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iMark

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iMark last won the day on January 28 2011

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About iMark

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  • Sony Products I Own
    DVD/HDD recorder

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  • Gender
    Male

Audio

  • Minidisc units
    MD-DX3, MZ-R750. MDS-JE520
  1. Agreed. Software should be there to help users. I think there is a flaw in your thinking about the Mac only representing 5% of the market. That's Macs but the catchment of people that use Apple products is much bigger. What Sony have failed to do is to target people that own Apple gadgets. With their technology they could have made very good iPod docks for example. But you don't see any Sony products in the Apple stores. Big fail on the part of Sony. They could have MD the best recording device for Mac users much earlier. There is a product since 2006, the MZ-RH1. But why can't I buy one in Apple Store?
  2. What the marketshare doesn't tell you is the disposable income of the average Mac user. They tend to spend a lot more on gadgets. Therefore Mac support should have been paramount for Sony instead of writing crappy Windows software.
  3. I have also found that Macs are much easier to maintain. Also most peripherals simply work when you plug in a USB device. I know that new SACD's are still being released but it is a shame that the majors (Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal) have dropped their support completely. I really like the hybrid discs. For best sound you just play the disc in a standalone player. The CD layer can always be used in regular players and computers. It's also a very flexible system. If you upgrade your system at a later stage you can play the SACD layer(s). I'm really astonished when I see what people want to pay for classical SACD's that were released about 5 years ago. There's definitely a market for them.
  4. Of course Sony is a competitor of Apple. But you seem to ignore the fact that Sony missed the opportunity to sell their stuff to Apple users because of the lack of software support. I'm pretty sure it's Sony's fault that there is no way to upload legacy discs through their transfer software. It can't be rocket science to convert ATRAC to AIFF on the Mac if you can convert ATRAC to WAV on Windows. Both are containers for PCM. Apple has always excelled in software/hardware integration, clearly something that Sony never understood. That's why their online music store went belly up. You can't blame Apple for coming up with a model that actually works when Sony came up with something that didn't. It took the clout of Apple (not a record company) to actually get DRM removed from the iTunes music store. That's something Sony could have done themselves, being one of the major record companies. Another trick they missed is of course the relative fiasco of SACD. I got into buying SACD's in 2003 when I bought a Pioneer universal DVD player. Sony didn't support DVD-Audio, Panasonic didn't support SACD. How stupid can you get. Sony have an incredible vault of great recordings but they stopped releasing Hybrid SACD's. Why develop DSD if you don't even release SACD's anymore? Are the technology and marketing departments completely detached from each other? And will Sony ever learn? They are now producing BluRay players without support for DVD-Audio. It's the companies without a record label that produce proper universal players. Sony haven't got a clue (again). About legacy software: the only stuff you can't use anymore on modern Macs is running software for Mac OS 9 (last version released in 2002). All software that was written for PPC (OS X) runs through the built-in emulator Rosetta in modern Macs. This gave the software developers to rewrite their software for Intel based Macs. I believe that it was Microsoft that took 4 years (!) to offer a native version for Intel Macs. In business there seems to be a vicious circle of IT departments to stick with legacy Windows stuff. The Windows machines require a lot more support than Macs, therefore they will never recommend anything that will make themselves redundant. And it is all that legacy stuff (like BIOS) that makes Windows such a bloated pile of ... Macs have been running on EFI ever since Apple switched to Intel processors in 2006. It is now 5 years later and EFI finally seems to come to Windows. My main point is: if Apple can sell iPods, iPads and iPhones to Windows users and Sony can't sell any stuff (anymore) to Mac users that is entirely Sony's fault. Tough luck for Sony. This still doesn't mean I don't like Sony products. We have a Sony TV, a Sony DVD/HDD recorder, a Sony miniDV camcorder and some MD gear. :-) As long as you don't need software support from Sony you can safely buy their hardware.
