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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Voice Recoding Excellence
I use this for the recording of interviews in my job and for taking of statements, this is the best sound recorder I have used, the files are excellent quality and can be used on a Mac as well as a Windows machine, better than the Sony product I used previously. Well worth the cost - you get what you pay for.
Published on 3 Sep 2010 by Jasper223

versus
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Audible click on recording
This is fantastic little machine with one small problem - when you start the recording there is an audible click from pressing the record button which is then heard on playback. (Doesn't happen when you stop the recording)

Using the remote should sort this out.

So great for studio recording or recording on a tripod, but other than that be prepared...
Published on 9 May 2012 by Rt Dawson


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Voice Recoding Excellence, 3 Sep 2010
I use this for the recording of interviews in my job and for taking of statements, this is the best sound recorder I have used, the files are excellent quality and can be used on a Mac as well as a Windows machine, better than the Sony product I used previously. Well worth the cost - you get what you pay for.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expensive but near-excellent performance: much better than economy-priced alternatives, 3 Nov 2010
By 
The Guardian (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Of all the currently available pocket-size portable voice recorders, the LS-11 is one of the most expensive and one of the best. I have used this device to record some professional interviews and the sound quality is generally excellent even with the intrusion of occasional background noise.

Plus points:

1. Its construction oozes quality with a tough lightweight metal casing

2. Chunky, high-quality and easy-to-use controls

3. Easily mastered, intuitively designed navigation menus

4. Choice of recording formats: the default PCM which is fine for everyday use, also Wave, WMA, MP3 Record and Playback

5. Excellent built-in directional/omnidirectional mikes (choice of settings); you can control the record level manually or set it to "auto" and the LS-11 assesses the sound level itself and adjusts accordingly - this good for environments where the sound level changes constantly; you can also plug in any external mike

6. Good handy pocket-size and weight

7. Long battery life

8. Tripod screw-mount

9. Small remote-control unit included so you can set it in position and start/stop it remotely without having to touch it

10. Directly compatible with PC & Mac and very easy to download, copy and edit files in any format

11. Absolutely first-class playback quality

Minus points: few but you should consider these prior to purchasing decision:

1. Screen font size is small and menus can be difficult to read unless you have excellent eyesight

2. Playback through the unit is not very loud and you may need to actually place the speakers next to your ear like a phone in order to hear everything, even with the volume turned up to max - though playback through a PC is excellent

3. It's expensive relative to the competition, which is plentiful at the cheap end but not at this level of quality

Overall: as a pocket-size recorder, near excellent. You get what you pay for. I can't comment on Olympus's after-sales service, as I have had no cause to use it because the unit has worked perfectly from day one.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another perspective from a DSLR video shooter, 25 Feb 2013
By 
M. Bhangal "S" (Somewhere in Northern England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I already own a Tascam DR07 Mk2, and have also used the Tascam DR05 and Zoom H1. I have previously reviewed the Tascam DR07 Mk2, and it's worth looking at that review: TASCAM DR07 MK2 (its called `Perspective from a DSLR shooter'). In the review I consider all the main alternative contenders for you money.

First thing to note is that although the recorders all sound different, a few minutes in Audacity (a free sound editing program) sorts out the differences in high, mid and low sound easily for all but the most discerning ear: most recorders (including the Oly) do 96Khz 24 bit .wav files, and that trumps the ears of most people on quality, because 96Khz means you wont hear aliasing noise as it doesn't fold back into the audible range, and 24 bit means you won't hear quantisation noise either ("Google", "Nyquist" and "Fourier" are your friends).

The important thing to factor in is that ALL sound recorders in this price bracket are MUCH better than using your DSLR mic, mobile phone or laptop to record audio. The differences between recorders really only come down to robustness, physical mic configurations (X-Y vs A-B: see my DRO7 review for an explanation of this) and what purpose each recorder lends itself best to due to its physical characteristics and build quality. For example, the Tascams (especially the DR07) and Zooms pick up sounds that the LS-12 doesn't but that doesn't say much, because there is only an advantage in ideal conditions! In normal conditions, all the DR07/H1 pick up over the LS-12 is breathing and video equipment clicks and squeaks! For this reason, it is important NOT to be fooled by all the technical comparisons and dB charts you often see on the internet!

Onto the recorder in hand: the Oly LS-12.

The cool thing about the LS-12 against the other recorders are as follows:

It has the best user interface of all the devices I own or have looked at. It is simply better laid out, with real physical buttons rather than reliance on lots of on-screen menu options. In particular, the Oly has a nice physical dial that allows you to select between Quick record (press record and you're off), Manual (option to set record level) and smart (the recorder samples audio for 30s, and picks the record level automatically based on that).

