The recording equipment that the JMSC uses for this course is the Olympus Digital Voice Recorder WS-321M. The microphones the university owns are made by Sennheiser – a very good audio brand.
They come with an instruction booklet which the university should still have for your reference but here is an online guide aswell.
The sound files they record are Windows Media Audio (WMA). You can load these in Adobe Audition. However, for many other editing systems you would need to convert them into a WAV or MP3 file. You can do this online at http://media-convert.com/ Have a go – it’s easy to use.
It takes an AAA battery. There is a battery indicator at the top right hand side of the main screen. When it has three bars it’s full, two bars is ok, 1 bar is running low and no bars is dead. You can replace the battery in the equipment store but also take your own replacements out with you as when the battery dies so does your equipment – not good mid-interview.
Intro – the basic buttons
It is a basic, easy to use recorder. At the top are two holes marked ‘ear’ for your headphones and ‘mic’ for your microphone. Always do your interview with your headphones on so you can hear what you’re actually recording.
On the left hand side of the recorder are two slidey buttons. The top one is a ‘hold’ button. In effect, this is the on/off button. When it’s slid up to the top it’s in hold position so it is off and can’t record, delete, or do anything. When it’s in your bag have it on hold so it doesn’t accidentally record or play and run down your battery or worse still delete any of your work. Slide down to turn the recorder on.
The slidey button underneath has two modes: music or voice. You want it on voice.
Before you record select which folder you want to record into. The recorder has five folders: A,B,C,D and E. They each hold 200 files so you shouldn’t run out of space. You could always record into different files for different pieces – it’s up to you. The files are saved as a number not a name so it is worth writing down somewhere (like in a notebook) what file is what and where it’s saved so you don’t muddle up your work.
Recording modes and settings – getting you started
There are four modes to record in: ST XQ (stereo extra high quality), ST HQ (stereo high quality), ST SP (stereo standard) and LP (long-term recording).
To change them press the menu button when the recorder is stopped for 1 second or more until the main menu comes up. press OK on Rec Menu and then ok again on Rec Mode. Click on ST HQ. Press the rewind button (to the left of the OK/Menu button) to get out of the menus. This allows you 70 hours of recording of a good quality.
To set the microphone sensitivity do the same: press the menu button when the recorder is stopped for 1 second or more until the main menu comes up. press OK on Rec Menu and then ok again on Mic Sens. There are two choices: Conf and Dict which stand for conference and dictation. Have a play aorund to see which works best for you – i would put it on Conf initially.
The ‘low cut filter’ reduces low pitched sounds and helps it to record voices more cleraly so put it on. press the menu button when the recorder is stopped for 1 second or more until the main menu comes up. press OK on Rec Menu and then ok again on Low Cut Filter. Turn it on. You may want to turn it off if you’re recording background noise for wildtrack.
In the record menu there is another setting called VCVA (Variable voice control actuator). Always have it on off. It starts automatic recording when noise hits a certain level and also stops recording when it drops below a certain level – you don’t want this to happen as you want to be in control of when you are recording or not.
Once it’s set up you can plug in your mic and headphones and record. Press record on the right hand side of the recorder to record, press it again to pause recording, press it again to re-start recording. Press stop to stop recording.
To play back your recordings press the folder button unti, you get to the right folder, scroll up or down to find the right piece of audio and then press play on the right hand side of the recorder. The volume for listening back is on the front above and below the OK/Menu button. When you’re listening back you can listen slowly by pressing play again. The letter S will appear next to the battery sign at the top right hand side of the screen. If you press the play button again it will play fast. The letter F will show at the top right hand side of the screen next to the battery symbol.
You can rewind or fast forward by pressing and holding down the rewind or fast forward button – to the left and right of the central OK/Menu button. If you press stop during playback, it’ll stop there and then restart in the same place when you press play again. If you press the rewind or fast forward button once during play it will take you to the beginning of that track or the next track.
If you want to play back all the tracks in one folder go into Menu and click on Play Menu. Click on All Play and turn it on.
Locking files to prevent accidental deletion
Chose the file you want to lock. Press the menu button for a second or more to get into the menus. Pick Sub Menu then pick Lock and the On. If you later want to delete it do the same process but this time pick Lock and the Off.
Time and date
If you want to set the time and date (then your audio files will be labelled according to the time and date you recorded them) go into Menu, the Sub Menu, then Time and Date. You can reset it in there.
Saving your files
The recorder is also a USB flash drive, which means you can load you audio straight into the computer using a USB port. Turn the hold button on before you click release on the back of the recorder and pull the cover off to make it a flash drive. It will open up with the 5 seperate files (DSS_FLDA, DSS_FLDB, DSS_FLDC, DSS_FLDE) so copy your audio from the right file. It will display ‘busy’ when copying over and the record/play light will flash red. Don’t remove it while it’s busy or flashing or you may lose you audio. If you want to listen to any of the files on your computer double-click them and they’ll open in Windows Media Player. To remove the flash drive click on the icon to safely remove hardware.
Once you have saved the audio somewhere in your own system, I would label it clearly eg. i/v with nurse OR nurse OR something else obvious so you can find it easily. After you’ve recorded several bits of audio you will forget which is which. Clear archiving and labelling will save you a lot of time.
REMEMBER: the computers in the lab are regularly cleared of data. SAVE YOUR AUDIO to your own hard drive.
You can delete files one by one or all at once.
One by one: select the file you want to delete, press the erase button (bottom left of control panel), then press OK.
All at once: select the folder button to the folder you want to erase. Press the erase button twice, then press All Erase and OK.
NB. If you have locked any files to prevent deletion, they won’t erase. However, the files within the folder will renumber so its number will change if you’ve deleted files above it.
To index/mark a file
If you are recording an interview or playing it back and you want to mark a particular place, for example where you hear your news clip, press index (also the folder button – bottom right of control panel) as you record or play. You can then easily forward or rewind to that index by pressing the forward or rewind button. If you want to erase the index, press ‘erase’ whilst the index mark is up on the screen.
Formatting the recorder
It is unlikely you will want to do this, but, if you want to return the recorder to all its original settings you can format it. This wipes everything off it and makes it good as new. You will lose any audio on it if you do this!
Menu - Sub Menu – Format – Start