Journalists' Toolkit

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A training site for multimedia and online journalists

Olympus digital audio recorders and your Mac

Some people think that Olympus digital audio recorders, which save files in the WMA file format, do not work with Apple computers.

They are wrong. Olympus digital audio recorders work great with Macs.

First, you connect the recorder to the Mac with the short USB cable included with the recorder.

Then you will see the recorder appear as a device on your Desktop:

Like any device mounted on your Mac, you can double-click it to see the files it contains.

Olympus recorders come with some ready-made file folders. usually you files will all go into the folder with a name that ends with “A.” My files shown above, however, are in the “D” folder.

You can see that the file extension is .WMA.

Some people think that a WMA file cannot be played on a Mac. Seriously. As the image above clearly shows, this is not the case. WMA files can play beautifully in the QuickTime player on a Mac. All you need to do is install the free Flip4Mac Windows Media Components. It takes about two minutes.

Please do not forget to EJECT your Olympus recorder before you rip it out of the USB port.

It is safer all around if you always eject media properly before removing it.

To edit WMA files in Audacity, I first convert them to the WAV format. To do this, I use another excellent free program called Switch Audio File Converter. Please be sure to click the download link that specifically says “Free Version.”

For other audio tips, including easy guides to using Audacity to edit your audio files, see the Audio Resources page here at Journalists’ Toolkit.