A Portable Recorder with Professional Quality Features
The Sony PCM-M10 is the little brother of Sony’s flagship professional Digital Audio recorder the PCM-D50 which is a favorite among many of the top field-recording experts worldwide.
The PCM-M10 is a portable digital recorder aimed toward people looking for a small lightweight portable recorder that excels at high quality stereo recordings.
It does not have all the bells and whistles like the Zoom H4n, instead it’s feature set is focused on one thing and that is High quality stereo recordings. With that goal in mind Sony has equipped this recorder with professional caliber 96khz/24bit A/D converters.
Instead of going with dual cardioid mics, Sony chose to use 2 matched omnidirectional mics that are set at a fixed 90 degree angle to ensure an even frequency response especially below the 100 Hz range. This even low frequency response comes at a slight compromise of loosing out on a wider stereo image associated with using dual Cardioid mics which offer better stereo separation but lack in capturing lower frequencies evenly.
The Sony PCM-M10′s built in mics sound very lush and their stereo image downmixes very well when mixed to mono, a quality that really shines through when capturing a single point sound source like a solo musician or Sound FX recorded in the field. Note that, the wider stereo image captured by other dual cardioid mics can sometimes cause a hole in the center of the soundscape where the separation is almost a little too wide/unnatural making it sound like there is no central sound image to guide you.
The record level control is actually a wheel on the side of the recorder as opposed to the typical up/down button. A much needed feature for people who like to point and record something while adjusting record level on the fly by feel rather than looking down at the recorder.
This recorder has many professional features that make it very appealing to someone looking to enter the field of professional audio recording. One feature that really sets this recorder apart is its 5-second pre record buffer, imagine being able to capture 5 seconds of audio even before you press the record button. That is exactly how cool this feature is, it ensures that you don’t miss the first 5 seconds of a recording even if you happened to press record a few seconds after that big moment you were planning to capture or a little after those important first words of a speech that you so wanted to record were spoken.
The Sony PCM-M10 has signal present and peak LEDs right above each of its mics to alert the user of current record levels. A quick glance at the recorder will tell you if your recording levels are good or not without having to look at the LCD screen. An amazingly simple but versatile feature only found on professional Audio recorders. Battery consumption on the Sony PCM-M10 is very conservative with the recorder lasting upto 50 hours on 2 NimH AA batteries. This device also comes with a wired remote control that allows you to start and stop a recording remotely in order to avoid the typical handling noise caused when you press the record button directly on the recorders body.
All these professional features might make some people think that the Sony PCM-M10 is a complicated device requiring a fair amount of technical/audio knowledge to use. Thankfully, this device has been designed with ease of use in mind so even a novice can easily get a good recording going on this machine without glancing at the user manual.
Other cool features of this recorder are the ability to set index/marker points in recordings, AB loop feature to continually loop playback of a particular section of a recording (useful for Musicians rehearsing to a particular part of a song for example) and the ability to change the pitch of a recording on the fly without affecting the speed of Audio playback (another neat feature here for musicians)
The Good –
Excellent natural sounding omnidirectional stereo mics
Supports 96khz/24bit wav and mp3 recording formats
5-second pre record buffer
Lightweight Aluminum construction
Wired remote control
Built in speaker
Quick 5 second boot up time
Mass storage device
Bundled with Sony’s Sound Forge professional audio Editing software
The Bad –
Mic and line inputs are 1/8 inch
No Phantom power for external Mics
Who is this Digital Recorder for –
The Sony PCM-M10 is the most compact professional quality portable Digital Recorder on the market today and is perfect for people who want a digital recorder that just works great by itself without the need for any external Mics or other accessories. Simple, awesome, professional quality point and record sound make this recorder a must have for Musicians, Audio enthusiasts and People looking to record very high quality Voice/Speech as well.
Overall the Sony PCM-M10 (which looks about the size of an iPhone) is a solidly built device with a small footprint and it is very light as well thanks to its solid aluminum casing. If you are on the look out for straightforward, professional quality digital recorder that can get the job done in the field, the Sony PCM-M10 recorder is your best bet. Its rugged build and advanced features/specifications should keep you recording happily for years.