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Old January 19th, 2008, 04:24 PM   #1
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Portable mini disc recorder recommendation

I am looking for a new or used potable mini disc recorder in wich I can use for interiews. I need to capture audio in pcm audio so I can then import that captured audio into my NLE system. I can spend up to $200. I looked on ebay for used but I really do not have any idea what models I am looking at in which will do the job. Thanks
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Old January 19th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #2
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I am looking for a new or used potable mini disc recorder in wich I can use for interiews. I need to capture audio in pcm audio so I can then import that captured audio into my NLE system. I can spend up to $200. I looked on ebay for used but I really do not have any idea what models I am looking at in which will do the job. Thanks
Hi Richard, not sure if they are even making them anymore, but here is a test I did with HHB Porta Disc a lot of years ago. If you could locate one of these pups used, it was a really nice machine in it's day.

http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage..._disc_rec.html

Best,

Dan
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Old January 19th, 2008, 04:35 PM   #3
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Perhaps not quite the answer you want, but a secondhand M-Audio Microtrack would probably come in within your budget and wouldn't have many of the pitfalls of MD: expensive media, moving parts etc. Also, you wouldn't be limited to 16bit 44.1kHz audio.

If you're certain you want a minidisk, you'll need one of the Hi-MD models to record in uncompressed PCM. I'm not too familiar with particular models but I imagine a quick search of the archives at www.taperssection.com would throw up some pointers.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 02:40 AM   #4
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Even the standard ATRAC MD coding is good enough for video work, even if you have to DA/AD it for transfers, so having PCM capability is not really essential. Of course the ability to do digital transfers is a plus and one less place to miss-set the levels.

I would also look for a memory card recorder.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 08:26 AM   #5
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Zoom H2 fits your needs?

Yep, Zoom H2 with it's 4 onboard mikes, no moving parts/flash card format and large range of recording options should do the trick and is about $200 - so right on your budget and will give you many options. I have one and I'm very pleased with it.

I have also used Archos mediaplayers (2 off AV420's and 604wifi) for 16 Bit PCM recordings upto 48 Khz but these need (mostly) prioprietary additional microphone attachments. They have very sensitive onboard mics and are ideal for "dictophone type verbal notes" BUT if you use them to try and record anything in high quality you get the screeching noise of the spinning HDD for a few seconds every few minutes as it writes from RAM to hard disc - hence the need to have a remote mic on a short lead. Great in many other ways through - especially if you spend as much time on planes doing long haul as I often do!

The technology has moved on since minidiscs were available and flash is definitely the way to go now...just look at the plethora of digital audio recorders that I and others have posted about in this forum section over the last few months!
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Old January 20th, 2008, 09:26 AM   #6
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I have a Sony MZ-M100 HiMD recorder that cost $300 new. There is currently one for sale on eBay for $209 ("buy it now" price). I can recommend the unit.

I also have a Zoom H2.

The Zoom is more convenient, except that like with the H4, its oscillator runs fast so the imported audio track is significantly out of synch with the video until I shrink it.

The HiMD recorder gives me tracks over an hour long that are in synch with my camera tracks.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 10:44 AM   #7
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The Zoom is more convenient, except that like with the H4, its oscillator runs fast so the imported audio track is significantly out of synch with the video until I shrink it.

The HiMD recorder gives me tracks over an hour long that are in synch with my camera tracks.
David, (or anyone) just so I understand this correctly....

Is it just "luck" that your HiMD's clock (read....v. cheap quartz occillator) and the one in your camera run at about the same rate whereas the similar clock in your Zoom H2 runs fast or is there some technical reason why a Minidisk player will record at exactly the "correct" rate?

As you know (since both you and I have posted about it elsewhere on this Forum!) it's simplicity to adjust audio track length to suit the video anyway and sync things up - but I'm just curious about this specific technical question. Thanks!
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; January 20th, 2008 at 11:27 AM.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 12:43 PM   #8
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I've had the Hi-MD MZ-RH10 for about two years, and it does a nice job capturing a various levels, including PCM. Uses 1 gig disks, too, lengthy recording time.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 05:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
David, (or anyone) just so I understand this correctly....

