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Again, this must be related to the source device and/or the cabling. TOSLINK receivers on both decks going south the same way and the same time is not really probable. And I keep my theory of the

OK, thanks. That clarifies. I give up then for now - maybe new facts come after the remaining tests.

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It depends where the source disk was recorded. If it's an original recording, you will be able to make a first generation copy. This does NOT apply to anything sent to an MD via USB, which is *by definition* considered a copy.

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5 hours ago, R_V said:

Tested recording between both decks with RCA cables - all good, no skips, no issues.

Very good. Now we know, that your lasers are OK on both 520 decks. This is the most important thing in the given case.

The "Cannot Copy" thing has already been answered by Stephen - it has nothing to do with the skips, fortunately.

However we are not yet done with the 2 decks TOSLINK test - we want to understand both decks' in/out TOSLINK connections are working OK. They are, I am sure, because you got the "Cannot Copy", message, that means both decks were able to properly interpret the digital signal coming in, and activate SCMS, as Stephen noted above. But if you want to have it confirmed, please use an MD that has a recording from analogue source (see my words above: "(and making sure the audio material on the test disc was recorded originally from an analogue source)" - typos corrected). When doing the test, the source is this MD, and on reverse direction too, so you swap your discs too.

 

5 hours ago, R_V said:

what can go wrong?  A bunch of RCA/TOSLINK/SPEAKER wires touching one another and having interference?

TOSLINK will never have any interference with other analogue audio or even power lines. Never. That's one of the main points using optical connection between A/V devices.

What can go wrong?

Let me ask back, to see whether or not we could already reduce the possible causes:

- now, analogue recording between the two decks is fine, no skips, no errors. What is the case, if you do an analogue recording from your amp? Use any source - Phono, CD, video, tv, you name it. Any skips? If all OK, take the next one:

- now, if you use the direct TOSLINK connection between your CD player (just remove the coax digital line for the time of the test) and the MD deck, your 520's input switch is set to "digital", what is the case? Any skips? ( If still there are, I still keep to my theory of the faulty source selector switch.)

I wait for your answers and we take it from there.

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On the 520 (like the one in front of me now), if the unit is turned on, then moving the input selector switch between the three settings should result in an appropriate input message on the display: Optical In, Coaxial In, Analog In. Moving that switch carefully between the options a few times should help clean the contacts.

Sorry for the lack of input from me, NGY's comments are far superior to any from me, but I will chip in if I have any thoughts to add, I am following!

Kevin

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4 minutes ago, kgallen said:

Moving that switch carefully between the options a few times should help clean the contacts.

There you go. Thanks Kevin!

This would have been my next "quick and dirty" test too, right before recommending to properly clean the switch with some electrical contact spray.

But just as of now, I can't hold my breath :-) .

(I think he has a a non-Europe version, and the Coax option is not there on his 520-s.)

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On the skips issue via TOSLINK I would also be interested in your answers to:

- Have you tried a number of different CDs

- Do you notice any difference in the skip issue between early tracks on the CD (inner radii) and later tracks on the CD (outer radii).

- (I've read the thread and I think this is already in the pipeline) Is there any chance we can do an MD to MD TOSLINK copy - make an analogue CD recording on the "best" MD machine to get a first gen disc then TOSLINK that across to the second MD deck. I'd like to factor out an issue with the CD machine.

- Another random idea is to test and be consistent with which way round the TOSLINK cable is used. Mark one end with some insulation tape. Try one way round then the other (in terms of which end is in the CD and which in the MD). Note if this makes any difference to skips or not. TOSLINK cables are not the most high-spec products and it's possible one end or the other doesn't mate so well with the connector in the CD or MD decks. This could cause significant transfer attenuation or light scatter which the receiver might not be able to handle. The receiver is trying to recover a clock signal as well as data from the optical stream. Jitter due to marginal receive power (light intensity) or multi-path effects can blur the interpretation at the receive end. This can cause the receiver to "slip" a bit of the data. Maybe I'm getting too deep here...!

- Maybe I've missed it - do we know the make/model of the CD player?

NGY - it's a bit of a long shot but I'm musing about bit slips on the digital transfer from the CD. Possible the CD XOSC is drifting out of spec? Just a wildas* thought out of the blue.

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6 hours ago, R_V said:

 I only have recorded MD discs.

I have re-read some posts above.

So funny, how a small typo suggests a totally different meaning to a given sentence (even if in the context it could have been straightforward): when I wrote "sudio" above, I wanted to type audio in fact, not studio - and it resulted in a totally different thought path for you, that I just realised...

See, letters "a" and "s" are next to each other on the keyboard, and given my crippled left little finger, I do this typo quite often.

I am always keen on correcting all those typos (or other mistakes) I made, but I simply cannot always notice them. Sometimes I don't even understand what I wrote previously :-) . At the end of the day, English is a foreign language for me, so I am not supposed to understand everything written in English :-P .

