dex Otaku

MiniDisc Equipment Designation Information

Rate this topic

27 posts in this topic

MiniDisc Equipment Designation Information

post edited by Ishiyoshi

Question:

I am having a tough time figuring out what all the different model numbers mean on Sony's various portable MiniDisc players and recorders. For example: the MZ-R30; I assume the MZ-R50 is a newer model, more expensive with more features? Or essentially the same with just a different product number? Is it the same as the MZ-R70? And what does the additional of letters "n" and "h" add to the description? And what about the portables that begin with "E" rather than "R"? This is all very confusing when one is trying to buy off from eBay. Thanks, Steve

Answer:

'MZ-Rx' type models: Recorders.

'MZ-Ex' type models: Player-only units.

'MZ-Gx' type models: Recorders with radio remote.

'MZ-Dx' type models: Downloaders and lack any recording capabilities *"D" is used as an extension of the model number, i.e. MZ NH3D

'MZ-Nx' type models: NetMD capable.

'MZ-NEx' type models: NetMD downloaders.

'MZ-NHx' type models: Hi-MD units.

'MZ-EHx' type models: Hi-MD player-only units.

'MZ-DHx' type model: Hi-MD unit with camera module.

'MZ-RHx' type model: MZ-RH1 being the sole 3rd generation Hi-MD recorder. (*is also Mac-Compatible)

'MZ-Mx' type model: Mac-Compatible Hi-MD recorders. (*MZ-M10/M100; the MZ-M200 is essentially the MZ-RH1 with a bundled microphone)

*Note: models with 'F' suffix denotes units with tuner or tuner remote for listening to [but not recording from] the radio. *An example: the MZ NHF-800 is a NetMD capable Hi-MD unit with tuner remote.

The use of 'R' seems to have changed for the first generation of HiMD units, though this apparently will be back in use with 2005's models. [My thought on this is that 2004 'R' models are standard MD only; as Sony phases out MD entirely, HiMD will take over the 'R' designation.]

As for the numbers - they're more or less arbitrary. For a given model year, they're useful for distinguishing the base models from the higher-end models.

Try looking at the equipment browser on http://www.minidisc.org; if you trawl through some of the models there, you'll see what some of the differences are as far as the numbers go.

Edited by Ishiyoshi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great description Dex. I've moved it and pinned it to the New to the format(s)? forum because it ought to really helpful here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...and of course there are those that break the rules...

MZ-DN430PS doesn't have the "D" at the end (because it's "so PSYC cool"...) and neither has MZ-DH10P. Is the "D" still denoting "Download only" in these models?

MZ-NH520D is (was) not a Hi-MD player.

Any more "Bad Eggs" when it comes to model names?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's also the 2 original weirdos, the MZ-1 recorder and MZ-2P which is a player, hence the "P" tongue.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a bit confused between the MZ-NH series and the MZ-RH series. From specs, I can see that MZ-NH1 and MZ-NH900 seem to have more features packed into them (line-out for one) and some users have reported that they sound better than the MZ-RH910 and the MZ-RH10 when amplified. However, the MZ-RH series is supposed to be 2nd Gen HiMD and the MZ-NH series is supposed to be 1st Gen HiMD, correct? So the 1st Gen HiMD units remain better than the 2nd Gen units?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The NH900 and NH1 effectively have line-out and HD Digital Amp (and timestamping for the NH1). Only Sony knows why those features have disappeared with the 2nd gen. But you gain native mp3 playback with the 2nd gen, so it all depends on what you are looking for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The NH900 and NH1 effectively have line-out and HD Digital Amp (and timestamping for the NH1). Only Sony knows why those features have disappeared with the 2nd gen. But you gain native mp3 playback with the 2nd gen, so it all depends on what you are looking for.

Aah, MP3! I guess it's a sign that I don't care for MP3 playback compatibility since I obviously overlooked that bit. :D

So, if the RH1 does not have a line-out or time-stamping, how do you think it compares to the NH1 (and the NH900) disregarding the whole MP3 bit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm waiting to see the final specifications and manual of the RH1 to check what it will exactly deliver.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm afraid SONY is hurried for MD market, so many new series confusing, maybe SONY itself is confused, too:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...and of course there are those that break the rules...

MZ-DN430PS doesn't have the "D" at the end (because it's "so PSYC cool"...) and neither has MZ-DH10P. Is the "D" still denoting "Download only" in these models?

MZ-NH520D is (was) not a Hi-MD player.

They don't really break the rules, it's just that Sony changed the convention like 3 times in 3 generations 'cause they are weird like that, lol.

DH10P, the D definitely means downloader only. The P at the end means photo/picture.

THe DXxxx models still follow the new convention. Like the DH710, the DN430 follows that convention. The PS at the end isn't "official". It's simiply a model addition like the colour codes. You don't see PS on the actual unit, I don't think.

