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VN-120PC Digital Voice Recorder

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What are the specifications for this model?

Olympus VN-120PC Digital Voice Recorder

Olympus VN-120PC Digital Voice Recorder
Product Number 141732
Shipping date: April 2004
Box Contents
VN-120PC Digital Voice Recorder
USB 2.0 Cable (CB-USB4)
Two AAA Alkaline Batteries
CD-ROM: Digital Wave Player
Instruction Manual
Warranty Card

Specifications
Model VN-120PC
Recording Format ADPCM (WAVE)
Recording Media 16 MB built-in Flash memory
Recording Time HQ mode: 43 minutes
SP mode: 1 hour 5 minutes
LP mode: 2 hours 1 minute
Card Format n/a
Input Level -70 dBv
PC Interface USB
LCD 23 x 23 mm
LED 2 colors (red = record/transfer, green = playback)
Folder Messages 3 folders, 100 messages per folder
Sampling Frequency HQ mode: 16.0 kHz
SP mode: 10.6 kHz
LP mode: 5.75 kHz
Overall Frequency Response HQ mode: 300 - 7,200 Hz
SP Mode: 300 - 4,700 Hz
LP Mode: 300 - 2,600 Hz
LP Mode Yes
Voice Activation Available, Switchable ON/OFF
Demographic Data Input n/a
Practical Maximum Output 120 mW
Write Protection n/a
Speaker Built-in 28 mm round dynamic speaker
Microphone Built-in condenser microphone (monaural)
Microphone Jack 3.5 mm mini-jack, impedance 2 kohms
Earphone Jack 3.5 mm mini-jack, impedance 8 ohms
Power Supply 2 AAA Alkaline or 2 AAA NiMH batteries (BR-401)
External Power Supply n/a
Battery Life Alkaline: Approx. 25 hours
NiMH: Approx. 19 hours
Size 3.9" x 1.5" x .8" (99 x 39 x 21.5 mm) excluding protrusions
Weight 2.4 oz (68 g) including alkaline batteries
OS Supported Windows® 98, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, and Windows Vista
CPU Intel Pentium 166 MHz or faster
Sound Board Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 or 100% compatible sound card
Video Card and Display 800 x 600 pixels or more, 256 colors or more
USB Port One free port
Audio Output Earphone output or speakers

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What are the main features of this model?

The Olympus VN-120PC digital voice recorder records in ADPCM (Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation) WAVE audio format. The three recording quality modes provide options for recording high-quality sound files or expanding the memory capacity by using a lower-quality recording mode. The VN-120PC also has options for setting an alarm. The microphone and earphone jacks allow the use of audio accessories.

The bundled Digital Wave Player software and USB cable enable the downloading of audio files to a computer, where they can be managed and archived. The Digital Wave Player software supports the renaming of audio files and creating custom folders for archiving files.

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What is the difference between the VN-120PC and the VN-120 digital voice recorders?

The VN-120PC ships with a USB cable and software so that recordings can be downloaded to a computer for storage, management and editing. The VN-120 cannot be connected to a computer.

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Which computer operating systems support the VN-120PC?

The VN-120PC is supported by Windows® 98, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, and Windows Vista. Digital Wave Player v. 2.1 is required for Windows Vista compatibility. The VN-120PC is not compatible with Windows XP 64 bit or Windows Vista 64-bit.

The VN-120PC is not compatible with Macintosh™ operating systems.

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What is ADPCM?

Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation (ADPCM) compresses files by saving them as WAVE files with a bit depth of four bits rather than the 16 bits typical of other audio formats. It also uses the built-in flash memory more efficiently by comparing a sound wave to a previous sound wave and digitizing the difference.

The support software for Olympus digital voice recorders that use WAVE files is Digital Wave Player.

Note:WAVE files are very large and difficult to e-mail because of their size. If you are required to regularly e-mail files for transcription, you may wish to consider an Olympus digital recorder that uses the DSS audio format.

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What is the DSS audio format?

Digital Speech Standard (DSS) is a proprietary audio compression format jointly developed by Olympus, Philips, and Grundig. DSS compresses files approximately 12 times, so it is an ideal format for transferring files by e-mail. The DSS compression format also extends the recording capacity of the recorder's flash memory due to the smaller files it creates.

The VN-120PC does not support the DSS audio format.

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I recently purchased a newer VN-Series recorder that shipped with Digital Wave Player version 2.1. Will this software support my VN-120PC?

Digital Wave Player version 2.1 is backward compatible with the VN-120PC through the VN-960PC and also with the VN-2100PC, VN-3100PC, and VN-4100PC. Digital Wave Player v.2.1 must be installed to support the VN-2100PC, VN-3100PC, and VN-4100PC. Digital Wave Player v. 2.1 is required for Windows Vista compatibility.

