The marketing push into High-Resolution Audio (HRA) by product manufacturers and music labels has spawned a new generation of recording and playback devices that offer a quality level previously available only to audiophiles or audio professionals. One of the latest to come along is Sony’s ICD-SX2000 ($229 street), a digital stereo recorder capable of up to 24-bit/96 kHz with a pair of adjustable microphone elements and Bluetooth remote control functionality.
I’ve been using a popular handheld recorder for years, both in my day-to-day work to capture interviews and my after-hours musical adventures. It has been a workhorse, but this new Sony recorder is in another league.
The SX2000 is sleek and slim with a very solid feel, and is very compact, slipping easily into a pocket. Accessories in the box include a sleek little case and a foam windshield.
The device transfers files—it handles WAV, MP3 and FLAC—and recharges via a USB connector that slides out when needed. It’s easy to plug it straight into a laptop computer but a short USB extender cable is included for interfacing with a desktop. There are stereo mini-jacks for external inputs and headphones.
This isn’t just a recorder. With 16 GB of on-board storage plus a slot for a Micro SDHC (up to 32 GB) or MicroSDXC (64 GB-plus) card, it’s also a great little player to carry around. The internal storage holds over 6.5 hours of 24-bit/96 kHz files or many hundreds of hours of compressed files.
Sony’s HRA devices incorporate proprietary technology, such as the S-Master HX digital amplifier in the SX2000, that help “upscale” lower-res material. I didn’t have time to test low-res MP3s on this device, but having experienced the tech on other Sony HRA players, it can most likely enhance those files.
The twin mic elements can be set to XY, “zoom,” positioned in parallel and essentially mono, or wide, at 90 degrees. The X/Y setting works well for music performances, nicely capturing a soloist or a band in a rehearsal room, studio or on a small stage.
With the resolution supported by the SX2000, there is really no reason why this device couldn’t be used to capture tracks for integration into any production. This thing powers up and is ready to record in no time, so it’s a handy device for post production professionals, too, who can reach into a pocket at a moment’s notice and capture interesting and unique sound effects for their libraries.
My favorite feature was the REC Remote app (Android and iOS), which enables control of the SX2000 with visual feedback on a smartphone from up to 30 feet away. Attempting to pair the SX2000 to my Android smartphone via Bluetooth initially didn’t work for me, despite repeated attempts. But pairing via NFC, tapping my phone on the NFC sensor on the back of the recorder, worked like a charm. Repeatedly reconnecting via Bluetooth was subsequently no problem.
The SX2000 has a standard tripod socket on the rear. If you’re in a band rehearsal, you can position the device wherever you wish, then adjust levels and start, stop or pause recording from your smart device. The GUI mimics the information on the device display, including resolution, recording, time, remaining time and, of course, levels, either as scrolling bar graphs or a pair of retro-looking VU meters. You can drop up to 98 track markers.
The device comes loaded with Sound Organizer 2 executable software (Windows only), which handles editing, file transfers and conversion, CD ripping and burning and other functions. Alternatively, ignore it and just use Windows Explorer and your favorite DAW.