Sony PCM-501ES digital audio processor

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A Sony PCM-501ES EIJA LPCM Adapter on a Sony SL-HF360 VTR

The Sony PCM-501ES digital audio processor was a piece of equipment that allowed users to record digital sound to video tape using a consumer-grade VCR. It was released in 1984 and was sold as a semi-professional product, part of the PCM adaptor family of products. The cost was about 900 USD and it was among the most popular PCM adaptors of the era.

The 501ES could encode 16-bit digital audio at a sample rate of 44,1 kHz. 14-bit encoding was also possible, which made the device compatible with the similar products from Matsushita Technics.[citation needed] As with all PCM adaptors standardized by the EIAJ, the 501 incorporated a single converter that was time–domain multiplexed between channels.

In long play (LP) mode, a 5-hour VHS tape could provide as much as 10 hours of non-stop recording and playback, which made the 501ES a good choice for radio stations broadcasting during low audience hours.

Model 601ES later[when?] brought digital output, which offers an alternative for re-archiving legacy recordings.