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Can I save my audio files to an audio CD?

Audio files from VN-Series digital voice recorders cannot be saved to an audio CD for playback in a music player. This is because the bit depth used to expand the memory capacity in the recorder cannot be converted into a format with the file properties necessary to create an audio CD. The files can be saved to a data CD that can be played on a computer using the bundled Digital Wave Player version 2.1 software.

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How much recording time is available in the VN-120PC?

The length of the potential recording time available in the VN-120PC is governed by the recording quality mode that is selected. An HQ (High Quality) mode recording uses more memory than an LP (Long Play) quality mode recording because the HQ mode makes a more-detailed digital record and uses more memory then the LP mode.

The table below shows the approximate maximum dictation recording times possible in the VN-120PC in the different quality modes:

 
Quality Mode Maximum Dictation Recording Time
HQ mode Approx. 43 minutes
SP mode Approx. 1 hour 5 minutes
LP mode Approx. 2 hours 1 minute

Notes: Recording times are estimates based on the recording of one continuous file. The total available recording time may be less if several files are recorded. Recording time is a measure of memory capacity and is not a guarantee of battery life.

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How is the VN-120PC turned off?

The HOLD switch is the power ON/OFF switch on the VN-120PC. It is recommended to set the HOLD switch to HOLD when replacing the batteries to preserve the time and date settings.

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How is the recording volume controlled?

The VN-120PC always records at 100% volume level to prevent accidentally recording with the volume set too low.

The recorder has two microphone sensitivity levels:

  • LOW is a low sensitvity level used for close-up recording.
  • HIGH is a high sensitvity level used in conference or lecture situations.

Microphone sensitvity is set in the recorder Menu. The function is identified by an icon that looks like a microphone.

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How is the playback volume controlled?

The playback volume is controlled using the VOLUME control dial on the right side of the recorder.

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Can the playback speed be controlled?

Pressing the PLAY button during playback changes the playback speed to -20% normal speed. SLOW appears on the LCD screen during slow playback. Pressing PLAY a second time changes the playback speed to +30% normal speed. FAST appears on the LCD screen during fast playback. Pressing the STOP button stops the playback and resets the recorder to normal playback speed.

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How can I format the VN-120PC?

The VN-120PC is formatted using the CLEAR function. Using the CLEAR function erases the time and date settings as well as all of the files, so be certain the files are saved elsewhere before clearing the recorder. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Hold the STOP button and ERASE button simultaneously for 3 seconds or longer.
  2. Press the + or - button to select YES.
  3. Press the ENTER button. The recorder will be formatted.

In some instances, using the CLEAR function will reset the recorder if it is performing erratically. Files deleted using the CLEAR function cannot be retrieved.

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What is VCVA?

Variable Control Voice Actuator (VCVA) is a function that configures the recorder to record automatically only when sound is detected at a pre-set level and to stop when the sound drops below the threshold level. The purpose of the function is to eliminate "dead air" during recordings, thereby conserving memory and shortening file times.

VCVA is enabled in the recorder menu.

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How are files erased from the VN-120PC?

Individual selected files or the entire contents of a selected folder can be erased from the VN-120PC.

To erase a selected file from Folder A, B, or C:

  1. Press the MENU/FOLDER button to select Folder A, B, or C.
  2. Press the - or + button to select the file to be erased.
  3. Press the ERASE button.
  4. Press the - or + button to select YES.
  5. Press the ENTER button.

To erase the contents of Folder A, B, or C:

  1. Press the MENU/FOLDER button to select Folder A, B, or C.
  2. Press the ERASE button twice.
  3. Press the - or + button to select YES.
  4. Press the ENTER button.

Erased files cannot be retrieved.

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How are the date and time set on the VN-120PC digital voice recorder?

The following procedure should be used to set the date and time on the recorder:

  1. Press and hold the MENU button for 1 second or longer
  2. Press the STOP or PLAY button until "TIME" flashes on the display
  3. Press the ENTER button
  4. Press the STOP or PLAY button to set the hour.
  5. Press the ENTER button to accept the minute. The minute indicator flashes. Pressing the "-" button enables the hour setting.
  6. Press the STOP or PLAY button to set the minute
  7. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to continue to set the year, month and date in the same way.
  8. After setting the date, press the ENTER button. This completes the time/date setup procedure.
  9. Press the MENU button to exit.

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How does the ALARM function work?

The ALARM function can be set to play back an audio file at a pre-determined time. This means the VN-120PC can be used for audio reminders or as a travel alarm. An alarm setting must be attached to a particular file in a particular folder. The recorder does not have to be set to the folder being used--when the alarm time comes, the recorder finds the file.

