Sonic LAB: Portable Recorders - Yamaha Pocketrak CX

Is more more?      12/01/09

No flash plug

   QuickTime (MP4)  | iOS MP4    Windows Media 
14:2 mins
Test Criteria
  1. Durability
  2. Microphone
  3. Portability
  4. Durability
  5. Sound Quality
  6. Features
  7. Ergonomics
  8. Battery
  9. Connectivity
  10. Value for money
Our third in the series of reviews focussed on the Portable Audio Recorder. We tend to have a great interest in these devices due to our own use for the video work that we do, so we always jump at the chance to take a look at 'em.

Here's the new Yamaha Pocketrak CX
It's marketed as the pro version of the 2G (see earlier review). With larger microphones, it's supposed to give superior recording.

  • It's still pretty small, though not as small as the 2G.
  • Replaceable ENELOOP battery with fantastic battery life.
  • More user friendly with dedicated front panel controls to navigate
  • Decent sound quality, quick to record on 'Auto Levels'
  • Holds synch very well with Video, even at 44.1kHz
  • Built in speaker for confidence monitoring
  • Handling noise - and this one is a biggy really. In the video you can see how it performs when hand-held, its really only suited to desktop or stand mounted use

Summary - although the larger form and better mics are a plus and make the CX easier to use, for hand-held journalistic duties or on the move music recording, the CX is not suitable. It does however sound pretty good in loud sound environments and may be usefull for recording gigs or rehearsals using the onboard mics.

Andy McCreeth

Check the Price - at these online stores.
$399.00 Yamaha POCKETRAK CX Pocket Recorder
$399.00 Yamaha Pocketrak CX Portable Digital Recorder
$399.00 Yamaha POCKETRAK CX Pocket Recorder

More From: YAMAHA
Even more news...

16 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Lazar    Said...

great video, I love this series

can't wait the next video

12-Jan-09 05:46 AM

Marc JX8P    Said...

Yep, great review again! The more episodes there are, the cooler those tests with the guitar and the band become become as well as the voice tests. This should perhaps become an ongoing item, comparing series of similar items like audio interfaces, mics and similar stuff.

13-Jan-09 01:24 PM

digifish    Said...

Thanks again for the latest review.

About the ACG/Limiter settings you are using in these reviews. In my experience if you set your levels conservatively then take a few seconds to post-process the gain in an audio-editor you get far better results. ACG/Limiting is simply unecessary, and is a 'noob' feature IMO. You should try some voice recordings without any limiting/AGC and see for yourself. BTW: The CX does seem to have particularly poorly calibrated AGC btw. The recovery time is way too long.

PS: Where are the self-noise reports you were promising? :)

13-Jan-09 06:57 PM

trollopface    Said...

get some rest, you look like you need it. double-bagging those eyelids.

14-Jan-09 01:03 PM

Andy Mac    Said...

Thanks for the comments, guys - much appreciated.

@digifish... I completely agree that using ALC is not the way to go about achieving the best possible recording quality; but there are some circumstances where using ALC will be essential in getting an acceptable quality recording [where manual level setting would result in unusable results].

I said at the outset, I'm coming from a particular perspective - using these recorders as a musician, a journalist, and a videographer. There's a whole world of difference between the needs of a musician... and the needs of someone *recording* a musician; the latter will probably have time to set up and monitor levels during a performance, and ALC or auto Gain would certainly compromise the results. But as a musician, you'll probably be recording a rehearsal or your own performance, in which case some kind of ALC can be very handy. Similarly in a high pressure, hectic interview environment, you're not gonna get a second chance, and getting an acceptable result is far more important than getting pristine quality.

That's not to say I don't value great quality recordings - far from it, I'm a bit of a hifi geek, tbh, and I've been around long enough to have figured out a bit about high-end audio - but that's not my primary objective in assessing these portable recorders.

As for the self-noise tests... yep, done now and on the way. When I get back from NAMM I'll have a bit more time - hang in there ;-]

@tollopface... yeah, I was *born* with a full set of luggage, not just bags under my eyes ;-] But working 'til past 3am for a week pre-NAMM sure doesn't help! If you wanna send me donations towards corrective surgery, I'll not complain.

15-Jan-09 01:21 AM

Mstitz    Said...

This is a very helpful, informative site. Thank you

30-Jun-09 03:28 AM

Mstitz    Said...

This is a very helpful, informative site. Thank you!

30-Jun-09 03:29 AM

yamatrak    Said...

The time/date on mine always resets! It doesn't happen when it gets bumped hard or the battery the changed, it just happens every month or two. Very annoying! I have firmware V1.01Y

11-Sep-09 03:57 AM

brian k    Said...

incredibly helpful peice on the Yamaha Pocketrak CX recorder.....freagin comprehensive review....and the guy is seems to Truly approach the review with an unbiased stance.....this review convinced me to purchace one...and i can't wait to get into it!

20-Nov-09 01:01 PM

Spy    Said...

It did sound good on voice rec when the windshield was on... there was no focus on that. In any case, I think it's currently being discontinued and if you can find it, the price is absolutely fantastic, and the sound quality for recording a live performance of a band is actually really impressive - way better than anything else in its price class. I am genuinely amazed by it, and I compared it to 6 or 7 more expensive competitors...

24-Apr-10 11:59 AM

lmynusone    Said...

.i got mine new at guitar center for 80 bucks !!!! yup thats right im using it to record lve shows and to record samples to manipulate for my music thing is SICK!!!! you can get yours for 80 bcks by may 30th get it while u can come on 79.95 shiz

29-May-10 08:05 PM

Joe K    Said...

thank you, Andy McCreeth for your rather comprehensive and unbiased demonstration and opinions about the yamaha one of the other writers, I am getting one at the $79 price point, on a special sale, which is an incredibly inducement to do so....your review did much to convince me to pick up an aside, it was a real pleasure to make your net have a voice, persona, and presentation style that is soothing, and highly communicative....the best of luck to you in your continued endeavors.....

31-May-10 11:02 AM

Gary    Said...

Hi! I too picked one of the CX's at the Guitar Center sale. After playing with it, seeing your review again, I wanted to add something -- With the HPF turned off, the CX will actually record down to ~4Hz. Yep, 4. What that means is that shaking the CX forces it to deal with very high amplitude, very low freq inputs that bugger everything up. Hence the High Pass Filter. Now that I know that it can actually record down that far, it opens up some interesting territory...

14-Jun-10 03:53 AM

Gary    Said...

PS- If you still have your original WAV's from your review, take a look at the one where you shake the CX - look at the waveform, you'll see that it recorded the waveform of the shaking!

14-Jun-10 03:59 AM

Denis    Said...

It seems everyone fails to mention that the CX can ONLY record in mp3 mode (192kbps) through the line input!

31-Jul-10 07:33 PM

yamatrak    Said...

Sent mine in to Yamaha and they exchanged the board, no cost to me. Now the clock works, no resetting. Great!

05-Oct-10 07:41 AM

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