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  1. I thought i'd quickly add this, as a kinda clarification to my prev advice and observations :- I'm not condemning MDR-E series inner-ear units totally, hell.. some of those make brill cheap subbies to replace the dead-flesh sounding fit-for-the-incinerator stuff that's often OEM bundled with other makes - many a walkman clone or discman clone user has literally found cheap MDR-E's to be a real audio upgrade compared to what they were subjecting themselves to. Just had a totally bad experience with items that are toppy and bottom happy (aka boombox characteristics) and discovered painfully that they are not compatible with my migrane sensitivity - so the EX71's i did have, made for an expensive mistake in the lost sleep/head screaming kinda pain dept. So to all those happy with their MDR-E series phones, fair play - but i figure money spent on neutral or balanced response units (particularly if you have a migrane sensitivity issue) is well worth the effort - and the audio experience of going with decent units, speaks for itself 'Tom Kat'
  2. Yeah, i know the feeling.. about the youngsters being somewhat obssessed by having a kind of 'banging' level of bass on music playback, regardless of what they listen to. ChrisG... Please please.... *picture cat begging* Ditch the MDR-E's, consign them to the spares or parts bin (ok, you could condemn them to incinerator hell, but i prefer to keep junk to gut for reuse in projects). For bugger all money, you can way way improve on those basic level MDR-E's, and still go for a naturally more bassy response pair of phones, and not break the bank. Bear in mind, i talk UK retail prices over the counter in real shops with my prices.. so discount the prices a little and you get an idea for online sources... The idiot proof solution, not that i would recommend them (since they are migrane inducers to me, and migrane inducment is not something for making this virtual cat spirit happy) would be MDR-EX71's or the 81's maybe. I only suggest those due to their overkill level of noise isolation, and their toppy/bottomy audio response - which i guess for the mega-bass lovers is kinda the effect they want. Combined the external noise attention with the heavy emphasis tonally of the 71/81's and that soon sorts out the mega-bass fans. However, 71's & 81's are not really any good at all.. if you like the bass response to feel natural and balanced and in proportion. In other words, if you like to run your deck on EQ Flat/bypass and let the audio pass to the phones as the studio mixdown is heared.. and let the phones translate (not tone-enhancing DSP/EQ colouring) then you want something with a natural balanced response. Cheapo, but basically effective, near-neutral/balanced (aka good SPL around 100dB SPL) would be the MDR-V series 'DJ' cans. Not too big, not bulky, and in the case of the 300's, not expensive (around 20-30 UKP). Not my first choice of near-netural/balanced items.. but a good effective solution where cost is a factor. If you want similar, but with a slightly more bassy feel - go with something like the original series Koss KTX PRO items (not the later, tacky and crappy KTX PRO 1's) which i think may still be obtainable somewhere. These are about twice the impedence of the 300's, but characteristically similar, so what happens is.., the impedence mismatch tends to cause a 'slight' (but more comfortable than mega-bass type audio enhancement) shift to bass emphasis. When used with a deck that's more orientated to 60-odd Kohm phones, they become natural and balanced (like they did with my old JB1). Again, if you look.. they can be got for around 30 UKP, and totally walk over ANY OEM 'buds' bundled with players (and i mean any, even the OEM bundled MX low series Sen's that say, iRiver used to bundle with iFP decks). The folding version of the KTX Pro's, and i forget the model now, are also worth a look at - but at nearly double the price.. the diff's may not justify the cost (and also rarer than hen's teeth in shops in the UK). Beyond that, really, we are back in the Sen arena.. looking at PX series, and the more indoor/semi-portable stuff like the HDR's. Or as an intermediate balance between size, weight and bulk, the EH2200's (if they are still around) are nice isolators and tonally nice and balanced and really come to life when matched to a nice meaty cleam phones amp. EH2200's are musician application kinda oriented, they kill a lot of background external's without actually being disorientatingly nulling like MDR-EX's can be. Any of those three 'proper' and 'walkman' cans, along with the prev reply suggestions for phones, and of course Shure's being the premium 'bud' solution and EX71'81's being the boombox sound lover's less premium priced answer. In fact, i'll bet my avatar cat spirit's next wages paid in tins of Kit-E-Kat, that once you stuff a decent pair of cans onto your deck, you'll see why i say that artificially bass-enhancing the audio (as a pre-process to compensate for phone defienciency) used out of balance tends to make audio sound muddy when the same audio (with the adjust)is played on neutral cans. 'Tom Kat'
