Product Support

WS-803

Select the topic that best matches your question: 


What are the main features of the WS-803?

The WS-803 is a combination digital audio recorder/mass storage device/music player. Its built-in flash memory can store 8 GB of data, and the Micro SD memory card slot allows expansion of memory capacity with Micro SD cards up to 32 GB. 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 downward.

The WS-803 records in the Linear PCM, MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) audio formats. The 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 require additional software to playback MP3 files.

The recorder has a Calendar Search function that enables searching for files by the date they were recorded.

The Music folder allows music to be transferred into the recorder so that it can be used as a music player.

The recorder has a built-in FM radio that uses the included earphones as an antenna. FM stations can be preset in the menus, and on-air programming can be recorded from the radio and saved into a separate folder for the radio content.

The WS-803 also features a Zoom Mic function that enables varying the field of audio pickup angles with the built-in microphones.

The earphone jack permits playback through earphones. The microphone jack accommodates accessory microphones in place of the built-in stereo microphone.

The recorder ships with a AAA NiMH battery, which can be charged in the recorder via USB from a computer or the A-514 AC Adapter.

Return to Top

Can the recorder display in languages other than English?

To select a language:

  1. Press the [MENU] button until the menu opens on the LCD screen

  2. Scroll down to the LCD/Sound menu item and press the [MENU] button.

  3. Scroll down to Language(Lang) and press the [OK] button

  4. Select a language and press the [MENU] button to set it. The language options are English, Français, Español and Português.

  5. Exit the menu by pressing the STOP button.

Return to Top

What are Recording Scenes?

Recording scenes are essentially sets of recorder settings that can be enabled all at once by making a single menu selection. This selection is located in the Rec Menu as Rec Scene.

The WS-803 has eight recording scene options. Five are pre-set out of the box; each is optimized for recording in specific conditions. The other three are reserved for User Settings, allowing for customization to suit your preferences. To enable a User Settings scene, select one of the available User Settings options and then choose Scene Save. The recorder's current Rec Menu configurations will be saved as a scene.

The table below shows the menu settings that are applied in each of the preset Recording Scenes as well as the default settings when Rec Scene is set to Off. Only the listed functions are affected when a User Settings recording scene is saved.

Record Setting Conference Lecture Meeting Dictation
Rec Level High High Middle Low
Rec Mode MP3:128 kbps MP3:128 kbps MP3:128 kbps WMA 64 kbps
Low Cut Filter On On On On
VCVA Off Off Off Off
V-Sync. Rec Off Off Off Off

There is also a [DNS] (Dragon Naturally Speaking) scene mode that uses proprietary settings not found in the menu for optimizing dictation files for voice-to-text transcription using the Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking software.

Return to Top

What are Playback Scenes?

The WS-803 has an option for the user to create up to five Playback Scenes to setup the recorder to preset playback scenarios. The settings that can be saved as a Playback Scene are Noise Cancel, Voice Filter, Play Mode, Equalizer, and Skip Space.

To create a Playback Scene, first configure the recorder with the desired settings in the [Play Menu]. Then, in the menu, go to Play Scene > Scene Save and select a User Setting option. Finally, press the [OK] button to save the scene. The recorder will save the settings of the functions listed above as a Playback Scene. To create another scene, create a new mix of menu settings and repeat the process.

To select a saved Playback Scene for use, in the menu go to Play Scene and then Scene Select and choose the desired User Setting. Press the [OK] button to activate the scene.

Return to Top

What is the function of Noise Cancel?

Noise Cancel can be enabled to reduce background noise in recordings made in noisy surroundings. In effect, the function treats the loudest sounds as the most important and reduces other sounds to make the dictation clearer.

The Noise Cancel options are OFF, LOW and HIGH. The options are set in the recorder's menu. The Low or High settings remain valid until Noise Cancel is set to OFF. Noise Cancel is not available while the Voice Filter is set.

Return to Top

What is the function of the Low Cut Filter?

The recorder has a LowCut Filter function to minimize low-frequency sounds and record voices more clearly. This function can reduce noise from air conditioners, projectors and other types of "white noise."

Return to Top

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 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's menu. In the WS-803, the VCVA can be set to any of 28 different values. The higher the value, the more sensitive the recorder is to sounds. At the highest level, even the faintest sound will activate recording.

