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WS-311M

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What are the specifications of the WS-311M?

WS-311M Digital Voice Recorder

Olympus WS-311M Digital Voice Recorder
Product Number 141947
Shipping Date: September 2007

Box Contents
WS-311M Digital Voice Recorder
Stereo Earphones
One AAA Alkaline Battery
USB Cable
Instruction Manual
Warranty Card


Specifications
Model WS-311M
Recording Format WMA (Windows Media Audio)
Recording Media Built-in 512 MB Flash memory
Recording Time¹ Stereo XQ mode: approx. 8 hours 50 minutes
Stereo HQ mode: approx.17 hours 40 minutes
Stereo SP mode: approx. 35 hours 25 minutes
HQ mode: approx. 35 hours 25 minutes
SP mode: approx. 29 hours 40 minutes
LP mode: approx. 138 hours 40 minutes
Card Format n/a
Input Level -70 dBv
PC Interface USB direct, 2.0 Full Speed
LCD 23 x 18 mm
LED Record/Playback: red (record), green (playback)
USB access: red (data transfer)
Folder Messages 5 folders, 200 messages per folder
Sampling Frequency Stereo XQ mode: 44.1 kHz
Stereo HQ mode: 44.1 kHz
Stereo SP mode: 44.1 kHz
HQ mode: 44.1 kHz
SP mode: 22.0 kHz
LP mode: 8.0 kHz
Overall Frequency Response Stereo XQ mode: 50-19,000 Hz²
Stereo HQ mode: 50-15,000 Hz
Stereo SP mode: 50-9,000 Hz
HQ mode: 50-13,000 Hz
SP mode: 100-7,000 Hz
LP mode: 100-3,000 Hz
LP Mode Yes
Voice Activation Available, Switchable On/Off
Demographic Data Input n/a
Practical Maximum Output 70 mW
Write Protection n/a
Speaker Built-in 18 mm round dynamic speaker
Microphone Jack 3.5 mm mini-jack, impedance 2 kohms
Earphone Jack 3.5 mm mini-jack, impedance 8 ohms
Power Supply 1 AAA Alkaline or 1 NiMH battery
External Power Supply USB
Battery Life Alkaline
Recording:

Stereo XQ mode: Approx. 11.5 hours
Stereo HQ mode: Approx. 13.5 hours
Stereo SP mode: Approx. 14.5 hours
HQ mode: Approx. 16 hours
SP mode: Approx. 16.5 hours
LP mode: Approx. 21 hours
Playback:(all modes)
Speaker playback: Approx. 7 hours
Earphone playback: Approx. 15 hours
NiMH (BR-401)
Recording:
Stereo XQ mode: Approx. 9.5 hours
Stereo HQ mode: Approx. 11.5 hours
Stereo SP mode: Approx. 12 hours
HQ mode: Approx. 12.5 hours
SP mode: Approx. 12.5 hours
LP mode: Approx. 15 hours
Playback :(all modes)
Speaker playback: Approx. 6 hours
Earphone playback: Approx. 11.5 hours
Size 3.7" x 1.5" x 0.4" (94.8 x 38.6 x 11.0 mm), excluding protrusions
Weight 1.7 oz. (47 grams) including battery
OS Supported³ Windows® 2000 Professional / Windows XP Professional / Windows XP Home Edition /Windows Vista™
USB Port One free port
Audio Output Earphone output or speakers

¹ Available recording time may be less if many short recordings are made. All figures are approximate. Available Recording Time and Recording Time displayed on the LCD screen are approximate indications.

² When recorded with the built-in stereo microphone, the frequency response is from 50-15,000 Hz. The recorder is capable of storing frequencies up to 19,000 Hz when used with an accessory microphone capable of recording those frequencies.

³Only manufacturer-installed operating systems are supported. Operation is not guaranteed on computers whose operating systems have been upgraded from Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, or Windows ME, or that have been custom installed.

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What are the main features of the WS-311M?

The WS-311M is a combination digital voice recorder/music player/mass storage device. Its built-in Flash memory can store 512 MB of data, which equates to more than 138 hours of voice recordings in the LP mode or up to 120 songs in Music mode. As a mass storage device (e.g. USB flash memory drive), it can also be used to transfer files from one computer to another. The USB connector is built-in, so it can connect to most computers without a seperate cable. To expose the connector, remove the battery holder.

