Olympus LS-7 Linear PCM Recorder

February 8, 2012

I get it. Super-small stereo recorders are great for documenting band rehearsals and songwriting ideas. But now that teeny multitracks and recording- enabled smartphones are making the scene, will miniature digital two-tracks fade into history like the cassette Walkman?

Apparently not. Companies such as Alesis, Boss, Korg, Sony, Tascam, Yamaha, and Zoom still produce excellent stereo decks, and now, tech giant and celebrated camera and lens maker Olympus joins the party with its LS-7 ($199 retail/$159 street). The LS-7 is small enough to hang out in a shirt pocket, and its onboard, triple- mic configuration (stereo condensers, plus an omni center mic for meatier bass frequencies) captures a wide sonic spectrum. If you’re recording loud bands with the onboard mics, however, take care where you place the LS-7, as the tiny condensers can be slightly overwhelmed by brutal signal levels, resulting in some smearing of midrange and high frequencies (cymbals, guitars, etc.) and loss of dimension. But if you find the sweet spot in the room, you’ll be rewarded with stereo tracks you can transfer to a DAW for overdubs and editing without compromises in audio quality. Sweet.

Parameter tweaks, internal file management, and file transfers (via USB) are easy, and for those who need reading glasses, but detest wearing them, all operations can be guided by the voice of a business- like, but kinda sexy British woman. A “pre-record” buffer always captures a few seconds of sound before you hit the Record button—a lifesaver if the drummer clicks off a tune before you can get to the LS-7’s controls. The LS-7 is truly a well-thought-out recording tool for musicians on the go.

Kudos Super small. Good sound. Prerecord buffer. Omni center mic. Voiceguided operations. External mic input.

Concerns Some abrasive high-frequency content was noted when recording highvolume source sounds.

Contact Olympus, (888) 553-4448; getolympus.com

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