Welcome back to the 344 Audio blog. As sound professionals, it’s crucial that we equip ourselves with the best tools for the job at hand, be it monitors, computer systems or microphones. Whilst not every piece of gear is essential, there are some items that we believe that everyone should have in their locker. Portable audio recorders are one those pieces of equipment, and today we are pleased to share with you a product review of the coveted Sony PCM-D100 portable high resolution audio recorder.
Product: PCM D-100
Our Rating: 4.7/5
The Sony PCM-D100 audio recorder offers high quality recording, both in the sonic character and fidelity of its microphones, and the high-resolution formats of recording it offers users (192kHz/24bit PCM and DSD). This recorder is suitable for a range of different audio applications including sound effects recording, live music & theatre recording and also for journalists when newsgathering or recording voice memos, interviews etc. The PCM-D100 has 32 GB of built-in flash memory and a SD Card/Memory Stick slot for additional storage, and features of robust design that should keep its internal workings protected from the knocks and bumps that will inevitably occur when being put through its paces in the field.
What You Get
The Sony PCM-D100 comes supplied with a carrying case, a protective wind screen, USB cable and a wireless remote with receiver and transmitter unit.
The Sony PCM-D100 recorder alongside the included wind screen.
The design of this recorder is compact and discrete, with a clean black and silver colour pallet that doesn't draw too much attention. Whilst the aesthetics of an audio recorder may not seem like the most important thing, it can actually tell you a lot about the design quality of the product as a whole. If they haven't taken the time to consider how the product looks, then that indicates there may be other areas that have potentially been overlooked as well.
The need for discretion in audio field recording is also highly important, as we want to capture sounds in their most natural form. If we have loads of antennas and other bits sticking out then it makes it obvious to the people around us that we are recording and could potentially draw the wrong kind of attention, ruining an otherwise great recording.
Overall, the build quality is solid and you feel like you are working with a proper piece of kit when you have this in your hand. So far so good for Sony!
In the field In terms of sonic quality, the PCM-D100 sounds absolutely top notch and doesn't have any of the common issues with portable recorders such as a harsh and flimsy top end or difficulty coping with extreme dynamics. The recorder gives everything a natural and open sound, whilst maintaining a sense of "chunky" and "warm" low end.
We have also been especially impressed with how it preserves the stereo field of a recording, allowing you to capture sounds with maximum width, perfect for field recording in areas with lots of peripheral activity or for recording ambiences. This is also helped by the inclusion of 3 different mic position options that the user can switch between to meet their needs, XY, spaced pair and wide XY.
Having such an extensive range of recording formats is also a great feature, as you can simply switch between different sample rates and codecs through the push of a button depending on what the situation calls for. Whilst many recorders have this feature, the Sony PCM-D100 makes this process very simple, and its backlit LED screen is easy to work with in various light levels. The robust design of the Sony PCM-D100 means that you can record with confidence, and perhaps embrace working in more rugged, bumpy or watery environments than you would normally. Hiking up a bumpy trail to capture some mountain winds? No problem. Venturing into a dripping cave or dusty abandoned factory? Bring it on!
The exquisite microphones on the Sony PCM D-100 have 3 different potions that the user can switch between.
Considerations Given the price tag, the Sony PCM-D100 will be more suited to seasoned audio professionals who need a high quality piece of kit that can survive being put through its paces regularly. If you are just getting to grips with field recording than it might be more appropriate for you to work with a less expensive product until you feel ready to move to something a bit more high-end. One thing that is worth mentioning is that there seem to be a few different versions available for purchase, and not all of them will come with a tripod (ours didn't). We encountered some problematic handling noise during our recent field recording session which could have been remedied by the use of a tripod or handle, so its worth just double checking what will be included with the product before making purchase.
The Bottom Line
Overall the Sony PCM D-100 is a great piece of kit and will meet all of your portable high quality audio recording needs. Whilst the £549.00 purchase price may steer some in the direction of cheaper alternatives such as the Zoom H6, we strongly believe that its worth spending the extra money to get the Sony, as the audio and design quality far exceeds the competition. If your a committed and active audio professional then this is the recorder for you! For a more detailed look at this product and its specifications, you check out its product page on the Sony website: https://pro.sony/en_GB/products/portable-digital-recorders/pcm-d100
We hope you enjoyed checking out this review!
If you enjoyed this post please check out our ultimate guide to audio post-production: https://www.344audio.com/post/the-ultimate-guide-to-audio-post-production-sound-design
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.
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