Because the WS-311M records in WMA (Windows Media Audio) format, its files are supported natively by Windows Media Player. This means Windows computers do not require additional software to download and manage the files. The earphone jack permits playback through earphones. The microphone jack accomodates accessory microphones in place of the built-in stereo microphone.

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How much recording time is available in the WS-311M?

The length of the potential recording time available in the WS-311M is governed by the quality mode that is selected. When a quality mode is selected, a number of audio file properties are put into place that determine the level of detail of the saved file data. A higher-quality data file saves more detailed information and creates a larger data file that uses more memory space. A lower-quality recording makes a less-detailed data file, so the memory goes a lot farther. The table below shows the maximum recording times possible (assuming there are no other files saved on the recorder).

Quality Mode Maximum Recording Time
Stereo XQ Mode 8 Hours 50 Minutes
Stereo HQ Mode 17 Hours 40 Minutes
Stereo SP Mode 35Hours 25 minutes
HQ Mode 35 Hours 25 Minutes
SP Mode 69 Hours 40 Minutes
LP Mode 138 Hours 30 Minutes

The different quality modes save the digital record of the recording with different levels of faithfulness to the original sound. The Stereo HQ Mode is recommended for music, drama, or interviews that may be made for broadcast. Stereo HQ (High Quality) Mode makes a very detailed digital record of the sound and uses a very wide frequency range that uses up the available Flash memory very rapidly. Lower-quality modes, such as SP (Standard play) and LP (Long Play), make a less detailed digital record of the sound and use a narrower frequency range and use up the available Flash memory much more slowly. These modes would be used for audio note-taking or recording college lectures or seminars in which large content is more important than high audio quality.

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How is the Flash memory shared by the voice and music folders?

The WS-311M has 512 MB of Flash memory. A small amount of that memory is reserved for the "overhead"--firmware and system files needed to run the recorder. The remaining free memory is shared among the various folders--Folders A through E--and the MUSIC folder, plus any files that may be saved to the recorder as a mass storage device.

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What are the Windows system requirements for the WS-311M?

The WS-311M is supported by Windows ME/2000 Professional/XP Professional/ XP Home Edition, and Windows Vista. Earlier versions do not have the USB drivers needed to connect the WS-311M. The WS-311M is also not compatible with Windows XP 64 bit.

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Can the WS-311M be used on a Macintosh computer?

The WS-311M can be used on a Macintosh computer that has Windows Media Player for Mac installed. Windows Media Player for Mac can be downloaded for free at Microsoft's web site. The WS-311M is not compatible with iTunes. If the files are opened using iTunes, the files will become corrupted and rendered unplayable.

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Since the recorder does not come with support software, how do I download and manage my recordings?

The WS-311M is designed to work with the Windows operating system. The support software and drivers are native to the Windows operating system, so no additional software is needed.

When the recorder is connected to the computer's USB port, the computer detects it and it appears in My Computer as a Removable Disk drive. The drive letter assigned to the recorder depends on the number of drives recognized by the computer. In this example, the assigned drive letter is E:\

Double-clicking on the drive letter or icon that represents the recorder will display the contents of the device's memory. Clicking on any of the folders will display the files within the folder. Shown below are the contents of Folder A.

Files can be copied and pasted onto the desktop or in a folder. Alternatively, export files by selecting them and choosing File > Save As from the menu bar.

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How are music files imported into the WS-311M using a Windows computer?

Note: The following instructions pertain to Windows Media Player version 11, which is included standard with the Windows Vista operating system. It is also available as a free upgrade from Microsoft.

  1. Save music tracks from CDs or Internet downloads to the Library in Windows Media Player.
  2. Connect the WS-311M to the computer's USB port.
  3. Click [Sync] on the Windows Media Player toolbar. The Sync List window opens to the right of the Library.
  4. Select the tracks to transfer from the Library and drag them into the Sync List.

  1. Click on the [Start Sync] button.

Windows Media Player will transfer the music tracks into the WS-311M. When the sync is completed, a display will show how much free memory remains in the recorder.

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How are CD music tracks imported into the WS-311M using a Macintosh computer?

To create music files that can be imported into a WS-311M, the CD tracks must be ripped into the iTunes music library as mp3 files and dragged and dropped into the WS-311M. The following procedure details each step:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. In the MENU bar, click on iTunes.
  3. In the drop down box, click on Preferences.
  4. In the dialog box that appears, click on the Advanced tab and then on the Importing button. The setting box shown below is displayed.


