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Typists: Having trouble opening DS2 files in Express Scribe?

Typing as a serviceI’ve been having some hassle with DS2 files on Express Scribe.  Now I am a big fan of Express Scribe’s programme – it opens more file formats than any other so is very flexible.

But they’re clearly not listening to their customers.  I’m not the only one experiencing problems their support forums are littered with unhappy people – the DS2 files open fine, but the audio cuts out some way into the audio and you get left with blank tape towards the end.  Their technical team’s response is:

“ds2 files sometimes are reported to have partial decoding problem on Express Scribe though dss files should work fine. You may refer to the information at http://www.nch.com.au/scribe/kb/1769.html for alternate method for converting them and then use it.”

So basically they expect you to tell your clients to convert the files!  That’s not acceptable to most VAs as the reason they are using our services is to make their lives easier, not get bogged down in technical data.

The work around is pretty simple – ExpressScribe can’t open DS2 files properly, so you need to convert it to a different format before loading it.  But before you merrily download NCH’s Switch or another conversion programme, you need to make sure that it can open the DS2 file properly in order to convert it properly.  There are very few of these – and we’ve seen a few have their support withdrawn…

See also  Typing Gold – or those little things which make a big difference!


Talking to Olympus (who own the propitiatory DS2 format) their solution is to purchase their own ODMS R7 software for some £99+VAT.  But I’ve found a good workaround which doesn’t leave you with “scrambled” audio:

DS2 converter


  1. Steph Middleton on 13 September, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Oooh useful snippet there Caroline – thanks!

    • Caroline on 13 September, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Can’t understand why they don’t just develop something like Turbo Dictate have done… It doesn’t bode well for renewing my Express Scribe licence – I might switch to them instead!

  2. Maggie Berney on 13 September, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Another little niggle I’ve found about Express Scribe if you use the Pro edition is that the licence you buy is not valid for a fixed length of time but only until they update the software. Normally this shouldn’t be a problem but somehow my version managed to update itself automatically (which it shouldn’t do) nine months after I’d purchased a licence and wouldn’t let me use it unless I either bought another licence key or rolled back to my earlier version. Just thought I’d share this in case anyone else got caught out the same way.

    If anyone knows of a decent alternative to Express Scribe then I would love to try it out, but unfortunately I think they rather have a monopoly in the VA market.

    • Caroline on 13 September, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      That’s not one I’ve come across Maggie, but I’ll keep an eye out!

  3. Marci on 22 January, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    What I don’t understand is I bought Bytescribe Wavplayer a few years back to play the .DS2 files and I NEVER have a problem. Why can’t Express Scribe do whatever it is the wavplayer does? So silly! I also have the problem of it cutting out partway through and going blank with Pro. If wavplayer was a better program I would just use that, but it’s not as good. You can only load one dictation at a time, no video transcribing, etc. Anyway, I’m going to try this! Thanks!

    • Marci on 22 January, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      OOPS! Quick correction on Wavplayer. I just figured out that you can drag and drop multiples files into Wavplayer (all these years I thought otherwise. Good grief). It’s not a bad little program honestly. You get three licenses with your purchase so you can put on multiple PCs.

      • Caroline on 23 January, 2014 at 11:26 am

        That’s one I haven’t come across Marci – thanks for the tip!

      • netty on 16 May, 2014 at 4:07 am

        Hi. I’m just having a look at Wavplayer as a back up solution for the DS2 files. Do you know if there’s a function to insert a timestamp, like Express Scribe does?
        Thanks for your comments, they’ve been really helpful.

        • Caroline on 16 May, 2014 at 1:37 pm

          Usually I just convert them and then play them on Express Scribe.

  4. Richenda Solomon on 18 November, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    I use Phillips Speechlive for my dictation – any comments please would be welcome, good or bad, as I haven’t heard of the others, so I am wondering if I am grossly out of date. Thanks

    • Caroline on 18 November, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      Phillips will work with all DS2 files…

      The issue you might have is if you expand and need more people to log on for the files, because a lot of VAs don’t have the Phillips transcription software as it is expensive (£100+ vs £35) and doesn’t always work with their foot pedals.

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