Sony MZ-E730/630, JVC XM-C31 + XM-S51 & Sharp SD-FX20.
Posted 06 September 2004 - 12:05 PM
First off, we'll start with the JVC XM-C31 [press release]:
I really like the look of this player-only unit. Definitely one of the most unique designs on a player I've seen to date. 3mW, 318 hours of battery life in LP4/various modes and more.
Should retail for ~$190ish USD.
The big brother, XM-S51 [press release]:
Slightly less battery life at 250 hours with LP4 and a few setting changes, built-in speaker into the charging stand [approx. 95mW], and a 3mW output on the unit itself. Seems to have a quick-charging function.
Should retail for ~$200ish USD.
Now here's a definitely odd design from Sharp; the SD-FX20 boombox:
other pics: here and here
4mW output, 1-bit digital amp, 4x CD-->MD, world band tuner and more.
Should retail for ~$275ish USD.
A couple of new player-only units from Sony; we'll start with the MZ-E630 [press release]:
other pic: here
Comes with an non-High Definition digital amp, 5mW output, DSP TYPE-S, white remote, and fairly decent battery life [check out the link]. Will come in silver, blue, pink, green, black and white.
I don't think I've ever seen a white unit from Sony.
Should retail for ~$190ish USD.
..and finally, the MZ-E730 [press release]:
other pic: here
Features a HD digital amp, DSP TYPE-S, "virtual phone technology" acoustic engine [VPT], and more. Check out the link. Comes in silver,
blue, brown, black.
Should retail for $210ish USD.
Both units feature an A-B repeat playback function [useful for language study], digital pitch control + G-PROTECTION.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 02:09 AM
Posted 07 September 2004 - 02:34 AM
They still make tape walkmans as well as betmax blanks. I think it is just good practice to keep a few units around for a couple of years, just to keep some people happy.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 02:52 AM
Maybe in Japan they want to cover the lower price-points with Net MD and premium price Hi-MD.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 04:43 AM
Considering the fact that you can use a HiMD as an MD or netMD, this makes no sense to me [speaking specifically of Sony's offerings]. There is literally no benefit to buying the MD models, unless you're really that concerned with cosmetic differences or slight differences in the interface.
Sharp MDs, on the other hand, have sufficiently different features that they can still compete side-by-side.
Still, considering the price difference between the lowest model Sony MD and HiMD with mic and line inputs is about $30CAD.. and considering the benefits in terms of capacity, even with older discs.. I can't say I see any reason to buy MD any more.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 05:01 AM
Also, not everyone needs Hi-MD. People who have MD decks and such may want to buy a new portable that still functions with their equipment. Or something.
Sony (and other companies) may continue to develop new models of std. MD as a sort of "phasing out." I still believe that the first-generation Hi-MD products are a gateway to something (hopefully) making more sense.
I kinda am a bit confused about Sony's direction with this stuff, but I'm pretty sure I've bought my last MD portable in the form of my DS8.
Unless, of course, the 2nd generation Hi-MDs have native MP3/AAC support. xD I might be swayed.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 05:37 AM
But the truth is that any HiMD can function exactly as an MD. You can use it to make exactly the same format discs: it has the same codecs in addition to the new ones; it will record in the old mode in the same ways that any other MD does. You can use it to play exactly the same [standard] format discs for the same reasons.
Counting on the hardware being without serious design flaws, it is fully possible for the current line of HiMDs to completely replace [at the very least] functionally-equivalent MD models.
This was the express purpose in designing HiMD to be backward-compatible; it is, quite literally, an interim format specifically made to make MD obsolete without losing support for it altogether. Had they not made the choice to go with backward-compatibility, HiMD would doubtless be larger in capacity than it is.
I don't expect to find native mp3/AAC support in the future. This war has only just begun; DRM and proprietary codecs are a couple of the weapons it will be fought with.
It would have been much more intelligent of them to make a proprietary container format that was fully independent of whatever codec[s]; that way they could have maintained their DRM guff and supported other open as well as closed codec standards, with whatever media and DRM implementations standing on their own.*
Mind you - Sony is a major participant in this war. Their desire is to dominate, not to make things easier or more convenient for people.
Which is a shame, because they could be doing a lot better business with a more open approach to things.
* - On the other hand, that solution might have presented problems such as not being able to maintain a total stranglehold on what people did with their software [music]. DRM would likely have to be much more relaxed to work with such a model. The way things are now, their forcing you to transcode everything means they have absolute control over what you do with it. Or at least.. they think they do.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 03:42 PM
Unless someone needs extreme running times, it makes no sense...
Btw, make it 4Watts per channel for the boombox.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 04:27 PM
Posted 07 September 2004 - 05:27 PM
Anyways, the E630 is hot. Victor's units have always struck me as ugly, although the S51 is nice. :happy:
Posted 07 September 2004 - 05:45 PM
To twist that off my skew a bit though - if you're interested in it as a player, then the significantly longer battery life and lower cost are big pluses, yes. MD media, on the other hand, cost about 15x what CDR does here.
