Product Support


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What are the main features of this model?

The DS-3400 is a digital voice recorder that records in the Digital Speech Standard Pro (DS2) audio format. It uses SD memory card flash memory as removable storage, so the user never has to leave the recorder with a transcriptionist - just leave the memory card. By using larger-capacity SD memory media (up to 16GB), the user has the option to dramatically increase the potential recording time of the DS-3400. The DS-3400 offers the ability to edit files in the recorder. File-editing options include appending files, overwriting a section within a file, or inserting recordings into an existing dictation file. Since the DS-3400 is also a mass storage device, it can be used as a USB "thumb drive" to transfer files from one computer to another.

The device also offers a Device Lock function to guard against unauthorized access. Once configured, a user-generated numerical password must be entered to enable the device. This provides a measure of protection in the event the device is left unattended or lost.

The bundled DSS Player Pro 5 for Windows« and DSS Player for Mac« software enable the downloading of dictation files to a computer, where they can be archived and where further file editing can be performed. The applications also enable file splitting and joining. DSS Player Pro 5 for Windows also provides an interface for voice-to-text applications such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking« Preferred.

The DS-3400 is an Olympus Professional Dictation Device. As such, technical support for the recorder and its associated software is provided solely by authorized Olympus Professional Dictation Products dealers.

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What is the DSS Pro audio format?

Digital Speech Standard Pro (DS2) is a proprietary audio compression format developed by Olympus to compress files by approximately 12 times, so it is an ideal format for transferring files by email and through networks. Because the files are compressed, the DS2 format maximizes the recording capacity of the SD memory media.

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Does the DS-3400 LCD display in different languages?

The display language in the recorder's firmware may be changed from the menu. The available language choices depend on the market in which the recorder was purchased. DS-3400s distributed in the Western Hemisphere by Olympus Imaging America, Inc. offer the options English, Franšais and Espa˝ol.

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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 and backward in recordings to pre-selected points. Up to 32 Index Marks can be set in a single file. During recording or during playback, the [F3] Function button becomes the [INDEX] button used to insert Index Marks.

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What is VCVA?

Variable Control Voice Actuator (VCVA) is a function that sets up the recorder to record automatically only when sound is detected at a pre-set level, and 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 Record Menu.

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What is Voice Recognition?

Voice Recognition is technology that enables an application to "listen" to the playback of a dictation file and convert its contents to a text document. DSS Player Standard for Windows« is compatible with IBM ViaVoice« Pro USB Edition 10 and Dragon NaturallySpeaking« 8, 9 and 10 Preferred.

The voice-recognition software 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 to be used. Corrections to the text by a transcriptionist 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 the software can better understand the speech 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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What operating systems support the DS-3400?

The following operating systems support the DS-3400:


  • Windows 2000 Professional, Service Pack 4
  • Windows XP Home Edition, Service Pack 2 and Service Pack 3
  • Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 2 and Service Pack 3 (32-bit/64-bit)
  • Windows Vista Home Basic, Service Pack 1 (32-bit/64-bit)
  • Windows Vista Home Premium, Service Pack 1 (32-bit/64-bit)
  • Windows Vista Business, Service Pack 1 (32-bit/64-bit)
  • Windows Vista Enterprise, Service Pack 1 (32-bit/64-bit)
  • Windows Vista Ultimate, Service Pack 1 (32-bit/64-bit)


  • Mac OS X 10.3.9 ("Panther") - 10.5 ("Leopard")

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How much recording time is available in the DS-3400?

The length of the potential recording time available in the DS-3400 is governed by the recording quality mode and the capacity of the SD memory card media used. A QP (Quality Play) quality mode recording uses more memory than an SP (Standard Play) quality mode recording because the QP mode makes a more-detailed digital record and uses more memory.

The table below shows the approximate maximum recording times possible in the DS-3400 using different size cards.

Memory Cards and Approximate Recording Times*

Memory Size QP Mode SP Mode
512 MB 38 Hours 30 Minutes 79 Hours 00 Minutes
1 GB 77 Hours 00 Minutes 159 Hours 05 Minutes**
2 GB 152 Hours 30 Minutes** 312 Hours 20 Minutes**
4 GB 305 Hours 50 Minutes** 626 Hours 50 Minutes**
8 GB 624 Hours 30 Minutes** 1,279 Hours 30 Minutes**
16 GB 1,248 Hours 10 Minutes** 2,557 Hours 10 Minutes**

* Recording times shown are for one continuous file. Available recording time may be shorter if many short recordings are made.

