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Old January 25th, 2014, 10:24 PM   #1
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Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

I've had this excellent recorder for a number of years mostly using it as audio back up in case of a dropout when I was shooting with tape based cameras. I rarely ever used the internal mics although they were good to have. Recently one of the mics stopped working as well as the battery life has dropped down to about an hour instead of the 6-8 hours it used to get. Took it into Sony for an estimate. $350. (Purchase price was about $500) As I'd like to use it for recording audio with my Pocket Camera I am considering springing for the repair but for one thing. At least so far all Sony has said is that the diminished battery life "MAY" be caused by the mic issue. Not good enough for me. Will this repair bill address that or not? Going to press them on that.

So my question to people here, to those that are familiar with the D50, which recorder would you choose instead? I've read up on a number of comparably priced recorders but reviews seem to indicate that they're not as clean as this Sony.

Thanks for any input.

BTW, I'm on the hook for a $120 evaluation charge from Sony even if choose not to repair. Hence, part of the reason why I'm considering it. On the up side this is applied to the repair if I go that route.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 01:03 AM   #2
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

I've got the PCM D50 and the pocket cam. I was using the D50 before for recording external audio when I was shooting with my Nikon. Now with the pocket cam I'm sending the external mike to my mixpre and then directly into the pocket camera. I love the sound quality of the Sony and will continue to use it with the Nikon.

I suppose some kind of short with the internal mic could be drawing energy faster.... Is the battery life still short when using an external mic?

BTW, Sony is now coming out with a new PCM D100 that improves some on the D50. It's expensive, listing at $799. I think I would look for a pcm D50 on the used market. A good deal would be about
$350. Depending on your familiarity with electronics, one might be tempted to take it apart and see if there were any obvious shorts or disconnects or burnt components.

Another consideration is to use some kind of external power to the Sony. You could do that for around the $100 range. You could get your recording time back that way.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 10:43 AM   #3
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

Thanks for the reply Stephen. I agree, it is conceivable that the mic issue is the cause for the battery drain, I just don't want to see Sony using the wording of their email as an "out". From what they've told me it would be $200 for parts to replace an AD board and a printed circuit and $150 for labour. I doubt they'd deduct the evaluation fee from the cost of the part so doing it myself doesn't seem worth it.

The battery life does drain when using the mics. I did hook up a C cell battery pack to my D50 to see how long it would last but it was only marginally better than the AAs. Anything bigger than C cells seems cumbersome.

Wondering how you send the signal from your mixpre to the pocket. I've also got a mixpre and I was about to purchase one of these.
Sescom LN2MIC-PCDM50 Line to Microphone LN2MIC-PCDM50 B&H Photo

I am aware of the D100 but would rather spend the extra cash elsewhere if possible.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 12:43 PM   #4
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

Jase,

You don't need an attenuator. The pocket likes a hot signal. Just set the pocket to receive a line input in the menu. I bought a double female xlr to stereo 3.5mm splitter cable to feed both mixpre signals to the pocket (for studio use). You may find that you really don't need the external recording with the mixpre going to the pocket. Nice to have the D50 in good shape though.

Steve
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Old January 26th, 2014, 01:17 PM   #5
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

Yes, it would be preferable to send 'line level' to the recorder.
This applies to almost all preamp/mixer> recorder scenarios.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 01:34 PM   #6
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

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Originally Posted by Stephen Brenner View Post
Jase,

You don't need an attenuator. The pocket likes a hot signal. Just set the pocket to receive a line input in the menu. I bought a double female xlr to stereo 3.5mm splitter cable to feed both mixpre signals to the pocket (for studio use). You may find that you really don't need the external recording with the mixpre going to the pocket. Nice to have the D50 in good shape though.

