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bobzilli

What will happen to MD, "down the road"?

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I'm finally starting to think ofwhat I'm gona do MD wise in the years to come. As the supply of new HiMD recorders drys up I have taken a good look at my discs and players. a I have a couple hundred MD discs recorded as MD and may be half that in HiMD. I have two Hi MD portables and two MD players (one a portable). I guess maybe I need to decide on one format or the other. If I opt for HiMD I would like another deck for "insurance" down the road, if I stay with MD I could maybe unload a Hi MD player and keep one and some discs for storage back up only...I dont know... My question is, what are others doing?

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we're getting as many of any kind we can get, it's an obsession man, but a good one

Bob

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I don't see any reason to own anything other than Hi-MD units.

At the moment I have an NH-700 with a failing wheel (but which works otherwise), a newish backup NH-700 and a RH-1, along with more discs than I want to think about. Someday I will upload all the legacy MD recordings with the RH1 and hope that I don't wear it out with literally hundreds of discs.

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Hi MD units make sense if we can keep finding discs (and units). I figure there are a lot more MD units out here (especially in JApan) where the format had a more established base.

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For me at least going down the MD route makes more sense rather than sticking to Hi-MD. Incredible though it may seen, with old MD you have far more options. Ebay continues to offer a lot of legacy equipment, and Sony UK are still selling new MD decks like the MDS-JE480 even today at my local store. With Hi-MD you are limited to one model from one company (Onkyo). This is not good. Saying that, of course you have uploading/downloading to the PC which is a major advantage for Hi-MD. But Atrac3plus itself is now finished as a format so that advantage no longer seems to be as valid as before.

Or perhaps just continue as you are doing now, balancing the two formats so long as money allows it.

Edited by kino170878

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Thanks for your imput. I don't want to balance between the two formats a it is frustrating to grab a disc I want t hear and realize I cant play it on my home MD deck. I feel compelled to make a choice, but still I wonder...

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That's the problem with Sony. Originally MD was designed for listening on a hi-fi setup like yours. One rate, 292kps. Hit the disc, boom quality sound. It was never made with computer transfers in mind. Which is why I suppose till this day no SP codec is made available in Sonicstage.

Then comes Hi-MD, which looks great on paper. Unlimited transfers to and from the PC but with fewer editing options compared to old MD. It was designed primarily with convenience (and DRM) in mind, rather than just sound quality. So a range of rates were availabe, not one fixed rate. That was all good and well. But the real deal breaker was, little to no product support from its maker. Sony faced a crisis of conscience, and decided to severely restrict the new Hi-MD technology. Which ultimately led to the downfall of Hi-MD.

This is why I have decided to go back to good old legacy MD. I gaurantee you legacy MD will be here long after Hi-MD has disappeared completely.

By the way, I would dearly love to get my hands on one of those Japan only Netjuke Hi-fi systems. Supposedly these have an MD slot (non Hi-MD) and can transfer recordings to the hard disc at 20x normal speed.

Edited by kino170878

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I love the ease of transfer with the RH1 to MAC, though I still think real time transfers sound better and I'm inclined to think that MD sounds better than HiMD. It seems everyone who has responded has the same issue and thoughts I have expressed. Misery love company I guess

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I went to himd on wich I stock music , work, photos, even some xvid or h264 videos... Will never go back to poor old MD.

for Hifi listenning I'd like an ES style Sony deck, but I can live With the very good Onkyos.

In the car, I still hope for a himd car unit, but I can live with my nh900 conected to sony cd car unit via Connect2 adapter.

Edited by garcou

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I love the ease of transfer with the RH1 to MAC, though I still think real time transfers sound better and I'm inclined to think that MD sounds better than HiMD. It seems everyone who has responded has the same issue and thoughts I have expressed. Misery love company I guess

comparing the current ATRAC SP to the older SP used on net-md and md, I've heard a number of people claim that the SP on Hi-MD units sounds better. I haven't done any direct comparisons myself so I can't give a personal opinion.

