Nature recording is a very difficult pursuit. Weather conditions are always a consideration. Then the ever present noise from trains-planes-automobiles always tends to happen just when something interesting is going on. And to that list add wind and water sounds. Our brains filter out those extra sounds when we are in the environment but on a recording they are very noticeable.

I am frequently asked what equipment I would recommend. I am certainly no expert but I have used a variety of recorders and can share my thoughts. So I will post a series of 4 articles, each dealing with a different priced recorder. I will not do much of a review, as that material has been thoroughly covered by others and you can follow the provided links.

New small digital recorders are coming onto the market all of the time. It is nearly impossible to keep up with all the new advances. Other than the quality of the sound, record time and battery life are of high importance in nature recording. This new recorder is very good on both of these aspects.

Field Recorders under $230.

A great new entry into the lower price range is the Sony PCM-M10‏.


The manufacturers websites:

Sony PCM-M10

The user’s manual can be found at:

Users Manual

Excellent reviews can be read at:


Brad Linder’s blog: Sony introduces PCM-M10 handheld pro audio recorder

Brad Linder’s blog: Sony PCM-M10 handheld audio recorder reviewed

Broadcast Engineering: In review: Sony’s PCM-M10 handheld digital recorder

Everything Audio Network: Home Recording Review! Sony PCM-M10

Sony PCM-M10:A palm-sized, professional recorder with full-sized performance.

Wingfield Audio: Sony PCM-M10 Review

Forums discussing this recorder are:

The Taperssection Forums

Sony PCM-M10 audio recorder

Sony PCM-M10 (Part 2)

There are several videos posted on YouTube:

Sony PCM-M10 – Summer NAMM ’09

NAMM ’10 – Sony PCM-M10 Recorder & Digital Wireless Rackmount Systems

Recording media:

4GB of internal flash memory.

An additional 16GB of memory can be added with a Memory Stick Micro™ (M2™) or microSDHC (FAT32) card.

Maximum recordable time – In any card not all of the stated capacity is available for data. Using the 16 gb card the record time in .wav at 44.1kHz 16bit CD quality mode should be nearly 25 hr. 20 min.


Using two Sony LR6 (SG) (size AA) alkaline batteries up to 46 hours.


I recorded this sound file while walking near Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Cook County, Illinois.

Bachelors Grove Howl

Conclusion – I think this is a very good recorder and gets researchers into a nice, reasonably priced unit that has great battery life and recording times. Early reviews state that it’s sound quality is excellent and the unit retains the best features of its bigger siblings the Sony PCM-D1 and PCM-D50 while adding the versatility of mp3.


– built-in microphones
– easy to use
– great sound
– great battery life
– great recording time
– reasonable price


– no xlr ports