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Author Topic: Sony ICD-UX560  (Read 2798 times)

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Offline jerryfreak

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Sony ICD-UX560
« on: December 06, 2019, 09:04:47 AM »
this recorder is the baby brother to the beloved A-10. has a similar interface
this is designed for voice dictation and can record 16/44.1 .wav
MSRP $80, found mine for $50 NIB/NOS on ebay

key differences from A-10:
-about half the size and weight
-built in mics but they are much smaller and not adjustable in direction (who really uses these anyway? ...did not test)
-no bluetooth/remote app
-4GB internal memory, takes a microSD card (32GB sdhc tested, claims sdxc support, untested)
-plays mp3s and 16/44.1 wavs. cannot play FLAC, 48K, or 24-bit wavs

does not have level control on line-in! needs level adjusted by whatever is feeding it. Its line-in input sensitivity is approximately equivalent to level 12 (of 30) on the A-10, which is in the neighborhood of where i usually run my A-10 line-in. when running it to -0.1dB (FSD), no clipping is apparent on a 10-22KHz logsweep file, see image below

frequency response is claimed as 50-20KHz in the specs, however i think they are referring to the internal mics. when tested line-in with generated frequencies it actually has more low-frequency sensitivity than the A-10, see images below. A10 was actually worst of the bunch tested. DR100 was ruler flat

some rolloff tests, using test setup of soundforge playing generated sine waves>usb>grace sdac>line out>recorders
all recorders 24/44.1 except ICD-UX560@ 16/44.1

Tascam DR100 MKIII: flat to 20 Hz, -0.02dB@15 Hz, -0.1dB@10Hz
Sony A-10: -0.2 dB@100 HZ, -1.1dB@45Hz, -2.9dB@25Hz, -4.1Hz@20Hz, -6.0dB@15Hz, -9.6dB@10Hz
Sony ICD-UX560: -0.2dB@55Hz, -1dB@30Hz, -2.3dB@15Hz, -4dB@10Hz
Roland R07: -0.2dB@80Hz, -1.0dB@35Hz, -2.75dB@20Hz, -4.3dB@15Hz, -7.5dB@10Hz

noise tests in silent portion of above tests:
Tascam DR100 MKIII(minijack line-in, gain set to 10.5dB):peak signal =-2.1dB, peak noise= -86dB, rms noise = -100.5dB (-84dB/-98dB relative to peak signal)
Sony A-10 (line in, level set to 11 out of 30):peak signal =-1.1dB, peak noise= -79dB, rms noise = -92.5dB (-78dB/-91.5dB relative to peak signal)
Sony ICD-UX560: (line in)::peak signal =-0.0dB, peak noise= -74dB, rms noise = -90dB (-74dB/-90dB relative to peak signal)
Roland R07 (line in level set to 28 out of 100):peak signal =-0.1dB, peak noise= -79dB, rms noise = -92.5.5dB (-79dB/-92.5dB relative to peak signal)

noise floor of line-in on ICD is a few dB higher than the A-10 and R-07 at the same input sensitivity. Which is a slight hinderance considering its only 16-bit. DR100MKIII is in another league but was a good reference for my test setup.

finally an 8ch polywave. of 2 live sbd tracks played thru the same setup above.  i purposely attenuated the input, so the resulting recordings would have levels peaking around -12dB, in a manner similar to how i would normally run a 24-bit field recorder. Giving no mercy to the 16bit recorder. wavs were all normalized in post to same levels then the 24-bit files were dithered to 16bit before all were combined into an 8ch 16bit wav. theyre not perfectly synched but you can audition various tracks

can you guess which recorder was used on each pair of tracks? im kinda more interested in what your EARS think, as anyone can really pick out most of the tracks from statistics using the numbers i gave above

8 ch poly wav: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1er8Z1Y4DTaVMVd4lJG4Ib_Q9olpCaFaD/view?usp=sharing

key to which tracks are which (in hidden text, highlight to see:)1-2:PCM-A10, 3-4:ICD-UX560, 5-6:R07, 7-8:DR100MKiii

pics and links:

