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Digital recorders compatible with DNS 8 Preferred
Thread poster: Mark Osborne
Mark Osborne  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:43
French to English
+ ...
Jan 14, 2008

Hi everyone,

I work with Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 Preferred, and need to buy a digital recorder for recording notes and interviews that I hope to then transcribe on to the PC with Dragon. However, I know that only some recorders are compatible, and have studied the list on the Nuance site, but they only refer to DNS 9. Have any of you worked with a recorder and DNS 8? I'd really appreciate any recommendations!



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Tom Hamilton
Local time: 13:43
Digital Recorder Responce Mar 10, 2008

The Philips 9600 and the Olympus DS-4000,3300,2300 and the Olympus DS 50 will all perform very well with DNS 8 or 9. The Philips 9600 is the best as it takes advantage of the new DS 2 format. The following is a comparison between the DS 4000 and the Philips 9600.

Philips 9600 Wins in the Following Categories:

1. Larger more informative viewing screen
2. Feature packed SpeechExec Pro Dictate software (which actually bests the impressive DS-4000 DSS Player Pro software)
3. 128 Mb SD card vs DS-4000's paltry 32 Mb xD card)
4. Clever set of 5 Universal power adapter plugs to ensure voltage compatibility in any country.
5. USB charging cradle has a better look and feel than it's rival. It also features a better design. It's easier to slide the 9600 out of a USB charger which includes 2 lighted indicators as opposed to one in the DS-4000.
6. We like the nonproprietary mini USB cable which makes it easy to replace.
7. The 9600 power On/Off button looks notably more durable than the DS-4000 On/Off button which we have seen break on a couple of occasions. We also prefer the positioning of the 9600 switch on the side of the unit as opposed to the back of the DS-4000.
8. The 9600 features a larger speaker and has better playback quality.
9. 9600 recordings can be encrypted within the recorder for additional privacy.
10. Both recorders automatically power down to conserve electricity but while the DS-4000 hours powers down completely, the 9600 displays the date and time which is a nice plus.

Olympus DS-4000 Wins in the Following Categories:

1. 2 programmable buttons that can be programmed to perform 4 separate operations as opposed to the single programmable button on the 9600.
2. Only half as many steps involved in erasing a file on the DS-4000.
3. The DS-4000 xD memory card is protected and completely enclosed within the unit. By contrast, the 9600 SD memory card is about 10% exposed, (xD cards perform just as well and are agreeably smaller) and if you remove the SD card you can actually see part of the 9600 circuit board.
4. We have a slight preference to the DS-4000 rechargeable battery pack which will allow you to substitute AAA batteries. We appreciate the fact that the 9600 included a pair of AAA rechargeable batteries but inserting the batteries was a bit clumsy.
5. Although the master slider control on both units is excellent, we have to give the edge to the DS-4000 with its patented design. If you perform frequent start and stop dictation, the DS-4000 slighter control is easier to manipulate.
6. We are not particularly pleased with the USB dongle which is required to launch the 9600 SpeechExec Pro Dictate software. You could install the software on as many computers as you like but the software will not launch without the dongle.
7. We were particularly displeased with the InstallShield 1155: error about .NET Framework being required. Supposedly if you don't have .NET Framework 1.1 the installer will automatically add it into the installation but the SpeechExec Pro Dictate 4.3 (most recent version) software simply exited out of the installation without additional prompts. We were able to overcome the problem by browsing the CD where we eventually found an installer for .NET Framework. We should also mention that we were installing on Windows Vista. It's possible that Windows XP might not have this problem but Philips needs to fix their installation.

NaturallySpeaking Transcription Quality:

The DS-4000 uses the now older DSS format while the 9600 has a higher quality option which Philips refers to as DS2. We created 2 separate digital recorder user profiles and noticed that the 9600 had a lower noise floor so we expected better results when testing sample recordings but we were surprised that both units tied at 98% accuracy. We also transcribed recordings made on the 9600 user profile in the DS-4000 user profile and vice versa. We additionally transcribed recordings, in UniVoice (non-gender specific universal microphone/recorder user profile). In every test the DS-4000 and 9600 scored 98%. We should also note that direct microphone dictation produced 99% accuracy.
Note: Although the Phillips 9600 includes the traditional lower quality DSS and the new DS2 higher-quality recording capability, we found no difference when using either setting for transcribing into NaturallySpeaking. This may be due to the fact that the recordings are temporarily converted from their proprietary format into wav files before being transcribed.

Bottom Line:

Both recorders performed exceptionally well. The DS-4000 is priced $50 below the 9600 and lacks some of the amenities of the 9600 but it's also less complicated and thus easier to use; especially for a newbie. The DS-4000 DSS Player Pro software is a little cleaner and it works a little better with Windows but we were particularly fond of the 9600 "encrypt as you go" feature for added security. Both units did an outstanding job throughout our tests and depending on your individual needs, you can't go wrong with either recorder but it might be best to wait for the Philips 9600 to shake out. The 9600 is very new while the DS-4000 has a long track record.
Accuracy Results:
Microphone Input 99%
UniVoice User Profile w/Philips 9600 98%
UniVoice User Profile w/DS-4000 98%
Philips 9600 User Profile 98%
Olympus DS-4000 User Profile 98%

KnowBrainer, Inc. Support Staff – Tom Hamilton
A Nuance Gold Certified Endorsed Vendor

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Mark Osborne  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:43
French to English
+ ...
Thanks for the information, Tom! Mar 11, 2008

I appreciate your effort, Tom - thanks very much!

I have since also received a reply from Nuance stating that any devices on the Hardware Compatibility list for DNS 9 will also be compatible with DNS 8, in case anyone's interested...


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