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Olympus LS-10 Digital Recorder
While best known for optics, particularly digital cameras and binoculars, Olympus has for a long time been one of the biggest names in dictaphones and voice recorders. Stop! Wait! Don't click that back button or juicy blue link quite yet!
I'm fully aware that such things are really only of interest to a) myself and other journalists, b) those in the legal, medical and/or investigative professions, c) businessmen so important that they don't have to type their own letters, and d) the assorted nutters who like to dress up and pretend that they're one of the above or, maybe, a secret agent. The LS-10 digital recorder is not one of those devices. It belongs to a higher class of digital recorder. In fact, using it just to record memos or meetings should probably be a crime.
Why? Because the LS-10 has been built to do so much more. Most voice recorders are designed to make a clear, monaural capture of speech either from a single source (the user dictating a letter or recording a memo) or a room full of speakers. Clarity is the primary consideration, with the quality and tone of the audio very much a secondary factor, and the files are usually heavily compressed in order to fit the maximum amount of audio into the space available on the device..
The LS-10 does things differently. The two built-in microphones provide a full stereo signal that can be captured in a Linear PCM uncompressed WAV file at a better than CD quality 24bit/96kHz sampling rate. Any musicians, sound engineers, video sound recordists or radio reporters in the house will probably be aware that potentially this is a good thing.
Nor is this the only trick the LS-10 has up its sleeve. It can record directly to MP3 and WMA formats, offering 128, 256 and 320Kbps sample rates in the former and 64, 128 and 160Kbps in the latter. It will also play back MP3 and WMA files. You don't need to be a recording engineer to use it; the LS-10 features perfectly workable auto-sensitivity controls and a limiter that prevents distortion occurring when the volume of the sound being recorded peaks too high.
In a way, it's the audio equivalent of a 'prosumer' super zoom camera, offering enough manual control for more advanced or ambitious users, but giving a decent result if you'd rather just point and shoot. Anyone who has ever had a recording of a meeting wrecked by a noisy air conditioner, laptop or projector will also be glad of the low cut filter, designed expressly to reduce that sort of racket.