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Overview     Olympus Recorders page

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NaturallySpeaking Recorder Users Workflow Choices 

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Basic Transcription Process using a recorder with NaturallySpeaking speech recognition

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Which Recorder Should I Get? - Key Differentiators between Recorders? 

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JUMP TO AVAILABLE BRANDS - RECORDERS      

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Services Info

Portable Dictation Device (Recorder) Overview

Are you interested in being able to dictate into a digital recorder for later transcription by your NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software? 

With portable dictation devices such as digital recorders, voice recognition users can dictate into the recorder wherever they are, even if there is not a PC or a transcriptionist nearby.  These digital recorders record the dictation onto either a removable digital media or directly into the recorder's recording capacity.  The dictation on digital recorder can be transcribed later using Dragon NaturallySpeaking® speech recognition software.   

Many professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and others already speak their dictation into hand-held dictation devices. They often have to wait days for an administrative assistant or transcriptionist to create the document. Now, they can use an ordinary office PC to quickly, easily and inexpensively transcribe their dictation...

Read on for a discussion of recorder user workflow and key features/differentiators of recorders OR JUMP TO BRANDS AVAILABLE.

Interested in Olympus Digital Dictation Products?  Click here for our Olympus page!

Recorder User's Workflow Choices

What is the workflow for voice recognition users who dictate into recorders?   A dictator’s process for dictating can remain basically unchanged.   THAT IS...  If the dictator currently dictates clearly, enunciates well, says punctuation and holds the recorder at a uniform distance from their mouth.  

What will be different is what happens after the dictator has performed their dictation.  The dictation on an approved recorder can be copied/moved to a PC and then transcribed by the NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software.   

The dictator themselves or the dictator's assistant (called an "Editor" or "Correctionist") will then proofread the already transcribed dictation and make corrections if there was a recognition error by the software.  The editor/correctionist will continue with any other checks and corrections and finalize the dictation.

Basic Transcription Process when using a recorder with NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software

What is the basic process when using a recorder with NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software?

The following comments are written referring to a "DICTATOR" and an "EDITOR" who is the DICTATOR's "support person".  NOTE:  The DICTATOR can be his/her own EDITOR.  The separation shows what tasks can be handled be someone other than the dictator in case two (or more) separate people are involved.

INITIAL PROCESS/SET-UP for using your digital recorder with NaturallySpeaking
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Software will, of course, need to be loaded by the EDITOR.
The NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software will need to be loaded and the software that came with your recorder will need to be loaded.  You will want to check for and download service packs.  (NOTES:  For some recorders, you must load the software BEFORE plugging in the recorder or the recorder will fail to work.  Also, for some recorders, the software will fail to work properly without the service pack(s).)

bulletThe EDITOR will need to get familiar with the NaturallySpeaking software and the recorder software as well as the process of memory chip management and/or connecting and uploading the audio off the recorder.
bulletThe DICTATOR will need to get familiar with the recorder's features -- how to record/play/etc. as well as recorder fidelity settings for maximum accuracy.  Depending on the planned workflow, the DICTATOR may need to learn the process of memory chip management and/or connecting and uploading the audio off the recorder.
bulletThe NaturallySpeaking user profile for the dictator will need to be created. 
bulletThe DICTATOR will read a NaturallySpeaking training script into the recorder.  (The EDITOR either printed or cues up the training script on the monitor for the dictator.)
bulletThe EDITOR (who knows the NaturallySpeaking product) will set up the user's speech file by stepping through the new user (or new input source) process of the NaturallySpeaking product.   
bulletNOTE: If the DICTATOR can/will not read a training script, there is a way to customize the training script.  Someone would have to hand-type/transcribe at least 20 minutes of the DICTATOR's work and then go into the NaturallySpeaking product to put that text in as a training text.  Then the user's speech file would be set up by playing that transcription against the hand-transcribed text.  This is an undocumented, unsupported, advanced tweak that exists in the NaturallySpeaking product, so it would be best to ask the DICTATOR to read one of the provided training texts or contact us for consulting.
bulletTo make NaturallySpeaking recognize better, the DICTATOR and/or EDITOR would want to tweak the DICTATOR's vocabulary using the various NaturallySpeaking vocabulary tools -- adding terms, acronyms, etc.

