I bought the Olympus DM-720 because it has a few key features my 10-year older DS-30 model was lacking. Things like an expandable SD card slot, and built-in USB port for connecting / recharging from a computer. Sound quality: very decent for the price. In some of the...
I bought the Olympus DM-720 because it has a few key features my 10-year older DS-30 model was lacking. Things like an expandable SD card slot, and built-in USB port for connecting / recharging from a computer.
Sound quality: very decent for the price. In some of the more sensitive microphone recording levels, I can hear a little "hiss" in the background - but the recording of voices and sounds is still clear and legible.
This is NOT a device which approaches the sound fidelity of a $300 dollar or more expensive professional Tascam, Zoom or Sony audio recorder, but for most everyday general use I am happy with it.
There are a list of features packed in with this thing. Everything from voice-guided menus (which can be turned off, as most everything else if you don''t need it from the LED light to the backlighting of the LCD), ability to record in either .WAV (uncompressed high-quality files that take up a bit of space) or .MP3 (compressed files that take up less space with almost the same quality as .WAV file types and with choice of selecting bit-rates), indexing of recordings, voice-activated recording, timer-recording, and a host of other things. The body is mostly metal with some plastic switches and side paneling. It''s a stylish looking little thing, and it weighs less than my previous recorder... mostly because it takes a single AAA battery (the DS-30 requires 2) and a quarter of the body internals is mostly a slide-out USB port mechanism. Very comfortable to carry all day.
There are however, a few things I am disappointed about.
The startup time when you power the recorders up is showing the older DS-30 having about a 2-second faster time to reach readiness than the newer DM-720. That seems backwards, although it may be because I set up an SD card as the primary memory storage for the unit. The DM-720 may just take a second or so longer to access the card, while the DS-30 relies entirely on internal memory it can access quicker.
Also: while both recorders can use rechargeable Ni-MH batteries for power in addition to alkaline, only my older DS-30 can be linked with a corded continuous power supply from a wall outlet adapter... it would SEEM.
There is no power-input on the DM-720 other than the USB port, and while the Olympus website has "Plug-in Power" ticked off as a feature, the manual appears to elude that while you can CHARGE the battery through the USB port faster than you could via connection to a computer by using a special adapter (model A514) you plug into a wall outlet... this can charge the battery and possibly allow recording, but there is no length of cord. The recorder simply sits on top of the adapter right at the wall socket.
Nothing I''ve found yet seems to indicate you can plug this model into a corded adapter of some type and run it off of house power, unless I''m mistaken.
At least nothing I''ve come across as a genuine Olympus product. I have seen third-party adapters online by various companies and under various model names that look like they might be corded direct wall outlet-to-USB connectors, but they all look a little sketchy to me.
If anyone knows of a proper Olympus adapter I might have missed that does this, let me know in the comments!
Granted, with a full battery you can run this recorder for well over 24 hours according to Olympus - so maybe that''s not important to most people, but it seems a bit odd nevertheless as other recorders they''ve made make it pretty simple to plug into home power through a standard circular power jack, with a long cord with a wall adapter at the end, and be able to place the recorder on a table top or desk.
Moving on: The battery compartment deserves a mention. While my older DS-30 has a solid spring-loaded hatch to pop 2 AAA batteries into, this newer DM-720 has quite possibly one of the flimsiest battery covers I''ve come across. It''s basically a thin metal panel you release with a button and it lifts off entirely and is bound to the body of the recorder with what looks like a flexible piece of plastic, like a miniature zip-tie or something.
Not exactly confidence-inspiring from a longevity point of view.
I''d have preferred a hinge attachment, a slider-track maybe. This just feels bad and looks bad. Sure, considering you probably wouldn''t have to USE the battery compartment too much what with in-body-rechargeable batteries and all, it''ll probably last...but man oh man, I wish they''d designed it a bit more solid.
Of additional note, if you''re going to use the attachable clip/stand that comes with the recorder, you''ll have to detach it any time you want to open the battery cover, as the clip conceals the cover-release button when its on the recorder. Another silly design detail that should have been addressed.
Speaking of silly, that Micro SD card slot I mentioned previously?
That was one of the biggies as to why I bought this thing. As wonderful as the DS-30 is, it''s STUCK with a skimpy 256MB (MB!) internal memory. With the ability to increase the memory of the DM-720, it might actually be viable as a music-player / portable hard drive. That was my thought.
Sadly, the DM-720 is also stuck somewhere between 2006 and 2010 when it comes to SD cards as it only accepts up to SDHC cards which limits its capacity to 32GB maximum of increased memory.
That is somewhat inadequate for a modern-day music-player / portable hard drive as the manual touts that it can do.
Interestingly, from my (admittedly limited) research, it would appear that a LOT of currently offered voice / sound recorders from other manufacturers also seem to be only able to expand external memory up to 32GB with SDHC cards.
Because of this, I''m not faulting Olympus specifically... but it still makes me wonder why SDXC isn''t a more popular standard for many voice recorders with SD card slots.
Transferring files back and forth via the USB plug between the recorder and a PC / Mac has been very simple. No surprises there. Some people have mentioned that the USB plug may cover more than one port on your computer because of the physical size of the recorder itself... or that for people with USB plugs only on the back of their desktops, this may be problematic.
Amazon sells USB extender cables (I got a 3-foot USB 2.0 model) and that fixes that issue. Plug one end into your laptop or leave it plugged in on one of the USB port on the back of your desktop, plug the other end onto the USB port of the DM-720 and it''ll recharge the battery / transfer files.
To wrap up: overall, I''m the tiniest bit underwhelmed with this product but not decidedly unhappy about it.
As a straight-up voice recorder it''s very good for that use. I bought it based upon my experience with the DS-30 and I''m happy with the sound quality and features it has for a voice recorder. It''s really nice for dictation and meeting notes, and other voice-centric recordings.
The physical construction seems durable enough, although the flippy-flappy battery door still doesn''t sit well with me. The single biggest knock I have against this recorder is the restriction of having to use SDHC cards which as I mentioned means you can''t put anything larger than 32GB into this thing for added memory.
If you''re thinking of using this as a supplemental music player or portable hard drive, I''d look elsewhere...but I suppose that''s what smart phones and iPods are for.
In truth I bought this Olympus because of how well my old yet excellent-performing DS-30 model has endured, and I believe this recorder should be something I''ll enjoy for just as long.