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New forum member - questions regarding MZ-M200/MZ-RH1 recorders

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I'm an owner of some old Sharp minidisc recorders - an MD-722 and an MT-877 - that I used early in this century to do live concert recordings. I haven't used either of these recorders in a number of years but during the time I used them I accumulated a collection of several hundred minidiscs, both 74-minute and 80-minute format, with recordings stored on them that I am interested in transferring to a PC so that the recordings can be catalogued, archived and backed up. I am also interested in being able to convert some of the recordings to WAV format so that they may be burned to compact disc or mp3.

In the past couple of weeks I have done a bit of reading which has led me to conclude that the Sony MZ-M200/MZ-RH1 recorders would enable me to upload my recordings to my PC. I see that these come up for auction on that online auction site we are familiar with, but before committing to the spending the amount that these recorders seem to be selling for, I was wondering if I could possibly get some questions answered here on this forum. Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated as I have many recordings that I very much desire to migrate to the PC.

My PC is running Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit, SP1. It is my understanding that these recorders are backward-compatible with the 74/80 minute format minidiscs.

1) Do I need the SonicStage 4.3 software that came bundled with these recorders to upload my recordings to the PC? I ask this because, in one of the auction listings, the seller stated that she never used the SonicStage software to upload recordings because the recordings could be moved to the PC by "drag and drop".

2) If I do need the SonicStage 4.3 software, will it run under Windows 7, 64-bit? I have read comments here on the forum that some have been able to run SS without problems, and some have not been able to run it. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

3) What file format would my recordings be in once they are uploaded to the PC? My only concern is that I can move my recordings to the PC in WAV format, or a format that can easily be converted to WAV.

4) Any other tips/caveats that would be useful knowledge in my effort to move my recordings to a PC platform would also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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1) Dont know what you need I use the stripped sonicstage available in the files section of this forum.

Minidisc can be used like a flash drive when formated to a pc format eg fat32 so you can drag and drop as you would a protable drive.

Maybe she is confusing the two different uses?

2) pass

3) atrac format. There is an option to automatically convert a file when imported into wav which is what i use.

Then i transcode wav into flac and put it on my Cowan DAP

4) The Rh1 seems to be more delicate/flimsy than most other MD machines so be careful in use and get a good example when buying second hand.

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Sounds like "drag and drop" is not an option for moving files from my minidiscs.

Not sure I understand your response to #3 - are you speaking of an option in SonicStage that allows you to convert to WAV on the fly as you upload the files to the PC? Is that what you mean about a file being "imported into WAV"?

Like you, I would like to convert to flac once I've figured out how to get the recording into WAV - it's the conversion to WAV that I view as the major hurdle.

Thanks for the reply.

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You will need the 64-bit NetMD drivers which work for RH1 and also all other NetMD units. Unfortunately the RH1 is the only one which allows upload as you have discovered. Yes, 7 Home will support Sonic Stage no trouble.

I actually recommend the following (assuming you are going to FLAC) since you are starting from scratch now. What I've done is similar; but I have hitherto had no interest in FLAC, nor was what I am about to suggest possible when I started. Like you and most people here I have a large collection of MD's many of which (mine anyway) were made of LPs and tapes. It may not actually make that much difference compared to Martin's answer but theoretically may sound better and will probably preserve all your metadata which other routes may manage to mangle (even if only slightly so).

1. Upload to 256kbps so-called "Hi-MD format" Hi-SP (it's one of the choices when setting up upload to PC, and it is a remembered choice between sessions. I'm sure you'll find it).
2. Run the File Conversion Tool that got installed with SonicStage (set to the main library and it magically appears on the menu, run it from here and NOT from the Windows desktop or the command line) to get rid of all the copy-protection in the files you just uploaded. You can do this once or repeatedly, the software scans looking for newly included still-encrypted files. You now have .OMA files (rather than .oma files) which are free of copy restriction and which can be edited.
3. Edit the ATRAC files as necessary using Sound Forge 9 or higher (I have 9, and a copy of 10 which I have not yet installed), which includes being able to do all kinds of pro-type things with the sound - more than just cutting bits out. Add all the metadata you want, including copyright, artist, engineer etc.
4. Export them from there to FLAC (SF Version 10 can do this, I believe, Version 9 does not).

(Note added: files that have been edited, regardless of the fact they have been decrypted, will have to be deleted from, and re-added to, the Sonic Stage database if you want to transfer them to MD again. Of course if all you want is FLAC, there's no particular problem. This is because the DB is supposed to be a record of what's in the file. Any edit makes them so that the bits in the DB no longer perfectly match the file).

Why this way?

A. To many people's (including mine) surprise, Minidisc turns out to be at least a 20 bit format, maybe as high as 24 bits on some units. ATRAC files (.oma) are 24 bits which gives them much better characteristics and (in principle) better reproduction than 16-bit WAV (SS doesn't give you the choice of generating 24-bit WAV, but Sound Forge does).
B. Hi-SP is about as compressed as original MD, ie 5x as compact as WAV. This can be significant if copying, backing up, streaming or other activities are envisaged, and certainly doesn't eat your hard disk so fast, and in my experience, unnecessarily.
C. WAV, for all its virtues does not encompass metadata, so everything important needs to be in the title. SF will preserve the metadata for export to the modern formats.

I switched to going via Hi-SP and editing with Sound Forge a couple of years back. YMMV.

Welcome to the Insiders :)

PS you can get a free copy of Sound Forge 9 with some Sony Recorders, I actually got mine with one of their Flash Recorders, although I don't know if they bundled 10 with anything. However a copy of Sony's Movie Studio HD Platinum Version 10 may be available for under $50 (I bought mine from some guy in England who was selling them off, and I have since encountered someone here who got a similar deal elsewhere) AND THIS INCLUDES SOUND FORGE 10.

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Stephen, that guide needs to be preserved in some sort of "sticky" form for all to easily locate for future reference. Good stuff my friend!

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First someone needs to prove it works for FLAC. Theory is not always matched by real life.

I also missed one caveat, see the edit there.

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Many thanks for the info. Now, if I can assemble all the necessary components, it sounds like I may be able to move my recordings into a more manageable (for me, anyway) environment.

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Hi, longtime md user short time lurker here. Thanks for all the great info.

My question: can the mz-rh10 upload microphone recordings from standard md80 to PC? From my research I understood it to have similar capabilities as the mz-rh1 in this regard...?

Thanks again!

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Iff made in one of the HiMD fornats. If they were made in SP or MDLP then only the RH1 will do. Doesn't matter which machine MADE the recording.

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