N520D (there was no NH520D was there???) is the generation before and thus follows that convention where NXxxxD would indicated downloader only as well, this is evidenced by other models like the NH600D and the NH3D. The generations before that would go with the "NE" designation, instead of a strategically placed D.

There's also the 2 original weirdos, the MZ-1 recorder and MZ-2P which is a player, hence the "P" :P

LOL the original weirdos :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, if the RH1 does not have a line-out or time-stamping, how do you think it compares to the NH1 (and the NH900) disregarding the whole MP3 bit?

RH1 does have line-out, but doesn't show it in the Menu options (under Audio Out) if you have headphones plugged in. Unplug, and there it is. Since it has a clock, I have a feeling it does time-stamping too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(just confirming) correct both times A440...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good addendum to this could be:

MZ-M*

Though it gets confusing when you throw the MZ-RH1 into the mix, being RH (same as second gen Hi-MD, e.g. MZ-RH10/MZ-RH910) but the RH1 is also Mac-Compatible and is a 3rd gen unit..

Even more confusing is the MZ-M200, which is in essence the RH1, but with a bundled Mic (and bigger pricetag)

Edited by raintheory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Sony tech told me that only MZR models are compatible wih MacIntosh computers.

But an apparent exception is the MZM200, which I'm told is the same as the MZ-RH1 except it includes a mike.

I too am very bewildered as I attempt to shop for a minidisc recorder. I am a professional, classical musician and the main reason I want the device is to record rehearsals and practice sessions, then play them back to see how they sounded. I want a device that's very convenient to use, both for instant playback and for storage. My computer is a Mac.

My shopping criteria are as follows:

1) I'd like to stick with Sony, if only for simplicity's sake

2) Since this is classical music, it must be uncompressed. My understanding is that if it records WAV or PCM files, I will have no issues with compression.

3) Very essential that it be easy to find my way to a particular spot on the recording, and to edit. My understanding is that most devices that match criteria 1 and 2 above will also meet this criterion, and will enable me to edit the minidisc using the device alone.

4) Desirable Option: Since I own a Mac, it would be nice if the device were Mac-compatible. However, taking things OFF the computer is not of much concern...

5) Desirable Option: I'm primarily interested in working with recordings I make myself, so it would be nice if I could transfer these recordings TO my computer, for convenient storage, and in case I should ever want to dub. I understand that transfer TO my Mac will require a Hi-MD device, unless I acquire some additional software.

So, my question is similar to that last one: Which Sony model numbers will meet all these criteria -- or at a minimum, criteria #1 thru 3? If I'm looking at the specifications for a particular device, how can I tell if it's Hi-MD (or should I simply assume that if it doesn't say Hi-MD, it's not? Likewise with WAV files -- if WAV isn't mentioned, should I assume it's good only for MP3s?

Thanks in advance for any tips. I am actually quite intelligent, but with high-tech stuff I'm an ignoramus!

P.S. Sorry about my last post, I obviously hit the wrong button

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Wizard's list is correct. Whoever told you that about MZ-R is wrong. The MZ-RH10 and MZ-RH100 are NOT Mac-compatible (or particularly good in general). Among R models, only the RH1 is Mac-compatible.

I'm on a PC, but supposedly the Mac Transfer software that comes with the MZ-M* units and MZ-RH1 (which is also the MZ-M200) is easy to use.

You will need a microphone with all minidisc units. It's not built-in.

Be aware that Hi-MD discs only hold 94 minutes of uncompressed (PCM) music. Hi-SP, which is compressed, will give you nearly 8 hours of recording time and should certainly be good enough for a rehearsal recording.

Compression is a word that is used two ways. Dynamic compression makes soft parts louder and loud parts softer. Radio stations use it when broadcasting, and sometimes recording engineers use it to shape the sound of certain instruments. Rock and other electrified music is usually compressed. That's the compression that classical people hate because it flattens the subtleties of a pianissimo.

But there is also file compression, which lowers overall sound quality slightly but takes much less storage space. That's what MD (and other recording devices) often do. Hi-SP is compressed for file size, not for dynamics. Mp3 is another kind of compressed format. Few people can tell the difference between the best-quality mp3 (320 kilobits per second, how much storage is needed for how much time) and PCM or WAV (1411 kbps). Hi-SP is 256 kbps.

The RH1 is likely to be the last minidisc model. There are non-Sony possibilities among flash-memory recorders, which use little memory cards instead of minidiscs, and which allow you to simply drag-and-drop your recordings onto your computer. (Minidisc needs its own software.) If you have any sound-geek friends, or a good musicians' store nearby, you should ask them about the Samson Zoom H2 and the Edirol R09.

I think the on-unit editing of minidisc is more convenient than the flash recorders, but I haven't used them and you might want to ask someone who has. They probably have their own forums....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Soprano:

If you don't want dynamic compression, use a manual level setting - otherwise AGC (automatic gain control) is used, which automatically lowers the gain in loud passages, but leaves the quiet ones unaltered - the sound will get dynamically compressed.