  5. Apologees accepted! It seems a bit strange to bash Mac users for the fact that Sony doesn't support their computers. Many Mac users would have liked to use Sony products but were scared away because of the lack of support. It is a great shame that Sony never bothered to tap into the Mac market. There are many audio and video enthousiasts out there that own Macs and and would have loved to have (had) proper support from Sony. iPods wouldn't get a mention if Macs had been properly supported! I know the MZ-RH1 is a great machine and will probably sound better than my iPod Nano 5G, but I don't consider getting one. There are too many unknowns about future support for MD's. It's all water under the bridge now but I think that Sony missed a great opportunity to get Mac users onboard. Mac users like good gadgets! I have a couple of friends who own both Macs and Minidiscs. The only thing we don't like about MD is the fact that there isn't any support for legacy discs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the hardware. The only thing we are worried about is the fact when our present MD decks break down in the future we will not be able to convert our MD's to a format that is as future proof as possible. That was the main reason to look into getting the stuff from legacy MD's to our Macs while keeping the best possible sound quality. Our MD's will be OK for a very long time but will there be a device play them? My friends and I use Macs for different reasons. There is no religion involved. We simply think (and know) that with our Macs we are more productive. There is simply less stuff to worry about and (most of the time) they simply work. The big difference is that most Mac users have had (some) experience with Windows computers but most Windows users haven't had any experience with Macs. Mac users are in a position to compare the two systems, most Windows users (like you) are not. One of the most idiotic examples of Sony's non support for Macs was the miniDV recorder we bought a couple of years ago. There is no mention in the manual of the fact that you can simply can connect the camera to any Mac with a FireWire port and use it with iMovie (which comes with every Mac) to edit the movies. Out of the box, no drivers of further software required. I could connect the camera with the cable I got with the iMac I bought in 2001. Although I didn't have a DV camera in 2001 I could have edited movies on my iMac back then, from any Sony camcorder with iLink. Mac users don't hate Sony. They are merely surprised by the fact that noone at Sony saw the great potential to tie their hardware to the Mac platform. Even though iTunes doesn't get great reviews on the Windows platform at least Apple saw the opportunity to support iPods under Windows. They even changed from FireWire to USB 2.0 connections because of the limited support for FireWire on Windows machines.
  6. I have a pile of recordings of albums I borrowed from the library. This is perfectly legal in NL. We pay a levy on blank discs for this. I rip CD's directly to ALAC in iTunes. When you import with error corrections you get excellent rips. No need for FLAC.
  7. If you have any practical information about improving the workflow of transferring old MD's to a Mac through an optical connection: that would be very helpful. I didn't send my original post to offend anyone or get into a Mac versus PC debate. I just wanted to share my experiences with other people who have Macs and also may have a pile of old MD's lying around.
  8. I don't agree about the sound quality of iPods. For a portable device my iPod Nano 5G sounds excellen (with ALAC) and better earphones the horrific white buds. But so do the MD's in SP. Very good for the time and when recorded in AIFF through the digital in of my Mac they really sound excellent. Actually, much better then I expected. But that might have to do with the fact that playback to the stereo is through an external DAC via an Airport Express. For an Apple user the integration of hardware and software makes Macs, iPods, iPads and iTunes incredibly easy to use. I have never used iTunes on Windows. I know that many people don't like it. Whatever you think of Apple, they have shown the world that the integration between hardware and software with a clear interface is what brings the punters in. I have to say that if Sony had provided decent support for the Mac to make it possible to upload old SP tracks I probably would have bought a MZ-RH1 years ago. I know there are ways to do it with support of the linux-minidisc project but it all looks quite complicated. For the moment I'm enjoying my pile of old minidiscs that are being transferred to my Mac. It seems that the EUR 50 I spent on the second hand MDS-JE 520 was quite a good deal. And of course I have to factor in the EUR 5 I spent on the Toslink to MiniToslink adapter. :-) It's also a shame that Sony didn't provide an optical output on the MZ-RH1. It would be great if you could connect the machine to an external DAC (or a Home Theatre amplifier). They really missed a trick there in 2006. I don't think anyone will ever question the quality of Sony's hardware. We have several very good Sony gadgets at home. We have a Sony miniDV camera (that works great with iMovie on a Mac with Firewire, no mention of that in the Sony manual) and a DVD/HDD recorder (the RDR-HX710). It's their software and software support that sucks.
  9. I'll try again (now quoting you correctly, my apologies for that). What did you mean when you said that "You started with something that didn't work and watched it get less bad."