  5. In the Import Using: field, select MP3 Encoder. The Setting: field can be used to customize mp3 properties. The higher the bit rate (measured in kilobytes/second, or kbps), the higher the sound quality will be. Slower bit rates result in smaller files that maximize the recorder's storage capacity. Select the desired setting, then click OK.
  6. With the iTunes window open, put a music CD in the CD-ROM drawer. Click on the check boxes beside the tracks that are to be added to the library.


  7. Start ripping the music tracks by clicking on the Import CD button.


  8. Connect the WS-311M to the computer's USB port. The recorder will appear on the Desktop as an Untitled drive. Drag and drop the music tracks into the Untitled drive icon. The mp3 files will be transferred to the music folder in the WS-311M.


  9. Disconnect the WS-311M from the computer by dragging the Untitled drive icon to the Trash icon.

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What music formats does the WS-311M accept?

The WS-311M will accept and play audio files Windows Media Audio (WMA) and mp3 formats. It records exclusively in WMA format.

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Can I rename files in my recorder while it is connected to a computer?

It is not recommended. The recorder's file-management software may not be able to find a renamed file.

Ideally, files should be renamed prior to syncing with the recorder. Use the computer's file browsing program (My Computer or Windows Explorer on Windows systems) to rename the source music file before adding it to the Windows Media Player Library.

Never rename a file in the recorder's Flash memory. When the recorder is connected to a computer, the computer's browsing program displays the contents of the recorder's Flash memory. The Sync List window of Windows Media Player's Sync tab is also connected directly to the Flash memory of the recorder. Renaming a music file using any of these methods may corrupt a file and render it unusable.

To change the name of a file after it has been synced with the recorder, do the following:

  1. Rename the file on the Windows Media Player Library tab (not the Sync tab).
  2. Connect the recorder to any free USB port on the computer.
  3. In Windows Media Player, switch to the Sync tab and sync the renamed file. This will place a second copy of the file on the recorder.
  4. Safely disconnect the recorder.
  5. Use the recorder's menu to navigate to the original file and delete it. The renamed version will remain.

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How can I safely disconnect the recorder from a Windows computer?

Any USB device should be disconnected from a Windows computer using the [Safely Remove Hardware] button located in the Taskbar in the lower right corner of the Desktop screen. The button's icon features a green arrow suspended over a device.

Any open files should be closed before starting the disconnect process. Simply removing the device from the USB port without using the recommended disconnect procedure can result in corrupted files or firmware.

Double-clicking on the [Safely Remove Hardware] icon opens a dialog box that shows all hardware devices with open USB connections to the computer.


Select the device to be disconnected by clicking once on its name, and then click on the [Stop] button. This will launch another dialog box to confirm the identity of the device that is to be stopped. Clicking the [OK] button closes the device's USB connection.



Once the connection has been closed, the Desktop screen will display a message balloon above the taskbar indicating that it is safe to disconnect the hardware.

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How can I safely disconnect the recorder from a Macintosh computer?

Any USB device should be disconnected from a Macintosh computer by dragging the [Untitled] drive icon that represents the device over the Trash icon and dropping it. Simply removing the device from the USB port without using the recommended disconnect procedure can result in corrupted files or firmware.

Any open files should be closed before starting the disconnect process.

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How can I transfer a recorder from another device into the WS-311M?

Analog sound files can be imported and exported to other audio devices using a male/male patch cord with 3.5 mm plugs on each end. Olympus makes a patch cord--the KA-333 Compaticord (item # 145122) for this purpose.

To import a file into the WS-311M, put one end of the KA-333 into the microphone jack of the WS-311M and the other end into the earphone jack of the other device. Press [RECORD] in the WS-311M and then [PLAY] in the other device.

To export a file from the WS-311M, put one end of the KA-333 into the earphone jack of the WS-311M and the other end into the microphone or input jack of the receiving device. Press [RECORD] in the receiving device and then [PLAY] in the WS-311M.

The jacks in the WS-311M have a maximum input voltage of 10 VDC. Higher voltages may damage the recorder.

Note:The KA-333 Compaticord is available for purchase from Olympus' online store. Click here to order.

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Will using an accessory microphone with an extended frequency range improve the quality of my recordings?

The WS-311M has an overall frequency response of 50 Hz to 19,000 Hz in the Stereo XQ quality mode; however, its built-in stereo microphones can at best achieve an overall frequency response of 50 Hz to 15,000 Hz. Therefore, using an accessory microphone with a frequency range that extends up to 19,000 Hz can improve the quality of recordings made in the Stereo XQ mode.

