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Sony Professional Portable 24-bit Linear Audio Recorder

3.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
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  • Offers solid-state storage - free of drive mechanisms
  • Built-in high quality electret condenser stereo microphones
  • MP3 playback and digital pitch control
  • The PCM-D50's electret condenser microphones have exceptional high sound quality and offer a selection of 2 operating positions, X-Y and Wide Stereo
  • The PCM-D50 is designed with four separate circuit boards to separate analog audio, digital audio, digital recording and power supply circuits
1 new from $2,861.85 4 used from $659.95

Product Description

Product Description

The Sony PCM-D50 is a 96 kHz/24-bit recorder fitted with two-position (X-Y or Wide) stereo microphones, 4 GB of internal flash memory and a Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo slot (for additional storage). The body of the D50 is constructed of lightweight metal (aluminum) and it's built rugged to withstand the demands of pro applications, plus it offers long battery life using conventional AA alkaline batteries. The recorder includes a USB high-speed port for simple uploading/downloading its native .WAV format files to/from Windows PC or Macintosh computers. Other unique PCM-D50 features include digital pitch control, dual digital limiter (inherited from the PCM-D1), low-cut filter, Super Bit Mapping, A-B repeat and MP3 playback capability. To complement the D50 recorder, new optional accessories include a remote commander, tripod stand and microphone windscreen. Additionally, the D50 offers compatible mounting and use with the recently introduced XLR-1 wide-bandwidth balanced XLR microphone adapter.


The latest addition to Sony’s family of portable audio recorders, the PCM-D50 recorder adopts many of its features and style from the highly acclaimed PCM-D1 model, including rugged construction and cool design. It’s the ideal choice for making live musical, nature sound and field recordings. The PCM-D50 is a 96 kHz/24-bit recorder fitted with two-position (X-Y or Wide) stereo microphones, 4 GB of internal flashmemory and a Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo™ slot for additional storage. Operating on four AA alkaline batteries, it provides 14 hours of record operation at 44.1kHz 16bit recording. Unique features such as a two-position stereo microphone, a prerecord buffer that records five seconds of audio before hitting the record button, digital pitch control, and A/B segment/ repeat offer great portable possibilities for songwriters, musicians and journalists. To complement the PCM-D50 recorder, new optional accessories include a remote control, tripod stand, and microphone windscreen.


  • Superb Recording Quality
    The PCM-D50 is a 96kHz/24 bit linear recorder that records in standard .WAV file format and surpasses standard DAT sound quality. A low signal-to-noise ratio provides virtually noise-free recording quality.
  • Expandable Memory
    With a 4GB built-in memory, the PCM-D50 records up to six hours when recording in 44.1kHz 16bit CD quality mode. And the Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo Slot provides up to 4GB memory expandability.
  • Built-in Microphones
    The PCM-D50 recorder comes equipped with a high sensitivity, built-in, two-position electret condenser stereo microphone with flexible rotation for either X-Y or Wide stereo positions.
  • Playback Functions
    The PCM-D50 recorder provides MP3 playback, a special Digital Pitch Control feature that slows down playback without changing pitch, and an A/B segment repeat feature that allows you to mark and repeat segments.
  • Versatile Recording Functions
    The Dual Digital Limiter feature helps prevent distortion, a pre-record buffer records five seconds of audio before hitting the record button, and Super Bit Mapping technology helps achieve, wide, dynamic range.
  • PC/Macintosh Compatible
    The PCM-D50 utilizes a simple drag and drop file transfer via high-speed USB connection.
  • Rugged Construction
    Constructed of lightweight metal (aluminum), the PCM- D50 recorder is built rugged to withstand the demands of pro applications.


