Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sony PCM-D50 review

The Sony PCM-D50 digital audio recorder does a great job of bridging the gap between consumer and professional-grade electronics. This $500 recorder sports many of the same features as its sibling, the $1800 Sony PCM-D1 recorder, plus a few new features that its older brother lacks.

While Sony is selling the PCM-D50 for less than a third the price of the PCM-D1, (due to some cheaper parts including lower quality built-in condenser microphones), the recorder still costs twice as much as a Zoom H4, a popular recorder that appears to have a few things the PCM-D50 is missing, like XLR inputs and the ability to act as a PC audio I/O device. So is the Sony recorder worth the money? That depends on what you need in an audio recorder. For me the answer is a whopping yes. For you? Maybe not so much.

Let's take a look at what the PCM-D50 has to offer. First up, I put together a video overview of the unit.



There are a couple of things to consider when reviewing a digital audio recorder. How easy is it to use? How sturdy is it? What kind of support does it have for external hardware like flash memory and input/output devices? But probably the most important feature is sound quality.

Shortly after opening the box, I made a few sample recordings with the PCM-D50 which compared favorably with sound files I recorded using the Zoom H4. Today I ran a few more tests.

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You can make a reasonably decent sounding recording using the built-in stereo condenser microphones. They have a cleaner, more natural tone than the built-in mics on the Zoom H4. But the PCM-D50's microphones are incredible sensitive to wind.

And when I say wind, I mean any a teeny tiny little breeze. If you breathe the wrong way across those mics, you'll get some awful noise. In fact, you can hear in this sample how much noise just walking across a room generates. I would not under any circumstances use the built-in mics outdoors without purchasing the overpriced wind screen.

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When you plug a microphone into the PCM-D50, everything changes. My EV RE-50 dynamic microphone has become useful again. While the Sony recorder lacks the Zoom H4's XLR plugs, it has a much better preamp, which means that external dynamic microphones like the RE-50 sound much much cleaner.

That lack of an XLR input is probably going to turn a lot of people off from this recorder. The line, mic, and headphone jacks are all 1/8th inch mini inputs. But while the line in and out jacks are the same type of cheap plastic jobs that wind up breaking all the time on low-end recorders and music players, the mic input and headphone jack both seem to be metal. You get a nice satisfying click when inserting a plug into either jack, and I think you'd have to try pretty hard to break them.

One of the features that I was most looking forward to trying out was the limiter. Normally I don't play around with the effects on recorders, since I want things to sound as natural as possible. But the Sony rep I spoke with at AES pointed out that this limiter works in an interesting fashion.

Essentially the unit is always making two recordings, even though only one is being saved to the disc. The second recording is about 20db lower then the first. So if there's a sudden volume spike, the recorder will switch to the quieter signal and then shift back to the louder signal. You can vary the time it takes to return to normal to 150 milliseconds, 1 second, or 1 minute.

But the first time I tested the limiter, I noticed that the shift from the quiet channel to the louder one was pretty jarring. After a few tries, I realized that this was because I was only recording room tone and then a very loud sound. So what you hear afterwards is nothing but the room tone being brought back up. If you're recording voice, music, or something a bit louder than... well, nothing, then the limiter should work pretty well. Still, I'm not sure I'd recommend using it unless you really need it.

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Things I like about the PCM-D50
  • High quality recordings with little background hiss
  • Solid build quality
  • Automatically detects when you plug in a microphone and if you're in the middle of recording when you plug in the mic, the PCM-D50 will switch inputs from the internal mics to the external microphone
  • Large easy to use buttons
  • Large, easy to read display (with a dedicated button for turning the backlight on and off)
  • Although Sony sells a $70 tripod for the PCM-D50, you can easily screw in any standard camera tripod.
  • A real honest to goodness volume control knob (which is missing on many minidisc and low-end flash audio recorders)
  • Long battery life (You get an estimated 14 hours record time using 4 AA batteries)
  • 4GB internal memory (enough to record 6.5 hours of 44.1KHz/16 bit stereo audio)
  • Expandable using Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo or Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo cards
  • 5 second pre-record buffer lets you monitor while in record/pause mode and start a recording 5 seconds before you hit the record button
  • Divide track button lets you create create a new WAV file without stopping a recording (something you cannot do with the Zoom H4)
Things I'm less happy about
  • There's some handling noise when using the built-in mics. This means you won't want to adjust many settings or hit the track divide button while recording with the internal microphones.
  • Seriously? $50 for a Don King-style wind screen?
  • If you don't touch your recorder for 10 minutes, it will enter low power consumption mode automatically, which is great. But since the screen is off, it would be easy to forget that your unit is still running and you could run your battery down before remembering to turn the unit all the way off.
  • The PCM-D50 uses an odd system for storing audio files. There are 9 folders on your unit. You can record up to 99 WAV files in any folder. That means if you're in folder 7, you'll start recording in folder 7, whether the previous 6 folders are full or not. So when you plug the unit into your computer to transfer files, you'll have to remember which folder your audio is in or search through all the folders until you find what you're looking for.
  • If the batteries are removed while you're recording, you'll lose data. Not much surprise there. But a recording will also stop (and you'll lose data) if you plug in a USB cable, because the USB connection takes precedence. That just doesn't make any sense. Why not have a pop up menu ask if you'd like to stop the recording?
  • The user manual mentions a carrying case with a belt clip, but it's only available in Japan.
  • There's a slight delay between the time you hit the record button an the start of a recording.
  • When you hit record, you're in record/pause mode. You have to hit pause in order to start a recording.
  • While it's great that you can use external memory, Sony has a habit of using proprietary formats like Memory Stick instead of standard formats like SD cards or Compact Flash cards. They've one-upped themselves this time by only supporting two very specific types of Memory Stick cards, the Pro Duo and Pro-HG Duo. I get the feeling a lot of people who don't read the manual very carefully will be buying the wrong kind of memory.
  • There's no option for recording in mono. If you plug in a mono microphone, you'll record a dual mono track (ie: the same signal will go to the left and right channels). If you could record in mono, the 4GB of internal memory would be enough space for 13 hours of 44.1KHz/16 bit recordings.
  • The Memory Stick door is a bit flimsy, especially when compared with the rest of the unit.
  • While the PCM-D50 will play back MP3 files, there's no option to record using MP3 or any other compressed format. This isn't a biggie, since you'll probably get a higher quality MP3 file by transferring a WAV to your desktop for conversion anyway.
Okay, I know the con list looks a bit longer than the pro list there, but I'm just being nitpicky. While I'm at it, here are a few things the Zoom H4 can do that the PCM-D50 can't:
  • Act as an audio I/O device for a computer
  • Act as a 4-track recorder (even though you can only record to one channel at a time)
  • Record in mono
  • Accept XLR inputs
  • Runs on 2 AA batteries instead of 4
But the H4 also has lousy preamps, inferior microphones, more handling noise, tiny buttons and a nearly incomprehensible menu system. I'll probably keep my H4 around for a while as a backup, and in case I need an audio I/O device for when I'm in the field.

