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.