Olympus DS-40 (512 MB) Handheld Digital Voice Recorder
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Olympus DS-40 (512 MB) Handheld Digital Voice Recorder

  • Built in Memory: 512 MB
  • Type: Voice Recorder
  • Voice Activate System (VAS): With VAS
  • Recording Media: Digital
  • Design: Handheld
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More options than basic models

Pros Battery life, headphone and microphone jack, variable recording sensitivity
Cons Power button on the side can accidentally be shifted off/on
Recommended it? Yes
The Bottom Line:  This recorder works great for publishing podcasts or for interviews and lectures.
Depending on your space needs, you can pick the Olympus DS 30, 40 or 50. They are all the same recorder except for the memory size.

I bought this recorder because I needed an upgrade from the Olympus WS 100. I am a working journalist and frequently record interviews either as notes or for occasional audio presentations to accompany my stories.

There is an incredible amount of space on this recorder, and I find myself using it as a secondary flash drive to transfer files and documents.

When you first get this recorder, please toss out the plug-in stereo microphone. It's completely useless. There is no need to record in stereo with such a small microphone. Second, make sure you set up the options before you do anything. Some of them are complicated (ie. recording in stereo vs mono).

While this is less user friendly than the Olympus WS 100, you have to trade complexity for better features. The features I like include the variable recording sensitivity (three levels), the earphone jack (because you want to hear what you are recording) and the microphone jack for a plug-in mic. The batteries also seem to last a fairly long time.

I also like the matte silver finish. It's not slippery, and it has a loop to put your wrist through so if you're a klutz like me, you have less of a chance of dropping it.

The microphone seems much more directionally sensitive. If you are interviewing someone up close, you can point the microphone directly at them and it sounds as if they are speaking into a studio-quality microphone. Just make sure you do not move your hand while you are recording, because the mic will pick up the hissing noise of your skin moving across the surface of the recorder.

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