[microsound] hand-held recording

Robin Parmar robin at robinparmar.com
Thu Mar 25 23:46:49 EDT 2010

Frank Barknecht wrote:

> This is the best quickstart overview I found while 
> recently shoping for a mobile recorder myself:
> http://www.theatreofnoise.com/2009/11/summary-of-portable-digital-audio.html

Thanks, that's my site.

> I settled on the Sony PCM M10 with the Olympus L10/11 
> devices coming in second place for me.

I own both and like both. The Olympus has the best construction of any mini recorder I've seen: totally solid, metal everywhere, great responsive controls. The built-in mics are cardioid so it is more directional than the Sony M10, though the Sony's mics have less self-noise as a result of being omnis. The Sony has a pre-record buffer and a couple of other nice features, but it is larger and a couple of the controls (eg power switch) seem cheap to me. It lasts forever on its batteries but the Olympus certainly lasts long enough for most practical purposes. The LS10 has the advantage of being cheaper but does not come with a remote in all markets and has less built-in memory.

You will definitely want to use external mics at some point, not only to get better sound, but so you can position them where you want. Both of these units have much better mic pre-amps than the cheaper mini recorders. For my applications I would not touch the Zooms with a ten-foot boom. Please see my series of articles for details.

-- robin

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