I'm sure I've left out a few things, so leave me questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.

Oh, and to give you a sense of size and how the PCM-D50 compares to other recorders here are a few shots of the unit next to the Zoom H4, a Sony MZ-R50 minidisc recorder, and an EV RE-50 microphone.



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111 comments:

Jose Luis said...

Excellent review, Brad, but I'm having difficulty in loading those mp3 files with divShare engine.

Is it my computer?

You tube link is loading normally.

Brad Linder said...

Sometimes you have to hit the play button two or three times before they work. Let me know if that doesn't fix it and I'll see about uploading the audio to Odeo or eSnips.

Jose Luis said...

I have loaded 4 mp3 files here (PCM D50 and Zoom H4 test 1.mp3; pcm-d50 internal mics.mp3; pcm-d50 limiter test.mp3; PCM-D50 RE-50 test.mp3)

But your post has three divShare boxes here and I think they have the same mp3 files above. Is that correct?

rbsongs said...

Thanks for the review-I downloaded the manual, but didn't see any mention of transfering files from the internal memory to a memory stick within the PCM-D50 itself.

Also-what's the difference between the two supported types of cards?

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad, thanks for your response in the other PCM-D50 thread re: USB on the GO and MS compatibility. Now that you've had the unit out for a bit, I wonder if you've noticed how well the digital display holds up in bright light (outdoor) conditions. This is one of my beefs with the Marantz units - poor visibility in bright conditions. Any observations there? Thanks.

Brad Linder said...

rbsongs: I'm pretty sure you cannot transfer audio between a Memory Stick and the internal memory without a computer. I'd be more disappointed with this if I had any intention of buying a Memory Stick.

Anonymous: It looks like the Pro-HG is faster and comes in higher capacities than the Pro Duo. Pro-HG cards can be up to 32GB and support up to 480Mbps transfer speeds. Pro Duo supports up to 80Mbps. I'm not sure what the maximum capacity for Pro Duo cards is.

Phillip said...

Brad, it's true that you cannot use the plain memory stick in the D50, but that format is pretty much gone from the stores anyway. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to use the now common Pro Duo stick, and that I would be required to buy the new, expensive PRO-HG. However, I tried the 4 GB Pro Duo stick from my camera, and it seems to work fine, even at 24/96. This card is going for $69.95 on sale here in Ontario.

I am so far pretty happy with the D50 (and I also have a ZOOM H4). It finally feels like we have a digital recorder equal in quality and build to what digital cameras have been offering.

Thanks for your great reviews.

nick said...

Phillip: Any issues performance-wise using the 4GB Pro Duo? I wonder what benefits other than faster file transfer the PRO-HG cards offer with this device? Surely there's a reason why the manual recommends using the HG format. I see future shop is carrying the 2GB Pro-Duo HG's for $99. Manual says that will hold an extra 3 hrs of 16 bit/44.1 recording. Merely faster file transfer to and from the unit and the computer? Encouraging to hear that someone's Pro Duo works.

Also, regarding sensitivity to wind noise - I wonder if slipping a small wind sock over each mic would eliminate or reduce this problem, while still allowing easy access to adjust the position of the mics - For example, in a crowded venue where air circulation, or people passing by, may induce the nasty wind sounds.

(I need to find a way not to buy the $50 patch of animal fur Sony is selling.)

All in all encouraging. Perhaps I will order now.

dxace1 said...

I'm a broadcaster and have been testing the Zoom H2 for a while (have two of them) and just got the D50. Wow, what a fantastic machine. A question: since SDHC cards are available in 16 and soon 32 GB, is there an adaptor that can handle SDHC to MS???

Brad Linder said...

dxace1: I'm not aware of an SDHC to Memory Stick adapter. I believe that Memory Sticks may actually be thinner, which means that if there were an adapter, it would stick out of the machine. And more importantly, Sony specifically states that you can only use certain types of Memory Sticks (Pro and Pro-HG), which makes me think it'd be tricky to get anything else at all to work with the PCM-D50.

phillip said...

Nick: I don't have a PRO-HG card to compare to the performance of my Pro Duo, but so far the 4 GB Duo is doing what I expect. The writing time of the card seems quick. When I fill the card and transfer it to my Mac, I'll report back if the download time seems excessive.

re: wind screen. I managed to fit a regular $6.95 wind screen from The Source (ex-Radio Shack) over the mics. While my D-50 now looks like one of the guards outside Buckingham Palace, the foam screen definitely cuts down on that very ugly wind sound which the D-50 records even if you just move it sideways suddenly!

dxace1: You can get an 8 GB mem stick Pro Duo now, and Sony will soon be releasing a 32 GB PRO-HG.

You cannot use an SD card in the D-50, although that would be great -- I have an H4.

Anonymous said...

Brad, do you know how many volts Sony PCM-D50 plug-in-power provide to the microphone-in?

Brad Linder said...

The manual does not say what the voltage is for plug in power. This is not phantom power, and is not meant to power a condenser mic. Rather, it's a small current that powers certain low powered electet microphones.

Phillip said...

re: windscreen again. I found another cheap solution which was to use the windscreens from a telephone headset mic. The replacement windscreens are available at The Source, NexxTech part #4302004, for $2.99 each. I had to cut about half an inch off the bottom of each, and then stretch the insides, using tweezers to pull them over each mic capsule.

pepechuelo79 said...

Thanks Brad for the time to devoted to write your usefull comment about Sony PCM-D50.
I would like to know if you can copy a sound file from the internal memory to a memory stick without any computer.
My field is sound for cinema. PCM-D50 could be an interesting add to my stuff. Specifically, I'm thinking in it as an atmo recorder. At the end of the day I would like to copy some ambience I would recorded to a Memory Stick. Then send that Memory Stick to post production guys. I could have several Memory Sticks that could go and return from the shooting to post and viceversa.
Thanks, Brad.
Pepechuelo79

Brad Linder said...

pepechuelo79: I don't have a Memory Stick, so I haven't been able to test this out myself, but the manual doesn't mention any way to do this, and I don't see any menu options that would allow you to do it either.

