What are the main features of this model?
The WS-600S is a combination digital audio recorder/mass storage device. Its built-in flash memory can store 2 GB of data, which equates to 529 hours of voice recordings in LP mode. As a mass storage device (e.g. USB flash memory drive), it can 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 separate cable. To expose the connector, slide the USB lever outward.
Because the WS-600S records in MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) formats, its files are supported natively by Windows Media Player. This means Windows computers do not require additional software to download and manage the files. Macintosh computers do not need additional software to play MP3 files. The earphone jack permits playback through earphones. The microphone jack accommodates accessory microphones in place of the built-in stereo microphone.
The recorder is bundled with one alkaline AAA battery.
How much recording time is available in the WS-600S?
The length of the potential recording time available is one of several audio file properties governed by the selected quality mode. A higher-quality mode 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.
This table shows the maximum recording times possible (assuming there are no other files saved in the recorder).
Maximum Recording Time|
|MP3 192 kbps
||Approx. 22 hours|
|MP3 128 kbps
||Approx. 34 hours|
||Approx. 33 hours|
||Approx. 67 hours|
||Approx. 135 hours|
||Approx. 135 hours|
||Approx. 266 hours|
||Approx. 529 hours|
The different quality modes save the digital recording with different levels of faithfulness to the original sound. The MP3 and ST XQ (Stereo Extra-high Quality) modes are recommended for music, drama or interviews that may be made for broadcast. They use a wide frequency range and higher bit rate that uses up the available flash memory very rapidly. Lower-quality modes, such as SP (Standard Play) and LP (Long Play), use a narrower frequency range and lower bit rate. Therefore, they use up the available flash memory much more slowly. These modes would be ideal for audio note taking and for situations when large capacity is more important than high audio quality, such as when recording lectures or seminars.
Which computer operating systems support the WS-600S?
The WS-600S is supported by Windows® XP Home Edition and by 32- and 64-bit editions of Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista™ and Windows 7™. On Macintosh® systems, it is supported by Mac® OS X 10.4.11 (“Tiger”) through 10.6 (“Snow Leopard.”)
How is the recorder turned on/off?
The [HOLD / POWER] switch is the recorder’s on/off switch. Slide the switch in the direction indicated by the arrow and hold it there for half a second or longer. After turning off the power, move the switch to the HOLD position to prevent accidental activation of button functions.
How is recording volume controlled?
The WS-600S always records at a 100% volume level to prevent accidentally recording with the volume set too low.
The recorder has three microphone sensitivity levels:
- High is a high-sensitivity level that can record surrounding noises. It is useful in conference or lecture situations when the speaker is not near the recorder.
- Middle is suitable for recording small-group meetings or seminars.
- Low is a low-sensitivity level used for dictation and up-close recording.
Microphone sensitivity is set in the recorder’s menu.
How is playback volume controlled?
The playback volume is controlled during playback using the [+] (Up) and [-] (Down) buttons on the four-way rocker switch on the front face of the recorder. Pressing [+] (Up) increases the playback volume. Pressing [-] (Down) reduces the playback volume.
Can the playback speed be controlled?
This recorder can change the playback speed while it is playing a file. It may be desirable to use Fast Playback to run through recordings of long meetings or to use Slow Playback to review a language lesson.
To change the playback speed, press the [OK/MENU] button during the playback of a file. Next, press the Up or Down arrow to select the desired speed, and then press [OK/MENU] again to activate the selected speed.
The Slow Playback settings are: x0.5 Play – x0.9 Play.
The Fast Playback settings are: x1.1 Play – x2.0 Play.
Does the WS-600S 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, Español and Portugués (BR). The language can be selected and set via the LCD/Sound menu.
How is the flash memory shared by the voice folders?
The WS-600S has 2 GB 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 five folders – Folders A through E – and any files that may have been saved to the recorder while using it as a mass storage device.
How are dictation files erased?
To erase a selected file, first press the [ERASE] button. Next, press the [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) button to select File Erase, and then press the [OK/MENU] button. On the next screen, use the [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) button to select Start and then press [OK/MENU] to delete the file. Choose Cancel at either screen to exit without deleting the file.
To erase all files in a folder, first select any file in the folder and press the [ERASE] button. Next, press [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) to select Erase in Folder, and then press the [OK/MENU] button. Next, press [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) to select Start, and then press [OK/MENU] to erase the contents of the folder. Choose Cancel at either screen to exit without erasing all files in the folder.
I want to clear my recorder of all files. How do I format the recorder?
The recorder should be formatted only by using the internal FORMAT function found in the recorder’s menu. Formatting using a computer may corrupt system files needed to run the recorder, so computer formatting is not recommended.
