spiff

The real appeal of the MZ-RH1?

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I may be a newbie in this forum, but I´m a 45 year old geezer living in Valdivia, Chile (I dare you to find it in a map...). I realize that my slow decline towards inevitable senility and my relative geographical isolation might color my judgment, but I would like to share my crusty point of view on what makes the Sony MZ-RH1 the best piece of portable audio yet.

Things were easy when I was in high school. Your choices in portable audio were simple then, you had none. Only during my first year of college I was able to buy a small and simple FM receiver with stereo headphones. Man, it was cool! However, you were always at the mercy of the dubious musical taste of the local DJ. I thought I died and went to heaven when I purchased my first Walkman tape player. It was as big as a brick (with a weight to match) and sucked really hard on four AA batteries. It had a hissy sound and only a few hours worth of electrical juice. Things slowly improved through the years with smaller and lighter machines, better endurance, auto-reverse and various Dolby filters. However the tape limitations put a hard ceiling on audio quality and linear track search was a real pain in the behind. Years later, the availability of portable CD players largely overcame these shortcomings, but the size/features cycle began all over again. My first portable CD player (a Magnavox unit) was as big as a brick and sucked really hard on blah, blah, blah. On top of that, it had no shock protection, no oversampling or digital filtering. It skipped really bad when you walked and couldn’t even read some commercial CD´s. It thought it was a real step backwards, despite better sound and random search ability. Even worse, since recordable CD´s were a laboratory curiosity then, carrying a day´s supply of the music you wanted to listen, implied carrying a lot of commercial CD´s (half of the tracks on average are just filler junk) and a lot of disk swapping.

Finally, when recordable digital units became available, my problems were finally solved, or so I thought. But the choices... I quickly discarded recordable CDs because of low capacity and large size. So, minidisc or solid-state memory player? I agonized for weeks between an early Sony R-series unit (I forgot which one) or the Diamond Rio mp3 player. In the end, I decided real-time transfer of my entire CD collection was too painful to contemplate and settled instead for a Creative Labs Nomad I unit. With a slot for a Smartmedia card, it also theoretically allowed for “unlimited storage”, but the price of removable memory at the time made it a crazy proposition. After many memory players, including the infamous iPod Nano, I rediscovered the minidisc at my local electronics store three months ago. It was a NH700 unit on sale for less than US$ 60 in local banana currency. To my delight I found that the HiMD format addressed all my previous objections. The sound quality! Unlimited storage! All the lost years!

Now, three months later, I own several MD recorders, including an MZ-RH1 and I began to ask myself what makes it so desirable. Granted, it is not perfect (it badly needs an optional AA battery module IMHO) and while SoundStage is in no imminent danger of being elected Software of the Year, it is a perfectly serviceable program. Before any of you shows up at my front door with a sawed-off shotgun, I dare you to first try the Nomad Music Manager over a parallel port connection… Yeah, it hurt that bad!

I also dare you to do a proper double-blind test and try to pick-up the RH1 from the rest of the HiMD units. I think without an oscilloscope, bat hearing or spider-sense, mere mortals cannot readily identify it, despite of all the loud (and subjective) claims over improved sound quality over previous HiMD recorders. So why is it so appealing? Because we are all attracted towards quality, especially mechanical quality. Take a careful look at the RH1 and you will realize what a diminutive and complex marvel it is. Compared with an all-electronic player, even an expensive one, the RH1 shines as a mechanical engineering show-off piece. People have always put a premium over mechanical complexity and precision, as it is far more difficult and complex to achieve than pure electronic accuracy. That’s why people are willing to pay a relative fortune for a Swiss mechanical watch, instead of a Casio full of bells and whistles, despite the latter being inherently more accurate.

Anyways, I apologize for the long rant and thank those of you with the patience to read it. Maybe the younger readers of this forum will find this concept a challenging one to expand upon.

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Thank you for that great post - I really enjoyed reading it. ;)

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I think without an oscilloscope, bat hearing or spider-sense,

quality! :D

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Nice one spiff.

Did you mention it just looks cool too? :)

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To be honest I agree with you, spiff.

In another forum for old computers someone posted ""the techtoys I couldn't get/afford" years ago. To be honest theres an element of that as well for me.

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I understand where you're coming from, for the most part. I'm about 20 years younger than you, Spiff, but it still all makes sense. I used to listen to my cassette walkman during recess at lunch in grade school, got my first huge, clunky, constantly skipping discman in middle school. Bought an Archos 20gb mp3 player in 2001, if memory serves, but was too frustrated by its bulk, display, lack of options.... just about everything except for the fact that it could hold 20gb of music!

Finally, I got the ipod of my dreams early last year, and what a disappointment it was. The sound quality wasn't too great, the battery life was AWFUL (it never got more than 8 hours), and it scratched so easily, even with a skin/cover on, I stopped treasuring it after a month or so. For a poor kid like me, feeling like I had just flushed $300 down the toilet hurt.

And then, voila!, I stumbled upon minidisc.org one day when looking for an alternate portable music player and remembering the fascination I had with minidiscs in my youth, which were at the time far too expensive. I was finally able to purchase an RH-10 last x-mas, and I've been in love ever since. My brother has pretty much taken it, though, so I'm looking VERY forward to hopefully purchasing an RH-1 this x-mas. Everyone here has rave review for it, and I know it won't disappoint.

