Arr-Nine-Hundred

Minidisc Deck Recommendations - JB-930/940 or Tascam MD-350?

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Hello All,

I'm after a new deck to add to the collection!

The two in my sights are the Sony JB-930 (or 940 which has MDLP) - this is a premium Sony deck and I'd be looking for one in black with the red "UK tuned" emblem. I think it also has a PS/2 port so a keyboard can be plugged in to aid MD titling.

The Tascam MD-350 is a German made beast, which I understand was designed for long haul professional use in a rack - it also has metal gears inside to improve robustness.

I really like the sound of the Tascam, it reminds me of a German premium car or something. The Sony though visually looks better and is probably more consumer-friendly since I don't use it professionally. It's just for occasional recording and playback.

Any owners here of the respective models? Thanks!

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Hi arr-900...

I just order a Sony JB930 deck to Pierre "100 decks" Lubanez. Close brand new one its box plus plus... So I will be able to compare it to my JB980 when I will be back in Vietnam.

PhilippeC

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2 hours ago, Arr-Nine-Hundred said:

Hello All,

I'm after a new deck to add to the collection!

The two in my sights are the Sony JB-930 (or 940 which has MDLP) - this is a premium Sony deck and I'd be looking for one in black with the red "UK tuned" emblem.

...

Any owners here of the respective models? Thanks!

Ha. I just sold  my "UK Sound" 940 two weeks ago.

Had two 940 anyhow, so one had to go to release some play budget. I sold it locally for ~130€, with an RM-D10M remote.

 

(I still have a very nice 930, not a UK Edition though. PM me for detiails, if interested.)

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4 hours ago, PhilippeC said:

Hi arr-900...

I just order a Sony JB930 deck to Pierre "100 decks" Lubanez. Close brand new one its box plus plus... So I will be able to compare it to my JB980 when I will be back in Vietnam.

PhilippeC

Thanks Philippe - holy heck though - the JB-980? That looks like something to aspire to own :)

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If I had to chose one of the decks - Tascam MD-350, Sony JB930, 940 or 980 - then which should I go for?

I mainly record via optical from my PC (mp3's and YouTube) to create compendiums. I use SP mode more and more these days for MDLP isn't as important.

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I record - in real time - only Flac 16 bit - 44,1 kHz to 24 bit - 96 kHz and SACD quality files. All coming from (tons of) torrents. Good thing to live in Asia for that. 

The JB980 is a Net-MD unit. You can have the same features with a JB940 (MDLP) + a portable Net-MD unit. Net-MD is very useful to tag swiftly the tracks.

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.

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I've got an MDS-JB940 and two MDS-JB980s. Which is better for you would really depend on how you want to use the deck.

The MDS-JB940 has more connectivity options: it has two optical inputs (the MDS-JB980 only has one) and it has both optical and coaxial outputs (the MDS-JB980 only has optical).

Both decks are MDLP compatible but only the MDS-JB980 has the Group function.

The MDS-JB940 is ATRAC Type R whereas the MDS-JB980 is Type S. Recording quality should be the same on both but playback of MDLP discs should be better on the MDS-JB980.

The MDS-JB980 has NetMD.

MDS-JB940s tend to be a fair bit cheaper than MDS-JB980s.

I have no experience with the Tascam deck you mention but, as a professional deck, it may not enforce SCMS. It also has XLR inputs and outputs. The Tascam website says it uses ATRAC version 3. Not sure how this would compare quality wise with the Sony QS decks.

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confirm this  or not - the JB980  - you cant change the  bit lenght 16 or 24 bit?  any one getting a sony deck these days should also get a spare  load belt from ebay as after all these years the tiny rubber belt that ejects the md is likely to be on its last legs?

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That's correct.

The MDS-JB940 also has some filters that can be applied to the analogue output, which are absent on the MDS-JB980.

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I cannot chime in on the Tascam, as I do not have that model. I do have both the JB930 and JB940, though. These two are similarly (but not identically) featured, even given the MDLP diff. For me, the 930 has the better SQ for listening. Not to say the 940 isn't very good—it certainly is. But the CXD-8735N DAC in the 930 goes a long way. This is the same DAC as in the the JA20ES (and my JA22ES). The 930 sounds almost as good as the 22ES. Almost. The 940 misses that rung by a half-step. Good luck!

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On 4/20/2017 at 10:46 AM, PhilippeC said:

I record - in real time - only Flac 16 bit - 44,1 kHz to 24 bit - 96 kHz and SACD quality files. All coming from (tons of) torrents. Good thing to live in Asia for that. 

The JB980 is a Net-MD unit. You can have the same features with a JB940 (MDLP) + a portable Net-MD unit. Net-MD is very useful to tag swiftly the tracks.

The swift-tagging is a useful feature but... I'd have to use Sonic Stage and therefore keep two copies of each file right?

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On 4/20/2017 at 11:55 AM, freddyjollo said:

confirm this  or not - the JB980  - you cant change the  bit lenght 16 or 24 bit?  any one getting a sony deck these days should also get a spare  load belt from ebay as after all these years the tiny rubber belt that ejects the md is likely to be on its last legs?

Yep Freddy, I'm hoping to find a JB-9x0 deck with the eject problem so I can buy and fix cheaply. I have already done a drive belt fix on a JE-770 deck I bought for £15 :)

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On 4/21/2017 at 1:14 AM, bluecrab said:

I cannot chime in on the Tascam, as I do not have that model. I do have both the JB930 and JB940, though. These two are similarly (but not identically) featured, even given the MDLP diff. For me, the 930 has the better SQ for listening. Not to say the 940 isn't very good—it certainly is. But the CXD-8735N DAC in the 930 goes a long way. This is the same DAC as in the the JA20ES (and my JA22ES). The 930 sounds almost as good as the 22ES. Almost. The 940 misses that rung by a half-step. Good luck!