Return to Top

What are Index Marks and Temp 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 99 Index Marks can be added to a single file.

Index Marks cannot be placed in files created on machines other than Olympus digital voice recorders. This means that they cannot be placed in podcasts. Instead Temp Marks can be placed in podcasts to temporarily remember desired locations. Up to 99 Temp Marks can be added to a single file.

Both Index Marks and Temp Marks are inserted using the [INDEX] button on the recorder. Index Marks and Temp Marks cannot be added to files in the Audible folder.

Return to Top

What audio formats can the WS-803 play?

The WS-803 can store and play WMA (Windows Media Audio) files with bit rates of between 5 and 320 kbps, WAV (Linear PCM) 44.1 kHz 16 bit files, and mp3 files with bit rates between 8 and 320 kbps. Variable bit rate files may not play properly.

The WS-803 is compatible with Microsoft Corporation DRM 9 but not with DRM 10.

Return to Top

How much recording dictation time is available in the WS-803?

The amount of potential dictation recording time available in the WS-803 depends on several factors, including the selected quality mode and whether the recorder is configured to use internal memory or a removable memory card (sold separately).

When a quality mode is selected, several audio file properties are put into place. These properties determine the level of detail of the saved file data. A higher-quality recording saves more-detailed information and creates a larger data file that uses more memory. A lower-quality recording makes a less-detailed data file, so the memory lasts longer. Podcast and Audible files use up portions of the recorder's built-in flash memory, as do files saved on the recorder when it is used as a USB flash drive (aka "thumb drive"). This usage will reduce the amount of memory available for recording new files.

The table below shows the maximum dictation times possible using the built-in 8 GB memory (assuming there are no other files saved in the recorder).

Recording Mode Maximum Recording Dictation Time
Linear PCM 12 hours, 05 minutes
MP3 256 kbps 66 hours, 30 minutes
MP3 128 kbps mode 133 hours, 00 minutes
WMA 128 kbps mode 132 hours, 00 minutes
WMA 64 kbps mode 261 hours, 00 minutes
WMA 32 kbps mode 522 hours, 00 minutes
WMA 16 kbps mode 1028 hours, 00 minutes
WMA 8 kbps mode 2043 hours, 00 minutes

Using removable memory media can expand the recording capacity of the WS-802. The table below shows the potential recording capacity of the recorder with different-sized microSD and microSDHC memory cards.

Recording Mode
Maximum Dictation Recording Time (memory card)
2 GB 4 GB 8 GB
Linear PCM 3 hrs. 00 mins. 6 hrs. 00 mins. 12 hrs. 05 mins.
MP3 256 kbps 16 hrs. 30 min. 33 hrs. 00 min. 66 hrs. 30 min.
MP3 192 kbps 22 hrs. 00 min. 44 hrs. 00 min. 89 hrs. 00 min.
MP3 128 kbps 33 hrs. 00 min. 66 hrs. 00 min. 133 hrs. 00 min.
WMA 128 kbps 32 hrs. 30 min. 64 hrs. 30 min. 130 hrs. 00 min.
WMA 64 kbps 65 hrs. 00 min. 129 hrs. 00 min. 261 hrs. 00 min.
WMA 32 kbps 129 hrs 00 min. 259 hrs. 00 min. 522 hrs. 00 min.
WMA 16 kbps 255 hrs. 00 min. 510 hrs. 00 min. 1027 hrs. 00 min.
WMA 8 kbps 508 hrs. 00 mins. 1014 hrs. 00 mins. 2042 hrs. 00 mins.

Return to Top

What are the maximum recording times per file?

A maximum recording time per file is set for each quality mode. The maximum capacity for a single file is approximately 4 GB for MP3 and WMA. Even if a recorder's memory is not exhausted, a single file cannot continue beyond the limit.

Maximum Recording Time Per File

Quality Mode Recording Time
Linear PCM approx. 3 hrs. 20 min.
MP3 256 kbps mode approx. 37 hrs. 10 min.
MP3 128 kbps mode approx. 74 hrs. 30 mins.
WMA 128 kbps mode approx. 26 hours, 40 minutes
WMA 64 kbps mode approx. 26 hours 40 minutes
WMA 32 kbps mode approx. 26 hours, 40 minutes
WMA 16 kbps mode approx. 53 hours, 40 minutes
WMA 8 kbps mode approx. 148 hours 40 minutes

Recording willcontinue even if the volume of a single file exceeds 2 GB in Linear PCM recordings.

