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Old October 20th, 2010, 11:05 AM   #1
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Sony PCM-M10 vs. PCM-D50

A while back I sold my Sony PCM -D50 recorder and still regret it. I needed the cash at the time for other equipment purchase but now I wish I would have held onto it.

I'm now finding myself more and more in situations where a good field recorder would come in handy. Does anyone know how the PCM-M10 models stack up against the D50? In particular I'm wondering if the Limiter circuit is the same and if it is switchable on/off.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Garrett
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Old October 20th, 2010, 07:35 PM   #2
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There is a lot of talk about the PCM-M10 on taperssection.com if you want to check out the "Recording Gear" section: Recording Gear
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Old October 20th, 2010, 11:12 PM   #3
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Thanks Chad, I've already gone through those threads as well as about 100 other ones I could find online. I'm seriously leaning toward the M10 as a low cost field recorder that could double in a pinch as a way to quickly capture say a FOH feed. I have another larger field recorder that I usually use but I'm going into a feature documentary and it would be really nice to have something like the M10 when going on preinterviews.

From what I can discover it seems like the M10 is very close to it's bigger brother the D50. As I said, I had a D50 and loved so if the M10 is close I think it would be a good fit.

Any feedback or tales of your experiences with it would be helpful. Also, if there are other similar recorders that I should be considering please let me know. So far I've ruled out the Zoom and Tascam DR-100.

Thanks,
Garrett
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Old October 21st, 2010, 01:10 PM   #4
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Garrett

The thing with the M10 is the polar pattern of the mics. It's omni. So if you ever plan on using these mics for anything you won't appreciate the sound as well as on the D-50. The M10 looks like a great pocket recorder in all other respects, but those omnis are going to give you a noisy recording of anything outside of 3 feet from the recorder, due to the nature of the omni polar pattern. Omnis pick up what's close well, then they drop off quickly, so anything you record that's far away will be blended with a good amount of background noise. If you have an external mic and just want a good "bit bucket" then it's a decent recorder. If you want to use it to capture stereo recordings of music, the omni nature will basically foul the soundstage and give you little stereo separation.

I would have bought the M10 for simple recordings and song ideas, but I think I'm going for the Zoom H1. I wouldn't mind paying over twice as much as the H1, for the M10 if it had the same mics as the D50, but since I'm only looking for a recorder with good mics (I have the DR-680 modified by Busman Audio for serious recordings) Ihe Zoom liiks like fun. I wouldn't mind the D50 at all though! It's still not off the list, but really I wouldn't use it too much. Although the digital out of the D50 might somehow convert to the SPDIF input on the 690. The digital inputs can be switched to accept the AES/EBU format to, but I don't know yet how that relates to the D50's digital output.

Anyway, the H1 is small as hell and the internal mics will sound better than the M10. That's all I'm saying. I've just had too much coffee to keep it simple!
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Old October 21st, 2010, 01:26 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info Chad,

The more I think about it the more I'm leaning toward the extra dollars for the D50. Most of the time I would be putting up a "proper" set up for audio capture, but I'm also starting in on a documentary about street musicians and could see a need for picking up decent sound really quickly. It might just save my butt to have something with quality of the D50's mics handy.

As you said that seems to be the biggest advantage. Plus, from past experience, the D50 is built like a brick. It's a little big to be a true pocket recorder and if you tried to stick the think you your pocket it would probably pull my pants down, But, it is a solid piece of gear.

BTW nice lav mic demo. I'm thinking I may also add the new Rode to my kit as it seems like it really has a nice sound for the money.

Thanks,
Garrett
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Old October 28th, 2010, 10:16 PM   #6
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Well I ended up getting the Sony D50 and am so glad I did. I got it just in time to do a pre-interview for my documentary project in a mildly loud Thai restaurant. I'd forgotten how good the internal mics are. Incredibly clear and tonally very accurate.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 10:49 PM   #7
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Cool man!

I'm getting one too. I'm looking for a deal better than 440.00 from B&H. I missed a 350.00 "Demo" model Buy It Now on ebay by a day.

