Olympus LS-5 £199
17th Nov 2010 | 09:30
This dictaphone offers high-quality recording and MP3 playback
The Olympus LS-5 may look inpressive, but that's nothing to the way it feels – solid, professional and business-like in the hand. The case is all metal and it sits well in the hand.
Olympus have a history making dictation recorders that are quite capable of recording half-decent music and so it wasn't such a leap to making a recorder that is designed for music duty as well.
Like the Roland R-05, this is actually more a recorder than a player but we have faith in these devices for several reasons, not least their frequent very good sound quality when used as players.
But a decent recorder is a handy device and one like this is perfectly capable of recording from line-level sources, making archive copies of old cassettes and LPs at up to 96kHz sampling rate. That's quite apart from the built-in microphones, suitable for anything from speech to quite serious recording of live music events.
The sound from the built-in mics has good clarity, admirably low noise and a generally neutral tonal balance, though we found the bass a little uneven. The treble is good, though, lacking the slightly brittle quality that many budget microphones seem to have.
Output to headphones is fairly healthy and sounds tonally neutral, but isn't quite as detailed as the Cowon players offer.
The real glory is recording from line inputs, which is frankly excellent and a perfectly valid way of making recordings that can be copied to computer.
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