[Mac] Olympus Pro Dictaphone Audio Not Quite Compatible With Dragon Dictate 3 for Mac Transcription Module from Nuance

## UPDATE – January 2013 – FIXED

## Olympus have released DSS Player Plus v7.3.3 for Mac, click here for more

## UPDATE – November 2012

## Olympus to release update to DSS Player Plus v7 for Mac early 2013 to fix this issue, click here for more

The huge excitement which surrounded the recent launch of Dragon Dictate 3, the latest and greatest voice recognition software for Mac by the people at Nuance, has been tempered slightly by the discovery of an issue with audio recorded on Olympus Pro digital dictaphones. Dragon Dictate 3 is the first iteration of Mac speech recognition software that not only takes directly dictated audio (you talking to your Mac or into your iPhone using the Dragon Remote Mic iPhone app Dragon Remote Microphone - Nuance Communications ) but also at long last from recorded audio, something that has been available for a very long time in Nuance’s Windows equivalent, Dragon NaturallySpeaking and has been eagerly awaited by Mac users.

The file cannot be transcribed. Dictate cannot use files with sampling rates below 22.050 kilohertz.
Dragon Dictate 3 Transcription File Error

The issue stems from Dragon Dictate’s need for a minimum 22kHz audio file … DS2 audio files recorded on a Pro Olympus dictaphone (DS-7000, DS-3500, DS-5000, DS-3400) and converted to AIF using Olympus’ own DSS Player Plus v7 for Mac software supplied with the recorders only manages a maximum of 16kHz meaning the audio can not be used with Dragon Dictate 3’s Transcription module. This is a huge blow to the many customers who have been waiting for so long to use their dictaphone with Dragon on the Mac.

Dragon Dictate 3 for Mac unlike the Windows equivalent Dragon NaturallySpeaking can not process .DSS or .DS2 audio files and relies on more generic audio in one of the following formats:

  • .wav
  • .m4a
  • .m4v
  • .mp4
  • .aif
  • .aiff

How can you tell the sample rate of your audio? The best way to check is to load your audio file into iTunes and then “Get Info” on the file, the sample rate will be shown. Below is an example of a .DS2 audio file recorded on an Olympus DS-7000 and converted to .aif using the latest version of DSS Player Plus v7 software, version 7.3.0

I have been in direct contact with my people at Olympus in Sydney who have confirmed that the sampling rates for .DS2 files converted are as follows:

  • If recorded in DS2 SP, the converted AIF file will be 12kHz.
  • If recorded in DS2 QP, the converted AIF file will be 16kHz.

I have highlighted to Olympus that this will be a big deal for Mac users keen to move to Dragon Dictate 3 to assist with their transcription. Olympus have passed the issue to their development team who will consider updating DSS Player Plus v7 to increase the sampling rate on conversion. So what can you do if you are an Olympus Pro dictaphone user on a Mac who wants to use their digital dictaphone with Dragon Dictate 3?

The only option I can find which will successfully allow converted .ds2 audio files to be loaded into Dragon Dictate 3 transcription is to use Olympus’ free Sonority software (available for Mac and Windows). Sonority can convert .dss/.ds2 audio to .aif but does so at the higher 22kHz sample rate. Sonority is supplied with the higher end digital meeting and music recorders such as the Olympus DS-3/DS-5/LS-3/LS-100. Sonority does not appear to be available as a download, I am working closely with Olympus to find out how we can get Sonority out to people who need it. If you are in Australia please contact me, outside Australia contact your nearest authorised Olympus voice dealer to find out how to acquire Sonority for Mac, the free standard version.

We have been in contact with our representatives from both Olympus Australia and Nuance Australia to let them know of the issue.

Related links:

Nuance Dragon Dictate for Mac / Scribe / Express Public Forum Post

5 thoughts on “[Mac] Olympus Pro Dictaphone Audio Not Quite Compatible With Dragon Dictate 3 for Mac Transcription Module from Nuance”

  1. Hey Nathan

    If you are in Australia email me – dave@dictate.com.au, if you are not down under then contact your local Olympus office and see if they can help you out (let me know if they can’t/won’t/don’t help).


    Dictate Australia

  2. I have tried to email you Dave… I’m not sure if my messages are being sent to spam? Is there any other way to contact you.


  3. I think some of us get confused with sampling rate vs bandwidth or quality.

    I have been using the Audacity program for Mac for a while now but changing the sampling rate is an easy fix after importing the audio file. In the bottom left of the screen is where you set the sampling rate and you then just export the file at just about any format you want. It is available for Windows too. Best thing is this program is a work in progress and cost ZERO dollars, pounds, or any denomination your heart desires. Or for those who still don’t understand, it is FREE!

    Audacity’s information on the two Hz’s is at http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Sample_Rates

    And the program can be downloaded at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

    Hope this helps someone.

    Andy in Missouri, US of A

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