Field Report: Sanyo Xacti ICR-XPS01M

April 8, 2014


Sanyo Xacti ICR-XPS01M

Looking for a portable digital recorder can actually be harder than it looks. There are many on the market and what you want to do with it determines which product you purchase. My latest product research has landed the most versatile unit I have found. This time around I'm sharing the Sanyo Xacti, ICR-XPS01M.

Out of the box this unit is sleek and small, but don't let the size fool you, this little baby is full-featured. Measuring 1.5" W by 3.8" H and only 0.4" thick, it's the thinnest recorder I've tested. It brings touch technology to the recording field.

Performance at a glance
Up to 56 hours of use
Up to 544 hours of storage
FM radio with station presets
Quick button preset recording scenes
Line and mic inputs
Built-in mics and speakers
Touchscreen control

The Xacti not only records, but features an FM tuner (handy for off-site monitoring), with 20 station presets. You can even record the FM broadcasts on the unit itself. It can also function as an MP3 player. The unit takes micro SD cards for storage and accepts up to 8GB cards (it comes with a 2GB card).

Recording

When recording, the unit comes with three preset recording settings or "scenes":

  • Interview: 64kb/s MP3, low mic sensitivity, mic ALC (automatic gain) on to maintain a uniform record level, stereo
  • Meeting: 192kb/s MP3, high mic sensitivity, mic ALC on, stereo
  • Music: 44.1kHz PCM, high mic sensitivity, mic ALC off, stereo

    The ALC works well. Some recorder ALC circuits are set as a hard limiter that mashes the audio. Not in this case. I never turned the ALC off except when recording live music. The circuit kept all ambient sounds ambient and only boosted the necessary voices and sounds. In one instance there was a large fan cooling a transmitter 8' from my interview and not once did we hear that fan. I even intentionally did not talk for 20 seconds to see if the ALC would boost that sound, but it never went above acceptable ambient noise.

    The ICR-XPS01M offers two recording formats: Linear PCM, which records original sound without compression; and the highly versatile MP3 format. Linear PCM records at 44.1kHz, 16-bit sampling rate enabling sound reproduction up to a maximum of 21kHz. MP3 captures high sound quality of 44.1kHz, 320kb/s sampling, which enables sound reproduction up to a maximum of 20kHz.

    There are also three "scenes" for line-in capabilities of this recorder:

  • Headphone: Optimal setting for connecting the headphones socket with an audio cable
  • Portable: Optimumal setting for connecting the line-out terminal of a portable CD player with an audio cable
  • Component: Optimumal setting for connecting the line-out terminal of a component stereo system with an audio cable

    -- continued on page 2



  • Scene Tests

    I decided to run a test for each of the recording scenes and found uses for other features that surprised me. First, on the interview scene, I sat with my subject and used the preset scene. The recorder was held at arm's length between us and the voice levels were even throughout the interview. I rotated the recorder and audio was maintained at an even level and quality. The two microphones are built in to the top of the recorder and perform superbly. During all my recordings I was pleased that extraneous sounds were not a problem.

    During a remote broadcast at a community festival, I ran across a great use for several features at once on this recorder. The scenario is a remote broadcast at a community festival. The talent can use the device as an off-air monitor using the FM feature, and also record the air checks of the remote broadcast. As any remote broadcaster knows, finding the right people to interview at the same times as the on-air breaks can be difficult and sometimes impossible; with this device in hand the interviews can be recorded at any time and played back on air with a connection from the headphone out to a line-in on the mixer for the broadcast.

    The next scene I tested was meeting. This scene worked very similar to the interview in that sound from all directions was treated equally. But in recording in a conference room with about 10 people speaking, all voices came through clearly.

    Finally I tested the music scenario at a local concert in which the bands wanted a live recording. The fullness/richness of the recorded show was astounding. The bands and I were completely impressed by the recording quality. I liked that the record level could be easily set using the touchpad. Simply touch the record button and the device is in standby, then by touching the pad the level can be adjusted up or down while viewing the numerical reading. Once the level is set, press the record button again and it's good to go.

    Sanyo
    P
    W
    818-998-7322
    us.sanyo.com

    Using micro-SD cards, the unit can take up to 8GB of storage. 2GB can be 1 to 3 hours of recording depending on the sample rates used. The cards are easily inserted and one could have a library of songs on one card, thus functioning as an MP3 player, and then when the recorder is needed, swap out the cards for recording purposes.

    The unit is rechargeable by connecting via USB, much like major brand MP3 players. Depending again on use and sample rate of the recording the battery at full charge can last up to 56 hours. According to the manufacturer the charge from dead to full charge is 150 minutes. The USB is used to transfer files to and from a PC, and it will charge the unit during the transfer.

    The red backlit dot matrix LCD screen is very easy to read and all the features easy to understand. At a glance one can see how much recording time/space is left, battery level and the many audio settings.

    This unit is a must-have in the arsenal of any audio production professional where field recordings are standard. For those who are not sure, give it a try, you may surprise yourself with the opportunities created.


    Wilson is an announcer, producer, webmaster and promotions guy at WAKO-AM/FM, Lawrenceville, IL.


    Editor's note: Field Reports are an exclusive Radio magazine feature for radio broadcasters. Each report is prepared by well-qualified staff at a radio station, production facility or consulting company.

    These reports are performed by the industry, for the industry. Manufacturer support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if requested.

    It is the responsibility of
    Radio magazine to publish the results of any device tested, positive or negative. No report should be considered an endorsement or disapproval by Radio magazine.



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