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Old August 31st, 2004, 02:06 PM   #31
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New Sony HiMD Players Available

Finally, the new Sony HiMD player/recorders are available. All the specs are posted at the SonyStyle site. The models and a few specs (prices are Sony list in USD):

MZ-NH600 - $200 - no inputs; AA battery
MZ-NHF800 - $250 - Line in (Mic/Optical/Analog); AM/FM/TV/Weather Band Tuner; AC Adapter; AA battery
MZ-NH900 - $300 - Line in (Mic/Optical/Analog); Tuner? (Sony site says yes); AC Adapter; Charging Stand & NiMH battery
MZ-NH1 - $400 - Line in (Mic/Optical/Analog); no tuner; AC Adapter; Charging Stand & L-Ion battery

MiniDisc.org has a comparison chart of these models plus a 700 model (apparently a Canadian model with Canadian warranty only). Specifications for each model are available from links in this table.

All but the low-end model can record from Line In or Mic In and have a feature Sony calls "Self Recording Upload Function." That means anything you record can be transferred to your PC, presumably via USB. This feature is part of the SonicStage software; apparently another Sony application (Wave Converter) is required to convert your recordings out of SonicStage to a WAV file. Without Wave Converter (not yet available as near as I can tell), your recordings are stuck in SonicStage. Sony remains stupid about this but appears to be bending a bit.

Without recording ability, the 600 isn't particularly interesting.

B&H has the 800 for $230 incl. s&h; I found $220 from another online reseller I trust. B&H has the 900 at $260. The MZ-NH1 is in shorter supply and is mostly selling for close to list; it's out of stock at B&H.

Finally, in April the FCC published a notification of an open comment period on a variety of technologies from companies requesting certification of those technologies. Sony sought certification for "MagicGate Type-R for Secure Video Recording for Hi-MD Hardware." Sounds like the Hi-MD media may be headed for video, too.

Will
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Old August 31st, 2004, 06:20 PM   #32
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So the combined cost of a HD Mini disk and the field mixer would be what?
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Old August 31st, 2004, 09:32 PM   #33
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I take your point, Bryan. I wasn't advocating the technology, only reporting on its availability, sharing the research I happened to do early today.

MD/HiMD recorders do have some utility outside the scope of the mixer/recorder combos, though.

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Old September 1st, 2004, 07:38 PM   #34
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I noticed on the comparison chart posted above, that only the top two models have a "Line-output".

Line-output? Isn't this just the headphone jack out? Why would there need to be a second Line-output jack?
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Old September 1st, 2004, 07:44 PM   #35
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Headphone output is an undefined term and no standard.

Line Out isn't a lot better but we normally can expect a 1 V peak to peak signal at the max.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 11:26 PM   #36
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I think the word here is not only for the standards but Line out should be better to use in any case.
The head phone jack output signal is passing through phone amp that is not so good in a portable device.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 09:15 AM   #37
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There is only one analog output jack on these units.

The Sony specs do not say "line out" but rather "headphones/remote." The single output jack is clearly intended for headphones. "Remote" refers to the various dongles on all but the least expensive model, which only has headphones. The remotes have a hybrid plug that connects to both the output jack and a control plug. Headphones are then plugged into a jack on the remote.

This is all part of Sony's deathgrip DRM strategy. If there is a quality output method, then SonicStage (and therefore by definition Sony's DRM) can be circumvented. Getting recordings out of MD recorders at best quality has always been a challenge.

I have not yet learned whether the "Wave Converter" program is available. I'm sure it will be. If not, the folks who built utilities to upload tracks via USB will surely update their software to handle these new HiMD products. They may anyway.

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Old September 2nd, 2004, 10:42 AM   #38
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Sony's $150 studio recorder/player did very well for the last generation of MD units.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 06:44 PM   #39
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So the pre-amp in the mic inputs is better in the last generation than the Hi-MD's?
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 07:53 PM   #40
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Correction to Specs

Apparently there is a typo at SonyStyle.com. The site says "Backlit LCD Tuner Remote" for the MZ-LH900 model. Based on two online chats and a final phone call, the 900 does not have a tuner. Only the 800 model has the tuner.

I also attempted to find out how a recording is transfered from the MiniDisc to the PC. In this context, "recording" means audio recorded by the user as opposed to a track that has been transfered from the PC.

The only method provided with the device requires the use of SonicStage. Continuing Sony's utter stupidity about MiniDisc, SonicStage allows this transfer only once.

There is no way to get such a recording out of SonicStage. Sony would not confirm the rumor about the "Wave Converter" utility program. During the phone call, the Sony representative (who was entirely courteous and forthcoming) said an update to SonicStage due in "about six months" would allow this.

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Old September 3rd, 2004, 07:19 AM   #41
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Have you tried this? The post is from the forums at www.minidisc.org. It details how to use a program called Total Recorder to capture digitally from the minidisc as a WAV file.

http://forums.minidisc.org/viewtopic.php?t=5858&sid=13523f2c6b8b3d8d134c4e0119317f1b
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Old September 5th, 2004, 09:56 AM   #42
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I saw the post at MiniDisc.org. The only problem I have with the technique is that its transfer rate is 1-to-1, real time. The advantage of digital over USB should be speed, enough so that most tracks would transfer from the disc to the PC in a matter of seconds.

Total Recorder at least captures the digital format, even if it is 1-to-1. That's an improvement over what I do now, which is recording the analog signal from the MiniDisc on line in, also 1-to-1.

I haven't tried the technique because I won't buy Hi-MD until I'm sure I can get the functionality I want. I'd certainly be happy to pay another $12 to overcome this silly SonicStage limitation.

Will
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