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What are the main features of the LS-11?

The LS-11 Linear PCM Recorder is a high-quality digital audio recorder derived from Olympus’ decades of experience in the recording field. At its highest quality setting, the LS-11 records WAVE files in 24 bit/96 kHz Linear PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) format —exceeding the file properties of a commercial audio CD. The LS-11 also records in MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) formats, offering a potential recording time up to 278 hours using the 8 GB of built-in flash memory. The device also accepts SD and SDHC memory cards, further extending the recording capabilities of the recorder.

Music can also be downloaded to the recorder via a USB connection so that the LS-11 can also function as a music player. Music can be saved to the SD or SDHC memory cards so that individual music libraries can be conveniently interchanged in the recorder.

Since the LS-11 is a mass storage device, it can also be used as a USB flash drive (e.g. USB flash memory drive) to transfer data and image files from one computer to another. Olympus has developed new high-sensitivity microphones and microphone amplifier circuitry so that the LS-11 captures studio and broadcast quality sound. Accessory microphones can be used with the LS-11 via its stereo microphone jack, and the recorder can supply power to microphones requiring power. Audio from another device can also be imported into the LS-11 via its LINE IN jack.

Files imported into a computer can be edited with the bundled Steinberg Cubase LE4 software, which can create a virtual mixing panel of up to 48 tracks. Cubase LE4 also supports MIDI music production and accepts plug-ins in support of Steinberg’s Virtual Studio Technology (VST).

The LS-11 Linear PCM Recorder is ideal for any musician or nature enthusiast looking to record audio in the highest possible quality. The recorder is also an ideal tool for broadcast journalists. Its small size, battery power, and ease of operation make it a go-anywhere solution for high-quality audio recording.

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What does it mean that the LS-11 is a “mass storage device”?

Describing the LS-11 as a mass storage device means that the internal memory and the optional SD or SDHC memory card can be used as portable memory to save and transfer files from one computer to another in the same manner that JumpDrive® and other USB flash memory drives, commonly called “thumb” drives, are used. Text files, images, music and other files can be saved to the LS-11 and accessed from or downloaded to a computer when the device is connected to it using the bundled USB cable. When connected to a computer, the LS-11 appears as a drive.

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What are the computer operating system requirements of the LS-11?

The LS-11 is compatible with both Windows® and Macintosh™ operating systems.

The LS-11 is supported on Windows platforms using Windows 2000, Windows XP (Professional and Home editions), or Windows Vista™. Linear PCM, MP3, and WMA files can be downloaded into Windows Media Player, which can also be used to import music files into the recorder’s MUSIC folder.

The LS-11 is supported on Macintosh platforms using MAC OS X 10.2 or later. MP3 files can be downloaded into iTunes, which can also be used to import music files into the recorder’s MUSIC folder.

A DVD-ROM drive is required to install Steinberg® Cubase LE4 on Windows or Macintosh computers. Because of the size of the application, it is not available in CD-ROM form.

The minimum Windows system requirements to support Steinberg Cubase LE4 are:

  • Windows XP (Professional or Home editions) or Windows Vista
  • Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon 1.4 GHz processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • Windows DirectX-compatible audio hardware (ASIO-compatible audio hardware recommended for low latency performance)
  • Display resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels
  • DVD-ROM drive required for installation
  • Internet connection required for license activation

The minimum Macintosh system requirements to support Steinberg Cubase LE4 are:

  • Mac OS X 10.4
  • Power Mac G4 1 GHz or Core Solo 1.5 GHz processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • Display resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels
  • CoreAudio-compatible audio hardware
  • DVD-ROM drive required for installation
  • Internet connection required for license activation

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How much recording time is available in the LS-11?

The length of potential recording time available using the LS-11 is governed by the selected Recording Mode and, if using optional removable media, by the capacity of the memory card. When a Recording Mode is selected, several audio file properties are activated. These properties determine the level of detail of the saved file data. A higher-quality file saves more-detailed information that uses more memory space. A lower-quality recording makes a less-detailed data file, so the memory goes a lot further.

The tables below show approximate recording times for each Recording Mode and audio file format, assuming that no files have been saved to the recorder. These values are provided for reference and are not a guarantee of battery life. Individual performance may vary.

LS-11 Recording Capacity Tables

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What are the differences among the various Recording Mode options?

The LS-11 provides numerous options for recording audio and transferring music to the recorder. The primary differences among the three audio formats employed by the LS-11 – Linear PCM, MP3 and WMA – are compression or lack of compression. The quality settings within each of those formats are defined by the level of detail in the digital record of the recorded sound.