  3. As a quick sidetrack, referring to Audio CD burning and ATRAC CD burning.. Have no grief to date, burning audio CD's via SS nor with MD transfer to from deck via SS (2.2 - 3.2). However, if you do feel you'd rather not risk SS and blank CD-R's, there is lots of good alternative fully-blown CD mastering/recording software out there (nero is a pretty good catch-all, simple yet not brain-death simple either). So if in doubt, maybe burn to a CD-RW for audio CD makeup (dunno what the rate support is on your burner, but 16x upwards in RW mode decks are not expensive and nor is quality hi-speed RW's), so you can at least test the audio cd mastering in a real CD deck (you'd be amazed how many pre-CDRW gen decks can actually read a CD-RW that's finalised and burnt DAO) and scan the CD-RW with whatever tools you choose to test the recording integrity. If all goes well, you can either burn the geniune CD-R copy using whatever disc-to-disc software you fancy, or simply use a good imager (like IsoBuster Pro) to extract an ISO/BIN image from the CD-RW for archive and also as a HDD stored clone of the Audio CD tempory disc (aka the CD-RW) - again, burning from an image can often be more reliable than burning via disc-to-disc copy method. The use of CD-RW's as intermediate 'test' discs, may not suit all - but if you do find SS to be iffy in reliability when it comes to burning, at least CD-RW gives you multiple hits, not multiple 'mug mats' that failed CD-R burns would generate My ATRAC CD's (when i do burn for ATRAC CD Walkmans), all get burnt via the burn-to-CDRW method. The CD-RW gets field tested in the CD walkman, and if all is well, the image i pre-ripped (straight after the CD-RW was created) becomes the burn master for making any real CD-R's with. Same story, when i burn Audio CD's via other software - takes a little more time to burn to CD-RW and pre-test on destination kit, but if it saves you later discovering a nasty hiccup took place and saves creating more duff CD-R's destined for the trash can, it's worth the extra distance. A closing note :- When it comes to burning Audio CD's, or any other CD types with big files/tracks on it's makeup, it's worth keeping my rule of thumb in mind (can't really use it in SS, but applies to proper CD writing software well)... In other software, use it's test/simulation mode before commiting to an actual write process. If the tested speed the software determines it can spool off the HDD or CD source at, which will be displayed in the same units/form used to refer to speed multiple and transfer rate as for CD burning, is at least 2.5x that of the selected burn speed you chose, then you can pretty much burn on the fire-n-forget basis. If the tested rate hits 2x the source transfer rate, beware - this is borderline asking for the 'burnproof' correction to kick in, which is not necessarily a good thing for Audio CD's. If it drops to silly figures, like 1x or less, you are literally gonna have to either drop the chosen record speed, defrag the HDD, or both.. That rule of thumb, using Nero and other quality bits of CD software, has ensured i only get ferked CD burns, if the media is shot/ferked/duff from the outset. Out of (i dread to actually contemplate the sheer numbers) masses of burn sessions (single burns and multi-copy burns), ranging from using 2x devices (way on back) through early 'burnproof' and the late hi-speed non BP devices, through current high speed BP enabled CD and DVD rewriters, my sole trashed-disc record is... 2 CD's A good rule of thumb, trust me - you just gotta make head or tail of it
  4. As far as 'in line tampering' goes with soundcards... It's hardly anything new in audio The vast majority of equipment, short of anything specced with a direct-bypass type output to digital ports, alters and tampers with the goods in small and major ways. Since someone mentioned the Audigy 2, you can tie it down (without hacking or suchlike) to not resample, but pass data raw to it's SP/DIF output (based on the 2ZS), but i assume that also applies to other digital ports on the premium models. As long as i get an acceptably clean output, it's kinda irrelevent really. Like i said before, i aint perfection-obsessed, just interesting in delivering the goods that deliver the goods when played back on domestic non-audiophile kit. I never treat audiophile pandering and generally meeting audiophile demands, as worthy of my time. The only times i get into 'max it to the max' attention to detail in mastering, is when i am producing for commericial professional mastering - aka like i would for producing the goods ready to supply to the plant for production of commericial distribution DVD/CD/SA-CD, or when i am doing restoration work - in the instance of restoration work, the obssession often makes each job a lost cause re making money .. but since in such instances i am more interested in making good what was once good in analog form, i am prepared to go all out to do the certifiable for keeping analog audio allive in clean long-lived digital form.
  5. Non technical non audiophiles too, Sparky. Sure it's nice to know the difference between what a spec offers, if it matters to you as an end user. An obscure, or bascially 'invented' spec is enough to make me discard anything without question. But remember, Sony in particular (of all the companies who produce for the domestic market) along with Awia and others in the main four or five 'high street' brands, sell a heck of a lot of their domestic grade output to end users who don't know one end of a spec, nor really care.. I mean, someone once asked me what oversampling meant, in ref to their CD deck that had the feature splashed on the front panel in bold letters. About 2 mins into the explanation, i got a 'whatever, who gives a ferk' type response.. which in practise, i should have expected. When i was doing formal tech support for manufacturers of DAP's, i got a similar level of 'dont give a ferk' attitude to details, until someone got their teeth around some audiophile-inspired matter and then i got landed with a demand for an explanation, provided it could be interpreted with two-functioning braincells only Definately in the majority, non tech users, in any variety and flavour of mass-produced DAPs
  6. 'Thats a lot to read through'..?? Hell, that's ferk all to read through, the user manuals that come with MD equipment The basics, can be got out of the manuals and condensed into a nice self-written crib-sheet to remind you of the necessary basics A lot of stuff can be pretty much picked up and figured out, without the manuals too.