ONGOING PROCESS for using your digital recorder with NaturallySpeaking

bulletThe DICTATOR will dictate -- remembering to speak clearly, speak allowed commands, say punctuation (unless it is agreed that the NaturallySpeaking autopunctuation mode will be used), etc. 
Then the DICTATOR will follow the agreed upon workflow for how to handle the dictated audio -- whether it involves memory chip management and/or connecting and uploading the audio off the recorder.
bulletThe EDITOR will also follow the agreed upon workflow for how to handle the dictated audio -- whether it involves memory chip management and/or connecting and uploading the audio off the recorder.
bulletThe EDITOR will manage launching the NaturallySpeaking transcription process where the program will listen to and type the previously dictated audio.   The actual process and file type(s) in use varies based on the recorder used.
bulletThe EDITOR will proofread/correct the transcribed text.  If corrections are made using the NaturallySpeaking product, NaturallySpeaking's recognition accuracy will get continually better.

As mentioned above, the above process comments are written referring to a "DICTATOR" and an "EDITOR" who is the DICTATOR's "support person".  NOTE:  The DICTATOR can be his/her own EDITOR.  The separation shows what tasks can be handled be someone other than the dictator in case two (or more) separate people are involved.

Which Recorder Should I Get?  Key Differentiators between Recorders?

There are many digital recorders at a range of price points.  So how do you choose?  Think about your own needs and the features of the various recorders.  Not all recorders are created equal.    Key recorder differentiators include:

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Recording capacity?  Recording capacity is usually stated in minutes and is a function of the amount of memory (either integrated or removable) in the recorder AND the recorder's recording format.  (Regarding recording format, each manufacturer has their own recording format which uses memory at a different rate, so 16MB memory may hold a different quantity of minutes with the various vendors.)

Also, remember, for speech recognition, you will need to record at the highest quality, lowest capacity setting, so use the lowest capacity listed.

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Integrated and/or Removable Media?  If you are a high-volume or business dictator, you will most likely want the option of using removable media.   The integrated media recorders are targeted toward casual users who will not be adversely affected by running out of recording capacity, while the removable media recorders are targeted toward business users.

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Built-in or Integrated Media:  Some recorders only have built-in or integrated media, so when you have dictated to the built-in media's capacity, you must get back to a PC to download the audio and delete it, so you can continue dictating.

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Removable Media:  The higher-cost recorders have removable media, so you can choose the amount of recording capacity you have with you, have spare memory chips and be able to dictate without concern of running out of space.  Dictators that work with a support person, typically want to keep their recorders with them and just turn in memory cards containing their dictation to their support person.

There are many types of removable media, so make sure you know what type and what capacity (8MB, 16MB, 32MB, 64MB...1GB) your recorder can use.  Current Olympus recorders use xD Cards.  Older Olympus products and other recorders use "SmartMedia" cards - a type of flash memory more formally called 3.3V SSFDC memory.  Sony recorders typically use the Sony proprietary format called the "Memory Stick".   The big point is to know what format removable media your device uses, its capacity, limitations, etc.  Also, if you have other products in your organization that use removable media, it is usually a good idea to standardize, so you can interchangeably use the media and readers.  (See discussion of readers below.)

More on recording capacity:  Most recorders with removable media will come with one (or more) modestly sized card(s).  (For example, the DS4000 includes one 32MB card that can record approximately 5.5 hours of dictation at its highest fidelity setting.)   With today's high capacity memory cards, it is possible to have over 100 hours of dictation on a memory card.  Think about whether this is practical for you.  Having a huge amount of dictation on one memory chip might be helpful while you attend a conference with no chance to upload/transcribe.  But, for your day-to-day work, you probably do NOT want to have dozens of hours of dictation on a single memory card.   Most business dictators will rotate multiple smaller cards.  Should a card ever get lost/damaged/corrupted, you will lose a huge amount of work.

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Both Integrated and Removable Media:  A few recorders have some built-in media and allow the user to also use removable media.

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How does the user get the audio off the recorder and to the PC?  You'll want to think about your process after you've recorded audio and now want to do something with it.  Recorders have various methods of transfer the audio.

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Directly Connect the Recorder to the PC:  Some recorders literally plug in to your PC using a USB or some other cable.  Some high end recorders like the Olympus DS-4000 have docking stations that can remain plugged into the PC.

