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Everything posted by robin726

  1. All that matters is the sound quality. I would love to hear more from you on this when you get a chance to really compare the preamps to a HiMD. Thanks for all you have done so far!
  2. Just a question: did you listen to CDs when they first came out? I did, and on some high-end gear too. It sounded like crap. Second-generation units sounded better, and third generation got to the point where I could actually imagine buying a CD. But still, many discs themselves were made very poorly (masters used same as for vinyl, etc.). I saw a great demo where some error diagnostic equipment was hooked up to the output of a CD player. After each play the error rate went up. And that was on a Nakamichi (IIRC) deck, not one I could even remotely afford. MP3 encoders too sounded very poor at first. I remember actually spending good money to buy one "back in the day". Today LAME blows it out of the water. Not all sound is equal. Sorry though, this is all OT. ;-)
  3. I can see why this is confusing and so will try to explain. In my review of the RH-10 I conclude with a list of improvements I would like to see. The ones related to recording are: • improve the mic pre-amp • add a clock and timer functions (timestamp as well) • redesign the hardware interface for usability • remember all settings between shutdowns Others that would enable the MD to compete with iRiver units, etc: • enable drag'n'drop audio file transfers • improve the headphone out quality • provide gapless playback • dynamic playlists • add a radio (and ability to record from radio) And I suppose I forgot one which would be great: • full Apple compatibility (upload / download) How many of these 10 things will the new RH-1 provide? Looks like about 2.5. So that's why it does not excite me. And I'm not even asking for phantom power, 24 bits, etc. As for the MicroTrack, it has improved a lot since it was released, due to focussed firmware releases. (Remember, Sony doesn't even let us upgrade firmware!) In my slightly out-of-date comparison chart it wins in terms of: • file transfer speed • OS compatibility • plugs (RCA and 1/4" TRS not crappy 1/8") • digital input (24-bit) • mass storage device support • UI (nice big buttons) • PCM recording time • mono ready But MD has it beat in these areas: • size • price • removable battery • battery life • pre-amps (supposedly) • media cost Will the new RH-1 improve this situation? No. But we can be sure that any new model of the MicroTrack will. Especially if they do the following: • increase battery life • provide a removable battery • improve pre-amps (so the supposed 24-bit resolution is worth more than ad copy) • phantom power (real 48V please) If they do this the cost of the MicroTrack will look like a complete bargain. In fact, for many applications it does already.
  4. I've got lots of stuff over on my site about the MicroTrack, including direct comparisons to MD, all the most recent reviews, etc. Start at the Audio Engineering category page. I remain completely unimpressed by this new MD unit, which is certainly not optimised for recording. If it was it'd have improved pre-amps and big big dedicated controls for the most common functions: record, pause, lock. This is just another cutesy redesign of the same old MD. We may like it, but it's not going to convert any heathen to the MD way. Far more likely is the future where the MicroTrack version 2 comes out with real phantom power and decent pre-amps. Then there will be no reason to use MD for recording. <sigh>
  5. If you want to be on the bleeding edge, you've made your choice. Um, you had problems with a device that were corrected by readily available firmware on the company's site and you are complaining? Have you never used any computer gear whatsoever? Don't you know the first thing you do is install all the newest updates? Yes, apparently. It's the first device of its kind from the company and you expect perfection out of the box? SonicStage only got usable one version ago (when they got rid of the upload limit and added conversion to WAV). That took how many year compared to the weeks the MicroTrack has been out? What the heck are you talking about? Both are consumer goods. Professionals wouldn't be caught dead using either. But then they'd be paying five times as much. Do you have any idea how much you're getting for your money? Well then use the portable cassette deck and enjoy its CD quality audio. Not. Unless they understand the compromises in using consumer gear. But obviously you don't. My own web site has a far more balanced account of the device, though I still tend to prefer MiniDisc. The audio engineering category page is your best starting point.
  6. When MD goes (if it does) there will be no existing alternative for people who want an affordable CD-quality recorder that is easy to use, reliable, has decent battery life, and low media costs. On my blog I am commenting on the MicroTrack unit as it goes through its birth-throes. I will also post a MD unit review soon. You would think there was a market niche here, but I guess it's too small for any large company to notice.
