70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2010
Somebody finally got it right. This recorder sounds great, with very low self-noise and wide frequency range from the internal mics. It is easy to setup, and super-easy to use.
Other reviews cover general features. Here are some remarks about stereo recording in particular:
The two built-in omnidirectional condenser mics give you nice stereo separation when the recorder is in the midst of a sound field. I was a little surprised, as you wouldn't expect to get decent stereo imaging from omnis so close together, it's why stereo recorders/mics typically use two cardioid pattern mics. The downside of cardioids is less sensitivity for low frequencies, whereas an omni will capture those lows. Sony has a neat trick here: the omnis are set into the body of the recorder, shielded from each other, so each effectively sees its own half of the room (plus reflections of the other half). You get a nice stereo separation (though not the kind of imaging that lets you pinpoint sound sources). And you get the wide, flat frequency response of omni microphones. If anything, the bass can be a little boomy when you're too close to a sound source -- and the recorder has a low-frequency cutoff you can switch on if you want to lose some of that low-end rumble. They are nice-sounding mics.
Using your own mics:
If you want to use your own microphones, you will need a female XLR to mini stereo cable (Hosa 2' Right Angle Mini Stereo Male to 2 XLR Female Breakout Y-Cable) to plug them into the recorder. The recorder is advertised as having plug-in-power (eg, phantom power) for external mics. But that's the 2V variety of phantom power for little electret condensers, not the 48V you need for your nice condenser mics. You'll have to power them separately, either using a phantom power box like Rolls PB223 Dual Mic Phantom Power 48 Volt Power Supply or an external pre-amp. The recorder will accept both line-level and mic-level inputs.
The recorder does not come with any sort of protective case. It's an odd size, but I've found that a PSP Go Soft Carrying Case works beautifully, will also fit the official Sony windscreen, and has an extra pocket for the remote control.
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2010
The sonic attributes are exemplary----the auto recording seems well thought out, recording the noisy hubbub of a choir rehearsal was nicely within range, no distortion or overload. THe buttons are intuitive and large enough to be easily pressed, but not so large or tall that they are easy to press inadvertently. The supplied remote works well and is uncomplicated, just 4 of the most necessary buttons: Pause, Record, Stop and T-mark. There is an indicator light on the remote telling you recording status.
Unfortunately, there is no way to name tracks from the recorder's menu---there is a disk supplied with Sound Forge Audio Studio, but it is PC only----no good for us MAC owners. The recorder assigns a name or rather a date stamp to each track, such as 100302_3 for the fifth track recorded on 3/2/10. Not very useful. If you are recording in the field, various birds for instance, or bells in Tuscany, or "songs" by a music group, you'll need to make written notes as you go along for later editing in your computer----a PITA. My little ZOOM H2 had the ability to name the tracks with its onboard editor, something Sony should have included! A wireless remote would be a better solution that the plug-in one, for stealthy use.
The onboard mikes are nice, sound is quite realistic---at least for the spoken and sung voices I recorded of the Vashon Chorale singing Mozart's Requiem. They are recessed into the topsides of the unit, making it somewhat clumsy to attach a windscreen, but there will probably be plenty of after-market products coming along. The "dead-cat" type work better than the foam, so a trip to a fabric store for some fuzzy fake fur will be in the offing for me---no $49 Sony OEM product, thanks. The mikes are (on the "hi" setting)---extremely sensitive. Your own breath sound is quite audible from 3 feet away! I think this will be the gold standard unit for nature sounds. I used in-ear binaural mikes to make some outdoor bird recordings, the soundfield is astonishingly realistic.
Using $300 Shure earbuds for playback, there is no preamp or mike noise audible (but then, my ears have 67 years on them....YMMMV). The little onboard speaker is useless for anything except making sure you actually got a signal of what you were attempting to record---I got this unit for less than $300, including shipping. Considering the way above average build quality and exemplary sound quality, a steal!! Unhesitatingly recommended. My "cons" are pretty minor, except for lack of onboard track editing, but I'd still rate it 5 stars due to the terriffic audio and build quality. The manual is pretty good, index could be more complete but it's logically written by a tech writer whose first language is English!