And yes, as you put it, the RH-1 is a marvel of mechanics; one of its many, many desirable points. I quite enjoyed this post. I love hearing everyone's minidisc stories :)

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I also enjoyed the article as well. I also just recently bought an RH1 and I didn't even plan on buying one at all. I somehow balanced my earning and fortunately I had enough money to splurged for the RH1. I had been wanting to save up for the RH1 for several months now but somehow my other hobbies such as golf, hanging out with friends and other activities that involved money puts me behind from buying another recorder. I am so glad that I finally got one and I couldn't believe that I waited so long, If I had known then that I was going to as satisfied with my purchased of the RH1, I would have sacrificed earlier and could have bought the RH1 earlier. The most thing that I am satisfied with this new recorder is that it is fast and reliable particularly connected to PC. The previous one's such as MZ-M10 which I tried and sent back several months ago was a dissappointment. No upload and it was difficult to work with. The RH1 has a lot more to offer and more stable recorder. It is easier and the upload capability from Legacy md to Hi-md, no restricition and dynamic normalized is something that I have been hoping for which is finally obtain. Finally, Sony got it right this time...thnx!!!

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Great post

Remember also that the RH1 (and other Minidiscs) are great RECORDING instruments as well instead of mere playback units.

The Infamous Ipod is finally showing a drop in sales as people have either got bored with it or since nearly everyone has one it's becoming decidedly "Uncool".

The new Microsoft horror (ZUNE I think it's called --who comes out with these rediculous names --sounds like son of ZogZilla) ) has too many restrictions and what's the point of being able to copy a song on to a colleagues unit where it disappears after 3 plays.

Whoever thought of that one must have been under the influence of those funny smelling cigarettes you can buy in those famous or (infamous) Amsterdam "Coffeeshops".

At least with a MD you can give a disc to someone else who can then upload to another comnputer etc etc.

I'm also sure if you are listening on a train etc the whole "shared listening" concept of the Zune is not what people will want, and the unit is as fat as a brick anyway.

A decent MD unit still causes people to look at it especially these 2 units - The RH1 (current and best of the lot) and my favorite older recorder the (IMO) really exquisite N10. I still use this from time to time for playing legacy discs and for shorter recording sessions where I'm using legacy mode recording.

MD is still very much alive and kicking even if it's a "niche" market.

Cheers

-K

Edited by 1kyle

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And what about the fact that i-pods only last for two years?

;)

Edited by dogville

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And what about the fact that i-pods only last for two years?

;)

And what about the fact that this^ is utter nonsense?

You could say the same thing about MD units with heavy use--the pickups don't last forever you know :rolleyes:

At the same time either could last several years with no problems as well.

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:ok: great. i live the same thing. Here in Chile (La Serena), it's very difficult to find that thing. My first MD unit was a MZ n710, suffer a lot when is connected on my computer, and now have a mz rh1, have all i dream, and on my mz n710. well that all and great post.

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And what about the fact that this^ is utter nonsense?

Are you sure?. Ask apple and then tell me what they told you :rolleyes: . Publically admitted by them. Sure they might last more than 2 years but that has nothing to do with the fact of this statement made by apple.

regards

Edited by dogville

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Are you sure?. Ask apple and then tell me what they told you :rolleyes: . Publically admitted by them. Sure they might last more than 2 years but that has nothing to do with the fact of this statement made by apple.

regards

Thats simply the length of time they cover it under a warranty. Not that they only last 2 yrs. ;) Unless you a statement you can link to that says otherwise.

Look at cars, laptops, or any other product, the warranty is almost always limited.

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Thats simply the length of time they cover it under a warranty. Not that they only last 2 yrs. ;) Unless you a statement you can link to that says otherwise.

Look at cars, laptops, or any other product, the warranty is almost always limited.

iPods have a 90 day parts and labor, and a one year warranty for parts. Same as Sony.

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You can extend warranty up to two years for the iPod. I extended my Sony Laptop to a 3yr Sony warranty.

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You can extend warranty up to two years for the iPod. I extended my Sony Laptop to a 3yr Sony warranty.

I think Apple care covers 3 years for 60.00 I believed.

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* Moved to Hi-/MD Evaluations + Criticisms section

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what's the point of being able to copy a song on to a colleagues unit where it disappears after 3 plays.
Sounds like they had some ex-Sony people to advise them on their DRM policies... praise be that Sony have now wised up about that kind of sales-denting stuff.

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the biasness is funny here. anyway i own both.

i just like the md sound better than an ipod. i'm not sure if it's because the bass is bloated, but it sounds rounder than an ipod. beat me on the head about accuracy, but yea.

as for the size, i really only use 1 out of my 5 hi-md disc. just like i used 500mb of my 4gb nano. :)

two products two purposes two different sounds.

thanks for the review. i would have to concur about mechanical beauty. sometimes i wish i majored in ME

~jay

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Glad we are back on topic, I agree with spiff about the mechanical beauty of not just the RH1 but minidisc in general. I still turn heads whenever I pull out my RH1 to swap discs. I really just don't care much for iPods. Maybe one to play games with?

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