• Home
  • FAQ
  • Contact Us
  • About Us
  • Support
  • How to Order
  • 95% Recommend Us
  Loading... Please wait...

SST logo

Your Guide to “Going Digital”


Presented by HTH Engineering, Inc.

For more information, please visit

or call us Toll Free (866) 254-0714



Old Faithful (well, maybe not so faithful) Cassette Tape Recorders

So, you’re used to using cassette tapes and a cassette transcriber and are not sure of what is involved in making the switch to digital transcription and digital equipment? Well, we at HTH Engineering are here to help!

The following information will provide you with the basics for getting started, where to find information and products, and how to make that move to “go digital.” We have sales representatives available Mon.-Fri. from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm EST, so if you have questions, just give us a call!

First and foremost, let’s get a brief idea of the entire picture. It consists of three parts:

Now that we have all the parts in line, let’s discuss each part briefly.

Recording Equipment

ds7000manOn the recording end of things, the user might be a lawyer, doctor, radiologist, journalist, etc; someone who dictates during the day and is in need of having files transcribed. There are various options from which to choose when looking for digital transcription and recording equipment.  A few of those options include:

Digital Recorders- handheld devices that users can take on the road or use in the office; prices may range anywhere from $70-$500 depending on the item. Most digital recorders will come with a USB cable that connects to a computer. From there, users can upload the files, and then send them off to be transcribed.

Two types of recorders that are used widely across many industries are:

·Dictation recorders with full insert, overwrite, and review on the fly while making the dictation: Olympus DS-7000, Olympus DS-3500, Olympus DS-2500, Philips DPM-8000, Philips DPM-7000, Philips DPM-6000.

·Conference recorders for CD-quality stereo recording of a meeting or other audio source you're trying to capture for playback later: Olympus DM-720, Philips LFH-955, "Philips Voice Tracer Meeting Recorder II" Conference Meeting Recording Bundle, Olympus LS-7, Olympus LS-100, and the Start-Stop GoldenEar 4X Pro 4-Channel Conference Recording/Transcription System . These recorders are specialized to meet your exact needs. If you have questions as to the best fit for your purposes, please call us at 1-866-254-0714.

You can find these and many other handheld recorders at www.startstop.com/dictation-recorders/.

Another common need in professional arenas is to get the spoken word into the documents while maintaining the freedom to use one’s hands for the task at hand. Pathologists, surgeons, radiologists and scientists among others will benefit from another class of dictation system. HTH Engineering understands the dictation and transcription needs of these professionals and offers some great solutions.

Some of those solutions include: Start-Stop Ultra Hands-Free Wireless Dictation System, Start-Stop Microscope Hands-Free Dictation System, Start-Stop Hands-Free Dictation System II, and Start-Stop Waterproof Pathology Hands-Free Dictation System. These exclusive systems, which evolved out of HTH Engineering’s many years in the industry, contain everything necessary to dictate letters and deliver them to transcriptionists quickly.

Call-in System– users can pick up the phone, dial a certain number, and begin dictating, while using prompts to review and edit. The files are automatically sent to a specified path, whether it’s a network, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site, or email address. Prices on this type of equipment can range from about $1100 to $1700, depending on how many users/phone lines are needed. Once the user has finished dictating, the files are sent to the transcriptionist.

Examples of Call-In Systems Include:

Start-Stop Call-In Recording System for only $1195 (2-line) or $1695 (4 lines at once)

In some situations, persons who dictate will purchase their own equipment; however, if you are persuading a certain office or client to go digital, it may be a good idea to purchase a device for them to try out. We sell each of these items and will offer a customized price if you give us a call at 866-254-0714.

How to Transfer Files from Point A to B

Digital files may be sent to transcriptionists in a number of ways:


j0300520If both the person dictating and the transcriber are in the same office or on the same network, the files will be sent instantly to the transcriptionist (where they can both “see” the same shared or common folder on a network drive).

If you’re using digital recording equipment, the transfer can be set up to occur automatically every time you connect the recorder to its cradle or PC. If you’re using a desktop recording unit, transfer of your dictation to the transcriptionist will occur as soon as you click the EOL (End of Letter) button. The Olympus LS-7 and DM-720 Stereo Digital Recorders, for example, download to and from your PC via their USB cables.

Other top-of–the-line digital recorders (Philips DPM-8000 and DPM-7000 and Olympus DS-9500 and DS-7000) have the ability to send your dictations automatically as email attachments as well, or to any network destination, as soon as you plug the recorders into their cradles. These recorders can even send your dictation to multiple email addresses, or via FTP sites (encrypted secure, or regular), depending on how you set it up.