  • The data is saved every 2 GB in separate files. It is treated as multiple files during playback.
  • If the recording exceeds 2 GBthe number of files in the folder may exceed 200. The 201st and later files are not recognized by the recorder, so check by connecting the recorder to a computer.

Return to Top

How is the recorder powered off?

The recorder is turned off by sliding the [POWER/HOLD] control on the left side of the recorder downward and then releasing it. The switch should then be moved upward to the HOLD position to prevent accidental activation of the button functions and to preserve date and time settings when changing batteries.

Return to Top

What recording quality mode should I use?

Different quality modes save the digital record of a signal with different levels of faithfulness to the original sound. The higher bit rate (kbps) modes are recommended for music, drama or interviews that may be made for broadcast because they make very detailed digital records of the sound and use a very wide frequency range.

Lower-quality modes, those that use lower bit rates, make a less-detailed digital record of the signal and use a narrower frequency range so they will use up the available Flash memory much more slowly. These modes are best used for audio note taking or recording college lectures or seminars - situations in which large content capacity is more important than high audio quality.

Return to Top

How is recording volume controlled?

By default, the WS-803 records automatically at 100% volume level to prevent accidentally recording with the volume set too low.

The recorder has three levels of microphone sensitivity set in the recorder's menu under [Rec Level]:

  • High: The highest recording sensitivity, it is suitable for conferences with large crowds and recording audio at a distance or low volume.
  • Middle: Suitable for recording meetings and seminars with a small number of people.
  • Low: The lowest recording sensitivity, it is suitable for close-up dictation.

Return to Top

How is the playback volume controlled?

The playback volume is controlled during playback by using the [+] (plus) and [-] (minus) buttons on the circular pad on the face of the recorder. Pressing [+] increases the playback volume. Pressing [-] reduces the playback volume.

Return to Top

Can the playback speed be controlled?

The playback of files in the WS-803 can be changed to between 50% and 200% of the default playback speed in increments of x0.1. The tone of the file will be adjusted digitally without changing the pitch so that the recording sounds natural.

The playback speed is changed by pressing the [OK] button during playback and using the [] (Rewind) and [](Fast Forward) buttons on the circular pad to set the speed. The options are:

  • S. Play (Slow Play): x0.9 to x0.5 of normal speed in x0.1 increments
  • F. Play (Fast Play): x1.1 to x2.0 of normal speed in x0.1 increments

S. Play and F. Play are not available while [Noise Cancel] is enabled. During fast/slow playback, stereo files will be played in monaural even if they were recorded in stereo.

Return to Top

How are files erased from the recorder?

Dictation, Music and Radio files can be erased from the recorder by selecting the file and pressing the [ERASE] button. The LCD screen will highlight Cancel. While Cancel is highlighted, press the [+] button to select One File, and then press the [OK] button. The LCD will display the Erase one file on the screen with Cancel highlighted. Press the [+] button to select Start and then press the [OK] button. The LCD will then display Erased.

To erase all of the files in a folder, use the same procedure, but select All in one folder instead of One file.

Note: Locked files and files that are set as read-only cannot be erased using this function.

Return to Top

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

The recorder should be formatted only by using the internal FORMAT function found in the menu. Formatting using the computer may corrupt system files needed to run the recorder. When the recorder is connected to a computer, individual files can be deleted using its file-browsing program (e.g. My Computer) without negative effects.

Return to Top

How do I safely disconnect the recorder from a computer?

To safely disconnect a digital voice recorder USB connection, do the following:

  • Windows - To safely disconnect the recorder (or ANY USB device) always use the Safely Remove Hardware function in the Taskbar in the lower right corner of the Desktop screen before disconnecting the USB cable from either the recorder or the computer.
  • Mac - To safely disconnect the recorder (or ANY USB device) always use either the EJECT button or drag the icon that represents the drive on the Desktop screen to the Trash before disconnecting the USB cable from either the recorder or the computer.

Failure to perform these operations correctly and consistently may result in corrupted files in the recorder's memory which may not be able to be played or retrieved.

Return to Top

The battery ran out while I was recording and now I can't find or play the file. Why not?

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.

Return to Top
  • Professional DictationLifeproof.
  • Shop the Olympus Store