Olympus LS11 Digital Sound Recorder

I love sound.  No, I mean I REALLY love sound!  No photograph, film or video, no words can translate a moment as faithfully and accurately as sound can.  A good sound recording of a natural event, whether it be bird song or a thunder storm, can transport you to the place, let you live (or re-live) the moment as though you were truly there.

Sound recording is an art, which I don’t pretend to be an expert in.  I have recorded natural sounds for over 30 years, but the discipline has always taken a back seat to my photography and film making.  But I have managed to work my way through a number of different recording devices in that time, from analogue tape (dinosaur!) to DAT, mini-disc and now solid state digital.  I have used a number of small digital recorders from different manufacturers, and have settled on the one that seems to punch well above its weight.

The Olympus LS11 is a little beauty.  Some of its outstanding features include:

  • Small weight and size (important if you are carrying other gear)
  • Excellent quality built in stereo microphones.
  • Stereo mic jack to accommodate ancillary microphones (clip mic, gun mic etc.)
  • An ANALOGUE dial on the side to set the recording level (soooo much nicer to use than either an on-screen menu option or punching on + – symbols on a rocker switch).
  • A versatile menu to select quality, labelling etc.
  • On board or SD card memory choice.
  • A thread to mount the device on a tripod.  (Amazing how many brands leave this out!)
  • Runs on AA batteries.


I have used mine to record natural sounds both with the built in stereo microphones (ideal for general atmospheres)and close proximity recordings), or with an optional directional microphone for more specific sounds such as bird song.

I also use the LS11 to record commentary tracks, setting it up on a little tripod and talking into the on board mics for a high quality recording to use as a voice over on my films.

It’s so small I can tuck it in a back trouser pocket and use it to record synchronous sound from a clip mike whilst I am doing pieces to camera. I can then synchronise these against the film I the cutting room later.

All in all it is a robust, versatile little beauty!

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