  10. I'm not talking about religion. It's you that came up with the old mantra 'PC's are cheap, Macs are expensive'.:-) IMHO Macs may be expensive but they offer great value for money. Oops, another religious statement. What do you mean when you say that I started with something that didn't work and watched it get better? I posted my original story to this forum so it could be of use of other readers that have Macs and a pile of old minidiscs. I have described the workflow I have been using but I'm open to suggestions to improve the workflow. I'm not saying that I don't like MD. I have liked it since I bought my first deck in 2000, the MD-DX3. I later bought a very nice portable, the MZ-G750 (the one with the radio in the remote). All the gear is still in working order but not getting a lot of use. We even have stopped using the CD player in the MD-DX3. Simply because it doesn't have digital out to connect to our DACMagic. Our DVD player sounds better with CDs than the Sony when played through the DAC. Now all our CDs are ripped in Apple Lossless we send them to the DAC via an Airport Express. All I'm trying to do is to preserve my recordings in the best possible way and I think the digital transfer is very good. I don't like the idea that in 10 or 20 years there is no longer any equipment available to play my old discs. It just shows how unfortunate it is that Sony crippled MD in so many ways. No digital output on portable recorders and many decks for instance. How great it would have been if you could just mount a MD to your desktop via USB without having to use any software. And how great it would if been if Sony would have made it possible to easily transcode ATRAC files to WAV or AIFF. They would have had field day with their incredible technology. MD Data could have been great for storing files or pictures but never took off. If that would have been incorparated in MD audio recorders (with USB 2.0) many more people would have bought them. The MZ-RH1 is a great machine but it is too little too late. It's all water under the bridge now. MiniDisc is great but it's a dying format for consumers and possibly for professionals too with the advent of good solid state recorders. Even laptops with digital inputs are now great for recording and much more flexible than MD.
  11. Interesting points. I don't think you got my original point: it is almost (apart from the linux minidisc project) impossible to transfer old MD recordings (SP) to a Mac. Apart from that, I would have to buy an expensive machine. I like gadgets, but for only transferring old recordings I think buying a MZ-RH1 too expensive. It would be different if I was in to field recordings. Or if Sony had released a good HiMD deck or if the MZ-RH1 had an optical output. I never understood why Sony stopped putting optical outputs on portables. As a music player my little iPod Nano 5G (16GB) is so much more convenient than any portable minidisc player. iTunes on the Mac is very usable. It works great for titling, it's pretty good as a music library tool and is terrific for managing my podcast subscriptions. Transfers are very fast too and music ripped from CD's in Apple Lossless sounds excellent with my Sennheiser CX300II earphones. Battery life is very good too. It's also very convenient for travelling when we bring our Logitech dock. I think a lot of MD fans don't realise how much better iPods have become over the years. I think I have found the right parameters now to transfer my old MD's in real time. It's actually good fun to listen to old recordings of radio broadcasts. They are now stored on a portable hard drive with a backup on another drive. Eventually we will make an extra copy to another hard drive that we will keep at different location. I think the recording of old MD's within the digital domain is a good option if you have a deck with digital out. The recordings I have made today (in AIFF, then compressed to Apple Lossless) sound as good as the original discs. I don't think anything is lost in the transfer and I have understood that directly recording the digital stream arguably is the best way for keeping the best sound quality. I then play the music from iTunes through an Airport Express to a Cambridge Audio DACMagic. Incidently, I have tried the MDS-JE 520 directly connected to the DACMagic too and that sounds equally good. The deck may end up replacing my old MD-DX3 in the rack because it has an optical output.
  12. I'm not entirely new to the forum. I think I have posted something a couple of years ago. 1. I apologise that my Windows knowledge isn't up to date. 2. It's great that there are projects that enable uploads from the RH1. The thing is that I really like Minidiscs but that I don't use them a lot anymore. It is just that I still have a collection of old SP recordings and that I somehow wanted to preserve in the best possible quality within the digital domain. I'm not going to invest in anymore Minidisc gear, especially because it almost completely lacks software support for the Mac. I think I will probably sell all my MD equipment after I have converted all my recordings to my hard drive. It has been great but finishing my project will probably mean the end of my involvement with Minidisc. I'm also worried that next major upgrade of the Mac OS (10.7, Lion) might break the possibility to use HD transfer for the Mac. Another reason for not getting the RH1, apart from costs of course. I would reconsider if only it were possible to just mount a Minidisc on a Mac and import files into iTunes straight of the disc. And if there was a converter for oma to aiff. I don't see it happening. When I bought my first minidisc equipment in 2000 I thought it was absolutely great, especially compared to cassettes. There are now many more convenient ways for Mac users to record and rip. And my alac files played on my iPod Nano 5G sound better than my portable md player. I'm still very interested in your comments!
