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What are the main features of the DM-620?

The DM-620 is a high-quality, high-capacity digital recorder loaded with handy and intuitive usability features as well as support software that can run on both PCs and Macs.

The recorder also features a Tremic 3 microphone array with directional microphones for the left and right stereo channels and a center omni-directional microphone, which offers enhanced bass response.

It can record in three audio formats: PCM (Linear Pulse Code Modulation), MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio). In PCM mode, the microphone sensitivity levels can be set manually and the files that are created, which have a .WAV extension, can be split in the recorder.

This model has 4 GB of built-in flash memory and a card slot that holds one microSD or microSDHC card of up to 16 GB capacity (sold separately). Files can be transferred from the card to internal memory and vice-versa.

The DM-620 features Recording and Playback "scenes" - configuration templates - that make it easy to enable an array of preferred settings via a single menu selection. Five of the Recording scenes are pre-set with optimal settings for specific recording conditions; another three can be customized by the user. Five Playback scenes are available.

There are five folders for organizing recordings and separate folders for storing Podcasts, music files and audio content purchased from®. The Music folder holds WMA or MP3 music files transferred from Windows Media Player® or iTunes®.

The ZOOM microphone incorporates DiMAGIC® Corporation's DVM (DiMAGIC Virtual Microphone) technology for directional recording, and DiMAGIC's Euphony psychoacoustic technology for enhanced playback in the recorder.

The DM-520 also includes accessibility features designed to help the visually impaired. The Voice Guide speaks aloud menu items as they are selected in any of 19 languages.¹ The recorder's buttons feature ridges and grooves to make them more identifiable by touch.

After transferring the files to a computer via the bundled USB 2.0 cable, the included Olympus Sonority software can be used to manage, archive and edit PCM and WMA files made with the recorder on Windows and Mac platforms. (The ability to edit MP3 files is available at additional cost via the Olympus Sonority Plus upgrade.) The software also enables subscription to and download from podcast URLs. The podcasts can be transferred to the recorder's Podcast folder for playback at the user's convenience.

The bundled NiMH batteries can be charged in the unit while it is plugged into a computer's USB port, so you can keep them conveniently topped off while you work with your files.

¹ The default languages are English, French, Spanish and Portugese; however, the others may be uploaded to the recorder from a computer by using Olympus Sonority software.

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What are Recording Scenes?

Recording scenes are essentially sets of recorder settings that can be enabled all at once by making a single menu selection. This selection is located in the Rec Menu as Rec Scene.

The DM-620 has six recording scene options. Three are pre-set out of the box; each is optimized for recording in specific conditions. The other three are reserved for User Settings, allowing for customization to suit your preferences. To enable a User Settings scene, select one of the available User Settings options and then choose Scene Save. The recorder's current configurations will be saved as a scene.

The table below shows the menu settings that are applied in each of the preset Recording Scenes as well as the default settings when Rec Scene is set to Off. Only the listed functions are affected when a User Settings recording scene is saved.

Record Setting Conference Lecture Meeting Dictation
Mic Select Central Mic ON Central Mic ON Central Mic ON Central Mic ON
Mic Sense High High Middle Low
Rec Mode MP3:128 kbps MP3:128 kbps MP3:128 kbps MP3:mono
Rec Level Auto Auto Auto Auto
Zoom Mic Off +6 Off Off
Low Cut Filter On On On On
VCVA On/Off:Off On/Off:Off On/Off:Off On/Off:Off
Standby Off Off Off Off

There is also a [DNS] (Dragon Naturally Speaking) scene mode that uses proprietary settings not found in the menu for optimizing dictation files for voice-to-text transcription using the Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking software.

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What are Playback Scenes?

The DM-620 has an option for the user to create up to five Playback Scenes to setup the recorder to preset playback scenarios. The settings that can be saved as a Playback Scene are Noise Cancel, EUPHONY, Voice Filter, Play Mode, Play Speed, Skip Space, Backlight, LED and Reverb. If Reverb is to be used, Noise Cancel, EUPHONY and Voice Filter cannot be selected.

