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Le Chiffre

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  1. You're missing the point. You're not supposed to archive all your data on solid state cards; you're supposed to transfer the data to a computer, just like people do with their digital cameras. People don't buy memory cards for their digital cameras the same way they used to buy rolls of film; they transfer their pictures to a computer, erase the card, and then reuse it. Comparing MD's to 78's isn't really useful. Records are a primitive analog technology whose principles are well known and which could be easily recreated if need be. MD's are a closed, proprietary digital technology which rely on complex surface-mount IC's which were probably only ever manufactured by Sony. When MD's gone, it'll be gone for good. The Olympus has been getting a lot of praise. It's high on my list of recorders to check out.
  2. A440 wrote: What are you recording? All you mentioned to start was "general purpose and field recorder." "General purpose" means just that, general purpose. If I had something more specific in mind, I would have said so. A440 wrote: So are you recording: Live music? Studio sessions? Songwriting ideas? Interviews? Surveillance tapes for use in high-profile blackmail cases? All of the above and more. A440 wrote: Either get a unit with XLR inputs or prepare to carry a preamp that's probably as big or bigger than the unit. I know perfectly well that Sony MD recorders can't accomodate XLR/48 V mics out of the box. If I was going to purchase one, I would be prepared to use an external mic preamp when I wanted to use those mics. DUH! A440 wrote: I think there may even be flash recorders with phantom power for those mics. Yes, some of the memory card recorders have built-in XLR mic preamps. Where did you get the idea that I care about built-in mic preamps? I've already outlined what features are important to me, and "good mic preamps" is not one of them. A440 wrote: But there are people that just carry a stereo electret mic, plug it into the unit and do interviews and field recording with it with it--like journalists, even radio journalists. I'm aware of that. Those are the mics the Sony preamps were designed to use. It's possible that I would have purchased such a mic to go along with a Hi-MD recorder for such non-critical recording situations as interviews. But is that really all that different from the built-in mic concept which you seem to abhor so much? A440 wrote: For them, a noisy built-in mic preamp is a deal-breaker. But it's not for you. I have no idea what you mean by this. Is that some kind of a jab? Having known a few journalists, including radio journalists, my personal impression is that most of them could care less about sound quality. Most of these people were perfectly happy using crappy cassette recorders, even mini cassette recorders, before the advent of affordable portable digital recorders. If your idea of audio quality comes from radio journalism, maybe you need to set your standards a little higher. If what you were trying to tell me is that in your opinion, the Sony preamps are good, you could've just come out and said so. A440 wrote: Little recorders do have level adjustment. But how it's controlled (button or knob), what the display is, etc., varies. You're not telling me anything I don't already know. A440 wrote: "Like a tape recorder." You may think that's a simple request, but it's not. What's so complicated about it? A440 wrote: Everything has a different interface. I am aware of that. If they all had the same interface, buying one would be a simple decision. A440 wrote: None is like your tape recorder. And what tape recorder would that be? The one I never mentioned anywhere in this thread? A440 wrote: On the other hand, you don't really need rewind for digital media. That must explain why rewind buttons are ubiquitous on CD and DVD players, recording software, memory card recorders, digital portastudios, etc. A440 wrote: Some of the genius flash recorders are made with a built-in rechargeable battery. So in other words, they're no different than the genius Sony Hi-MD recorders you were complaining about? A440 wrote: That's not gonna go a long way at a music festival like Bonnaroo. Sure, if the Bonnaroo music festival is what you want to record. A440 wrote: So you need to check about batteries, because you don't want to have to end your session