Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sony PCM-M10 handheld audio recorder reviewed

I got my first chance to see the Sony PCM-M10 in person last week at a store in New York. The handheld recorder is significantly smaller than its more expensive siblings, the PCM-D50 and PCM-D1. But it has the same large buttons, vivid backlit display, and the ability to record in 96kHz/24-bit stereo audio.

The PCM-M10 has been available since this summer with a list price of $399, but you can now get it for as little as $290 from Amazon.

The folks at Wingfield Audio have posted one of the first reviews of this digital audio recorder that I've seen.The recorder is clearly not quite as full featured as the larger, more expensive models in the series. For instance, the Divide button has been replaced with a T-Mark button.

But Wingfield reports that the new model is just as easy to use as its predecessor, and includes a couple of features missing from earlier models including the ability to record in MP3 format and a built-in speaker for monitoring recordings.

The PCM-M10 also reportedly runs for more than 40 hours on a pair of AA batteries and Wingfield says the audio recording quality is almost as good as what you would expect from the Sony PCM-D50 even though the updated model has smaller, cheaper microphones. You can hear audio recordings and judge for yourself at WingField's recorder noise test page.

Another major update is support for microSD flash media cards. The Sony PCM-D50 only took Sony Memory Stick media. The PCM-M10 also has 4GB of built in storage space though, so you might never need to use removable storage.

Like other Sony recorders though, the PCM-M10 lacks XLR inputs and phantom power. You can only plug in an external mic using the 1/8th inch jack. Still, for $290, if I was in the market for a digital audio recorder today I would seriously consider this one.


heydg said...

love the feature additions but to my ears the onboard mics sound really flat, the ext dynamic mic sounds like sh*t and has a horrible hum (not sure what is meant by "3-way" splitter), the ext condenser mic sounds great but of course requires the power supply. quite different from the D-50 and D-1.

heydg said...

on a sidenote i was intrigued by Transom's tests using the new omni condenser mic the Audio Technica 8010 - fairly good sound for the price and can be powered by AA battery or phantom. the mic is mentioned at the foot of their review of 3 Tascam units (which sound pretty mediocre imo in both Transom + Wingfield's tests): http://transom.org/?p=3266

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Chris Dooks, Ayrtime said...

The dynamic mic is the one that is making the hum, but most of the time you are more likely to be using condensder mics. I have to say that for the price, the preamps on the Sony M10 are far better than those on similar priced digital recorders. I have listed to every single sample on Whigfields site - and they use the mic splitter to record on several recorders at the same time so that the sound is consistent. I owned a Zoom H2 which is superb for bootlegging gigs and recoding louder music, but I record speech and a lot of silence, so the PCM M10 has massively better noisefloor samples with it's internal mics and condensers than nearly every other recorder for sale. Eclpised only by the huge D1.

COLOMBIA Birding - Diego said...

Hi there... I plan to use this Sony recorder with an external mic (K6 Sennheiser ME67) and was wondering if you can handle recording volume manually with the wheel while using an external mic as well...
thanks for the input!
Diego. (diegocolombiabirding@gmail.com)

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