To create a Playback Scene, first configure the recorder with the desired settings in the [Play Menu]. Then, in the menu, go to Play Scene > Scene Save and select a User Setting option. Finally, press the [OK] button to save the scene. The recorder will save the settings of the functions listed above as a Playback Scene. To create another scene, create a new mix of menu settings and repeat the process.

To select a saved Playback Scene for use, in the menu go to Play Scene > Scene Select and choose the desired User Setting. Press the [OK] button to activate the scene.

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What is the function of Noise Cancel?

Noise Cancel can be enabled to reduce background noise in recordings made in noisy surroundings. In effect, the function treats the loudest sounds as the most important and reduces other sounds to make the dictation clearer.

The Noise Cancel options are OFF, LOW and HIGH. The options are set in the recorder's menu. The Low or High settings remain valid until Noise Cancel is set to OFF. Noise Cancel is not available while the Voice Filter is set, and it cannot be used with EUPHONY or Reverb.

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What is the function of the Low Cut Filter?

The recorder has a LowCut Filter function to minimize low-frequency sounds and record voices more clearly. This function can reduce noise from air conditioners, projectors and other types of "white noise."

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What is the function of the Voice Filter?

The [Voice Filter] cuts low- and high-frequency tones to create a playback frequency range encompassing the tones in the human voice, thereby making the playback of dictation recordings clearer. Voice Filter works in all playback speeds.

When [Voice Filter] is being used, [Noise Cancel] cannot be used.

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What is VCVA?

Variable Control Voice Actuator (VCVA) is a function that configures the recorder to record automatically only when sound is detected at a pre-set level, and stop when the sound drops below the threshold level. The purpose of the function is to eliminate "dead air" during recordings, thereby conserving memory and shortening file times.

VCVA is enabled in the recorder's menu. In the DM-620, the VCVA can be set to any of 23 different values. The higher the value, the more sensitive the recorder is to sounds. At the highest level, even the faintest sound will activate recording.

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What enhancements do the upgrades to Olympus Sonority offer?

Purchasing the upgrades adds the following features to the version of Olympus Sonority that is bundled with the DM-620:

Plus Edition

  • MP3 Editing - Adds the ability to output and convert to an MP3 file. With the MP3 format, output and conversion at 320 kbps, 256 kbps, 192 kbps and 128 kbps as well as ID3 tag editing are possible.
  • Create a Music CD - Allows an audio CD to be easily created by specifying in the browsing screen the files to write to a CD. If the total size of the specified audio files exceeds the capacity of a CD, the files can be divided onto multiple CDs.
  • Configuring the Recorder Menu - The built-in device settings (adavanced settings such as the recording mode, alarm setting and timer recording) can be configured using Olympus Sonority.

Music Editing Plug-in

  • Effects - Adds more than 20 types of advanced effect functions.
  • Spectrum Analyzer - Displays the frequency distribution of the sound being played, in real time, on the Waveform Editing screen.
  • Unlimited Track Editing - Eliminates the limitation on the number of tracks that can be editied simultaneously.

To add the Music Editing Plug-in, Olympus Sonority must first be upgraded to the Plus Edition.

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What are Index Marks and Temp Marks?

Index Marks are digital tags that can be inserted while recording or during playback. They are used to skip forward and backward in recordings to pre-selected points. Up to 16 Index Marks can be added to a single file.

Index Marks cannot be placed in files created on machines other than Olympus digital voice recorders. This means that they cannot be placed in podcasts. Instead Temp Marks can be placed in podcasts to temporarily remember desired locations. Up to 16 Temp Marks can be added to a single file.

Both Index Marks and Temp Marks are inserted using the [INDEX] button on the recorder. Index Marks and Temp Marks cannot be added to files in the Audible folder.

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What is the purpose of the Audible folder?

