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

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.


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.

Olympus LS-5 Linear PCM digital recorder: Mobile mini sound studio

Listen up journalists, musicians and podcasters! Olympus is launching a new digital recorder this month, which it claims allows you to record and edit your work while you’re on the move.

At a tad under the 200 quid mark, the Olympus LS-5 Linear PCM Digital Recorder records 24but/96kHz PCM audio files, which can be edited in the device at the touch of a button.


It comes with 2GB of memory (which at the highest quality offers around 55 minutes of recording time according to Olympus), which can be expanded up to 32GB using the SDHC-compatible SD card slot. To help you make the most of the space, files can be divided, partially erased and transferred between the internal memory and SD cards.

It’s vital to be organised in this kind of work – whether you’re recording a series of interviews, a step-by-step podcast for your website, or laying down a track – so the ability to set practical index marks both during recording and playback is vital, allowing instant access to your files. You can also use the supplied Olympus Sonority software to save files to multiple folders on a PC or Mac, where they can be split, marked, indexed, partially deleted and browsed by intro.

Running on two AA or Ni-Mh rechargeable batteries, you should get an admirable 23 hours recording time on full batteries, which should be enough for most tasks.

At around £99 less than its predecessor, the LS-11 (which had 8GB of internal memory and garnered some decent reviews for its rich and crisp sound, while acknowledging it was pretty pricey), the LS-5 may well have hit the right mark pricewise, so whether you’re at a concert, covering a breaking news story, or even doing professional voiceovers, the LS-5 is offering quite a lot for a little outlay.