Of course, if you have a computer handy, you could always plug the recorder into your PC and the internal memory and memory stick will pop up as external hard drives. You can then copy the file from the internal memory to the memory stick using the computer.

pepechuelo79 said...

Hi Brad,

Just a few minutes later ...
I finish the reading of all your previous messages and the is one written by rbsongs in relation with "transfering files from the internal memory to a memory stick within the PCM-D50 itself" and your answer "I'm pretty sure you cannot transfer audio between a Memory Stick and the internal memory without a computer."
So the main reason of my post is answered.
May be, in a future firmware release...
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Brad,

Glad to hear the recorder works well with dynamic mics, wonder if you have been able to test it with a shotgun? We've got Sennheiser ME66/K6 powered shotguns and I'm hoping this recorder will do well with that mic.

Brad Linder said...

I don't own a shotgun mic or a battery powered condenser mic so I haven't tested the PCM-D50 with either of those. But if you read the comments in this post, some readers seem to think that you're better off buying a Marantz PMD620 if you want to use it with a more sensitive mic.

http://www.bradlinder.net/2007/10/comparing-sony-pcm-d50-fostex-fr2-le_06.html

Joe said...

Great review. I'm in the market for some way to record an acoustic upright piano but I really want to be able to record it into my DAW on a laptop remotely. I'm looking at plenty of options (Rode NT4 either direct into line in on MacBook Pro or with preamp) but the D50 would be perfect if it allowed high-quality monitoring without recording. I see that it can monitor out of the headphone jack so my questions are: 1) Is it the same quality that comes out of the line out? 2) Can you monitor via the line out?

Thanks!

Brad Linder said...

Joe: As far as I can tell, the headphone and line out quality are pretty much identical. But I haven't run extensive tests on this. One thing I'll note is that the PCM-D50 has one of the loudest headphone outputs I've ever heard on a portable audio recorder. While I've routinely left the headphone volume all the way up on every previous recorder I've used, I tend to leave the PCM-D50 headphone volume knob turned to 7 or so (out of 10).

Mark J. said...

Great and a very through review. You have certainly changed my mind from buying the ZOOM H4 that I am currently using on trail to instead buying the Sony PCM-D50. The ruggedness, internal memory, and battery life of the Sony unit appeals to me. I have one concern though? I am currently running a MAC with OS X Leopard 10.5. Will my OS recognize the PCM-D50 as a USB Mass Storage device? Do I require a Driver update for either the Mac OS X or a firmware upgrade change for the Sony unit? The Zoom H4 as currently shipped does not work, and requires a firmware update to System version 2.10 - download is available from their website.

Brad Linder said...

Mark - Your Mac should recognize the PCM-D50 with no problems at all. While I don't own a Mac, I have used it with a colleague's computer running OS X.

Graham Riches said...

Graham Riches said...

I have done back to back test with Sony pcm d50 vs Fostex FR2 le.

External mics only:

Sony pcm d50:

Dynamic range: 79 db
Pre-amp Power: 10/10
Bandwidth: 8/10
Recording Quality: 9/10
THD (Mic): 0.13%
Signal boosted (20%): 3.5% hiss added

Fostex Fr2le:

Dynamic Range: 84 db
Pre-amp Power: 8/10
Bandwidth: 10/10
Recording Quality: 10/10
THD (Mic): 0.03%
Signal boosted (20%): 0.6% hiss added

Over all Fostex FR2 le is the winner the mic-pre amps are very clean. This is definitely down to the input type 3.5mm vs Balanced XLR. But as far as I am concerned this 3.5mm input is superb in every respect because the mic pre-amp is very high standard. Remember the Fostex fr2 le is only marginally better.

Anonymous said...

I work with high school choral groups and we're looking into easy ways to record them in a classroom setting. How would this unit be for that type of setting? The largest group would be approx 75 students.

Thanks

Brad Linder said...

I've never used this device to record a large choir, but it should work fairly well. The built in stereo mic can be set to a variety of positions which should help you pick up the full range. But you might have just as much luck with a cheaper Zoom H2, Marantz PMD620, or Zoom H4.

Eldad said...

Modifying the Sony PCM-D50.
Thanks for the great review brad. Got the PCM-D50, a great machine indeed, surpassing my expectation as to build, features and quality of recording.
Was dismayed about 2 things: The batteries have to be taken out to be charged, and there is no indication that the recorder is turned on once it goes to standby.
Being an expert electronics tech (in addition to being a sound engineer), I solved both problems.

Now I don't need to remove the batteries for charging, they are charged by the supplied Sony wall power unit when plugged in, and the 'access' LED always glows at ½ brilliance to indicate the recorder is 'ON', while consuming less than 1% of the recorder power consumption.
While the internal modifications are not complicated, I would not advise anyone unless expert in miniature electronics to poke around inside.

I am willing to do the modifications for a modest fee.
Contact me at: Eldad@HVC.RR.com

Cheers, Eldad

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad ...
I appreciate your review of the PCM-D50, and it made me comfy enough to buy one hours ago. I'm looking forward to using it for my video short subjects where distant narrators will give the videos crisp and clear voices. I've set the clock but don't see the current time on the display.
Should I ...? Will the machine automatically assign the current time to my recordings as ID's ...?

Brad Linder said...

The PCM-D50 doesn't use time code. Your recordings will all be labeled with the date, but not the time they were recorded.

Anonymous said...

After hearing all the wonderful reviews of the PCM-D50, I decided to purchase on. The clarity is outstanding if you are in a very quiet ambiant condition. One reason I purchased this unit is to record our church band and it is terrible for this purpose. The recorder picks up everything at equal volumes. It is shrill, cold, and lifeless. Very disappointed.

Eldad said...

Dear Anonymous,
Position the recorder (or external micropones if used) closer to the band and adjust recording level control - the one on the right side - to the proper level setting.
Eldad

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem seems to be that the sensitivity is such that there is not enough difference between soft and loud volumes. When I set the input level so recording my voice at arms length records at -12db, it picks up a pin drop. putting my hand in my pocket is almost as loud. I can record kitchen noises downstairs that sound almost as loud as my voice. It is unaturally sensitive, but not discriminating between soft and loud sound sources. Sounds are not natural at all and there is a lot of hiss and room noise due to the ultra sensitivity. Maybe I got a bad one?

Brad Linder said...

