Olympus' DM-20 excels in recording voices and music

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October 16, 2003|By Kevin E. Washington | Kevin E. Washington,SUN STAFF

Getting a gadget to do two related things is always a boon for the consumer and manufacturer. Take Olympus' DM-20 Stereo Digital Voice Recorder and music player, which handles voice recording and CD-quality music playback with aplomb.

Most of the voice recorders I've played with have failed to record CD-quality music for playback in stereo. While some recorders have been up to the task, most can't play back music with any level of fidelity.

The DM-20 is neat because you can get upwards of 45 hours of voice recording - which is nowhere near CD-quality, but who cares when all you want to do is keep a record of an interview or meeting - or you can use its 128 megabytes of flash memory to record about two hours of MP3 or WMA music for playback over the speakers (not a great idea) or the headphones that come with the recorder (a fine idea). Even though this is a voice recorder, it has a five-setting equalizer too.

Noise-canceling technology removes unwanted hiss and background noise as well.

The DM-20 uses a Universal Serial Bus docking station to download or upload music and other files. If you want to keep the recording of that meeting for posterity (you know, the one where the boss offers you a 1,000 percent raise), then you can transfer the DSS (Digital Speech Standard) file to the computer for later playback.

There are five file folders with 199 files in each, so you can pretty much organize the files any way that you want.

The alarm feature, which allows you to program in reminders and wakeup calls, worked well.

Information: 800-622-6372 or www.olympusamerica.com.

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