  7. As a developer I can say it is a hunk of crap. Why it takes more than a blink of an eye to read a playlist file is beyond me. Why it takes so long to do *anything* to the database is incomprehensible. That it doesn't work across platforms is abominable. That Sony thinks we need anything other than simple file drag'n'drop is blinkered. And they're paying for it now.
  8. It would be good if you would give references for your quotes so the rest of us can follow along. The one you excerpt is here. I for one do not think that a thread full of "probably" and "hopefully" and "might" and references to friends in Spain with inside scoops is to be taken with much less than a pilar of salt. It remains to be seen what the gain stage is like and how the mic pres perform. This will only happen when people actually have the unit in hand. OK, but even if you do trust what Doug is saying, he is indicating that at worst the Microtrack is as good as MD. Both record in uncompressed audio, so the reference to MP3 is a red herring. I am not thrilled with the supposed capabilities of hi-res recording because, as you say, it is likely only a textbook possibility. Still, if they can squeeze out 18 bits I would be happy. The difference between 16 and 18 bits can make a real difference after mixing and summing of multiple channels etc. Anything more is esoteric nonsense IMHO. :-) Also, the possibilities of 24/96 means that the output of a truly awesome input stage can be hooked up to the Microtrack -- for those with more money than I and a greater need for "perfect" audio. This is a possibility Oade refers to.
  9. It's perhaps not unusual that people here should be so defensive of minidisc, but can I point out some obvious advantage this new product has? It can record at up to 24-bit 96kHz. Those extra bits sure look good to me. It can run off a DC power supply, so you have infinite record time if you're close to power. That rocks. It has larger and better controls, though exactly how ergonomic it is remains to be seen. It has phantom power so you can use pro mics. It has something other than crappy 1/8" inputs and so is more robust. Ditto for audio out. It mounts as a mass storage device so extra software is not needed. Copy protection, what copy protection? So long as the UI is not crap and the mic preamps are better than minidisc (wouldn't be difficult) this device certainly has a market. In fact, without the need for an external pre-amp and battery power, it works out cheaper than the equivalent minidisc, so long as you're not buying loads of CF cards. (The biggest downside is the price of these.) No, it's not perfect but certainly will have a niche unless there's something braindead wrong with it. I have a write-up on my site.
  10. Just use google and type "define:avatar". You'll get more than a dozen results but this is the first one: "A digital representation of a user in a virtual reality site." Seems to just about cover it.
  11. I would dearly have loved to get a HD unit instead of dealing with Sony's wacked out software, but the truth of the matter is that no HD unit is suitable. Older iRivers have the required I/O but there is a famous glitch in the recorded stream each time the hard drive spins up. Plus you have to deal with their lack of an interface. Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox 3 work well, but are bulky and out of production. Other makes do not support lossless recording, have crap interfaces, or both. For consumer gear a MD is still the best thing, especially supplemented with an external amp. There is a real opportunity here for some DAP manufacturer, but the recording market is simply too small for them to care.
  12. A few words about charging. When you connect the RH-10 to your computer through USB it draws power from the bus, and does not need a battery. Though I can't think of why you would remove the battery just for this. :-) With the battery in the MD unit, the USB connection will trickle charge to about half capacity. This is not the recommended way of charging. Basically it's just a convenience feature. The external DC charge unit connects directly to the MD for charging. Simply plug it in and hit a button. If you have a cradle, this provides nothing more than a nice way to holding the unit. Plus, you don't need to hit the button, it starts charging as soon as it is inserted.
  13. Nice price if you can get it! Do keep us in mind. Meantime my problems were solved because the vendor I was buying the unit from offers disks at $8 per at time of purchase... find them on EBay. This is a decent price, especially as they don' t seem to ask any more shipping. So I just bought an orange RH10 with 10GB of storage. More soon. Wow, spending hard-earned money is so much fun!
  14. Well, I took the plunge and bought an orange one from Japan... so we shall see!
  15. Well, I am in Ireland and considering mail-ordering one of those nice new orange Hi-MD recorders. I went down to Dixon's just to see if they stocked Hi-MD disks and oddly they did. It took quite a while for the challenged person at cash to figure out how to get a price, until I softly suggested she should scan the barcode on the disc package. It's this sort of acute facility with the vagaries of modern life that make me a functioning human being. Unlike those hired to work at Dixons. But I digress. I was kind of hoping they would have them mispriced as normal blanks. In which case I would buy a case and share them out with the good people here. The reality though is a lot more Irish. Even the cash technician was stunned to see that they wanted €9.99 per disk. So, anyone know where I can get them cheaper? Somewhere that will do mailorder with Ireland without breaking the bank for shipping? Likely a box of 5 disks is all I need, because this will be more for temporary storage of recordings than permanent storage of tunes for listening.
