Product Support


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What are the main features of this model?

The VN-5200PC captures high-quality digital recordings in the Windows Media Audio® (WMA) file format. WMA files can be played in Windows Media Player and QuickTime® Player, and they are also compatible with popular voice-to-text transcription software.

The recorder uses native operating system drivers to interface with Windows and Macintosh® computers; therefore, no support software is required to download files to these computers. Just connect the device to the computer with the included USB cable, and the operating system will treat it as an external hard drive. Because the recorder is a Mass Storage Class device, it can also act as a USB flash drive, which means that files can be uploaded to the recorder from the computer, too.

This recorder supports the insertion of Index Marks during recording and playback. These navigational cues are useful for quickly locating important content within a long recording.

Also, this model features VCVA voice-activation technology, which extends recording time by recording only when the microphone senses sound.

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What are Index Marks?

Index Marks are digital tags that can be inserted while recording or during playback. They are used to skip forward or backward in recordings to pre-selected points. Up to 16 index marks can be added to a single file. They are entered by pressing the [FOLDER/INDEX] button on the recorder.

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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 via the recorder's menu.

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What is Voice Recognition?

Voice Recognition technology enables an application to "listen" to the playback of an audio dictation and convert its contents to a text document. The WMA files created by this recorder are compatible with Dragon NaturallySpeaking® 8 Preferred (and later) and IBM ViaVoice Pro USB Edition 10 (and later).

Voice-recognition programs must be trained to understand individual speakers. The applications can create accounts for individual speakers who have read prepared text under controlled conditions into the digital voice recorder used with the applications. A transcriptionist can make corrections to the text, and these can be incorporated by the voice-to-text software to "learn" how the dictator speaks. If users correct their own text files, they can also learn to enunciate words so that the software can better understand their speech patterns and increase the accuracy of the text-file conversion.

Voice recognition performs poorly in meeting or lecture situations because of the presence of untrained voices and varying acoustics that will confuse the software.

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Does the VN-5200PC display in languages other than English?

The recorder's display language can be changed. Models sold in North America have the following display language options: English, Français and Español. The language can be set in the Sub Menu.

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Which computer operating systems support the VN-5200PC?

The VN-5200PC is supported by Windows® 2000 Professional, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition and Windows Vista™ (32- and 64-bit versions).

The VN-5200PC is supported on Macintosh® Mac® OS X operating systems from 10.2.8 "Jaguar" through 10.5 "Leopard."

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What software is needed to manage and play the recordings on a computer?

Because this recorder is a Mass Storage Class device, Windows® and Macintosh® operating systems treat it as an external drive. Files can be transferred between the recorder and the computer using standard drag and drop or copy and paste techniques. No additional software is needed to transfer the files.

On Windows platforms, the recordings can be played in Windows Media Player®, which is native to Windows operating systems. No additional software is required.

To play WMA recordings on Macintosh platforms, it is necessary to download a program that supports the WMA format.

Telestream Inc.’s Flip4Mac® WMV Player, also known as Windows Media Components for QuickTime by Flip4Mac, enables WMA file playback in Apple Computer Inc.’s QuickTime™ Player as well as QuickTime-compatible media players. (Upgrading to QuickTime Player Pro will also enable editing of the WMA files.) For more information, please review these pages maintained by Microsoft and Telestream.

The WMA files created by this recorder are also compatible with the Olympus Sonority family of audio software: OLYMPUS Sonority, OLYMPUS Sonority Plus and OLYMPUS Sonority for Editors: Music. These applications offer a variety of archiving and editing functions, including joining and splitting files and converting recordings into other audio file formats.¹

OLYMPUS Sonority Plus can be purchased online directly from The Olympus Store. After installing the Plus software, the music-editing plug-in can be purchased by clicking on a link on the software's welcome page.

¹OLYMPUS Sonority Plus is required to convert files into MP3 format.

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How much recording time is available in the VN-5200PC?

The length of potential recording time available in the VN-5200PC is governed by the recording quality mode 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 than does the LP mode.

The table below shows the approximate maximum recording times possible in each quality mode:

Quality Mode Maximum Recording Time
HQ mode Approximately 35 hours, 20 minutes
SP mode Approximately 69 hours, 35 minutes
LP mode Approximately 221hours, 30 minutes

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How is the VN-5200PC turned off?

The [HOLD] switch is the recorder's ON/OFF switch. 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-5200PC always records at 100% volume level to prevent accidentally recording with the volume set too low.

The recorder has two levels of microphone sensitivity:

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

Microphone sensitivity is set in the recorder menu.

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How is the playback volume controlled?

The playback volume is controlled using the [+] (plus) and [-] (minus) positions on the 4-way keypad on the recorder's face. Pressing [+] increases the volume. Pressing [-] decreases the volume. The volume levels range from 0 to 30.

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Can playback speed be controlled?

Pressing the [PLAY/OK] button during playback changes the playback speed to 75% normal speed. SLOW appears on the LCD screen during slow playback. Pressing the [PLAY/OK] button a second time changes the playback speed to 150% 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 are files erased from the VN-5200PC?

It is possible to erase individual selected files or the entire contents of a selected folder. Sequential file numbers will be reassigned automatically.

