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Olympus Ls-10 Olympus Challenges SONY

#21 User is offline   synergy543 

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 10:11 AM

QUOTE (David Battino @ May 24 2008, 06:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You're not likely to hear much difference between 44.1 and 96kHz if the built-in mics and preamps don't either, and the higher resolution will require significantly more storage space.


I just want to point out here that although the audible differences between 44.1kHz and 96kHz might be rather insignificant in certain real-world situations, the difference between 16-bit and 24-bit is much more apparent, and more so for audio production than for the consumer (where 16-bits works fine). Although the difference between 16 and 24-bits is very audible if you focus on the noise floor and reverb decays, the much bigger difference is in the headroom. When you're recording in 16-bits you have a much narrower range between the noise floor and digital overload. So in 16-bit recording, it often makes sense to use a front-end compressor to limit the audio to the 16-bit digital range.

With 24-bit recording, you have a much wider dynamic range. So you can comfortably lower the recording level to avoid overloads without worrying too much about loosing the quieter sounds that might otherwise fall into the 16-bit noise floor. And thus, there is much less need for a front-end compressor during recording.

All of this is to say that these little 24-bit digital audio recorders are an absolute dream for location recording and (with the right engineering techniques - and possible use of external mics) are very capable of recording material that will end up on a CD.
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#22 User is offline   mickguz 

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 12:18 PM

I purchased an LS-10 last week. I really wanted to love this little recorder. Small size. Excellent build quality. Great features. Great menu system. Great control layout. Great battery life.
Alas, the sound suffers from poor low frequency response on both the internal mic and the external mic input.
When I heard my recordings, they sounded thin. I then measured the frequency response of the unit from mic input to the headphone output. (with low cut turned off, of course) The response dropped 3db at 85Hz and by 50Hz it was down 6db. The line input was good to 20Hz. The problem is in the mic preamp.
I don't know if Olympus did this intentionally to match this recorder more closely with their voice recorders, or if the mic preamp is just poorly designed.
Its a real shame that this problem excludes this otherwise excellent little recorder from any serious music or field recording on a professional level.

I have attached a graph showing the frequency response of the ls-10. The red trace is from the mic input to the headphone output (lo cut off). The green trace is from the line input to the headphone output. Notice the severe low frequency rolloff of the mic preamp.

Attached File(s)

  • Attached File  ls_10.png (34.54K)
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This post has been edited by mickguz: 25 May 2008 - 12:27 PM

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#23 User is offline   synergy543 

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 08:02 PM

Thats an interesting chart. Thank for posting it. It certainly would be interesting to see the same test for other digital recorders too though.

I'm wondering though if this might be a typical response for a compact digital recorder rather than an unusual one? In practice, if it records down to 50 Hz with only a -6dB drop, that's actually pretty good - as its easy to add 6dB EQ boost in post. And if you record in 24-bits, you've still got plenty of room above the noise floor. In the real world, very few speakers produce a flat response down to 50 Hz. Sub-woofers generally cover this lower range up until 80-120Hz, so we're talking really low down.

The LS-10 tympani mp3s I posted earlier in this thread (which I recorded through my speakers) do not go down quite as low my original source file - however, my speakers don't go down that low either I'm sure. Nevertheless, it was convincing enough to me that I could capture low enough sounds with the LS-10 and could easily boost the low end with EQ if needed. With a slight amount of EQ, I was easily able to get the same low-end level as my source. Not a precise and accurate engineering test, but a good empirical real-world test that did not leave me with the impression the low end was seriously lacking.

And as you point out, the line in is flat down to 20 Hz so for extremely serious recording, you would have the option of using an external Mic Pre-Amp to achieve the best possible low-end recordings. And to put things in perspective, you'd still need a mic pre-amp even with the worlds best digital recorder just because it wouldn't have a mic pre-amp built-in! So its a nice added perk (feature not a bug). My more serious concern was lack of stereo spread so I would be inclined to use an external mid-side external stereo mic for the best possible 24-bit recording.

Well, I do hope you get a chance to test the response of some other digital recorders and post the results for both curiosity and comparison.
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#24 User is offline   Tom 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 09:15 AM

I posted an earlier question about track markers. Thank you for your reply.
How does one resolve this problem?>> You make a long recording, whether it is a 3 hour concert or a 3 hour radio talk show. As you are walking around listening through your ear buds to your recording, you remember you want to listen to something at the 2 hour 45 min. mark in the recording. Do you have to listen to the recording for 2 hours 45 mins. to get to the point? Or is there some way to advance forward or backward at high speed while you are on a long walk? I'm used to resolving this problem on my old minidisc recorder through the use of variable length track markers automatically inserted during the recording.