ICD-UX560 not clipping at FSD:


low frequency tests. white numbers in top row are Hz.
top to bottom: Tascam DR100mkIII, A-10, UCD-IX560, R07


side by side with A-10




sony page:
https://www.sony.com/electronics/voice-recorders/icd-ux560

quickstart guide and full manual
https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/res/manuals/4573/45739336M.pdf
https://helpguide.sony.net/icd/u56/v1/en2/index.html


specs:
3 model variations:
ICD-UX560 - 4GB internal storage (the one i have and tested)
ICD-UX560F - 4GB internal storage+ FM receiver
ICD-UX565F - 8GB internal storage+ FM receiver

my impression: this tiny recorder definitely could have some application for:

-those on a serious rig budget
-those who just want a cheap backup recorder to kick around the gearbag as a spare or to record a backup off of headphone out 
-people who are into the uber minimalist  >:D rigs
-anybody who wants a cheap tiny mp3 player to beat around, active sports, etc

this is from 2016, would be nice if sony came out with a successor version with 24-bit wav and FLAC support, in the same form factor.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2020, 11:20:48 PM by jerryfreak »
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Offline dyneq

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2019, 11:47:25 AM »
This is great stuff, thanks very much for sharing this.

I love the A10 the way I record, but I do wish the low end roll-off wasn't so aggressive. I'd rather take care of that in post (if necessary). In some cases, it works out well with my mics depending on the situation.

Offline Sevoflurane

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2019, 10:26:45 AM »
Man, this recorder is really how I would like a proper deck to be. Very minimal in layout and simple. Add bluetooth app capability and level adjustment and I would take this thing.

Appreciate the solid write up. Always nice to see comparison of rigs.
Mics: Schoeps MK4s, AT853 (4.7k mod)
Pre: Naiant IPA v1.0
Recorders: M10, A10, TCD-D8
Transfers: Nakamichi CR-3A, Tascam DA-20

Offline Niels

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2019, 11:05:14 AM »
Great write up. Thanks!
Olympus LS-10, Roland R-07 SONY PCM-A10 -> FEL Communications Clippy EM172 or Roland CS-10EM
iPhone 8 -> Shure MV88 or Sennheiser AMBEO Smart Headset

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2019, 05:48:36 PM »
Just think in a few years we will probably have a 32 bit float version of this
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2019, 10:20:56 AM »
runs on an ARM LC823450TA SoC capable of 32-bit/192K, no wonder it sounds so good. too bad its crippled to 16/44

https://www.onsemi.com/pub/Collateral/LC823450-D.PDF

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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2019, 08:37:29 AM »
no takers on the listening tests, huh?
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Offline rastasean

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2020, 12:25:24 AM »
runs on an ARM LC823450TA SoC capable of 32-bit/192K, no wonder it sounds so good. too bad its crippled to 16/44

https://www.onsemi.com/pub/Collateral/LC823450-D.PDF

A new model was released late last year, ICD-UX570. Unfortunately, it looks to have the same 16/44 limitations...
page 170: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1669042/Sony-Icd-Ux570.html?page=170#manual
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Offline tomazahlin

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2020, 01:08:47 PM »
This audio recorder is small and works great for me! It literally just the features I need. As I get audio from a line-in signal from preamp and external mics, this player is great for stealth recordings.

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2020, 01:02:04 AM »
570 is $100 on ebay and amazon. 575 seems not to be available in US (theres some $140 japanese ones on ebay)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082QL6KLG/ref=asc_df_B082QL6KLG1580036400000

one feature it offers over the 560 series is the ability to change input sens to hi/med/lo on the minijack inout, which might be of use for fixed-gain/no-gain bat boxes

actually, scratch that, it appears that adjustable sensitivity settings are only available for 'mic in' (which supplies PIP), not "audio in" (aka line level). so it appears to offer no additional features over the 560 series (though it could have better specs/performance, given its a few years newer, hard to tell what chip they used without opening one up)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2020, 07:00:14 AM by jerryfreak »
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2020, 07:24:27 AM »
i just got this back after leaving it behind at TXR (thanks Jon Hart!)