However, the different quality modes modify the detail of the saved file data by saving some frequencies and discarding others. This is how the recorder varies the potential recording time and uses the built-in flash memory more efficiently. Except in Stereo HQ mode, the recorder will cap the overall frequency response at 50 Hz to 15,000 Hz even though an accessory microphone may be able to capture a wider range of frequencies.

The table below shows the overall frequency response in the different quality modes:

Quality Mode Overall Frequency Response
Stereo XQ Mode 50-19,000 Hz¹
Stereo HQ Mode 50-15,000 Hz
Stereo SP Mode 50-9,000 Hz
HQ Mode 50-13,000 Hz
SP Mode 100-7,000 Hz
LP Mode 100-3,000 Hz

¹ The overall frequency response is 50-15,000 Hz when using the built-in stereo microphones.

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Can the playback speed be controlled?

Pressing the [PLAY] button once during playback decreases the playback speed by 25%. Pressing the [PLAY] button a second time increases the speed by 50%. Pressing [STOP] stops the playback and returns playback to normal speed.

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How is the playback volume controlled?

The playback volume is controlled during playback using the [+] (plus) and [-] (minus) buttons on the four-way rocker switch on the recorder face. [+] increases the playback volume. [-] reduces the playback volume.

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How is the recording volume controlled?

The WS-311M always records at 100% volume level to prevent accidentally recording with the volume set too low.

The recorder has two microphone sensitivity levels:

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

Microphone sensitvity is set via the [MIC SENSE] function in the recorder menu.

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What is VCVA?

Variable Control Voice Actuator (VCVA) is a function that sets up the recorder to record only when sound is detected at a preset level. This extends the recording time by not recording "dead air" or background noise that can use up memory.

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What does SRS WOW do in the MUSIC Mode?

SRS WOW is audio technology that uses the scientific principles of psychacoustics to create a psychological impression of the music players' sound space.

SRS 3D (Sound Retrieval System) enhances the surround sound effect. TruBass gives the impression of bass "punch" in earbuds without using a subwoofer. Both effects have HIGH, MIDDLE, LOW and OFF settings.

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What does the EQ function do in the MUSIC Mode?

The EQ (Equalizer) function is a graphic equalizer used to further customize the recorder's sound space. EQ allows the user to select several audio environments that create variations in the emphasis of different frequency ranges. The options are Flat (default), Rock, Pop, Jazz, and User. The User option allows the user to select a frequency band using the [REW] and [FF] buttons. The band options in User are 60 Hz, 250 Hz, 1 kHz, 4 kHz, and 12 kHz.

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What are Index Marks?

Index Marks are tags that can be inserted while recording or during playback.They are used to skip forward and backward in recordings to pre-selected points. Up to 16 Index Marks can be added to a single file.

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How is the recorder turned off?

The [HOLD] switch is the recorder's ON/OFF switch.

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My recorder freezes and I get the following error message: "Cannot find the system file. Connect to PC to delete the necessary files." What is the problem?

The size of the source folder from which music files have been ripped has exceeded the available Flash memory in the recorder.When this occurs, the directory in the recorder runs out of sufficient space to complete the directory entries for the excess music tracks. Some tracks must be deleted to free up space in the memory.

Connect the recorder to the computer. Use the file-browsing application ( My Computer or Windows Explorer in Windows operating systems or Finder for Macintosh operating systems ) to select the drive that represents the recorder and click on [Properties]. The display shows the amount of Used Space and Free Space in the recorder's memory. Note how much space needs to be freed up, and then exit the Properties view. Double-click on the drive that represents the recorder and open a Voice folder or the Music folder. Delete tracks until sufficient free space has been created.

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How are dictation and music files erased?

To erase a selected file, first press the [ERASE] button. Next, press the [+] (plus) or [-] (minus) button to select "ERASE," and then press the [ERASE] or [OK] button.

To erase all files in a folder, first select the folder and press the [ERASE] button for three seconds or longer. Next, press the [+] (plus) or [-] (minus) button to select "ALL ERASE." Finally, press the [ERASE] or [OK] button.

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I want to clear my recorder of all the loaded files. How do I format the recorder?

The recorder should be formatted using only by using the internal FORMAT function found in the recorder's Menu. Formatting using the computer may corrupt system files needed to run the recorder, so computer formatting is not recommended. Individual files can be deleted using the computer with no negative effects.

