So a SSD thread today brought to my attention the apparent death of the Sony PCM D50.
I commented in that thread, but I figured I'd elaborate here.
First off, this may just be a weird Sony play to phase out the D50, since it still seems to be listed as available on the pro website:
With that said, its a stark reminder that these things exist at the whims of massive multinational corporations and can be taken from us at a moment's notice.
I can guess what's happening: the PCM M10 is eating up up all of the D50s sales. Its $200 cheaper, the mics sound better than a lot of the non-D50 market, and the battery life/recording media options are actually superior to the D50s.
IMO, handheld recorders are all about the built in mics, and that (along with the battery life) is where I feel the D50 run circles around the rest of the market. The primary function of a device like this is to make a good impromptu or low profile recording using the built in mics. If the D50 is indeed on its way out, I think its a shame because I feel like
the D50 is the only handheld recorder in the sub 1k range that has very
good internal mics.
This is not to say that the mics are particularly quiet or
neutral (because they're not), but they do a better job than the others
in the market at getting something that sounds good and usable in a
variety of contexts, and they'll beat the M10's internal mics in most applications. I've made tons of recordings with my D50's built in mics, and used them in countless projects. The device is particularly useful for stealth crowd recordings.
In a larger context I'd pay a heck of a lot for a handheld recorder that was made up of Line Audio CM3s for mics, a Sound Devices front end like the mixpre, and an interface and battery life like the D50.