Feature Disign PCM-D1

Reflection of the sound designer's perspectives in the interface

photo-Junichi Nagahara

Nagahara: My general work involves "sound designing," in which I create operational sounds and sound identities for Sony products. From this perspective, I provided suggestions on the specifications of this model, and designed the interface for its LCD monitor.

In creating the GUI (Graphical User Interface), my approach was "not to create a design that I couldn't personally use." I wanted to depict an analog "ease of use" aspect in the GUI. Let's try it out. The item on the screen moves or the image changes after one second of operation. The screen scrolls slowly. We could increase the response capability, but if an image changes too quickly, the user will have difficulty switching their thoughts. By trial-and-error, we came up with an optimum response time that was neither too slow nor too fast, and which created proper movement.

We also attempted to instill a sense of continuity in the form of a series of functions that would move from one to another. When the user selects an item, it slides and moves to the top of the screen, promptly becoming the title for the next menu screen. The menu of the next level then appears. The current menu level being used by the user is shown by animation. We felt this analog kind of continuity would impart a feeling of familiarity to the user.

Display image
Display image

I wanted to use an organic El or color LCD for this, but neither were suitable because of noise generation. It would be a lie to say that I have no regrets, even though for the sake of sound quality. But instead, I do feel that I've succeeded in expressing the distinctive beauty of monochrome, respect for good old Sony and the fun of low- bit graphics. To tell you the truth, the animated icons are very elaborate. I might have had the most fun creating these animations.

Favorite device that fits your hand better, the more it is used

photo-Hiroki Oka and Junichi Nagahara

Nagahara: There was an article about the PCM-D1 in a pamphlet at a composer's show I went to. The article quoted the composer as saying, "I wanted to buy it because the meter and peak indicator designs were so sophisticated." Such a feeling might only be appreciated by those who work with sounds and recordings. In designing this PCM-D1, I tried to make it appeal to such people.

I've heard that people from broadcasting stations and professional recording engineers often recommend the PCM-D1 to those wishing to purchase a recorder. To record live, high-quality sound, it is important, when setting the sound level, to balance the sound level through our ears (analog aspect), and that which changes instantaneously (digital aspect). The PCM-D1 is equipped with both an analog VU meter and LC digital peak meter, for the user to easily set sound levels. The concept of 'analog integration' is also alive here. Moreover, the PCM-D1 is equipped with a high performance digital limiter, and by setting the sound level, even beginners can record clear sound with little noise.

Very easy to use, even for the first time, and the more attached you become, the more you use it—these characteristics somewhat resemble those of recent digital single-lens reflex cameras and are sentiments that can only be understood through actual experience. We would be happy if you could pick up a PCM-D1 and try it yourself.

| 1 | 2 | 3 |