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Posts posted by smkranz

  1. I've been AWOL here for a long time now, but I was prompted to come back to post this after today canceling my XM radio subscription.

    I received a freebie portable satellite radio with a car kit, so I tried it out by subscribing to the $12/month "family friendly" plan. The radio was pretty cool, but I really only listened going to and from work, and generally only listened to two stations regularly. So I went online today to cut back to the $10/month music only plan. When I did, I discovered that starting on July 29, XM has added a $2/month "U.S. Music Royalty Fee" to subscribers' accounts to help offset the increased royalty fees XM is being caused to pay. Further searching indicates that this resulted from a 2007 decision by the "Copyright Royalty Board" (I believe, in connection with the XM/Sirius merger). This decision apparently increases the royalty fees XM is to pay each year to the dear folks like the RIAA, and XM has now determined that it can no longer absorb them and is passing it on to their subscribers.


    While I don't necessarily fault XM for having to pass these costs on to their subscribers (the company was recently just a stone's throw away from bankruptcy), it was enough to put me over the edge and cancel. I don't listen to it enough to justify the cost, and it just pissed me off.

    And, I used to consider myself fairly informed, but who the heck ever heard of the Copyright Royalty Board, anyway?

  2. Hi, I'm completely new to minidisc players, and I was led here by a friend who recommended them as convenient and high quality recording devices. What i need is something that records instrumental music well because I plan to use it to send CD's of my playing to colleges, competitions, etc. Because most institutions don't take minidiscs, I need to be able to upload the recording onto my computer and burn it onto a CD without any loss in sound quality. I play the clarinet (if that makes any difference) and I want something that will sound rich, clear, and hopefully cover up any improficiencies in my playing (a person can dream :D). Price is not too much of an issue, but the cheaper the better. I'm also open to buying microphones if it will help the quality of the recording.

    Firstly, good luck with your college auditions. My older two kids are conservatory students (one is tuba performance, and the other is trumpet/music ed), and if I remember correctly, the audition recordings we sent out were pretty much just for screening purposes to get an invitation for a live audition. Between the two of them, my wife and I traveled to about a dozen schools for live auditions.

    Both of my guys either have borrowed one of my MD units, or have their own, for recording themselves rehearsing and at lessons. Once in school, they wind up in quartets or quintets and find the MD easy and convenient for recording themselves rehearse. As for their audition recordings, their private teachers did that on their own equipment.

    I would not automatically discount the Sony ECM-MS907 microphone. I have one, and though I don't use it for live concert recordings (mostly for stealth reasons), I do use it for recording myself and friends playing old-time acoustic music, and the recordings I've made with it sound pretty darn good. Also, it comes with a funky little holder which doubles as a small stand so you just sit it on a table or desk if you are recording a lesson or a rehearsal.

  3. Much depends on what type of music you'll be recording, the type of venue, where you will be sitting/standing in relation to the stage and/or amps, etc.

    You will plug the mic into the Microphone input.

    Probably should use Low mic sensitivity.

    Suggest you use Manual recording levels, but that level will depend on the type of music, loudness, venue, etc. Somewhere between 11 - 16 is common. But if the music is either very loud or bass-heavy, you will likely get some distortion no matter what recording level you use.

    Try to play with some of these settings, by recording some similar type of music at fairly loud volume in your living room if you can.

  4. Being easily amused, I laughed out loud at the stuff available from http://www.coolerfun.com/ so I thought I would share my amusement.

    When I brought these to the attention of the Spousal Unit yesterday evening as being the ideal Father's Day gift (and I thought the free shipping would win her over fer sure!), I was rebuffed with a cold, hard stare and a sarcastic comment to the effect of "when pigs fly..."

    Feh...sometimes I just get no damn respect.

  5. ...but the paranoid half of me says this is sinister. After all, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you." (Where'd that quote come from?)




    I buy occasional music from iTunes. Then I typically burn them onto CDs to play in my car, and/or to transfer them to a SD card to play in my Palm handheld or, onto Hi-MD. Once burned to CD, they also sometimes get lent out to friends and family.

    Query: once an iTunes track is burned to an audio CD, all that personally-identifiable information which is embedded in the AAC files is gone...right?

  6. The improvements I am looking for:

    The ability to adjust my recording levels without pausing my recordings. A display window that I can use in low light and totaldarkness recording situations. Peak level indicators that are usable (and understandable).

