Olympus DS5000 Professional Recorder Independent Product Review

By Edward Robinson | June 25, 2008

In my office, we write many of our reports with significant amounts of custom information, and we use personal digital recorders with the dictation sent to a typing pool to get our reports typed accurately and quickly. Recently, I had to upgrade my professional quality digital recorder and wanted to share the quality of this product and my pleasure in evaluating it. I make note of the quality because this equipment is costly. A professional quality recorder is not available at Best Buy in most cases and will run you $300-$500. This one tops the scale but its worth it.

Every now and again you get a product which exceeds your expectations and is a joy to use. For me, this week the new Olympus DS 5000 professional recorder is that device. I rely heavily on this equipment on a daily basis as a critical part of my business infrastructure. I have been using this type of equipment since the mid 80s when my office used Dictaphone personal hand held units. This new recorder is the closest I have come to the Dictaphone professional micro cassette recorders my office used and which I have often missed due to their durability, quality of service, and supreme sound quality. This device may finally be a replacement for my memory of those devices.

This unit has a slide switch control like the old micro cassette recorders of the past which is familiar and easier to use than buttons. The switch has a solid and positive feel, closely mimicking the mechanical feel of the mechanical systems of the old technology of cassette recorders. The switch allows for very accurate dictation and allows starting, stopping, and recording at very precise locations compared to other equipment I have used. The sound quality on this unit is better than any digital units I have used in the past and equal or better to the cassette technology of many years past. On some high quality units with side slide switches I have used, including those from competing manufactures, I have found pops, clicks, and squeals in the sound recorded which I did not find with this equipment. The unit also sports a SD card slot in the top for quick transfer of files to my laptop in the field through the SD port I have in my laptop rather than using a cable or adapter. The recorder also has internal memory on a removable internal micro SD chip if you don’t want to use an SD card for some reason. The only feature related to the memory I have not yet found, and it may not exist, is the ability to transfer files between the internal memory and an SD card without connecting to a dock or cable. Another plus is that the unit comes with rechargeable batteries and a docking station to ease the configuration, use, and charging of the unit. This will save those times when I ran out of batteries in the middle of a project and had to hunt for new ones. If your batteries do run dry then the unit will accept standard AAA batteries.

I found that navigating and accessing features on the unit was very easy, and much easier than older units including the previous DS4000 flagship. This is just a few of the features this well thought out unit brings to the table. Other features which I have not yet explored are the file routing features, which allow custom routing of work upon docking, the ability to remap all the buttons on the unit, and the feature of the new DS2 format, which as of yet I am unfamiliar. So far, I have only found a few software glitches typical of a new digital system of this type.

I would like to give a thumbs up to TranscriptionGear.com who sold me the unit for quality customer service. To get the unit setup, I worked with the tech support team of TranscriptionGear.com and they helped me get the setup I needed quickly and professionally. They also explained some of the quirks which have not yet been worked out in the brand new software interface. One drawback is that as of yet, the AS5000 kit which allows transcription in DS2 format is not available. This is not a problem for now since the unit will work in DSS classic format mode allowing old transcription software to be used.

If you use a recorder to dictate your reports or take notes, you should consider this unit. If you do not you should consider the time savings which can be achieved by outsourcing your report production rather than typing it all yourself leaving you free to do work that makes more money. For full specifications and features I encourage you to visit the Olympus web site DS5000 feature page. If you have comments or suggestions based upon your experiences, I would love to hear them, so please leave them.

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