There are lots of arguments for and against, and I'm a proponent of both MD and HiMD as formats, but as I said - I view both primarily as portable recording formats.. Which is what I think Sony should be marketing them as, since there pretty much -is- nothing else out there to compete with either in terms of recording quality, durability, size, and cost.
The advantages over other formats for playback only are not that great in number, really.
edit: having reread what you said and actually absorbed it, I see your point in terms of the advantage for those with existing MD collections.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 09:41 PM
I still love the sound of a well made MX-S or XL-IIS tape. So until they have HiMD discs out there cheap and high end home decks I doubt Hi-MD will be more than a travel companion for me.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 09:49 PM
Corrected. Got me again. :rasp:
Dex, don't forget how much life you can save off a recorder's lens when using a player-only unit for such, instead of a recorder for both recording and playing.
True. I miss the days when that statement didn't hold much validity.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 11:22 PM
True in the US and Canada. But these units aren't being released in the US and Canada. They're being released in Japan, where MD is a very powerful contender in the portable audio market. I know several Japanese people, and out of all of them, only one owns an HDP. The others all have MD players for on-the-go, and decks or bookshelfs for the at-home listening and recording. Premastered MDs are still readily available in Japan (albeit only of the most popular artists/bands).
Player-only models are almost nonexistent in the US, where MD is primarily for the niche market of amateur recordists and musicians. My DS8 (Sharp player-only model) is a Japanese model. I've never seen any of the newer player-only units for sale ANYWHERE in the US, with the notable exception of the E10 (despite the fact that it totally sucks).
Even I, who was once a semi-hardcore MD fangirl, am starting to see the extreme limitations of my MD equipment as playback units. I keep seeing a pink iPod Mini in my dreams, and it makes me want to scream at the fact that I can't afford it now (and likely for a long while to come). There are still many, many things about MD that I will miss when I finally switch to iPod mini and retire my DS8. I'll miss the remote (yes I know ipod has a remote but it blows), I'll miss the long battery life (sometimes I'm out for longer than five hours you know e.e) and I'll definitely miss the cool factor of the import MD blanks I have. I <3 my TDK "ho" discs.
But since I don't record anymore... it may be time to sell the lot of this stuff, and just move on to what I should've done in the first place.
Posted 07 September 2004 - 11:55 PM
I'm aware of how popular MD is in Japan, and that in many ways it's defined their pop music scene for years. It kind of made me jealous in a sense, to find that out when I did.. because the same kind of situation in a country like Canada could have altered the face of our entire music industry.
Unfortunately, MD is and was the invisible format here. The only thing that kept it alive was pro use.
Posted 08 September 2004 - 04:39 AM
My Japanese friends tell me that you can find collector MDs everywhere, in electronics' stores and other such places. Here, the only MDs I can find are Sony Color Collection 5-packs and those awful Memorex clears.
Finding any MD units other than the very lowest-end models is hard (only one store in the entire city of Birmingham carries a high-end MD unit, that being Tweeter carrying the N10/E10, although I have seen NF810s at specific locations on occasion). The only Hi-MD units I've even seen here were the NH600D and the NHF800.
MD is obscure and invisible in the US. When I showed my coworkers my DS8 and the MDs it reads, they were amazed. None of them save for my friend Ricardo (who is somewhat knowledgeable about audio stuffs) had even ever heard of MiniDisc before. Although, now that I reflect on the incident in question, MD has a certain cool factor.
If I'd have produced a pink iPod Mini instead, I imagine I'd get a lot of anti-Apple remarks. Reminds me of how I used to feel.
Damn, I wish I had the money to order one.
Posted 08 September 2004 - 08:55 PM
Unfortunately, except for recording, I'm afraid this is going to marginalize the success of HiMD vs. todays alternatives (HDD units etc.). I think HiMD is going to be a niche forever. I might get a 2nd or 3rd generation HiMD recorder (if they appear) for recording from analog sources IF the upload restrictions are improved (WAV converter). Otherwise, after having my NW-HD1 for a month or so now, I love it and MD starts to fade into my past. Now what to do with the 300 or so MD's I have lying around the house...
Posted 08 September 2004 - 09:28 PM
Posted 09 September 2004 - 01:09 AM
Anyways, i have to say that i too am starting to see the limitations of my MD player...i mean i never really record anything so every once inawhile i think to my self, man i should just get a pod...
And i also will probably never buy a Hi-MD player either, seeing on how i don't really see an huge upgrade compared to what i have now.
But my N-10 and D66's are more then enough for right now.
And in my 3 years having owned various MD units i have NEVER seen anyone walking around with a minidisc player in hand, kinda odd too seeing on how i live in a big city (los angeles).
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