Olympus have long been the market leaders in both tape and more recently digital voice recorders and dictaphones in Australia and I am sure in most parts of the world. Olympus Voice in Australia is run from their head office in Melbourne with an additional office located in Sydney.
In 2009 Olympus Australia have been very agressive with updates to their product range and we have seen a number of recorders discontinued and replaced with newer models. The greatest impact of changes in product line have affected the digital dictaphone range, most commonly used by for single speaker audio and very popular in the medical and legal fields. The product range now comprises the DS-2400 (replaced the DS-2300), DS-3400 (replaced the DS-3300) and the DS-5000 (replaced the very popular DS-4000).
All the Olympus digital dictaphones now by default record in the new DSS Pro (Digital Speech Standard) audio format which creates .ds2 audio files. This is great to see Olympus moving forward with product lines which are advancing with audio technology but this can give smaller transcription companies some issues. DSS Pro is a licenced audio format meaning its audio codec is not openly available restricting transcription of these audio files to companies or individuals with official Olympus transcription module software, generally bundled in an official Olympus transcription kit. Many small transcription businesses rely on free or open source software for transcription, the most common free transcription software is Express Scribe from NCH SwiftSound, ExpressScribe is not able to play .ds2 audio files.
The Transcription People use a mix of transcription software, we regularly use ExpressScribe but that is also complemented with some of our Windows PCs and Macs running Olympus DSS Player Pro 5 transcription software for the times when we receive .ds2 audio files from our clients, a trend which is growing as more clients start to upgrade or replace their digital dictaphones.
If you use an Olympus dictaphone and are looking for an Australian based transcription service, one question you should be asking when you shop around is “can you transcibe .ds2 audio files?”.