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Instructions for the Standard Digital Player (Model DS1)

Standard Digital Player with a book cartridge inserted.Standard Digital Player with a book cartridge inserted.Here’s help in getting started with the standard digital player. Listen to the quality of the sound that comes from its speakers and discover the built-in help and many other features!


Position the player so the side with the opening and pull-out handle faces you and the power cord is in the back. When you first receive the player, it should be charged, so you should not need to plug in the power cord. Instructions about charging the battery come later in this guide.

Two rows of buttons go across the front part of the top of the machine. These are the buttons you will use most often.

The first row, centered and closest to the front edge, contains the three navigation buttons. From left to right are the REWIND (RW) button (white triangle with a raised left edge, labeled R in braille), then the PLAY button (large green square, labeled P in braille) and last is the FAST FORWARD (FF) button (white triangle with a raised right edge, labeled F in braille).

Directly behind the navigation buttons, from left to right, are the POWER button (small, round red button, labeled P in braille), the SLEEP button (white crescent-shaped button, labeled S in braille and the VOLUME UP and VOLUME DOWN buttons (yellow arrow shapes with raised edges pointing up or down, labeled V in braille). 

Behind these buttons is a raised line going from left to right that divides the most frequently used buttons from the rest. Located behind the raised horizontal line, on the left side of the top rear are the TONE UP and TONE DOWN buttons (white arrow shapes with raised edges pointing up or down, labeled T in braille).  Behind the horizontal line, on the right side of the top rear of the machine, are the SPEED buttons (white arrow shapes with raised edges pointing up or down, labeled S in braille).

The speaker is located in the center, behind the horizontal line and between the TONE and SPEED buttons.

The front of the machine has an opening in which the book cartridge is inserted. The rear of the machine contains the power cord. On the right side, closest to the front, is a earphone jack and directly behind that is a USB port for use with flash drives. The use of flash drives are for playing downloaded books from the NLS BARD website and are not required to enjoy digital books from the library. The USB port comes with a protective cap which should be pulled off for use of the port.


The digital player has two features to help you learn about the buttons and their functions.

When you press and hold the POWER button (the round, red button to the left in the second row of buttons), it will announce how many hours are left on the battery. It will then announce that the machine is on.

When the player is turned on and there is no digital book inserted in the cartridge slot or USB port on the side, the player will be in DESCRIBER MODE. If any button or control is pressed, you will hear a description of that control. Spend a few minutes pressing each button to learn about its function.

The other help feature is the built-in player USER GUIDE. The user guide can be accessed by holding down the PLAY button (large, green square button in the center of the front row of buttons) for at least three seconds.  You should not have a book cartridge or flash drive in the machine when you wish to use this feature. The user guide will start playing. All the features of the machine will be described. The guide is programmed into the machine and can be replayed at any time you do not have a book cartridge or flash drive inserted into the machine.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PLAY button (large green square centered in front row of buttons, labeled P in braille): Labeled PLAY/STOP on the machine. After inserting a book (instructions to follow), press PLAY once to start playing a book; press it again to stop. To access the USER GUIDE, make sure there is no book cartridge or flash drive inserted into the machine, then press and hold down the Play button for at least three seconds.

REWIND (RW) and FAST FORWARD (FF) buttons (white triangles with a raised left or right edge and labeled R and F in braille, located to the left and right of the PLAY button): These buttons let you move backward or forward in a book. Tap each once to move five seconds; press and hold to move further into the book. Holding one of these buttons for ten seconds will move fifteen minutes in the book; holding for longer will move chapter by chapter, giving an audible beep for each chapter. Each key press gives audible feedback about how far ahead or back the player is moving in the book.

POWER button (small round, red button on the left side of the second row of buttons, labeled P in braille): This button turns the player on and off, and also announces how much time remains on the battery.

SLEEP button (white crescent-shaped button in the middle of the second row, behind the PLAY button, labeled S in braille): This button turns the player off after playing for fifteen-minute intervals. Use this when you wish to listen before bed and don't want the machine to keep playing after you've fallen asleep. Press once for fifteen minutes, twice for 30 minutes, and so on. If pressed once at a later time, it resets to fifteen minutes.

VOLUME UP and VOLUME DOWN buttons (yellow up and down arrow-shaped buttons on the right side of the second row of buttons, labeled V in Braille): There are fifteen volume levels; the volume cannot be turned off completely. Press the UP button to increase the volume and the DOWN button to lower the volume. The VOLUME controls announce each press of the button, e.g. "volume up," "volume down," and “volume normal.”