  • Built-in Microphones -- Electret Condenser microphones. High sensitivity -35.0 dB/Pa 1kHz (typical); Maximum input level 120 dB SPL; Self noise level 20.0 dB SPL (A); microphone frequency response 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
  • Recording Media -- Built-in flash memory 4 GB, Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo (Not Supplied), Stereo Recording. The PCM-D50 is compatible with Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo MS-EX4G (4GB), MS-EX2G (2GB) , MS-EX1G (1GB) and Memory Stick Pro Duo (High Speed) MSX-M2GNU (2GB), MSXM1GNU (1GB)
  • Sample Rates -- 22.05 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz and 96 kHz
  • Quantization -- 16-bit linear, 24-bit linear
  • Recording File Format -- Linear PCM Stereo .WAV
  • MP3 Playback -- Compatible bit rates and sampling frequencies; MPEG Version 1 Layer 3: 32, 44.1, 48kHz with 32 to 320 kbps (VBR). MPEG Version 2 Layer 3: 16, 22.05, 24 kHz with 32 to 160 kbps (VBR).
  • Maximum Record Time using Internal 4 GB Flash Memory:
    • 22 kHz 16-bit Recording Mode: 12 hours and 55 minutes
    • 44.1 kHz 16-bit Recording Mode: 6 hours and 25 minutes
    • 44.1 kHz 24-bit Recording Mode: 4 hours and 15 minutes
    • 48 kHz 16-bit Recording Mode: 5 hours and 55 minutes
    • 48 kHz 24-bit Recording Mode: 3 hours and 55 minutes
    • 96 kHz 16-bit Recording Mode: 2 hours and 55 minutes
    • 96 kHz 24-bit Recording Mode: 1 hour and 55 minutes
  • Frequency Response (Line Input to Line Output) -- For Fs = 22.05 kHz: Frequency Response = 20 Hz to 10 kHz; For Fs = 44.1 kHz: Frequency Response = 20 Hz to 20 kHz; For Fs = 48 kHz: Frequency Response = 20 Hz to 22 kHz; For Fs = 96 kHz: Frequency Response = 20 to 40 kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (Line Input to Line Output) -- 93 dB or greater (1 kHz IHF-A) when set to 24-bit
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (Line Input to Line Output) -- 0.01% or below (1 kHz, 22 kHz LPF)
  • Wow and Flutter -- Below measureable limit (less than +/-0.001% W. Peak)
  • Microphone Input (stereo mini jack) -- Input impedance: 22k, rated input level: 2.5mV, minimum input level:0.7mV. Supports external mic plug-in power.
  • Headphone output (stereo mini jack) -- Rated output level: 400 mV, maximum output level: 25 mW +25 mW or more, load impedance: 16 ohms.
  • Line Input (OPT) -- Analog input - Input impedance: 40k ohms, rated input level: 2.0V, minimum input level: 450 mV. Optical Digiital Input - Input level: -24.5 dBm to -14.5 dBm, Absorption wavelength: 630 nm to 690 nm.
  • Line Output (OPT) -- Analog output - Output impedance: 220 ohms, rated output level: 1.7V, load impedance : 22k ohms. Digital optical output - Output level -21 dBm to -15 dBm, Emission wavelength: 630 nm to 690 nm.
  • USB -- Hi-speed USB, mass storage class
  • Power Requirements -- DC IN 6V, Four AA (LR6) alkaline batteries (supplied), Four nickel metal hydride rechargeable batteries NH-AA (not supplied)
  • Power Consumption -- 0.75W
  • Dimensions -- 2 7/8" x 6 1/8" x 1 5/16" (w x h x d) not including projecting parts and controls
  • Mass -- 12.88 oz (including batteries)

Product Information

Item Weight 12.8 ounces
Product Dimensions 1.3 x 2.9 x 6.1 inches
Shipping Weight 1.8 pounds
Domestic Shipping Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
Item model number PCMD50
Customer Reviews
3.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #75,458 in Musical Instruments (See Top 100 in Musical Instruments)
#145 in Musical Instruments > Recording Equipment > Portable Recorders
Date first available at Amazon.com October 2, 2001

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Thompson on January 23, 2008
This is a fantastic little recorder that is, I think, probably the least expensive audio recorder available capable of making professional quality recordings. I use it three ways -- either on it's own (using its' built-in microphones), with an external Sony ECM-MS957 stereo microphone, or with an external RODE NT4 stereo microphone. Also, just for reference, I edit all my recordings on a system that has very high resolution -- a Grace M902 D/A converter driving AKG K701 headphones.

I record larger groups, predominately gospel choirs, and buying this recorder made a huge improvement in the quality of my recordings. I previously used a Sony MZ-M200 Hi-MD recorder in linear PCM mode. Using the PCM-D50 with the same microphone and at the same recording quality settings, here's what I have observed:

1. A very large improvement in the frequency response of my recordings. There is much better extension on both the low and the high end. This is probably attributable to the quality of the microphone preamps in the PCM-D50, but it is NOT subtle...