Steve
Makes total sense. I got so used to sending from the "tape out" on the mixpre, using the xlr out to my old camera that I didn't consider this.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 09:54 AM   #7
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

I presume you have cleaned all the battery contacts and ensured there is nothing causing a short circuit. I have just purchased a Zoom H6 recorder to use in tandem with the D50. I have never liked the mikes on the D50, they pick up any slight breeze.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 10:02 AM   #8
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

Yes, I did. No apparent shorts. How do you find the H6 compares to the D50? Mics aside, that is.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 10:42 AM   #9
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

I have only had the H6 for a short while but find the features and functions far better than the D50. I did a comparison with the D50 and H6 and the H6 has a nicer sound quality. It also has 4 XLR inputs as well as the Xy and MS mikes. I also like the Backup recording feature, this records a second file at -12db One slight thumbs down (so far) is the noise that you get with the MS mike, however this can be easily cancelled in your EQ. All in all I personally think the H6 is better than the D50. I will still use the Sony for various projects and as a side/ambient mike for stage productions.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 01:59 AM   #10
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

The other plus point for the H6 is that it uses SD cards, I have a 8gb card fitted, it stores stacks of stuff, ideal for the backup files too.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 06:12 AM   #11
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jase Tanner View Post
I've had this excellent recorder for a number of years mostly using it as audio back up in case of a dropout when I was shooting with tape based cameras. I rarely ever used the internal mics although they were good to have. Recently one of the mics stopped working as well as the battery life has dropped down to about an hour instead of the 6-8 hours it used to get. Took it into Sony for an estimate. $350. (Purchase price was about $500) As I'd like to use it for recording audio with my Pocket Camera I am considering springing for the repair but for one thing. At least so far all Sony has said is that the diminished battery life "MAY" be caused by the mic issue. Not good enough for me. Will this repair bill address that or not? Going to press them on that.

So my question to people here, to those that are familiar with the D50, which recorder would you choose instead? I've read up on a number of comparably priced recorders but reviews seem to indicate that they're not as clean as this Sony.

Thanks for any input.

BTW, I'm on the hook for a $120 evaluation charge from Sony even if choose not to repair. Hence, part of the reason why I'm considering it. On the up side this is applied to the repair if I go that route.
No contest - replace it with the new Sony PCM-D100 - the bonus is that Sony, hopefully, will waive the fee for non-repair if you replace it with a new Sony (which is a better unit).
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Old January 28th, 2014, 10:48 AM   #12
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
I have only had the H6 for a short while but find the features and functions far better than the D50. I did a comparison with the D50 and H6 and the H6 has a nicer sound quality. It also has 4 XLR inputs as well as the Xy and MS mikes. I also like the Backup recording feature, this records a second file at -12db One slight thumbs down (so far) is the noise that you get with the MS mike, however this can be easily cancelled in your EQ. All in all I personally think the H6 is better than the D50. I will still use the Sony for various projects and as a side/ambient mike for stage productions.
Thanks for the input. Good to hear all this. I went to a local vendor yesterday. Certainly not the build quality of the Sony but if it performs then it performs. A little larger than I'd like. Do you happen to know if you can still use the various inputs if you detach the mikes? You'd think you'd be able to but the salesman didn't know and I didn't have time to try that out.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 10:53 AM   #13
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

@ John. I have no doubt there'd be no contest but for the price. If it had XLRs I'd consider it. Not that the D50 either, that was its one significant shortcoming. Have you tried the unit? I don't believe its available here just yet.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 03:55 PM   #14
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jase Tanner View Post
Thanks for the input. Good to hear all this. I went to a local vendor yesterday. Certainly not the build quality of the Sony but if it performs then it performs. A little larger than I'd like. Do you happen to know if you can still use the various inputs if you detach the mikes? You'd think you'd be able to but the salesman didn't know and I didn't have time to try that out.
Yes, you can use the XLRs without any of the option modules attached.

Note that the 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo input is on the XY mic module, not on the body of the recorder.

I did a poorly level matched comparison of the D50 and H6 on acoustic guitar: Zoom H6 – Acoustic Guitar Shootout | Homebrewed Music

Fran
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Old January 28th, 2014, 05:07 PM   #15
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Re: Sony PCM D50: Repair or replace

That is good to know. Not a deal breaker re the 1/8" in. I have to say that I did like what I heard on your site. Thanks, Fran.
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