With any digital recorder that HTH Engineering, Inc. sells (inexpensive or more expensive), once the files are transferred to your PC, you always have the option to attach the dictation file(s) to an email manually (using Outlook or your other favorite email program) and send them to any person you want.

You may find that burning the files onto a CD, or extracting them from a memory card by using a memory card reader are useful as well.

Some busy users who own recorders with removable memory cards prefer to pop the card out of the recorder (like you do with an analog microcasette tape recorder) and hand the card to a transcriptionist, who uses a memory card reader on the PC for transcribing the dictation. Or you may use the Philips Desktop 9750 for Digital Pocket Memos. This system allows you to work in the same way as you would with traditional tape-based transcription. You just insert the Multimedia/DS Card from the Philips Digital Pocket Memos for instant playback!


Another way is to utilize an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) site. An FTP site is a file storage site on the internet that is purchased (usually) by the person who is transcribing the files. This eliminates using email or any physical contact in order to send the files from one point to another. FTP is also better when frequently sending large files, because there is no file size limit like there is with email: with email you’re normally limited to a maximum of 5-7 Megabytes (MB) per attachment or email. A 1-hour dictation with an Olympus recorder will be 6.4 Megabytes.

If you’re doing large amounts of patient medical dictation from different physician offices and need to be HIPAA-compliant (that is, the files need to be encrypted for security protection), an FTP site can be a good way to go. This will allow you the most flexibility, both on the recording and transcribing ends. Say, for example, you transcribe files for 5 different clients and need to be HIPAA-compliant. You purchase space on an FTP site, and each client will upload dictation files to your FTP site. Clients login with a username and password and upload the files. You access that site and also login with a username and password, and download the files to your PC. You transcribe, and repeat the process to get the files back to your client/doctor. An FTP site is a third party, a separate entity that needs to be purchased in addition to the digital recording and transcription equipment.

Some useful sites to visit on FTP are:

(Please keep in mind that HTH Engineering, Inc. has no relation to these sites mentioned as examples of FTP Providers.)

Transcription Equipment

blonde typist-canstockTranscription equipment for digital files will usually consist of a foot pedal and software. The software will allow you to play back the audio files under foot pedal control, while you transcribe into your favorite word processor. (The foot pedal controls will include Play, Pause, Backstep, Fast Forward, etc.) The software also allows you to change the speed of the audio.

We recommend the Start-Stop Universal Transcription System which allows you the most flexibility when it comes to transcribing. It supports virtually all audio formats, both standard and proprietary. Whether you work for multiple clients or just one, this system will suit your needs. Once the files are sent to you, simply open the Start-Stop software, load your jobs into the built-in Job Manager, and begin transcribing using your foot pedal. It’s very easy to use, and we walk you through it step-by-step.

For those who need a transcription system that handles multiple source formats other than just audio we recommend our exclusive Start-Stop OmniVersal Audio/Video/DVD Transcription System. This system is World's most Versatile and Robust Transcription System and offers full pedal control. This system benefits those who need to transcribe recorded interviews for law enforcement agencies, those working in the movie or cinema industry, or those needing to transcribe recorded focus groups, city council meetings, courtroom hearings and much more no matter whether it's audio, video, or a DVD recording.

There are several other transcription systems available today; however, some of the main points to remember when purchasing a system are the following:

-Does it support all the file formats that I need?

-What types of features are built-in, and how do I benefit from them?

-Is support offered after I purchase it, and if so, how long will I receive it?

-Do I have a warranty on my foot pedal?

If you purchase HTH-developed digital transcription and recording transcription you will like the answers to each of these questions. These products include free software upgrades for the life of the product, and tech support for as long as you own the product.

Examples of other transcription systems include:

Philips 7277 PC Transcription Kit

Olympus AS-2400 Digital Transcription Kit

Olympus AS-7000 PC Transcription Kit

We are happy to help answer any questions that you may have after reading this – that is what we are here for! We have also included the information below to help answer any questions that may have arisen while reading this article. Again, please feel free to call us if you have any questions, and for your custom quote at 866-254-0714!



Typical Use Case for an Orthopedic Group


In recently talking to a doctor who owned a large prosthetics and orthopedic group, Joe explained some of the options for dictation. For example, one of the advantages of using a Professional Handheld Digital Dictation Recorder such as the Olympus DS-7000 or Philips DPM-8000, is that the dictation is extremely clean, it's just like tape, and it's already pre-integrated for use with Dragon Professional, Legal or Medical software.