  13. I thought I'd share this story I posted on the forum of What Hifi today. Maybe it's of use to other users. Over the years I have been thinking about what to with my collection of Minidiscs. It's a mix of digital copies of albums, broadcast recordings and even some of my mum's vinyl. I don't carry my portable Minidisc recorder around anymore and I would really like to have in my iTunes library so I can play them over the Airport Express or on my iPod Nano 5G. The other consideration is archiving to hard drive. Will I still have a working MD player in 20 years time? My recordings are in the old Minidisc SP format (recorded in ATRAC 4.5) and there is no way to export them to my Mac using the only recorder on the market today, the Sony MZ-RH1. Mouthwatering kit but old recordings can only be converted to WAV using a PC running Windows XP. I have considered getting a MZ-RH1 and installing Windows XP on a Bootcamp partition. But I don't want Windows on my Mac if I can avoid it. According to Sony multiboot systems are not supported. Also the Sony Sonicstage software doesn't seem to run on Windows 7, except when you install something called XP compatability mode. It all sounds very cumbersome indeed. I have tried the analogue route with a Griffin iMic but I wasn't happy with the results. It is also cumbersome to set the recording level with analogue input. Then I remembered that my MacBook has digital in and that it would be possible to record the digital stream. Only problem: my Sony CD/MD deck (MDX-D3) doesn't have a digital output. Never thought about digital outs when I bought that deck over 10 years ago. Fortunately there is quite a market in NL for second hand decks. After reading different sources (like www.minidisc.org) I decided to look for a second hand deck with digital out. I found one in Amsterdam and I picked it up today. It's quite a nice deck, the Sony MDS-JE 520 and it cost me EUR 50. I took my MacBook round to check that the digital out was working properly and I could record. It did. I just had a test with it through the DACMagic and it sounds awesome. Software considerations on the Mac. There's now quite a few good recording programs on the Mac. To name a few: - Audacity - Audio Hijack Pro - Garageband (not recommended, it's a bit of memory hog) - Quicktime 7 Pro I have tried them all and for the moment I'm using Audio Hijack Pro. The workflow is as follows: - Start hijacking from the digital input. - Set where the recordings should be saved. - You may set tags for the recordings at this point. - Set Audio Hijack Pro Silence Monitor to start a new file. I use 0.5 seconds. - Hit the play button on the MD deck and start recording in Audio Hijack Pro - Editing is only needed with gapless tracks. I do this in QuickTime 7 Pro. - Open a new player in and paste the selection. Then export this new file and give the title of the track. Use sound to AIFF, 44kHz 16 bit. I create a new folder with the name of the album. You have to do this for every track on the album but you can save the files in the same folder. There is the alternative of exporting the complete AIFF file first before editing and then edit the copy. - Import the AIFF's into the iTunes library - Convert the AIFF's to Apple Lossless (or another format) and tag them the way you want. You can select all tracks first to give them the album title. Also very useful is to tick 'gapless playback' and the total of tracks on the album. Amazon is a great source if you don't have the individual titles written on the sleeve. You can also cut and past the artwork from Amazon into iTunes. - Then title the individual tracks. - If necessary (like running out of hard drive space) you can delete the the AIFF's. If there's anyone who was thought of a way to improve on the workflow: I am open to suggestions!
  14. I have had MD equipment since 2000. I started with the MD-DX 3 because I needed a new CD player and recording equipment after a fire. MD seemed to be the way to go. Later I bought a portable player with radio, the MZ-R750. I have used the latter mainly for recording vinyl plugged into other people's hifi. I have been rather doubtful of the future of the MD format and the Mac support has been dire so far. At least it looks like Sony is correcting some of the earlier errors with MD. I am really looking forward to the new machine which will finally make it possible to put legacy discs to the computer without having to rerecord the files in real time. Will I buy a new deck too? Eventually I would need a replacement machine for my MD-DX 3 and I would like the new deck to be a combo with a very good CD player and fast dubbing in PCM. Optical in/out would be great to for copying legacy disks. At least it seems that Sony is working on some good new products and this is good news for us. iMark
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