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Olympus DS-40

512MB digital voice recorder with removable stereo microphone

Item # 279DS40

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Our take on the Olympus DS-40

The Olympus DS-40 voice recorder features a detachable stereo microphone that ensures you'll get great on-the-go voice recordings in any situation. And it includes a built-in MP3 player so you can enjoy your favorite music, podcasts, and even audio books from The recorder's 512-megabyte embedded memory can hold over five and half days' worth of voice recordings.

The Olympus DS-40 voice recorder features a detachable stereo microphone that ensures you'll get great on-the-go voice recordings in any situation. And it includes a built-in MP3 player so you can enjoy your favorite music, podcasts, and even audio books from The recorder's 512-megabyte embedded memory can hold over five and half days' worth of voice recordings.

Recording and playback options
The DS-40 has a built-in mono microphone in addition to its detachable stereo microphone. You can adjust the sensitivity of either mic to adapt to different recording conditions. A low cut filter minimizes the rumbling of air conditioners and machinery while you're recording. Choose the voice-activated recording mode for convenient hands-free operation. For playback, you can either use the recorder's built-in speaker, or plug in the supplied earbud headphones for more discreet listening. The Voice Filter function enhances voice quality by reducing high- and low-frequency noise during playback. And you can vary the speed of the playback, too — great for transcribing.

Smart software helps you manage your recordings
The included DSS Player software lets you manage your voice recordings on your PC. With the software you can transfer recordings from the DS-40 onto your computer, edit them, and organize them for archiving. The software also lets you subscribe to audio podcasts and automatically transfers them to your player when you connect it to your PC.

Product Highlights:

  • battery-powered digital voice recorder and MP3 player
  • 512 MB embedded memory holds up to
    • 136 hours, 15 minutes of low-quality mono voice recordings
    • 34 hours, 45 minutes of medium-quality stereo voice recordings
    • 8 hours, 40 minutes of highest-quality stereo voice recordings
  • records in WMA (Windows Media Audio) format
  • compatible with audio books from
  • detachable stereo microphone and built-in mono microphone
  • stores up to five folders with up to 200 messages per folder
  • backlit LCD display
  • LED recording status lights
  • built-in speaker
  • selectable voice activated recording
  • six recording quality modes (three stereo, three mono)
  • low cut filter minimizes low-frequency sounds during recording
  • Voice Filter cuts out low and high frequency noise during playback
  • slow and fast playback options
  • high-speed USB interface (cable included)
  • headphone minijack (earbud headphones included)
  • external minijack input for use with additional microphone
  • up to 32 hours operation with 2 included "AAA" batteries
  • DSS Player Version 7 software for processing voice recordings, and transferring podcasts and other audio RSS feeds to player
  • weight: 2.8 oz.
  • 1-1/2"W x 4-7/16"W x 5/8"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
PC Requirements:
  • Windows® 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista™
  • Intel Pentium II class 333MHz or more
  • USB port (high-speed USB recommended)

What's in the Box:

  • Silver portable 512MB WMA digital voice stereo recorder
  • Two "AAA" batteries
  • Black earbud-style headphones with attached 46" cord terminated by a right-angle 3.5mm male connector
  • 58" USB cable with a USB type-A connector on one end and a USB type-B connector on other end
  • Wrist strap
  • DSS Player Version 7 CD-ROM
  • Instructions (English/French/Spanish)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Online Registration card

Hands-on research

Product Research


Overview: The Olympus DS-40 Digital Voice Recorder not only allows you to record lectures and meetings, it can also record music and audio books in high-quality stereo sound, as well as download and create podcasts using the supplied software disc. You can easily store and organize your files on the Olympus DS-40, and transfer them to your PC using its USB port and supplied USB cable. The DS-40 comes supplied with a pair of earbud-style headphones and operates off of a two "AAA" batteries (included).

512MB Internal Flash Memory: The Olympus DS-40 Digital Voice Recorder features a built-in 512MB NAND Flash memory which allows up to 136 hours and 15 minutes of audio recording.

Audio Recording Format: The Olympus Digital Voice Recorder With Music Player records voice recordings in the WMA (Windows Media Audio) recording format while recording music in WMA or MP3 (5 to 256 kbps). The unit is also compatible with the Audible format from

Recording Modes: The DS-40 Digital Voice Recorder records in stereo and offers the following recording modes and recording times.

  • Stereo XQ Mode (50-19,000 Hz): approximately 8 hours, 40 minutes
  • Stereo HQ Mode (50-16,000 Hz): approximately 17 hours, 20 minutes
  • HQ Mode ( 50-13,000 Hz): approximately 34 hours, 45 minutes
  • SP Mode (100-8,000 Hz): approximately 68 hours, 30 minutes
  • LP Mode (100-3,000 Hz): approximately 136 hours, 15 minutes

Built-In and External Microphones: The DS-40 Digital Voice Recorder features a built-in monaural microphone for monaural recording and a high-sensitivity detachable stereo microphone for clear stereo sound of your recorded personal notes, school lectures, or business-related meetings. The unit features three modes of microphone sensitivity (Lecture, Conference, Dictation) to meet your recording needs. The unit also features a 3.5mm microphone jack for connecting the supplied external stereo microphone or an optional microphone.

Variable Control Voice Activator (VCVA): This feature allows the Digital Voice Recorder to only record when sound is sensed by the unit. When the microphone sense that sounds have reached a preset threshold volume level, the built-ion Variable Control Actuator (VCVA) starts recording automatically and stops when the volume drops below the threshold level. The VCVA feature extends recording time and conserves memory by stopping recording during silent periods, which helps the playback to be more efficient.

Low Cut Filter: The unit's Low Cut Filter minimize low frequency sounds in the background such as an air condition or projector when recording to record voice more clearly.