It is clearly designed to be hand held off the bat. Most other devices are either atrocious for this (the Zoom H1 is better at picking up the noise of your hands than it is the subject, and although the Tascams are much better than the H1 for handheld, you have to grip them pretty firmly to stop hand noise). If you want to use a recorder for hand held interviewing or hand held concert recording, I'd go for the Oly straight away on this fact alone. As an aside, if you want to know how well a recorder will be hand held, just hold it firmly from the two short sides and gently try to twist it. If it creaks, then you will have issues hand held. Unsurprisingly, the Oly doesnt make a sound when I do this.

It has easy sound filtering controls, so if you are not going to be editing your sound in post-processing (i.e. you just want your audio to be legible and decent out of the recorder), this is the recorder to go for.

It has the best in-recorder playback quality of any recorders in this price range. You can actually hear your recordings from the device without having to cup your hands and listen intently or use headphones (as you have to do with the Zoom H1, and the Tascam DR05/07, and for that matter, the previous Olys).

The Oly comes with 2GB installed. This is NOT a SD card, but internal memory. Most other recorders come with either no memory, or a 2GB SD card, so if you want to add more memory, you lose the 2GB. Because the Oly has the 2GB as internal memory, it is always there, even if you add more memory (new sd cards appear as a second drive). Worth noting that it takes SD and not microSD, so if you are using microSD, make sure you get one with a microSD to SD adapter.

On to the bad things about the LS-12

The left hand mic is right next to the earphone socket (less than 1cm away), so if you will be relying on headphones, your headphone wire can easily knock on the mic. Really stupid place to put any wire, and something that undermines the otherwise brilliant design. Grr!

When setting gain levels, the button clicks interfere with the incoming audio, so peaking may be due to the button noise rather than the audio! Something you can work around but not the best ergonomics for manual gain control if you want to do it in a hurry. I will never understand why sound recorders with gain control buttons that click is ever a good idea!

If you are recording outside, you need a deadcat to kill wind noise. Although I can get a deadcat on the Oly, the Oly just doesn't seem to be designed with this in mind: putting a deadcat on it will hide the peak indicator and possibly foul the headphone jack. Compare this to the Tascam DR07, which has plenty of room to add a deadcat and curved `shoulders' to hold the deadcat firmly in place.

To test the initial out-of-box setup, I asked my girlfriend to scream at the recorder from a metre away. It came out distorted, even though it wasn't peaking. So if you want to get good sound under difficult conditions, you'll have to do a bit of tweaking to the out-of-box device. My DR07 passed this test out-of-box , so I can't see why the Oly can't.
** Update - This seems to be an issue with the Oly: it will go into distortion far sooner than I'd expect, so keep the record level low if you expect to work with 'peaky' sound sources **

The Oly is too big to go on a DSLR. If you want to do that, get the Zoom H1. Just don't touch it when recording!

Some of the competing recorders seem to pick up more sound close to the recorder (irrespective of speaker configuration). The DR07 can pick up my breathing from a couple of metres away, whereas the Oly doesn't. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing though, as that level of sensitivity is often a reason to re-record a take!

The Oly has just been released, so is more expensive than the `next one up' from the competition. The Oly LS-12 is about as good as a Tascam DR05, but you can `step up one' to the DR07 for the current price (as of this writing). This is the only reason I've taken one mark off: if on reading this review, you find that the LS-12 is the same price as the DR05, assume I'd give either a full 5 stars

So to conclude:

I would choose the Oly LS-12 for hand held recording (interviewing and sneaky recording at concerts when the mobile phone doesn't cut it) and DSLR video recording when you will be doing a lot of hand held. If you are in a recording studio or controlled environment, use the DR05/DR07 or H1. But for real-life 'uncontrolled' environments, the Oly may be your best bet.

As the LS-12's playback audio is the best in its peer group, I would also recommend it over its peers for general office or univerity work: the playback quality and volume is good enough to dictate from or to listen to meetings/lectures, whereas the zoom H1 and Tascam DR05/07 are too quiet without headphones.

Out of all the recorders that I have had hands-on in this price range, I find the Tascam DR07 to be the best technically, but that doesn't mean it is better than the Oly. Making best use of the DR07 requires perfect conditions, and if you don't get them, the DR07 will penalise you by picking up unwanted sounds: it can easily ruin a take by picking up focusing sounds from your video equipment, creaks from your boom or tripod, and even breathing from the camera crew. In an office, the DR07 and Zoom H1 will fill your audio with the sound of the air conditioning and the traffic outside rather than the meeting you want to record. During video work, the Oly seems less sensitive initially, but actually creates cleaner sound. It records less noise, and audio recorded with it requires far less post production. Using the Oly at a concert is much more likely to give you audio of the band rather than the people around you.

Personally, I am using the Oly as a second mic for DSLR video along with my Tascam DR07. The Tascam is used as my 'fixed mic'. Its very sensitive when left fixed, but not a mic I would want to move much because you can 'hear it being moved'. The Oly is my first choice for hand-held and run-and-gun because it is the most likely to give clean sound that doesn't require a lot of post processing. It's the mic I use if I know it will have to move in any way. I also use the Oly for my own dictation on-location and it is my first choice for vocals and narration generally.