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Most of the time the cable is provided, but you may want or need additional cables so you don't have to unplug/re-plug from the many PCs you and/or your support person use.  An extra cable is also good for a dictator who travels so you can keep a cable in your laptop case to be able to upload on the road.

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Also note that in the "direct connect" mode, at least for a short while, you have to use the recorder as a "reader" device. 

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You'll also want to make sure the PC you are going to use has the "jack" the recorder requires.  While most use the commonly available USB port, some older recorders use other ports such as 9-pin serial...   And, even though all computers have USB ports, you probably have many devices (printers, PDAs, cameras, microphones, etc.) that also use your handy USB ports. 

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Some users purchase additional recorders just to function as a reader most of the time and a spare recorder when needed. 

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If the recorder uses removable media, you may still want to invest in a "reader", if technically allowed by the recorder.  If there is no removable media, then you have to connect the recorder to the PC to download the audio.

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Use a "Reader":  If the recorder uses removable media, then you may choose to or may have to (depending on brand) use an external memory card reader.  Make sure that the recorder's software can be used from a reader and make sure you get the correct kind of reader because of the many types of removable media.  (See discussion above of removable media.)

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Plan to use Speech Recognition Software?  If you plan to use speech recognition software, make sure the brand/model you select is "approved" or "certified" -- i.e., known to work -- with your speech recognition software.  You don't want to be trying to make something work that will never work well or perhaps at all.  Your time will be wasted and you will not be able to get support for your setup.   We only show recorders that are "approved"/"certified" by Nuance for use with their NaturallySpeaking product.

Some recorder work more easily with NaturallySpeaking.  Some recorder vendors have customized their software to have direct links to the NaturallySpeaking product and convert the dictation to the required audio format -- basically streamlining the day-to-day process for the EDITOR (see discussion of workflow above). (Olympus, for example, has placed a red dragon icon in its software -- allowing the EDITOR to just select an audio file and click the red dragon to start transcription.)   If you are just transcribing a small amount of dictation occasionally, workflow is less important, but if transcription of dictation is an important application for you and your organization, clean, fast, automatic processes will save a lot of time for the EDITOR.

Pay attention to where your selected recorder fits in with the recorder vendor's product line.  All recorder vendors have full product lines with inexpensive, low-feature recorders focused at casual users and higher-end, higher feature recorders focused on business users.   Recorders at the low end of the vendor's product line may not be able to recorder at a high enough fidelity to be transcribed by NaturallySpeaking (see below).  And, the software included with the low-end recorders will not be the same software available within the higher-end products of the vendor's product line and may, therefore, not support transcription into Naturallyspeaking and/or may not have the ease-of-use features of the higher-end products. 

Also, make sure you understand the quality of the recorded audio.  You will need to ensure that you are using the highest quality, lowest recording capacity setting of your recorder.  (See discussion of recording capacity above.)  And, note that some recorders are simply NOT capable of recording at the fidelity needed for speech recognition.  Also, some recorders are capable of higher fidelity than others.

Regarding recorder fidelity:  Note that recorder positioning is critical to the fidelity of your recording.  The user must follow the recorder instructions regarding where the recorder needs to be held relative to the dictator's mouth.  Recorders, with external microphone jacks, allow the use of a microphone to either improve fidelity by blocking background noise or eliminate the need for holding the recorder in a special way.

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Features?  Recorders have a variety of hardware features that you will want to understand and consider including, but not limited to:

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Physical Specifications:  Size, Weight, Ergonomics, Button/Control placement, Type of Screen (backlit?), etc.

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Whether external jacks for external headset/microphone:  When the recorder has an external microphone jack, the dictator can choose to use an external microphone?  Why use an external microphone?

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To improve audio quality:  If the dictator uses their recorder in a noisy environment, a close-talking microphone can result in improved quality by buffering the dictator's speech from the background noise.

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To relieve the dictator from having to hold the recorder at a particular location:   A dictator can plug in a headset microphone, so they do not have to hold the recorder while dictating.

Note:  A dictator who uses speech recognition should standardize on either using or not using the external microphone, because their recorded audio will sound different to the speech recognition software with the external mic. 

