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MINI REVIEW: (7 Pages)

December 2004 Update: Both models now out of production for years with D100 first (~2000-1), and later the M1 model officially dropped sometime in ~2002.

After M1 was dropped, no new units were shipped for 6-8 months while existing warehoused Sony DAT deck parts/boxes were collected and used to piece together last of both D100 & M1 models on seemingly a separate (contracted?) production line somewhere.

These last produced units proved to have unusual high defect rate (likely from lowered quality production values/experience) compared to those made during full-production years. These newly made D100/M1's proved less reliable with higher than expected percentage of early operational failures, and with not tested inoperative features. These shortcomings may or may not be found by new owners within the 90 day full parts/labor warranty period.


Introduction:
The need for practical and simple to operate high quality portable recording decks for serious amateur & professional field requirements is being well met by Sony's latest (4th generation) DAT TCD-D100 and PCM-M1 models. 

Sony TCD-D100 & Pro Version PCM-M1 Portable DAT Recorder (out of production)

Be sure to fully run these 'after-production' produced decks for knowing if reliable (this design proved to be quite dependable), and carefully check for fully functioning features as that are important to your planned usage.

Both these models are identical TWINS in performance, case construction, electronics, and features. One Difference: The magnesium black cased PCM-M1 was originally marketed through Sony's professional division (that no longer exists) and implements the SCMS copy protection scheme while the magnesium silver cased TCD-D100 'consumer' version is controlled by it. 

The consumer D100 model
(out of production in 2000-1) only disallows direct digital (analog is always allowed) dubbing from other consumer made 'dubbed digital copies' that have been SCMS prohibit code flagged by similar SCMS controlled decks. However, the D100 always allows direct digital recording of CD, DAT, and MD; or any first generation source material.  It is only limited when needing to digitally edit some material off a 'consumer deck made' safety work copy of first generation material.  Composers or musicians that like full freedom of making edits off working copies should consider working with at least one fully professional SCMS controlling deck for recording the edits.

Both deck models include instruction manual, AC adapter, (2) AA NiMH 1300 milliampere rechargeable batteries, (2) cell charger (works off the AC Adapter), and a soft 'wallet' jacket to help keep this 'shirt pocket-sized' deck from slipping out of hand and help protect it from the most severe shock if it does inadvertently hit the ground.  The D100 includes additional accessories in the form of high quality 'ear-bud' phones and a wired remote playback controller/LCD display (non-backlit) unit which is handy for at least keeping track of VU record levels and battery life status with the deck tucked safely away from exposure to rain, wind, sand, and sun or other any hostile elements when recording outdoors.

Observed D100/M1 Differences vs. TCD-D8:
A
fter using these newest models, it is clearly apparent that Sony has learned well from past portable DAT model experience as to make a far better featured and even more reliable portable over previous models while taking full advantage of performance advancements that come with the latest Integrated Circuit signal processing products.  For example, this surprising hand sized portable contains an excellent implementation of AKM Semi's Dual 20 bit Analog-to-Digital (A/D) converters that have a quality sound that's about as good as to be found in any professional equipment; and that's just for starters.
In addition to the silky A/D's, the mic preamplifier is virtually identical to the configuration/performance as that used in Sony's SBM-1 (the outboard signal processor accessory) with having true bipolar (plus, ground, and minus) internal mic/line amplifier voltage supply, but is running at about half the SBM-1's voltage rails for a bit less microphone amplifier processing headroom.  However, line input headroom is NOT A PROBLEM as the D100/M1 decks can take a full +4 dbv professional level line input (mix board) feed without clipping; this is rare to find in any portable deck costing less than $1500.

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