2. A significant improvement in the sense of air or openness in a recording. This ties into the extended HF response, I think, but there's something else going on as well that adds to the overall quality of a recording.

3. Better stereo imaging; again, likely due to the far better mic preamps and better channel isolation throughout the circuitry.

4. A significantly lower noise floor. I don't care if they're both digital, in something as small as the MZ-M200 there's simply not enough room to have high-quality parts with adequate isolation. The difference was, frankly, a surprise.

5. A huge improvement in potential recording time without reducing quality.
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Quality-wise, this is the MiniDisc replacement people have been looking for. Sony kept out extras such as quad mic setups, overdubbing, MP3 recording, and cheap XLR inputs to focus on getting the basics right: clean mic input, useful limiting, durability (metal casing--what most MiniDisc units had, but few flash recorders currently have), and clean playback (accurate monitoring). A perk is that it has great battery life (very frequent recording and playback throughout the day = change the batteries once every 2-3 days.)

Skip the rest and get this if you want to spend less than $1200 to replace your old MiniDisc or portable sub-$600 DAT setup. If you want something better, save for the Sound Devices 702/722 (oddly numbered like the old Sharp MD 702/722 units).

I've now recorded rehearsals and individual practice sessions (orchestra/trombone) and can say this unit does an adequate job of recording. It's not great like a multi-mic, pro recording chain setup can be, but it fails to introduce noise into recordings when one uses external mics or the internal mics; other flash recorders (Edirol, Zoom, Tascam) seem to do a less than adequate job by including noisy mic preamps.

After waiting through years of noisy mic pre's in the first generations of flash recorders, I couldn't ask for more. But the Sony has three additional features that are great: there are manual controls for many basic functions; the unnoticeable limiter makes it difficult to peak; variable speed playback is toggled with a manual control. Musicians will love that a manual control toggles the variable speed playback. It is simple to listen back at half-speed (or slower)--and, like some other flash recorders (and unlike the $20-$50 tape recorders), it retains pitch.
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Yes, the built in mics are sensitive in this unit but if you use common sense when recording it is not a problem. I have used this unit with the built-in mics (that's why they put a camera tripod thread on the bottom), with my $300 AT822 stereo mic (this is an incredible combo for field recording) and directly from a mixing board. If you are going to record MP3 files or tunes for your iPod get something else. If you want professional quality,24 bit, 96kHz .wav files or 6 hours and 25 minutes of CD quality recording with the 4gb of internal memory it comes with, then take a close look at the D50. Metal housing, great display, runs on four AA batteries. Lots of other cool, useful features. If you appreciate CLEAN preamps, this is the best currently available for the money. Oade Brothers will do mods to Marantz, Tascam, Fostex and Edirol recorders but it costs $$$.
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Verified Purchase
I'm graduating from my Zoom H2 and moving up to the Sony, no doubt my last recorder. As a musician, music lover, music critic, I need, simply, a reliable, dedicated machine with no frills, no thick manuals containing the promise that "the possibilities are limitless." (I've got just one lifetime. Even the promotional literature of the new Zoom H4n is enough to scare me away.) I don't need a portable recording studio with capabilities of recording MP3s, of mixing 4 tracks, or a machine with a tiny touchpad in place of knobs and switches. Sony comes closest in keeping the average person's-- and musician's--needs in mind yet giving him all of the quality desired by anyone who isn't a record producer.

I assumed that high-quality external mics would be essential with a unit like this, but the onboard ones on this Sony are, to my ears, practically of commercial CD quality. And I don't need more than 4-5 hours of WAV file room. There's nothing plastic or cheap about this machine, and I love some of its "old-fashioned" deployment of controls that have a single function. Because it's so practical, direct, intuitive and simple, this is a machine I'm likely to use--and take more seriously than a small, light unit with gratuitous gadgetry combined with excessive miniaturization. There was a time when Sony blew me away with its mini-disc Walkman. This reduced-priced model of their top-of-the-line machine, which costs 3-4 times more, continues the same tradition that once did Sony proud in the field of cutting-edge audio reproduction from miniature technology. Rather than creating another trendy gizmo, Sony has designed a no-nonsense "hi def audio" recorder that is, above all else, "solid.
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