updated 02:40 pm EST, Thu January 4, 2007
Olympus voice recorders
Olympus is releasing three new digital voice recorders that defy their categorization. Beyond voice, the DS-30, DS-40 and DS-50 not only play MP3 and WMA music files, but also audiobooks from Audible.com, and podcasts that can be downloaded automatically when hooked up to a PC. Users simply drag RSS feeds into a recorder's podcast folder. In regards to actual recording, each model has a detachable stereo microphone, as well as an internal mono mic for backup. Sensitivity can be adjusted to lecture, conference and dictation settings, while noise cancellation can be set to low-cut, voice, or noise. An "extra-quality" SXQ mode will record audio at 44.1KHz and 128Kbps. Two AAA batteries supply up to 32 hours of use. The DS-30 holds 256MB and costs $150; the 512MB DS-40 costs $200, and the 1GB DS-50 is priced at $250. All of the recorders should be available this month.