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While recording a file, the battery ran out. Now I can't play or find the file. Why?

When a recording session begins, a file is created to contain the incoming audio content. This file remains open throughout the session until the recording is manually stopped. If the recorder lasts longer than five minutes, the recorder will save the audio content at five-minute intervals.

If the battery runs out during a recording session, only the portion of the recording that has been saved will be available for retrieval. For example, if a recording session is interrupted by power loss at the 37th minute, the audio file of the recording will contain only the first 35 minutes worth of content. The remaining two minutes worth of content is not available because it was never saved to the file. In the case of recordings that are shorter than five minutes, the entire recording will be lost because the file is not able to close due to the lack of power. 

It is crucial to change the battery once the battery indicator shows only one hash mark of power remaining. Removing the battery while the recorder is in use may also corrupt a file.

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How long does the battery last?

One AAA alkaline battery will power a WS-311M for approximately 21 hours in the LP recording mode.

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Is there an AC adapter for the WS-311M?

An AC adapter is not available for the WS-311M. When the recorder is connected to a computer, the computer's USB port powers the device.

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How can the blind and visually impaired set the time and date in the WS-311M?

The WS-311M has built-in audio cues that can help the blind and visually impaired users set the time and date.

When the recorder is in the Time & Date menu, the four-way keypad is used to set the hour, minute, month, day, and year variables. Each variable has a baseline value, and pressing the PLUS (UP) and MINUS (DOWN) buttons on the keypad will ascend and descend the values, respectively. When the PLUS (UP) button is pressed, the recorder issues a high-pitched beep. When the MINUS (DOWN) button is pressed, the recorder issues a low-pitched beep. When the baseline value for any variable is reached from either direction, the audio cue for that value becomes a chirp. Once a baseline value has been identified, setting the time and date becomes a simple matter of counting beeps.

The baseline values for hour, minute, month, day, and year are, respectively, 12 AM, 00,1M, 1D, and 2007Y.

Setting the Time & Date

  1. Launch the recorder menu by turning the recorder on in the VOICE mode and holding down the OK/MENU button for one second.
  2. Press the PLUS (UP) button once to select Sub Menu.
  3. Press the FAST FORWARD (RIGHT) button once to open the Sub Menu.
  4. Press the MINUS (DOWN) button once to open the Time & Date menu. The first variable to be set is the hour. Press the PLUS (UP) button or MINUS (DOWN) button until the recorder chirps instead of beeps. The chirp means the hour variable has been set to its baseline value of 12 AM.
  5. Press the PLUS (UP) button the number of times necessary to arrive at the correct hour value. Remember: The baseline value for hour is 12 AM. Therefore, the first eleven button presses represent AM values. It may be quicker to press the MINUS (DOWN) button and count backward from 12 AM if the correct time is a PM value.
  6. Press the FAST FORWARD (RIGHT) button to move to the minute variable. Press the PLUS (UP) or MINUS (DOWN) button until the recorder chirps instead of beeps. The chirp means the minute variable has been set to its baseline value of 00.
  7. Press the PLUS (UP) button the number of times necessary to arrive at the correct minute value. If it would be quicker to count backward to the minute value, the MINUS (DOWN) button can be used to arrive at the correct minute value.
  8. Press the FAST FORWARD(RIGHT) button to move to the month variable. Press the PLUS (UP) or MINUS (DOWN) button until the recorder chirps instead of beeps. The chirp means the month variable has been set to its baseline value of 1M, representing January.
  9. Press the PLUS (UP) button the number of times necessary to arrive at the correct month value. If it would be quicker to count backward to the month value, the MINUS (DOWN) button can be used to arrive at the correct month value.
  10. Press the FAST FORWARD (RIGHT) button to move to the day variable. press the PLUS (UP) or MINUS (DOWN) button until the recorder chirps instead of beeps. The chirp means the day variable has been set to its baseline value of 1D, representing the first day of the month.
  11. Press the PLUS (UP) button the number of times necessary to arrive at the correct day value. If it would be quicker to count backward to the day value, the MINUS (DOWN) button can be used to arrive at the correct day value.
  12. Press the FAST FORWARD (RIGHT) button to select the year variable. use either the PLUS (UP) or MINUS (DOWN) button to select a year value. The baseline, 2007Y, is identified by a chirp.
  13. Press the STOP button (center button on the right side of the recorder) to set the time and date settings and close the menu.

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