It looks like Sony’s PCM-D50 digital audio recorder will have a street price of $499. It carries a list price of $599, but a quick look at Pricegrabber shows that most online retailers will be selling it for a hundred bucks less.
Of course, none of these stores actually has the recorder in stock yet, although you can preorder it from several stores. The Sony rep at AES told me the PCM-D50 wouldn’t be available until November, but at least one store seems to think that it will be available on October 19th.
The Sony PCM-D50, for the uninitiated, is a stripped down version of Sony’s uber-high end PCM-D1 digital audio recorder. It has cheaper preamps, mics, and lacks the fancy VU meters on the front of the unit. But it also costs about 1/4th as much as the PCMD-D1 and if the sample recordings I made in a noisy room are anything to go by, it sounds fantastic.
The PCM-D50 also has some handy features missing from lower end recorders like the M-Audio Microtrack, Edirol R-09, and Zoom H2 and H4. For example, the ability to create new tracks without pausing recordings, an easy to use record volume knob for changing levels on the fly, and a solid metal body that minimizes handling noise when using the internal mics.