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View Full Discussion This is typical of Sony. Here is a recorder with all the bells and whistles and NO way to use high quality external microphones. i.e. No balanced XLR inputs.., and they want $1000 for it. Even this drop, at $650, is short of a real bargain. Check out the Tascam machines, the top model, the DR100MkIII, does include XLR mic inputs and is HALF the drop price offered here. Bottom line; I can plug my $2000 Schoeps, low noise, mics into my Tascam DR100 (1st generation) and take advantage of a portable recorder offering a decent chance of getting a high quality recording. They've made some significant improvements on the MkIII with little to no change in price. Here's a link to a pro user of the Tascam DR100MkIII; http://tascam.com/news/display/12611/ That being said, the build quality on the Sony PCM-D100 is great.., but then so is the Tascam's.
How is the noise floor for the Tascam in comparison to this, though?
I ask because, for example, the Zoom H4n has balanced mic inputs but even with high quality mics the noise floor was terrible compared to the Sony PCM-M10 when using a 3.5mm mic of comparable quality.
So, features aren't the only thing that matter for the price.
It is pretty much the only option other than the Korg (which is getting a bit old) if you want to record in DSD format.
I also read a review where the built in mics were favorably compared to the sound of Neumann K184 mics, and the DSD recordings were described as stunningly good, so there is quite a bit going for this if you can overlook the flaws. As for playing back the DSD files, use foobar2000.
All I can say is that if you buy this type of recorder (Sony or Tascam), your goal is not necessarily the "nth" degree of quality. So for the sake of convenience, some compromises must be made/accepted.
That being said; some surprisingly good recordings have been made with either device. Of course to accomplish this you must be fully aware of whatever shortcomings each device has, and use it accordingly
I believe you are correct as I've used both the Korg MR1000 and MR2000 with superior results. Unfortunately Korg has moved on and no longer offers either of theses machines.., too bad.
The Tascam of course should be cheaper as it can't even record in DSD. The Tascam is a nice unit but having to lug along an extra set of mics defeats the purpose of portability. I'd rather the designers focus more effort on the built-in preamps and mics than add in XLR inputs. I already have enough stuff to lug to rehearsals and gigs. The Sony's sound and portability is the tops in this field. I've beat the hell out of the previous generation model of this (PCM-D50) and if the new model is as strong is the old one it's going to be like a tank. I know several other professional touring musicians that swear by the Sony so you can't go wrong with this.
While I agree with you for the most part, there are those times when using a far better mic than comes with these units is desirable. Either Sony or Tascam will do an acceptable job for rehearsals and quick recording applications.., I've done as much myself. But if this is what you need it for, then why spend the extra money for the Sony label, and less flexibility at that. Now where you and I come together is the need for better Mics and Pre-amps. Actually I'd opt for a better pre-amp alone, especially in the Tascam with its balanced XLR inputs. That would allow fine microphones to shine if the occasion arrises to use them.., and it has in emergencies in my own personal experience.
I agree too with what you are saying but I also use the Sony on tour and often times can prop it up discreetly on stage on a music or mic stand or on top of the sound engineer's board without having to resort to external mics. (Traveling with a bag of cymbals and a stick bag is plenty enough for me so in actuality external mics are out of the question for me.) I'm also hankering to hear this Sony's iteration of DSD as the PCM-D50 can only go up to 96/24. If it sounds anything as sublime as my Korg MR1000 I think I'd be very happy. Unfortunately the Korg is way too cumbersome for my touring needs and doesn't have built in mics.
There's something very special about raw DSD in capturing my cymbal sound that I haven't heard yet with any other format. I just wish DSD offered more EQ'ing/editing features without having to transcode over to PCM.
I understand completely. I make my living recording classical and jazz live and I have had more than one occasion where something didn't work and out came the Tascam. I would simply feed the good mics already set up into the Tascam reset levels and off to the races. That, of course, limits me to a stereo, or two track recording only.., but a back-up is a back-up and at least I came away with something rather than the alternative. I too have a Korg MR1000 and very unhappy that Korg no longer makes these machines. I thought surely they'd update it, or create a new version. Because of what I do the slightly bulky nature of the MR1000 doesn't present a problem as it's, more often than not, one of the lighter, smaller, pieces of gear in my kit. Take care my friend, and happy touring
Thanks and it's nice to hear we're in closely related fields. I see more clearly now your needs and preferences as it relates to a portable recorder. That's great that it works great for you as a backup.
I'm about to wrap up a tour tomorrow here in Denver on the last night of 4 different cities. My only regret is I haven't whipped out my recorder but sometimes I prefer to leave it alone as bringing out the recorder puts another psyche on the music that isn't always conducive to having the best, most sincere performance.
Thanks for sharing and I wish you many great recordings for the future! All the best to you too, friend...