A wide and high frequency response (expressed in Hz or kHz) results in a higher-quality recording, but that quality requires a much greater usage of memory capacity than a lower-quality file.

A high bit rate (expressed in kilobits per second, or kbps) results in a higher-quality recording, but that quality requires a much greater usage of memory capacity than a lower-quality file.

The bit depth also effects quality and file size. The difference between 16-bit and 24-bit bit depth is in the frequency at which sound waves are sampled as part of the digital record of the recorded sound. For most purposes, 16-bit bit depth is more than adequate.

To see the relative usage of memory capacity in the different formats and quality settings, download this file.

The following information briefly describes the properties of the audio formats the LS-11 uses:

Linear PCM
Linear PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) is a WAVE audio format file. WAVE is the most widely used audio format mainly because it is the format used in commercially available music CDs. Linear PCM is an uncompressed format with a wide frequency response. Therefore, the files are very large and use a great deal of memory. Because of the size of the files, WAVE files are very difficult to send through the Internet. The table below shows the overall frequency response of the Linear PCM format recording modes used in the LS-11:

Recording Mode Overall Frequency Response
96 kHz 20 Hz to 44 kHz
88.2 kHz 20 Hz to 42 kHz
48 kHz 20 Hz to 23 kHz
44.1 kHz 20 Hz to 21 kHz
44.1 kHz/mono 20 Hz to 21 kHz

The 44.1 kHz setting is similar to the one used in commercial music CDs and its frequency response is the closest to human hearing. The higher settings may have usefulness in scientific applications.

MP3 (MPEG-1/MPEG-2 Audio Layer 3) is a highly compressed audio format file with a compression ratio of approximately 11:1. It is popular because its compression produces recordings with smaller file sizes that are easier to send through the Internet, enabling music downloads. The files also require much less memory than other formats, making portable music players viable. The trade-off is lower-quality sound, but since most MP3 files are played through earbuds and lower-quality speaker systems, the quality is acceptable.

The table below shows the overall frequency response of the MP3 format recording modes used in the LS-11:

Recording Mode Overall Frequency Response
320 kbps 50 Hz to 20 kHz
256 kbps 50 Hz to 20 kHz
128 kbps 50 Hz to 17 kHz
mono 50 Hz to 17 kHz

WMA (Windows Media® Audio) is popular because it is supported by Windows Media Player, which is native to Windows® computer platforms. It has a very low compression ratio that is slightly lower than 2:1. Therefore, it creates detailed digital audio files that use a great deal of memory. However, recording at a 64 kbps bit rate can extend recording capacity significantly.

The table below shows the overall frequency response of the WMA format recording modes used in the LS-11:

Recording Mode Overall Frequency Response
160 kbps 50 Hz to 19 kHz
128 kbps 50 Hz to 19 kHz
64 kbps 50 Hz to 15 kHz
mono 50 Hz to 15 kHz

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How can I play the Steinberg Cubase LE4 tutorials on the DVD bundled with the LS-11?

The DVD bundled with the LS-11 contains Steinberg Cubase LE4 video tutorials for both Windows and Mac platforms. The tutorials are created by ASKVideo, a company specializing in audio and video software applications tutorials. The computer must have a DVD-ROM drive in order to install the Steinberg software application and play the ASK Video tutorials.

To play the video tutorials, do the following:

  1. Put the bundled Cubase LE4 DVD in the computer’s DVD-ROM drive.
  2. Open the DVD, and click on the TRAINING VIDEO folder. There are two tutorial files: CubaseLETutorial.exe (for Windows) and CubaseLETutorial.osx (for Macintosh).
  3. Click on the file compatible with the computer’s operating system to select the language version and open the menu for the video tutorials.

The software may require registration with ASK Video before playing the tutorials.

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How does the LS-11's Zoom Mic function work?

The Zoom Mic function uses DiMAGIC Virtual Microphone (DVM) technology by DiMAGIC Co., Ltd., to modify the focus of the sound capture — from expansive stereo recording to highly directive recording. The Zoom Mic option is only enabled when using the built-in microphones and only in the PCM 44.1 kHz/16 bit Recording Mode. The option cannot be used with accessory microphones plugged into the recorder’s MIC jack.

The Zoom Mic options are selected via the LS-10’s menu. The options are:

  • Normal: Option is disabled
  • Wide: Recording with an expansive stereo sound
  • Standard: Recording with a natural stereo sound
  • Narrow: Recording with a stereo sound with more distinct channel separation
  • Zoom: Highly directive monaural sound

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What is the purpose of the LINE IN jack?