Is it just "luck" that your HiMD's clock (read....v. cheap quartz occillator) and the one in your camera run at about the same rate whereas the similar clock in your Zoom H2 runs fast or is there some technical reason why a Minidisk player will record at exactly the "correct" rate?

As you know (since both you and I have posted about it elsewhere on this Forum!) it's simplicity to adjust audio track length to suit the video anyway and sync things up - but I'm just curious about this specific technical question. Thanks!
I've met several other Sony HiMD owners on the boards whose experiences are similar to mine. My theory is that quartz oscillators are sorted into groups after manufacturing according to speed ranges, then sold a different price levels, with the most accurate being the most expensive. I have a Sony VX2100, a Canon GL2 and a Panasonic GS200, all of which run in sych with each other as well as with other camcorders I've borrowed. I've never heard of an H2 or H4 that didn't run fast. I've never heard of a Sony HiMD that didn't run in synch with with whatever camcorder the owner had.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 10:22 PM   #10
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I believe it's not a question of drift at all. Either Zoom used a master x'tal freq that was "close enough" for general-purpose audio recording, when divided down, or the dividing down ratios where "close enough" to 44,100Hz and 48,000Hz (unlikely, since it's all done by the TMS chip).

A firm like Sony would find it natural to design the sampling rate to be very close to the specificed sr. But Zoom's design philosophy seems to be first priority: fit in as as much as you can within a specific price point to attract a wide range of buyers; a more distant second priority, engineer the design and egonomics to an "adequate" consumer-quality level.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 11:49 PM   #11
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I've got a Panasonic portable MD recorder (don't recall which -- I've had it for years) that has no problem whatsoever with maintaining sync. Incidentally, not all portable MD recorders allow you to adjust the audio while it's recording. As I recall, that was my reason for selecting this particular Panasonic. I've also recently purchased an H2, though I haven't had a chance to use it yet. I'm a little concerned about the sync issue.
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Old January 21st, 2008, 09:23 AM   #12
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Paul, the H2 has all the convenience and versatility that we buy it for, and its internal mics and preamps are decent enough for many uses. Just plan on shrinking the audio track in your NLE, and it falls into synch. As has been said, it's not a drift or variability issue.
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Old January 21st, 2008, 09:57 AM   #13
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Although I have not used the HiMD Sony mini disc recorder, I have used many others and there just seems to be a step between the quality of the audio circuits on the mini disc machines and that of Zoom products. I had the H2 and returned it as in my opinion the sound of the unit is not as good as the Sharp mini disc I was and still am using.

The H2 is great as a cheap all in one that you can stand on a table and I have some OK recordings from it.

If you have mic's and a mixer then go for the HiMD. Better quality and it is smaller.

If you want to put it on the table and leave it and you don't mind the poor sound quality then go for the H2.

Don't compromise. If you do you end up with something that does everything badly.
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Old January 21st, 2008, 10:37 AM   #14
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I agree with Jimmy, but I wouldn't rate the H2's sound as downright poor (I guess he didn't either). And one thing it certainly does better than my Sony Hi-MD is upload. It zips at USB 2.0 rates, while the Sony plods at the excruciating USB 1.0 rate.

But yeah, my Hi-MD is the one I use for recording from a board, and I'll often take the trouble to set it up with a good XLR mic and a phantom power supply rather than just plop down my H2.
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Old January 21st, 2008, 11:17 AM   #15
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Visit http://www.minidisc.org for the latest news, reviews, gear,and other info on MiniDisc.

I've used Sharp MD recorders with success over many years, but last year I switched to using the M-Audio MicroTrack, and I am pleased with the results, not the least of which is the ease of transferring material to the PC (of CF media) for further editing.
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