Roland R-26 received and I've done some first very short tests in noisy surroundings, i.e. at home with kids playing and TV on in another room... I did simultaneous recordings with Sony M10 and Roland R-26
Important part first, SOUND:
The very first high gain recordings with the internal mics did not compare to well with the Sony M10 regarding noise. But I'll have to get better at setting the levels comparatively correct (otherwise the noise comparison will not be close to fair or even remotely usable as a comparison to make a real evaluation. And the SonyM10 is only beaten in noise floor by its larger and more expensive brother D50. All other recorders using the internal mics are noisier than those two models.
I had really high hopes for it, and I still think it sounds quite good, but I dont think it will really be the D50 killer I had hoped for.
The omnis sound full and nice, they have a lot more high end and slightly less low end than the Sony, but I think they are noisier then the Sony ones.
The XY mics have impressive stereo separation and a very narrow angle (incorrect english: they feel more like hyper cardioid then tomatoes...) but they are quite a bit noisier than the omni's at the high sens setting. They are also very sensitive to noise and physical handling of the unit.
But here's the interesting bit...
When changing to mid or low sensitivity and actually recording at more "sensible levels" the difference is a lot less between the two units, the R-26 might even have less noise at those levels...
Realistically I would not use the internal mics to record really low level sounds anyway.
Easy to use. After quickly browsing the manual online a few days ago I could quite easily find all the relevant menus and settings, I have yet needed to look at the manual. Moving and renaming files etc is quite easy, but feels a bit archaic and old school compared to modern tech like an iphone. OTOH it can do stuff that no other handheld portable recorder can. No manual setting of the individual level of the XY mics compared to the omni's. No big deal as they are physically close enough to give similar levels anyway.
Additional drawback: its not possible to use the omnis and the plugin powered input at the same time as they share mic amps.
When recording several channels there is a separate (software) monitor section allowing you to chose what tracks to listen to and how to mix them to the phones output.
The round level "faders" are smooth and easy to adjust while recording without introducing any noise (but handling noise).
I didn't have any proper mics at home but will do some more tests at work tomorrow. Sennheiser mkh 40 should do as a pretty decent low noise reference mic.
This is a very first reflection and I'll try to write up something proper in a day or two.
I like it a lot but am yet to be totally convinced if its the best solution for my needs. It will very much depend on how the main mic amps sound with external microphones.
The internal mics are good but perhaps not great.
Now, time for some outdoor night time ambience recording :-)