Recording music with the Sony PCM-D1

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We had a chance last week to try recording our regular weekly jazz trio (sax, bass, drums) get-together with Sony’s new-ish PCM-D1 portable recording device. The Sony device is probably the most high-end of a new class of recording devices that record from built-in microphones directly to common digital formats in memory. In this case we recorded at regular CD-quality resolution (44.1 Khz) to wav files.

Mostly I was trying to figure out if the sound from a single set of stereo microphones would work for this type of music. Our ears have become used to years of hearing recordings that are created with multiple microphones placed extremely close to instruments, so that the sound of microphones that pick up some of the quality of the room the music is played in tends to sound more hollow and “unnatural” at times. I have to say, I came away impressed. The quality from the built-in condenser mikes was really good, and while the mix isn’t perfect, I think that by spending some time working on the placement of the device we could come away with perfectly useful recordings.

One of the tunes we recorded is available for listening as an mp3 from http://homepage.mac.com/oren.sreebny/ned-oren-kurt.mp3 – it’s only a 128 bit converted file (and we didn’t play great) but you should be able to get the general idea. Many thanks to Tony Tudisco from First Choice Marketing for arranging for the demo!

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