Topic: New Sony PCM-D50

I've acquired the Sony PCM-D50 and find it to be very good for both internal mic recordings and using an external ME66/K6 Sennheiser short shotgun or EV635.  (That Sennheiser is the only one I've tested that actually evades the noise floor on the H2.)

As you may have read, the Sony's internal mics are VERY susceptible to wind noise and the windscreen is mandatory.  The Sony version (I have one) costs an absolutely ridiculous $50 !

Overall, I'm very pleased with the build quality and the recordings.  Would it withstand a drop on concrete?  Maybe, but I wouldn't want to test it.

I will note that when left 'On,' the recorder will automatically shut down.  But if you leave it in a bag, an accidental record button press can activate the recorder and it will monitor record levels until the batteries drain.  In other words, if it's not going to be in use, you've got to move the slide switch on the side of the recorder to the "Off" position.

Nice feature to just press a button and "Split" a file, say when going from one person's interview to another.  You basically create a new file instantly and the previous one is saved.   In fact, all the buttons have a solid feel.

Quirky in that after pressing the REC button and setting a level, you have to press the Pause button to start recording.  No big deal.

2GB internal memory is also nice.  Specific memory sticks are required, but you can add lots of memory.

4 AA Batteries in a removable "tray" provide LOTS of recording time (unless you accidentally press the record key as noted above!)

No 48v phantom power, but enough current can be supplied to power small electret microphones.  When you plug in an external mic, the menu will pop up and ask you if you want to turn on Mic Power.  Nice.

Lacks a case or real strap anchors -- though there's a wrist-strap slot on the recorder.  The case may soon be available in the U.S., but right now it appears you can only buy it in Japan.  (Although Duty-Free at Tokyo's Narita airport didn't have it when I passed through last week!)  The case is expensive, like the windscreen, but it's another mandatory accessory, IMHO.


Re: New Sony PCM-D50

Thanks for posting this ... I've following this recorder since it's release, and I'm just about ready to get something smaller than my Marantz 660. 

I saw a good review here as well (with videos and example audio tracks)

http://www.bradlinder.net/2007/12/sony- … eview.html

Though that $50 windscreen looks intense ...




Re: New Sony PCM-D50

joeweiss wrote:

Though that $50 windscreen looks intense ...

LOOKS intense is right.  Compared to Rycote and other products, it's what I would call "2nd" quality.  But they're charging for it as if were spun from gold thread.  Anyway, some users have had success using foam windscreens meant for lavalier mics, stretched over the two internals.

Glad you posted Brad Linder's link...he has a good rundown.  But his blog contains some comments by "testers" that swear the Sony doesn't work with external mics...and that Fostex rules the roost.  I have no idea who is top dog, but the Sony does work with the mics I own...and very well.

Wingfield Audio weighs in and has a very complete set of files to compare audio...but not directly aimed at the kind of projects we usually find using Soundslides software.


Mark Nelson at O'Reilly has some detailed observations, too:

http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/2008/01 … eview.html

Mark doesn't really go into external mics.  I am very pleased with the Sennheiser shotgun and this unit.  But frankly, if I had bought the microphone and used it with the H2, I  might have been about as happy.  Because the Sennheiser ME66/K6 (around $500 with windscreen, pistolgrip etc.) combo pumps so much signal down the line, the famous ext. mic input noise of the H2 just isn't much of a factor.   

So, if you own an H2, should you run out and buy the Sony to work with the mics you have...or buy the Sennheiser to work with the H2 you have.  These are just some of life's mysteries and I don't have the answers!

Joe, your program is smokin'!


Re: New Sony PCM-D50

Here's a new review of the D50 by Jeff Towne over at Transom.org.