when the battery runs out. I think we can take it as a given that I would read the spec sheet before purchasing one of these devices. A440 wrote: My MZ-NH700 takes one AA battery that runs more than 8 hours on Hi-SP. When it dies, I pop it out and replace it, losing no more than 30 seconds of recording. Do Hi-MD recorders have user-replaceable batteries or don't they? I thought you were complaining about how they didn't have replaceable batteries earlier in the thread. A440 wrote: ...MZ-RH1 (which, however, only takes its unusual gumstick battery, not AA, so you'd have to own and keep charged and carry a replacement, or a 4-AA external battery pack). Sounds practical. A440 wrote: Do you want to be moving the unit around and peering at it while you record so you can read the display? Wouldn't bother me. Might pose a problem for a stealth taper. Is that the only thing you didn't like about the Edirol? Seems kind of trivial, unless you're primarily concerned with stealth taping (and even then, why not pretend that it's a cell phone?). A440 wrote: To me, a remote is not as useless as it might be for you. Then it's a good thing your recorders came with one. A440 wrote: SonicStage is a stumbling block to say the least. SonicStage killed MD. The Amazon poster was pretty extreme, but not totally wrong. When you've got a digital file, you should be able to drag and drop it. Not 1) open SonicStage 2) connect USB to unit 3 ) wait for SonicStage to list contents of disc 4)upload at less than USB 2.0 speed 5) hope that SonicStage didn't choke on any tracks (which sometimes upload just fine on a second try) 6) start File Conversion Tool, which checks your entire SonicStage library as if you want to copy-protect it (slow), tells you how long it would take, requires you to un-check copy protection, re-reads the database, gives you a new conversion time (7) run File Conversion Tool to remove encryption and (8) convert the resulting .oma files to something a non-Sony device will play, like .wav or .mp3. This is the kind of info I was looking for. Thank you. A440 wrote: All that is now routine for me, and I move the converted files out of the SonicStage library so it doesn't keep re-checking them every time I want to use File Conversion Tool on something new. But while Sony did at least include the encryption remover, it could have let you un-check the Add Copy Protection box BEFORE the first check of the database. Stuff like that is annoying. Really annoying. A440 wrote: One other thing about Hi-MD recording. When you're done recording, you need to press the Stop button and let the unit write the recording to the disc. Otherwise it's gone, pffffft!, like you'd written your novel in a word processor but closed the program before you hit the Save button. Takes, oh, 10-40 seconds. But until "Data Save" and "System File Writing" are done, you don't have a recording. If the battery gets loose during that operation, your disc is wrecked. Quirky. Yeah, I had noticed that when I got a salesman at a Sony store to demo a unit for me a few years ago. I'll have to make sure whatever memory card recorder I buy auto-saves the recording as it's progressing so I don't have to deal with that kind of nonsense.
  3. Unless I'm missing something here, recording with XLR mics should be as simple as plugging the outputs of the preamps to the RH1's line inputs. No need to buy anything else, unless it's to have a completely battery-powered setup, in which case I would just as soon buy a stereo mic that I could plug straight into the recorder. I was thinking something similar a day or two ago. The only blank media I remember as having a 5% failure rate were some brands of CD-R about 10 years ago. Back then, if I bought a box of 20 Maxell CD-Rs, I could be sure that at least two of them would be bad. These days, the failure rates for CD-Rs and DVD-Rs are probably close to zero, even on off brands. We're not really comparing apples with apples here, though. I suppose it would be more accurate to compare MD with CD-RW.
  4. Was dimly aware of it, but as you may have guessed, not interested because it's not Hi-MD. I'm actually surprised these are still being made. Thanks for explaining what the other poster meant. I assume the reason the other poster would want batteries that are "easily replaceable by the user" is because the ones that aren't can sometimes crap out, leaving the user dependent on an AC adapter or external battery pack?