It's also simple to use a digital recording equipment in just about any situation. Just pick it up, from the car seat, in the office, or at home - throw the slide switch up to the top position, the red light comes on, and you can start dictating. The microphones are noise canceling and will pickup hardly none of the background noise, even if you're in a very noisy location. If you want to hear the last sentence that you just dictated, just hold down the spring-loaded position of the slide switch and it will start playing back your voice and you hear little snippets of your own sentences as it plays back from what you just recorded. If you don't like the last sentence you just recorded you slide the switch to RECORD, and it will overwrite the last sentence that you just spoke.


You can also go back to dictation that you did earlier in the day, and insert or splice in a new sentence by hitting the insert. You can also append new information to the end of that recording if you desire.


These digital recorders run all week on a single charge of their lithium-ion battery. At any point when you dock the recorder in its cradle, or connect it to the computer, all of the day's dictations will be downloaded in a matter of a few seconds, and sent HIPAA (encrypted and secure) to any location via your local network or the internet for transcription by your typist or by Dragon.


The doctor then asked about Start-Stop's Call-in Recording system. I explained that those systems connect to your computer with single USB cord, and you plug into an ordinary analog telephone line or high quality VoIP analog line.


Then he asked about Smartphone mobile dictation Apps, such as the Olympus and Philips apps, and I explained that works very well on your android or iOS phone. But the apps require you to be careful when using it, because control is accomplished through the touchscreen. It will quickly compress and send your dictations over 3G or 4G or available Wi-Fi, and the quality is quite good. In fact, you can use it with speech recognition on the backend, It's $99 subscription per year per device. One disadvantage to the app is, if you get an incoming phone call it may interrupt your dictation and can be a bit touchy if you touch the wrong button on the screen.


This doctor asked if their doctors could use both the Smartphone mobile dictation App (for example the Olympus mobile dictation app) AND the Olympus DS-7000 handheld digital dictation recorder at the same time. The answer to that is an emphatic, "Yes!" It's all seamless and works together, so some doctors could use the mobile app and some could use digital recorders, and the dictation would all be sent automatically HIPAA compliant, back to the office for automatic or manual transcription.


Questions & Answers!


Q: There are so many digital recorders to choose from! What are the main differences between them?

A: Yes, there are a great number of recorders out there and it can be overwhelming! We’ll try to break it down for you to make it as easy to understand as possible. First, digital recorders are broken down into 2 main categories: Dictation Recorders and Conference Recorders.

Dictation Recorders are primarily used for those in an office environment, who dictate notes, patients’ records, etc.: anything where persons will be holding the recorder close to the mouth, and using on a daily or semi-daily basis. These recorders for the most part will have a built-in mono microphone, and editing features, including review, insert, append (attach/add) and delete. They will also have several file folders into which to record, so they can keep track of each day’s dictations.

Some voice recorders will also have removable memory. This is handy when you are traveling and run out of space; you can simply insert a new memory card, and you’re good to go. You can also purchase a larger memory card, and increase the recording time on the device.

There are many other features included when purchasing a dictation recorder; however, it depends on the brand, price range, etc. Some of these features may include rechargeable batteries, slide switch or push-button thumb operation, hands-free recording, indexing capability and so on. There are also many accessories, such as headsets, tie clip microphones and foot controls that can be used as well. Please call us if you have additional questions on a specific model or brand, and we will do our best to assist.

Olympus DM-620Conference Recorders will sometimes come with various recording modes as well, such as STXQ, STHQ, SP, LP, and HQ. It is recommended that you use Olympus DM-720, for example, to create a higher quality (HQ mode) recording in a noisier or larger setting; this will insure that you have a better, clearer recording then you would using a lower quality setting. Also, the higher the quality in which you record, the more space it takes up on your memory card, which reduces the hours you can record. For instance:

· If you have a recorder that has 256 MB of memory and you are in a room by yourself capturing quick notes, you can use a low quality recording, or LP mode, which will give you about 67 hours of total recording time. Now, if you step into a noisy environment where there are several people talking, perhaps a loud AC unit, etc., you’ll want to be sure you record in high quality, or STXQ mode. By doing this, you will have about 4 hours of total recording time. See the difference? It’s pretty significant! (It is important to note that conference recorders do not have editing features, and are therefore not recommended as a dictation recorder for someone who needs to dictate letters and notes. There are no rewind/ record over features on these units.)

images/xdmem2.jpgSecond, this brings us to our next important feature of conference recorders, which is the memory. As you can see from the scenario above, removable memory is favorable to those who record in noisy environments for long periods of time. This enables you either to use a very large memory card, or add a new one when the first one runs out of space. Similar to voice recorders, if you do most of your recording in the office, or near your computer, you are always able to “dump” the cards when they fill up, and start back from square one.