The differences between PCM (uncompressed) and Hi-SP (the highest quality compressed mode) are quite subtle to my ears. The microphones and their placement deserve much more attention, they will have a much higher impact on the recording quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much, guys! Wizard, A440, GreenMachine all offered extremely useful info. The Sony guys were mistaken about several things, but at least when I asked about forums they told me about this one!!

I don't know an ATRAC or WAV from my elbow, but I most definitely need to avoid Dynamic Compression. (It's not just the pianissimi ... you should hear what happens to my high B-flats). If I understand GreenMachine correctly, though, I can avoid that on virutally any Sony Minidisc model, even if it is not hi-MD

Ideally, I would love to have one of the three models Wizard listed, so I could have ultimate sound quality and be able to upload to my Mac. But it may take awhile to find one at a price I can afford. Ditto with flash players....

In the meantime, perhaps I can find a regular MD player that will meet my most essential needs (which are listed in my previous post). What if I could get a good price on an MZR-700? I may already own a mic compatible with that model. Any comments?

P.S. Someone told me it was possible to play a minidisc on a regular CD player. Is that true?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The MZ-R700 is six years old. Look carefully at it for wear around the buttons, which will tell you something about how much it has been used, and of course try it out.

http://www.minidisc.org/part_Sony_MZ-R700.html

If it's working, it will make a decent rehearsal recorder, and I liked the relatively big controls and wheel when I had mine. But--important--the music stays stuck on the disc. The R700 has no USB connection and the only way to get the music copied off a disc to re-record out of the headphone jack. (Or to borrow someone's RH1 and upload.)

If there's no H in the model number, then you can't upload. There are USB-connected NetMD units--later than the R700, earlier than Hi-MD--but NetMD goes just one way, PC to MD. (The idea was to use minidisc as an iPod-like player, not to get recordings off the disc.)

For very good musical quality with the R700 you'll need to use SP (a compressed format), which will only hold 74 or 80 minutes per disc (disc lengths are marked). For tolerable quality you could switch to LP2 (twice as long) but you will hear the difference.

Unless you really need something immediately, save your pennies and wait for one of the M models or an RH1. Or if you need an affordable recorder immediately, look into the $200 Zoom H2.

If your mic has a stereo plug that looks like a typical mini headphone plug, then it should be compatible with an MD unit. How good a mic is it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My mic is an ECM-909. I bought it way back in the 80s with a Sony Pro Walkman cassette recorder.

I think it was pretty good mike, at least for the time

I can live without connecting to my Mac for the time being, while I shop for the ultimate MZM***

And there's good reason to have a spare device. It just needs to be able to record in excellent quality and be very easy and convenient to edit the minidiscs using the unit. And be compatible with my mic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello everyone, Ive had a question for sometime now and I was hoping someone here could give me an answer.

Ive seen MDLP units who have the label ''Type S / Type R'' . What is the difference? Wich one is better? What do those letters mean?

Thanks

Juan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi. Well, Type-S is a playback enhancement for MDLP (LP2/4) recorded tracks. It improves (allegedly) the sound quality over the original MDLP units which use the ATRAC 3 codec for recording and playback. In Type-S units, the recording still uses ATRAC 3 for MDLP but have improved replay quality.

Type R affects both recording and playback of Stereo (SP) mode tracks, and is an improvement, in fact the best available, over the earlier SP codecs.

Hope that makes sense. What the R & S stand for is anybody's guess...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi. Well, Type-S is a playback enhancement for MDLP (LP2/4) recorded tracks. It improves (allegedly) the sound quality over the original MDLP units which use the ATRAC 3 codec for recording and playback. In Type-S units, the recording still uses ATRAC 3 for MDLP but have improved replay quality.

Type R affects both recording and playback of Stereo (SP) mode tracks, and is an improvement, in fact the best available, over the earlier SP codecs.

Hope that makes sense. What the R & S stand for is anybody's guess...

Thanks! I have a unit with each (S & R) and I had no idea what it meant.

It makes sence, I record my minidiscs on my MZN-707 (Type R) and play them on it or on my MZ-R70.

How ever I find the playback soundquality A LOT better on the MZ-R70...the sound is more clear and the bass sounds deeper.

Anyway, thank you for all the information!

cheers

Juan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to Sony, Type-S always includes Type-R.

However I think I spotted that when LP2 is recorded in HiMD mode the type-S playback seems inoperative. Hence real LP2 (on NetMD or MDLP) played back on a NetMD unit with Type-S sounds better than the same music at the same data rate on a HiMD formatted disk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont use Hi-MD, just MD or NetMD on SP. I know HiMDs have linear PCM 1.4 mb etc. etc. but Ive never tried it.

To me MD on SP mode sounds better than my other sony CD player (D-NE718CK) wich also has ATRAC 3.

Same album, same headphones, megabass on level 2. and the MZ-R70 sounds better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.