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Author Topic: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?  (Read 1280 times)

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Offline jibanes

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Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« on: August 24, 2016, 08:57:45 AM »
Tapers,

My Sony PCM-D50 fell in a river while I was recording endangered species. I rescued the PCM-D50, but since then, the mics volume is unbalanced, as such, the right mic delivers only about two thirds of the recording volume as the left one; but this seems to appear gradually, i.e if the input signal is lower than 100Hz, the mics are balanced, while the discrepancy increases with the input frequence; so it's relatively difficult to compensate in processing; as the discrepancy isn't linear.

I have several options:
* one would be to get the PCM-D50 serviced, but since I owned it for >6 years and there are no Sony shop around, it would have to be done by a third party I suppose, would you advise me someone who can service those recorders near Seattle, WA?
* try the repair myself, using another PCM-D50 from an auction website (not much to lose).
* "upgrade" to a PCM-D100.
* purchase something from a different brand.

The use of external mics is of course an option, but I would like the unit to be compact, I do quite a lot of hiking and backpacking to track those animals. I have been using a PCM-M10, but the quality isn't what the PCM-D50 delivered (although the PCM-M10 is quite good really, it has its own limitations). Recording in mono isn't an option. I do my recordings in 96kHz/24 bit, but wouldn't mind 192kHz (the recordings are not meant to be replayed, rather, analysed by sound processors to extract a meaningful "message").

Thank you

Offline H₂O

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2016, 12:51:10 PM »
I'd buy a used D50 and give that a go - I wouldn't waste time trying to repair it myself

You can get a used D50's for less then $300 nowadays

D100 may be a better long term investment but they are quite expensive at around $750 new and over $500 used (typically in the low $600's)
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Offline jibanes

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2016, 12:55:43 PM »
Or replace a PCM-D50 with a Tascam DR-100mkIII? (not mkII)

Offline H₂O

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2016, 01:17:26 PM »
It's my understanding the M50 and M100 mics are pretty good and much better then the Tascam units
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Offline ilduclo

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2016, 01:28:32 PM »
it's around 200$ plus shipping to get a d50 serviced. Might be a better deal for you as it seems to come out good as new. Mine had a button failure after 2 years, I got it repaired and it's been OK for around 5 more.  :bigsmile:

Offline jibanes

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2016, 01:45:54 PM »
What is the procedure for servicing those? I was told sony support is hell, and they closed the local sony store in Seattle.

Offline ilduclo

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2016, 02:28:39 PM »
 I mailed mine off, I recall it was a place in the San Fernando Valley? Go to the Sony site, there should be a 800 number to call about it. Like I said, mine came back great! If they still do the repairs, I'd speculate it is worth it as they are real nice recorders. I think mine is the tits! :cheers:

Offline nolamule

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2016, 02:39:50 PM »
I'd buy a used D50 and give that a go - I wouldn't waste time trying to repair it myself

You can get a used D50's for less then $300 nowadays

D100 may be a better long term investment but they are quite expensive at around $750 new and over $500 used (typically in the low $600's)

Here is an option for a D100 if you go down that road: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=178905.0

Offline jibanes

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2016, 12:35:16 AM »
The D100 is a tempting (not cheap) upgrade; reviews are mixed, I would like to see how it compares to the Tascam DR-100mkIII in the field; but I'm fairly sure the Sony would have higher quality overall.
I've noticed that the PCM-M10 was discontinued, I'm hoping for a replacement, this was an outstanding unit for the price, any rumors about that?
Edit: noticed the thread about PCM-M10 being discontinued, alas, no news there either... something to keep an eye on.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 12:52:05 AM by jibanes »

Offline adrianb

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2016, 02:39:39 AM »
I used to own the D50 and upgraded to the D100. Main reason is that the D100 has the lowest noise floor of any portable recorder I have ever used. I use it for recording (sometimes quiet) nature sounds, and I am very happy with it.

My only gripes, which might be the reason for some of the bad reviews, is that the layout is not quite as intuitive as the M10, and the light doesn't illuminate the buttons so it's a bit difficult to use in the dark. This is compounded by the fact that I use a few recorders, if this was to be your main/only recorder then you would get used to that.

I used to love my D50, but the D100 is much better for nature recordings.

Alternatively consider some external mics for the D50. I've had a lot of success with some Primo EM172 capsules, which I have an example of here:

https://soundcloud.com/quisquose/comparison-of-sony-pcm-m10-v-primo-em172-ambient-noise

Offline jibanes

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2016, 03:55:28 PM »
I have carefully tested each individual mic of my d50, they are unusable, the noise level is beyond imaginable, the recording volume varies non-linearly depending of the input frequency, I don't have a (good) external mic to test if this is due to the preamp or mics themselves (although they behave differently to input signal); a sad and tragic death for a nice recorder. I'm going to wait a few weeks and probably upgrade to a d100.

I do have a question about the d100; the m10 has this "auto rec level", I never found it on the d50, is it present on the d100?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2016, 03:58:11 PM by jibanes »

Offline lbunin

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 03:09:26 PM »
I see that most of the activity here is from about a year ago, but I thought I'd try:

I have a SONY PCM-D50, and it 'developed' the typical problem I've seen described elsewhere on the internet:  it gets stuck in the 'boot loop', and you can't even get it into test mode (with that funky sequence of button holds).

Per the Sony site, I sent it to United Radio for Radio, who called me today and said the "PCB" (circuit board, I assume) is the problem, and it needs a new one, and no one makes parts for this unit anymore.

I guess I thought I'd just check to see if there is anyone here knows a better course of action than simply discarding this D50 and getting a new (Sony or Tascam) unit.  I did really like the PCM-D50 and it was so easy to use.   It seems a shame to junk it, but maybe that's how things are these days.

Many thanks.

Offline morst

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Re: Sony PCM-D50 repair or upgrade?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2017, 05:01:59 AM »
Yes, PCB is Printed Circuit Board, aka probably the main board for the unit is kaput. Bummer.

Maybe you can sell it "as-is" on ebay (or here in the yardsale) as a parts unit and recover some costs? Perhaps someone with a unit that needs replacement mics or the display will buy it?

Alternately, you could look for a parts unit with bad mics and a broken display that has a working circuit board, and frankenstein up?

Best of luck. Sorry that it's gone pear-shaped on you.  :-X
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