Sony PCM-M10

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The Sony PCM-M10 digital recorder
 Contributed by Nathan Statezni

I recently ran across the Sony PCM-M10 recorder at a store in Thailand. It seems to cost around $220-250 online. I downloaded the manual and noticed some nice features, including some that are better than the Zoom recorders; however, it would be important to check whether files can be renamed on the unit (which is needed for track sorting purposes).


  • it has both built-in memory and microSD card (up to 16 GB) memory. Thus, it seems like you could prepare an RTT on one unit, save it on both the built-in memory and on the microSD card, and then move the microSD card into another Sony unit and have two copies of your RTT with very little effort.
  • automatic “cross-memory recording” such that if one memory type fills up, it automatically switches to the other and continues recording.
  • you can copy tracks between memory storage (built-in memory and microSD card). Thus, to have two copies of a track in one folder, it seem that you could first copy it to the other memory and then copy it back.
  • External switch for Hi/Low mic sensitivity
  • External switch for Manual/Auto recording level
  • Headphone jack can also be adjusted to be a line out jack (for manual transfer between units, although probably not needed anymore for RTT)
  • Can adjust playback “DPC(Speed Control)” down to 75% or up to 200% (they call it “+100%”), similar to the Zoom
  • It has a one-track-at-a-time play function, like the Zoom
  • Reported by reviewers to have great battery life, uses 2 AA batteries
  • remote is included


  • It is not clear whether you can rename files or folders on the unit; you can rename files and folders from the computer
  • No XLR (big) microphone jack; but still has a minijack mic jack (like the minidisc recorders)
  • the built-in mics look to be lower quality than the Zoom H4 mics

Track marks

This unit has “track marks”, like the old minidisc recorders did, but they act a little different. While the old minidisc recorders showed them like they were separate tracks, on the M10, adding t-marks does not create new wav files. Instead, you can move through a wav file to each of the t-marks. It also seems like you can’t transfer track marks to the computer. You have to convert them into permanent “divided” tracks.

There are also menu options to delete all track marks in a track or to “divide” (see below for more about this) all track marks into separate tracks. It seems that you probably can’t insert track marks during recording. Pressing pause during recording does not seem to add a new track mark or start a new wav file.

The manual doesn’t address whether track marks are usable when transferring to the computer. It seems like they probably aren’t, because track marks are all contained within a track. For transferring to a computer or other non M10 recorder, you would probably have to divide all the track marks into separate wav files.

Here are the comments they make about track marks:

  • You can add a track mark only to a track recorded using the PCM-M10 recorder. You cannot add a track mark to a file copied from a computer.
  • You cannot add a track mark at a point within 0.5 seconds from another track mark.
  • If there are already 98 track marks in a track, you cannot add any more track marks.
  • When a track mark is added during playback, the playback stops.


The M10 also has a permanent divide function. You can’t rejoin divided tracks. When you divide a wav file, the files have a “_1” and “_2” added to them, similar to Zoom’s “A “and “B”.

There is an option to convert all the track marks in a track into divisions.

Here are the comments they make about the divide function:

  • You can divide a track recorded using the PCM-M10 recorder only. A file copied from a computer cannot be divided.
  • Once a track is divided, you cannot return it to the original status again.
  • If you divide a track at a position within 0.5 seconds from a track mark, the track mark will be deleted.

Reordering tracks

The manual doesn’t explicitly say how to rearrange tracks. It seems that it sorts tracks based on file name, so you would have to rename the tracks to get the order you want, like the Zoom.

Recording frequencies and bits

  • LPCM 22.05kHz/16bit
  • LPCM 44.10kHz/16bit*
  • LPCM 44.10kHz/24bit
  • LPCM 48.00kHz/16bit
  • LPCM 48.00kHz/24bit
  • LPCM 96.00kHz/16bit
  • LPCM 96.00kHz/24bit
  • MP3 44.10kHz/64kbps
  • MP3 44.10kHz/128kbps
  • MP3 44.10kHz/320kbps


  • Built-in Electret Condenser Microphones: The PCM-M10/B's electret condenser microphones have exceptional high sound quality. The microphones are omni-directional with a flat and wide frequency response and natural sound characteristics.
  • Flexible Playback Features: The PCM-M10/B includes both digital pitch control and key control. Digital pitch control maintains pitch while slowing down or speeding up playback speed. Key control allows changing the pitch while maintaining playback speed.
  • Simple Uploading to Computer: The PCM-M10/B conforms to the USB 2.0 Mass Storage Class Device standard and this recorder's native recording file formats include .WAV and .MP3. This means recordings can be rapidly uploaded to a computer and used in conjunction with most common audio production software
  • Versatile Recording Functions: The PCM-M10/B offers comprehensive signal processing features for location recording including: digital limiter, auto record level control and a digital low cut filter. The PCM-M10/B also includes a 5 second pre record buffer, cross-memory recording and track marking functions
  • Audio Formats Supported: _ Record:_ .WAV and MP3; Playback: .WAV, .MP3, .WMA (Non DRM), .M4A (AAC-LC, Non-DRM)
  • Built-in Mic: Electret condenser microphones. Max input level: 123 dB SPL. Frequency response 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • DC Input Jack: 3V
  • Dimensions: 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 7/8" (w x h x d) not including projecting parts and controls
  • Frequency Response: Fs = 96 kHz: Frequency Response = 20 Hz to 40 kHz (Line in)
  • Headphone Output: Stereo Mini Jack; Maximum output: 20 mW + 20 mW; Load impedance: 16 ohms
  • Line Input (Analogue): (Stereo Mini Jack) Input impedance: 22k ohms; Minimum input level: 500mV; Rated input level: 2.0V
  • Line Input (Optical): NA
  • Line Output (Analogue): Line out available from headphone jack (menu selection) Output level: 1Vrms; Load impedance 22k ohms
  • Line Output (Optical): NA
  • Memory Stick Slot: Accepts Memory Stick Micro (M2) and microSD
  • Mic Input: (Stereo Mini Jack) Input impedance: 22 k ohm, Rated input level: 2.5 mV; Minimum input level: 0.9 mV
  • Power Consumption: 0.27w
  • Power Requirements: DC in 3V. Two AA size Alkaline batteries (supplied). Two AA NiMH Rechargable batteries (optional)
  • Quantization: 16-bit linear, 24-bit linear
  • Recording Format: Linear PCM Stereo .WAV and MP3
  • S/N Ratio: 87dB or greater (1KHz IHF-A) when set to 24-bit
  • Sampling Frequency: 22.05kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz and 96kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (Line Input to Line Output): 0.03% or below (1kHz, 22kHz LPF)
  • USB: High-speed USB,mass storage class
  • Weight: 6.6 oz (including batteries)
  • Wow and Flutter: Below measurable limit (less than +/-0.001%W.Peak)

See our Tips for Audio Recording for help with recording digital audio.

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