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2009
The Zoom H4 is the benchmark portable digital recorder, and Sony's M10 blows it away.
The M10 is a very small recorder, roughly the same shape as an iPhone but as thick as a deck of playing cards. The buttons are firm, and the recording level wheel stays where you leave it. You get LEDs for -12db and overload for each of the two microphones.
Sound quality is noticeably better than the H4. There is very little handling noise, unless the recording gain is cranked way up. If you do need to turn up the gain, just use the included wired remote to start and stop the recorder. The noise floor is present when you are recording quiet sounds with the gain up, but it seems easier to avoid than with the Zoom.
A tripod socket is built in to the bottom of the M10, just above the twin AA battery bay. You can record to the built-in memory, or to an M2 or MicroSDHC card. The screen is large and easy to read. The menus are just as easy to navigate.
You don't get a wind screen, and you will wish you had one as soon as you encounter the slightest wind. There is no option for digital input, and both the line and microphone port are 1/8".
In addition to a wind screen, you should also pick up a Gorillapod mini-tripod.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2011
I bought this to replace a Zoom H2. So far so good. Compared to the Zoom, this unit starts faster, is easier to use and has better sensitivity.
The automatic recording level control is usable, and it's a good thing to have in cases where you can't pay attention to the recorder (e.g. if you're recording yourself live). Otherwise, manual level will probably get you better results. Switching between manual and auto level is easy, and the manual level control is easy to manipulate. A green led lights up when your input is at -12dB and a red led lights up when you reach 0dB. Your goal is to keep the green light on and the red light off. :-)
Another useful feature is the ability to switch the output from headphone to line-out level. Line-out will drive an external amplifier much better than headphone level. It would be nice to have 2 separated dedicated outputs, but of course it's a compromise between size and usability, and the change is only about half a dozen keystrokes away when you need it.
Connection to a Windows 7 PC via USB cable was straightforward and didn't require drivers. The unit's internal memory and the memory card (if you have one) show up as separate "disks" in Windows Explorer. Moving files between the unit and the PC is straightforward, although the folder structure in the unit is unnecessarily complex.
The unit comes with 4GB of internal memory, which is enough for about 6 hours worth of CD-quality recording, i.e., more than enough. But if you decide to use a memory card, do what the manual says, and format the card in the recorder (not in your computer). I'm using a SanDisk 8GB micro-SDHC, and the card started performing much better (the M10 was able to boot much faster) after I re-formatted the card in the unit. I would have preferred a standard SD, since the micro SD card is so tiny and easy to misplace, but thumbs up to Sony for supporting a standard, and not only their own brand of memory sticks. The manual lists the makes of cards that have been tested: Toshiba, Panasonic and SanDisk, up to 16GB. Be sure to read the manual about positioning/orienting the memory card. I had to insert mine a few times before i got it to work, which i blame on the flimsiness of the micro-SDHC card as much as on my clumsiness. Once i got it in right, it worked reliably well.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2011
I bought the unit strictly for its line-in, hi resolution recording capabilities. I have a large collection of vinyl records that I want to archive at 96khz 24bit and the Sony is up to the task. A couple of caveats though, the automatic gain control should be turned off as should the limiter. For the best quality set your levels manually and avoid the extra processing. The difference is very noticable. The free edting software that came in the box works as well as the recorder. The unit runs forever on two AA batteries but there is a supplied AC adaptor. Construction is solid and for the money I don't think it can be beat. I bought it from the lowest price seller Adorama Camera who shipped the Sony box in a plastic bag without any padding. Good thing I wasn't planning on giving it as a gift.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2010
I spent more than 2 months searching for the most suitable recorder. I was comparing between price and models I looked at were: the Zoom H2, Zoom H4, Olympus LS-10 & 11, Marantz etc. I did an extensive research and finally I selected the Sony PCM-10.