Note: When the recorder is formatted, music files with DRM might not be able to be transferred to the recorder again. If voice and music files have been loaded onto the recorder and the intention of formatting is to delete the voice files, the recommended procedure is to erase individual files or to erase the contents of a voice file folder. Files can also be safely deleted (not formatted) using a computer.
What is DRM?
DRM (Digital Right Management) is technology embedded in files to prevent unauthorized duplication of the files. DRM is commonly used to protect music and video content.
Under U.S. copyright law, any voice, music files and music CDs downloaded from the Internet without the copyright holder’s permission may not be reproduced, distributed, publicized/re-publicized on the internet or converted into WMA or MP3 files for the purpose of commercial business or sale.
A WMA file may be provided with DRM for copyright protection. DRM restricts a user’s ability to copy or distribute music files that are converted (ripped) from a music CD or that were downloaded from music distribution services. To transfer a WMA file with DRM to the recorder, you need to use appropriate methods or programs, such as Windows Media Player. Copying DRM-protected music files purchased from online music distribution services to a portable device such as this recorder may be restricted.
The WS-600S is compatible with Microsoft Corporation DRM9 but not with DRM10.
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 recording time by not recording “dead air” or background noise that can use up memory.
What are Index Marks?
Index Marks are 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. Index marks cannot be inserted into a locked file.
What is Voice Recognition?
Voice Recognition technology enables an application to “listen” to the playback of an audio dictation file and convert its contents to a text document. The WMA files created by this recorder are compatible with Dragon NaturallySpeaking® 9 Preferred (and later).
Voice-recognition programs must be trained to understand individual speakers, who read prepared text under controlled conditions into the 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 files, they can learn to enunciate words so that the software can better understand their speech patterns, thereby increasing the accuracy of the text-file conversion.
Can I save my audio files to an audio or data CD?
Yes, audio files from this recorder 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 your 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). An open CD may not play on audio CD players, so the CD must be closed by formatting. Note: Some CD players cannot read CD-RW 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.
How can the blind and visually impaired set the time and date in the WS-600S?
This recorder has built-in audio cues that can help blind or 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 [+] (Up) and [-] (Down) buttons on the keypad will ascend and descend the values, respectively. When [+] (Up) is pressed, the recorder issues a high-pitched beep. When [-] (Down) 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 2010Y.
Setting the Time & Date
- 1. Turn on the recorder, and then press and hold the [OK/MENU] button.
- Press the [+] (Up) button on the four-way keypad to select the Device Menu.
- Press the [>>] (Right) button once to enter the Device Menu.
- Press the [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) button to select Time & Date.
- Press [OK/MENU] to enter the Time & Date menu. The first variable to be set is the hour. Press [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) until the recorder chirps instead of beeps. The chirp means the hour variable has been set to its baseline value of 12 AM.¹
- Press [+] (Up) the number of times necessary to arrive at the correct hour value. Remember: The baseline value for hour is 12 AM. Therefore, the first 11 button presses represent AM values. It may be quicker to press [-] (Down) and count backward from 12 AM if the correct time is a PM value.
- Press [>>] (Right) to move to the minute variable. Press [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) until the recorder chirps instead of beeps. The chirp means the minute variable has been set to its baseline value of 00.
- Press [+] (Up) the number of times necessary to arrive at the correct minute value. If it would be quicker to count backward to the minute value, press [-] (Down) repeatedly to arrive at the correct minute value.
- Press [>>] (Right) to move to the month variable.² Press [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) until the recorder chirps instead of beeps. The chirp means the month variable has been set to its baseline value of 1M, representing January.
- Press [+] (Up) the number of times necessary to arrive at the correct month value. If it would be quicker to count backward to the month value, press [-] (Down) repeatedly to arrive at the correct month value.
- Press [>>] (Right) to move to the day variable. Press [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) 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.
- Press [+] (Up) the number of times necessary to arrive at the correct day value. If it would be quicker to count backward to the day value, press [-] (Down) to arrive at the correct day value.
- Press [>>] (Right) to select the year variable. Use either the [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) button to select a year value. The baseline, 2010Y, is identified by a chirp.
- Press [OK/MENU] to set the time and date settings.
- Press the [STOP] button to close the menu.
¹To use a 24-hour clock (e.g. military time), press the [LIST] button while the cursor is on the hour or minute variable.
²To change the order in which the month, day and year variables are displayed, press the [LIST] button while the cursor is resting on any of those variables.
What software is needed to manage my 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.
Windows and Macintosh platforms can play recordings in the MP3 format using native applications such as Windows Media® Player or iTunes®.
Windows platforms can also play recordings in the WMA (Windows Media Audio) format using the same native applications. 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 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, which are supported on Windows and Mac platforms, offer a variety of archiving and editing functions, including joining and splitting files and converting recordings into other audio file formats,¹ including those used by popular voice-recognition programs.
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.