I agree that the internal mics are pretty sensitive, but I've found that if you plug in an external mic, the PCM-D50 can be excellent for either close-micing an interview or for recording a wider pattern like a musical performance.

You just need the right mic for the task, and the PCM-D50's electret condenser mics might not be right for your needs. While I think the D50's internal mics generally produced a more natural sound than the mics on my Zoom H4, the H4 does a better job of blocking out background noise when it's pointed at a sound source. So I find that as a self-contained unit the H4 beats the D50 in some situations. But with an external mic, it's hard to find a better recorder than the D50 for under $500.

soungalo said...

this thing looks awesome, putting it on the wish list.
i wonder if anyone has played with cables like these:
http://www.dvshop.ca/cables/xlr.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/shop/4172/Mini_to_XLR_Cables.html
to get over the lack of XLR inputs.
best.
erich

Anonymous said...

Brad, thank you. I purchased the PCM-D50 last week. Thanks SO much for your posts, tests, demos. The unit is all you said and more. I'm pretty much a non-tech producer with a need to record interviews for audio newsmagazines we produce for corporate clients. I especially appreciate that I can download .WAV files into my computer, do some simple editing (cutting out the bad takes mostly)and walk into an expensive sound recording studio for the final cut/edit with the interviews in place. Probably saves me $75-$150 per edit session, so the D50 will pay for itself in a very short time.

Haven't used it in the real world (just got it days ago) but my testing indicates this puppy produces excellent sound with the built-in mics. With the interviewee seated at her desk and with the unit on a small camera tripod, movement isn't necessary and there's no possibliity of wind noise (except some corporate hot air.) I picked up a Canon tripod for $18. It works fine--no need for the expensive one from Sony.

Again, thanks for your thorough reviews and those great demos. It made the selection and purchase a piece of cake.

Larry

Bill Dennehy said...

Hi Brad,
thanks for your excellent review of the Sony PCM-D50. I am using the Microtracker and think it's just OK. I record mostly live concerts with it and distortion has sometimes been a problem as I don't seem to be able to adjust recording volume. Does this "limiter" on the PCM D-50 create a noticeable drop in volume? I hate that sort of "drop out" like effect on some old cassettes I recorded with a built in limiter.
Do you think this is good for recording jazz? Some players can be on the quiet side but I've always had a helluva time with those drummers going nuts. thanks,Bill

Eldad said...

Hello Bill,
Have been using the PCM D50 set to 44.1 and 16 bits for a while recording rock jazz and chamber music, and I have nothing but praise.
The limiter action cannot be heard at all even when trying hard, the recording quality is very good with the internal mics, and excellent with external good condenser mics. While critically recording chamber music (violin and piano) noise is non existent with the level switch set to -20 and extremely low when set to 0. Machine has plenty gain at -20 setting.
Best if you can set the record level to peak at about -5 on the loudest music, the limiter will take charge of any peaks above level 0.
Eldad

Brad Linder said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Seriously. I haven't used the PCM-D50 to record music yet. Thanks eldad!

Bill Dennehy said...

Thanks Eldad, I can't wait to try it out. I'll keep your settings in mind.
Bill

Eldad said...

Bill,
Very well.
Am sure you'll enjoy it just like I do.
What do you plan to use it for?

Eldad

Anonymous said...

what do they mean in the mahual about not deleting or changing the file names of files 1-10 and how would that be possible anyway i only see how to delete tracks

Brad Linder said...

You can delete files all you want, but if you delete the 1-10 *folders* the recorder will not know where to store recordings.

You can only delete folders when your PCM-D50 is plugged into your computer. On the device, your only options are to delete track or delete all.

Anonymous said...

how do i make cds of my recordings can play them on windows media but can't record tried the sony disc but that didnt work either

Brad Linder said...

There are plenty of free programs that will let you burn WAV files to CD. I like CDBurnerXP: http://cdburnerxp.se/

Anonymous said...

thanks for your help,very cool, i was not filing music in my computer burned my first tracks tonite this recorder is the bomb set it 6 feet from my fishman loudbox and recorded excellent takes first time thru

Anonymous said...

How would you hook the Rode NTG-2 to the PCM-D50? 1/8th inch mini to XLR? Is this a good combo or would an FR-2LE be a better match. I am looking at a portable video kit.

Brad Linder said...

As long as you're using a battery with your shotgun mic, the 1/8th inch to XLR cable should do the trick. If you want phantom power, you should go with the Fostex or another recorder with XLR inputs.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

mungo said...

anybody used a pair of lavaliers with this? i have two ecm77s which i use going into 3.5mm stereo, they dont need phantom, does this kind of set up sound good on the d50? or am i just as good with something else/smaller, or do i need to get something bigger with xlr in, ie fr2le

Anonymous said...

I have recently bought a PCM-D50 and am more than impressed by it. However I have noticed that when I use my Sony ECM-957 mic with it the mic sensitivity and lower frequency response is degraded if the "Plug In Power" happened to be left selected to "On". I wouldn't have expected this to happen and I can't find any warning of this in the manual. Can you duplicate the effect, or may I have an issue with the mic preamps?

Brad Linder said...

But it sounds OK if plug in power is off? In that case, I think all you need to do is select no when it asks if you want to use plug in power each time you plug in the mic.

Anonymous said...

Brad: Thank you for the excellent review. I have just find this review by chance from trying to find a high quality digit music player with digital out put. Have you play with the optical out? Is the optical out the only way digital signal can be piped to a dac? is there any spdif out that I can connect the D50 to a portable Dac and Amp? Thanks.

Brad Linder said...

I have not used the digital output. Since the recorder saves audio in WAV format, I typically just drag and drop the audio to my computer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quick reply. Do you know if the D50 usb can be connect to an external DAC that accept usb digital signals? Thanks.

Mathew said...

Brad: Thanks for the great review. I've bought one of these devices and am very happy with it. And it works nicely with my EV RE50 mic.

I'm wondering just how good you think the internal mics are for recording ambient sound or music. Would using a stereo mic like the AT822 make a noticeable difference in quality over just using the internal mics for recording music or ambient sounds? (I know you may not have this particular mic, just wondering when you think it would be useful to add on an external stereo mic.)

Anonymous said...

Dear Brad:
I think the Sony D-50 would work for my needs, and I also want an exterior mic- expense isn't a factor- seeking best quality. Use is primarily for recording lectures or accapello singing done indoors with purpose of putting into audio podcast on website or reproducing as Cd. What might you recommend- for a mic and even a more professional level of recorder- like is there something even higher in professional sound above the Sony? I appreciate you and your readers input, I am zero technical but committed to the learning curve.