File Organization: The DS-40 features five file folders (A/B/C/D/E), each holding up to 200 files, to provide exceptional organization. Up to 16 index marks can be set in each file. When index marks are placed, you can quickly find a location you want to listen to in fast forward and fast rewind and when cuing a file. The Digital Voice Recorder also features folders for Music, Podcast and Audible.

File Lock: Files can be locked to avoid important files from being accidentally erased.

LCD Display: The DS-40 features a full-dot, backlit, monochrome, LCD display which indicates recording and playback information. The LCD display's contrast can be adjusted in 12 levels.

Date and Time: The recorder features a built-in clock that displays date and time on the unit's LCD screen. If you have set the time and date, information as to when a sound file was recorded is stored automatically with that file.

Timer Recordings/Alarm: Timer Recording and Alarm features enable automatic recording and playing at a set time. You can program Day, Start Time, Volume, and Playback file for three separate Alarms. You can also program Day, Time, Record Mode, Folder and Microphone Sensitivity for three separate Timer Recordings.

Built-In Speaker and Headphones: The Olympus DS-40 features a built-in monaural 23mm round dynamic speaker and comes supplied with a pair of  earbud-style stereo headphones for listening to your recorded audio. When the earphones are connected, the built-in speaker will not emit sound. The unit features a 3.5mm minijack input for connecting the headphones.

Voice Guidance: The voice guidance feature gives audio notification of operating conditions. It ensures seamless operation of various complex functions.

Voice Filter: The Voice Filter function enhances the human voice by cutting low and high frequency noises during normal, slow or fast playback.

Noise Cancel Function: If recorded audio is difficult to understand because of noisy surroundings, you can adjust the Noise Cancel setting level. Noise will be reduce in the file when it is played back for better sound quality.

File Search: The recorder features Fast Forward and Rewind to locate audio files. The recorder pauses when it reaches to the end of the file during fast forwarding or fast rewinding. If there is an index mark in the middle of the file, the recorder will also stop at that location.

Variable Speed Playback: The Olympus DS-40 offers slow and fast playback speed variations. The playback speed of the file can be changed between 0.5 and 1.5 times speed in increments of 0.125. Change the speed according to need such as listening to meeting content at a fast speed or reviewing spots that you could not catch in a language lesson at a slow speed. The tone will be automatically adjusted digitally without changing the voice so it sounds natural.

Music Play Mode: The Olympus WS-321M offers the following music playback modes - File, File Repeat, Folder, Folder Repeat, All, and All Repeat.

Hold Switch: The Hold switch locks the current conditions of the Digital Voice recorder; all the units buttons and functions will be disabled. This feature is useful when the recorder has to be carried in a bag or pocket.

USB Connection: The Olympus DS-40 features a high-speed USB type-B port and comes supplied with a 58" USB cable to connect to your Windows PC. As a USB storage device, the DS-40 can store a variety of files in addition to audio files such as documents and image files. Compatible: The Olympus DS-40 is compatible with files. You can store and listen to audible contents purchased from on the recorder.

Supplied Software: The Olympus DS-40 comes supplied with DSS Player Version 7 software on an included CD-ROM disc. The DSS Player Software (included) enables easy archiving, editing and further processing of recordings. Your Windows PC must meet the following system requirements to work with this software.

  • PC: IBM PC/AT compatible PC
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, XP Professional/Home Edition, Vista Ultimate/Enterprise/Business/Home Premium/Home Basic
  • CPU: Intel Pentium II class 333 MHz processor or more (Windows 2000/XP), 800 MHz or more (Windows Vista)
  • RAM: 128 MB or more/256MB or more is recommended (Windows 2000/XP), 500MB or more/1GB or more is recommended (Windows Vista)
  • Hard Drive Space: 50 MB or more
  • Drive: 2x or faster CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, or DVD-ROM drive
  • Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 or 100% compatible sound card
  • Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 SP2 or later
  • Display: 800 x 60 pixels or more, 256 colors or more
  • USB Port: One free port
  • Audio I/O Terminals: Earphone output or speakers
  • Others: Mouse or similar pointing device, environment where the Internet can b utilized

Podcast Compatible: By registering favorite Podcast programs in DSS Player, you can download the latest broadcasting content automatically. New content can be transferred to the recorder simply by connecting it to your computer.

Power-Save Mode: If the recorder is stopped for a preset period of time (5, 10, 30, 120 minutes) during recording or playing, it goes into Standby (Power-Save) mode, and the display shuts off. To exit Standby mode and turn on the display, you can press any button on the unit.

Battery Powered: The Digital Voice Recorder operates off of two "AAA" batteries (included). The two "AAA" batteries provide up to 32 hours of continuous operation. The unit supports Alkaline and Ni-MH rechargeable "AAA" batteries. The DS-40 provides the following continuous operation times based on record mode and battery type.

  • Alkaline "AAA" Batteries (supplied):
    • Recording:
      • Stereo XQ Mode: approximately 20 hours
      • Stereo HQ Mode: approximately 22 hours
      • HQ Mode: approximately 24 hours
      • SP Mode: approximately 28 hours
      • LP Mode: approximately 32 hours
    • Playback:
      • Speaker Playback: approximately 12 hours
      • Earphone Playback: approximately 26 hours
  • Ni-MH Rechargeable "AAA" Batteries (optional):
    • Recording:
      • Stereo XQ Mode: approximately 15 hours
      • Stereo HQ Mode: approximately 16 hours
      • HQ Mode: approximately 18 hours
      • SP Mode: approximately 21 hours
      • LP Mode: approximately 26 hours
    • Playback:
      • Speaker Playback: approximately 9 hours
      • Earphone Playback: approximately 20 hours

Our Product Research Team

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