speakers. Otherwise a cheaper WS series (812 or 813) with a wired mic hiding the very small recorder would do the trick.

    I have never heard of this issue in all the years I have been dealing with Olympus.

    Thanks

    Dave
    Dictate

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