Brad Linder said...

Microphones aren't really my strong suit, so I'm going to refrain from recommending a mic that might not be best for your purposes.

But if money is truly no object, you can certainly find recorders that sound better than the PCM-D50.

The Sound Devices 722 or the Tascam HD-P2 might be worth looking at. The Tascam runs around $1000, while the Sound Devices recorder is about twice that.

Eldad said...

Brad,
For argument's sake - I don't believe that any of the top PCM recorders, as long as their noise level is low enough, sounds better or even different from each other when recording at 16bit/44.1 or higher.
Would be of great interest and service to all if a DOUBLE BLIND comparison test would be conducted with a few of the low noise digital recorders (which is most of them) now available to see if a statistically significant difference can be detected by those who think or claim that there is a difference.
Eldad

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad,
You recommended the Tascam HDP2 and I want to get this. The description says you can record a lecture and then immediately transfer to a CD. Would you happen to know how they do that? Do I need to get more attachments or cords? I cannot tell nor haven't found anyone who can tell me if it can be connected to the computer with a USB port.
Thanks!

Brad Linder said...

Immediately is probably the wrong way to put it. What this actually means is you can plug your recorder into a computer with a USB cable or pop out the memory card and plug it into a card reader, drag and drop the audio onto your desktop and then use a CD burning application to make a CD from it. There's no need to convert it from one audio format to another. That's what they probably mean by immediate.

Anonymous II said...

I recently bought a Sony PCM-D50 recorder, choosing it primarily due the good dynamics and relatively low noise-floor heard in several recordings done with it that I found on the Web. I haven't used any other (actual) field recorder and so don't have anything to compare it with other than computer sound cards really, and I do say that it is much lower noise than your average computer sound card.

Now to my information that I hope someone will find useful...

The situation: The PCM-D50 has a -20db damper switch (or whatever it should be called) on the side and I came to wondering whether it would provide a lower noise-floor recording with the -20db setting enabled and set at a higher gain (at the knob), or whether it would be better to have the setting disabled and have the gain set lower. Note: I'm referring to recording with the built-in mics here, set at 96k/24bit.

What I did: I set-up a situation in a rather quiet and consistent place with the recorder having a dedicated place/location, with a sound making source (some headphones about a foot away) that are to play a 1-second, smoothed sign-wave at a consistent amplitude. The frequency of the sign-wave is 3000Hz. I recorded in this situation a total of 10 takes, comprising of 9 with the -20db damper disabled and the gain at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. I then recorded 1 take in this situation with the -20db damper enabled and the gain at 10. A moment of silence was recorded before the tone (a timed delay on the tone play) for each. I then took these 10 recordings into a sound editor and normalised them so that the part with the 1-second tone was maximised rather consistently on each. The smoothing on the beginning and end of the tone-wave helped to keep these consistent and usable. I then took a high-resolution frequency analysis of the silence/noise preceding the tone on each and took note of the amplitude at 10, 15 and 20 kHz. I chose high-frequencies to (a) minimise environmental noise (not that there was much) and (b) since I find higher-pitch noise more annoying and therefore wish to minimise it more than lower-pitch noise. I then took the 3 numbers and averaged them for each.

Finding: My finding was that the lowest noise was found with the -20db damper enabled... That is, though I only took one take with the damper on, it produced slightly less noise (in relation to signal) to the next-best take - with the damper disabled and the gain at 7. It's important to note here than the best setting of my takes with the damper disabled was 7, but I took the take with the damper enabled - at 10...

What I did next: I then came to wonder whether 10 was the prime setting with the damper enabled and so did another 2 takes, with basically the same method (although analysing the silence following the wave rather than preceding), at both 7 and 10 gain with the damper enabled.

Finding: Sure enough, the gain at 7 provided lower-noise in relation to signal than the gain at 10. The difference here was an average of 0.7 db. In the first set of takes with the gain at 10, the damper enabled provided an average lower-noise-floor, in relation to signal, of 1.06 db.

Conclusion: Recording with the built-in mics on my Sony PCM-D50 recorder, according to my testing method, would suggest that a good setting for low noise-floor in relation to signal is with the -20db damper switch enabled and the gain knob at 7. Furthermore, when recording at 24-bit, as I was, there should still be a good level of dynamics left at this gain level, even when recording quiet things. I'm not sure whether the extra dynamics of maximising the gain would outweigh the higher noise-floor when recording at 24-bit. In practice, there's probably not much point in disabling the -20db damper - when using the built-in mics - other than for monitoring/direct-playback purposes or when you will not be able to normalise the recording later (before use). It's important to note however that if one were recording at 16-bit, there would most definitely still be a point in maximising gain during recording, as one probably wouldn't want to loose, say, the upper 8 bits of that 16, leaving one with only 8-bit dynamics. I must stress though that I'm not sure which outweighs which - the lower noise at the lower gain versus the higher dynamics at the higher gain, or in other words, how exactly the dynamics lost in the noise range (of the dynamic range) ties in at different, relative, gain configurations... I think my brain is melting while trying to think about it.

BTW: I'd be interested to know whether anyone found this information helpful and/or interesting.

Anonymous II said...

I just wanted to also throw in that I understand that the results I posted in my previous post may not necessarily be correct. I was thinking about it more, and perhaps (and probably) the frequency response is different at different gain configurations/levels and since the environment of the testing wasn't actually perfectly quiet (though it was rather consistent), it's possible that the observed higher-noise at certain settings was actually due to the recorder being more sensitive to high-frequency noise present in the environment at those gain configurations/levels. In looking at the recordings again, it would seem that there generally is a smaller looking relative noise at the higher gain settings (of the knob), though it does still seem that the -20db damper may be a good idea. I guess without a perfect testing environment and extensive testing, it's difficult to accurately discern what's going on.

Anonymous II said...

Off-topic from my previous posts...

Regarding the wind-noise experienced by the other users, which I also experienced when just walking around in-doors or just moving it in the air... I found that putting a single-layered piece of paper-towel over the mic cage, held on with a rubber-band (which holds well when the band crosses just over where it says Sony), works surprisingly well and basically eliminates the in-door wind-noise while not having any significant effect on the sound sensitivity or frequency response (based on some quick listening, at least). This is a very cheap solution that many could do without buying anything, although, of course, this may be a bit silly to do out in the field, and it's not very durable of a solution. A warning though: Be sure not to use something that sheds lint of some sort as you wouldn't want it building-up inside your mics and possibly damaging them. (Not all paper-towels are the same, just as not all cloths are the same.)

