Sony mobile recorder hardware PCM-D50

Surprise! It’s a high-end Sony mobile recorder you could actually afford. The pretty new PCM-D50 lists at US$600, not four figures. If it sounds as good as its sibling, we could see some other mobile recorders on eBay. The search for the perfect field recorder continues:

Brad Linder is a blogger, freelance journalist, and producer for National Public Radio. If anyone loves mobile recorders, he sure does. He writes in with a great overview of what was happening in mobile recorders at the AES show here in New York, with plenty of detailed information on his blog.

Here’s my little writeup of the new portable flash recorder from Sony: announces PCM-D50 handheld flash recorder

Overall, it blew me away. The successor to its $2000 PCM-D1 flash audio recorder is 1/3rd the price, and packs almost all the same features. For $600, it’s a bit pricier than the Zoom H2 or H4 recorders, but it’s aimed at professionals with high quality audio standards.

Here’s the Sony product page:


Also, Digidesign/M-Audio is launching an updated version of their Microtrack flash recorder in November. They didn’t have a working model at AES, but the new unit will sell for $299 ($100 less than the original), features a brightness control, 48V phantom power (compared with 30V on the original), and improved battery life. On the down side, the battery is still non-removable.

M-Audio Microtrack II available for $299 in November

And Marantz (who is not exhibiting at AES) is competing with Zoom, Edirol, and M-Audio with the new PMD620 recorder:

More Marantz PMD620 details emerge

The long and short of it is, it’s an exciting time to be shopping for field recorders.

Be sure to click through for some sound samples, details, and observations. I feel a little sheepish about my Zoom H4, which has some definite issues, but this is good news for anyone buying. Maybe I need a second recorder, huh? If you’re in the H4 boat, here are our past tips from Brad:
Zoom H4 Mobile Recorder, In Action on NPR
Fix for Zoom H4 Mobile Recording: Use a Mobile Battery Pack

  • BarryS

    The D50 looks like a great little recorder. Sony has already confirmed that the D50 has lower grade mics and pre's than the D1, but what would you expect? It still looks like the handheld to beat considering the ridiculous price of the D1. I'd say the Microtrack is the big loser, the refresh is disappointing given the advances in its peers. The PMD620 also looks like a fantastic recorder with some well thought out features. So recordists will have a nice menu to choose from– $175 H2 / $350 PMD620 / $525 D50.

  • Ap

    I'd still really like to see a recorder that would enable me to mix the mic in and stereo in streams while recording a live show…

  • @Ap: good idea… surely one of the multi-tracks lets you do that. Anybody? Too fuzzy to remember off the top of my head right now.

  • yeah 2 or 4 inputs to stereo would be great.

    We use the H4 for all our location video work and while it is a great improvement on the MicroTracks we used to use – which have all broken (three of em) the status indication was v poor and resulted in many botched recordings.

    the H4 certainly improves on that enormously – i dont think we've had any aborted takes – I also use it for our weekly podcast.

    however, the h4 does have some sampleclock issues, when using for adding audio taken simultaneously with a DV camera, the time is out by up to 1 second over 20 mins – which makes jam syncing a nightmare.

    There is apparently a fix, but not tried it yet – didnt fancy a firmware update just before heading to AES…

    The Sony looks yummy – we shot a piece on it

  • These Sony records are nice looking. I played with an H4 and although it sounded very decent there was a bit too much handling noise.

  • I should say that the Microtracks did sound very good too and the handling noise was nowhere near as high as the H4 which is an issue – we generally dont handle them for our use though and with line inputs it's not a problem of course.

  • Richard Lawler

    I still love my Korg MR-1.

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  • michael sweeton

    Does anyone know when or where you can buy this in the UK?