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Sony PCM D10 Review
Equipment

Sony PCM D10 Review

TrueToad

Wonderful Handheld Audio Recorder

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The Sony PCM-D10 is a high-resolution audio digital recorder designed for professional use. Here are some of its notable features:

  1. Hi-Res Audio Recording: The PCM-D10 allows you to record professional sound in Hi-Res Audio at up to 192 kHz/24 bit. Whether you’re capturing a live music set, recording a podcast episode, or reporting breaking news, this device unlocks a new level of detail and texture.

  2. Built-in Three-Way Adjustable Microphones: The PCM-D10 has three-way adjustable built-in microphones offering low noise and a wide frequency range. These mics adapt to different recording situations:

    • XY Position: Ideal for music performances.
    • Zoom Position: Suitable for interviews and discussions.
    • Wide Stereo Position: Great for open and outdoor spaces.
  3. Twin XLR/TRS Jacks: You can connect external gear via the twin XLR/TRS jacks. These inputs support XLR and TRS connectors; each jack can be independently switched to mic or line level. Additionally, they provide independent 48-V phantom power.

  4. Dual ADCs (Analog-to-Digital Converters): The PCM-D10 combines two top-of-the-line AK4558 A/D D/A converters to maximize signal-to-noise ratio (S/N). This ensures flawless sound capture at up to 192 kHz.

  5. Variable Analog Gain Amplifier: Adjust input levels precisely using the variable analog gain amplifier. Independent dials for left and right channels allow you to fine-tune your audio inputs smoothly without digital step noise.

  6. Noise-Reducing Circuit Board: The circuit board is engineered to deliver the highest sound quality. Analog and digital circuits are separated to reduce interference, and amp blocks are positioned close to the inputs for clear transmission.

  7. Analog Headphone Amp: The PCM-D10 features a high-quality MAX9723 analog headphone amp. Whether monitoring live recordings or reliving performances, you’ll enjoy clear, detailed audio with high output power.

  8. High S/N Mode: This mode ensures that low levels are not lost during recording. The PCM-D10’s two ADCs record at different volumes—one regular and one lower—and automatically replace failed low-level sections with audio captured at -12 dB.

Limitations and Downsides:

  • Noise Levels: The onboard mics are somewhat noisy, especially compared to the D100. XLR inputs also exhibit some noise when compared to higher-quality preamps.
  • Size: The PCM-D10 is a handful, but it remains lightweight.
  • Flimsy Parts: Certain components, like the battery cover, feel less robust. The writing on the front may degrade over time.
  • There is no backlighting; in low light, you will need a flashlight
  • Like all handheld recorders, you will hear handling noise if you do not use an isolation device (tripod, Rycote mount etc)
  • No PC Interface for use as a mic; only Media Transfer
  • No build in recharging via USB

What I like about the Sony PCM D10:

  • It is easy to use and has many physical switches for standard settings.
  • Two built-in XLR inputs.

The Sony PCM-D10 is a versatile and powerful digital recorder suitable for various professional scenarios, and despite its shortcomings, I enjoy using it for outdoor recordings.

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