Radio Practice and Politics - Olympus Recorders

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Media Loan Microphone Guide and Microphone Basics

Olympus LS-100 Operating Guide

Audio Basics


Microphone Types

  • Dynamic Mics
    • Can withstand louder noises, rugged pickup elements.
    • No power needed
  • Condenser Mics
    • More sensitive to quieter noises, and more delicate pickup elements.
    • Needs power supplied through a battery, or through phantom power setting on the recorder (uses more battery power).

Microphone Pickup Patterns

  • Omni: picks up sound from all directions.
  • Cardioid: picks up sound from front:
    • Proximity Effect: low frequencies are boosted as mic is closer to the source.
  • Super-Cardioid: Picks up from front with a narrower pattern.

Microphones Categories

  • Handheld
  • Lavaliere: small clip-on attaches to clothing for vocal only recording.

Connector Types

  1. XLR = for professional balanced microphones.
  2. Mini or 1/8 inch = consumer microphones.

Recording Tips

Mic Usage Tips

  • Use a stand if possible to reduce noise (table, or floor)
  • Listen for:
    • handling noise
    • proximity effect
    • popped p's
  • Signal to noise ratio
    • The closer you are to your source with your microphone the higher the signal to noise ratio
    • The further away you are from your source the more unwanted noise gets into your recording.
  • Perspective
    • Close up recordings produce isolated sounds which enhances the texture of certain objects and provides a narrow and close up perspective.
    • Recording at distances provides width and depth to your sounds which can provide clues to location, combined actions of objects, weather, ambiance, time of day, etc.


  • Always use headphones.
  • If you are only one of the two XLR inputs you will only hear sound on one side of the headphones.

Media Loan Shopping List

  • Olympus LS-100
  • Mic cables
  • Headphones
  • Extension cables
  • Desk stand, floor stand, microphone handle, shock mount
  • Microphones:
    • Recommended for vocal recording > SM-58, SM-57, Sennheiser 421, AT8537 Lavaliere

Olympus LS-100 Recorder

  • Digital audio recorder that records to flash memory cards, no moving parts.
  • It has 4 GB's on internal memory or you can use your own SD card.
  • 96kHz/24 bit linear PCM recording.
  • Two 90° stereo condenser microphones.
  • Left & right XLR / phone combo inputs and a stereo mini mic input.
  • When you are done you copy files off just like using a USB drive.

USB and Power Settings

The USB Connection setting needs to be changed to either connect the recorder to a computer or to power the recorder from AC while recording.
There are 3 options:

  • PC: allows the recorder to be connected to a computer. Can be used to charge the batteries.
  • AC Adapter: allows the recorder to be in record mode while connected to AC. Can be used to charge the batteries.
  • Optional: anytime the recorder is connected to a computer or the AC Adaptor it will display a menu to select PC or AC Adapter. Use this setting.
  1. Press the MENU button
  2. Forward through the tabs to the DEVICE MENU
  3. Press the - button down to select USB Settings and press OK.
  4. Select USB Connection and press OK.
  5. Select Optional and press OK.

Record Settings

The settings below will set the recorder to use the XLR inputs with manual record level.

  1. Menu > Record Mode > Normal.
  2. Menu > Mic Gain > XLR (L) > LO.
  3. Menu > Mic Gain > XLR (R) > LO.
  4. Menu > Rec Level > XLR (L) > Manual > Limit/Comp Off.
  5. Menu > Rec Level > XLR (R) > Manual > Limit/Comp Off.
  6. Menu > Input Select > XLR/Phone.
  7. Menu > Rec Format > PCM > 48.0 Khz / 24 Bit.
  8. Menu > Low Cut Filter > 100Hz.
  9. Menu > Pre-Recording > Off.
  10. Menu > Rec Monitor > On.

Recording Exercise

Recording Tips

  1. Select a controlled and quiet recording location.
  2. Avoid noisy public locations (like restaurants, or areas near a road).
  3. If possible, eliminate background noises (turn off stereos, TV’s, fans, air circulation vents). A room with carpeting and furniture will typically sound better than one with hard floors (too much echo).
  4. It is recommended to record some "room tone" to be able to insert any pauses needed later in post-production.

Check the Settings

  1. Insert tha battery.
  2. Turn on recorder
  3. Format card
  4. Plug in headphones. Turn the Rec Monitor on.
  5. Connect an external XLR mic to the recorder the left XLR input.
  6. Set to record 48 Khz / 24 bit, manual record levels, and set the Limiter to off.
  7. Set the Low Cut Filter to 100 Hz.

Make a Test Recording

  1. Press Rec button once - this will go in record pause mode
  2. Test the microphone placement, confirm if you are hearing the built in mic, or the external, any crackles, or hums, room noise, too close, too far away from the sound source?
  3. Set levels with the record level controls on the right of the recorder. Levels should be the loudest around -12dB
  4. Press Rec to start recording (counter will be running, record light will be solid)
  5. Listen on the headphones. If you are only using the left XLR input, you will only hear audio on the left headphone.
  6. Press Stop to stop recording

Playback the Recording

  1. Press the List button.
  2. Use the + and - buttons to select a file and press OK.
  3. The file name will be displayed in the window.
  4. Press the Play button.

Playback Speed

  • While playing an audio file the speed can be changed from 50% to 400%.
  • During playback the up and down arrow button on the front right of the recorder adjust the playback speed.
  • Leave it set to 100%.

Copying Files

  1. Connect provided USB cable to the computer.
  2. Turn on the recorder.
  3. The recorder should appear on the desktop as LS-100.
  4. Copy files from the audio recorder to a computer as you would from a USB drive. Protect the privacy of your recordings by deleting all files on the recorder before returning equipment to Media Loan.
  5. When finished click and drag the device icon to the trash before turning off the recorder.

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