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It's... aliiive

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As detailed in the other thread on this board, Sonic Stage, contrary to earlier reports, is absolutely not dead.

I discovered this in the process of finding why my brand new NWZ-S754 walkman can be loaded with ATRAC files in Japan (and possibly Britain) but not here in Canada.

Along the way I found that the previous instructions for installing the new software Sonic Stage V, work for the "new" X-Application 2.01. The latter is in fact simply a re-branding of Sonic Stage. Even the install files say "Sonic Stage V" inside them. (although IIRC the internal version number is now 7.0.xxxx).

Another thing I discovered is that this (Japanese) version will talk to NetMD and HiMD perfectly fine, and (presumably) the NetMD760 driver in Windows 7/64 which we have taken some pains to validate here on this forum for just about all NetMD units. (HiMD is much less of a problem because it "only" needs disk access - although that statement is a bit of a simplification, it turns out).

Inspired by success of the NetMD760 endeavour, I today also posted a solution to the "slow SP upload" problem caused by installation of multiple NetMD drivers. So this new X-Application software should work with a single driver for all NetMD and HiMD disks, either in XP/32 (with NetMD052.sys) or in W7/64 (with NetMD760.sys).

The only problems remaining are:

1. I can't read Japanese - I have to do a lot of guessing to navigate about.

2. There's no way at present to convert the app to English (or other language) because the internationalization DLL is nowhere to be found. I suspect some technical/linguist genius could make one. Meantime we could always beg Sony for it. All the indications are there that the application is easily internationalizable.

3. The NWZ (recent models) sold here don't seem to work with X-application, though I can't for the life of me see why. I am reluctant to believe that that actually made different firmware when everything seems to be controlled by software on the flash memory. Again this is a problem Sony never anticipated (people actually wanting ATRAC and Sonic Stage!!!) but might be induced into doing something about.

If anyone can shed light on the problem of lack of support for ATRAC and what we can do about it, I shall be eternally grateful. We know a lot, but not quite enough, yet.

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Fine - but:

a. this forum also claimed that X-app was something new

b. it doesn't explain the observation if you follow the link to Tesco in Britain, that ATRAC was promised in the UK too.

I figure there's probably a reason for Britain and Japan - I don't have numbers but I am pretty sure MD's second best market may have been the UK. I think this to be so from the continuing availability of second hand gear better than anywhere else except Japan.

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Update: I recently got my hands on the Japanese version of the NWZ-755, namely the NW-755.

You may be interested to learn that it (and also the others in that series) has the capability to record ATRAC directly at the bitrate of your choice from the analog (line) input. Even at the mystic 128kbps (I could never fathom why HiMD didn't support that rate!) ATRAC3+. There are twelve icons on the main screen instead of 9.

Another example of the domestic Japanese consumer getting superior products. I am grateful to those (eg Richard) who over the years have kept up with these developments which are now accessible to those of us who can be bothered to make a few extra clicks in our browsers, via translation and using proxy bidding sites to buy this stuff.

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