¹MP3 files created by this recorder can be imported and exported into OLYMPUS Sonority. OLYMPUS Sonority Plus is required to convert files from other formats into MP3 format.
How do I download files from the WS-600S to a computer?
With the recorder stopped, slide the USB connector out of the recorder using the lever on the left side of the device. Listen for it to snap into place. Connect the recorder to a USB port mounted directly on a computer running a supported operating system. The LCD will display Please Wait while the connection is established. This may take a few moments.
On a Windows® platform, the recorder appears in My Computer as a hard disk drive named WS600S. On a Macintosh® platform, it appears on the desktop as a drive named WS600S.
On a Windows computer, the files are accessed by opening My Computer (or Windows Explorer), double-left-clicking on the drive representing the recorder 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 will open a window on the desktop screen, and then clicking on a folder to display the files.
In either environment, files can be transferred 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 it out of the computer’s USB port. 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 data corruption.
On a Windows platform, use the Safely Remove Hardware option found in the Taskbar. Be sure to close any files before starting the procedure.
On a Mac, drag the drive icon on the desktop to the Trash icon, or use the EJECT function. Wait for the icon to disappear from the desktop before disconnecting the USB cable.
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 and Finder on Macintosh systems) to rename the source 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 file using any of these methods may corrupt the file and render it unusable.
To change the name of a file after it has been synced with the recorder, do the following:
- Rename the file on the Windows Media Player Library tab (not the Sync tab).
- Connect the recorder to any free USB port on the computer.
- 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.
- Safely disconnect the recorder.
- Use the recorder’s menu to navigate to the original file and delete it. The renamed version will remain.
Can the WS-600S be used as a USB flash drive?
Yes. Because the WS-600S 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 from 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 Class 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 or cut and paste.
The data occupies space on the recorder’s flash memory. Therefore, the device will have less capacity and recording time available to it when it is acting as a digital audio recorder. Files imported into the device will not be displayed on the LCD screen or in the menu because the device only recognizes files that it creates. The device 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 copy or move (and then delete) the files from the “drive” displayed on the computer screen. However, the files should not be removed by using the computer to format that “drive.” Formatting the device this way may corrupt the device’s firmware, rendering 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 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 a transferred file, it will not be able to open or run the file.
Can I transfer analog recordings from another device into the WS-600S?
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-600S, put one end of the KA-333 into the microphone jack of the WS-600S and the other end into the earphone jack of the other device. Press [RECORD] in the WS-600S and then [PLAY] in the other device.
To export a file from the WS-600S, put one end of the KA-333 into the earphone jack of the WS-600S and the other end into the microphone or input jack of the receiving device. Press [PLAY] in the WS-600S and [RECORD] or download in the receiving device.
The jacks in the WS-600S 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.
How long does the battery last?
One AAA alkaline battery will power a WS-600S for approximately 25 hours in the LP recording mode or about 30 hours in the Playback mode.
Will using an accessory microphone with an extended frequency range improve the quality of my recordings?
The frequency response of the WS-600S’ built-in stereo microphone is 70 to 20,000 Hz, while the frequency response available through the microphone jack is 40 to 19,000 Hz. Therefore, it is possible to improve the quality of recordings that contain frequencies between 40 and 70 Hz by using an accessory microphone capable of recording those frequencies. However, at the high end of the register, the recorder will cap the frequency response at 19,000 Hz even if an accessory microphone may be able to capture higher frequencies. When recording an audio signal containing frequencies between 19,000 and 20,000 Hz, the best quality will be achieved by using the built-in stereo microphone.
Be advised that different quality modes further modify the detail of the recordings’ file data by saving some frequencies and discarding others. This is how the recorder is able to vary the potential recording time and use the built-in flash memory more efficiently. Regardless of the frequency response available to the microphone, the recorder will only save frequencies that fall within the range used by the selected quality mode. For the widest possible frequency response, use the ST XQ (Stereo XQ) quality mode.
The table below shows the overall frequency response in each quality mode when recording via the microphone jack:
||Overall Frequency Response¹|
|MP3 192 kbps
|MP3 128 kbps
¹ When recording via the built-in stereo microphone, the frequency response is further restricted in the lower register to 70 Hz.
Is there an AC adapter for the WS-600S?
Olympus does not offer an AC adapter for the WS-600S. The recorder is powered by one AAA alkaline or rechargeable NiMH battery. A NiMH Battery Quick Charger and a four-pack of AAA NiMH batteries are both available online from the Olympus Store. To purchase the batteries, click here. To purchase the charger, click here.
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.
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?
If the recorder has been used as a mass storage device to transfer data, the data may have exceeded the capacity of the flash memory and the header for the last file may be incomplete. Data must be deleted to restore operability.
This may also occur if a music library that exceeds the available space in the flash memory is transferred to the recorder.
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 delete files until sufficient free space has been created.