Also, I am pretty happy with the overall performance so far, and the frequency response when recording at 96k is really nice (according to spectrum-analysis, it appears to pick up stuff all the way into the 40s). I even tried recording the turning on of a tube TV, and it clearly picked up the high-pitch noise it makes. When listening to it with headphones, it actually sounds like the real thing. Anyway, I'm sure the experienced are used to this kind of thing, but it's new to me.

Anonymous said...

Hi...
Helpful comments...I just purchased a D50 and in setting the clock found that I could not change the AM/PM once a time was set...is there a reset...any suggestions...THANKS!

Anonymous II said...

I looked myself here after reading your comment about not being able to set the AM/PM on the clock. To change the AM/PM, just cycle through the hours. The switch-over happens between 11 and 12 (not 12 and 1). Try going between hour 11 and 12 in either direction. If that doesn't work, then perhaps try switching the unit off and then on again and going back to set the time again.

Off-topic of the clock, just to add in here about my more recent experiences with the Sony PCM-D50: I recently tried using the line-in setting on the side of the unit... That is, I plugged a line into the red-outlined MIC port at the upper-right-side of the unit and switched the switch at the upper-left-side of the unit to LINE instead of the mic icon and it didn't work as expected... Apparently that switch chooses between which jack at the upper-right-side of the unit is the enabled input-source, but the funny thing is, even with the line plugged into the wrong one (with the switch either way), it will still pick up the signal from bleed-through and so it will be very low volume and distorted sounding. This was confusing to me until I figured out what was happening as I thought the levels or something weren't right and that's why it was distorted sounding (and tried adjusting them, including the damper switch and output volume of the source), but it was actually due to it taking input from the port I wasn't plugged into. BTW: Plug-in power was disabled while doing this.

Stephen Pruitt said...

Hey all,

Just wanted to drop in a little information here, since this review was so helpful in my decision process over which recorder to purchase. After looking through as many reviews and forums as I could find about memory compatibility with this, and finding almost nothing aside from sony's stock recommendations, I decided to try one of the 8gb Sony Memory stick duo pro, mark 2 version sticks. The mark 2 designation is supposed to indicate that the MS is high speed for video, so I felt like if it could handle high def video it could most likely handle sound, even at 24/96. After doing several tests, I can say that despite the fact that the Sony site says they aren't officially supported, I've made several recordings now for the full 4 hour recording length at 24/96 and had absolutely no problems with it. The reason I consider this significant is because of the availability now of a 16gb card with the same specs, which will give close to 8 hours of continuous recording even at 24/96 for around a hundred bucks, as opposed to the recommended pro-hg cards which currently max out at 4gb, and are much more expensive.

Also, I want to echo the above post that a good windscreen is a necessity. That said, I didn't buy the Sony version... I found a well made one on ebay which sold for $25 which seemed like a good compromise, and has worked perfectly.

Just a couple tips for those other D50 users out there, and for those thinking of buying one. Thanks again for the helpful info.

Steve said...

Thanks Brad for your great reviews.
I'm a journalist on a budget. The D50 is a tad more than I wanted to spend but I don't like the noisy pre-amps of the Zoom units.

Any thoughts on the Edrol R-09HR?

Thanks much.
Steve

Consultman said...

hi,
I have a problem formatting a memory stick Pro-HG Duo. It comes up with format error every time. I use a pro duo with no problem and the Pro-HG card works on the pc and can be formatted. I need a software programme to format the Pro-HG on the pc so that it puts on the correct 10 folders that the machine needs to store data.
any thoughts would be wecome. I'll contact Sony as well.

Kit said...

Thank you Brad. Great reporting.
I wonder if anyone has tried feeding the audio from a PCM-D50 (while recording) into a recording video camera (Sony HDR-SR12) on the fly. The goal here is to dub the 24-bit audio into a live video recording. Is such an endeavor even possible without professional gear?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Brad, this has been a very useful website for collecting feedback on the various available recorders.
I purchased a Sony PCM D50 last Friday, and found substantial mic preamp noise noticeable with both internal and external (Sony's own ECM999) mics.
As a reference for other D50 owners to compare to; I ensured that the internal mics were off by connecting a very short cable (8" long, mini to dual 1/4" adapter cable with no mic attached) into the external mic input, and the D50 recording with the gain dial at 10. The VU meters on the D50 read about -32dB internal noise.
Anyone else care to post what the internal noise of their D50 is under similar conditions?
After my circumstance and reading about Jav and Graham's similar experiences, I think quality control might be an issue here.

Eldad said...

To Anon. of 03/09/2009:
When you plug in a short cable with no microphones as you did, the microphone preamps see a very high source resistance (22 Kohm input resistance of the preamps) and not the low impedance of a microphone which is typically in the 100-1000 Ohm range. with such high input resistance it is normal to have a high input noise just as you did.
It does not reflect on the noise performance when microphones are connected.
For a realistic test terminate the shielded(!) input cables with 500 Ohm resistors.
Eldad

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment, hadn't considered that, but was looking for an easy to replicate reference that I could compare with other sony owners. There IS an unacceptable level of hiss with BOTH the internal, and the external mic I have tried (ECM999). Also, another D50 I tried the unterminated mini plug test with resulted in VU readings of -38dB, a big difference, and again supporting a concern over quality control.
I want to like the sony, I want the research to end and my use of it to begin, but unless the replacement D50 I am picking up tomorrow has less noise, I will try out a Fostex FR2LE.

Cheers,
Mark

chris said...

I've been trying to transfer mp3 files to the PCM-D50 out of curiosity since it says this machine will playback mp3s as an ipod or the such...but I'm having trouble copying files from itunes onto the PCM-D50's hard drive icon when it pops up on the desktop upon plugging it in. I transfer the files the way the manual tells me and then they just aren't in the folders when I turn the machine back on. Am I missing something?

Eldad said...

Good news!
Tried the 4GB SanDisk Memory Stick Pro Duo in the PCM D-50, and it works just fine. It is only about $20, much cheaper than the Sony memory stick.
Eldad

Anonymous said...

you said, "There's a slight delay between the time you hit the record button an the start of a recording."

That's built in so you dont hear the click of the record button.

Anonymous said...