The Audible folder (a sub-folder of the Music folder) is present to download and play audio content from the® website ( is a source for audio books and audio newspaper and magazine articles. Audible also has web sites for the United Kingdom, France and Germany for content in other languages.

Audible files are not managed by the Olympus Sonority software. When users purchase a subscription to, they receive Audible Manager software. The DM-620 is listed in the Mobile Device listing in Audible Manager. Audible Manager is used to download audio content from the Web site and transfer files to the recorder's Audible folder.

When the Audible folder is selected on the recorder, the recorder automatically switches to the Audible mode. The Audible mode is able to play the downloaded Audible files in any of the three formats used by Audible. When a content file is transferred to the recorder, a .pos file is created to record the playback position of a file. This allows the recording to take up where it had left off during a prior listening session.

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What music formats does the DM-620 support?

The DM-620 can store and play WMA (Windows Media Audio) files with bit rates of between 5 and 320 kbps; 16 bit WAV (Linear PCM format) files, and mp3 files with bit rates between 8 and 320 kbps. Variable bit rate files may not play properly.

The DM-620 is compatible with Microsoft Corporation DRM 9 but not with DRM 10.

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How much dictation recording time is available in the DM-620?

The amount of potential dictation recording time available in the DM-620 depends on several factors, including the selected quality mode and whether the recorder is configured to use internal memory or a removable memory card (sold separately).

When a quality mode is selected, several audio file properties are put into place. These properties determine the level of detail of the saved file data. A higher-quality recording saves more-detailed information and creates a larger data file that uses more memory. A lower-quality recording makes a less-detailed data file, so the memory lasts longer. Podcast and Audible files use up portions of the recorder's built-in flash memory, as do files saved on the recorder when it is used as a USB flash drive (aka "thumb drive"). This usage will reduce the amount of memory available for recording new files.

The table below shows the maximum dictation times possible using the built-in 4GB memory (assuming there are no other files saved in the recorder).

Recording Mode Maximum Recording Dictation Time
PCM 48 kHz mode 5 hours, 25 minutes
PCM 44.1 kHz mode 5 hours, 55 minutes
MP3 320 kbps mode 26 hours, 00 minutes
MP3 256 kbps mode 32 hours, 30 minutes
MP3 128 kbps mode 65 hours, 30 minutes
MP3 mono mode 131 hours, 00 minutes
WMA 128 kbps mode 64 hours, 00 minutes
WMA 64 kbps mode 128 hours, 00 minutes
WMA 32 kbps mode 257 hours, 00 minutes
WMA mono mode 1007 hours, 00 minutes

Using removable memory media can expand the recording capacity of the DM-620. The table below shows the potential recording capacity of the recorder with different-sized microSD and microSDHC memory cards.

Recording Mode
Maximum Dictation Recording Time (memory card)
2 GB 4 GB 8 GB 16 GB
PCM 48 kHz 2 hrs. 45 min. 5 hrs. 30 min. 11 hrs. 05 min. 22 hrs. 20 min.
PCM 44.1 kHz 2 hrs. 55 min. 6 hrs. 00 min. 12 hrs. 05 min. 24 hrs. 15 min.
MP3 320 kbps 13 hrs. 00 min. 26 hrs. 30 min. 53 hrs. 00 min. 107 hrs. 00 min.
MP3 256 kbps 16 hrs. 30 min. 33 hrs. 00 min. 66 hrs. 30 min. 134 hrs. 00 min.
MP3 128 kbps 33 hrs. 00 min. 66 hrs. 00 min. 133 hrs. 00 min. 268 hrs. 00 min.
MP3 mono 66 hrs. 00 min. 132 hrs. 00 min. 267 hrs. 00 min. 536 hrs. 00 min.
WMA 128 kbps 32 hrs. 00 min. 64 hrs. 30 min. 130 hrs. 00 min. 262 hrs. 00 min.
WMA 64 kbps 64 hrs. 30 min. 129 hrs. 00 min. 261 hrs. 00 min. 523 hrs. 00 min.
WMA 32 kbps 128 hrs 00 min. 259 hrs. 00 min. 522 hrs. 00 min. 1046 hrs. 00 min.
WMA mono 502 hrs. 00 min. 1014 hrs. 00 min. 2042 hrs. 00 min. 4089 hrs. 00 min.