**Total recording time of several files. The maximum recording time per file is 99 hours, 59 minutes.

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How long do batteries last in the DS-3400?

Two AAA alkaline batteries will power the recorder for approximately 24 hours in the QP recording mode and for approximately 32 hours in the SP recording mode.

In either quality mode, playback time is approximately 13 hours using two AAA alkaline batteries.

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Other Olympus digital voice recorders have a wider frequency response than the DS-3400. Why is the DS-3400's frequency response narrower?

The DS-3400 is an Olympus Professional Dictation Device, whose primary function is to record dictation files for transcription. Dictation recordings do not require a wide frequency response because the audio signals they are intended to reconstruct (tones produced by the human voice) fall within a relatively narrow band of frequencies.

Accordingly, the DS-3400 makes files that contain only as much audio detail as is necessary to re-create the original signal. By restricitng the frequency response, the DS-3400 is able to create smaller files, which has the benefit of maximizing memory capacity (recording time).

The DS-3400 is not recommended for recording music or interviews intended for broadcast where a broad frequency response would be desirable.

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Other Olympus digital voice recorders have more quality modes than the DS-3400 and also record in Windows Media Audio (WMA) format. Why does the DS-3400 only have two quality modes?

The DS-3400 is an Olympus Professional Dictation Device, whose primary function is to record dictation files for transcription. The two quality modes available on the DS-3400 - QP (Quality Play) and SP (Standard Play) - are optimized for transcription. They feature a narrow frequency response and high compression; these attributes result in small files, which in turn provide the additional benefit of extended recording time.

DS2 (Digital Speech Standard Pro) files can be converted in DSS Player Standard for Windows« software to WAVE, WMA, or Classic DSS audio format files with the properties necessary to be compatible with voice-to-text applications commonly used by transcriptionists.

The additional quality modes available in some other Olympus digital voice recorders provide enhanced audio detail, compared with the DS2 files created by the DS-3400. However, this extra detail is not necessary to faithfully reconstruct a dictation file used for transcription, and using it would increase the file's size, which would in turn restrict recording capacity. Therefore, these quality modes were not included in the DS-3400.

The DS-3400 is not recommended for recording music or interviews intended for broadcast where a broad frequency response would be desirable.

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I want to email a DS2 file to someone who doesn't have DSS Player software. Since the file format is proprietary, how can the recipient play the file?

Users of Windows operating systems can download a free application for this purpose. Olympus DSS Player Lite allows recipients of audio files in the *.ds2╣ and *.dss formats to play the files on Windows operating systems. (The program can also play *.wav files.) The software does not enable creation or editing of files; it is a playback-only application.

The original version of DSS Player Lite for Windows does not support *.ds2 files. If you are using an older edition of the software, please download the latest version.

To download the latest version of the software, please click here.

Note for Mac users: The *.ds2 audio format is not supported in a Macintosh environment. Instead of sending a *.ds2 file, convert the file to *.dss or *.wav format using DSS Player Pro (Release 5) or DSS Player for Mac version 7 (or later). Optionally, if the recipient does regular or high-volume business with you, it may be beneficial to purchase one of these applications for the client's use.

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What is the function of the NEW button?

The [NEW] button closes an audio file so that a new file can be recorded. In the DS-3400, a file will remain open until the [NEW] button is pressed. Not pressing the [NEW] button allows a file to remain open over several sessions.

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What demographic options can be programmed into the DS-3400?

The DS-3400 can be configured so that various demographic data will become embedded in the dictation files., where DSS Player Pro can view them. The options are:

  • Priority Level - Press the F2 button to select a Priority Level of Normal or High. Normal is the default.
  • Author ID - Incorporate a user-defined Author ID into the names of recorded files. The ID is often an easily recognizable tag, such as a user's initials. The source of a recording may be easily determined simply by reviewing the file's name. Up to 10 Author IDs can be registered with up to 16 characters in each Author ID.
  • Worktype - Worktypes offer flexibility in how recordings are classified. For example, they may represent departments or categories. Up to 10 Worktypes can be defined. When more than one Worktype ID exists, the Worktype ID list will be displayed on the LCD screen. Each Worktype can be associated with up to 10 option items.
  • Option Items - Option Items are user-defined fields that can be associated with Worktypes to provide further detail. For example, a Worktype of "FAX" may have Option Items such as "TO" and "TITLE." An Option Item consists of input data and its label. Once a label has been registered, its value can be embedded. Each Option Item ID can use up to 20 alphanumeric characters.

