on February 28, 2010
I had a Zoom H4n for about a week, and I returned it, and got the Sony PCM-M10. It ended up being a nice trade for me. The mics and preamps on the Zoom were fantastic, but the Sony's are as good, if not better, quality than the H4n. The H4n is a multi-tracker, and has XLR inputs, etc., making it a different type of device than the Sony, and the H4n was very large in the hand, making it a little too big for subtle hand-held recordings, and other situations where you don't want the recorder to be the center of attention. The mics on the Sony are fixed in place at 90 degrees, unlike the Zoom where you can change from 90 to 120 degrees with a twist function. I didn't change to the Sony necessary for the functionality as much as the form-factor. The Sony is compact and is a little more discreet, making it almost (visually) pass as an MP3 player in appearance. It is the same size as an iPhone, but a little thicker, and it feels nice and solid in the hand.
Another thing I might add is that in the description on this item page, the package contents aren't mentioned very thoroughly, so I would like to put them here. It comes in a nice looking box, and you are definitely buying the retail item as it ships from Sony, which includes everything that it is supposed to (the item page almost makes it seem like you are buying just the recorder itself). Anyway, here is what comes in the box:
Sound forge audio studio LE software CDROM
AC power adapter AC-ES3010K2
2 x Alkaline batteries (AA size)
Wired remote control
Also, for information purposes, I thought I would mention that there IS a STANDARD TRIPOD MOUNT on the back of the Sony PCM-M10, which for some reason was difficult information to come by for me in my research. I found pictures of the rear of the device, but even then it was hard to verify that I was actually seeing a mount.
I recorded last night with a friend, two acoustic guitars and vocals, side by side with the Sony PCM-M10 and an Equitek E-100 Condensor Mic, running into a mixer and computer software, and the Sony sounds as good if not a little better. Low noise, clean, and full frequency response from the Sony. It has meter (green) and peak lights (red) on the areas above each of the stereo mics on the body of the Sony, so monitoring is visually possible, without having to look at the screen on the front. The H4n didn't have that.
The Sony PCM-M10, with 2 NiMH AA batteries (2500 MaH) will record for 50 hours (yes, it's true), and recording @ 320Kbps, 44Khz MP3, the 4gb internal memory will hold 27 hours of sound. The Zoom H4n could record for 7.5 hours using NiMH batteries (the same ones I am using in the Sony), and had no internal memory of its own. There is a MicroSD slot on the Sony PCM-M10, and can hold the currently available 32gb cards if necessary. I could find no indication anywhere I looked that it wouldn't hold even bigger cards if they become available in the future. The Zoom takes full size SD cards, but also supports 32gb cards.
When you power up the Sony PCM-M10, it is up and running, and able to record, in around 5 seconds, which is phenomenal, and was an added bonus for my purposes...
The Zoom H4n wasn't "ready to record" for over 15 seconds. The Sony also has a record-ahead buffer, which will start recording a 5 second cache, before the record button is pressed, so you don't lose the beginning of something, if you weren't able to hit the record button in time. That is sweet.
The two input jacks (mic and line) are on the top of the device, in between the microphones, which is a good location, and the speaker is on the bottom (yes there is a monitor speaker for quick playback review).
The buttons feel solid and responsive, even for my stumbling fingers, which is remarkable, and the remote buttons are more of a "soft dome" sort-of depression style, but same thing, very responsive and solid feeling. The screen is big and very clear, with all the information laid out logically and vividly. It supports ID3 tag, so if you put MP3 music on the device, it will show you the information on the screen.