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What are the maximum recording times per file?

A maximum recording time per file is set for each quality mode. Even if a recorder's memory is not exhausted, a single file cannot continue beyond the limit.

Maximum Recording Time Per File

Quality Mode Recording Time
PCM 48 kHz mode approx. 3 hours, 00 minutes
PCM 44.1 kHz mode approx 3 hours, 20 minutes
MP3 320 kbps mode approx. 29 hours, 40 minutes
MP3 256 kbps mode approx. 37 hours, 10 minutes
MP3 128 kbps mode approx. 74 hours, 30 minutes
MP3 mono mode approx. 149 hours, 30 minutes
WMA 128 kbps mode approx. 26 hours, 40 minutes
WMA 64 kbps mode approx. 26 hours 40 minutes
WMA 32 kbps mode approx. 53 hours, 40 minutes
WMA mono mode approx. 148 hours, 40 minutes

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How is the recorder turned off?

The recorder is turned off by sliding the [POWER/HOLD] control on the left side of the recorder downward and then releasing it. The switch should then be moved upward to the HOLD position to prevent accidental activation of the button functions and to preserve date and time settings when changing batteries.

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What recording quality mode should i use?

Different quality modes save the digital record of a signal with different levels of faithfulness to the original sound. The higher bit rate (kbps) modes are recommended for music, drama or interviews that may be made for broadcast because they make very detailed digital records of the sound and use a very wide frequency range.

Lower-quality modes, those that use lower bit rates, make a less-detailed digital record of the signal and use a narrower frequency range so they will use up the available Flash memory much more slowly. These modes are best used for audio note taking or recording college lectures or seminars - situations in which large content capacity is more important than high audio quality.

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How is the recording volume controlled?

By default, the DM-620 records automatically at 100% volume level to prevent accidentally recording with the volume set too low.

The recorder has three levels of microphone sensitivity:

  • High: The highest recording sensitivity, it is suitable for conferences with large crowds and recording audio at a distance or low volume.
  • Middle: Suitable for recording meetings and seminars with a small number of people.
  • Low: The lowest recording sensitivity, it is suitable for close-up dictation.

Microphone sensitivity is set via the MIC SENSE option in the recorder's menu.

The DM-620 also allows the user to manually preset a fixed recording level using the Rec Level Manual option in the recorder's menu. It also disables the limiter. The limiter automatically adjusts the recording level to prevent "clipping." Clipping occurs when the recording level allows sound levels beyond the dynamic range of the recording device to be recorded. The result is distortion in the louder parts of the recording. The [+] (plus) and [-] (minus) buttons are used to manually set the recording levels.

The DM-620 features a recording level meter on the LCD screen so that recording levels can be monitored. If the level is too high and clipping may occur, OVER is displayed above the level meter. It is recommended to do a test recording before doing a final recording to set the manual recording levels appropriately.

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How is the playback volume controlled?

The playback volume is controlled during playback by using the [+] (plus) and [-] (minus) buttons on the circular pad on the face of the recorder. Pressing [+] increases the playback volume. Pressing [-] reduces the playback volume.

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How is the playback speed controlled?

The playback of files in the DM-620 can be changed to between 50% and 300% of the default playback speed in increments of x0.1. The tone of the file will be adjusted digitally without changing the pitch so that the recording sounds natural.

