The Olympus VN-240 is a digital voice recorder with a lot of good features and at a great price. Let’s face it, tapes, cassettes and other recording media are out and digital is in.
I wanted to get a digital recorder for interviewing people for freelance writing assignments and searched the web and stores for a decent one that would not cost very much. I was looking at one that would be less than fifty but with a few functions. I wanted to be able to play it directly to my computer to record and edit interviews I do. I also want to be able to use my speech recognition software to turn the recording into text.
Batteries needed to be the regular AA or AAA kind, not some expensive kind. And I wanted a smaller size to be able to carry it with me on the go. I looked at the few models for less than fifty that I could find and very quickly narrowed my search down to a few. One from RCA was close to what I wanted but the Olympus VN-240 from Radio Shack had all the features I wanted and cost $39.99. The one thing that other recorders for less than fifty dollars did not have, the output for listening or hooking up to a microphone input on my computer. With the earphone jack I can hook my microphone right to the recorder and play into my computer. Using the Windows Encoder I record my digital conversations onto my computer letting the voice recognition that comes with Windows XP translate the conversation for me. Sure it’s not fool proof but it’s better than trying to do it all by hand, and much easier. The recorder works very easily with four folders to record into. It is just like a windows folder system, you record into a separate file under a folder for different conversations so you can keep track of everything you need to. The folders come in two types, three are for regular recordings and a forth, called S, is for a dated recording. You can record into it information or a daily diary and it is recorded by the day and time of the recording instead of by the folder and subfolder.
The whole system on the VN-240 can hold 32 Megabytes of recordings and was more than the RCA model for about the same price. You can set a scheduled time to record using the time features of the recorder as well as just pushing the easy to understand buttons to record your conversations. The recorder is on all the time or in a standby mode, meaning when you put the in batteries it comes on and will keep the recorded conversations until you take out the batteries or they go dead on you. It will go into standby mode after ten minutes of none use and will stay in standby until you push a button. So with this always on and standby mode you have to make sure you download or use the conversation before the batteries go dead.
The recorder has a voice actuated mode as well as an alarm playback function. The voice actuated works pretty well but it is hard to tell. It will pick up noises like a dog barking or the television as well as regular speech so can be activated by other sounds and not just your voice. The alarm playback function will start a recorded folder to play back at a certain time you set. There is also a timer record function that will start to record when you set it to. I won’t get into all the spying uses for these functions but I’m sure this can come in handy for some people.
The LCD panel has a battery bar on it so before you use it you can make sure you have enough juice to last for whatever use your going to put it to. The whole package is an easy to use recorder that is small enough to put into a shirt pocket and even has a small clip to hold it in.
It has a built in speaker as well as the built in microphone so you do not need to carry anything else with you to record with it. You can just play back with the speaker or you can use an earphone in the jack to play back or use a cable to hook up to your computers microphone jack and record onto your home computer. The recorder uses AAA batteries and with a good set of rechargeable ones this recorder lasts a long time on the standby mode. I have had it for three weeks and have been playing around recording and erasing and still have not seen the battery bar go down any yet.
Over all I think the Olympus VN-240 voice recorder is a good deal and worth the price. No tapes to mess with and you get clear high quality recording with an easy to use folder system to keep all your important recordings in order.