There is a tight and precise REC level wheel on the right side of the unit, and a rocker style output level on the left side of the unit. The functions available directly on the outside of the device are (if you are facing the display screen):
1. Below the screen:
Folder, Menu, Delete, playback functions (A-B), Display (I really like this feature, being able to turn the backlight on, etc., with a single button)
2. Transport keys:
Fast Forward (shares with menu up), Fast Reverse (shares with menu down)
T-Mark (marks tracks for splitting)
3. Left Side:
Volume (output level), DPC (Speed control) (on/off)
4. Right Side:
Mic sensitivity (Low / High), REC LEVEL WHEEL, REC LEVEL Switch (Manual/Auto), Power switch (it is a slide, and has a HOLD function)
Besides the physical adjustments mentioned above, the Menu on the device is replete with features, and very very easy to maneuver.
on November 24, 2009
I'm a journalist who does interviews. I don't record "voice," much less music. I've used Sony's EV500 mono tape recorder--the high-end standard for print journalists--for over 20 years. My colleagues thought it was overkill to switch to stereo. When I showed them my new Sony PCM-10 (purchased in October 2009), they thought it was pretty cool, but when I told them the price, they thought it was too expensive (journalists are congenitally cheap; goes with the salary).
The PCM-10 lets you record in 10 modes, including uncompressed LPCM and compressed MP3, so we did a test recording (that is, an interview) in the highest-quality stereo mode: LPCM 96kHz/24 bit. Well! Let me tell you: Eyebrows arched. The sound was spectacular. One guy grumped--beforehand--that he didn't need interviewees to sound like Maria Callas. Mono was good enough. Then I played it back. He listened. He stroked his chin. "How much did you say that was?" he asked. Because, if you listen to a lot of recorded sound, you can clearly hear the difference.
The bottom line is this: If you record regularly--and seriously--whether it's rock concerts, garage bands, opera stars, birdsong, or interviewees, you want the best sound you can get. The PCM-10 delivers it.
There are many other things to like about this new Sony unit. It has a (mostly) aluminum case. I don't know about you, but I just hate cheap plastic cases. It's about the size of a deck of playing cards. The buttons and menus are so intuitive, I figured everything out without once cracking the manual (which, incidentally, is fairly well-written as these things go). The buttons and switches on the device are intelligently laid out and a cinch to master. And believe me, I'm no genius when it comes to this sort of thing.
The PCM-10 comes with a pair of excellent built-in omnidirectional mics. I also tested it with a Sony ECM-MS907 stereo cardioid mike and a Sound Professionals SP-BMC13 Two Channel, Boundary Style, High-Sensitivity Conference Mic, which I use when a group of interviewees are seated in a living room, at a long conference table, or a classroom. I gotta tell you: transcribing recordings of interviews has got to be the world's most tedious enterprise, but when the sound is this crystal clear, it's a lot less tedious, and far fewer sounds get smudged, which would otherwise require lots of replaying to figure out what was said. Since I use a portable rig, I find the PCM-10's powered mic jack an important feature.
Oh, and the display--black and white LCD, not color--contains all the information you need, including the all-important battery status indicator (the unit runs on two AAs for about 15 hours at 96kHz/24 bit, the highest-quality setting, and over 40 hours on a compressed MP3 setting, which is pretty darn good). Uploading sound files to a PC via the USB port is a cinch.
And yet there are some design peculiarities with this otherwise splendid unit. The case is described by Sony as aluminum. Well, sort of. The faceplate feels like aluminum, but the sides and back feel like plastic. The battery lid is definitely plastic, and the little lid that covers the slots for removable media--Sony Memory Sticks or SD Micro flash cards (up to 16 GB)--is not only plastic but incredibly flimsy, very easy to snap off. Is it really such a design challenge to design a lid that is sturdy and not apt to break? I guess it is.
But let's keep things in perspective. At this price point, the PCM-10 blows the competition away (and competing models are not any better-made, although that is not a reason to let Sony off the hook). The unit admirably does what it was designed to do: produce beautiful, portable, professional-quality recordings. And, except for the cheap battery and removable media lids, the PCM-10 is a class act.