Hey is the 2gig file limit a problem? Does it roll through seamlessly to the next file?
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Old October 28th, 2010, 11:06 PM   #8
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Hey Chad,

I went for the $440 B&H Deal. I saw the one on Ebay also an decided that after having to pay for shipping it was worth it to get a new one.

The 2 gig file limit is no problem. I recorded the interview which lasted over 1 1/2 hours at 24bit 96 Khz (just to test it out) and it just creates a new file. I use Sound Forge for a quick audio editor and they stitch together seamlessly.

Really happy that I spent the extra over other units I was looking at.

-Garrett
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Last edited by Garrett Low; October 29th, 2010 at 01:02 AM.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 01:09 AM   #9
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Hey Chad - one quibble if you don't mind:-}

Re Omnis I don't think it's fair to say they're inherently noisy at anything over 3 feet - quite a few classical recordings up to and including full symphony orchestras are done with omnis at lots over 3 feet and no noisiness to be heard (unless you consider the orchestra "noisy" which some do) I even use them myself for classical piano recitals and haven't had any complaints about noisiness.

On the other hand if what you really meant to say was that omnis might not be the best choice when wandering about in a raucous club of some kind and trying to record dialogue or music, then I would tend to agree with you that there are better choices.

Peace!

By the way, how do you like the last of the Petrol bags that you snatched up from B&H while I was dawdling around thinking of getting it? (Wrong thread, I know!) I'm still waiting for the new model to show up!
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Old October 29th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info Garrett!

Jim - I see your point. Omnis could work with an orchestra I suppose. I don't record those though. An orchestra is playing in a controlled situation, where everyone is trying to be quiet. But even with omni mics I would think you would want to be as close as you can. An omni's pattern falls off pretty close to the mic, and a pair of them would give less stereo spread than a pair of cardioids or hypers. If you've ever sung into an omni vocal mic, the volume drops off steeply when you back up more than 6", where cardoid's falloff happens more smoothly as you get further away.. I am imagining recording a jazz or rock or bluegrass band. If I use an omni and they are 20 feet away they will be outside the sweet spot, and I would have to turn them up more than with a cardioid, which could mean more noise from the recorder, mic, and anything happening ambiently. To each his/her own. I like the liveliness of cardioid condensers.


The Petrol Bag: I actually got the Petrol PSDMB-302 that they are selling now. I bought it, then the link said "Discontinued. Then I returned it, and it's listed again:
Petrol PSDMB-302 Audio Mixer Bag (Blue) PSDMB(302) - B&H Photo

It was too small for my needs. So I got the new Deca Ergonizer (Large) PS602:
Petrol PS602 Deca Eargonizer Bag (Large) PS602 - B&H Photo Video

It arrives Tuesday. I hope it's not giant. I wanted something to wear on my belly for boom op gigs, but also to carry to gigs as a mini recording studio, with my DR-680, MixPre, mics, cables and cans. It's also got cool removable wireless holders. I'll get the harness later.

If you need a small bag, that 302 is a great little bag. It worked fine for a simple boom op/mixer gig. I just couldn't fit a recorder in it. An edirol R-44 would fit in it I'm sure, the DR-680 could with some shoving, but I want more room.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 04:52 PM   #11
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Yes - controlled (at least semi controlled - no way to stop the coughs and sneezes I'm afraid) is important. Classical recording really is a different animal. For one thing the consumers of classical music tend to be serious about it and make a significant investment in good to great playback gear so they aren't likely to cut you any slack on the technical side. And a lot of the instruments are devilishly hard to record well. and a full orchestra is huge and spread out - even a grand piano is a large complex sound source.

But a good omni in the right place sounds beautiful. Interesting that Schoeps makes 3 or 4 different omni cartridges balanced differently according to the ratio of direct vs reflected sound at the recording location, ie how far back in the hall you are.

Anyhow, thanks for the OT reply re the bag - I decided to wait for the new one. The folks at Petrol said it would work just fine with a 302/702. No more OT comments, I promise!
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