    My questions about the MZ-RH1 are:

    1) How is the lithium battery life on a night (or days) worth of recording ? Is another one or two spare batteries needed ?

    2) Is there an option for a 12V car charger for this unit?

    3) Does the unit have an attachment spot for a wriststrap loop ? I know this seems minor, but it is huge in the field. I currently use the MZ-NF810 with a detachable neck lanyard. I have headphones for monitoring my recordings and an external mic from a hand held parabolic dish , plugged in. Dropping the recorder is not an option ! I Have had the MZ-NF810 slip out of my pocket and into the mud, before I used the neck lanyard. Lucky that this is a tough little machine, and just got a little blemished on the case. I am hoping the MZ-RH1 is as tough, if need be.

    4) Just wondering what the carry case looks like that is supplied. I could not find any pictures of it.

    5) Finally, I am interested to hear about the improvements in the new version of the Sonicstage software, which was a joke for the MZ-NF810. I use Cool Edit V2.1 for my recordings, and have had no trouble in moving my tracks from MD to my PC in wav form.

    Thanks for anyone taking the time to read this and answer these questions !

    Best Regards to All,

    Bill Ruscher

    Rochester, NY

    Hello, Bill. Yes, the RH1 lets you change manual recording levels on the fly. You also do not have to re-enter the Menu to re-set it to Manual recording from one session to the next...it remembers your last settings. Monitoring recording levels in low light and/or total darkness is also a thing of beauty. The display is crisp, clear and bright. As for your numbered questions:

    1. The manual says recording battery life using a Hi-MD disc is 6 hrs. (PCM mode) / 9 hrs. (Hi-SP mode) / 10.5 hrs. (Hi-LP mode). Battery life is similar with regular MD. Those are the specs in the book...I have never had the occasion to record that length in one session, but I'm guessing you could come fairly close to those numbers. I also have two spare batteries which I bought from a Chinese eBay seller for $18 each though I don't know what the going rate today is. There are some threads here about them...other than slightly different markings, they seem to perform and recharge identically to the original.

    2. There is no car charger available specifically for the RH1 that I know of, but I have used my Motorola RAZR's car charger with success. (Similarly, there are several threads here, including one I started in the Product Reviews & Pictorials board, concerning AA-powered portable chargers which work very well with the RH1. )

    3. & 4. No wrist strap option, or location to attach one. The pouch that comes with the RH1 is just a flimsy little grey fabric bag with a draw-string closure. Not padded nor very protective, but I suppose you could use the drawstring for a wrist lanyard or use a longer string for a neck lanyard. For protective purposes, you'd be better off taking it with you to your local big box store, or even a Ritz Camera shop, and finding a basic little padded camera pouch. As for durability, I have dropped mine once or twice without any harm except that the battery door opened and the battery came out...this is IMHO a design weakness, since the door is kind of flimsy and does NOT secure very well, and once it's open there's nothing keeping the battery inside.

    5. Sonic Stage has always worked fine for me, but the current version does seem a bit quicker, and automatically converts to .wav instead of having to run the separate Wave Converter tool. It has always been reliable for me, never botched a transfer or wiped out my recordings.

  7. Okay, I think it's indeed an outrageous marketing strategy, gruesome & gratuitous, completely unjustified. BUT are you really going to blame the whole Sony institution for it?

    How recklessly independent were the local promoters ?!

    It shows how things can get out of hand & how sadly line of command & responsibility has failed. Sony should have known what they were letting happen.

    That it made its way into the Playstation magazine is the clear give-away that someone other than local promoters thought this one up.

  8. The recording alternates between Mike Snyder telling jokes and playing bluegrass with his combo. The joke telling tracks are much quieter than the actual music.

    I encourage you to post a brief clip of your recording, either to the Gallery or in a post. You can post a brief snippet of music for educational, critical or analytical purposes without running afoul of copyright laws (i.e. that would be smkranz's view of the "fair use doctrine").

    I was lucky enough to see Mike Snyder live at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival a few years ago, and I must say he put on one helluva stage show. He is an extraordinary musician, his comedy routines & songs were really funny (tho I am easily amused), and his backup guys were just as awesome.

  9. This thread in the Product Reviews board reviews the AA battery pack sold in the States by www.gomadic.com for $20.


    Cost includes one tip...it uses interchangeable tips for a variety of different products...I use mine to power and/or recharge my MZ-RH1, Moto Razr V3 phone, and Palm handheld. The Moto Razr V3 tip also charges the RH1. Additional tips are about $6 if I recall.