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 (eg, 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 the 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.
on January 30, 2012
I love my Sony M10 recorder in every way...except the problem with the internal battery. After I had mine nearly a year, the internal battery (not replaceable) died and it would no longer remember the date and time. Since I use my recorder for wildlife recordings, I need it to record the second I turn it on...not after I reset the date and time every time I turn it on. It was still under warranty, so I sent it in and was given a replacement unit. Now just over a year later the replacement unit is doing the same thing...apparently the internal battery died again. Since it was now out of warranty, Sony said I can send it in and pay $150 to have it fixed. As far as Sony is concerned this unit has "no known problems." I found an internet forum where several folks had this problem. Apparently the internal battery charges itself only when the unit is on, so if you leave it off for long periods of time like I do, then the internal battery goes dead. A workaround suggested on the forum was to leave the unit on for 30-40 hours (on hold) and the replaceable batteries (or external power) will recharge the internal battery. Thank goodness for forums, but it would have been nice if the Sony repair people knew this....
on November 10, 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.
on September 3, 2012
I initially passed this up because of the price, only to come back to it after some dissatisfaction with other recorders. For those wondering why the m10 is in this price range, consider the seriously long battery life, rotary gain, low noise floor, and 4gb internal memory. There is lots to like about it, with a few complaints.
First, I'll elaborate a bit on what I like about it. The gain potentiometer is smooth and is well designed to prevent accidental adjustments. I think this is indispensible in the field, since one can't be clicking buttons on the machine while recording just to make a gain adjustment. I would have appreciated another rotary knob for the headphone out, but the volume rocker suffices. I'm always appreciative of the low noise floor when recording (especially ambiences) in quiet environments, and this is its major advantage over the competition in my opinion. It means more useable material, and much less need for noise reduction on the recordings I do keep. The 4gb internal memory is handy and I've grown so fond of the cross-memory recording feature I think I couldn't do without it now. I'll say the same about the battery life; as a rough calculation I usually get around 35-40 hours of recording at 24bit/48k (with very little monitoring), and in standby it will last for days or weeks. It also comes with an a/c adapter.
There are recorders that offer a slightly wider stereo perspective, but I'm happy with the mic configuration, positioning on the machine (recessed is good), and sound quality. The built in mics are usually all I need but I also have a Rode NTG-2 (self-phantom-powered shotgun mic) that connects via XLR to 1/8" cable (dual mono, so you get left and right) straight into the mic input. It sounds good in quieter spaces (say, for ADR) but would benefit from some amplification for boom pole work or outdoor applications. The auto record level is a good idea but it sets the level too low, presumably to prevent having to use the limiter in case of unexpected noise, but as a result the signal to noise ratio goes up so it isn't useful to me.
Both the front panel and the tripod mount are made of metal, the rest is plastic. It's solid feeling and doesn't creak when handled. The battery and microSD slot covers both remain attached when opened - nice touch. The optional green/red LEDs on the transport buttons and for the -12dB/clip are incredibly useful in low light, unless you're using a windscreen which covers the -12dB/clip lights. The remote has a generous 6.5 foot cable and allows record, pause, stop, and t-mark functions, and has a record indicator light. Why they didn't include gain adjustments is a mystery to me, and I wish the remote was wireless like the Tascam DR-100.
The screen and button layout, although not very intuitive, are fine with me after the initial adjustment and the menu is reasonably straightforward once you get to know it. Bottom line, it works, but they could have done a much better job with the menu, button layout, and folders. There are some unexpected features in the menu, however, such as key control (pitch) and DPC (speed) but I never use them so have little to say, except that I once accidentally turned on the DPC (+20%) and I thought it sounded quite smooth. Probably very handy for those who need to transcribe or get through lectures, etc. at faster or slower speeds. The DPC speed is set in the menu and there's an on/off switch on the back of the machine. The file copy function is another good idea, allowing you to copy files from internal memory to the microSD, but only one file (rather than folder) at a time which gets tedious and time consuming with more than a few recordings. This may stem from the awkward folder system.