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How does the Device Lock security option work?

The DS-3400 can be configured to require entry of a four-numeral, user-generated password to operate the recorder. The Device Lock function provides this security option.

Configuration is performed using the bundled DSS Player Pro software while the recorder is connected to a computer by its USB cable. On the software's menu bar, select Tools > Options > Option Settings > Device > Device Security > PIN Code Change. Out of the box, the PIN Code is set to 0000.

Once activated, if the password is not matched after five attempts, the recorder will enter Authentication Halt Mode. For the next 10 minutes, passwords cannot be entered. After the waiting period has passed, the recorder's mismatch history will be erased and the password input screen will be displayed.

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What file-editing options are available in the DS-3400?

The DS-3400 employs a number of functions found in Olympus Professional Dictation Devices. One of these is the ability to edit previously recorded files in the recorder. The value of this feature is to enable the dictator to edit an audio file to a finished form for submission to a transcriptionist without the need for correction notes. The options are:

  • Appending - Adding new dictation to the end of a file.
  • Overwrite Recording - Sections of dictation in a previously recorded file can be overwritten from any point within a file. The overwritten sections will be erased.
  • Insert Recording - Inserting additional dictation into a previously recorded file.

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How is the recording volume controlled?

The DS-3400 always records at 100% volume level to prevent accidentally recording with the volume set too low.

The recorder has two levels of microphone sensitivity:

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

Microphone sensitivity is set via the Mic Sense option in the Record menu.

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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 keypad on the front of the DS-3400. Pressing [+] increases the playback volume. Pressing [-] reduces the playback volume.

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How are dictation files erased?

To erase a selected file:

  1. Select the folder and file and press the [ERASE] button. The LCD screen will display the options All Files, File Erase and Cancel for about eight seconds.
  2. Press the [+] button once to select File Erase and press the [Play/OK] button once.
  3. Press the [+] once to select Start and press the [Play/OK] button once. The file will be erased.

To erase all files in a folder:

  1. Select the folder and press the [ERASE] button. The LCD screen will display the options All Files, File Erase and Cancel for about eight seconds.
  2. Press the [+] button twice to select All Files and press the [Play/OK] button once.
  3. Press the [+] once to select Start and press the [Play/OK] button once. All of the files in the folder will be erased.

An erased file cannot be restored.

Files cannot be erased in the following cases:

  • When a file is set to Lock.
  • When the SD card lock switch is set.

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

The recorder and memory card should be formatted only by using the Format function found in the recorder's Device Menu. Using a computer to format a card will render the card unusable in the DS-3400. The card will have to be formatted in the recorder to restore functionality.

To format the card in the DS-3400, do the following:

  1. Press the [F3] (Menu) button.
  2. Press the [-] button three times to select Device Menu, and then press the [Play/OK] button.
  3. Press the [+] button three times to select Format, and then press [Play/OK] again.
  4. Press [+] or [-] to select Start, and then press [Play/OK] to confirm the operation.
  5. Press [+] or [-] to select Start again, and then press [Play/OK] to format the DS-3400. When the formatting is completed, Format Done is displayed on the LCD monitor.

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Where can I get technical support for my DS-3400?

The DS-3400 is an Olympus Professional Dictation Device, and , as such, technical support for the recorder and its associated software is provided solely by authorized Olympus Professional Dictation Products dealers.

For current information regarding dealers in the U.S. and Canada, call 888-553-4448.

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After a few minutes, the DS-3400 shuts off. What's wrong?

When the recorder is ON but idle for 10 minutes, it will switch to Power Save mode automatically. Pressing any button on the recorder will reactivate the recorder. The default setting is 10 minutes, but the setting can be changed to 5 min., 10 min., 30 min., 1 hour or OFF. Pressing any button will awaken the device.

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