Summary: As a cautionary, before purchasing such unit be aware there must be a memory card included as this device's memory card is unusual and not widely available. The device does not function without the particular memory card that came with the unit as "new.
Summary: I used this recorder to record class lectures. In the small room that I used it in, the microphone worked very well. However, I was going to buy a nice external microphone if my recorder hadn't gotten fried (more below). I got the DS-2000 not only because it was from Olympus, but because one can use smart media to get more memory-- Olympus says it gets 22 hours or so on 64 mb of memory but not really--- you have to use the bad quality recording mode to get that much.
Summary: and is very good at it. I really like the VCVA feature. You can control the sensivity as well. Also the switch for dictation vs conference is very useful as well. Awesome/fast tech support. Had few questions about the software, and got them all answered in 5 mins. The most important thing about digital voice recorders is: they should be easy to control and navigate. I must say DS-2000 is very easy to control and use.
Summary: I've bought analog recorders for years and constantly been disappointed in the microphone quality, not to mention the annoyance of dealing with tapes. If you want quality you have to pay for it, and you pretty much get it with this product. In my case I was able to set it on a table and pick up presentation style audio more than 15 feet away (assumes the individuals were projecting, but not shouting). The playback was quite clear.
Summary: I use mine for medical dictation over internet. It has more memory than you will ever use. USB download is much, much faster than previous recorders with serial download (earlier Olympus models). Much better than tape machines: 1) longer battery life 2) don't have to buy microrecorder tapes ever again 3) file management better and faster (ie search, erase, playback).
Summary: Digital is so much better, right? Well, this misstep from Olympus didn't sound any better at all than my Olympus analog (microcassette) recorder. There was a very noticeable hiss during playback, and in order to hear my recording without laying the speaker almost directly against my ear, I had to turn the volume up past the point of distortion. Consider the fact that I am a Pentecostal preacher, and you might get the idea.