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One other little detail. Depending on what software you used to create a CD-R, it (the CD) MAY be considered uncopyable, like a second generation MD. Bruce (Bluecrab) demonstrated this to me and sent me a CD with holes in it (not literally, but in the SCMS bit pattern!) to prove the point, which I still have. I suppose it's even possible that some tracks on a CD-R might be copyable, others not. But that's not what you're seeing, is it. You're getting skips.

Sorry for the interruption - regular programming now resumes :)

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16 hours ago, R_V said:

Below is my basic setup

OK, new day, new ideas.

I know you got a lot of ideas recently, still I would prefer to follow one path at a time until it concludes to somewhere, either solution or dead end, then and only then move forward to the next, in order not to mix things in your head.

Without the intention of hijacking Kevin's and other's thoughts and ideas, I'd like to get back to your setup and the selector switch as a possible cause. I could not sleep last night, because this case in my mind (not true, I could :-) ).

One question to you: can you please confirm which version of 520 you have (see photos below)? From the information you provided so far I would conclude the first one (US/CND). However, on your drawing I see an MD deck with only one TOSLINK input and one output. I suspect it is not taken from a 520 documentation, is it?

The reason I am asking it is this: If you happen to have second type of 520 (EU and others), then my theory of the unstable switch is probably wrong. I can explain the "why" later.

If you have the US/CND version, you must have two optical inputs. In that case, can you please do your recording tests via TOSLINK first via OPT1, then repeat it with OPT2 - but without changing anything else, except for moving the optical cable from socket 1 to 2 and set the switch accordingly. Your source can be either your CD or the other MD deck. If my theory stands, you would get skips only in the second part, not the in first one. Again, explanations later, after you did the tests, and if this made any sense.

 

520 ver. 1 (US/CND):    1_520_US_sel_1.jpg.cbe54fc0ceabf73b92c572e316a56e1f.jpg   1_520_US_toslink_1.jpg.8ac2103a231b39c8242f1ed22d5cf039.jpg

520 ver. 2 (Europe and others):       2_520_EU_sel_1.jpg.a09361f7ec69ee664c46be828acdc052.jpg   2_520_EU_toslink_coax_1.jpg.66cf3162e3ab965e4413b291f21d01ee.jpg

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On 10/21/2020 at 6:56 AM, kgallen said:

On the 520 (like the one in front of me now), if the unit is turned on, then moving the input selector switch between the three settings should result in an appropriate input message on the display: Optical In, Coaxial In, Analog In. Moving that switch carefully between the options a few times should help clean the contacts.

Yes all good messages on screen. 

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On 10/21/2020 at 7:39 AM, kgallen said:

On the skips issue via TOSLINK I would also be interested in your answers to:

- Have you tried a number of different CDs

- Do you notice any difference in the skip issue between early tracks on the CD (inner radii) and later tracks on the CD (outer radii).

Tried so many different original and recorded CDs, different audio sources, different playlists from my Apple Mac, RCA, Toslink cables etc. etc. 

No difference whatsoever.  These can be very, very random and from any audio source, or RCA, Toslink etc.

Skips are always random and hardly ever on the same song (i.e. if I test record from the same CD twice). 

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8 minutes ago, R_V said:

Both my MD decks are from EU. 

I don’t have/use Coax cable. 

OK. In that case, can you please send two photos, similar to the ones I attached above?

Just out of curiousity, I never seen a 520 besides those variants.

 

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37 minutes ago, NGY said:

OK. In that case, can you please send two photos, similar to the ones I attached above?

Just out of curiousity, I never seen a 520 besides those variants.

I can’t ATM, but they’re the same as your bottom 2 pics, w/ Opt, Coax , Analog. 

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6 hours ago, sfbp said:

One other little detail. Depending on what software you used to create a CD-R, it (the CD) MAY be considered uncopyable, like a second generation MD. Bruce (Bluecrab) demonstrated this to me and sent me a CD with holes in it (not literally, but in the SCMS bit pattern!) to prove the point, which I still have. I suppose it's even possible that some tracks on a CD-R might be copyable, others not. But that's not what you're seeing, is it. You're getting skips.

Not a bad point... it had also crossed my mind when the issue started, way before I decide to post the issue here and way before I found and bought new (sealed) blank MDs...

By the time I found this forum and 'popped the question' I had already made all sorts of recording tests, from a CD-R was one of them, but it didn't help has I had also tried CD-WR, and 'normal' studio and also from my Record player and my Apple Mac, from own my recorded MD disc etc. etc. and the issue was still there, so it made me think it was a dodgy blank MD, not the audio source(s). Cheers

P.S. I don't want this to go off topic, neither I want to argue long about this; but doesn't my recorded CDs (recorded through iTunes) get rid of SCMS?  
I never had a problem recording from those (iTune's recorded CDs) and neither my friends ever had any issues copying those recorded CDs, into their Mac/PC and then into their iPod/iPhones etc., regardless if they were iTunes purchased songs or imported into my iTunes library, from another source...

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I've never used Itunes. But if I was the proprietor of Itunes I might well send the "holey" bit patterns to prevent people making second gen copies. As I said, I don't think that's what's happening here - this all arose when you suddenly got "cannot copy" in the middle of your various tests.