that evening i set it on a table a few feet behind where my mics were set up at stage lip. recording via the internal mics. id call it almost passable and a better-than-nothing EQ-able backup in event of a catastrophic failure. it may not be the most hi-fi ever, but the internal mics didnt overload..... sounds ok on the quieter parts. might fly for an acoustic gig

https://soundcloud.com/aurorabluevalentine/damn-skippy-icd-ux560

for comparison, heres the 4011s a few feet in front (and a few feet farther from the crowd)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RQwkmZAuN_d8JQyX68j8g9DDl6bNse3D/view
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Offline rastasean

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2020, 10:20:14 AM »
that evening i set it on a table a few feet behind where my mics were set up at stage lip. recording via the internal mics. id call it almost passable and a better-than-nothing EQ-able backup in event of a catastrophic failure. it may not be the most hi-fi ever, but the internal mics didnt overload..... sounds ok on the quieter parts. might fly for an acoustic gig

https://soundcloud.com/aurorabluevalentine/damn-skippy-icd-ux560

I think it's quite passable for internal mics. I was expecting some distortion from the recording. Thanks for posting.
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2020, 07:05:59 PM »
look carefully in the first few seconds of this vid, you can see it hiding on the other side of that M10+table stand rig

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ka2riRdRyY
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2020, 06:06:28 PM »
a friend needed a compact mp3 player so i gave the 560 to her, then grabbed a 570 new off amazon for $70 to check out. i dont have the other one to be side by side, but for all intensive porpoises it seems to be identical in specs and function for our purpose. I'll tear it open sometime to see if it uses a different DSP chip.

The 570 appears to have different built in mics ("S-mic" which is touted to have higher sensitivity), which in general is the opposite of what we want - however, it might have better capsules or something that makes the built-in mics better overall

one thing i dont like vs the 560 is that the display is now missing peak level margin... which is particularly useful for 16-bit recorders, but not a deal-killer imo.
it has some guides for min and max level targets, which are useful.

there are 10 bars between the two 'guide dots'. the 'guide dots' correspond approximately to -24 and -3 dBFS by my testing and there is one more bar (~-2dB) above the -3dB dot. So, at full scale on the level meters there is still 2dB to spare

the 10 bars between the guide dots are roughly
-24 -20 -16 -14 -12 -10 -8 -6 -5 -4 -3 dBFS

so if recording, kinda shoot for levels consistently above the lower dot with peaks past the middle point between the dots

heres a quick and dirty test of line in with a GD SBD. just eyeballing the levels per the method above, and they peak just above 6dB with plenty of headroom. did nothing but FLAC the raw file and upload it

https://drive.google.com/open?id=12Weh6RKaYG8LZmNUj6iKkUIJdE0LdThH

input noise seems about the same as the -560, about -75dB peak, -90 dB RMS, more than acceptable for aud recording.

ill try to run them side-by-side again if i get the 560 back, if not ill run it against the A10


« Last Edit: April 22, 2020, 09:11:38 PM by jerryfreak »
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Offline rastasean

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Re: Sony ICD-UX560
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2020, 08:59:34 PM »
Because of this post, I picked up the ICD-UX560 for ~$50 on ebay in January/February and carry it around practically everywhere. It's a pretty cool recorder for being so cheap and idiot proof, while still able to get good recordings. At one office meeting, I had the recorder tucked in my shirt and picked up everyone, even though some were behind me a good distance. I most often use it to record my children without being too invasive.

I'm happy to know the 570 is basically the same, which isn't all that surprising. $70 from Amazon is pretty good (ebay seems to be $80-$85), and I do see what you mean about the meters:
https://www.amazon.com/Sony-ICD-UX570-Digital-Recorder-ICDUX570BLK/dp/B082QL6KLG/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Sony+ICD-UX570&link_code=qs&qid=1587948981&sourceid=Mozilla-search&sr=8-1

Kind of a weird thing to change from the 560.

Are the mics on the 570 movable? They look like miniature mics on the A10.

Anyway, thanks for bringing our attention to the 560 record and now the 570!
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