The Olympus LS-100 is a professional grade audio recorder which retails for around £360.
If your experience of audio recorders is limited to the single mic MP3 recorders commonly used for dictation and small-scale field interviews the number of inputs and features on the LS-100 may seem a little daunting.
Headline features include 4GB of internal memory, a removable rechargeable battery, support for both XLR & phone connections, multi-track recording, and overdub recording so you can add to an existing file.
The built-in memory is capable of recording up to 114 hours of audio at 64kbps (reducing to just 1h 35min at 96kHz / 24bit) but if you need to record longer at higher quality levels the device sports a SD/SDHC/SDXC expansion slot.
Recording in WAV and MP3 formats is supported and the two impressive 90 degree, built-in microphones do a great job of filtering out extraneous noise to deliver crystal clear recordings, even in outdoor and windy locations.
There’s also support for independent left/right recording levels and a high, medium and low setting for the microphones.
We’ve been testing the device for the past few weeks and while our use was largely limited to using the internal mics to capture interviews and briefings for later reference or transcription, we were impressed with the consistent quality of the recordings.
Despite being a large unit wrapped in a metal chassis, the LS-100 is light enough to hold for prolonged periods. However if you need to keep your hands free it or simply want to place it on a desk between you and your subject, it also supports the use of a standard tripod.
Access to the more advance settings and features – such as selecting the recording source or mode – is via a full colour LCD display which is augmented with voice prompts.
The easy to read screen makes managing your recordings and projects a doddle, a vital consideration when you’re using it to create multi-track projects or want to delete the right file when space suddenly becomes an issue.
One nice touch is that the unit calls out the battery level whenever you turn it on, giving you the chance to swap batteries and avoid the dreaded early end to a recording.
The LS-100 connects to your desktop and laptop via a standard USB connection and Mac users will be pleased to know that it plays nicely with their systems too.
Accompanying the recorder in the box is a dual-purpose USB and power cable and a protective case to transport it in.
As the price might suggest, this is a premium product aimed at the serious end of the market – if all you’re looking to do is record a few words for later reference this is going to be overkill.
However if you regularly need to capture high quality recordings, either for broadcast or podcast publication, then the Olympus LS-100 is well worth a look.
Sadly our review unit has to go back to Olympus but readers have the opportunity to win a brand-new unit – see how to win.