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Sony PCM-D50 -- pro and con

Subject: Sony PCM-D50 -- pro and con
From: "oryoki2000" oryoki2000
Date: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:15 pm ((PST))
After a week of living with the new Sony PCM-D50, I returned it.   It
was a brief, but passionate, infatuation.   The D50 has much to
recommend it.  But on balance I think I'll keep the Fostex FR-2LE.

D50 Advantages

a bargain at $500 USD 
......includes 4GB flash memory and two built-in mics

flexible field recorder
.....WAV quantization 16/22.5 to 24/96, two channels
.....2GB file size limit, then automatically starts a new file
..........transition to second file may lose data
......mic, line, optical inputs
.....use built-in mics or external

excellent mic preamp
.....low self-noise, wide gain range
.....5 second pre-roll is helpful

sturdy construction, feels like a pro tool
.....noticeably more sturdy than others in this price range
.....aluminum chassis with plastic front and back
.....front panel buttons and volume wheel have a "quality" feel
.....battery compartment has door with metal hinge 

very good ergonomics
.....LCD panel easily legible in sunlight
.....LCD meters seem fast-acting, accurate
.....important functions have buttons, switches or thumb wheel
.....easy to navigate between files and folders for recording or playback system is simple, brief

built-in mics of decent quality (they sound a little "bright" to me)
.....changing the angle of the mics does affect the sound of the recording
.....3 mic positions possible
...........90* inwards (psuedo X-Y), mics parallel, 120* outwards

remarkably long battery life (12 hours from 4 AA cells)
.....much better than original PCM-D1 recorder

D50 Issues

in-between size
.....not a full size, full featured recorder, but not compact either
.....too big to carry in a pocket

too big to hold securely and operate with just one hand
.....but not designed to operate from shoulder strap either best when attached to a tripod, includes metal socket
.....optional remote control can address these issues

built-in mics very sensitive
.....records lots of handling noise, wind noise 

single pre-amp gain control
.....can't adjust left and right volume independently

buttons just a little small fingers often didn't push the button on the first try

switches very small, need fingernail to operate
.....this is also an advantage, since they won't be changed accidentally

no monaural recording

no support for pro mics (XLR, phantom power)
.....have to use external box with XLR and 48V phantom power
.....Rolls PB224 is very similar in size and weight to the D50
.....package of D50 and PB224 is still smaller and lighter than FR-2LE

recorded tracks have date encoded in file name, but not time
.....e.g., 071205_02.WAV  is the second file recorded on 5 Dec 2007
.....sometimes hard to tell which file is which

no internal speaker
.....need headphones to review

startup time is a bit long
.....about 7 seconds when there is no second memory card installed

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