Jun 21, 2010

Sony XLR-1 for D50


In short, the XLR-1 is a Sony-designed adapter that gives either the D50 or D1 the ability to connect full-sized professional XLR microphones and supply 48-volt phantom power to the mics.

At first blush the concept seems like a great idea, to transform a handheld portable PCM digital recorder into a real, on-location sound capture device.  But looks can be deceiving and here's what you should know (as tested on a Sony D50):

First, mounting the D50 blocks both the left-side and rear-panel controls from being accessed.  Second, there are no eyelets or hangers to put a strap on.  In fact, Sony put rubber feet on the bottom of the XLR-1 obviously for the intended purpose of making the entire rig a table-top unit, not a portable shoulder-mounted one.  Both of these design choices are very short-sighted and create deal-killer limitations.

But that's not even the worst part of this poorly conceived device:  The typical retail price for the XLR-1 is $450.00.  Add to that the cost of the required D50 at $500 and you've got the price of a Tascam HDP2, a far superior device in all respects for exactly the same amount of money.

The only plus-side is that if you've got a D50 (or D1) and want to add XLR capabilities the XLR-1 does have a tripod mount on the bottom allowing you to mount the device anywhere you can put a tripod, but that's not exactly the portability of being able to sling it over your shoulder, is it.


It's very unfortunate that one of the best portable recorders made today have such a poorly concieved and grossly over-priced accessory.  With just a few minor design changes the XLR-1 *could have been* a wonderful and worthy accessory to either the D50 or D1, but at it is it's absolutely not worth the asking price nor does it truly fill it's intended role well at all.

If you're considering a D50 with the XLR-1 you'd be far better off with the Tascam HDP2 for the exact amount of money.  And Portabrace makes the perfect companion for the HDP2 making it a genuine portable field recorder.


  1. What about the sound quality? Does it make good recordings?

  2. The gain isn't as high as I'd expect it to be. Again, the more purposeful tool would be the HDP2 for the same amount of money.

    However, since this review was originally posted in 2010 newer, more efficient recorders have come to market, so I'd take a look at the new crop of portable recorders before purchasing the D50 or accessories.