Product Support


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What are the main features of the VN-8100PC?

The VN-8100PC captures high-quality digital recordings in the MP3 and Windows Media® Audio (WMA) file formats. MP3 and WMA files can be played on both Windows® and Macintosh® computers¹.

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. The recorder also features VCVA voice-activation technology, which extends recording time by recording only when the microphone senses sound.

This model also has a File Divide function which allows you to split one file into two files.

Because the recorder is a Mass Storage Class device, no support software is required to download files to a supported computer. Just connect the device to the computer with the included USB cable, and the operating system will treat it as a USB flash drive. Files can also be uploaded from the computer to the recorder.

The VN-8100PC is certified compatible with Nuance Communications Inc's Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 voice-recognition software. An optional firmware update is available that will add a recording scene specifically optimized for use with this software.

¹Note: On Windows systems, WMA files are supported natively by Windows Media Player and QuickTime Player®. To play WMA files in a Mac OS X environment, you must download a free helper application, Flip4Mac WMV Player. After doing so, any QuickTime-compatible media player will be able to play WMA files.

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Are any firmware updates available for this recorder?

Olympus digital recorders are controlled by internal software called “firmware.” Firmware dictates the functionality of the product and the features that are available. Some recorders have the flexibility to change, improve or add functionality by downloading and applying firmware updates.

You can check for firmware updates for this model at any time by clicking here and then choosing the operating system for your computer. After downloading an update, you can apply it by connecting your recorder to the computer via the USB cable bundled with the recorder. Then double-click (Windows computers) or single-click (Macs) the downloaded file to update the connected recorder.

If you have installed the optional OLYMPUS Sonority software, you may also check for firmware updates from within the application. To do so, please do the following:

  1. Connect the recorder to a computer running a supported operating system via the USB cable bundled with the recorder.
  2. Launch the OLYMPUS Sonority software.
  3. Click on Check for Device Updates from the Help menu.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts.

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Does the VN-8100PC 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 selected and set via the LCD/Sound Menu.

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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 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. 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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What is File Divide?

File Divide allows a recording's data file to be split into two different files. This can be helpful when you need to e-mail a large recording file.

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What file formats does this recorder support?

Because this recorder acts as a Mass Storage Class device when it is connected to a computer via its bundled USB cable, files of any type may be transferred to the recorder for storage. However, files in unsupported formats cannot be played by this recorder, and they may not be displayed on the LCD monitor.

The recorder can only play files in the MP3 or WMA (Windows Media Audio) format that were created using any combination of the following specifications:

File Format Sampling Frequency Bit Rate


MPEG1 Layer 3:
48 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 32 kHz

MPEG2 Layer 3:
24 kHz, 22.05 kHz, 16 kHz

8 to 320 kilobytes per second (kbps)


48 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 32 kHz, 22 kHz, 16 kHz, 11 kHz, 8 kHz

5 to 320 kilobytes per second (kbps)

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Which computer operating systems support this recorder?

This recorder is supported by Windows® XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows Vista™ and Windows 7.

It is supported in Macintosh® environments by Mac® OS X 10.4.11 “Tiger” through 10.6 “Snow 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 hard 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 the 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. (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.

All of the files created by this recorder are 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 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.

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Can this recorder play audio files transferred from a computer via Windows Media® Player or iTunes®?

This recorder does not support the synch function in Windows Media Player or iTunes. However, it can play MP3 and WMA files that are transferred to the recorder while it is connected to a computer and acting as an external USB drive, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The files must have been created using a supported sampling frequency and bit rate.
    The possible combinations of sampling frequency and bit rate are shown in this table:
    File Format Sampling Frequency Bit Rate


    MPEG1 Layer 3:
    48 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 32 kHz

    MPEG2 Layer 3:
    24 kHz, 22.05 kHz, 16 kHz

    8 to 320 kilobytes per second (kbps)


    48 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 32 kHz, 22 kHz, 16 kHz, 11 kHz, 8 kHz

    5 to 320 kilobytes per second (kbps)

  • The files may not be protected by any digital rights management technology other than Microsoft Corp.'s DRM9 technology; if the files are protected by DRM9, you must be authorized to play the file on this device.
  • The files must reside in one of the recorder's storage folders (Folder A through Folder E). If the files are placed in any other location, the recorder will not recognize or play them, and it will not display the files on the LCD screen.

Music files that use the AAC encoding scheme, such as those purchased from music-distribution services like the iTunes Store, cannot be played by this recorder. Music files of this type may have any of the following file extensions: .aac, .m4a or .m4p.

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Can I play my recordings in iTunes and on my iPod?

If you intend to play recordings created by this device in iTunes or on an iPod, use one of the MP3 recording modes. MP3 files are supported natively by iTunes on both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Windows versions of iTunes can convert WMA files into a compatible audio format during the import process. Once converted, the files can be added to the iTunes Library and played by iTunes.

On Macintosh computers, iTunes requires a free, third-party program in order to play WMA files. This program, Flip4Mac WMV Player (also known as Windows Media Components for QuickTime by Flip4Mac), is recommended by Microsoft. After the program is installed, WMA files can be added to the iTunes Library and played by iTunes.

Adding recordings to an iPod is a two-step process. First, the files must be converted to an iPod-compatible format. Next, the files must be synched with the iPod. Please refer to the iPod documentation for full details of these operations.

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How much recording time is available in the VN-8100PC?

The amount of potential dictation recording time varies depending on the selected recording mode.

When a recording 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. Any files transferred to the recorder when it is used as a USB flash memory drive (aka “thumb” drive) also use up portions of the recorder’s built-in flash memory. This usage will reduce the amount of memory available for recording new files.

