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Sony PCM-M10 Portable Linear PCM Voice Recorder with Electret Condenser Stereo Microphones, 96 kHz/24-bit, 4GB Memory & USB High-Speed Port - Black
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- Offers solid state storage, Built-in electret condenser microphones
- Native recording including WAV and MP3, Simple uploading to computer
- Supports USB 2.0
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|Item Dimensions||5.51 x 7.91 x 2.99 in||1 x 1 x 1 in||1.48 x 0.82 x 4.49 in||1.44 x 0.55 x 4.02 in||3.54 x 1.38 x 6.1 in||1.5 x 2.6 x 6.6 in|
The PCM-M10 is 96 kHz/24-bit capable with electret condenser stereo microphones, 4 GB of internal flash memory and a micro SD/Memory Stick Micro (M2) Slot for expanded memory. Key features of the PCM-M10 recorder include a built-in speaker, cross-memory recording, digital pitch and key control, digital limiter, low-cut filter, track mark functions, a 5-second pre-recording buffer and A-B repeat capability. The recorder includes a USB high-speed port for simple uploading and downloading of native .WAV or .MP3 format recorded files to and from Windows PC or Macintosh computers. The M10 offers durable construction and long battery life using conventional AA alkaline batteries.
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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.
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
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the automatic modus with high sensitivity works for many situations...Read more