Although I have quibbles with some of the design choices, this has been a very solid recorder for me. I prefer it to my Tascam DR-05 and DR-100 mkII as well as the Zoom H2n and H4n (all have noisier preamps and are decidedly not easily pocketable), though each recorder has its advantages. The fact is, this is my favourite one because its the one I carry it in my pocket or backpack daily. It's about the height/width of an iphone 4 and twice the thickness - quite pocketable. It took lots of time using other recorders, reading/watching reviews, and listening to samples online to decide on the m10 and that's why I took the time to write a longer review, so I hope this is helpful.
on August 27, 2013
After using the Sony PCM-M10 I've come to the conclusion it's the best portable audio recorder in its class. I've used the Tascam DR-40 and the Zoom ZH4N and they were decent, but Sony is just a few steps ahead of them. The Zoom ZH4N had line-in distortion problems when connected to sources other than a microphone; i.e. electric instruments, stereo receivers, or sound boards. Although the Zoom ZH4N has an XLR input and 4-track recording ability (compared to the PCM-M10's 2-track stereo) it was plagued with horrendous battery life. The ZH4N got roughly four hours of battery life on the same two alkaline AA batteries that Sony's PCM-M10 uses for over forty. I found this incredible; I've never gotten this kind of mileage out of any other portable flash audio recorder...not even close.
The Tascam DR-40 would get roughly fourteen hours of realistic use, an improvement over the Zoom ZH4N, but not even in the same ballpark as Sony's PCM-M10; thirty hours shy to be exact. The DR-40 also suffered from noise/hiss when recording (as I would occasionally) in the MP3 format. This wasn't a major concern for me personally as I almost always use the WAV format, but it was a thorn in my side on principle mainly do to its price tag. There should not be that much noise when using an audio recorder this expensive. Again, the Sony PCM-M10 does not have this problem; in fact, its sound quality trumps both of the mentioned competitors. Fluent and crisp the playback the PCM-M10 produces is very true to the original sound it records with barely a hint of noise, hiss or hum. Beautiful.
A common complaint from other consumers is the Sony PCM-M10 lacks the features of the aforementioned units; most notably the XLR inputs and 4-track recording ability. Well, yes...that is a good argument in theory. However, after using the Zoom ZH4N I quickly realized its promise of a 4-track recording option was rather limited. It can technically record four tracks at once, but two of those tracks are intended to come from the unit’s onboard mics. There is a 3.5mm jack that can bypass those mics, but this is still a bias-powered mic level input. It can be made to work with yet another padded cable, but doing so involves such a web of special cables and workarounds that I’ve never tried to do a 4-track recording in the field.
At first glance, the 3.5mm stereo line in jack on the Sony PCM-M10 would seem to be a downgrade of the balanced ins on the Zoom, but since these are true line-level ins, this isn’t the case. Levels match fine from my mixer tape out using a plain 3.5mm stereo cable. Plus the Sony has a rotary input level control, so adjusting levels is a bit faster that setting a level using an up/down button, as it is on the Zoom. It is slightly more likely to accidental adjustment through careless handling, though. Be sure to watch your levels when recording.
Testing my Shure SM58 vocal microphone on the PCM-M10 I needed to add a low to high impedance processor cable in order to correct the low impedance of the microphone itself. This is common among microphones of this sort, but something I felt potential buyers might want to be aware of. When using low impedance microphones, such as the Shure SM58, they have a very low output level. An electric guitar, on the other hand, has a much hotter output. The sound card on the Sony PCM-M10 requires a hotter level in order to record sound more accurately. In other words, your electric guitar might sound perfect during playback, but your vocal microphone will barely be audible. Some consumers experiencing this initial difference in level between two devices might confuse the mismatch for faulty hardware. This is common, but the accessory cables I mentioned earlier correct this problem and (depending on the brand) aren't terribly expensive. I have noticed a small decline in sound quality when using impedance processor cables, but not enough that the average user will even notice.
Getting back to the basics; sound. Let's not stray too far from the bottom line with technicalities and additional features when, of course, sound quality is probably the most important factor when purchasing an audio recorder. I can assure anyone considering the Sony PCM-M10, you will not be disappointed with the sound it records. What you can expect is a low noise, clean, and full frequency response from the unit. Audio quality that is noticeably better than other units of this caliber. Even handling noise is minimal unless the recording gain is upped too high. The two built-in omnidirectional condenser microphones create accurate stereo separation when the unit is in the middle sound fields. Which is surprising, as ordinarily audio recorders of this size don't produce decent stereo playback from omnis so close together. That's why stereo recorders/microphones usually use two cardioid patterns. The only negative aspect of cardioids is less sensitivity for low frequencies, whereas an omni will capture them much more accurately. The Sony PCM-M10 tackles this problem by setting the microphones inside the unit, away from each other, so each effectively hears its own half of the sound (with remnants of the other half). The effect is a beautiful stereo separation. It also creates a wide, flat frequency response typical of omnidirectional microphones. Even the bass can be strong when the unit is recording near the sound source, the recorder even has a low-frequency cutoff you can switch...just in case you want to lessen that rumble. In short, the Sony PCM-M10 is a very full sounding unit.