The LINE IN jack is intended to input recordings from the earphone jack of other audio devices such as radios, music players, microcassette and digital voice recorders, and computers. The process is known as “dubbing.” It is not recommended to input audio from such devices through the MIC jack.

Olympus makes a KA-334 Compaticord (item# 145162) that can be used for dubbing. It can be purchased online by clicking here.

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How are the settings on the MIC SENSE switch used?

The MIC SENSE switch has a LOW and a HIGH microphone sensitivity setting to select how the microphones will capture sounds in different recording situations.

  • HIGH: This is a highly sensitive mode which will pick up surrounding noises.
  • LOW: This is a normal mode of microphone sensitivity and should be used when the sound level is high, such as recording a band. It can also be used for close-in voice recording, such as dictation.

The MIC SENSE switch also controls the microphone sensitivity of accessory microphones plugged into the MIC jack.

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What is the purpose of the LOW CUT switch?

The LOW CUT switch enables the LOW CUT filter, which filters out low-level “white noise” created by ventilation systems or projector fans.

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How are the recording levels set?

There are two options for setting the recording levels — Auto and Manual. Both are set in the LS-11’s menu using the Rec Level function.

In the Auto setting, the recorder automatically sets the recording level in conjunction with the microphone sensitivity setting. If there is a sudden spike in the loudness, it automatically compensates the sound level to prevent distortion of the loud sound event.

In the Manual option, the sound level is set using the REC LEVEL dial on the right side of the recorder. The user has the option of applying the Limiter when using the Manual option. The Limiter compensates the sound level of a spike in loudness; much like the Auto setting does automatically. It is recommended to do a sound test and monitor the sound levels on the Level meter on the LCD screen when using the Manual recording mode.  The Level Meter looks like this:

When setting the sound level, set the maximum level to –6dB on the Level Meter. –6dB is highlighted in red in the photo above. This is to prevent clipping. Clipping is distortion that occurs when the sound level exceeds the dynamic range of the recording device. The top of the dynamic range is represented by 0dB. The reason –6dB is used as a practical limit is to give the recording some “head room” to keep the recording cleaner and free from distortion.

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What is the function of the A-B REPEAT button?

The A-B REPEAT button is used to select a section of a recording to be played back repeatedly in a loop. At the beginning of the section to be looped, press the A-B REPEAT button. Let the file play to the end point of the loop and press the A-B REPEAT button again. The loop will play until the playback is stopped by pressing the STOP button.

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What is the purpose of the Fn button?

The [Fn] button is a programmable button that allows a single often-used menu function to be accessed on the LCD screen by pressing the [Fn] button rather than by opening the menu. The options that can be assigned to the [Fn] button are: Rec Mode, Zoom Mic, Reverb, Property, Light, Rec Level, Play Mode, Euphony and Memory Select.

The [Fn] button is located beneath the orange Erase button on the lower left side of the LS-11's front face.

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Does Olympus offer an AC adapter for the LS-11?

The AC adapter for the LS-11 is the A-513 adapter. It can be purchased from authorized Olympus dealers or directly from The Olympus Store by clicking here.

The A-513 should not be used when the LS-11 is connected to a computer via its bundled USB cable since the device is powered by the computer’s USB port while connected.

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Can I use accessory microphones with the LS-11?

The LS-11 can support the use of accessory microphone through its 3.5mm stereo MIC jack. It can also support monaural microphones, but will only record on the left channel with a monaural microphone.

External microphones which are supported by plug-in power are also supported when using the Plug-in Power function found in the recorder’s menu. Phantom power cannot be supplied, even when the plug-in power option is set to On.

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What is the Steinberg Cubase LE4 bundled with the LS-11?

Steinberg Cubase LE4 is a very powerful audio-editing application that can be used to edit imported audio tracks and add additional tracks using MIDI technology and virtual instrument plug-ins. The bundled CD can be loaded on as many computers as you like, but each installation must be registered online with Steinberg LLC.

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What is the extent of Olympus’ support for Steinberg Cubase LE4?

Support for the operation of Steinberg® Cubase LE4 is provided by Steinberg LCC. In the Help menu item of the software, there is a link to the company's web site. The company also accepts email inquiries at

Olympus' technical support includes:

  • Replacing missing, broken, or lost installation disks
  • Answering general questions regarding the registration and authorization of the software
  • Basic questions regarding Cubase LE4, such as system requirements; and
  • Questions relating to the importing of files from the LS-10 into the Cubase LE4 software

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What are my options if I find Cubase LE exceeds my requirements?

Files recorded with the LS-11 are supported by Windows Media® Player on Windows platforms and by iTunes on Macintosh™ platforms. Refer to the LS-11 manual for details on interfacing the LS-11 with these applications.

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