  16. Thanks for that! Well, the orange certainly looks distinctive. My only concern now is warranty issues. I guess buying from Japan is a bit of a gamble. But orange.... wow.
  17. Do you mean higher in impedance? To repeat or at least reword... For any situation in which you don't have a dedicated headphone amp you want headphones with low impedance so that they are easier to drive by the suboptimal amp that comes built-in to the portable device. It doesn't matter how physically big the headphones are, though you might start bumping up against people in the subway if they are too big. Like these: Other factors, like closed vs. open vs. in-ear have more bearing on what you might want to use. I use Grado R225 at home, even from my tiny MP3 player. In this case the 1/4" plug plus 1/8" adaptor is about the same size as the player, which looks funny but sounds great. (The DAP is an MPIO, which has outstanding sound.)
  18. That's the coolest one here. I love personal artistic stuff and couldn't care less about looking at pix of hardware. :-) Mine is a gear, for reasons that will remain unclear, but which has something to do with the design for my first CD. It is a gear, but I have, um, done something to it.
  19. Hardware chips for a given function vary in ability all over the map. Otherwise all DACs would be the same. They are not.
  20. MDs are still being made and have a full warranty. Not so the CL device. MDs are quiet for recording whereas the Nomad has HD noise. It's fine for concerts but maybe not ambient recordings. MDs have at least a usable mic input, but not the Nomad. MDs have better displays. Both have bad preamps and A/D converters though, for anything pro. I would love it if there was some decent HD DAP for recording, but they all seems to have major limitations.
  21. Opinion or not, I humbly submit that this is nonsense. Any audio hardware has embedded software to do the job (whatever that may be). Any PC software (because I assume that's what you are talking about) requires the PC hardware to do the job. So there is no such thing as just hardware or just software. Besides, just to pick one example, are you telling me there's a better hardware device MP3 encoder than LAME for the PC? If there is, I'd like to know.
  22. Thanks. And I have heard that the US gets black and silver at least. So that would make the orange the "rarest" and the one with the highest cool value. (Where "cool" == "geek"). :-) Maybe that's why people on this board seem to like it, because it looks a bit odd to me. Or maybe the pix don't do it justice? Thoughts?
  23. An addendum: The AT803b has frequency response down to 30Hz with a small hump in the bass and extends to 20KHz with a significant hump or around 8dB at 9KHz. The AT899 has response all the way down to 20Hz with only the smallest rise at about 40Hz and a rise starting at 2KHz that suddenly peaks at 12KHz. This is a nicer curve for sure, but in practice I doubt it would be worth the large price differential for 95% of applications. I would definitely be ready to EQ down the top end on the AT803b but the sizzle it provides could be very useful. I think I just found my mics.
  24. I doubt there would be any significant change in recording quality between the generations. I presume you are using a microphone mostly since you are recording classical guitar. The factors that will influence the quality of the recording are: 1. room characteristics 2. microphone positioning 3. microphone quality 4. microphone power (plugin -> battery box -> phantom) 5. preamp (built-in -> external) 6. A/D converters (built-in -> external) 7. file format (MP3 -> ATRAC -> PCM) As you move to the right past the arrows you (generally) get better quality. MD units have too low power to get the most out of a mic, the preamps are cheap, and the A/D converters low-end. Remember that this is a consumer piece of gear. The same applies to any of the HD recorders. Plus they have additional issues like no record meters, dropped bits, etc. I think for "decent, easy, cheap recordings" you are best with a MD unit. But don't forget it is far from a professional recorder. For your requirements it will likely be good enough, esp. if you invest in a good mic and battery box.
  25. After wading through 6 pages of discussion (which I had already read, BTW) over a modem connection, I discover that the answer to my question is not in that thread. If you know, why can't you simply answer here? Again: The RH10 comes in what colours in Europe? USA?
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