I like: Sony PCM-D1 digital recorder

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The problem with Sony is that the equipment worthwhile happening is aimed at professional audiences and quite hard to get hold of. Their consumer-orientated products generally feel cheap: whilst the electronics and components are top notch, case materials and mechanical engineering usually feel shoddy in comparison to the likes of Denon, Pioneer or TEAC.

Sony PCM-D1

The Sony PCM-D1 digital recorder shows however that Sony has the expertise and the capability to make something very special. You can read about the technical specifications on the Sony website: needless to say the device is very impressive and podcasters would sell their first-born to get their hands on it.

The recorder body is made of pressed titanium, it has two sensitive electret condenser microphones that sit safely inside an elegant metal frame that has the beauty of an air-cooled twin cylinder motorcycle engine. One of the easiest to use button layouts on a professional recording machine that I have seen since the Sony Pro-Walkman WM-D6C which used to be the weapon of choice with concert bootleggers and radio news interviews.

The analogue VDU meters add legibility, character and a touch of class to the design. It would have been just as easy for the engineers to have put in a digital display instead, but they chose not to.