Hello Brad, your review is great and really helps to make a dicicion about get a recorder. My english isn´t good but i hope you can understand me. I bought Tascam dr-100, i read all features that tascam said it has, but then when i had it in my hand i began to make few recordings test using all the parameters, in wav, 16 bits, 24 bits, 44.1khz, 48khz, 96khz. and mp3. All the samples sound the same, the one in 96khz has an incredible noice. Then, this recorder take a lot effort to get a strong mic or line input signal, so you need a louder signal to get a good recording, using all the parameters at the top, but if you use the mic imput volume at the top and the mic gain in high, you´ll get much more noice, and maybe a lot of peak if the signal is stronger than the tascam can get or stand, so you have to use the auto limiter and then the sound quality gets worse with this analog parameter. I´m about to send it back to the seller and get sony pcm-d50. I´m a music student, liric singer, (opera, chamber music, oratorio, etc), i want a recorder to get the clas i take with my teachers, record different concerts in theaters, like opera, sinphonic concerts, etc. i´m not going to use xlr imputs, i don´t need it. Do you think sony pcm-d50 is better than tascam dr-100?.
Thanks
Best Regards
Agustín (an_tenor@yahoo.com.ar)

Andy Thacker said...

Agustin
I agree totally with your assessment of the DR100. To record voice at a reasoable level, the gain settings have to be at their maximum, and then the noise become ridiculous.
Thank you for posting your comments. Now I know it is not just my ears.

I am going to get rid of mine on eBay.

I bought a Sony D50, and it was delivered just a few hours ago.
It is almost the opposite of DR100. The mic sensitivity is incredible ... there is no noise ... and the build quality is SO good.

Within seconds of holding it, it was love ;-)

On the down side ... it comes with NO accessories, and they are expensive. (no power supply, no windshield, no pouch, no remote)

The other things which are not perfect for me are;
- can't re-charge via USB
- can't record to MP3

but otherwise it is just lovely.
No regrets, at all.

Anonymous said...

Andy
Thank you very much for your words, there´s no much review on internet about tascam dr-100, i post reviews in websites to say people to try this recorder with all it´s parameters before buy it, to not spend money in vain, some places doesn´t show my comment, i have to improve my english.

Agustín

likou said...

thanks for your really interesting blog, which one help me to learn english . i m writing from France where informations (and material) are not so easy to pick up, . i m looking for external stereo microphone ( to record a choîr and a vegetable markett atmosphere for exemple), the sound professionnal sp cmc 4u(the cardioid ones) attracted me ( and my purse) , am i going to find a big difference than , with my internalmics?

teoveo

Anonymous said...

On my PCM-D50 at Gain 10 I have -24db of noise when the fluorescence lights in the room or the room next door are turned on. When I turned them off and use a LED lamp the noise drops to -46db. Last night I was playing with it and at one time I found the noise was changing as I moved closer or away from the microphone and recorder. I managed to get zero noise at Gain 10! I guess maybe I had static electricity on my body and it some how stopped the noise OR maybe my body was modulating radio interference...don't know... I was experimenting and decided to grab the mic and recorder and move it around. But I lost the "no noise" and couldn't repeat getting no noise at a gain of 10. I was excited as my voice sounded clear with no noise.

Eldad said...

To Anon.
Sounds like your microphones are really cheaply made (in a plastic body) or that the microphone cable is not shielded or not terminated properly.
Eldad

rudy said...

Has anyone had success using a 16GB memory stick with the Sony D50? I need to record long concerts at 24/96 and the time afforded by the 16GB stick would be ideal for me.

Anonymous said...

tip: the rode dead kitten fake fur fits the d-50 well and works fine.

Ladidah said...

Hey I have a D50, I was wondering if it's safe to rotate the mics WHILE recording mode is armed/recording/paused? Will the rotation lock-in-place snapping damage the condenser mics? Will 90 degrees to 120 degrees swapping of Left-Right stereo signal confuse the firmware?

Also it seems the mic rotation snaps when facing directly forward, much like an A-B spaced pair 1cm apart. The manual doesn't say what application this can be used for, does anyone know?

Mathias said...

Hello Mr. Linder,
thanks veru much for your helpful and detailed review of the Sony PCM D50.
Could I ask you if this unit is compatible with a MacIntosh computer (I have an iBook G4, a somewhat aged machine and I am running Mac OSX 10.3.9. on it)? Also, which software would you recommend for compressing the files to MP3?
Thanks a lot in advance, Mathias Sander

Brian A. said...

I have the ECM-MS957 and find the cord to cause a lot of noise when it brushes up against things. I can't find anyone that makes XLRF 5 pin to 1/8inch. Any ideas on what to do about this?

Paul said...

Brad,
Will a Sony PCMD-50 recognize a 32 gig memory stick? I'm currently using a 16 gig and it works fine. The audio people at J&R Music in Manhattan tell me that the PCMD-50 will recognize a 32 gig card but not a 64 (is that even released yet?) unless there is a firmware update.
Also, is it correct to assume that the PCMD-50 will accept any kind of memory stick and not just a Sony? Lexar is currently selling a 32 gig, which has the same "Mark 2" rating as the Sony, for a very good price. Is the Sony stick better or worse than the Lexar or are they all the same?

Anonymous said...

It works fine with Sony memorystick pro duo 16 gb mark 2 and sony micro m2 4 gb (with adapter), thats what I have tried, I would also like to know if it could go with a 32 gb, then I would fill it with 320 kbps mp3 music, it would probably be one of the best sounding high end portable music players in the world;-) I use it flawlessly with my macbook version 10.4.11.

torrent download said...

I bought Tascam dr-100, i read all features that tascam said it has, but then when i had it in my hand i began to make few recordings test using all the parameters, in wav, 16 bits, 24 bits, 44.1khz, 48khz, 96khz. and mp3.

MassimoDec said...

Hi. Great review. I had this PCM-D50 from about two years and it worked perfectly.
But now I have a need that nobody mentioned, and that in the manual is not quoted at all.
During a continous recording, is the recorder able to pass automatically from built in memory to the stick card?
This could be crucial with the DVD audio quality that the D50 supports very well, but that of course eats lots of memory...
Thank you, Massimo

Anonymous said...

tip: the rode dead kitten fake fur fits the d-50 well and works fine.

Anonymous II said...

