When you are serious about capturing the best sound quality possible, you need a professional recorder. There are many out there, but the Olympus line is what the pro’s count on for portable audio capture.  I’ve been a fan of Olympus recorders for probably the last fifteen years or so and their latest version, the LS-14, is a brilliant piece of engineering in a compact package.

Olympus LS-14 digital audio recorder

Olympus LS-14 digital audio recorder

At 2” wide by 5-1/2” tall by 7/8” thick, it’s a perfect fit in the palm of your hand. The case has a great non-slip exterior finish with molded ribs on the sides.  On top are two cardioid mics (60Hz to 20kHz) set at 90 degree angles for left and right sound. In the center is an omni-directional mic (20Hz to 20kHz) which captures those deep bass tones. As small as it is, the Olympus LS-14 is one capable recorder; handling music or sound effects all the way up to sound pressure levels of 130 decibels.

Great for loud environments – sure – but how about when you want it quiet?  There are selectable 100Hz or 300Hz low cut filters that keep down those background air diffuser and exterior noises.

Select recording modes: either PCM WAV files from 44 to 96kHz, 16 or 24 bit, or MP3 files from 64 to 320kbps.

Four separate modes can be instantly switched with the round dial in the lower right on the front of the LS-14.  Watch the video for more detail; but there you’ll find a tuning app for musicians, a smart rehearsal setting to make sure your loudest noises aren’t clipped, a manual setting with buffered start and a quick start mode.

On the sides you’ll find headphone, external mic in, line in and remote control jacks. That is where you’ll also insert your SD or SDHC card if you need more than the 4GB of internal memory.

Musicians as well as other performers are going to love the Over Dub mode. After they perform their first take, press the F3 key and the first file will start to play in your headphones. Add part two and it will automatically stop at the end of the first file. Now a new file is created, and you can keep stacking and stacking parts until you are finished. There are a couple tricks, so watch this video for the details.

I accidentally forgot to set the recording levels at a recent concert for my granddaughter. When I opened the file, I was horrified to see the minimal recording level that I had used. However, I dropped the file into Adobe Audition and with one click, I found that the LS-14 had recorded plenty of information for me to rescue the recording of the concert.

wave sound pattern - before and after

wave sound pattern – as recorded and after rescue


A special stand clip mounts to the tripod screw mounting hole in the back and enables you to mount it to a microphone stand, a music stand, or what-have-you. The unit is powered by two AA batteries – gotta love that – so you don’t need to carry a charger.  And the batteries last forever – well, up to 48 hours.

For more information, get in on the conversation at the Olympus Audio Blog  or to purchase, go to www.getolympus.com.

This product is one of those featured in my 2012 Gift Guide.  For great gift ideas, check it out anytime.