NAMM Aftermath: Two New Products from SANYO

(ShackMan | Posted 2010-02-11)

NAMM Aftermath: Two New Products from SANYO

It wasn't a bad lineup for Sanyo's first NAMM show. The Energy and Environment "Leading Company" put together a pretty strong setup with some solid products at booth 7013. They broke some records for world's smallest sound recorder, and did their best to make playing music more environment friendly with their "eneloop"-series music booster, a rechargeable waterproof battery to power your instruments, pedals, keyboards, or whatever you have that uses a 9V power supply.

First up, is the sound recorder... Measuring up at less than 3/8" thick, and weighing 1.62 ounces, the latest addition to Sanyo's uber-small Xacti series is its ICR-XPS01M Sound Recorder, and it's the world's smallest one to date. It features a plethora of MP3 recording modes as well as Linear PCM recording technology, which produces quality recordings similar to that of a CD. Exact specs are: 16 bit, 44.1 kHz, 1,411 kb/s. That's nothing to shake a stick at, and at a size that allows it to fit in your shirt/coat/pants pocket, or even in a wallet with room to spare, that's convenience that can't be beat.

While all the hoopla is all over the fact that the Xacti Recorder can make a cellphone feel bulky, I'm curious as to how the microphone setup sounds. No matter how good the recording quality is, a sound recorder will always be bound by the quality of the microphones that bring in the signal.

The sound recorder works with Windows Media Player and comes pre-packaged with a 2GB microSD card. The recorder supports cards of up to 8GB, and, even at the highest quality settings, that's still about 2 full hours of recording, enough to get a full recital on file.

Sanyo saw fit to bundle it with some other intriguing features as well, such as a line input for simple direct recording, noise reduction (a must), variable speed playback (between 50% and 200%), and even an FM Tuner and recorder, for recording Radio programs. Can't make it home to listen to Garrison Keillor's "Prarie Home Companion" on Sunday? Just set an alarm, and Sanyo's auto tuner does it for you. I'm actually glad someone finally brought out what is essentially a TiVo for radio. Fantastic.

The ICR-XPS01M comes in Silver and carries an MSRP of $149 for the recorder and charger. There is an optional bundle, the ICR-XPS01MF, with speaker cradle/charger with an MSRP of $199. Both setups will be available in March of this year.

On the more environmentally conscious side of things, the 'eneloop Music Booster' follows in the footsteps of the Sanyo 'eneloop Bike' which was honored as the CES Best of Innovations 2010 in the Eco-Design and Sustainable Technology Category. No award for the Music Booster just yet, but the unit shows promise and some real ingenuity.

It's a portable, rechargable 9V power supply for musicians to perform music anywhere without the need for an AC power outlet or a 9V dry cell. Where AC power outlets can be sketchy in terms of clean power (or any power at all!), well-grounded and shielded wiring, or steady voltage, and 9V dry cell batteries are not rechargeable, the Music Booster steps in with clean and consistent power voltage, critical to getting a good clean sound out of amplifiers, effect boxes, equalizers, keyboards, and a slew of other equipment, minimizing noise interference.

“SANYO will reshape the way the music industry uses power, by offering our battery technologies like those found in the eneloop music booster for musicians to help them support a lifestyle that values reusing and recycling,” said Tom Van Voy, General Manager of the Consumer Products Group for SANYO North America. “We are committed to providing energy and environment-related solutions for professionals and consumers, and the eneloop music booster allows us to do both in one package.”

The unit is able to power two 9V units at 1,000mA each or up to 2,000mA using only one port. It also features a three stage LED power level indicator, showing the remaining power of the batter at a glance. It has a 3.5 hour charging time and can last from 2 hours (for a full electronic drumset) to up to 50 hours (for 10mA effect pedals). The unit is tested waterproof to JIS IPX3 standards, and, since I didn't know what that meant, I looked it up. Here's the skinny.

The unit is run at full power (2,000mA output, 1,000mA from each port) powering two devices with several hoses spraying water at it from various angles until it fries, dies, or runs out of battery power. Only units that can last through this process several times without so much as a glitch get certified. While I don't recommend attempting to use it in, say, a hurricane, it's good to know that a little water won't totally mess it up.

The eneloop Music Booster carries an MSRP of $149.99 and is slated for release in late spring. I have to commend Sanyo for not only making a product that is environmentally conscious and sound, but making it sturdier, safer, and more reliable than the current standard setup. Kudos, Sanyo, for making this not only better for the environment, but also an overall step up.

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