Field Report: Sanyo Xacti ICR-XPS01M


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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



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