Olympus LS-11: not a voice recorder, but a linear recorder

High-quality sound has never been cheap or easy. Before the advent of digital technology, a “mobile” set of equipment for recording acoustic concerts could easily be occupied by a minibus or two, and its cost was estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars. To deploy and configure this camping kit in specific conditions was a long and difficult matter, and only highly paid specialists could use it effectively.

Recording Formats WAV, MP3, WMA

16/24 bit resolution

Sampling frequency 44.1 / 48 / 88.2 / 96 kHz

Frequency band linear input: 20 Hz – 44 kHz (max), microphones: 60 Hz – 20 kHz (max)

Sensitivity 59 dBV (Mic Sense HIGH), 39 dBV (Mic Sense LOW), 6 dBV (Line-in)

Media built-in flash memory 8 GB; SD / SDHC memory card

Built-in, condenser microphones , switchable sensitivity and variable virtual radiation pattern (DVM Zoom Mic)

Connectors and interfaces mic (with power), Line-in, Ear, Power, Remote, mini-USB

Power supply two AA or PSU batteries (+5 V)

Dimensions and weight 131.5 × 48 × 22.4 mm, 165 g

Estimated price $ 425

Provided by Olympus, www.olympus.ua

Excellent recording quality with pocket size; plenty of opportunities for professional use

Hardly ever

A wonderful device for solving problems of high-quality sound recording in the field. It will be useful for both musicians and specialists in the dubbing of films, videos, computer games

Verdict Verdict

With the advent of "numbers" in the recording, a lot has changed radically. The consequences of the digital revolution in this area have yet to be evaluated, but there is no doubt one thing - technology has made it possible for a wide range of enthusiasts to enjoy the broadest possibilities that hitherto remained the prerogative of only a narrow circle of professionals. And the task of high-quality fixing of a live performance “from the air”, which has always been among the most difficult for both the musician and the sound engineer, can now be quickly solved with the help of a compact and affordable device remotely resembling ... a large voice recorder!

But, readers will forgive me for the hackneyed comparison, in essence linear recorders have gone as far from recorders as race cars from economy-class production cars of the same manufacturers. And it’s very easy to distinguish these devices: on the case of a typical representative of the Olympus LS-11 genre, “Linear PCM Recorder” is proudly written, and the specific form of the protective covers of the integrated stereo pair of microphones installed at an angle of 90 ° to each other clearly indicates that it the purpose is much more serious than recording lectures or interviews. Although, of course, it can also be used for these purposes, and with great success - no recorder will give such purity and clarity of sound.

First, a little about the technical characteristics of the LS-11: the ability to write to a WAV file with a resolution of 16/24 bits and a sampling frequency of 44.1 / 48 / 88.2 / 96 kHz; built-in condenser microphones with wind protection, switchable sensitivity, variable virtual radiation pattern (DVM zoom mic) and frequency band 60 Hz – 20 kHz; low-noise preamplifier with manual adjustment of the recording level and analog limiter; linear input with a frequency response of 20 Hz – 44 kHz (!); high-pass filter to eliminate overload due to excess low frequencies; jack for connecting a wide variety of external microphones and other accessories; 23 hours of operation from a pair of AA batteries; the ability to install on a photo tripod; Wireless remote control included.

However, all this can impress first of all the one who, in principle, is not alien to the problems of high-quality sound recording. For our other readers, we give an illustration of how the advent of pocket linear recorders changed the market for sound recording services: if earlier performers and small acoustic groups used the services of studios (of different price ranges) to create a demonstration or final finish recording, now, having purchased a linear recorder for the amount comparable to the cost of one session, they can solve their problems themselves by organizing a recording “from the air” in any suitable for this (from the acoustic point eniya) room. And some musicians manage to record even entire albums in this way - and the quality allows independent labels to conclude agreements with them on the creation, duplication and distribution of their Audio CDs. And certainly the quality provided by the Olympus LS-11 will be enough for you to post the fruits of your creativity on social networks and on a personal website.

There is another application for such devices, although not too advertised. They allow the owner to make a high-quality recording of the artist’s live performance discreetly, without attracting too much attention, going to the concert as an ordinary visitor. This opportunity was immediately seized by the fans of the artists, forming their own archive of their performances, and the so-called bootleggers, who use them to release counterfeit CDs or distribute recordings from concerts on the Web.

On the other hand, using affordable portable linear recorders can make life easier for people who are professionally involved in dubbing movies, video clips, and computer games. There is no longer any need to carry microphones, racks, a preamplifier, a mixer, an external sound card, a laptop and a supply of battery power - everything you need to record the sounds of a natural or artificial origin required by the plot can now easily fit in your pocket! It seems that the experts in this field have already appreciated the convenience of this approach, because even from an economic point of view, the purchase of an LS-11 class recorder will be much more profitable. However, on the market there are both more affordable and more upscale devices that perform the same functions.

However, on the market there are both more affordable and more upscale devices that perform the same functions

Olympus LS-11 itself is simple in operation, its interface is intuitively clear even to the most unprepared user. The main functions are brought to the mechanical switches and buttons, additional are configured from the menu displayed on the monochrome LCD with bright orange backlight. It is enough to set the recorder in the direction of the sound source, select the recording format (WAV, MP3, WMA), its quality (resolution and sampling frequency for WAV plus bitrate for MP3 and WMA), indicate where to save the result (built-in 8 GB flash memory or a card SD / SDHC), and press the Rec. After that, the LS-11 will go into pre-recording mode, allowing you to control the sound it records using monitoring through headphones and set the desired recording level, guided by the “bars” of the signal amplitude on the LCD and the LED indicator for operating the limiter (Peak). Pressing Rec a second time starts recording; other operations are similar to those for typical voice recorders and will not cause special difficulties.

The resulting result will directly depend on the owner’s experience of practical recording, the theoretical basis in this area and the desire to learn how to work with “live” sound. Sound fragments obtained using LS-11, which are not difficult to find on the Internet, indicate the significant technical potential of this device, the implementation of which will depend entirely on the user. After all, when the flight of creative imagination of a sound engineer is not restrained by the bonds of imperfection of the equipment, the works of art of sound recording created by him can turn out to be truly amazing.

PS: A couple of very simple sound examples. An impromptu "kitchen" record is in the living room, without any acoustic (and performing :)) preparation. Olympus LS-11 is mounted on a tripod at a distance of 1-1.5 meters from the performers. The recording was made in the 24-bit / 96 kHz mode, after which two fragments were selected from it using the sound editor, Fade In / Out and conversion to MP3 320 Kb / s 48 kHz using the Lame codec. In the recording is only an acoustic guitar and voice.

1. The Rabbit In The Hat: Love is for fools (fragment);

2. Seryozha Sedrik: I'm with you! (fragment).