Review: Olympus PCM Recorder LS-10 - SMASH!

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    “Its a Smart-phone as well, Edan?!” Well…no. (Editor's Note: Since this review, a newer version of the same product was released, so this review applies to both the LS10 and the LS10-S. The key difference in the new model is it comes with Sonority software instead of Cubase, which is more Mac friendly and allows users to store, edit and play back files. Sonority is compatible with Mac OS 10.4.11 and higher. The price has also dropped - the LS10-S is now available for $199.)


    I had to let Ronnie (the bouncer) down easy.

    As I was testing out the levels of this PCM at a recent gig at Insert Coin(s) in Las Vegas, I had time to put the speech pickup qualities to the test after sound check was over. I turned on the reverb setting to “normal” as the Arcade Bar-themed nightclub already possesses the inherent reverb effects of a large club. The bright neon lights of Fremont Street turned on as Ronnie sunk (just a little bit) when I broke the news to him:


    It’s a pocket size - portable audio recorder. (Olympus just sent us the new version--the L2-10S which we will take a look at shortly in another episode.)

    Olympus LS-10 digital music recorder

     

     

     

     

    So here’s the scoop:

    Good:

    • Easy to set up and get rolling
    • Super intuitive
    • Long battery life (uses AA’s)
    • Supports 3 different codec’s including PCM, MP3, and WMA.
    • Excellent options of bit depth and sample rate.  In PCM mode - records all the way up to 96kHz/24bit!!!
    • Informative, organized, and well lit (especially working in a dark club) LCD display screen.
    • Handy on/off “low cut” option.


    Bad:

    • Only supports SD cards, which “at max” hold 4GB (does not support SDHC).
    • There’s only 2GB of internal flash-memory storage.
    • “Mic Sense” should really have more than just the two options of low and high. 
    • Not Mac friendly (strictly PC)
    • Recording levels need work.



    Olympus LS-10 digital music recorder front view

    To the point:  Decent portable audio recorder if you want a SUPER-EASY-TO-USE-AND-GET-GOING device, and need to record speeches, live concerts, environmental sounds, band practice, and fantastic for sound designers.

    Olympus LS-10 digital music recorder menu
    I would have bumped it up to “Excellent portable audio recorder,” if it wasn’t for the narrow scaling of the “recording level” feature. You can’t trust this bad boy alone. Constant monitoring and adjusting recording levels, during recording mind you, for optimal levels brings the LS-10 a few notches down.
     

     

     

     

    Take a listen for yourself.
    Settings:
    Rec mode: PCM 44.1kHz/24 bit
    Reverb = Normal
    Rec Level = adjusted a few times during recording
    Mic sense: Low
    Low cut: On
    Limiter: On

    Hear it HERE

    -E.M.

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