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Field Report: Olympus DM-620
In the field
Recording a live concert with low mic sensitivity was clear and crisp while keeping good bass levels creating a full spectrum sound. No sound loss was ever experienced using this recorder for one-on-one interviews, or city hall meetings. In fact listening to the recordings with headphones puts you back into the place where the recording was made keeping all sound natural.
The 4GB of built-in memory, microSD card slot and three recording formats allow you to record a lot of audio. More than 5 hours of linear PCM recording time, more than 131 hours of MP3 recording time and more than 1,000 hours of WMA recording time are available.
Other features include a built-in speaker, standard mini plug headphone jack, a connection for a remote device (sold separately), USB port for charging the included NiMH batteries and transferring files, and a microSD slot for up to 32GB of external storage.
The recorder can be used with either the included NiMH rechargeables or any two AAA Alkaline batteries. Charging time is approximately three hours from dead to full charge for about 19 hours of use time. Using alkaline batteries can boost that up to about 25 hours, but you of course lose the rechargeable aspect. The DM-620 can be recharged through a computer with any USB 2.0 connection or in a USB power station.
Back on the sensitivity of the mics; I was toying around with the mic before taking it out to run its field tests and at the same time I was watching one of the many ghost-hunting shows on television. I looked at the DM-620 and thought, this device is way better than any of the recorders those guys use for their EVPs. So this sparked an idea, I then contacted a friend who is in a local paranormal investigators group and said, "Hey, take me ghost hunting, I've got the coolest recorder and want to test it."
So we went ghost hunting at an abandoned church where they claim lots of activity takes place. They wanted to do what they call an EVP session (EVP = Electronic Voice Phenomenon, which is claimed to record the voices of paranormal entities). This session involved leaving recorders in the building with no one around and going back to listen. They left their recorder in first. We then went outside and I was checking out the features on the recorder deciding on what settings I wanted to use, I decided to fully take advantage of the center mic, and made the setting for the wide stereo recording, I then decided to set the sensitivity quite high. We collected the previous recorder and I set the Olympus DM-620 to record and we left it in the church. While outside, we analyzed the audio on the first recorder. After collecting the DM-620 we listened to what was captured. We were amazed at the full range of sounds captured. The sound was an exact duplicate of what was heard within, full thumps of our footsteps, crickets outside and then we were amazed at the sound of a ghost, mocking us. OK actually no ghosts found, but this recorder was so good that it not only captured the sounds inside the chapel, but also picked up the sounds outside the building. The recording was of us outside the building in a parking lot 20' away listening to the previous recording. So if you want range, the DM-620 has it. Not so sure about ghosts. I'll leave that to the professional ghost hunters, and stick with being a broadcaster.
Wilson is an announcer, producer, webmaster and promotions guy at WAKO-AM/FM, Lawrenceville, IL, and an independent producer/voice talent.
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