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Yamaha Pocketrak CX review: Yamaha Pocketrak CX

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Some nifty extras on the Pocketrak CX include the capability to add volume fades to the beginning and end of a recording, and a VARS function that triggers recording once a minimum volume level has been reached. The Pocketrak can also be used as an MP3 player, complete with EQ settings, A-B looping, and playback-speed control.

The extras bundled with the Pocketrak CX include a foam windscreen, earbuds, 2GB of microSD memory, a mic stand adapter, a fabric pouch, and a USB cable.
The Pocketrak CX is capable of making spectacular recordings. We threw everything from guitar, piano, and even some vintage music box at the Pocketrak, and the results sounded natural, with a minimum of background hiss. Shock-absorbing rubber feet on the back of the recorder did an adequate job deflecting surface vibrations from the microphone.

Demo of guitar recorded from Fender Twin Reverb:

Demo of close-range music box recording:

During a test field recording in front of the CNET offices in San Francisco, we used the microphone on the widest stereo setting, switched on the low-pass filter, and used the included windscreen to prevent breeze from distorting the recording. The result was very realistic; however, we did pick up some unwanted handling noise while we were walking around.

Demo of outdoor recording:

In our experience, the Pocketrack CX did its best work when it was placed on a nearby table and left untouched. The recordings we made while holding or walking with the Pocketrak CX often included an intermittent prickly clipping sound when the mics were being jostled. The prickly sound was minimized when the built-in limiter was switched off, but it's an artifact we haven't heard on comparable recorders. Knowing this, we wouldn't particularly recommend the Pocketrak for field recording, voice memos, or journalists who enjoy waving recorders in people faces.

Demo of distortion caused by shaking:

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