The unit also comes equipped with two meters (in the form of lights) which are green and red (peak lights) placed above each of the stereo microphones. Making monitoring distortions visually possible, even in low lighting, without having to use the LCD screen on the front. Another convenient feature the Zoom ZH4N lacked.
Overall the Sony PCM-M10 has impressed me greatly with what it can accomplish in such a compact (and convenient) package. It excels where other audio recorders fall short and keeps going long after their batteries have died.
- Carrying case sold separately
- Expensive custom windscreen sold separately
- Low volume on-board speaker (very quiet playback from the unit itself, even at full volume)
- Outstanding Battery Life: The Sony PCM-M10 excels above
- Expandable Memory: Up to 16GB of additional flash memory can be added via Micro SD Cards or Sony Memory Stick Micros.
- Rugged Aluminum Construction: Some reviewers mistakenly confused the aluminum casing with plastic, this is probably because of how light the unit is.
- Superb Recording Quality: The PCM-M10 is a 96 kHz/24bit linear PCM recorder that records in .WAV or .MP3 format and provides faithful recordings of even the most subtle nuances of live performances and events.
- Playback Functions: Provides MP3 playback, a special Digital Pitch Control that slows down playback without changing pitch and an A/B segment/repeat feature that allows you to mark and repeat a segment.
- Track Marking: As you play a recording, the track marking function allows you to mark and locate sections of that recording for easy future reference.
- Playback Key Control: This feature allows you to change the pitch of a song that has been recorded, which is especially helpful for musicians who want to sing the song in a higher or lower key.
- Cross Memory: This crossover function allows you to continuously record from the 4GB built-in memory to the Memory Stick Micro (M2) or microSD and vice-versa, ensuring no interruption of recording if one medium reaches capacity.
Maximum Recording Time On 4GB Internal Memory:
- MP3 44.1kHz/64 Kbps: 134 Hours 10 Minutes
- MP3 44.1kHz/128 Kbps: 67 Hours 5 Minutes
- MP3 44.1kHz/320 Kbps: 26 Hours 45 Minutes
- LPCM 22.05kHz/16 Bit: 12 Hours 05 Minutes
- LPCM 44.1kHz/16 Bit: 6 Hours
- LPCM 44.1kHz/24 Bit: 4 Hours
- LPCM 48kHz/16 Bit: 5 Hours 30 Minutes
- LPCM 48kHz/24 Bit: 3 Hours 40 Minutes
- LPCM 96 kHz/16 Bit: 2 Hours 45 Minutes
- LPCM 96 kHz/24 Bit: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
- Width: 2 1/2 inches
- Height: 4 1/2 inches
- Depth: 7/8 inches (not including projecting parts and controls)
- 6 5/8 oz. including 2 LR6 (size AA) alkaline batteries
What's in the box? Here ya go:
- Remote control
- Sony Sound ForgeAudio Studio LE (CD-ROM)
- AC power adaptor
- Hand strap
- USB cable
- Sony AA alkaline batteries (2)
- Operating guide
- Sony warranty
on January 23, 2011
I purchased and continue to use the PCM-M10 as a portable digtial audio player (PDAP) for "store-bought" 96/24 music files. Given that I don't cherish the thought of carrying a 96/24-capable laptop or netbook around to use its CPU, hard drive, and sound card as a PDAP, and given that there are only a couple of very expensive, truly pocketable DAPs out there with digital-to-analog converters (DACs) capable of playing 96-kHz/24-bit files, I decided to try using the PCM-M10 for that purpose - as a PDAP for hi-def music.
