Sony’s PCM-D100 audio recorder has long been the first choice for portable field recording. It is widely regarded as having the best sound of any portable recorder.
I reviewed the Sony PCM-D100 in 2017. At that time, it was the best value for field recordists needing superior sound in a small package. A lot has changed since then. Sound Devices released their revised MixPre series. Zoom upgraded an older model to the F8n. Tascam offers their DR-100MKIII. There are many options for high-quality sound in the sub-$1000 price bracket.
Sony has risen to the challenge with a new release: the PCM-D10.
Today’s post will outline what we can expect from the upcoming D10 release.
Major New Features
What’s new in the D10?
- XLR inputs and phantom power. One of the most common complaints about the D100 is its lack of connectivity options. It does have a 3.5 mm input jack. While there are a handful of microphones can connect with this 1/8” jack, many field recording fans longed for a professional standard. Sony has responded with perhaps the most significant change to their portable line. The D10 now features locking XLR/TRS inputs. This means you can plug in your Sennheiser microphone directly into the unit, powered by 48V phantom power. Of course, XLR connectivity is only as good as a recorder’s preamp quality. However, if Sony’s previous attention to quality is any guide, things are looking good.
- New ADCs. In the previous review, the D100’s recording quality showcased impressive depth, soundstage, and separation of detail. The new D10 appears to improve upon this with two new AK4558 A/D D/A converters.
- Improved circuit board design. It’s no secret that a recorder’s own components contribute a considerable amount of thermal noise to a field recording. Sony has redesigned their circuit board to separate the digital and analog components to “reduce interference” and “boost signal-to-noise.”
- New Headphone Preamp. In another effort to enhance sound purity, the D10 has included a MAX9723 analog headphone amp for improved sound quality.
Those are the big changes. What are some smaller additions?
- Bluetooth connectivity. The D10 allows playback on a Bluetooth device. Want to audition to a wireless speaker? Connect it to an Anker SoundCore. Working stealth? Place the D10 across the room and monitor with Bluetooth headphones.
- Smartphone app. Many recordists have noticed that merely pressing the D100’s record button can contribute handling noise to a recording. With a new “Sony REC Remote” app, you can begin recording from your iPhone without touching the D10 itself.
- USB Type-C interface. The D10 adopts the modern USB Type-C interface. (Don’t worry, a USB Type-C to USB-A cable is included in the box.)
- New form factor. The D10 measures 197.6 mm (7.78”) by 37.4 mm (1.48”) by 80.2 mm (3.16”), and comes with a streamlined design and a new, textured chassis.
No concrete word on the price of the D10, or its availability. I’ll report when I know more.
Read more about the Sony PCM-D10.
My thanks to Johan for his email about the D10.