  5. Well, you say this, but then you go on to list all the reasons you prefer MD! Why wouldn't you choose Hi-MD as your first digital recorder? Is this worth doing? All my mics are XLR/48 V phantom, so I would need to buy a new mic to take advantage of the Sony's preamps. In my mind, I had pretty much relegated the built-in preamp to a convenience and not something I would use for serious recordings. That was one of the things that initially drew me towards Hi-MD; it's still one of the smallest CD-quality recorders out there. I would've assumed that was a given on any of these units? Is that assumption incorrect? I mean, these things are designed for recording and being able to adjust level properly is a very basic requirement. These things are pretty crude at the moment if they still haven't incorporated features like that. Well, as you say, some units have this ability. Certainly could be a useful feature, though not indispensable. You can break apart tracks easily enough on a computer. I don't see the usefulness of this, except for stealth recording. Most of these units aren't much bigger than a VCR's remote control as it is. As "easy to use as a tape recorder" is not that ambiguous. It means play/record/rewind/et cetera do pretty much what you would expect them to. It means you don't have to memorize obscure combinations of button presses, or go through a maze of LCD menus, in order to perform basic operations. I guess some people find tree menus and multi-purpose buttons highly intuitive, but I don't. I wasn't saying Hi-MD didn't meet some or all of my criteria. I was simply stating what I wanted from a memory card recorder thinking it might help narrow the field. I don't doubt that Sonic Stage is easy to use, though it leads me to wonder, why did you start out your paragraph by bashing it if that's the case? Why is Sonic Stage one of the "inconveniences of MD," as you put it? I will say that I'm not too hot on the fact that Sonic Stage is proprietary, or that conversion is even required for PCM recordings. Those wouldn't in themselves prevent me from using Hi-MD, though. (There's something odd going on with the message board software regarding quotations, so I'm continuing this a little differently.) A440 wrote: But all the flash units have various good and bad points. What I haven't seen yet is a unit with Hi-MD's compactness (no built-in mics), I doubt it'll happen. These things all seem to be cut from the same mold. The only significant differences I would expect would be in the software/interface. I've been waiting for years for just a high-quality, line-only portable solid state recorder (what a simple concept!), and I don't think it's ever going to happen. If your competition has built-in mics, then you've gotta have 'em too. No one ever stops to think that less could be more. A440 wrote: I have used an Edirol R09, and while its display is awful, it does do the job otherwise. What didn't you like about its display? A440 wrote: The ideal digital recorder (for my purposes) is technologically possible, but no one has yet put together all of my favorite features, which would be, basically, Hi-MD--remote control, track marking, replaceable battery (instead of built-in rechargeable)--plus a better display plus drag-and-drop. Yeah, the technology is out there to do practically anything, but there seems to be a lack of vision and creativity, and a reluctance to invest in original ideas. I've often thought of things that didn't exist at the time that eventually showed up on the market years later; if only I had had the technical and/or business skills to put them into action, I could've made some money! I know in one case a company put out a product that was feature-for-feature identical with a description I had posted on the net; I didn't mind them "borrowing" (to put it charitably) my ideas, but they could at least have sent me one as a gift! BTW, why would you prefer a replaceable battery to a built-in rechargeable? I would've assumed the rechargeable would be an advantage, if battery life was good.
  6. So we're talking a roughly 5% failure rate (which still seems quite high to me). I was being tongue-in-cheek when I brought up cassettes. I would never go back to using them, except maybe for non-critical stuff like voice recordings, radio shows, etc. (I still use them in my answering machine, and they work fine in that capacity.) I brought them up only because for all their flaws and inadequacies, they were fairly reliable (so long as you weren't using the absolute cheapest of the cheap). I never found myself having to cross my fingers hoping to get or keep a recording with cassettes, and even when a tape chewed up, the recording was usually salvageable (I remember fishing a length of tape which someone had pulled out of the shell out of the garbage, wiping the mustard and other gunk off it, and spooling it back up into another shell, thus rescuing a spontaneous improv piece which none of us would've remembered how to play otherwise). The only tape jams I've encountered were when I was using cheap cassettes and/or cassette decks (or when using cassettes longer than 90 minutes, which used an extremely thin tape that was more prone to that sort of thing). Of course. If you're already using the format, there's no reason to switch to another. But if you were just getting started, would you still choose MD? I don't know about that. There's at least one individual in this thread who seems to have it in for Hi-MD and has been recommending that I go with a memory card recorder. Whether he seriously dislikes MD or is just playing devil's advocate, I don't know. Honestly, the only things I care about are reliability and ease-of-use (and size, though I assume most of these aren't much bigger than a pack of cigarettes, which is fine). I'm not a stealth taper, so that's not a concern for me; in this age of cell phones and palm computers, pulling out a device like this isn't very conspicuous anyways. I already assumed that the built-in mics and preamps would fall into the "gimmick" category and that I would have to use external mics/preamps to get the best results (no problem, though I'm sure the built-in mics are fine for voice recordings, catching the quick song idea, etc). Basically, I want something that's small, mechanically reliable, that's about as easy to operate as a tape recorder, and that makes it easy to transfer files to/from a PC. As long as I have those, everything else is just icing on the cake. Thanks. I'll check it out.
  7. While I have found that ATRAC works extremely well, especially in its last few incarnations, I'm not a fan of compression. Compression bothers me at the theoretical level, but it's also not a good practice if you plan on processing the material further after you're done recording. I didn't like compression 10 years ago when there was actually a reason to use it (to get around storage limitations), so I sure as hell am not going to start using it now! Based on everything I've read, I think I might be better off with one of these newfangled memory card recorders. I think they were designed for what I want to do more than the Sony Hi-MD recorders. What do people recommend as far as memory card recorders? M-Audio, Edirol, Olympus, Marantz...?