Thanks for your help!.. Tom
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#25 User is offline   synergy543 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 03:32 PM

Tom, as far as I know, the LS-10 does not have the ability to set track markers. I suppose the best solution would be to edit your audio in a computer 2-track editor and break it up into smaller individual files. This way, you could quickly access any section using the smaller files as markers. You can also add names to your files. The display allows you to read about 18 characters. When you select a title, it slowly scrolls through the title so you can also read longer titles.
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#26 User is offline   Tom 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 08:18 PM

QUOTE (Gregory D. Moore @ May 26 2008, 11:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Tom, as far as I know, the LS-10 does not have the ability to set track markers. I suppose the best solution would be to edit your audio in a computer 2-track editor and break it up into smaller individual files. This way, you could quickly access any section using the smaller files as markers. You can also add names to your files. The display allows you to read about 18 characters. When you select a title, it slowly scrolls through the title so you can also read longer titles.



Thanks Greg. The way I use a mini recorder, it is hard for me to believe that such a high tech piece of equipment would not have track marking capability. But so be it! ... Thanks for your reply... Tom
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#27 User is offline   mickguz 

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 09:40 AM

QUOTE (Gregory D. Moore @ May 26 2008, 04:02 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thats an interesting chart. Thank for posting it. It certainly would be interesting to see the same test for other digital recorders too though.

I'm wondering though if this might be a typical response for a compact digital recorder rather than an unusual one? In practice, if it records down to 50 Hz with only a -6dB drop, that's actually pretty good - as its easy to add 6dB EQ boost in post. And if you record in 24-bits, you've still got plenty of room above the noise floor. In the real world, very few speakers produce a flat response down to 50 Hz. Sub-woofers generally cover this lower range up until 80-120Hz, so we're talking really low down.

The LS-10 tympani mp3s I posted earlier in this thread (which I recorded through my speakers) do not go down quite as low my original source file - however, my speakers don't go down that low either I'm sure. Nevertheless, it was convincing enough to me that I could capture low enough sounds with the LS-10 and could easily boost the low end with EQ if needed. With a slight amount of EQ, I was easily able to get the same low-end level as my source. Not a precise and accurate engineering test, but a good empirical real-world test that did not leave me with the impression the low end was seriously lacking.

And as you point out, the line in is flat down to 20 Hz so for extremely serious recording, you would have the option of using an external Mic Pre-Amp to achieve the best possible low-end recordings. And to put things in perspective, you'd still need a mic pre-amp even with the worlds best digital recorder just because it wouldn't have a mic pre-amp built-in! So its a nice added perk (feature not a bug). My more serious concern was lack of stereo spread so I would be inclined to use an external mid-side external stereo mic for the best possible 24-bit recording.

Well, I do hope you get a chance to test the response of some other digital recorders and post the results for both curiosity and comparison.



I also have an M-Audio Microtrack (the original one). I never measured its response because it never sounded lacking in any range. I'll run a curve when I get a chance. I'll run distortion measurements on both machines as well.

Other than the low end rolloff, the Olympus sounds clean and quiet to me. I suspect the rolloff is deliberate in order to reduce handling noise and subsonic information. If this is the case, I think Olympus should have used a 3 position low cut switch. Position 1 being flat to 20Hz, position 2 being what the response is now with low cut off, and position 3 being the existing low cut position. It would probably have only added a few cents to the cost.


The rolloff is 6db per octave so, as you say, it can easily be corrected with EQ. I tried this in Logic Pro with good results. There was no appreciable noise or artifacts.

I was probably being a bit hard on the LS-10. I think its a great little recorder. I just wish they had low frequency rolloff as an option, not hardwired in.

This post has been edited by mickguz: 27 May 2008 - 09:45 AM

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#28 User is offline   romero 

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 07:29 PM

QUOTE (mickguz @ May 27 2008, 10:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I also have an M-Audio Microtrack (the original one). I never measured its response because it never sounded lacking in any range. I'll run a curve when I get a chance. I'll run distortion measurements on both machines as well.

Other than the low end rolloff, the Olympus sounds clean and quiet to me. I suspect the rolloff is deliberate in order to reduce handling noise and subsonic information. If this is the case, I think Olympus should have used a 3 position low cut switch. Position 1 being flat to 20Hz, position 2 being what the response is now with low cut off, and position 3 being the existing low cut position. It would probably have only added a few cents to the cost.


The rolloff is 6db per octave so, as you say, it can easily be corrected with EQ. I tried this in Logic Pro with good results. There was no appreciable noise or artifacts.

I was probably being a bit hard on the LS-10. I think its a great little recorder. I just wish they had low frequency rolloff as an option, not hardwired in.


Thanks for the posts!
\
I've been using my LS-10 for a few weeks now and I do agree with you about the low frequencies.
I have to say, though, it's the only single problem I have with the device. Everything else about it is outstanding. I'd rather not have to use an EQ on the file to correct it, but if that's the only downside, I can live with it.