The playback speed is changed by pressing the [OK] button during playback and using the [+] (plus) and [-] (minus) buttons on the circular pad to set the speed. The options are:

  • S. Play (Slow Play): x0.9 to x0.5 of normal speed in x0.1 increments
  • F. Play (Fast Play): x1.1 to x3.0 of normal speed in x0.1 increments

S. Play and F. Play are not available while Reverb is enabled. During fast/slow playback, stereo files will be played in monaural even if they were recorded in stereo.

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How does the Zoom Mic work?

The [Zoom Mic] menu option allows you to widen or narrow the angle of sound pickup by the Tremic microphone array. It is set in the [Rec Menu]. When the option is opened in the menu, the display shows the angle of sound pickup. The angle can be widened or narrowed using the [+] (plus) and [-] (minus) buttons on the circular pad on the front of the recorder. When the angle has been selected, press the [OK] button to set the angle.

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How are files erased from the recorder?

Dictation, Audible, Podcast and Music files can be erased from the recorder by selecting the file and pressing the [ERASE] button. The LCD screen will highlight Cancel. While Cancel is highlighted, press the [+] button to select File Erase, and then press the [OK] button. The LCD will display the File Erase screen with Cancel highlighted. Press the [+] button to select Start and then press the [OK] button. The LCD will then display Erase Done.

To erase all of the files in a folder, use the same procedure, but select Files in Folder instead of File Erase.

Note: Locked files and files that are set as read-only cannot be erased using this function.

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I want to clear my recorder of all files. How do I format the recorder?

The recorder should be formatted only by using the internal FORMAT function found in the menu. Formatting using the computer may corrupt system files neded to run the recorder and may delete the Voice Guide data and Audible system files. When the recorder is connected to a computer, individual files can be deleted using its file-browsing program (e.g. My Computer) without negative effects.

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How do I charge the recorder's rechargeable batteries?

The two bundled BR-401 NiMH batteries can be charged in the recorder via a USB connection to a computer. The USB cable should be plugged directly into a computer USB port and not into a USB hub. USB hubs split up the USB current and the battery may not fully charge through a hub connection.

To charge the batteries through a USB port, first connect the USB cable bundled with this recorder to a computer. A message will appear on the LCD display saying "Press OK to start charging." Press the [OK] button at this point to initialize charging. Charging will be displayed in the charging indicator at the top of the LCD screen and the orange LED will be lit. The LED will go out when charging is completed.

The batteries can also be charged using the optional AC Adapter A-514, which has a USB plug on its cable. To set up the recorder to charge from the AC adapter, in the menu go to USB Settings > USB Connect > AC Adapter and press the [OK] button.

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How do I safely disconnect the recorder from a computer?

To safely disconnect a digital voice recorder USB connection, do the following:

  • Windows - To safely disconnect the recorder (or ANY USB device) always use the Safely Remove Hardware function in the Taskbar in the lower right corner of the Desktop screen before disconnecting the USB cable from either the recorder or the computer.
  • Mac - To safely disconnect the recorder (or ANY USB device) always use either the EJECT button or drag the icon that represents the drive on the Desktop screen to the Trash before disconnecting the USB cable from either the recorder or the computer.

Failure to perform these operations correctly and consistently may result in corrupted files in the recorder's memory which may not be able to be played or retrieved.

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The battery ran out while I was recording and now I can't find or play the file. Why?

When a recording session begins, a file is created to contain the incoming audio content. This file remains open throughout the session until the recording is manually stopped. If the recorder lasts longer than five minutes, the recorder will save the audio content at five-minute intervals.

If the battery runs out during a recording session, only the portion of the recording that has been saved will be available for retrieval. For example, if a recording session is interrupted by power loss at the 37th minute, the audio file of the recording will contain only the first 35 minutes worth of content. The remaining two minutes worth of content is not available because it was never saved to the file. In the case of recordings that are shorter than five minutes, the entire recording will be lost because the file is not able to close due to the lack of power. 

It is crucial to change the battery once the battery indicator shows only one hash mark of power remaining. Removing the battery while the recorder is in use may also corrupt a file.

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