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Olympus LS-P1 Portable Handheld Digital Audio Recorder (Silver, 4GB, No Bluetooth)
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|Digital Media Format||MP3 Audio|
|Batteries||1 AAA batteries required. (included)|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||4.29 x 1.56 x 0.57 inches|
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Top reviews from other countries
My requirements were many - high quality sound, separated stereo, rechargeable battery that would recharge through the USB or take a normal battery, ability to select both sensitivity and quality, record in MP3 format, and take a micro SD card to expand the memory.
This little beauty does it all - and more...
You can also record in linear PCM (which is uncompressed) for extra quality.
The two microphones point out at 90 degrees which is perfect for that true separated stereo, and the tripod adaptor that screws into the back allows it to be positioned off a surface, although with the adaptor screwed in, it has the effect of lifting the head off the table so I don't think I'll bother with a tripod.
The menu system took a while to understand (I'm a bloke - I don't read manuals first!) but once the menu and sub-menu navigation was understood, it gives you all the options you'll ever need.
And with standard 3mm headphone and microphone jack sockets I can still use my old Olympus microphones and headphones.
And if you are going the use the voice-activated mode, you can even set the number of seconds that constitute a gap - useful.
And finally, having the USB plug pop out of the bottom is great - I don't have to fish around for a cable to transfer audio files or charge the battery. When it is plugged into the PC it will both charge and allow access to files simultaneously (unlike my camera).
The only whinge I have is that it doesn't come with a carry strap - very handy for such a small and smooth device. There is a 'bar hole' to connect one so I simply transferred my old Olympus one to this, but for the sake of a few pence they could have included one. The calendar also starts on a Sunday instead of the UK Monday - but I can live with that.
Here are some useful recording capacities...with just the internal 4Gb memory / plus a 16Gb micro SD card (HH:MM)
- Highest recording quality, MP3 (320 kbs) ...25:23 / 114:59
- Highest recording quality, PCM (96.0kHz/24bit)...1:45 / 7:59
The menu allows you to select either internal memory or SD card, I'm not sure what would happen if internal memory is selected and the capacity runs out - does it stop or switch to the SD card? If I find out I'll add to this review, but in the meantime I'll simply select the SD card as it gives me more capacity than I'll need.
And believe me - the sound is just superb.
Here are a few observations. Some Olympus recorders can be too fiddly but this one is better than most. I would have like more settings for MP3 quality than the choice of only 320 kbps or 128 kps if you want to record in stereo. The red record button stays lit throughout the recording and it would have been nice to have a setting to turn this off. The "home" screen adds an unnecessary menu which needs navigating every single time the unit is switched on to record. The speaker maybe only for monitoring but it is too quiet to be useful. I have a Sony voice recorder (ICD-UX533) which comes with a USB extension lead that this Olympus unit would also need for use with a PC but it does not come with one. It's also a pity no PC software was provided by Olympus to manage not just the audio files but also have a user panel to adjust phone settings which, again, my Sony does. This recorder comes with almost no accessories except a mounting screw for a tripod and one AAA rechargeable battery - that's everything apart from 3 pages in English in the printed guide.
Unfortunately my unit had different sensitivities for each channel making the right louder than the left which seems like a basic manufacturing fault and is not something I would expect in this sort of product quality. I would have given this 4 stars but the imbalance between the channels (and who knows what other calibrations) mean I give it 3 stars. Of course, the mic imbalance was such that the unit had to be sent back for replacement.
Now for the downsides:
-- Like all modern electronic devices, there's a mess of menus to navigate around when you want to do something out of the ordinary run of things.
-- The built in speaker is tiny and not very loud. I use a separate powered speaker which connects through a 3mm stereo plug. Note that this recorder doesn't have bluetooth, but there are versions which do.
-- It needs a rechargeable battery which gives about 4 hours recording time. Note that it can recharge a suitable battery using power from a USB lead, although I actually remove the battery and use a separate charger. If you're going to be recording all day then take spare batteries with you.
This device is tiny, it reminds me of some of the tiny phones from the 90's and early 2000's.
The pop-out usb port is convenient. It uses one rechargeable AAA battery, also convenient. Battery life doesn't come close to the stated life though in fairly average recording conditions.
I used it in manual rec mode, with limiter off and lo-cut filter on for some urban recordings. I found the recordings detailed but a little "brittle" and lacking low end, I will retry with lo-cut filter off.
Very easy menus, very easy to record, one touch of button arms record, then set your levels and listening volume using the central multifunction toggle switch, second touch starts the recording.
Because of the size it is difficult to find a generic (i.e. cheap) wind muff solution. I ended up jamming a standard mike foam cover inside a wind muff which was designed for one of the Zoom recorders, and the two together provided decent grip and wind protection.
Time will tell if it was a good choice. There isn't a lot of choice at this price range. I did consider the Tascam DR-05 and Dr-07 but the mikes are omnidirectional on the Tascam, which apparently doesn't give as good a stereo image. The mikes on the LS-P1 are cardioid, and there seems to be reasonable stereo separation based on waveform editing in Adobe Audition and on listening.
Recommended if your hands aren't huge and if you want a tiny portable recorder which is easy to use and discrete.
So I downloaded the same manual from the Olympus website but online manuals are difficult to follow in terms of FINDING the exact data you want at any moment, especially in the middle of a press conference miles from your home computer.
This device is overly complicated for most users and so fiddly that generally I can do better using my Android phone.
I wasted my money, I suggest that you do not waste yours.