  10. I had come across that site a year or two ago...seems that it hasn't changed and am wondering what the deal is, if they're still in business because all of the device models they have listed seem rather ancient. So, always being on the lookout for something new and worthwhile, I just sent them an email.

  11. My 18-year old dragged me into the Bose store in the mall before Christmas and said I had to listen to __ (whatever)__ whole-house system they had set up in their "theater". I indulged him, and yep it sounded very nice and all...but I left the room telling him "This isn't an electronics store, it's the Divorce Store". He knew what I meant and I had to go no further to justify why I wasn't going to buy one of their $2,000 systems.

    But we did take a listen to their phones on the way out the door, and he got all drooly over the comfort and sound of the On-Ear phones ($180).


    So I sucked it up and got him a pair for Christmas a couple of weeks later. He has had absolutely no luck with any kind of bud or in-ear model he has tried (either uncomfortable, or they fall out), and he didn't seem to really take to my Sennheiser PX100's when he was playing with them on his iPod.

    Got these 'cuz I knew he liked them although I no doubt could have gotten something at least as comfy, and probably better soundiing, for less. They're not as big and clunky as over the ear job. But I gotta say, when I've been able to pry them off his head to give them a listen, they really do sound sweet, and yeah, I could keep them on my head for hours, too. I have only listened to them with what he's got playing in his iPod at the time which is mostly classical (he's a conservatory student) so I can't say I've given them a side-by-side with my own music compared with other phones. But I can see (and hear) why he loves them. The soft pads really are very good at blocking most ambient room sound (distinctly unlike the PX100's).

    They come with a semi-hard plastic storage case, and they fold up so that the ear pieces flip up inside the headband. Seem to be built OK. Very convenient (for him, anyway) is that they also come with two different length cords, a shorty for when you're wearing your tunes in your shirt pocket or on a clip and are out and about, and a longer one for, I guess, "regular" use.

    I guess I'm a sucker...but I also guess I don't care. It was a case of buying the kid what he wanted. Bose bashers, feel free...

  12. I have this brand new remote from Sony...they sent it to me in error because the one which came with my RH1 was defective out of the box...when I called (twice) to get them to send me the correct remote, they were distinctly *not* interested in me sending this one back, so I have no guilt in putting it up for grabs here. The RM-MC60 is a non-LCD (e.g. NO DISPLAY) remote with basic Hi-MD functions. It is black and silver. I have tried it out once in my RH1 and it works. The advantage this has over an LCD remote, is that this remote is extremely light-weight, so it won't pull as much on your phones/buds if it's hanging loose.


    • First U.S. $5 takes it.
    • I will ship pretty much anywhere for actual postage...your choice of method. PM for a shipping quote if desired.
    • Payment via PayPal preferred. US Currency (cash) also good. Checks or M.O. from US banks OK...will hold until it clears.
    • For reference, you can check out my eBay feedback (user name: smkranz )
  13. I fear that some of those scanning programs actually contain some spyware you don't know about. Maybe it was caused by a firefox extension?

    Now that you mention, it could have been a firefox extension. During the installation of FF v.2 I was alerted to the presence of an incompatible (i.e. corrupt?) extension from the prior installation (can't remember what it was), and presented with an opportunity to install a current, compatible extension which I did.

    I periodically run Ad-Aware and SpyBot and while I admit to a teensy bit paranoia about them, I figure if there were something sinister behind them, I would have probably read about it by now.

  14. Several days ago, on two different days, I noticed a yellow "downloading updates" icon in my system tray. It went away...never received a notice to reboot to update my system. But then for the past several days, Firefox did not display some (but not all) web sites properly, like these forums. Lost all frames and formatting.

    Clicked Check for Updates in the Firefox Help menu...it announced that there were no updates (it was running FF 1.5xx). Went to the Firefox home page where 2.0 is now available, downloaded/installed, and all is well again.

  15. Anyways i never knew Sony's customer service would sink that low. Anybody else had a difficult time talking to Customer Support?

    My experience was much different than yours. The remote on my RH1 was faulty out of the box. Rather than sending the whole thing back to Sound Professionals, I called Sony Support to get them replace it. Though they sent the wrong remote the first time (this was before the RH1 actually made it to the US Parts catalog so I got the remote for the RH10), as I recall it the people I spoke with sounded like English was their first language, and there was no question that they would replace the remote. They sent the right remote the second time, and when asked, didn't even care whether I returned the wrong one they sent the first time.

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