A conference recorder with built-in memory may be great for you. For example, the Olympus DM-2’s internal 4 GB memory provides 977 hrs of recording time in its LP mode, and over 62 hours in STXQ mode; it all depends on your needs.

Conference recorders also have the ability to use accessories such as additional microphones, noise cancelling microphones, remote controls, and the like. Larger stereo microphones can also be used, such as two AKG mics on tripods; this will allow for good coverage in a room of up to about 40 people. Please call us for questions or recommendations on what would work best for you.


If you need to capture multiple channels of audio at once (up to 4 separate, simultaneous recordings in a large room) for city council meetings, large boardrooms, and courtrooms where you need to be able to listen to one person at a time, then the Start-Stop GoldenEar 4X Pro 4-Channel Conference Recording/Transcription System is an excellent choice.

Q: So now that I understand the difference between Dictation Recorders and Conference Recorders, how exactly do I get the files in order to transcribe them?

A: Good question. All digital recorders will come with a USB cable, and/or docking station, as well as management software. The cable or docking station enables the recorder to connect to the computer, and then the files will be uploaded into the software. From there, they can usually be reviewed, renamed, edited, and saved. The user can then attach the file to an email, or upload to an FTP site, where the transcriptionist can retrieve it.

Q: I have dial-up; won’t it take forever to receive those large files over email?

A: Dial-Up!! Oh no! Do you know you can get high speed for as little as $14.99 per month? Not to sound like a commercial, but the prices these days for fast internet service are very affordable. Be sure to shop around, and you’re bound to find a great deal. If you are serious about going digital, you’ll find this to be an absolute lifesaver. Some of the recorders will record in a very compressed format, so the files are not very large; however, receiving anything over dialup is going to take more time, no matter what the size is. Trust us-- high speed is well worth the investment, and worth the time you’ll save waiting for a file to download.

Q: I have to be HIPAA-compliant; do I need special software or hardware?

A: Yes and No. In order to be HIPAA-compliant, the files have to be sent “securely” over the internet – and regular email is not considered secure. You can utilize an FTP site, as we mentioned before. This will act as the “middle party” so-to-speak, and is considered secure by HIPAA standards.

Another option you have is to use recording software (which will come with a voice recorder) that has an encryption feature built in, and transcription software that will have decryption software built in. Encryption will "jumble" the files up and requires a password in order to listen to them. The Olympus DS-7000, DS-3500 and DS-2500, as well as the Philips DPM 8000 Pocket Memo, comes with an optional encryption program that allows you to encrypt your files before sending. These recorders are HIPPA compliant and have either 256 bit or 128 bit encryption. If you choose to use this method then you must select either the AS-7000 Transcription kit for use with Olympus recorders or the Philips LFH 7277 Transcription Kit for use with Philips recorders. The software will decrypt the encryption for these recorders.

Again, the alternative to this is to use an FTP site to upload and download your files for HIPPA compliance. Then you can use any recorder you want, and a universal type transcription system, such as our Start-Stop Universal Transcription System. By taking this route, you have more price flexibility and are not limited to what you’re able to use - on both ends.

Q: Where can I find more information on digital recorders and transcription equipment?

A: Our website of course! We are a Professional Olympus and Philips Dealer, and have our very own line of transcription equipment – for both audio and digital video files. We carry tons of accessories, memory cards and more. Please be sure to call us for your low custom quote at 866-254-0714. Anything that you purchase from us will include toll-free tech support for as long as you own the item. Most items include a 1-year warranty, free software upgrades, and a 30-day money-back guarantee as well.


Copyright © 2012 HTH Engineering, Inc. www.startstop.com

Call us Toll free: (866) 254-0714

Email: sales@startstop.com


Payment Options:

We accept these fine plastic substitutes for cash.
We also accepts payments through PayPal
faastrak Logo
PayPal Credit

Sign up to our newsletter

Connect with us:
Twitter Icon Facebook Icon Facebook Icon


Olympus Certified Partner
Dragon Medical Practice Edition Certified
Philips Certified Partner 2021
HTH Engineering, Inc., Computer Hardware, Tarpon Springs, FL