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Onebitious too ambitious? and the mighty PCM-D100 one bit ambitious


Senior Member
Jul 18, 2020
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
It was produced from 2015 to 2018. Released exclusively on mora. https://mora.jp/special/onebitious-records

During those 4 years, around 30 odd concerts in Japan were recorded via PCM-D100, some with binaural mics and other mics, some with 4 channel, others probably just with its internal mics.

Without hearing it, I can imagine that it doesn’t quite live up to its expectations. Although it is the untouched live recording, its quality is limited by the quality of PCM-D100 itself.

The fact that these $5 recordings out rightly use PCM-D100, raised my interest in PCM-D100 again. Recall that PCM-D100 was released in 2013, seemingly in replacement of VAIO Sound Reality chips circulating until 2012. Although they had ceased circulating in 2009 thanks to changes in software and OS, the chips continued being adopted.

It’s a relic from 2013, and now it is discontinued. At one point I think JD sold PCM-D100 via its official store? Or sth, since an Australian had the Chinese model (made in China) of PCM-D100. Now it is impossible to get. Even in Japan it has stopped selling. Pictures of the teardown reveal separate PCBs but nothing so impressive as to warrant $1k on it. Its output power can drive high impedance headphones, but in this age of dongles, it’s nothing interesting. Nor does the recording capability impress, since DSD has lost its charm by now. Nobody can tell a massive difference. Initial awe was likely merely related to an inability to blind compare equipment and sources, in noisy showrooms and with the most expensive gear.

Still, in 2015, many things combined to create a DSD recording of Argerich and Hiroshima Symph Orch. KAJIMOTO released it but I am more than certain that PCM-D100 was used. I listened to it, and it seemed just like any other recording, nothing outstanding about it. But it was a good effort.

Later, mora (mo-ra actually means ‘to cover’ every music every genre every sound) in tandem with ‘labelgate’ created a label called ‘Onebitious records’ – a play on ‘one bit ambitious’. Clearly it never achieved its ambition, relying instead on people who were drawn to the low $5 price, and how the 24/96 PCM costed $15 – I believe SMST would have used their dCS converters, hence the price…or worse, a random PC did it! Until its end in 2018, even Mogi Kenichiro was quoted to promote the mora Life and mora Earth series. Mora Acoustic and mora Classical were big too. They’d invite pros to record Okinawan sounds and edit them on Sonoma in Tokyo, and then release them. It was somewhat artificial, in that they tried aiming for a ‘generic’ album, such as one designed to make you think about yourself as an actor in a film – and a director of your life! Or one to accompany you during commutes. mora Classical was generally not good because some of the halls don’t have good acoustics, so the recording itself was stymied by that as well.

They must’ve expected PCM-D100 sales to increase too. Discontinued probably for failing to meet song sales targets probably…

These days you expect albums created not in the lazy way of DSD. Hard work in mixing and editing is what makes a recording worthwhile. This entire flop is similar to when DAISO released their own CDs. Although their concepts were interesting, and the low price provides an incentive to buy, eventually it dawns on you that not enough people are exposed to it. Nobody knows it exists. Users on mora probably are limited to a few hardcore walkman users.

This is a precedent however for the use of DSD. My own studio out of laziness, championed DSD. I put everything into the superiority of the format. No. a well done PCM is much better.

They only had to use PCM-D100, some mics, MDR-M1ST and a Sonoma etc

We have access to equivalent DSD recorders, Sony’s 40kHz mics, MDR-M1ST, and Pyramix or SSMS (for adjusting gain and other minor edits). But honestly, any ADC in a dongle seems far easier to deal with, and SEQUOIA is better. Sony’s influence did work far and wide, especially to studios in HK, but others quickly noted PCM’s advantages. If you want DSD, convert it from PCM later.
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