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Superb hand-held digital recorder with quality microphones and sophisticated I/O.
The Olympus LS-100 is ideal for musicians who want to capture ideas, write music, create demos, rehearse, and record live shows. It's easy to use and is loaded with useful features including an onboard tuner, metronome and lissajous function (for achieving optimum phase alignment when using external micrphones). Input attenuation makes it ideal for everything from high decibel rock shows to field recording of birdsongs, babbling brooks, and other quiet signals. It even has convenient multi-tracking capabilities.
The LS-100 features superb quality 90-degree directional, stereo condenser microphones that support up to 140 dB of sound pressure. You'll have all the range you need to record the loudest live performances with minimal clipping, or the quietest acoustic performance. Independent left and right recording levels help you maintain balance and make adjustments on the fly. Two XLR/quarter-inch hybrid inputs let you connect microphones, guitars or other line-output sources. Noise is balanced on both the positive and negative side of the input to achieve a true, clear signal. Provides 48V-24V of phantom power to run condensor microphones or other devices.
Note to self, order today and record your rehearsals, gigs, the birds in your backyard, or your bright ideas when you're just walking around or driving in your car.
LS-100 Linear PCM Recorder
Reviewed by 1 customer
Displaying review 1
Comments about Olympus LS-100 Linear PCM Recorder:
I am a musician and was looking for a little multitrack recorder to preserve ideas on. I was all set to buy the little *oom handheld unit when I saw this was coming out in a few days. After watching a video on the unit (hype?), I did something I never do, I actually ordered a brand new product the day it was released. Initially this unit is very impressive but over the course of a couple months I've realized some serious limitations that one would not expect on a recorder costing this much. I'll skip the specs and get right to it.
There are 2 main modes in this unit, "Recorder" and "Multitrack". They are self defining with "Recorder" being single track. One issue I've run across is that some options are only available in one mode and not the other. There is also some sexy looking "lissajous" mode for checking the phase relationship between your mics. This mode strikes me as slightly ridiculous but I don't usually do field recording and adjust my mics by ear when in the studio. Since I use mainly the built in mics on this and don't use it in the studio it is basically irrelevant to me. I wish they would have put some of that effort spent on this into other areas as you will see below. Here are the main highs & lows:
PROS-1. Very easy to use, intuitive, menus nicely organized.2. Incredible battery life and power options.3. Decent internal mics & sound quality in general
CONS-1. No way to pause playback, ever, in either mode.2. No index functions ala A/B loop, memory point playback in multitrack mode.2. No way to add to/alter single tracks in multitrack mode3. Drops playback of tracks after fastforwarding
The PROS are pretty obvious. This thing is easy to use. I barely read the manual to get going. I wish I had, I would have hopefully noticed some of the shortcomings. Easy to use with amazing battery life...like 12hrs(!) That is my single favorite thing about it. It's more like a smart phone than a recorder. It shuts itself off after a programmed amount of time, it's great. I can't imagine having to put AA's in this thing....it would drive me crazy. Half the time I never even turn it off because it doesn't matter...never have to worry about powering down. When it's low just plug it in or plug into a USB port and it recharges quickly. The designers get an A+ on this aspect of the recorder. I didn't particularly buy this for "high quality" sound so I'm not going to get into it too much...suffice to say records in formats from MP3's all the way up to 96ghz/24bit and it sounds pretty darn good. I'm using this for demos am am settling on 44ghz/16bit as a default. There are a couple of compressors built in (1 and 2), the description of these is pretty vague but I gather one has a fast attack and the other slow.
I'll address the CONS point by point because some are pretty serious:
1. No way to pause playback. You need to think about this...imagine an analog reel to reel tape recorder, now imagine that every time you press "stop" when the machine is playing or recording, the transport instantly rewinds to the beginning of the tape...that's what happens with the LS-100! So, let's say you are trying to come up with a part for the 2nd chorus of a song...say 1:50 seconds into a song (like I was), when you are done and want to hear it, you only option is to press STOP (it instantly stops and resets to zero) then press PLAY, then hold down the Fast Forward key to advance to 1:45 seconds...and that's just to hear it once. If you don't like what you hear, you press "STOP". "RECORD" to arm the track, "PLAY", "FF" to advance to the 2nd chorus, "RECORD" to begin recording again, and then "STOP" and repeat the 1st process to hear it, every time having to press "PLAY" and then holding down the FF key for 10 seconds or so to advance to 1:45 on your song. It becomes very tedious to say the least. You can't pause record either but I'm not sure why you would want to (at least in MTR mode).
I will also point out that I was so incredulous on this pause issue that I actually called Olympus and spent 35 minutes on the phone with them after which they verified with me that there is no way to pause the unit. I also asked them to checked into a remote that they offered which says it offers "record/pause/play" capability but they tested that too and it would not pause either. This glaring omission (I have never seen any audio recorder, be it cassette, digital, reel to reel without a "PAUSE" button) is only exacerbated by CON #2 because...
2. There are no indexing functions available in Multitrack mode(?!) Hello, multitrack mode is where you need the indexing! The designers of this thing were smart enough to put Indexing and A/B loops functions into this thing but then don't let you use them in Multitrack mode? Makes no sense. Indexing would have possibly been a passable work around in the situation I described above under #1. As it is you are just SOL.
3. Can't alter tracks once they've been recorded. The best way to describe this deficiency is by example. Let's say you have a guitar part on track 3 that only appears in the chorus of a song. As you are developing the song, you come up with a nice little guitar part you'd like to play during the intro. Since there's nothing on track 3 until the chorus you decide to put it at the beginning of track 3. If you try it, here's what will happen: as soon as you arm track 3 to record during the intro (bear in mind, you haven't actually started recording yet), it completely erases everything that has been recorded on track 3 (turns it into a blank track). That's the bottom line with this complaint...you can't alter, add to, or partially erase tracks in any way once they've been recorded. You either accept them or erase them entirely.
4. This last one is strange. I recorded 7 tracks at 96/24. After 2 minutes of playback I rewind 20 seconds to hear the end again, but now, only 2 tracks play instead of all 7. If I stop and restart they're all there. I don't know if this has to do with the 96/24 setting or not. It's a pain. Another reason to have a pause button. This has happened both with the internal memory and an SD card.
All in all it's a very mixed bag with this unit. The "Recorder" mode oddly enough has index functions and an overdub (sound on sound) option. I don't really understand this part of the design. Ok, I can layer sounds on one track but why would I bother when it has the multitrack mode...I mean that's why I bought it. What happens when I make a mistake? You'd have to start over completely and play ALL the parts again. The whole point of multitracking is that you record one track at a time so you can redo a single part if you make a mistake.
I do like the size and battery/power options. I take it with me in my car and listen to ideas from the night before. It's handy and I never have to worry about battery life. As it turns out I'm using the Recorder mode for rough ideas and then use the multitrack mode to arrange them. It's working but it can be tedious as I described. There's no doubt that using this thing has helped with the "creative spark", but you can get other products for less money that may offer greater flexibility...are they as easy to use? Not sure.
So ultimately what do I think? I consider it a somewhat powerful unit, clearly not designed by or for musicians, that should probably cost about 25%-35% less than it does. It's still a useful tool but with some serious limitations. I dock it a 1.5 stars for the pause, 1 star for the track arm=erase function, and .5 star for the lack of indexing support in MTR mode. If they could figure out a way to fix these items I think this would easily be the greatest handheld MTR unit on the market.
Missing Key Features Expected In A Multitrack Recorder.
Good Build Quality.