  8. Well, your points are valid, but these are both remote scenarios. I don't make gear purchases based on worst case scenarios, I base my decisions on the situations I'm likely to encounter 99% of the time. It's not going to be the end of the world if the recorder craps out near the end of its life and I lose a recording, or if I underestimate the length of a concert or jam session and don't bring enough disks to record it all. The same could happen with a memory card recorder. (Incidentally, I still see regular MD blanks for sale in drugstores and places like Wal-Mart; I'm sure those would do in a pinch.) Also, what kind of a track record do memory card devices have as far as reliability? Can we really take it for granted that they're more reliable than Hi-MD? And I absolutely guarantee you that in 5 years from now your memory card devices will be obsolete! You won't be able to buy blank media, and if you contact the company for support, they'll just tell you to ditch it and buy the latest model. If anything, 5 years is optimistic. I'm lucky in that a hi-fi shop where I live has them in stock and is willing to sell me them for $4 a pop if I buy 10 or more. But given what you've just said, I'm not sure I'm going to go with Hi-MD. "Cross your fingers" doesn't exactly inspire confidence. If that's the level of reliability one can expect from Hi-MD, I'd be better off going back to cassettes. I wasn't planning on using any data compression whatsoever (PCM all the way), so this is not an issue for me. If being able to play back discs in 5 years is such a concern, buy an extra player now. What's the big deal?
  9. Most of the complaints on Amazon seemed to suggest that the problem was with file corruption during transfer of the files to a computer, rather than being mechanical or electrical in nature. Do you do much file transferring to a computer? Have you had any problems with file corruption?
  10. See my preceding post. These are not concerns if you regularly transfer your recordings to a computer for archiving to DVD-R or the like. My intention is to buy 4 or 5 Hi-MDs upfront and just keep wiping them and reusing them after I've transferred the recordings to DVD-R, thus eliminating the need to buy new discs (I would do the same thing if I bought a memory card recorder). Sony charges $11 per Hi-MD (though you can get them for as little as $4 if you buy in quantity), while a blank DVD which holds over 4 GB costs about 25 cents. I wouldn't consider Hi-MD if I had to pay $11 per disc and couldn't do quick transfers to a computer. The questions you're asking about MD could just as easily be asked about the current crop of memory recorders. Do you really think one of these devices will still be serviceable 5 years from now? Do you think the memory cards for these devices will still be available in five years given the pace at which computer technology advances? I doubt it. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that Hi-MD discs will remain available long after today's memory card devices have become obsolete.
  11. I don't agree with this argument. Any device which uses a memory card is going to be as transient if not more so than MD. Just try to find a memory card for a device that's older than 4 years old. Though I think the days of MD are probably numbered at this point, people have been predicting the format's demise since it first came out in the 90's, and yet here it still is, and seemingly better than ever, having addressed almost every single complaint that was ever leveled against it. I figure as long as you have a device that lets you offload to a computer in better than real time, and you're doing regular backups, you don't really have to worry about obsolescence. A good analog recorder you could keep going practically forever, but with digital, I've come to accept that these are basically throwaway devices and that the important thing is transferring your data to the latest popular medium every few years.
  12. I was planning on picking up a Sony MZ-RH1 Hi-MD recorder to use as a general purpose and field recorder. The interface seems a little better than most of these pocket-sized memory card recorders that have recently flooded the market, and I figured that since it's been around a few years, the bugs must have been worked out and Hi-MD must now be a mature and robust technology. But then I was reading the reviews on Amazon and came across this: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3UB18DVJ9EWR...#wasThisHelpful Are the negative comments in the review and replies true? I was planning on dumping most of the recordings I made on the Hi-MD to CD-R/DVD-R via the computer anyways, but considering how much audio one can store on a Hi-MD disc, I don't want to take any chances. I assumed that if nothing else, Hi-MD was a reliable and idiot-proof technology. Was I wrong? Also, what is the current status of Hi-MD? Is Sony phasing this technology out? Would I be better off buying one of the memory card recorders than a Hi-MD recorder at this point?
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