There are several sources for stereo 2.0 music that has been professionally mastered at 96-kHz/24-bit, inclucing those from DVD-A disks sold here at Amazon and some online sources that permit downloading of 96/24 files in the FLAC format. I don't think I can provide links here to other online retailers, so if you're interested, just Google for "96/24 downloads," or something to that effect.
96/24 FLAC files can be converted to 96/24 WAV format (that can be played in the PCM-M10) using software such as WinAmp, dbPoweramp, and others.
When you consider that the PCM-M10 was designed to be an LPCM recorder first and a player perhaps only as a convenience feature for confirmation while still in the field, Sony didn't cut any corners in giving the PCM-M10 a great sounding internal DAC and an internal headphone amp that's nearly as satisfying.
The manual doesn't indicate what type of DAC is used in the PCM-M10, so I recently wrote Sony Customer Care and was pleased to receive a response to my questions concerning the PCM-M10's DAC: Their response has confirmed that the PCM-M10 does NOT down-convert 96/24 files to a lesser specification for playback through either the Line Out or the Headphone jack.
So, whether you record a 96/24 LPCM WAV file or load it onto a flash card from another source, when you play the file using the PCM-M10, it will output 96/24 (not 48/16, as might be the case with a lesser DAC). They added that the DAC is a "delta-sigma" design - a type of DA conversion that uses oversampling and then filtration to remove noise created by the oversampling. That's an oversimplification, but the point here is that Sony equipped the PCM-M10 with a good DAC.
Tapping into the output of the DAC via the Line Out jack of the PCM-M10, you can bypass the PCM-M10's internal amplifier and use an interconnect cable to drive an external portable headphone amp with some nice headphones on the other end. I'll not go into what I'm using as a headphone amp and headphones, but will just finish by saying that the PCM-M10 has become the heart of an amazing portable audio system that has provided hundreds of hours of portable listening pleasure in less than two months of ownership, thus far.
The PCM-M10's internal amp is certainly better than the likes of a Sansa Clip or Fuze and some might say better than that of an iPod, depending on the synergy with various headphones or IEMs, but we can't expect the amp within a $230.00 digital recorder to compete with headphone amps that sell for twice that figure.
The good news here, is that the DAC is truly 96/24-capable, sounds great (without the undesireable "sheen" that some delta-sigma DACs have), can be accessed via the Line Out, and it will not be the weak link in the chain when using the PCM-M10 with a portable headphone amplifier.
Best of all, the PCM-M10 is a pretty good recorder, too!
on January 8, 2010
I've been using minidiscs for interviews and language learning/research for 10 years. The PCM-M10 is at the same price point with the same onboard editing features (for the most part). I agree with everything Neil A. Chesanow "Hotwriter" wrote in a previous review here. The only thing I would add is the nice editing features (adding track marks, dividing--also batch divide according to track marks, and moving/reorganizing recorded tracks). I will miss the minidisc editing features of renaming on the unit (the PMC-M10 allows you to via the computer), and rejoining divided tracks.
Interfacing with the computer is just like any external drive, and so super easy (both PC or Mac). And finally the sound quality is amazing. I read many of the reviews prior to purchasing a month ago, and it was a consensus that the PCM-M10 blows the competition away in it's price range.
on October 14, 2010
I got this unit to replace a beloved iRiver h120 that was stolen. It lacks some of the iRiver's features (optical digital connections, FM radio) but this unit is so much better for its intended use that I'm almost glad I was robbed. I am a musician and use this unit to record my practice sessions. Until recently I was loyal to Minidisc for the feature I loved most: record a run-through, hit stop, hit play, and listen instantly to what you just recorded. I had not found another format that offered this immediate playback until now. I have recorded using an external mic and the internal mics and am very, very pleased with both results. The adjustable speed feature works ok, but slower playback has a weird echo added to it which reduces clarity. Nevertheless, the option for slow playback (useful for putting technical musical passages under a microscope) is instantly accessible, easy to use. Not true with the Minidisc deck I was loyal to for so long. It's hard to think of ways that this Sony M10 could work more easily or perform better. I am completely satisfied.