Money no object - Which was the very best full sized MD player/recorder ?
Posted 01 January 2012 - 09:06 PM
Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:37 AM
For a while, Denon, Kenwood and Onkyo also offered high-quality decks, but they stopped before Atrac-R (and MDLP).
After that, only the Tascam MD-350 (with undisclosed ATRAC version) could come close to the quality of Sony's top decks, if you believe some audio magazines.
Maybe there were some more good decks in Japan (Onkyo offered two small Hi-MD decks there, but w/o digital out).
Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:48 PM
If you don't care about MDLP then the JB920 will easily do, having also configurable bit length for the SPDIF out. Strangely, the JB930 manual makes no reference to this feature. Perhaps someone who has that deck can inform us whether Sony took it out, or whether they forgot to document.....
Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:29 PM
Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:57 PM
The next major revision many devices use is the CXD2662, and this is for all pre-Type-S units that support MDLP. Type-R.
The CXD2664 is the basis for all Type-S (except the included Type-S with HiMD, and the NetMD portables which have the DSP processing also folded into a larger chip, to save real estate).
You may be right in your implication - that adding MDLP had some cost in the overall sound. I really don't know. My impression is that Type-R is fine for a. recording b. playback via digital out, but that Type-S is an improvement for analogue outputs.
Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:54 PM
Posted 03 January 2012 - 10:47 AM
I cannot conclude firmly which sounds better. At times, it seems the 940 might have a slight edge and at other times it seems they sound pretty much the same. Although neither of these decks could honestly be described as the "best," both are high on my list of MD decks that sound really good. Neither matches, under any conditions I've experienced, the MDS-JA333ES.
I might add that the JA333ES, despite being Type R, sounds better on LP output that at least one Type S deck, that being the MXD-D400. I have not had the privilege of listening to the MDS-JB980. I have found that trying to determine what sounds best by using chip-type or other specs is an exercise in futility. For example, the MXD-D40 combo deck has the CXD-2662 Type R chip, but its sound doesn't match the JB940, which has the same chip. So there must be additional factors affecting the sound.
I think I am getting this right, with the various chip numbers and which one is in what machine, but after a while it gets a bit hard to follow.
Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:03 AM
My impression of the MXD-D400 is that it sounds excellent when using optical output, as does the D40 (except that Sony didn't actually provide optical out from the latter, I had to add it myself). I cannot comment on the JA333ES.
So (absent my ownership of the 333ES) the differences seem to me likely to be in the analog side of the unit, which is probably where Sony spent the money (heavy transformers, solid metal faceplates etc) in trying to get the best specs.
Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:55 AM
Posted 03 January 2012 - 12:22 PM
Posted 03 January 2012 - 03:23 PM
Posted 03 January 2012 - 04:12 PM
I think the question of which was the best MD deck was never quite addressed in this thread. There is something resembling a consensus that it would be the Sony MDS-JA555ES. It is SP-only and is said to be just ahead of the JA333ES. As you noted, though, it's a real hen's tooth these days.
Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:00 PM
The other (non-HiMD) format that uploads (from MZ-RH1, via USB) without damage is MDLP (LP2 and LP4). But copying SP via optical (or USB) and (later) back to MD will lose some of the 24-bitness.
Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:01 PM
Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:12 PM
At the time, yes. Note (from the Specs) that only 74 minute disks are mentioned. MD technology moved on quite a bit after that. I won't bore you with a list but Sony kept on enhancing the technology. Those enhancements are not included. A lot of nice features in the Tascam, but not some of the pure enhancements to sound quality that arose from more recent DSP chips, for example.
Tascam MD-801RmkII is probably the finest MD Recorder ever produced.
Recent reports of Tascam's updated offerings have been a bit more lukewarm.
Overall, I would be inclined to stick with Sony.
Posted 05 January 2012 - 11:37 AM
Posted 05 January 2012 - 05:08 PM
Posted 05 January 2012 - 07:44 PM
Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:56 PM
I want to make only one comment on what you write. MDLP is not necessarily terrible. It's all in the way the sound comes to it. You cannot record a sound source with tons of high frequencies into MDLP without making a mess. But if you have something already compressed, with a certain ceiling, it can sound really really good. For example I can record music off radio at 64 or even 128 kbps using LP4, and I have lots of tracks (and a nice thread on the board here) to prove it. But try to record 320kbps broadcast ("HD") and the deck will fall on its face - you must use LP2 (LP4 fails). Atrac 132kbps is probably equivalent to the highest rates of MP3 in common usage.
A second point is that when ripping to MD (using SonicStage or SimpleBurner) that Sony does it perfectly for LP2, throwing away the bits that will simply make the recording sound bad. But if your rejection of MDLP is based on the following test scenario, all bets are off:
1. Rip a CD to some track stored on the PC (Sonic Stage uses 1411 kHz PCM in .oma format, and seems an obvious choice)
2. Blast the track to different data rates on the same (or different) MD recorders by converting to those data rates somehow.
3. Compare the sound of the compressed sound as played back, to the sound from the PC or the original CD.
Why? Because unknown to you, the rip of the WAV file from CD is very poor. Deliberately. It will sound just fine for playback, but it won't compress properly.
Use a proper ripper (EAC seems to be accepted, and works very well in my experience) and this won't happen.
With your obvious background in audiophile gear, I think you can see why. Unfortunately I strongly suspect that the lab tests which compared the various compression codecs that got published 10 years ago (just after introduction of Atrac3 ie MDLP), were done in something like this manner (yeah, I know there was no SonicStage). The result was to seal the fate of ATRAC, in a way, except for us hardboiled nuts who just wouldn't put up with the crappy MP3's.
Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:29 AM
This is in comparison to my my 980 and 940.
I am not sure if I liked this difference in sound that the 20es provided so I cannot be certain if
it is better or not.
The 20es is packed away now in favour of a 940 full size deck.
I record vinyl on to my mzrh1 in PCM format now.
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