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When the recorder has an external jack, standard speech recognition microphones can be used.  There are also small "lollipop" sized microphones made for the major recorder brands that allow a small unobtrusive mic to be used for users that want higher fidelity, but not the fuss of a larger mic.

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Power Source:  Runs on batteries (what type and battery life -- how many hours of dictation per battery), AC adapter when desired, etc?    Does it have the ability to re-charge its own batteries when docked like the Olympus DS-5000/DS-4000 or Philips 9600?

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Ways to organize your dictation?  Recorders will have methods to create folders, add time-stamps, dictator's identification, etc.

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Supporting software?  Recorders will have some method of moving/manipulating the audio files that your download off the recorder or removable media. 

If you are planning to use NaturallySpeaking, see section above NaturallySpeaking integration topic for things to look for regarding how well the software works with NaturallySpeaking.

Understand the features of your recorder's software.  Supporting software for a recorder will have a variety of features possibly including the ability to recognize the recorder when plugged in and upload audio, ability to convert the audio to appropriate formats, ability to label the audio, sort the work by a variety of audio file tags (priority, dictator, size, date, etc.), mark as transcribed, route to an email address or upload to a network location, synchronization with podcast sites, etc.  Know what features you want/need and whether your recorder software includes these features.

Note the system requirements.  (If your PC is configured to run speech recognition software, you'll more than exceed the minimum system requirements for recorder software.

Updates for the recorder software:  Also, once you get your recorder, make sure that you check frequently for updates.  See our tech support web page for a link to Olympus, Sony & Philips support site.

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Current model recorder or older model?   As you consider using a digital recorder, take a look at all of the above issues, plus consider whether the product is a current model or older model.   

Already own a recorder?  If you already have a digital recorder, you'll, of course, want to try to make it work with NaturallySpeaking -- and you may be able to get the older recorder to work.  You may also have a big investment in existing equipment and need/want to keep working with it. 

Need to purchase new equipment?  If you are purchasing new equipment, try to stay with current recorders of the manufacturer, so that the recorder will be compatible with the applications you run.  For example, recorder manufacturers had to adjust their software via service packs to successfully run with Windows Vista and NaturallySpeaking V9.  Recorder manufacturers will NOT adjust old versions of their software to be compatible with new PC products.  We talk to disappointed users who have purchased used equipment -- just to find out that it won't work with current applications they need.


Keep these differentiators in mind as you make your choice.

Brands Available

We offer a full range of recorders from recorder vendors such as Philips, Olympus, Sony, VXi, Norcom, etc.  We are working on getting full write-ups available for all products, but in the meantime, contact us for a quote for any product you don't see listed. 

NOTE: If a detail write-up and order form is available, the recorder name is underlined.  Otherwise, the recorder can be ordered by writing its name in on our general order form, by clicking here.    Just write in the product's name, quantity desired and unit price.

Picture Recorder name-description Size/Type of Media Connection Method MSRP
& Our price
Interested in Olympus Digital Dictation Products?  Click here for our Olympus page!
Philips DPM 9600 Digital Recorder with International 4-Position Slide Switch. Includes SpeechExec Pro SW, USB Docking Station, Rechargeable Batteries, USB Cable, Power Supply and License Dongle Includes 128MB SD Card. Can use higher capacity cards Includes Multi-function cradle/docking station, AC Adapter, rechargeable battery pack, & USB Cable for direct attachment MSRP
$499

Your cost: $499

 

Olympus DS-5000 Digital Recorder -- Olympus' next-generation professional recorder -- for serious business dictators needing high fidelity audio and minimal errors in their NaturallySpeaking-transcribed dictation. Includes one 512MB microSD Card. Accepts higher capacity SD/SDHC and microSD cards. Includes Multi-function cradle/docking station, AC Adapter, rechargeable battery pack, & USB Cable for direct attachment MSRP
$599

Your cost: $499
See order form

Olympus DS-4000 Digital Recorder

No longer being manufactured - factory refurbished units starting to become available in small quantities.  If you are using these products already, you may want additional units.
Current product in Olympus product line is DS-5000 above.