It WOULD be interesting to see if the skips happen on the coax connection. I have a little gizmo that converts TOSlink to coax and also the reverse (one box) which might be worth the $10 or so (of course you could be an electronics whiz like these two guys and make one for about $3), if your source is TOSlink only.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-Coaxial-to-Optical-Toslink-SPDIF-Audio-Converter-Bi-Directional-Swtich/233400933139

 

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1 hour ago, sfbp said:

It WOULD be interesting to see if the skips happen on the coax connection. I have a little gizmo that converts TOSlink to coax and also the reverse ..., if your source is TOSlink only.

This would definitely be worth to try. However, I would proceed like this:

- conclude the two desks TOSLINK back and forth tests to exclude any issues with the decks' TOSLINK inputs/outputs. Just for the peace of mind, that this part is also all OK on both decks, then

- find a source device that does have a coaxial digital output (tv for example, DVD player, another receiver, etc.), instead of converting the existing CD deck's optical output. It is not yet confirmed, that it is OK or not. If the problem lies there, that would make the test with the SPDIF converter useless too.

 

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On 10/21/2020 at 1:33 AM, R_V said:

Tested recording between both decks with RCA cables - all good, no skips, no issues.

(Ignore this above, it must have been a lucky attempt?)

So spent the last 2 or so days, testing all different scenarios… recording between the two JE520 MD decks using different RCA cables, and different blank MD discs, and reversed the order of MD deck recording, also test recording from 3 different audio sources (into each MD deck) directly connected with different RCA cables, (no Amp).

Also tried recording from the CD deck, via different Toslink cables, into each MD deck, using different blank MD discs, and no improvement!

Not only I used different audio sources, I also used different CDs (original and CD-R), different Playlists and vinyl records, MD discs (recorded)  etc., playing from those 3-4 audio sources (CD deck, Phono, Mac and MD deck A, or B . 

I also tried all the above using REC SYNC and normal REC (where you press REC and pause, manually) and flicked the OPT. COAX, ANALOG. selector couple of times before each recording. All showing correctly on each of the JE520 screens.

All I get is bloody skips and skids, #$@&%*!

  1. When I get skips (similar to a vinyl record) is while recording, and I notice extra tracks being created for each skip on the same song…
  2. When I get skids, it’s only noticeable at playback and it freezes (both the song and timer on JE520 screens) for 1-2 secs. and then continues to play again until next skid and so on.

 

I cannot believe two separate MD decks, have exactly the same issue, no recording!?  Now I have 2 MD decks for playback only  #$@&%*! 

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This seems too perverse to be true (note: I'm not disbelieving your analysis!). There must be some bizarre explanation! Whilst I've had similar with my Tascam MD-CD1 [*] (not actually the new track issue though), I've never had this with any of my Sony decks, not least my beloved 520.

Let us think a while...

 

[*] This deck has more firmware bugs than you can shake a stick at. Admittedly many are related to titling.

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17 minutes ago, kgallen said:

my beloved 520.

 For many years, I used to say that too.  It travelled w/ me from EU, to Australia, then UK for many years and back to AUS for almost 10, never skipped a bit !
Then last 6 months this issue occurred... bought a second 520 last week and same issue...

Do they have an end of life, similar to DSLRs (after 100.000 clicks, the shutter dies) ?

I also read somewhere about misaligned heads (2x on each deck), but not on my two decks, I wouldn't think?

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Laser life and mechanical damage probably the only ones in practice. NGY will know better but unless you're into thousands of hours of laser use, particularly in record mode, then unless your machine has been abused then I'm not sure how many true laser failures are actually seen. We blame the laser a lot, mostly unjustly from what I've seen. When my newly acquired 530 gave C13's I looked to the laser for months. It wasn't, it was the ribbon cables (but everyone here is bored of that story, sorry [*]).

Sure, audio performance can deteriorate when electrolytic caps dry out and if you're unlucky similar in the power supply section can result in noisy power supplies which can unsettle the digital logic. But we're talking Sony Japan here and they don't build their machines with junk components.

My 520 is from 98/99 and is like new.

Did you ever read the odo counters in your 520s? (Need to enter Service Mode - warnings per NGY from earlier in the thread).

 

Kevin

[*] It's where it all started for me on this forum 

 

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36 minutes ago, kgallen said:

...unless you're into thousands of hours of laser use... in record mode, then unless you're machine has been abused...

When my newly acquired 530 gave C13's I looked to the laser for months. It wasn't, it was the ribbon cables (but everyone here is bored of that story, sorry).

My 520 is from 98/99 and is like new.

Did you ever read the odo counters in your 520s? (Need to enter Service Mode - warnings per NGY from earlier in the thread).

Never really had that much recording, a wee bit of play, maybe.  From '97 and still like new (deck A).

I had my first C13 error today, nothing major. Wiped all songs and recorded again. (deck B 

Haven't read about odometers, yet.  NGY warning put me off...

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