Olympus DS-50 vs. Roland R-09 February 23, 2007Posted by Jeff in Podcast Audio Equipment, Podcasting.
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!