Includes one 32MB xD-Picture Card. Can use higher capacity cards Includes Multi-function cradle/docking station, AC Adapter, rechargeable battery pack, & USB Cable for direct attachment MSRP
$549

Your cost: See order form

No longer being manufactured - a few still available

Olympus DS-3000 Digital Recorder

No longer being manufactured - factory refurbished units still available in small quantities.  If you are using these products already, you may want additional units.
Current product in Olympus product line is DS-5000 above.

Includes two 16MB (155 minutes each) Removable SmartMedia Cards.  Can use higher capacity cards Includes USB cable for direct attachment MSRP
$449

Your cost: See order form

Olympus AS-5000 Transcription Kit Works with Olympus recorders  Jump to the AS-5000 page for more info. MSRP
$449

Your cost: See order form

Olympus AS-4000 & AS-3000 Transcription Kits are also available, as well as other products Works with Olympus recorders  Jump to the AS-4000 page for more info. MSRP
$429

Your cost: See order form

No longer being manufactured. 

Dragon NaturallyMobile Digital Recorder -- An older architecture recorder that can be used for general dictation but is not the optimal recorder for NaturallySpeaking.  Has 4MB (40 minutes) integrated memory plus can use 2MB, 4MB or 8MB SmartMedia cards, purchased separately. Includes 9-pin serial cable for direct attachment. 
If no 9-pin serial port, can purchase 9-pin serial to USB converter
$199

Your cost:

Special!

Sony ICD-MS1 Portable Digital Dictation Machine
MSAC-FD2M Floppy Disk Memory Stick Adapter  MSRP = $79.95 $59.95
MSAC-PC2 PC Card Reader - MSRP = $69.95 $49.95
MSAC-PC3 PC Card Reader- MSRP = $69.95 $69.95
Other Readers Available CONTACT US
Includes one 16MB (63 minutes) Removable Sony Memory Stick Card.   Can use higher capacity cards. Requires some type of Memory Stick Reader -- see accessories at left. (Sony PCs all have built-in Memory Stick Readers.) MSRP
$299

Your cost: $199
Special!

Sony ICD-MS515 Portable Digital Dictation Machine Includes one 8MB (64 minutes) Removable Sony Memory Stick Card.   Can use higher capacity cards. Includes USB cable for direct attachment MSRP
$249

Your cost: $239

Sony ICD-BM1 Portable Digital Dictation Machine Includes one 16MB (42 minutes at ST quality) Removable Memory Stick Card. Can use higher capacity cards. Includes USB cable for direct attachment MSRP
$299

Your cost: $279
Special!

Philips DPM (Digital Pocket Memo) 9350 Includes one 16MB (156 minutes) Removable Multimedia/SC Card. Can use higher capacity cards. Includes USB cable for direct attachment MSRP
$299

Your cost: $279
Special!

Norcom Model 2500 Tape-based Dictation Solution = Will Work with NaturallySpeaking

No longer being manufactured - supplies (tapes, couplers still available.)  Also available: Norcom 2700 and Norcom 2550 (Contact us for pricing)

Uses tape - see write-up Coupler - see write-up 2500 no longer avail.

Sony Memory Stick Media

Memory Stick - 32MB

Memory Stick - 64MB

Memory Stick - 128MB

 

 

 

$29

$39

$59

SmartMedia Cards
SmartMedia Card - 16MB

SmartMedia Card - 32MB

SmartMedia Card - 64MB

SmartMedia Card - 128MB

 

 

 

$26

$34

$38

$80

xD Picture Cards -
Used in Olympus DS-4000 and other newer Olympus recorders
Visit our DS-4000 page for prices and to order   See order form

NOTE: If a detail write-up and order form is available, the recorder name is underlined.  Otherwise, the recorder can be ordered by writing its name, description, and price in on our general order form, by clicking here.      Contact us for a quote for any product you don't see listed. 

Services Info

IMAGE Management, LLC has been selling and supporting speech recognition since 1993!  We are a Nuance Gold Certified Partner and Nuance Certified Dragon NaturallySpeaking® Instructors (SCDI) representing the Dragon NaturallySpeaking® product line and related products.  
bulletWe offer Pre-Sales and Post-Sales Speech Recognition Online Support  Go here for our Pre-Sales "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) as well as our collection of information for NaturallySpeaking users.
bulletWill you need assistance to become productive/successful with the product  -- installation, training, customization, etc.?  We offer Speech Recognition Services.

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