The New XLR-Equipped Olympus LS-100 Portable Recorder

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Portable digital recorders that feature dual XLR inputs are popular among musicians and audio engineers and they’re also the tool of choice for recording the sound for video productions. Until recently, there were only a few handheld digital recorders with XLR inputs available, but the announcement of the Olympus LS-100 adds an attractive new option to the menu.

Boasting dual balanced combo XLR inputs, the LS-100 can accept two professional external microphones and supply them with 48V/24V of phantom power. They can also accept 1/4" jacks, allowing you to plug guitars directly into the device. There are other built-in tools that musicians will appreciate, such as an instrument tuner, a metronome and the ability to create eight channel multi-track recordings. The recorder also has a Voice Activation feature that will make it useful for taking notes at meetings and in classes.

The LS-100 has 4GB of internal memory and it also has an SD card slot that is compatible with SDXC cards with up to 64GB of space. Olympus says the built-in stereo condenser microphones on the LS-100 are the best sounding mics the company has ever made. You can manually adjust the input level of each mic independently, and they can tolerate sound pressure levels of up to 140 dB. A 1/4"-20 tripod mount is built in, which makes it possible to mount the LS-100 to a tripod or to a video camera’s hot shoe with an additional adapter.

Sound quality is important in portable digital recorders, and the LS-100 was carefully designed to give you clean recordings. You can record files with resolutions from compressed MP3’s, all the way up to 24-bit 96 kHz WAV files. Plus, the audio processor and the system circuitry are kept separate in the architecture of the LS-100, which helps it achieve a low noise floor.

To learn more, see our B&H InDepth hands-on review.

Recording Format  WAV / MP3
Internal Memory 4GB
Card Slot SD
Inputs  3.5mm, dual XLR combo
Output  3.5mm headphone
Built-in Speaker Yes
Voice Activation Yes
Wireless Remote Yes (Optional)
AC Adapter Yes (Included)
Battery Rechargeable Li-ion
Battery Life 12.5 hr
Dimensions 3.2 x 2.75 x 1.3" / 8.3 x 7 x 3.3cm
Weight 9.8oz / 277.8g

The Olympus LS-100 is due to arrive at B&H in February of 2012.

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Olympus apparently has positioned the LS-100 to compete with models like the Samson/Zoom H4n, etc. What I do not understand is why there are no software-based features like Euphony, Reverb, and Stereo Mic Zoom (variable separation control) as with their LS-7 and LS-11 models. There are three basic ways to achieve Stereo control: 1) Mechanical -- the two mics can pivot at different angles 2) Acoustical -- a rotatable sleeve varies the pick-up angle and 3) Software-based -- like DiMAGIC Virtual Microphone (DVM) feature.

Perhaps some sort of LS-100 Stereo control will be revealed at the upcoming CES 2012 or NAMM 2012 shows?

Hello -

Thank you for your interest regarding this exciting new recorder.  We are eagerly waiting to discover all of its features, functions, and performance characteristics.  You make excellent points that perhaps only the designers at Olympus might be able to address.  Once Olympus begins shipping, we hope to know more and be better positioned to address any concerns that may remain.

Do you know what the price will be a this time? 

Hello - 

We have not yet determined our offering price.  Please check our website periodically for updated pricing information.

The big question is can you adjust the left and right XLR input gains seperately? and can you adjust for line or mic input indivifually?  I was bummed that the Tascam DR-40 can not do this.

You can adjust the input level separately on both the internal mics and the XLR inputs. As for adjusting for line or mic there is not enough information from Olympus yet to give you the answer. Once they release the manual for it that information will be available.