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Olympus VN-480 Voice Recorder Review
By: Cyd
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    Table of Contents:
  • Olympus VN-480 Voice Recorder Review
  • Look and Feel
  • The Speaker
  • Hearing it in Action
  • Main Screen and Conclusion

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    Olympus VN-480 Voice Recorder Review

    (Page 1 of 5 )

    Using a digital voice recorder to record yourself saying something goofy and then playing it back with the chipmunk effect or the scary demon effect is fun, of course, but if you're capturing incrimanating evidence or getting notes in a lecture or business meeting, you want quality recording. We're going to see if the Olympus VN-480 can provide that quality.

    Personal voice recorders have come a long way in the past fifteen years. They've gone from the foot long tape recorders with the big red record button, to the smaller handheld microcassette recorders of the nineties, to today's digital voice recorders that use various forms of flash memory to store you recordings. Today we'll be taking a look at the VN-480 from Olympus, which is of the digital persuasion. Take a look at some specs from the manufacturer's website regarding this model (take note of the things I've highlighted):

    Olympus VN-480

    Recording FormatADPCM
    Recording MediaBuilt-in 64MB Flash Memory
    Recording Time

    2 hours, 57 minutes in HQ mode.
    4 hours, 27 minutes in SP mode.
    8 hours, 13 minutes in LP mode.

    Card FormatN/A
    Input LevelN/A
    PC InterfaceN/A
    Folders Messages4 / 100 per folder
    Sampling FrequencyHQ: 16.0kHz / SP: 10.6kHz / LP: 5.75kHz
    Overall Frequency ResponseHQ: 300-720Hz / SP: 300-4700Hz / LP: 300-2600Hz
    LP ModeYes
    Voice ActivationYes
    Demographic Data InputNo
    Practical Maximum Output120 mW
    Write ProtectionNo
    Speaker28mm diameter dynamic internal speaker
    Microphone JackYes
    Earphone JackYes
    Power SupplyTwo AAA batteries
    Batteries2 AAA (included)
    External Power SupplyN/A
    Battery LifeApprox. 25 hours (using alkaline dry cell battery)
    Size39"? x 1.54"W x 0.85"D
    Weight2.4 oz (68g) including battery
    OS SupportedN/A


    Sound BoardN/A
    Video Card and DisplayN/A
    Removable DriveN/A
    USB PortN/A
    Audio OutputN/A

    I'll talk a bit more about the other things later but the biggest atrocity I see above is the lack of a PC interface. I see PC connectivity as an extremely important factor with any digital recorder. Not only does it keep you from filling the limited amount of built in flash memory, but it also allows you to easily transfer those recordings to a safer place where you can actually use them in conjunction with the rest of your work (or play).

    However, in Olympus' defense they also offer the VN-240PC, which is identical in pretty much all aspects to the VN-480 including price, but it offers PC connectivity via an included USB cable. The only real difference between the two is that the 240PC has only half the built in memory of the 480. With that in mind I suppose it's more a matter of preference, since people without a PC would probably be more interested in large amounts of memory, but those people are somewhat of a minority nowadays anyway. Let's move on to the pictures and performance, shall we?

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