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Sony PCM-D50 Reviews

4.5 stars based on 13 customer reviews
  • from Orlando, FL USA September 27, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Live Sound and Design Engineer, Label Owner

    THIS RECORDER IS PHENOMENAL!!!

    I never would have expected the quality of this little handheld field recorder to be so great! I love taking this recorder out to gigs and then come back and edit my stereo mix! Everyone could use one of these... I have two!

  • from Kansas City, MO USA November 23, 2009

    Church recording tool

    After using computer based recording for quite a few years at our church, we ran into some software/hardware issues and decided to look for a simpler solution. Dan VanAmerongen recommended the Sony PCM-D50. We've been using this little jewel for several months now. It is great! No stringing of mic cables, no issues if the computer goes weird on us, etc. The built in mics give all the quality we need for this type of use, it is simple to use, and we've not had problem number one so far. We could not be happier with our choice.

  • from Emporia, Kansas USA June 25, 2008Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Like a camera for sound

    This recorder completely satisfies my hopes and expectations. It very easily provides a very accurate record of musical performances, conversations, and ambient sounds. It's kind of like a high quality camera that takes pictures and sound rather than light. It's a dream come true. I bought the tripod, the remote control, and the windscreen too. These accessories are somewhat expensive, but they work very well, and they are a joy to use. What the heck. I will use them for many years. The unit exudes quality construction, and the controls are simple and obvious to use properly. Note that the recorder comes with 4 GB of memory. I think it's a bargain, and that helped me to feel okay about buying the accessories from Sony as well. The program comes with Sound Forge software that makes it easy to extract the parts of your recordings that you want to keep and save the files as MP3 files in whatever sample rate and bit rate you desire. I strongly recommend this unit, and I have no reservations about it whatsoever.

  • from Potomac MD January 8, 2008Music Background:
    Journalist

    FANTASTIC

    This thing just yells quality through and through -- recordings are amazing, and quiet.

    Watch out for the MICS however, as they will pick of EVERYTHING, including hand hits.

  • from NEW YORK December 7, 2007Music Background:
    PRODUCER/ARRANGER/MIXING AND MASTERING ENGINEER

    BETTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE OUT THERE! WORLDCLASS QUALITY!

    WHAT I DID YESTERDAY WAS PUSHING THE LIMITS OF MY PCM-D50 AND IT PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS! WORLD CLASS! ON 96khz / 24bit IT SOUNDED LIKE THE ROOM AND WARM WITH NO HISSING UNLIKE THE ONE I TESTED A MONTH AGO WHICH IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN THE PCM D-50 AND ALSO CLAIMS AND BRAGS ABOUT THEIR SACD QUALITY. THERE YOU GO, I SPILLED THE BEANS AND I'M REALLY SORRY TO BE BLUNT ABOUT IT. SONY, I WISH I CAN AFFORD YOUR C800G MIC!!!!!! LOL!

  • from Nashville September 6, 2010Music Background:
    Songwriter

    Great Piece of Equipment

    I had the Zoom H2 for years and wanted something more professional. This thing is clear as a bell and well worth the money. Although a bit pricey; it really makes the Zoom products look and sound like toys.

  • from Shanghai, China November 20, 2009Music Background:
    Field recordist, sound designer, foley, sound artist

    Great machine. Rugged and precise

    I mostly use this machine for outdoor recording and it has never let me down. Battery life is amazing. I did an overnight recording and the battery life our lasted the memory. I even had enough to download all 4gb of recordings and record more after wards! Although it cannot fit in your pocket its durability more than makes up for it. I use it as a location recorder with my SD302 and Sennheiser 418s. The remote accessory is handy for a portable ENG setup. One thing that i wish was that I could see the levels while using an external mic. The display is on the top so it sits awkward in your bag and even then, getting to the gain knob is quite fiddly (this is why i purchased the 302). Without a mixer this unit is really made for hand held operation. In my opinion I would buy this again if I lost it. I swear by it in my professional work and artistic creations and it has never let me down. Using it with the XLR-1 is not as quiet as I would like but it definitely has a different 'flavor' of noise than the 302.

