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Sony ICD-MX20 Memory Stick Pro Duo Digital Voice Recorder
|Price:||$585.15 + $4.84 shipping|
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- Compact, handheld digital recorder
- Memory uses high-capacity IC chip
- Hybrid media card storage with Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo
- Features advanced digital voice operated recording (VOR)
- Measures 1.18 x 0.67 x 4.23 inches (W x D x H)
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|Item Dimensions||1.44 x 0.93 x 3.98 in||0.76 x 1.46 x 4.46 in||0.43 x 1.38 x 3.66 in||1 x 1 x 1 in||0.84 x 4.53 x 1.52 in||0.47 x 4.05 x 1.57 in|
ICD-MX20 Digital Voice Recorder
Professional quality sound and high-level functionality are what distinguish the ICD-MX20 Memory Stick Pro Duo Digital Voice Recorder. Sony has designed a powerful, sleek recorder with a seamless aluminum body. The slim-style design is only one-half inch thick, with "record" and "pause" controls located on the side of the unit for easy operation. This tiny device fits neatly into a shirt pocket. Record grandma for an audio-genealogy or interview a famous celebrity -- whether you're recording for personal or professional reasons, you'll be extremely pleased.
The built-in 32 MB flash memory uses a high-capacity IC chip. This technology allows you to record over old messages again and again with distortion-free clarity. The standout feature on the ICD-MX20 is the hybrid storage. It gives you the option of using the built-in flash memory or utilizing Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo media cards, providing virtually unlimited capacity. This is a great feature if you're at a long conference, and don't have time to download your files to a computer. Just put in a new Memory Stick media card, and keep recording. Each card can hold over 300 personalized folders, which makes organizing your audio a simple process.
The ICD-MX20 allows you to record at different quality levels. The high-quality, two-channel STLP recording mode allows up to 165 minutes of recording. This is perfect for recording interviews that you may want to reproduce in digital format. If you're just taking personal audio notes, switch the voice recorder to LP mode and take full advantage of over 11 hours of lower quality recording.
The advanced digital voice operated recording (VOR) feature actually stops recording during silent pauses, saving valuable recording time. Thanks to the digital buffer, this intelligent machine begins recording again without missing a single syllable. The digital recorder also comes equipped with USB connectivity for high speed copying of files to a PC.
What's in the Box
ICD-MX20 voice recorder, PC download software, 2 AAA batteries, USB cable, carrying case, and stereo earphones.
Top customer reviews
The Olympus DS-2 is an excellent recorder at a very reasonable price. It's performance with Dragon Naturally Speaking 8, the previous version, left a lot to be desired. With the new version 9, performance is better, but still far from perfect.
Thus I was brought to decide on testing the Sony ICD-MX20, a unit that costs more than twice as much as the Olympus DS-2. My primary interest in the unit is in being able to dictate and then transcribe automatically. I will not be using it to record lectures and meetings or the like, although I did a couple of experiments to see how the unit would work in such environments.
The ICD-MX20 is shorter and slimmer than the DS-2, but slightly heavier. The finish of the ICD-MX20 is very slick; slick in the sense of being smooth and slippery. I am seriously concerned with my ability to hold the unit securely. The surface is so slick that it may be difficult.
The ICD-MX20 controls are well laid out. The mini-joystick works surprisingly well after a few minutes of practice. Swirtching between functions, such as setting the microphone sensitivity, is cumbersome howevr. All of the switches on the sides can be manipulated with one hand and a flip of the unit is required to maneuver the Hold switch on the back. The LCD display is clear and doesn't present too much information at one time.
The unit uses 2 AA batteries and my first impression is that battery life is poor. Sony says " 8 hours" at highest quality recording - and it appears they mean simply 8 hours if the unit is powered on. That's not a lot: better use that Hold switch.
Finally to sound quality, the one thing that motivated me to buy such an expensive unit. It's superb. The MX-20 microphones can be set to mono or stereo. I used only the mono mode since my primary interest is dictation. The microphones are very sensitive. Hold the mic too close to your mouth and even a low voice will result in pops. But once you load your voice file onto the computer, Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 --- without training --- does a credible job of accurate transcription. The sound quality is excellent, clearly superior to that of the Olympus DS-2.
Using a headset, as recommended by Dragon, the sound quality is absolutely outstanding. This unit could be used in professional settings for reporting or creating podcasts. Put on a headset while you're driving (being aware of local laws, of course) and you can transform drive time into dictation time --- and simply transcribe the files automatically in Dragon. Very cool.
As a conference recorder, the ICD-MX20 shows promise. I used it to record the audio of a television talk show as I walked further and further away from the set. The Voice Up function of the unit, which amplifies distant voices, really works.
The Sony documentation accompanying the unit is poor. The English translation is awful, showing all the earmarks of being translated from Japanese by someone who doesn't speak English well. All the information you will need is there, but it is a struggle to wrestle the meaning from the mangled syntax, grammar and occasionally strange use of language. Sony also persists in printing the documentation as a single broadside sheet which is very difficult to handle. The documentation for the included utility software is worse. It is very sparse in terms of detail, but fortunately the user interface of the software is very intuitive.
Overall, the ICD-MX20 is impressive. Sound quality absolutely deserves a 5. Design and construction overall merit a 4, the toggle and its functions being a bit too cumbersome. But the slick and smooth texture of the unit which makes handling a bit anxiety-provoking brings my overall rating down to a 3. Documentation is a 2. In all, I'd give the unit a 4. But for its prime purpose in my case, of recording audio that Dragon Naturall y Speaking 9 can automatically transcribe, my rating is a solid 5.
Things I don't like:
-Proprietary codec. Not universal format (like say mp3)
-Not (standard) UMS
-No Macintosh version of the companion software (but Virtual-PC OK)
-The included pouch is awful
BUT. . . I do like:
-Unlimited recording size. The recorder uses a built in 32 MB FLASH as well as removable MEMORY STICKS(up to 1 GB). The stick format however is PRO-DUO.
-Excellent recording quality, comparable to the one found in $500 to $1000 recorders.
-The built in speaker sounds well, and (with Voice Up activated) distortionless and very loud.
-Three high quality microphones
-Stereo Long Playing mode
-Excellent software (and WMP plug-in available) can convert Sony formats to wav (but the mix of compression and conversion can result in unpredictable quality files). Conversely, the recorder plays mp3 and wav (by first converting automatically to Sony format via software).
-Line-in (Mic), and stereo out (Ear) separate jacks (2)
-Voice Up feature is amazing.
-3 Volts AC/DC adapter input jack (adapter not included) .
BOTTOM LINE: I got one and use it successfully for very important live recordings. By far the best in this area.
However for direct encoding high quality music, I use my iAudio i5 (2 GB). DITTO.
If the price is not an issue and you need PRO quality recordings . . . buy it.
It will be a LOOOOOOONG time before I buy another Sony product.