I received the Sony PCM-D50 field recorder today. I'll have a more
complete report in a day or so, but I decided to post a quick note.
At first, I was disappointed by what appeared to be a preamp that is
noisy, or perhaps the built-in mics are noisy. Then I realized that
the sensitivity of the built-in mic is very high. I was driving the
preamp to clipping with a gain setting of 7/10. Backing off to a gain
setting of 5/10 made my voice recordings indoors sound much better.
Outside, I tried recording wind chimes at a distance of 10 feet (3
meters). Again, a setting of 7 of 10 was the maximum before lots of
distortion and clipping.
The built-in mics proved to be more sensitive than my Sennheiser ME20.
In other words, the built-in mics produce a louder recording than the
ME20 does, when capturing the same source material.
Fortunately, the D50 has a -20dB cut filter, selectable by a switch.
With the cut filter turned on, gain levels of 8 or 9 were OK, with low
preamp noise noticeable.
With this detail understood, I'm starting to like the D50!