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Olympus WS-331M Hybrid Digital Voice Recorder/MP3 Player Announced


Two Gigabytes of Memory for 555 Hours of Audio Recording, High-Fidelity Music and USB Direct Connect to Computer for Fast & Easy Downloads

Olympus today announces the new WS-331M, the ultimate hybrid of digital voice recorder, music player and portable storage device. The sleek, piano-black WS-331M stores 2 gigabytes of flash memory, enabling users to record up to 555 hours of high-quality audio with the flexibility of six recording modes. It is also equipped to play both MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) music files with rich tonality. Because it does not require a USB cable, its portable body is able to transport essential files directly to and from a desktop computer just like a USB flash memory drive. A new, larger LCD display rounds out the total package with enhanced viewing and navigational ease.

“Our WS-331M audio device makes the journey from office to home and everywhere in between,” said Andy Flagg, director, Sales and Marketing, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “With two gigabytes of memory as well as USB direct connectivity, it provides optimal convenience in one small device.”

Multiple Recording Modes
The Low-Cut Filter feature can be turned on to filter-out low frequency noise that users do not want to record, such as background noise in meetings that are created through items such as air conditioners, computers or projectors to name a few.

The WS-331M provides six recording modes (three stereo and three monaural) for customized use. The High-Quality sound recording (HQ) mode captures superior sound quality. The Standard Recording (SP) and Long-term Recording (LP) modes enable extended recording time, and the Stereo Standard Recording (STSP), Stereo High-Quality (STHQ) and Stereo Extra-High-Quality (STXQ) modes provide dynamic stereo recording capabilities. The WS-331M records up to 555 hours of audio in LP mode or 500 songs (approximately four minutes with 128kbps per song).

Playback Features
Users of the WS-331M will benefit from the different playback settings. After capture, the slow playback option allows recordings to be listened to efficiently with playback that is 50 percent slower than real time. The fast playback option allows recordings to be played 50 percent faster than real time. Traditionally, users will keep rewinding to hear what was said, but with slow playback they will be less likely to do so, and they can skip ahead to the sections that are important with fast playback. Also, a repeat playback option enables repeated playback of just the selected part of the file being played.

The Noise Cancel and Voice Filter features can also be turned-on during playback to enhance the recordings’ sound quality. When activated, Noise Cancel enables users to select the high or low mode depending on the amount of background noise. The Noise Cancel feature cuts the surrounding background noise digitally during playback. Also, by removing the low and high frequency noises, Voice Filter enhances the human voice, which is a moderate frequency.

Music to Listeners’ Ears
For added convenience, both MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) files can be downloaded and played back on the WS-331M. SRS WOW XTa effects add higher quality to these popular file formats. Specifically designed for small devices with speakers that are physically located close together, SRS WOW XT technology enables the speakers to capture full-panoramic stereo sound. As a result, the reproduced sound is much closer to what the artists originally intended and delivers the same immersive and powerful 3D audio experience over headphones, which are included with the device.

Connectivity, Memory and Storage
This new WS-331M has 2 gigabytes of flash memory, which enables the device to capture long recordings. It also incorporates PC Link via “USB Direct,” a unique design by which the device actually separates from the battery unit and plugs into the USB port located on most computers. Additionally, because the WS-331M is a portable mass storage class device, it is also ideal for anyone downloading large files including documents and images in addition to audio files, with no software required.

Intuitive Design
An enlarged, backlit LCD is easy to read. It reveals file information, recording time and events clearly. The WS-331M is coated in a sleek piano-black exterior with a silver band across the top, concealing its stereo microphone. The speaker for audio playback is located on the front of the devices. The WS-331M’s ultra-compact design (3.73″ x 1.51″ x 0.43″) and lightweight (1.65 ounces, including alkaline battery) make it ideal for travel.

The device is outfitted with an ergonomic dial thumb pad allowing the user to easily play or stop a recording, adjust the volume level, fast-forward and rewind with the touch of one button. The Erase and Folder/Index buttons are positioned individually below the thumb dial for easy access during use.

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Timer Recording Mode
A Timer Recording mode is available for instances when a recording needs to begin at a specific time. It works by setting a beginning time to start recording and an end time to stop recording. This feature is valuable for those who do not want to call attention to the fact that they are making a recording by pushing the record button, or when timing is essential to capture the recording.

File Management
The new WS-331M delivers an easy-to-use interface that allows users to organize digital voice recordings and music. It has five separate file folders that allow up to 200 files per folder for unmatched organization. For added convenience, users can lock a file, safeguarding important data from being accidentally erased.

Low Power Consumption
The WS-331M offers up to 21 hours of continuous operation with a single AAA battery.

The WS-331M will be available in April 2007.

U.S. Pricing
WS-331M Digital Audio Device Estimated Street Price: $199.99 (U.S.)

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