To erase a selected file:

  1. Press the [FOLDER/INDEX] button to select the folder containing the file.
  2. Press the [<<]or [>>] button to select the file.
  3. Press the [ERASE] button.
  4. Press the [>>] button to select Start.
  5. Press the [Play/OK] button.

To erase the contents of a folder:

  1. Press the [FOLDER/INDEX] button to select the folder.
  2. Press the [ERASE] button twice.
  3. Press the [>>] button to select Start.
  4. Press the [Play/OK] button.

Erased files cannot be retrieved. Files set to LOCK will not be erased.

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How can I format the VN-5200PC?

The Format function in the Sub Menu removes all files from the recorder and returns its settings, except the time and date, to the factory defaults. Be certain important files are saved elsewhere before formatting the recorder. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Press and hold the [DISP/MENU] button for one second or longer to enter the Menu.
  2. Press the [<<] or [>>] button to select Sub Menu.
  3. Press the [Play/OK] button.
  4. Press the [<<] or [>>] button to select FORMAT.
  5. Press the [Play/OK] button. OK and >> will flash on the LCD.
  6. Press the [>>] button to select Start.
  7. Press the [Play/OK] button. The LCD shows Data All Cleared for about two seconds and then displays Sure? Cancel.
  8. Press the [>>] button again to select Start.
  9. Press the [Play/OK] button. All stored data, including locked files, will be removed.

Files deleted using the Format function cannot be retrieved.

The recorder should never be formatted using a computer. Doing so may corrupt the recorder's firmware and render the device unusable.

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Can I save my audio files to an audio or data CD?

Yes, audio files from the VN-5200PC can be burned to audio and data CDs. When deciding which format to burn, here are some factors to take into account:

  • AUDIO CD - An audio CD should be playable in a portable, home or car CD player. Check if the burning software writes the CD using the Red Book audio CD standard, which is used in commercial audio CDs (PCM, 44.1 kHz sampling frequency, 16-bit, 2-channel). Even though the VN-5200PC records monaurally, the burning software should write the monaural file to both stereo channels. An open CD may not play on audio CD players, so the CD must be closed by formatting. CD-RW discs are not recommended for creating audio CDs because some players cannot read the media.
  • DATA CD - Data CDs are suitable for archiving audio files for playback on a computer. CD-RW discs can be used for data CDs. The CD can be left open.

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    How do I download files from the VN-5200PC to a computer?

    Using the bundled USB cable, connect the VN-5200PC to a computer running a supported operating system. On a Windows® platform, the recorder appears in My Computer as a hard disk drive named VN5200PC. On a Macintosh® platform, the recorder appears on the desktop as a drive named VN5200PC.

    On a Windows computer, the files are accessed by double-left-clicking on the drive in My Computer, and then double-left-clicking on a folder to display its contents. On a Macintosh computer, the files are accessed by double-clicking on the drive icon, which opens a window on the desktop screen, and then clicking on a folder to display its files.

    In either environment, files can be transferred to any folder in the computer using the operating system's standard copy and move procedures (e.g. drag and drop, cut and paste).

    The recorder should not be disconnected from the computer simply by pulling the USB cord. Any device that uses a USB port to interface with a computer should be disconnected by first shutting down the USB connection between the device and the computer in order to prevent files from being corrupted.

    On a Windows platform, the Safely Remove Hardware option found in the Taskbar in the lower right corner of the desktop screen should be used. Be sure to close any files before starting the procedure.

    On a Macintosh platform, the drive icon on the desktop screen should be dragged to the Trash icon, or the EJECT button should be used. Wait for the icon to disappear from the desktop screen before disconnecting the USB cable.

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    Can the VN-5200PC be used as a USB flash drive?

    Yes. Because the VN-5200PC is a Mass Storage Class device, its built-in flash memory can be used like a USB flash drive to transfer data between computers. Text files, graphics, music and images form one system can be uploaded into the recorder's memory and then later downloaded to another system. The two computers do not need to be running the same operating system, but they do need to support the USB Mass Storage Device protocol.

    The recorder uses native operating system drivers to interface with each computer. To the operating system, the device appears as an external hard drive. Double-clicking on the "drive" that represents the recorder causes the recorder's contents to be displayed in a window within the operating system's file-browsing application (e.g. My Computer for Windows®-based systems, Finder for Mac® systems). Files are transferred to and from the device using the operating system's standard copy and move procedures, such as drag and drop and cut and paste.

    The data occupies space on the recorder's flash memory. Therefore, after uploading data to the recorder, there will be less capacity and recording time available the next time it is used to record audio. Files imported into the device will not be displayed on the LCD screen or in the menu because the device only recognizes files it creates. The recorder is only aware that "other data" is taking up space in its memory.

    While the recorder is connected to a computer, files that were imported into the device may be safely removed by using the computer's file-browsing application to delete files from the "drive" displayed on the computer screen. However, files should not be removed by using the computer to format the "drive" that represents the device. Formatting the device this way may corrupt the device's firmware, rednering it non-functional.

    Note: Virtually all commercial operating systems now have native support for the USB Mass Storage Device Class protocol, and older operating systems such as Windows 98 SE and Mac OS 8.5.1 can support it through third-party drivers. However, if the operating system does not support the file format of the transferred file, it will not be able to open or run the file.

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