I am absolutely satisfied with the choice I made. The sound quality is superb and feels sturdy to use. I like the dual micro/sd slots. I also bought two 16Gb cards for saving my recordings into. (I use one of the cards for music files - so I can also use the recorder as a Player & the other one for my instrument recordings). I use the recorder for woodwinds and piano. It comes with a remote control which is very handy as in this way you eliminate handling noise. One small minus is that the device does not come with a windscreen and they are a bit costly. One big plus is that the batteries seem to last forever. The only disadvantage this powerful little recorder has is that the MENU is not so easy to navigate through (I still have the manual next to me when I use it, just in case) and that you can not rename the tracks. Everything else is wonderful. It has a superb sound quality, great feel to it and I am very satisfied with my choice. I could not have chosen a better hand-held digital recorder in this price range and for this purpose. I do not include all the specs and stats here as you can see them on the product review page. I wanted to upload my comments because reading what other users posted for their own recorders when I was searching mine helped me tremendously.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2010
As purchase very good - it was shipped in incredibly fast time. As item likewise good - I had tried out one before owned by someone I know so had a chance to get a feel for it in advance. I also read several online reviews here and elsewhere and most of what those folks wrote was both spot-on and extremely helpful. Most say and I agree that for its price (say compared to the $500 bigger/bulkier PCM 50) this model excels for what is expected of it. I use it for on the spot interviews that I may reuse on the radio (works fine provided no background noises). I have not yet fully used all aspects of the unit like plugging in an external mic which is something many people insist on doing each time. I like its size (it is not off putting to interviewees since it looks like a phone and fits in your pocket easily. Also the batteries last a long time and has capability to store enough WAV files for my needs.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2010
I am a band director and use this for recording rehearsals. I can then listen while alone and select areas that need more work. I also record our concerts and create CD's to give to the band members. That way they can hear just how we sound. This is an invaluable tool in my estimation.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2010
Enjoy using this recorder. Bought the Sony MZ M200 portable MD recorder before this one. It records exceedingly well, BUT there are too many wires, cables, etc. coming out of it when I set up to record. The PCM M10 is a snap; you turn it on, and you record. The other advantage, since there are no moving parts, ie a minidisc, battery life is long. It came w/ 2 AA, I've had the unit about 6 months now, use it mainly to record our church services, about 1 hour long, maybe 2-3 hours a month, and the batteries are still full. The automatic recording levels are lower volume wise than the MZ M200 (the MZ M200 has very sensitive microphones), but it is good enough for my needs. Plenty of room for hours of recording. The unit itself feels solid and well built. Basic functions are easily figured out; easy downloads into your computer (MAC or PC)
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2013
I have had it for a week. Just mainly use it for line-recording from my keyboard (I do my own arrangement), and live recording.
Quality & design is quite good. I just wish all buttons are placed on the front panel instead of the sides, as they are hard to get to once I put it on a tripod.
Quality of microphone is very good, but recordings can be easily clipped due to how sensitive the mics are (be sure you place it at least 3 feet away from the vocal source).
The remote control is very limited in functionality, as it's mainly designed for control the recording task. Only 4 buttons: Pause, Rec, Stop, T-mark.
Since I already have a CD recorder, which I'm not satisfied with its 44KHz/16-bit quality, I got this unit to take advantage of line-recording at 96KHz/24-bit, and use it for demo live recording. So far so good. Battery life is fantastic, too.
IF YOU NEED A CARRYING CASE: search amazon for this item "B000MDZKUU" Sony LCSCSQ Soft Carrying Case for only $6.49. I took a chance based on the case's measurement seems to fit the unit well. The case just came today, and it fits perfectly while providing the front pocket for holding 2 AA batteries. I'm very happy with this case, as it's looks great with the Sony name on it, too.