PRO AUDIO REVIEW   December 1997


Today's portable DAT and MiniDisc recorders are remarkably light and compact.  But what about their accessories?  Do they add up to create a truly lean and mean portable recording system?

We've found two small companies that offer some innovative accessories you won't find in the product lists of the major audio manufacturers.  What's also nice is you can get the owners of both companies on the phone and they'll actually help you pick the right gear for your particular field recording application.  

Sonic Studios in Sutherlin, Ore., is well known for its excellent Dimensional Stereo Microphones (DSM series).   Developed by Leonard Lombardo, these tiny mics - worn on the rims of any pair of glasses - deliver super-realistic 3-D recordings.   Coupled with a pocket-sized DAT recorder, such as Sony's new TCD- D100, DSM microphones make a terrific, inconspicuous recording system that can he used for a wide range of applications including voice, music, sound effects, news/documentary and multimedia.

While at a Neil Young/Crazy Horse performance at the HORDE music festival this summer, I encountered a recordist in the audience using DSM microphones and a Sony TCD-D8 portable DAT.  He offered the highest praise for the system.  Later, I learned that Neil Young himself even owns a DSM microphone.

For field recordists, the best choices are the DSM-6 standard version at $300 (L/R capsules matched to within 1 dB at 1,000 cycles) or the DSM-6S version at $400, which is hand selected for frequency response, gain and phase matching.  Though these microphones can he powered from through the standard Sony plug-in-power feature, for best performance Sonic Studios recommends an intemal recorder power modification to the recorder that adds $75-$85 to the price.  You can also use an optional outboard power supply, but it adds bulk to the package.

Sonic Studios also offers some well-made portabe DAT deck external battery packs and hard-to-find supplies to support field recordists.  With this comes some excellent product literature and recording tips - the best I' ve seen from any company.

For example, Sonic tells us the most prevalent cause of noise in small portable recorders comes as a result of finger print residue that collects inside the deck's input minijack.  There are tips on how to prevent this buildup of residue and how to use contact cleaner - such as Caig Labs ProGold! - to keep these connectors noise free.

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For everything you want to know about Sony D-series DAT recorders, visit Victor Yiu's D7/D8 Resource Guide at

 Frank Beacham is a New York City-based writer and producer.  Visit his web site at:    Mail: 163 Amsterdam Ave. #361, New York, NY 10023.  Email: frank @


What's on Sonic Studios Web Site? (Click underlined text, and navigation photos)
Patented Stereo-Surround Microphone Technology
Passive DSM™ Mic Powering/Bass Filters
Eyegear/Headband/HRTF Baffle mountable matched omni mics
Stops wind blast noise; transparent acoustic design; records real wind sounds
for MD, DAT, CF, HD, and Video Field/Event/Studio Recording
Stereo-Surround Omni Mic Baffle for Stand, Fishpole, Studio Boom, and Ceiling

Portable Deck Power Solutions

Patch/Adapter Cables

Field/Studio Monitoring Headphones, Reviews


High-definition, low noise, very wide bandwidth preamp designs to fit any field/event/studio application using DSM™ stereo-surround mics.

MONO ONLY 'Lombardo' Lapel Mic for interview, Narration, Lecture, and clip-on acoustic instrument Recording

DSM™ Magazine Reviews
    USA Telephone #:


PLEASE .................. ALWAYS INCLUDE an appropriate SUBJECT LINE in all e-mail correspondence.

A Few Other Links
About Sonic Studios  


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