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SONY PCM-D100 Digital Recorder


BigGuy

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I am exploring the affect of ultrasonic frequencies on the experiencing of recorded audio playback. I would prefer not having this post go off-topic with a discussion of the efficacy of what some have called "chasing the unicorn".

 

I see where the Frequency Range of the SONY PCM-D100 is specified to 50 kilohertz depending on sampling frequency BUT the electret microphones are only specified to 20 kilohertz if I read correctly.

 

Is there a way to utilize more of the units capabilities, e.g., record ultrasonic frequencies fully recognizing that they are outside (typical) human hearing capability?

 

Is the D100 capable of showing frequencies greater than 20 kilohertz graphically?

 

I printed the 4 page D100 manual available online but wondered if there is a more detailed user manual?

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I see where the Frequency Range of the SONY PCM-D100 is specified to 50 kilohertz depending on sampling frequency BUT the electret microphones are only specified to 20 kilohertz if I read correctly.
I'm not sure what you mean by "specified to 20 kilohertz" - microphones, like other electronic devices for audio, have frequency response curves that plot sensitivity against frequency. Although there are very few microphones that are flat much above 20kHz, many have some usable sensitivity to 30kHz and more than a few are designed to capture 30kHz+ with good sensitivity (e.g. for percussion). So if there's >20kHz content with any appreciable SPL in the program material being recorded, it'll be picked up by many mics that are down 3 db at 20kHz and end up in the recording. Whether there's really meaningful program content at and above 30kHz is another topic.
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https://www.amazon.com/Zoom-H6-Six-Track-Portable-Recorder/dp/B00DFU9BRK

 

This lets you use external mics if you wish. Works to only 96 khz, but getting mics to exceed the 40 khz response you get with 96 khz sampling isn't going to be easy anyway. I didn't see the Sony with any XLR inputs. Of course it then gets a bit less portable with external mics.

 

Electret mics will usually not drop off all that much until 30 khz. Without knowing specifics however there is no way to know for sure. (I see bluesman already beat me to it)

 

One gimmicky test. Try jangling a few metal keys on a keyring. Those have frequencies at substantial levels out to 40 khz or so.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I'm not sure what you mean by "specified to 20 kilohertz" - microphones, like other electronic devices for audio, have frequency response curves that plot sensitivity against frequency. Although there are very few microphones that are flat much above 20kHz, many have some usable sensitivity to 30kHz and more than a few are designed to capture 30kHz+ with good sensitivity (e.g. for percussion). So if there's >20kHz content with any appreciable SPL in the program material being recorded, it'll be picked up by many mics that are down 3 db at 20kHz and end up in the recording. Whether there's really meaningful program content at and above 30kHz is another topic.

 

Quoting from the Specifications..."Electret condenser microphones. Max input level: 128 dB SPL. Frequency response 20 Hz to 20 kHz".

I do understand that there is a rolloff at both ends but wondered what could be expected at frequencies greater than 20kHz.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Zoom-H6-Six-Track-Portable-Recorder/dp/B00DFU9BRK

 

This lets you use external mics if you wish. Works to only 96 khz, but getting mics to exceed the 40 khz response you get with 96 khz sampling isn't going to be easy anyway. I didn't see the Sony with any XLR inputs. Of course it then gets a bit less portable with external mics.

 

Electret mics will usually not drop off all that much until 30 khz. Without knowing specifics however there is no way to know for sure. (I see bluesman already beat me to it)

 

One gimmicky test. Try jangling a few metal keys on a keyring. Those have frequencies at substantial levels out to 40 khz or so.

 

Appreciate the Zoom rec. I see that Tascam also has an offering... <https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005NACC6M?psc=1>

 

Have not purchased any recorder as yet, just exploring but did see the PCM-D100 in use at RMAF and was quite impressed. From what I have read, the entire playback chain must also be capable of reproducing ultrasonics but feel quite sure that this is the case. I also have ultrasonic test tracks that I can use. The real issue is to verify visually(?) whether the system is actually capable.

 

Appreciate the comment about not rolling off much until 30kHz. Will remember the tip re keys on keyring.

 

Thank you both.

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Quoting from the Specifications..."Electret condenser microphones. Max input level: 128 dB SPL. Frequency response 20 Hz to 20 kHz". I do understand that there is a rolloff at both ends but wondered what could be expected at frequencies greater than 20kHz.

The answer depends on the frequency response curve at and above 20kHz. That spec is actually useless and was provided only as a marketing aid. As stated, it could mean anything from no usable sensitivity below 20 and above 20k to flat response between 20 and 20k. So, for example, if the spec at 30kHz is -10db, you'll still get significant capture of all but the softest sounds at that frequency.

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I would think that the built in microphones are the limiting factor of any of these devices. I would seek one with the highest rate such as 24/192 and that allows externals mics.

 

Agreed and I cannot afford a pro mic with ultrasonic capabilities. Maybe, as Bluesman says, the electrets do capture 30kHz or beyond.

 

Sent an inquiry to SONY USA but have not received a reply. It was suggested that I probably would not.

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I would think that the built in microphones are the limiting factor of any of these devices. I would seek one with the highest rate such as 24/192 and that allows externals mics.

 

These are not bad. I have heard the Zoom and Teac based recordings which can be surprisingly good with the supplied mics. That is one reason I suggested the Zoom. It allows external mics and the difference in price between it and the Sony leaves enough money to buy some nice external mics.

 

How high a frequency are you hoping to record?

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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