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Categorized | Gear, Mark & Leslie Degner

Olympus LS-10S Linear PCM Recorder (full review)

I love showing off my photographs, and putting together a slide show is one of my favourite ways to do so. With digital images it’s so easy to put together a slide show and display them on your laptop, project them to a group of people or post the show on the web.  Adding music to the photographs is really easy and can make the presentation more appealing. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg of what one can do to add audio to a slide presentation. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could add sounds that you heard while taking the photographs or add narration to describe what you did on that outing? Also with more photographers, both amateur and professional, shooting video with their DSLR cameras, the limitation of the built-in microphones becomes quickly obvious. So for these situations, the use of an external recording device can really add to your photography and videos.


LS-10 C

LS-10 D

The Olympus LS-10S Linear PCM Recorder is a compact digital stereo audio recorder that can easily meet (and exceed) your audio recording demands. Linear PCM or pulse code modulation is a method of encoding audio information digitally, usually in an uncompressed audio WAVE format file that’s capable of producing exceptional recordings. The LS-10S is able to make recordings that have a sampling frequency of up to 95 kHz with a 24 bit rate that easily exceeds CD-quality sound (44.1 kHz/24 bit). In addition to the PCM recording format, the LS-10S can also record in MP3 and WMA formats as well. With the PCM format, there are nine recording modes or qualities and there are four recording modes in both the MP3 and WMA formats. This gives the user lots of flexibility in regards to the quality and amount of recordings that can be made.

The LS-10S has 2 GB of built-in flash memory and also has an SD removable card slot that allows for up to 12 hours of recording capability based on its long battery life. The SD card slot will take both SD and SDHC cards up to 32 GB. Like digital images, as you increase recording quality the file size also increases.  For example, using only the 2 GB built-in memory, you can get 55 minutes of audio recording with the highest quality (95 kHz/24 bit) recording mode verses two hours using the CD-quality (44.1 kHz/24 bit) mode. Since I can’t tell the difference between the recordings made using these two different modes, I have been using the CD-quality (44.1 kHz/24 bit) mode so that I have more recording time.

In order to make such high-quality recordings the LS-10S has two built-in high-sensitivity and low-noise stereo microphones and advanced amplifier circuitry designed to reduce interference for wonderful sound clarity. In addition to the built-in microphones, there’s a MIC jack for an external lapel or shotgun microphone. There are also two built-in stereo speakers that allow sound playback, but they aren’t high enough quality to match the sounds that the LS-10S can record. There’s also an ear jack so that you can attach headphones to listen to your playbacks or to monitor your sound recordings.

The LS-10S is compact (approx. 13.2 x 4.8 x 2.3 cm), lightweight (uses two AA batteries) and has a durable aluminum body. The controls are well laid out and, combined with its compact size, allows for one-handed use. Relative to the overall size of the LS-10S, the 35 x 29 mm LCD screen is adequate to present all the information that’s required, including monitoring audio levels. There’s a USB port for connectivity to both Windows and Mac computers, which allows for easy audio file transfer.

Based on the recordings that I’ve made with the Olympus LS-10S Linear PCM Recorder, it produces excellent audio recordings and is easy to use. It’s reasonably priced at $209.99 and is ideal for photographers and videographers wanting to try out audio recording.