Using the Olympus DSS Player for Mac

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Olympus Dictation for Mac OS

In this article, we’re going to look at the Olympus® DSS Player for Mac®, which is the Apple® edition of the Olympus Dictation Management System (ODMS) for Windows®. We will detail many of the features and functions available in DSS Player for Mac, but first, let’s talk about what’s missing from the Mac side (when compared with Windows). 

  • Lack of device configuration – Unless you sign up for DSS Player Plus (see below), you cannot configure the recorder beyond setting an author ID and the time and date.
  • No email or FTP sending or receiving
  • No speech recognition support within the software
  • No “Finished” or “Backup” folders
  • No routing by worktype or author
  • No routing by email or FTP address
  • No worktypes
  • No transcriptionist notifications

If any of these features is a must-have, you might want to consider working on a Windows machine instead. Otherwise, let’s continue with our look at the Olympus DSS Player for Mac. 

DSS Player for Mac Requirements

If you have a previous version of the DSS Player for Mac, you’ll want to update to the latest version using the update installer. Otherwise, use the full installer. These are two distinct install packages; if you use the update installer without having a previous version installed, you’ll run into problems. In order to get the updated version of the software, you’re going to have to request it from your local Olympus reseller. If you don’t have one, we can help you find one. 

File Formats

You’re in luck – DSS Player for Mac will handle playback for any of these file formats: 

  • DSS
  • DS2
  • WMA
  • WAV
  • AIFF
  • MP3

Yet, if the file was recorded on a non-Olympus device, you’re likely going to have issues with missing or incorrect metadata, because Olympus software is proprietary and not friendly to mixed-vendor environments. 

Compatible Devices

Recorders

When it comes to downloading files from digital recorders, Olympus is even a little more restrictive. In most cases, the DSS Player for Mac will not automatically download from non-Olympus devices. You can still access the files; they just won’t show up in the Olympus software without you putting them there manually. As for Olympus recorders, these are the models and formats that will download into the DSS Player for Mac: 

  • DS-7000 → DSS, DS2
  • DS-3500 → DSS, DS2, WAV, MP3
  • DS-5500 → DSS, DS2
  • DS-5000/5000iD → DSS, DS2
  • DS-3400 → DSS, DS2
  • DS-2500 → DS2
  • DS-2400/2800 → DS2

Microphones

If you plan on doing any direct recording of files, speaking into a microphone attached to your Mac rather than using a recorder, here are the compatible models: Olympus RecMic 

  • DR-1200
  • DR-2100/2200/2300

Foot Pedals

These are the Olympus footswitches compatible with DSS Player for Mac: 

  • RS-27/28
  • RS-31

How Does a DSS Player for Mac Work?

Just like ODMS, Olympus DSS Player for Mac includes an audio player with volume and speed control, noise cancellation, and filtering. Here are some of the other Windows-side features it shares: 

  • The playback display shows both time elapsed in the recording and total time.
  • You still have the ability to index the file and set priority.
  • The main window will show you your dictations and their metadata, including things like length of recording, file name, author name, date created, etc.
  • There is a Device Manager pane, where you can see your connected digital audio recorder, and dig through the folders if you like.
  • The Dictation Folder pane shows the Download Tray, with folders A-G, and a Dictation Tray, for direct recordings. You can create new folders under the Dictation Folder if needed.
  • You can organize your work to show particular file formats only. Go to Display > Sort By to sort your audio files by any displayed column.
  • Choose the metadata that you want to display for all dictations.

Helpful Features

  • In the top menu, under Play > Intro Scan, you can initiate playback of the first five seconds of each file in the folder you have selected, just as in ODMS. This is helpful for finding a particular file, or efficiently identifying multiple files.
  • Direct recording, in which you use a microphone to create a dictation on the computer, is available in DSS or DS2 formats, with insert or overwrite editing as needed.
  • With a transcription license, DSS Player for Mac supports approved Olympus foot pedals—and enables you to customize pedal functions.
  • You can set the Author ID for your supported Olympus recorder (see above). Go to Device > Transfer Author ID from the menu at the top of the screen.
  • The Device Detector, managed in System Preferences, will start DSS Player for Mac when a recorder is connected, just like on the Windows side.
  • From File > Property, basic information about each dictation can be edited.
  • Go to Play > Auto Short-Rewind to set the auto backspace function, which rewinds the dictation a few seconds every time you pause and then play again. This is especially helpful for transcriptionists.

Preferences Menu

Now we’re going to cover some of the configurations found under DSS Player > Preferences

General Tab

If your files are encrypted, you can set a decryption password here, so that you don’t have to enter it every time you play back your dictations. If you need to encrypt a file, you can do this within the software. Select the dictation—which must be in DS2 format—and then click File > Encrypt. In the bottom pane of the General tab, you’ll see options for file conversion. Here you can set what level of quality you want in your AIFF conversion—if you decide to convert your dictations. AIFF is the only available format to convert to, so don’t be confused by the “PCM” terminology. AIFF is a PCM format. 

Download Tab

Here’s where the Download Tray folder can be networked. We recommend networking the tray itself, rather than the individual subfolders. Let Olympus populate folders A-G in the network directory where you move the Download Tray. Otherwise, you might run into an issue where the DSS Player attempts to recreate the entire folder structure where you don’t want it. Just as in the Windows application, we also recommend checking the box to “Delete the original files after downloading.” This will remove all the dictations from your Olympus recorder after they are downloaded to your Mac. As mentioned, you do have the option to convert your dictations to the AIFF format, and this conversion happens upon download. 

Format conversion may be your best option for 3rd party speech recognition, since AIFF is a supported format in Dragon for Mac, but DSS and DS2 files are not. If you’re not sure, you can still right-click a dictation and convert it later. Finally, turn on auto-downloading (at the bottom of the window), so that your files download when you plug in the recorder. 

Record Tab

This is the area where you can configure a few settings for direct recording, if you are planning on using a RecMic to record dictations on your Mac.   

Extra DSS Player for Mac Features

For a small upgrade fee, you can get DSS Player Plus, which unlocks these three features: 

  • Splitting files
  • Joining files
  • Recorder configuration settings

Depending on how complex you need to get with your recorder settings, this could be the right option for you. Keep in mind that you can set auto-downloading and assign an Author ID without this upgrade.