The Feisty Little Olympus WS Series Digital Voice Recorder Power Options – USB and/or AAA

The WS series of digital voice recorders from Olympus is a fantastic little range of three models the WS-811, WS-812 and WS-813. All are perfectly suited for recording small meetings, interviews and soundbites and with its small physical size is a favourite with journalists and the police. The recorders have many features which increase as you go up the range, these include:

  • Will function with USB power and/or 1x AAA alkaline battery and/or 1x AAA rechargeable battery
  • Comes with rechargeable AAA battery – WS-812 & WS-813 only, rechargeable in the recorder itself (WS-811 can not recharge batteries)
  • WS-812 2Gb built-in memory : WS-812 4Gb built-in memory : WS-813 8Gb built-in memory
  • Optional microSD card can be inserted in all recorder for additional memory (2Gb to 32Gb cards)
  • Higher bit rate recording – WS-811 192kbps mp3 : WS-812 & WS-813 256 kbps
  • Directional zoom mic – WS-813 only
  • Audio playback of WAV and WMA files from PC – WS-812 & WS-813 only
  • FM Stereo Tuner – WS-813 only

The full features and specifications can be found in the Olympus WS-811/WS-812/WS-813 manual – click here for the PDF download.

Previous blog post New Olympus WS Series Recorders

One key feature that I love and is little know by most WS series users is that the recorders can be powered, while recording via a USB connection. It is preferred to use a powered USB adapter like the official Olympus A514 but a USB connection on your PC or Mac will also do the trick. This is a fantastic options and alleviates any concern about battery depletion during your recording session, leaving you to just concentrate on the job in hand.

On all three WS Series recorders I recommend you set the USB Connection setting to Optional. What this does is every time you USB connect your WS series digital voice recorder you will be prompted and asked if you either want to USB power the device (AC Adapter) or USB connect the device (PC) to access your recordings. Of course either of these options can also be set permanently.

Olympus WS USB Power Settings

To access the USB connection settings on your WS series recorder under the Menu navigate Device Menu –> USB Settings  -> USB Connection you will then see the screenshot above where you can select your preferred USB option:

  • PC – Act as a USB drive so that audio files can be access via Windows Explorer on a PC or Finder on a Mac
  • AC Adapter – Power the recorder via USB
  • Optional – You will be prompted when the recorder is USB connected to select either PC or AC Adapter

1 thought on “The Feisty Little Olympus WS Series Digital Voice Recorder Power Options – USB and/or AAA”

  1. I have never used a digital recorder as such. I’ve had PDA’s and Phones that will do that job but do not do a very good job of it. So I have no frame of reference. I am very pleased. As is typical of me I keep wanting to do things with out reading the instructions. So there is a little of ADD getting in the way. The sound quality even on the low mike setting is remarkable to me. It’s very small. I expected it to be much bigger. I love that you have the option to use an external microphone and head set. I’ve ordered some for it, one omnidirectional and one unidirectional. I’m not sure of my choices. I’m an old ham operator so I only knew about Sure microphones and they were very expensive. I also love that it is digital. One problem I had with the old tape version is that after a while the motors started making noise that was picked up by the recorder.
    The only flaws I have found is that there is no option for external power and no LED back-light. In strong light or very dark areas it is hard to read. My normal solution would be to make a shade but you have to have a back-light to do that. I may look into attaching one of those cheap key-chain lights and make a flip up shield. I researched the reviews on this same product but with different sellers and it fared well. For the money this looks like my solution for now. I’ll update it later if my opinion changes. I do recommend directional and omni external mics. Another thing I may look into is making some sort of shock/wind cover so that if you have it outside or in your pocked you do not ended up recording that stuff.
    Hope this helped.

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