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Olympus DS-50 vs. Roland R-09 February 23, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Podcast Audio Equipment, Podcasting.
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James from Chula Vista California writes…

I love your website. I have learned so much from all your content. You are a great writer. I need your help, which do you like better Olympus DS-50 or Roland R-9?

Thanks for the question James! You’ve seen the mac ads where the business suit guy, a pc, and a hip gap / old navy type looking fellow, a mac, talk about spreadsheets and video creation, right? Well, I kind of feel like with this when talking about these two products. I have a mac laptop and a windows desktop. I honestly can’t do what I really need to do for a couple elements of my job without the pc, but for other parts, the apple is the thing.

Olympus has come out with a digital recorder that has some features in it you might want for a business portable recorder: auto record, audible activation, pre-program to start recording at certain times, even a remote. The issue comes when they also bill it as a podcasting recorder, that’s where the Roland Edirol R-09 steps up and says something witty about how much longer it would take or how bad the audio would be if the Olympus tried to do it.

Since I’m usually not talking about recording business meetings or classes, I’ve stayed away from those products that try to fill that niche. The DS-50 is one of those. I honestly think it’s a great recorder if you need any of those features I talked about in the last paragraph. Suit and tie… go and buy.

Now, let’s talk about podcasting. To podcast, you want a few things out of your recorder, ease of use, good sound quality, fast copying or production time, and plenty of record time. The Roland Edirol R-09 beats the Olympus DS-50 in all of those… here’s why:

Ease of Use – Mic Inputs

  • DS-50 – 1 mini jack
  • R-09 – external mic and line in

Sound Quality – Microphones

  • DS-50 – detachable stereo
  • R-09 built in powered studio quality

Sound Quality – Record Formats

  • DS-50 – wma only
  • R-09 – wav and mp3 (mp3 is my preferred)
    (that also means the ds-50 really only really works natively with pc, though there are some great conversion products out there)

Sound Quality – kHz

  • DS-50 – STXQ/STHQ/HQ: 44.1 kHz /SP: 22 kHz /LP: 8kHz
  • R-09 – wav or mp3 at 48kHz and lower, plus… you can choose your bit rate

Fast Copying / Production Time

  • The notes about the mp3, kHz, and bit rates all contribute to these along with the R-09 having built in reverb. You could add the reverb on the R-09 and record it directly to a computer that didn’t have any editing / effects software

Plenty of Recording Time

  • DS-50 – 1 GB built in hard drive
  • R-09 SD card that can be swapped in and out… up to 2GB (double the DS-50, but if you have two cards, quadruple the DS-50)

Again, there are reasons to go get the DS-50: you want an easy to use recorder for meetings, classes, dictation, etc… but if you’re podcasting… I’m still a fan of the R-09.

Hope that helps! On another note, I never actually held the olympus in my hands, but from looking at it and the microphone, it looks like you might get some noise from the speaker attachment to the unit as well. For example, if you were interviewing someone and shook it a bit. I can’t say that for sure, again, since I haven’t held it… but it looks like it has the potential to be a part that causes noise or breaks down. The R-09s built ins sound great and since they’re… built in… there’s no problem with noise.

Thanks again for the question!

Comments»

1. powstash - March 22, 2007

great review. this helps me in my search for a premier podcast digital recorder.

2. Jeff - March 22, 2007

I and others are now having great experiences with the Zoom H4 from Samson… see this post: https://jdfrey.wordpress.com/2007/01/19/zoom-h4-handy-recorder-information/

3. deryk - June 15, 2007

UNder Sound quality, you said that the DS-50 only records to WAV. Actually it records to WMA, not WAV. there are products out there that easily convert from WMA to MP3.

4. Madalina - November 28, 2007

Actually DS-50 records to WMA and to MP3. The previous models DS-30 and DS-40 record only to WMA.

5. Jeff - November 28, 2007

deryk, thanks for the catch. I’ve updated the post. Madalina, sorry, it actually doesn’t record to MP3, only WMA… though you can store, and playback MP3 audio files. I don’t own one anymore, but have the user manual in front of me. Here’s a good site with the specs and a downloadable user manual: http://www.microphones.com/microphone.cfm?URLID=DS50 .

6. Belizar - December 23, 2007

The DS-50 is also capable of recording from line-in source.

7. Steve Terry - January 16, 2008

The DS-50 ONLY records via its built-in mics to WMA. You may store MP3 and playback MP3s.

8. Crazy - September 8, 2008

If you need a piece for longtime recordings, take the olympus! Battery is good for 31 hours instead od 4 hours of the edirol. I did not need 2 GB of memory, if i have to change batteries all 4hours.

9. Audio Equipment Speakers - April 8, 2009

Thanks for the post. I’ll be looking into what is newer out there as I see this post is a little older.

10. bandsxbands - March 3, 2010

Interesting post… Looks like solid-state memory is really starting to take off. Hopefully we’ll start seeing decreasing solid state harddisk prices real soon. Five dollar 32 gigabyte SDs for your DS flash card… sounds good to me!(Submitted on Nintendo DS running R4i SDHC Post4i)

11. bodybuilding supplement reviews - July 5, 2013

I love it when folks get together and share opinions.
Great website, continue the good work!


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