Many thanks for that bluecrab! I'm leaning heavily towards a "UK sound" 930 as it seems a bit cheaper and I'm using SP more these days (I've too many discs to use up now - haha)

Good to see you still posting around these parts too :)

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On 4/20/2017 at 11:13 AM, BearBoy said:

I've got an MDS-JB940 and two MDS-JB980s. Which is better for you would really depend on how you want to use the deck.

The MDS-JB940 has more connectivity options: it has two optical inputs (the MDS-JB980 only has one) and it has both optical and coaxial outputs (the MDS-JB980 only has optical).

Both decks are MDLP compatible but only the MDS-JB980 has the Group function.

The MDS-JB940 is ATRAC Type R whereas the MDS-JB980 is Type S. Recording quality should be the same on both but playback of MDLP discs should be better on the MDS-JB980.

The MDS-JB980 has NetMD.

MDS-JB940s tend to be a fair bit cheaper than MDS-JB980s.

I have no experience with the Tascam deck you mention but, as a professional deck, it may not enforce SCMS. It also has XLR inputs and outputs. The Tascam website says it uses ATRAC version 3. Not sure how this would compare quality wise with the Sony QS decks.

That is a really good summary dude, thanks

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57 minutes ago, Arr-Nine-Hundred said:

The swift-tagging is a useful feature but... I'd have to use Sonic Stage and therefore keep two copies of each file right?

You can easily delete any file created on your computer once it has been transfered on your MD disc.  It will be seen in the Sonicstage music files database and you will just need to delete it both in the database and on the computer. You can also store all on CD/DVD-R.

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I wonder if anybody here has some comparison of the "regular" Euro/US/Japan vs. UK Sound/Edition (etc.) decks?

I am really curious, whether it was just a marketing trick, or it does have to do with the sound. My observation is that the UK version 940 is actually missing a relatively large piece of circuitry (blank areas on the main board), that exists in the normal version. So the question is, it is the case of the "more with less"?

Unfortunately, all my service guides discuss the regular versions only. If someone possess service manual(s) for the UK versions, I would love to read and compare them.

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I've wondered about that too.

My MDS-JB980s both carry the "UK Sound Tuned" badge but my MDS-JB940, which as far as I am aware is a UK model, doesn't. Not sure if the previous owner may have removed it (are they just stickers?) or whether it never had one in the first place.

My SCD-XB790 also carries the badge but none of my Sony QS cassette decks do.

 

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I've wondered about this from time to time. Jim always was most sceptical saying the difference twixt 780 and 980 was a couple of screws and a plate. But from growing up in England my memories of all recordings is 50Hz hum. Maybe there's some real effect to do with that.

My 980 has the aforementioned sticker (guess where it came from) and works just fine on 60Hz 117 volts (or so), of course with a transformer. Certainly the magic of Sony decks seems to be the way they clean up analogue input.....

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Although I recall some discussion of the "British ears" aka "UK Sound Tuned" ploy over on the Facebook MD group (said discussion instigated by me), I cannot find it...and there were some responses. Second-best: found this: https://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/european-tuned-sound

...from which I gleaned:

"Generally speaking it was an attempt to get closer to the sound of British hi-fi as opposed to the bright and brash end of the spectrum.  Of course, there is always a marketing element to these things as well."

This makes a kind of sense, in that some people find Sony's digital sound to indeed be too "bright" or "harsh." Perhaps the "UK tuned" thing is an attempt by Sony to make the sound a bit more analog-like. Applying my own experience to this, I find it reasonable. Although I do like Sony's sound as produced in the Sony CDP and MD decks I have used, it is noticeably different from the sound I get from my Musical Fidelity DAC, which is used for both iTunes and Internet radio playback. That sound is more analog-like, yet at the same time very detailed. It may not be coincidental that Musical Fidelity is a British company. If I listen to an MD or CD on a Sony unit, then switch to the Musical Fidelity, the difference can be almost a bit jarring. I appreciate both kinds of sound-shaping, although not sure yet which I prefer.

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I'd stumbled across that What Hi-Fi forum as well. Wasn't really sure if it was much more than just speculation though. Although, as you point out, it does sound fairly plausible.

Does your MDS-JB940 have the "UK Sound Tuned" badge on it Bluecrab? If so, are there any other indications on it anywhere that show it is a UK model? Mine has the model number printed on the back as just MDS-JB940 (where the voltage details/serial number are). It also has another code lower down underneath where the power cord is connected that reads: 4-228-507-41 CED CEK.

 

 

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My 940 is most assuredly the US model, as was my prior 940. I have long considered the 940 to be one of the better all-around bargains.

Just FTR, my sound comparisons between the Sony MD and CD units are based on the [JA20ES  and XA20ES] vs. the Musical Fidelity V90 DAC. The 940 doesn't enter the picture much, because when I use it for playback, usually its output is directed digitally to the JA20ES, which in that case serves as a DAC. In any case, IMO the 940 sounds more like both the 20ESs than it does the Musical Fidelity.

When I get a chance, I hope to output iTunes to the JA20ES and see what that sounds like, as opposed to the MF DAC. It's all good!! :-)

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Thanks for the link and the quote. Interesting reading, and makes sense.

I could not notice a difference between the two 940-s though. True, I did not make any A-B switching back and forth listening tests, that would have probably given a good evidence.

I will dig my photos out I took when compared the two units' internals.

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I once asked my brother, he of the long-ago audio engineering degree, why he thought US and UK source material sounded so different. He did not know why, but he suggested that voltage diffs could be a factor.

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16 hours ago, bluecrab said:

My 940 is most assuredly the US model, as was my prior 940.

Ah, sorry. I got the wrong end of the stick completely.

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