The table below shows the maximum dictation recording times possible (assuming there are no other files saved in the recorder).

Recording Mode

Maximum Recording Time


    192 kbps

Approx 22 hours, 30 minutes

     128 kbps

Approx 34 hours

       48 kbps

Approx 91 hours, 30 minutes



Approx. 134 hours


Approx. 264 hours


Approx. 843 hours

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What configuration is best for recording files that are optimized for use with Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice-recognition software?

This recorder has a DNS recording scene that automatically optimizes the recorder's configuration for recording files that are to be used with Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice-recognition software. This option is available on recorders with firmware version 1.10 and later.

To check the version of the firmware in your recorder, please do the following:

  1. Press and hold the [OK/MENU] button.
  2. Use the [+] (Up) and [-] (Down) buttons on the keypad to select Device Menu, and then press [OK/MENU].
  3. Use the [+] (Up) and [-] (Down) buttons to select System info., and then press [OK/MENU].
  4. Use the [+] (Up) and [-] (Down) buttons to select Rec Scene, and then press [OK/MENU]. The firmware version will be displayed on the LCD monitor.

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How is the recorder turned off?

The [HOLD/POWER] switch is the recorder’s power ON/OFF switch. It is recommended to set the [HOLD/POWER] switch to HOLD when replacing the batteries to preserve the time and date settings.

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How is the recording volume controlled?

This recorder always records at 100% volume level to prevent accidentally recording with the volume set too low.

The recorder has two levels of microphone sensitivity:

  • High is a high-sensitivity level used for conferences and recording at a distance or low volume.
  • Low is a standard recording sensitivity level suitable for dictation.

Microphone sensitivity is set in the recorder menu. The Rec Scene function must be set to Off in order to use the Mic Sense function.

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How is the playback volume controlled?

The playback volume is controlled using the [+] (Up) and [-] (Down) positions on the keypad on the recorder’s face. Pressing [+] increases the volume. Pressing [-] decreases the volume. The volume levels range from 00 to 30.

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Can the playback speed be controlled?

Pressing the [PLAY/OK/Menu] button during playback opens the playback speed adjustment display. Press the [+] (UP) or [-] (DOWN) button to adjust the playback speed. The speed may be increased or decreased by increments of 10 percent from half the normal playback rate to double the original rate.

[x1.0 Play] Normal Playback
[x0.5 Play] – [x0.9 Play] Slow Playback
[x1.1 Play] – [x2.0 Play] Fast Playback

Press [PLAY/OK/Menu] again to select the setting.

Even if playback is stopped, the changed playback speed will be retained. The next file played will be played back at the set speed.

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How do I enable a recording scene?

To activate a recording scene, do the following:

  1. Press and hold the [FOLDER/INDEX/SCENE] button.
  2. Use the [+] (Up) and [-] (Down) buttons on the keypad to select the desired recording scene, and then press the [OK/MENU] button. The selected setting will be activated.

Note: The DNS recording scene becomes available after updating the recorder's firmware to version 1.10 or later.

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How are files erased from the VN-8100PC?

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 [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) button to select File Erase.
  5. Press the [Play/OK/Menu] button.
  6. Press the [+] (Up) button to select Start.
  7. Press [Play/OK/Menu] again.

To erase the contents of a folder:

  1. Press the [FOLDER/INDEX] button to select the folder.
  2. Press the [ERASE] button.
  3. Press the [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) to select Erase in Folder.
  4. Press the [Play/OK/Menu] button.
  5. Press the [+] (Up) button to select Start.
  6. Press [Play/OK/Menu] again.

Erased files cannot be retrieved. Locked files will not be erased.

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How can I protect my files from accidental erasure?

The Erase Lock function found in the File Menu is used to protect a file from accidental loss. Locked files cannot be erased using the [ERASE] function. However, locked files will be deleted if the recorder is formatted using the Format function.

To lock a file:

  1. Press the [FOLDER/INDEX] button to select the folder containing the file.
  2. Press the [] or [] button to select the file you wish to protect.
  3. Press and hold the [Play/OK/Menu] button. The menu will be displayed, and File Menu will be highlighted.
  4. Press the [] button. On the next screen, Erase Lock will be highlighted.
  5. Press the [Play/OK/Menu] button.
  6. Press the [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) button to select On.
  7. Press the [STOP] button to exit the menu.

When the file is locked, a key icon appears in the upper center of the LCD when the protected file is selected.

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How can I format the recorder?

The Format function 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 [Play/OK/Menu] button for one second or longer to enter the Menu.
  2. Press the [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) button to select DEVICE MENU.
  3. Press the [Play/OK/Menu] button.
  4. Press the [+] (Up) or [-] (Down) button to select FORMAT.
  5. Press the [Play/OK/Menu] button.
  6. Press the [+] (Up) button to select Start.
  7. Press the [Play/OK/Menu] button. The LCD shows Data Will Be Cleared for about two seconds and then displays Are You Sure? Cancel will be highlighted.
  8. Press the [+] (Up) button again to select Start.
  9. Press the [Play/OK/Menu] 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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How do I download files from the recorder to a computer?

Using the bundled USB cable, connect the VN-8100PC to a computer running a supported operating system. On a Windows® platform, the recorder appears in My Computer as a hard disk drive named VN8100PC. On a Macintosh® platform, the recorder appears on the desktop as a drive named VN8100PC.

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 the 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 I save my recordings to an audio or data CD?

Yes, recordings made with 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). When burning a monaural recording, 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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    Can this recorder be used as a USB flash drive?

    Yes. Because the recorder 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, 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 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 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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    The battery ran out while I was recording a file, and now I can’t find or play 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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