Zoë Blade's notebook


PCM-F1 tech specs

Sony PCM-F1 and SL-2000
Sony PCM-F1 and SL-2000

  • Released: 1981
  • Company: Sony
  • Bitrates: 1233.568 kbps, 1234.8 kbps, 1409.792 kbps, 1411.2 kbps
  • Sample rates: 44.056 kHz[1][2] (colour NTSC), 44.1 kHz[2][3][4] (PAL)
  • Sample resolutions: 14-bit, 16-bit[1][2][3][4]
  • Tracks: stereo

The PCM-F1 was a digital audio processor released by Sony in 1981. It encodes audio from analogue to digital, and decodes it back from digital to analogue. By connecting it to a videotape recorder, such as Sony's matching SL-F1 Betamax recorder, you can digitally record audio and play it back. And while you're at it, a TT-F1 radio would complete the rather stylish set.

Recording at a 14-bit sample resolution might well be the smarter choice, as the leftover bits are used to add error correction, in case there are any dropouts on the videotape.[5]

It's now very much obsolete — even my Edirol R-09 can do much the same thing using handy SD cards, and it's far more portable, even with its built-in pair of microphones — but it's pretty historic as using the exact same sample rate and resolution that would later be used by CDs... and for a consumer looking to record in that format, it was basically the only option.


  1. "PCM-F1 manual" Sony, p. 23
  2. "PCM-F1 service notes" Sony, p. 1
  3. "Digital Recording" Mike Skeet, Electronics & Music Maker, Oct 1982, pp. 37—39
  4. "Home Recording With Digital" Mike Skeet, Home & Studio Recording, Dec 1983, pp. 32—34
  5. "Sony PCM-F1 Digital Audio Converter" J. Gordon Holt, Stereophile, Sep 1982



Stereo recorders: DA-1 | HD-S1 | PCM-F1 | R-09

Sony: CD | DAT | MiniDisc | NW-A45 guide | PCM-F1