Finally, if you are intending to record on-location, you will need a dead-cat. Factor in about ten to thirty quid for this in any buying decision (you will need a dead-cat for *any* recorder).
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality professional equipment, 29 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a very high-quality professional-standard voice recorder. It's easy to operate and the quality is first-class. Have used it for professional voiceovers - with excellent results. It has an excellent range of features, and I highly recommend it. Very flexible for use in-the-field for interviews, etc. A veritable professional recording studio that you can easily carry with you into all sorts of situations. First-class machine!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent recorder, 6 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this initially to record speeches at a formal function. Quality was superb. Since then I have used to record music at orchestral concerts and - for a handheld set up in a noisy audience - it has been quite brilliant. Interface with computer to manage files also very simple and straightforward. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product and quality sound recordings, 21 Mar 2013
By 
Mr. Graham Cummings (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't have anything negative to say about this device.

First of all, the build quality is excellent. There's no creaking on any of the plastic parts of the body (unlike another sound recorder I've evaluated in the past (see my reviews)). The keys feel solid and able to take a lot of use. The display is clear, and I like the shape of the device with the two microphones sticking out the top. You can also add more memory via SD card in the provided slot (I've put a 16gb Class 10 SDHC card in there)

All the controls are sensibly laid out and very clear, and you can easily control all of the device with one hand. There are a few recording modes, and a very useful 'Tuning Fork' mode which allows you to gauge within which key a sound is being detected (e.g. a person singing into the microphone. I generally leave it on 'Smart' mode which allows the device to automatically work out which sound level it needs to record at to capture the source audio. It also lets you know when your sound source is clipping (e.g. too loud for the device ending up with distortion)

The internal speaker is excellent too. The sound that comes out is clear and surprisingly good for such a small device. The sound recording quality is also excellent, and you can record in MP3 and WAV formats. To be honest if you record at 320kbps MP3 I'd say it's indistinguishable from recording using uncompressed WAV.

In summary then, if you need an audio recording device, then this machine is well worth the money.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Linux users beware, 14 April 2011
Linux users should be aware that there is a problem when connecting the LS-11 over USB to a Linux PC: when connected this way, *only* the internal flash is visible to Linux; the SD card is inaccessible.

It works fine with both the supported OS (Win/Mac), and also on Solaris UNIX, but not on Linux. We've tested this on various Linux systems, and also tested other dual-fs devices (e.g. Garmin GPS, Android phones) - that also have both internal flash and a card slot - and they all work fine on Linux, so this problem appears to be specific to the Olympus recorder.

You can of course just take the SD card out and put it in a card reader, but some may prefer to use the USB cable, and might be disappointed by this.

Olympus Germany have confirmed (Apr 14th) they can reproduce this problem, but are not interested in fixing it. They say:

"Unfortunately our recorders are not compatible with Linux in this sense, only Windows and Mac, thus we do not have a solution for this."

Disappointing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Olympus LS-11, 31 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I use this device for blogging, interviews and general recording in all sorts of locations and conditions, some of which are harsh and demanding environments.

The LS-11 has performed beautifully for me since I've had it and I've been really impressed by all aspects of it's performance. The 8Gb onboard storage is great and I've used both 4Gb and 8Gb SD cards to increase the already massive storage capability.

I haven't yet needed to use ancilliary microphones with the LS-11 as I usually mount it onto a gorillapod (small camera tripod) and use the very useful remote control to operate it.

All in all a great piece of kit which serves me extremely well. I've just purchased a silicone skin to provide a bit more protection whilst in operation.

Highly recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended, 26 July 2011
This PCM is incredibly good at a variety of recording idioms including live music and spoken word, and is very easy to operate
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little recorder with remote control, 23 July 2011
By 
I bought the LS-11 because I was fed up with my Zoom H4 that I've been using for a few years. I've been mainly using it for recording our rehearsals and gigs (for our own use and for demos). The Zoom has a terrible interface, partly because of the ridiculously small screen, but also the menus and feature selection are anything but sensibly designed. Frustrating and irritating to use. And it has lousy battery life. We found we never used the multi-tracking capabilities and only very rarely used the external mike inputs. So I was looking for something that still had good recording capabilities but with a better design and more user friendly.

The LS-11 is great because it's small and compact, its interface is well designed (similar to a digital camera) and simple to use, has 8 GB inbuilt memory (no more worrying about forgetting the SD card!) and the remote control is a definite must-have. It doesn't look terribly professional to be fiddling around with something on stage before you start a gig, so being able to set it up and discretely use the remote is brilliant. I would purchase it for the remote alone! Even in rehearsals it's made life easier.
So far we've recorded a few rehearsals and I've been happy with the sound quality, it's a bit more toppy than the Zoom but also clearer (and better for EQing, my sound engineer partner tells me). Battery life is already superior to the Zoom.

It's a neat, sensible, well designed unit and perfect for nearly all of our recording needs. The only time I can see the Zoom being used again is for its external mike capability.
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