I just wanted to also throw in that I understand that the results I posted in my previous post may not necessarily be correct. I was thinking about it more, and perhaps (and probably) the frequency response is different at different gain configurations/levels and since the environment of the testing wasn't actually perfectly quiet (though it was rather consistent), it's possible that the observed higher-noise at certain settings was actually due to the recorder being more sensitive to high-frequency noise present in the environment at those gain configurations/levels. In looking at the recordings again, it would seem that there generally is a smaller looking relative noise at the higher gain settings (of the knob), though it does still seem that the -20db damper may be a good idea. I guess without a perfect testing environment and extensive testing, it's difficult to accurately discern what's going on.

mungo said...

anybody used a pair of lavaliers with this? i have two ecm77s which i use going into 3.5mm stereo, they dont need phantom, does this kind of set up sound good on the d50? or am i just as good with something else/smaller, or do i need to get something bigger with xlr in, ie fr2le

Brad Linder said...

There are plenty of free programs that will let you burn WAV files to CD. I like CDBurnerXP: http://cdburnerxp.se/

Anonymous said...

Brad, thank you. I purchased the PCM-D50 last week. Thanks SO much for your posts, tests, demos. The unit is all you said and more. I'm pretty much a non-tech producer with a need to record interviews for audio newsmagazines we produce for corporate clients. I especially appreciate that I can download .WAV files into my computer, do some simple editing (cutting out the bad takes mostly)and walk into an expensive sound recording studio for the final cut/edit with the interviews in place. Probably saves me $75-$150 per edit session, so the D50 will pay for itself in a very short time.

Haven't used it in the real world (just got it days ago) but my testing indicates this puppy produces excellent sound with the built-in mics. With the interviewee seated at her desk and with the unit on a small camera tripod, movement isn't necessary and there's no possibliity of wind noise (except some corporate hot air.) I picked up a Canon tripod for $18. It works fine--no need for the expensive one from Sony.

Again, thanks for your thorough reviews and those great demos. It made the selection and purchase a piece of cake.

Larry

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad ...
I appreciate your review of the PCM-D50, and it made me comfy enough to buy one hours ago. I'm looking forward to using it for my video short subjects where distant narrators will give the videos crisp and clear voices. I've set the clock but don't see the current time on the display.
Should I ...? Will the machine automatically assign the current time to my recordings as ID's ...?

Brad Linder said...

Mark - Your Mac should recognize the PCM-D50 with no problems at all. While I don't own a Mac, I have used it with a colleague's computer running OS X.

Anonymous said...

Brad,

Glad to hear the recorder works well with dynamic mics, wonder if you have been able to test it with a shotgun? We've got Sennheiser ME66/K6 powered shotguns and I'm hoping this recorder will do well with that mic.

Brad Linder said...

pepechuelo79: I don't have a Memory Stick, so I haven't been able to test this out myself, but the manual doesn't mention any way to do this, and I don't see any menu options that would allow you to do it either.

Of course, if you have a computer handy, you could always plug the recorder into your PC and the internal memory and memory stick will pop up as external hard drives. You can then copy the file from the internal memory to the memory stick using the computer.

Phillip said...

re: windscreen again. I found another cheap solution which was to use the windscreens from a telephone headset mic. The replacement windscreens are available at The Source, NexxTech part #4302004, for $2.99 each. I had to cut about half an inch off the bottom of each, and then stretch the insides, using tweezers to pull them over each mic capsule.

rbsongs said...

Thanks for the review-I downloaded the manual, but didn't see any mention of transfering files from the internal memory to a memory stick within the PCM-D50 itself.

Also-what's the difference between the two supported types of cards?

Jose Luis said...

Excellent review, Brad, but I'm having difficulty in loading those mp3 files with divShare engine.

Is it my computer?

You tube link is loading normally.

Wangotango1 said...

Do they offer a larger memory stick?

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Consumer_girl said...

Thanks for the review. When I attach the unti to the computer (a MacBook Pro lap top) I can't "see" the  Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo card on my computer to upload the audio. The card is full. I have been able to take the audio from the internal memory, and cleared that for future recordings, but I can't manage to read/see the external card so am unable to retrieve any audio from it. 4 GB worth.  Help?

Anonymous said...

You had me until you don't put the excelent limiter option on the pros list... that limiter is way beyond the best feature of everything in that recorder..

Also, why in the hell do you want to connect a USB while recording?

Why do you want to take out the baterries WHILE recording?

those cons are nowhere near possible because of common sense. that list should be shorter.

IMHO that recorder is by far the best on the market for that price. I was trying to decide which recorder to buy and go with this one, the best purchase I made in a long time.

Anonymous said...

Mine gets into record with no lag when I push the biutton. Once it fell during recording and the batteries fell out. I thought I'd lost my recording, but actually it was still there and seemed complete. The biult-in mics are nice but not pro of course. I'd never use the mic preamps, always get in through line in or digital input and I love this machine.

All Gone said...

You know, due to its age this has to be the most underestimated recorder ever!, The build quality is just amazing compared to so many out today. I had an M-Audio MicroTrack 2 and it was just horrid!, the feel was just plastic, light and flimsy - When I saw the Sony PCM-D50 i was like oh yeah baby come to daddy! lol.. The main feature that sold it to me was the adjustable mics, simple idea but so effective and i really dont understand why this is just not a standard feature on many recorders tbh!.. The Sony PCM-D50 feels so good in the hand very well made, Anyone thinking of getting one id say just go get one!.. Like most recorders you have to take care when handling while recording as the Sony will pick up any slight hand or finger movement so its advisable to get yourself a mini monopod with a foam handle to prevent this kind of unwanted noise ;) .. Ive also been trying to use a micro SD card with the PCM-D50 using a ProDuo to Micro SD converter, I have a couple of MicroSD card - one 8gb and another 16gb, both have failed so far in a cheap ebay converter "M.S Error" both cards had been formatted but im guessing its th cheapo adapter that could be to blame. Im now goin to try a duel MicroSD converter card again from ebay to see if that works as i have read others have has success with it using 64gb microSD cards.. I guess we will see whn it comes :) - Great post about the PSM-D50

All Gone said...

Just to follow up on this, i got this duel microSD card converter of ebay today, only cost like about £2 and it works prefect with the Sony PCM-D50.. I have 2 micro SD cards fitted, 1 is 8GB the other 16GB. When putting the produo converter in, select PCM-D50 memory to M.S, this may then say either "FORMAT" or "UNKNOWN" simply hit enter on the device and proceed to format the card from the device itself.. The "UNKNOWN" may appear after inserting the newly formatted card back in, just hit "enter" and it will still allow you to use the cards for storage.. To access the data from the cards on your pc or laptop do not use the card reader that may be built in to your computer, it will not recognize the format, instead connect the PCM-D-50 via USB and both the card space and internal space will appear as drives on your computer.. I hope this saves many other users out there wasting money on produo cards :)

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