  • from Kenosha, WI May 20, 2009Music Background:
    Musician, writer, critic, editor

    Best of Breed

    I'm surprised not to see the PCM-D50 getting the same marquee treatment as personal recorders--Zoom, Edirol, Tascam, Microtek, Yamaha, etc.--costing nearly as much. I regard the D50 as a version of Sony's D1 at a quarter of the price. The mics are superior, the build quality is solid and reassuring, the bells and whistles are held to a minimum, operation is straightforward. Instead of touch pads and a toy feel, it has dedicated switches and knobs, and instead of mp3 recording, compressors, metronomes, etc. it records only .wav files and lets the computer editing program do the rest. Unlike the Zoom H2, the Sony's audio files were seen immediately by my iMac. Transfer was instantaneous. Downsides: Sony's charging you exorbitant fees for every little extra (I use some of the included extras with my Zoom with this Sony), and mics that are awkward for the user to talk into (it's impossible to read levels). Finally, given the difficulty of using the machine for recording yourself and seeing the meters at the same time, the absence of an automatic gain control is almost baffling. (I guess Sony never considered that a user might hold the device and record himself.) On the plus side, isolation and insulation are quite good. Compared to the H2, it's quite resistant to noise transmitted to the machine by touch and movement. (Still, the H2 is a nice little back-up machine--weightless, small, a perfect stealth recorder, and its 4 mics help to make up for some of the deficiencies of the quality of any one of them.)

  • from orlando, fl June 24, 2008Music Background:
    recording engineer, music business student....

    very nice

    i picked this up after first trying a zoom. the zoom has so much self noise i immediately sent it back and got the sony. the sony is the real deal. wish it fit on a standard mic stand instead of a camera tripod. someone didnt think that one through.. overall, love it. i spend alot of time recording crickets with it.. lol

  • from Collegedale, TN USA March 21, 2008Music Background:
    Musician

    An amazing little unit!

    I have used this little device to record choral rehearsals, and while the mics are not designed to perform like Neumann or Earthworks mics, the result was quite pleasing. I recently took it outside during a thunderstorm, and am amazed by the recorded result! For the price, this recorder packs a punch with the versatility of virtual one-handed operation, high quality construction and sound.

  • from Washington D.C. May 1, 2009Music Background:
    Recording engineer, sound designer, musician

    Nice compact recorder with decent mics, great features for the price.

    The PCM-D50 offers some really nice features and abilities for its size and price. I primarily use it as a handy recorder that I can keep with me for any spur-of-the-moment field recording.

    Pros:
    Self-noise of the mics and pre-amp are both very low for a portable recorder (including when using plug-in-power or self-powered mics through the 3.5mm jack. Also, having tactile control (rotary pots) for mic gain and headphone level is particularly nice, as well as easily accessible switches for engaging the limiter and low cut. The adjustable position mics offer a lot of flexibility for your recordings and needs. The unit also feels very well-built, and all buttons and jacks feel solid. Menus are laid out well, so adjusting recording parameters and other settings is straightforward. There are some nice features offered like recording pre-roll buffer, and the 'track divide' function works well with minimal glitches at the point of the cut. Battery life with 4xAAs is absolutely fantastic.

    Cons:
    My biggest complaint is that the internal mics are a bit dark for my liking. There seems to be too much rolloff of the high frequencies beyond about 8k. But I also don't expect internal microphones to be the best ever -- for what they are, they still do a great job. I think they work best for intelligible speech, such as an interview situation. For field recording, I'll often opt for using an external mic that can provide its own phantom power, such as the AT825 w/ a single AA battery, feeding a 5-pin XLR to stereo 3.5mm jack, then feeding the recorder with that. It's still a nicely portable setup. Also note that the recorder can only record in stereo (there's no way to force it to sum the mics to mono and record only a single track), though with large enough memory cards plus built-in memory, this isn't a big deal.

    Other thoughts:
    Note that you'll definitely want to pick up a small windjammer for this. The one made for the unit fits snugly and does a good job, even if it's a bit pricey. The case (sold separately) seems a bit expensive, so consider looking for a cheap alternative. I picked up a padded zipper case for a Nintendo DS, and the PCM-D50 fits this perfectly with a little bit of room to spare for the windjammer, USB cord, extra batteries, etc.

    Overall, the PCM-D50 is a really nice little device, and I'd probably buy it again if I lost or damaged my current one.

  • from Long Beach CA February 19, 2011Music Background:
    Sound Editor

    Fantastic

    The quality of this machine is the best you will find up to $800
    I tried the same price Tascam ,Marantz and M Audio and non of them was even close. the reason I give it 3.5 starts and not 5 is the phantom -I can understand Sony didn't put one in but making a phantom power unit for it and asking $400 for it that make me angry. Some one should make it
    shouldn't cost more then $80.

  • from Chicago, IL August 7, 2012Music Background:
    Producer, Pro Musician.

    Broken within 3 years

    Gave me some superb stereo recordings of vocalists and quiet nature sounds. Accessory windscreen proved ineffective in gusty wind. Menu and navigation a bit cumbersome. Despite rare use, around 2 years out, began to fail on battery power. At 3 years, failed to power up with AC or battery.

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