It does seem like they did it on purpose, or are just used to making voice recorders, so they thought it should be that way...
It's a little frustrating, but I still love the LS-10.









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#29 User is offline   fender3x 

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 01:23 PM

Has anyone used an SDHC card that's over 2 gigs in this thing yet? Reading through the website, it's not really clear to me whether this feature has been fully implemented or not...
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#30 User is offline   mickguz 

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 09:22 AM

QUOTE (fender3x @ Jun 1 2008, 09:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Has anyone used an SDHC card that's over 2 gigs in this thing yet? Reading through the website, it's not really clear to me whether this feature has been fully implemented or not...


I use a 4 gig ... works fine.
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#31 User is offline   fender3x 

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 11:10 AM

QUOTE (mickguz @ Jun 2 2008, 01:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I use a 4 gig ... works fine.


Good to know! What brand do you use?
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#32 User is offline   synergy543 

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 06:11 PM

QUOTE (fender3x @ Jun 2 2008, 07:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Good to know! What brand do you use?


I have a Transcend 8G in mine.
blink.gif

Yeah, its really overkill. The built-in 2G will take you quite far by itself (2 hours @ 24-bit, 44.1k)
2 hours is a lot of audio to edit!


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#33 User is offline   sjm1027 

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 01:43 AM

So is it true that there is no index marking? I have read (not in this forum) that there was... then was not. I am confused.
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#34 User is offline   romero 

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 05:07 PM

QUOTE (fender3x @ Jun 1 2008, 02:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Has anyone used an SDHC card that's over 2 gigs in this thing yet? Reading through the website, it's not really clear to me whether this feature has been fully implemented or not...


I have an 8GB HP SDHC (Class 4) card and a 4GB PQI SDHC (Class 6). Both have worked just fine for me so far...



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#35 User is offline   LewnWorx 

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 12:33 PM

I just picked up an LS-10 yesterday.

While I like the feature set, I'm a bit concerned about the SDHC support.

Today I went to Frys (yeah, I know) and tried both the 8 & 16 GB Patriot brand cards. I'm a photographer, and normally in addition to the size, the write speed is the primary concern, but even at 24/96 that shouldn't be an issue, so I figured the lo budget "slower" cards (Class 6 in this case would work).

That wasn't the problem.

The LS-10 wouldn't even RECOGNIZE the 16 GB card, as it gave an "Insert SD" card message when I put the 16 GB SDHC card in.

Ok, scratch that, the manual never said it WOULD support 16 GB cards. So I cracked open a pair of 8GB cards, same brand (Patriot) and while it accepted both, they appear to not show up as the right size.

For example, if I set the unit to 24/96, my 1GB Sandisk card (which does work correctly) shows roughly a half hour of recording time. At 16/44.1 it shows 35 minutes (odd, huh?)

Yet, when I put in the 8 GB card it only showed 1:35 @ 24/96, and 3:30 at 16/44.1.

You'd think it SHOULD have shown 8x the time remaining for the 1GB card, no?

So I didn't buy either card. Back home I stuck a SanDisk Extreme III 2GB SD in, and it's record times for both 24/96 and 16/44.1 were almost exactly double what they were with the 1 GB card.

What this tells me is the unit doesn't "Like" 8 & 16 GB cards, which is bothersome. I didn't have any 4GB cards to test so I don't know how those work or not.

Unfortunately I NEED at least 8GB cards to work, as I'm covering the Rothbury festival next week and will be without both power and laptop during the event. While they have power in the media area, I don't want to be schlepping my laptop along with the 2 DLSR's, multiple lenses, camelback and all the other garbage I already have to carry.

If anybody has any info on WORKING 4/8/16 GB card brands you've tested on this unit, I'm all ears.
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#36 User is offline   synergy543 

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 07:12 PM

QUOTE (LewnWorx @ Jun 22 2008, 08:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just picked up an LS-10 yesterday....So I cracked open a pair of 8GB cards, same brand (Patriot) and while it accepted both, they appear to not show up as the right size.

For example, if I set the unit to 24/96, my 1GB Sandisk card (which does work correctly) shows roughly a half hour of recording time. At 16/44.1 it shows 35 minutes (odd, huh?)

Yet, when I put in the 8 GB card it only showed 1:35 @ 24/96, and 3:30 at 16/44.1....
If anybody has any info on WORKING 4/8/16 GB card brands you've tested on this unit, I'm all ears.


The Transcend SDHC Classic 8G cards I purchased from NewEgg.com certainly work for me. At 24/44.1k its showing that I have 8 hours and 27 minutes of recording time. As an alternative, could you possibly use a few smaller cards?

