Olympus LS-12 and LS-14: Linear PCM recorders in your pocket

By Shem Pennant,

I do a lot of work with recorded audio, making notes and field recordings for radio and podcasts both hither and thither. If you do the same get a Zoom H4N. It’s one of the best things I own. However I’m always on the lookout for new and fun ways to record on the go. The Blue Mikey and Tascam iM2 are both amazing field mics that you can plug into an iPhone giving you a studio in your pocket. And Olympus, the world’s market leader for portable digital voice recorders and professional dictation devices, have released the LS-12 and LS-14 Linear PCM digital handheld audio recorders.

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Both recorders are follow ups to the popular LS-5 and LS-11 PCM recorders and make it easier than ever to effortlessly capture and playback pristine, better-than-CD quality sound up to 130dB SPL with new on-board directional stereo microphones and amplifier. If you’re a musician you’ll appreciate the overdub recording, Metronome and Chromatic Tuner capabilities.

The new recorders feature a “Mode Select Dial” located on the face of the recorder rather than having to go through menu settings. If you’ve ever wander through the 1980s style interface of the Zoom H4N you’ll appreciate how good a feature this is. The Mode Select Dial can be set to Tuner, Manual, Quick and Smart. Smart Mode will automatically adjust to the optimum recording level with a single touch of the record button. By entering the loudest sound, Smart mode automatically adjusts to capture the best and professional-quality audio. Quick Mode, as you can probably guess from the name, lets you record straight away, without adjusting levels.

The LS-12 features two new internal 90-degree directional stereo condenser microphones with a frequency response of 60Hz to 20 kHz, allowing the user to capture lower-bass frequencies. The LS-14 compliments those directional stereo condenser microphones with a third omni-directional center “TRESMIC,” increasing the frequency response range to 20Hz – 20 kHz. If you’re smuggling a microphone into a Death From Above 1979 gig the LS-14 is ideal for coping with extreme sound without clipping.

The LS-14 recorder boast up to 48 hours of continuous recording while the LS-12 is more humble about its 50 hours.

They are available directly from Amazon priced at £139.99 for the LS-12 and £189.99 for the LS-14.