To set an alarm:

  1. Select or record a message file to be linked to the alarm.
  2. Open the Menu by pressing the MENU/FOLDER button for three seconds.
  3. Using the STOP or PLAY buttons scroll to the ALARM menu icon (looks like a dot with double-parentheses around it).
  4. SET flashes on the LCD screen. Press the ENTER button.
  5. Enter the alarm time by setting the hour with the STOP or PLAY buttons. Press the + button to select the minutes setting, and set the minutes using the STOP or PLAY button.
  6. Press the ENTER button to set the time.

When the alarm goes off, it will beep for five minutes or until any button is pressed to play the recording. The alarm will sound even if the HOLD switch is in the power OFF position. The alarm will sound daily until the ALARM function is set to OFF.

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How are folders created and renamed in Digital Wave Player?

Digital Wave Player allows you to create and rename folders and subfolders within its storage hierarchy in order to facilitate efficient management of large numbers of audio files.

In the example below, Folder B has been divided into a series of sub-folders. The able and baker folders are subfolders of Folder B. The charlie folder is a subfolder of baker.


Subfolders can be named with up to 20 characters. Spaces are allowed, but some characters -- such as backslash, ampersand, and colon -- may not be employed because they serve other functions in computer languages. Using purely numeric naming models may create problems when archiving audio files, therefore alphabetical or alphanumeric combinations are recommended.

To rename a folder, right-click on it, then left-click Rename Folder and overwrite the folder name.

To create a new folder or subfolder, right-click on the folder and then left-click on Create Folder. In the Create New Folder dialog box, type in the new folder name and click OK.

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How are files renamed in Digital Wave Player?

Files can be renamed in Digital Wave Player with up to 17 characters. Renaming a file with more than 17 characters will render the file unplayable. Spaces are allowed, but some characters -- such as backslash, ampersand, and colon -- may not be employed because they serve other functions in computer languages. Using purely numeric naming models may create problems when archiving audio files, therefore alphabetical or alphanumeric combinations are recommended.

To rename a file, right-click on it, then left-click on Rename File and overwrite the file name. Optionally, you may instead highlight the file, select Rename File in the Edit menu, and overwrite the file name.

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What are index marks?

Index marks are annotations that can be placed in a file during recording or playback to provide a quick and easy way of navigating to important sections of a file.

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How do I reset the recorder to its factory default settings?

Hold the [STOP] button and the [ERASE] simultaneously for three seconds or longer until the word "CLEAR” is displayed on the screen. Release the buttons and then select “YES” from the menu by using the “+” or “–“ button. Press the [ENTER] button. The word “CHK” will display briefly during the reset process. When the process is complete, the date and time will need to be reset.

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Can I use rechargeable batteries in the VN-120PC digital voice recorder?

Yes. Optional rechargeable Olympus batteries are available from authorized dealers and also directly online from The Olympus Store. To order the BR-401 Ni-MH Battery Pack (Product #147423), which includes four Olympus AAA rechargeable NiMH batteries, click here.

The B-90SU Ni-MH Battery & Quick Charger Set (Product # 200899) includes the BU-400 Battery Charger, which is required to charge the BR-401 batteries. To order the B-90SU battery charger, click here.

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What is the battery life expectancy of the VN-120PC?

Battery life is estimated by Olympus, but varies according to the type of batteries and the conditions in which they are used.

The bundled AAA alkaline batteries can last for approximately 25 hours. The optional Olympus BR-401 AAA rechargeable NiMH batteries can last for approximately 19 hours per charge and can be recharged about 300 times.

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What types of earphones or headphones can be used with the VN-120PC digital voice recorder?

This recorder accepts monaural earphones and headphones with a standard 3.5mm jack.

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I don’t hear any sound or I hear quiet sound from the speaker during playback,. What could be wrong?

The earphone plug may be plugged into the recorder or the volume may be set to the minimum level.

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I have switched the HOLD button so that the voice recorder is activated, but nothing happens. What could be wrong?

The batteries may be depleted or inserted incorrectly. Hold the voice recorder in an upright position, and insert the batteries in the battery compartment so that the positive terminals are facing downward on BOTH batteries.

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Nothing happens when I press a button. What could be wrong?

Please check the following:

  • The HOLD button may be set to HOLD.
  • The batteries may be depleted.
  • The batteries may be inserted incorrectly.

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A message stating that the remaining recording time in the selected folder may have reached “00:00” is displayed. What could be wrong?

You may have reached the limit of 100 files. To verify this, press the REC button. If the LCD displays the word “FULL,” files must be deleted to allow for new recordings. If the LCD does not display the word “FULL,” then the number of files may have reached the limit of 10 files in a date subfolder in folder “S.” Files will need to be deleted from that folder.

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