I rip my cd's to minidisc as 256Kbps ATRAC, and I don't use mdlp (132 or 64 version) or atrac3plus (64 or 48 version) since they have way too many artifacts, and atrac3plus does too much guessing for my preference. But the ATRAC 256Kbps sound all right to me. I'm not sure if the ATRAC SonicStage uses for bitrates above 132Kbps is atrac3plus? If so then I think atrac3plus is okay at high bitrates.

Sony seem to have dropped ATRAC support completely in mp3 players, I wonder if this signifies death of atrac, or whether the japanese markets will continue to support atrac (SE phones in japan support ATRAC for example, not just minidisc and flash based players) and ensure it's continued existance? Or, will we see atrac dropped completely, even in minidisc, and if so, will minidisc live on as a formfactor sans atrac? Now that would be a turn up for the books, minidisc players that not only support mp3 (which we now have), but have no support for ATRAC! :lol: (I sorta hope they continue support for atrac)

There is also the question, will Sonic Stage live on, if so, when will it get the ability to copy songs from the library to a Sony (or other brand) music player via usb mass storage(ie: a drive letter), as opposed to only an ATRAC device or cd?

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I will continue to use my Hi-MD player (RH1) as long as it lasts (which won't be for ever, as those things weren't really built to last if we're honest), or until something of equal sound quality comes along - it may be here already and I'm not yet aware.

I'm actually more saddened to learn that Sony have abandoned ATRAC. Not least because 95% of tunes on my PC are in ATRAC. I still have the original CDs though. I never downloaded tunes - I wouldn't listen to such horrible bitrates as that.

SonicStage is actually the best quality MP3 converter I have ever heard though. iTunes presumably uses inferior codecs, as it makes horrible MP3s even at 320 kbps compared with SonicStage. So whatever player I go for next, I will still be using Sonic Stage to convert my CDs into MP3, then will import the music files into whatever software I need for that player (unless I find that player's software makes just-as-good MP3s). Sonic stage uses a 'joint stereo' codec for MP3s (not sure if it's the same for ATRAC3 also). This is much misunderstood, but basically increases quality by only recording audio that is present in both the left and right channels once, rather than twice, which takes up less data without sacrificing quality. Therefore, a 320 kbps MP3 in joint stereo is superior to a 320 kbps standard stereo conversion because less musical information needs to be thrown away to retain the same file size. I believe it basically records the whole of the left channel, then for the right channel it just records the differences from the left (either to add extra sounds or take them away). Joint Stereo does require a very good codec though to pull it off, and many converters don't succeed. But SonicStage does it excellently. 352 kbps ATRAC recordings still just have the edge though. Like I say, I'm not sure if ATRAC uses joint stereo as well - but that's probably on another thread somewhere.

But, at the end of the day, MD and Hi-MD will go the same way as Betamax. In fact, I think of MD as being the Betamax of music players - i.e. superior quality, but losing out to better marketed and better supported inferior products. It's a shame, because you would think it would be so easy to market, given how sexy it looks compared with iPods (and lets face it, most people are more bothered about looks than quality of sound, hence iPod's success). And the DRM never helped. Or the crappy earlier verions of SonicStage (although I have no issues whatsoever with 4.2, and much prefer it to the ugly, bloated iTunes). Such is life. :mellow:

UPDATE

Sony have not done away with ATRAC. The latest NWZA816B recognises the format.

Edited by KanakoAndTheNumbSkulls

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That's very interesting news. According to Sony Australia, the NWZA816B supports these formats:

Supports: MP3 CBR (Constant Bit Rate)

Supports: MP3 VBR (Variable Bit Rate)

Supports: WMA (Unprotected)

Supports: WMA (WM-DRM 10 / PlaysForSure)

Supports: AAC (Unprotected)

Supports: Linear PCM

No mention of ATRAC at all. Maybe the Linear PCM is ATRAC in a WAV container?

Do you know if the NWDB103/105's support ATRAC as well? I want to get one, but only if it can run ATRAC/ATRAC3PLUS. If it's mp3 only, I might get one anyway, but if it doesn't work with SonicStage there is no point for me as I'm actually using SonicStage as my music library (I prefer it over itunes).

Still atrac support would be nice, so I can run atrac through my Sony USB capable mini-system (which can play atrac off Sony players, but not unfortunately, HiMD units) without burning atrac cd's.