TONE and SPEED buttons (white up and down arrow-shaped buttons toward the rear of the top of the player on either side of the round speaker, behind the raised horizontal line, labeled T and S in braille): The TONE buttons are to the left of the  speaker and control how the voice reading the book sounds. The SPEED buttons are to the right of the speaker and control how fast the book plays. The TONE and SPEED controls announce each press of the button, e.g. "tone up," "tone down," and “tone normal,” with similar announcements for the speed controls.


DIGITAL BOOK CARTRIDGE:  The book cartridge is the size of a cassette, but with a more complex shape, and in most cases, holds an entire book. It also does not need to be turned over when listening to a book. The end of the cartridge with the round hole is beveled, so that when that end of the cartridge is pressed down on a flat surface in front of the player, the other end of the cartridge, with the USB connector, tilts up and can slide smoothly into the player. The hole is a finger hole that you can use to help you push the cartridge into or pull the cartridge out of the machine. There are print/braille labels on top, for title, author, and book number. The cartridge is designed so it can be inserted only one way into the machine.

To insert the cartridge, hold it with the print/braille label on top and the end with the hole facing you, then push it gently into the opening above the handle. The part with the hole remains outside the slot. Once the cartridge is in place, the machine will start playing the book.

To remove the cartridge, grab it by the finger hole and gently tug it out.

BATTERY OPERATION: The player is designed to run on the built-in rechargeable battery, and does not need to be plugged in to play books. When the battery runs low, plug the power cord into a regular outlet to recharge it. The cord is located in the back open compartment of the machine. Tap the machine's POWER button (round, red button) to have it tell you how much power remains in the battery.

A fully charged battery has approximately 29 hours of playing time. The battery automatically recharges if the level has decreased significantly and the machine is plugged into an outlet. If running on battery and not in use playing a book, the machine will automatically power off after 30 minutes.

It takes approximately two and half hours to fully charge. The battery will only recharge if a certain amount of battery time has been used.

The player may be left plugged in while listening to a book. Leaving it plugged in while not in use will not harm the machine, but it is not advisable to leave the machine, as with any other small electrical appliance, plugged in for extended periods of time when not being used to either play a book or recharge the battery pack.


HEADPHONES: There is a headphone jack on right side of player, near the front. You can use any standard headphone that works with an MP3 player or stereo.

USING A FLASH DRIVE: There is a USB Connection Port for a flash drive located just past the headphone jack on right side of player. There is a protective cap that needs to be removed to access the port.

Use this USB port if you wish to download NLS audio books from the BARD website on the internet (see additional guide on how to do this). The port can also be used to plug in an accessory for remote access control for people who can’t use the player's controls. You can also purchase blank cartridges to use with books downloaded from BARD which can be inserted into the front opening of the machine.

SERIAL NUMBERS AND SOFTWARE VERSIONS: To learn which version of the software your player is using and to obtain your player’s serial number, press the SLEEP button (crescent-shaped button) ten times. The player will keep repeating the numbers until the PLAY button (green rectangular button) is pressed.

BOOKSHELF MODE: If you are planning to download audio books from the BARD website, you will be able to store more than one book on a flash drive or blank cartridge. To activate Bookshelf Mode, plug in your flash drive or insert the cartridge with multiple books. Then, turn on your player. The machine will announce how many books you've inserted. If you press the PLAY button for more than five seconds, the machine will say, “Bookshelf” and also tell you the number of books you've inserted. To move from book to book, use the FAST FORWARD and REWIND buttons (on either side of the PLAY button). When you reach the book you want to hear, tap the PLAY button and the book will begin playing.

Please note: You may need to update your player’s software to use this feature; you will need version 2.151 or higher. Updates may be downloaded from the NLS website:


• Do not use the player near water. Clean it with a dry cloth only.
• Do not use near any heat sources, such as radiators or stoves.
• Keep it unplugged during lightning storms or when unused for long periods of time.
• The player should not be covered while in use.
• Do not insert anything into the machine other than a book cartridge, headphones, and/or flash drive.
• If the machine stops working or the battery stops taking a charge, do not attempt to fix it. Contact the library to get a replacement and instructions on how to return the malfunctioning player.

Additional Links:

Digital Talking Book Machine Operation FAQs:
Digital Talking Book FAQs:

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