It seems strange that it should work with some cards but not others. Did you format the card with the LS-10? Other than that, I've done nothing special.
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#37 User is offline   LewnWorx 

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 10:30 PM

QUOTE (Gregory D. Moore @ Jun 23 2008, 03:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Transcend SDHC Classic 8G cards I purchased from NewEgg.com certainly work for me. At 24/44.1k its showing that I have 8 hours and 27 minutes of recording time. As an alternative, could you possibly use a few smaller cards?

It seems strange that it should work with some cards but not others. Did you format the card with the LS-10? Other than that, I've done nothing special.


It just dawned on me that the phenomina I may be seeing is hitting the file system's 2GB boundary limit. I was looking at the max recording time (Hold stop down) and it may be that's what I'm seeing. I just realized in toying with it at a gig tonight that there's an info menu under the memory card icon on the left that tells how big the card is.

I'll try that again tomorrow and do the format thing.

I haven't heard tonight's audio yet, so this will be the first real field trial of it. I "taped" at 24/48 since I had 3 bands to cover and only 4 GB to do it in (2 onboard + a 2 GB Sandisk Extreme III).

We'll see how it held up. I had it on a tripod back by the bar, not the optimum location, but the club was rated for 150 people an they crammed some 600 in there. It was beyond wall to wall so I'm sure I'm going to get a more crowd noise than I'd like but it was more of a test than anything just to see how it does, my primary gig for this event was to shoot photos.

I'll let you know how it worked out, as well as how my 2nd adventure with the memory cards goes.

Cheers,

Mark
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#38 User is offline   LewnWorx 

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 06:51 PM

Update:

I picked up a pair of 8 GB Patriot cards at Frys. The problem isn't the card size but that the unit will ONLY record up to a 2 GB file. Once it hits the 2 GB limit, it stops.

Now I downloaded the manual for the new Edirol 9HR unit, and it has the same file size limit (apparently all of these use FAT16 under the hood for a DOS) however it will start recording to a new file once it hits 2GB with no break between them. Nifty.

The Edirol also has a spiffy remote allowing one to start / stop / play / record / INPUT GAIN ADJUST without touching the unit itself. This is a huge plus, as when I did my field test Sunday I got all kinds of unit noise when I was tweezing the gain on the fly.

Outside of that I LIKE the ergonomics. I'd also considered the Zoom H4, principally because it has XLR/Phantom power on the unit, however I've read that it's a pretty crappy implementation and there's gain issues. Considering all the stuff they packed into the H4, something had to give and it appears build quality and cheesy preamps are what gave.

So..

I'm down to the LS10 (which I have a couple weeks to noodle with if I decide to return it, the new Edirol 9HR (remote lust, other than that they seem fairly comperable, although I the Edirol does allow for file/folder renaming, and has some other user features that are nice, albeit at the expense of more size and the Butt Ugly Looks phenomina. It's ugly Jim.

And finally, the Zoom H4. It's really cheap (250 vs. the 400 for the 9HR and LS10, and has mic pres/phantom power. Has anybody really used one of these? I read the manual and the UI, while super clunky, I can live with. I've got mixed bag reviews about the build quality, and I'd love to get some feedback from somebody who's used one, particularly with a pair of decent condensors under phantom power. If that's a no go, then it's the LS10 or the 9HR. I'm tempted to order a 9HR and run both of them side by side at a show and keep the better sounding unit.

Thoughts?

Any thoughts
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#39 User is offline   synergy543 

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:46 PM

QUOTE (LewnWorx @ Jun 25 2008, 02:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
....I'd love to get some feedback from somebody who's used one, particularly with a pair of decent condensors under phantom power. If that's a no go, then it's the LS10 or the 9HR....

Thoughts?

First of all, thanks for the helpful info you've shared.

Since you mention an interest in condensors, and if you're sticking with the LS-10, you might want to check out the Sony ECM957Pro or the Sony ECM957. It looks like these would plug right into the LS-10 without need for phantom power or adapters. I haven't tried either of these but I'd love to hear from someone who has as it looks like a perfect match for the LS-10. And if you shop around, you can find these both for substantially less than the list.

If you or anyone else tests this combo, please share your experience with us.
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#40 User is offline   DavidBattino 

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:06 PM

QUOTE (LewnWorx @ Jun 24 2008, 07:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm down to the LS10 . . . the new Edirol 9HR . . . and finally, the Zoom H4.


We've reviewed both the LS-10 and H4, as well as the original R-09. And reviewer Mark Nelson is currently back in Hawaii checking out the R-09 HR (and M-Audio MicroTrack II), though probably not soon enough for your deadline.

The R-09 HR has another interesting feature (see PDF brochure): an analog limiter. It appears to have a plastic body, though, whereas the LS-10 is metal.
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