Edited by max_wedge

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No need when your unit takes AAs. :D

yep, I never could get proprietary batteries, other than to make thinner formfactors, but it seems pointless to not have the ability to fill up anywhere standard batteries are available.

However with a phone I've been convinced otherwise. One of the beauties of mobile phones is they provide a 15hr plus MP3 player (SE phones 30hr on flightmode). And since you charge a phone everynight as a matter of course, you can usually get through the day without issues. It's also good from the camera point of view - no worrying about needing to find batteries - the phone can take hundreds of photos without blinking. Camera and MP3 playing ability add very little to a phones already massive power consumption - most of the power use is via UI and radio.

But to have all your standalone devices on proprietary batteries means having to have 5 different devices charging in dock all the time. Your desk becomes dock city! Not to mention the hassle and expense when a battery dies. One AA/AAA charger, a bunch of rechargeables, and that's good enough for me. :lol: And trusty phone as a backup music player/camera :)

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My question is, what are others doing?

I'm not worried about HI-MD or MD drying up anytime, soon. At, least not in Japan.

(1) While Sony may be the only one making portable HI-MD and NetMD units there are a number of other companies that are making deck recorders, MD mini Systems, and one company making HI-MD bookself.

(2) Before, Sony came out with HI-MD they had been perfecting the use of the blue lazer and phase shifts with plasma to push Magneto-Optical technology past the maxium 9 gig to 50gig and to maybe even almost 200 gigs with on a new High Desity Optical disc (UDO, I think) that are now being used in Banks. These disk are much bigger than HI-MD, but the it should not be long before they find a way to make them smaller and as compact as a MiniDisc(if there is enough interest).

(3)Although, DVDR, and CDR/RW super popular (with the average joe) and cheap they are still dye based media that fades with in time and is probably not very good for archiving data for long periods of time which is why there is still strong interest in Magneto-optical tech on which MD and HI-MD is based.

(4)MD like other MO disc of yesterday may be slower and not as popular as hard drives, but they last longer. (How may Computer harddrives have you been through?) And, because the media last longer there will still be a demand for units to produced.

(5) Now, Tape's and Tape walkman are still being made for some reason. And I doubt that MiniDisc will go before Tape does.

(6) Next, year(2009) Sony might make some 30th aniversery Walkman models.(but, that's just speculation on my part/ Oh, and I'm not talking about that ridiculous April fools day joke, either!) The MZ-RH1 is cool enough and it's still selling well in Japan(from what I can guess which is why they might make one HI-MD unit and maybe a Net-MD unit for Japan, but then again thats just speculation). Those designers really knew what they were doing or they must have listened to what people actually wanted when they made the MZ-RH1.

( I did not address SD cards and soild state media and they will become cheaper, how long they last I do not know?)

(7)In Japan Mini Disc has been fairly successful in supplanting audio cassette tape (both micro and full sized) in the home recording arena. Of course cassette's are still sold, but business men and reporters sometimes use a combination of IC recorders and Mini Disc.

(8) When it comes to amateur/semi professional portable recording of: concert's, recitals, ones own band, bootlegging MD is still king in Japan followed by those who actually lug their Notebook computers around for recording. Basically, I think anyone who wants to record in quality and does not happen to have access to his/her own studio probably uses Mini Disc in Japan.

(9) There are still a number of people both in and outside of Japan who do not want to be forced to use a computer ever time they want to play, share, listen to, or record music.Call them old fashion if you like, but I am one of those people. I can understand why Radio stations use hard disc juke boxes to play music on the air but I don't like to do that at home(some do and thats okay for them). I also, understand why many like to use their computer for editing music and sharing it via e-mail.

I like to keep MD away from computer in general and record digital(realtime) from MD to a stand alone CD recorder at times when I must put something on CDR.

(10) Interestingly, people still use DV camera's and tapes and those can not be drag and drop from the unit to a computer. Yet, we don't hear anyone complain about that. If you want to edit a DV you must do so through a real time upload. Just because it is slow doesn't mean it's inferior does it? It is simply like MiniDisc is one of the many tools to be used to get the job done. And for me MiniDisc still gets the job down better than the other alternatives.

