As a less bulky alternative to other high-end pro-quality digital audio recorders, the Sony PCM-M10 delivers top-notch performance with an easy-to-use interface. Users particularly appreciate its stellar battery life and trim size. However, don't expect to find many extra features.
Keeps going and going. The vast majority of users have positive things to say about the overall recording quality of the Sony PCM-M10. Some go as far as to say that it handily beats the directly competing Samson Zoom H4n (*Est. $270) in terms of raw recording quality. Others are not as convinced, however, saying that the mics don't give as much of a true stereo recording. On the other hand, everyone agrees that the built-in playback speaker is weak. While the PCM-M10 lacks the multitrack capabilities and many of the extras of its competitor, its five-second pre-recording buffer is a great unique feature. Last, and very much not least, epic battery life is one of the Sony PCM-M10's most buzzed-about positives.
Palm-sized and simple to use. The PCM-M10 fits comfortably in your palm for one-handed operation, and the intuitive controls make it easy to pick up and use right out of the box. In contrast, the file folder architecture is too unwieldy for some users, who say that it is poorly implemented. The PCM-M10's substantive 4 GB of on-board memory can be expanded by adding a memory card for plenty of recording time, which you'll definitely clock thanks to the great battery life.
Sleek with a trade-off. The PCM-M10 fits in your palm or your pocket, making it a prime pick for users seeking greater portability paired with high-end audio quality. However, while performance stacks up well compared to the Samson Zoom H4n, this Sony digital audio recorder has fewer features yet sells for a similar price.
Review Credibility: Very Good The Sony PCM-M10's sleek design and excellent sound quality are common positives listed by users at BHPhotoVideo.com, where the digital audio recorder has around 145 reviews contributing to its 4.7 out of 5 rating. Many reviewers also comment on how invaluable the recorder's unique five-second pre-recording buffer is for capturing audio immediately after the fact. Some users complain about the speaker monitor being weak for playback. Nearly every user leaving feedback (99 percent) say that they would recommend the PCM-M10 to a friend.
Review: Sony PCM-M10 Portable Audio Recorder, Contributors to BHPhotoVideo.com , As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good Sound on Sound's Tom Flint praises the PCM-M10 for its overall accessibility and ease of use, saying "Sony [has] kept settings simple enough that operation remains within the reach of 'prosumers' with little or no music technology experience." He criticizes the cost-cutting measure of making the dual microphones non-adjustable but maintains they still produce high-quality, clear recordings even if they're a bit light on bass tone.
Review: Sony PCM M10B Portable Stereo Recorder, Tom Flint, March 2010
Review Credibility: Very Good After taking the Sony PCM-M10 on a five-week recording trek through South Africa, videographer Fred Greenhalgh writes about his experience with the recorder, comparing it to other devices he's used, including numerous devices in the Zoom line. Greenhalgh praises the PCM-M10's "truly legendary" battery life and its portability as big selling points. He notes that wrestling to get a wind screen on the device is a real pain, but the audio quality he captured during his trek was great. He provides a handful of recorded audio clips as samples.
Review: Our South African Love: The Sony PCM-M10, Fred Greenhalgh, Feb. 19, 2012
Review Credibility: Good Amazon.com's users contribute more than 45 reviews of the Sony PCM-M10, and it achieves an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5. The small iPod-like form factor is a major plus among reviewers. A handful of vocal users suggested the PCM-M10 is superior to the Zoom H4n, though many also acknowledge it has fewer features and special functions.
Review: Sony PCM -M10 Portable Linear PCM Voice Recorder, Contributors to Amazon.com , As of April 2013