Let’s get some facts straight about the audio file format .ds2 (Digital Speech Pro) which superseded the .dss (Digital Speech Standard) audio format back in 2009.

DSS ds2 Digital Speech Standard ProDSS and DSS Pro are proprietary audio formats created and owned by Olympus, Philips and Grundig. The codec to allow payback of this audio is not licensed to any other company which means only software from those three leaders in the digital dictation world can play and transcribe DSS audio files.

If that is the case then why does Express Scribe play .dss files? Our understanding is that in the early 2000’s NCH (then based in Australia, now a US company) managed to get hold of the older dss audio codec and build that into their software. It was not licensed to NCH or any other company. Security has been tighter around the ds2 (DSS Pro) audio codec  which is why Express Scribe does not support the .ds2 audio format.

Express Scribe Does Not Support .ds2 Audio Format

Express Scribe Pro Does Not Support .ds2 Audio Format

The image above is taken from the NCH website confirming that Express Scribe does not support the DS2 file format.

Below is also taken from the Express Scribe website and shows a big green tick for the Philips, Olympus and Grundig audio formats. It should clarify this, as you would naturally think this means ALL audio formats including the non supported and easily most popular dictation audio format .ds2 – Scribe can take the open formats created by these recorders (WMA, WAV, MP3):

Express Scribe Pro Support Grundig Philips Olympus Audio

Since 2009 when Olympus introduced a new range of digital dictaphones (DS-2400, DS-3400 and DS-5000) they have all recorded by default in the .ds2 audio format, superseding the .dss audio format. This format which has been around for 7 years at the time of writing this post is the standard for Olympus, Grundig and Philips professional digital dictaphones and therefore commonly used by the legal and medical profession.

Why did they switch to .ds2? As voice recorders evolved in the early 2000’s from analog tape recording devices to the digital age an audio format that was high in quality and yet small in file size was required, this is when .dss (Digital Speech Standard) was created. As the popularity of the new digital recorders took off regulations needed to be created to protect confidential audio as it was sent across the internet, .ds2 (Digital Speech Standard Pro) was born which allowed audio files to be encrypted. This tied in with the introduction of national audio regulations for confidential data, HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) in the US and The Data Protection Act in the UK.

In most countries it is a legal requirement to encrypt personal confidential audio when transmitted over the internet.

If you work as a professional transcription typist, either for yourself as a small business or as a contractor for an outsource transcription firm you should invest in the correct software for the job. Olympus have a transcription kit for professional transcription which contains a transcription headset, transcription USB foot control pedal and the software and licence key required for the transcription software. The kit can be installed and used on both Mac and Windows (Windows 10 is supported).

The transcription software for Windows from Olympus is called ODMS (Olympus Dictation Management System) Transcription Module and is fully featured software. It can hook into your email and auto load dictation as it arrives. It has the ability to decrypt encrypted .ds2 audio files. You can use the USB foot control or hot keys (keys on the keyboard that you assign) for stop/play/rewind of the audio. And if you use Dragon for Windows it can automatically send audio to Dragon for voice to text leaving the transcription the task of just proof reading the automatically transcribed audio, a huge time save.

The Olympus Transcription Kit for Windows 10 & Mac

For Mac the Olympus transcription software is called Olympus DSS Player Plus v7. The Mac software is not as fully featured as the Windows software with no ability yet to auto load audio from emails and no hook into Dragon for Mac. But .ds2 decryption and transcription either by using hot keys or foot pedal can be done.

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