Edited by Mikami

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Mikami I love your thought process and it makes me feel even more secure & happy about sticking with MD. Not that I NEEDED any security, but it's always nice to have, or to at least hope for ;)

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I'm not worried about HI-MD or MD drying up anytime, soon. At, least not in Japan.

(1) While Sony may be the only one making portable HI-MD and NetMD units there are a number of other companies that are making deck recorders, MD mini Systems, and one company making HI-MD bookself.

(2) Before, Sony came out with HI-MD they had been perfecting the use of the blue lazer and phase shifts with plasma to push Magneto-Optical technology past the maxium 9 gig to 50gig and to maybe even almost 200 gigs with on a new High Desity Optical disc (UDO, I think) that are now being used in Banks. These disk are much bigger than HI-MD, but the it should not be long before they find a way to make them smaller and as compact as a MiniDisc(if there is enough interest).

(3)Although, DVDR, and CDR/RW super popular (with the average joe) and cheap they are still dye based media that fades with in time and is probably not very good for archiving data for long periods of time which is why there is still strong interest in Magneto-optical tech on which MD and HI-MD is based.

(4)MD like other MO disc of yesterday may be slower and not as popular as hard drives, but they last longer. (How may Computer harddrives have you been through?) And, because the media last longer there will still be a demand for units to produced.

(5) Now, Tape's and Tape walkman are still being made for some reason. And I doubt that MiniDisc will go before Tape does.

(6) Next, year(2009) Sony might make some 30th aniversery Walkman models.(but, that's just speculation on my part/ Oh, and I'm not talking about that ridiculous April fools day joke, either!) The MZ-RH1 is cool enough and it's still selling well in Japan(from what I can guess which is why they might make one HI-MD unit and maybe a Net-MD unit for Japan, but then again thats just speculation). Those designers really knew what they were doing or they must have listened to what people actually wanted when they made the MZ-RH1.

( I did not address SD cards and soild state media and they will become cheaper, how long they last I do not know?)

This is a great post you made. Hopefully other companies will continue to pursue their minidisc plans even if Sony fail to deliver. Onkyo, Panasonic, HHB and Tascam are still actively supporting the format.

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:D I went to a local Fry's and I can find Beta tapes, 5.25" floppy disks, cassette tapes, etc, but no MD nor HiMD. :) Heck, I can still find Zip disks in many electronics/office supply stores. Try finding a blank MD/HiMD at stores other than Sonystyle. Sony has other priorities. They have blu-ray for high capacity media, and memory stick. Beta tapes and cassette tapes are still made because they have much more userbase than MD. As for using MD/HiMD for archiving, what's the point in using a media that you cannot find a reader to use it in the future?

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:D I went to a local Fry's and I can find Beta tapes, 5.25" floppy disks, cassette tapes, etc, but no MD nor HiMD. :) Heck, I can still find Zip disks in many electronics/office supply stores. Try finding a blank MD/HiMD at stores other than Sonystyle. Sony has other priorities. They have blu-ray for high capacity media, and memory stick. Beta tapes and cassette tapes are still made because they have much more userbase than MD. As for using MD/HiMD for archiving, what's the point in using a media that you cannot find a reader to use it in the future?

Oh SHUSH, you! Why do you have to spoil the fun?! Yes, you're right, but let us live our fantasies in PEACE! Besides, some of us are STOCK PILING enough MD to last a lifetime anyway ;)

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Mikami seems to be under the impression the Sony is still making Md's ,............ They are not , I have confirmed this from many retailers here in Japan , Zaiko ga nai , mada konai desu .

Sony has stopped production , ..........

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Interestingly, people still use DV camera's and tapes and those can not be drag and drop from the unit to a computer.
Well,some people are - others (me for instance) are writing high definition video to SDHC cards and uploading to PC at high speed.

If I were Sony I'd be looking at putting an SDHC drive in the RH-1 and writing the files with no proprietary stuff, just like the other portable recorders do. The RH-1 differs from the rest of that pack by its smaller size and mini-desktop form factor. I'd bet it would sell quite well and most of the development and tooling has already been done.

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