General Purpose Tools

Olympus WS-802 digital audio recorder


Stereo recorder packed with premium features

You have probably heard that if your YouTube videos have poor audio, people will stop watching them in less than five seconds.

Knowing this, I strive to have excellent audio in my YouTube videos. My favorite tool for doing that is my Olympus WS-802 Digital Audio recorder, which I’ve been using for about 10 years. This model Olympus recorder records uncompressed, WAV format audio. I use a lavaliere (clip-on) mic to get even clearer audio.

You can hear the clarity of this audio in these recent YouTube videos of mine. I usually shoot my videos with my Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone. My Olympus digital audio recorder connects easily to my MacBook Pro using a USB-A type connection – as easy to use as a USB Flash drive.

When my digital audio recorder mounts on my desktop, I copy over the most recent WAV file. I use ScreenFlow 9, a Mac screencasting program, to line up my audio and video. (You could use any video editing program for this task.) It’s useful to note – this model of Olympus digital audio recorder has been discontinued, but you can often find it on eBay in the $60 to $90 range.

For me, it’s worth every penny. The current model Olympus digital audio recorder is the WS-853. This records in MP3 audio, which is a compressed audio format. MP3 audio can often sound good if you use a high bit-rate, such as 256 or 384 kbps. I prefer to record my audio in uncompressed audio format, so the discontinued Olympus WS-802 works better for my needs.

One neat thing about owning a digital audio recorder of this kind is if you make presentations at user groups, conferences, or the like – you can record your own audio. Then, after the presentation, you can grab some audio snippets of the best parts of your presentation. I use the free, open-source Audacity program to do that. You can then use any video editing program to create a YouTube video marrying your self-selected audio with a still photo of yourself from your presentation – or even a selfie taken before or after the presentation.

Lastly, I need to mention that the Olympus WS-802 digital audio recorder does not work with Linux – or Chromebooks. This is sad. If you use Linux only, you might try using a Philips digital audio recorder. I cannot vouch for that tool, but I recall hearing that it might work with Linux.

-- Phil Shapiro 02/16/23

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