  7. Bad assumption, Spark.. That's the same kind of assumption that made 'mp3' a niche market perceived thing, til the whole availability went into overdrive over equipment good, bad and indifferent. DAT, that's literally niche market - not due to any lack of interest really amongst domestic users (you'd be suprised how many have asked me about using DAT, discovered the cost etc was too rich for their tastes and gave up on it) - but purely is priced out of the pocket of the average domestic user. DCC, the failed DAT counterpart, that's nice market too, mostly because it never rolled out with enough equipment, no real availability bar one or two decks (in the UK anyway) and a distinct non-availability of pre-recorded media.. and blanks were nothing like common. All DCC meant, in reality, to the masses who might have desired it, was a digital deck that they were gonna have to beg/borrow/steal HQ media for, and have an ultra expensive analog deck mostly. MD could have gone that way, easily, so whilst it's pre-recorded media selection and availability kinda fell over not quite at the first hurdle (it actually existed, and did get sold in some major chains here in the UK), it really dried up rapidly - the fact that early decks were (in UK terms) up there in cloud cuckoo land for the average domestic user didn't exactly help it's rollout and attractiveness - it was really, and anyone with any concept of real perception can tell you this, NetMD and the later MDLP standalone decks and the embedded inclusions in mini-hifis that actually brought not-excessive priced kit into the market (again, talking of what they cost to the UK market buyers). MD was a niche market for it's initial few years, like DVD-A and SACD will be during it's early years, but just because you don't bump into MD users too often in life, don't mean they are an obscure bunch of niche format users. Not everything in life, that's under-respresented in public, is 'niche'. As for what people may or may not know - try reading through the posts in detail sometime over the various sections. You'd find there is a fair representation of people who have no real idea of the technical aspects of audio (less so here, than other audio-related forms, but enough to qualify representation of their needs by default), more with some or a middling level of knowledge of the tech aspects, and more with more or greater levels of such knowledge. I was not disputing the value of that first suggested card by any means, but if you had read my comments in the initial post i made (reinforced in my previous reply) there are people who simply (for one reason or another) are not gonna go down that route. Ask the average person what a Wolfson DAC adds to the plot, and you'll find in the real world, they have no ferking idea or no interest. It's the kinda thing that if you have heard the results of such a DAC at work, you understand it's usefulness and benefits and likewise, if you know of what such an inclusion has to offer on technical grounds, you can at least way up the value to you as an individual buyer. The simple reality here, is the bulk of audio kit purchased outside of obssession to technical detail and specificiation - at least by the buyers who literally are the bread and butter of the mainstream music industry sales targets. If we are obsessed by audio perfection and technical detail, lossy audio would have died a death virtually from the outset of attempts to sell it to the portable world, the iPod (on many accounts) would have been one expensive mistake on the part of Apple, and none of us here would even be giving this forum the time of day (as MD, outside of the addition of PCM recording/playback in later units, was a lossy format use device). But i'm beginning to wonder if i'm totally wasting my time explaining these simple concepts - it seems in this forum (and other MD forums), MD users have decided that all MD users are like themselves, and maybe the simple users do not exist?? Ok, one final comment re niche users - why the hell am i, under legal agreement with the artists involved who released via CCL and other licenses, producing pre-recorded MD's of stuff that's out there with royalties paid to the artists..?? I wouldn't be doing that, given the time involved and aggro it could involve, if there wasn't people who want pre-recorded media in their preferred MD format..?? Ok, so it's hardly at the scale where i'm heading for millionare status from millions/tens of millions of sales that recover me ferk all after costs, but on the other hand, i'm helping to fill in the gap that exists in music distribution - not everyone has nice wide-pipe broadband connections, there are a lot of dial-up users out there who find it easier to source from pre-recorded forms. So if MD is a 'niche' market and has a 'nice' userbase, then i must the craziest idiot around to be supporting it in that way - if so, then i'm one of many crazy supporters... there's a few forums worth of the crazies
  8. If you suspect a ground loop prob (which it could easily be, in addition to maybe s/mode psu chatter.. which in itself is not exactly 'quiet' sometimes)... The cheap, non-techy, possible solution is an old standby.. Use two diff power points, one for the source and one for the PSU powerng the MD unit. Might not totally solve it, but when i had to resort to that method once or twice when i had situations where adding to the in-line was not an option (aka at work, they kinda slapped you hard for unauthorised tampering), it got me out of trouble... We are talking, potentially (and in my case), the 'noise' level of the earth loop dropping down from an indicated (reference metering from reliable non-domestic equipment with proper metering) -60dB to around -80dB or better (in one instance, a hell of a lot better). Might be enough to get someone outa trouble, til they can improve the situation properly
  9. Agreed about the use of WMA LSL, given the availability to make WMA LSL's from the source files. It's been a bonus to me, as most of my archives (left over from radio work) were in WMA LSL anyway (DRM locked, but i have the legit and legal unlock solution.. and authorised rights to 'unlock' them) kept remotely on the station's servers (they were the source, the output of the net simulcasts was lossy versions taken from). Was a lovely find for me, to discover that WMA import was all there (unprotected of course), so all i needed to do was gen unlocked local copies from the protected items, then import.. and have the local copies in the process. And since i make multiple rate copies of each import (having a copy to suit any NetMD or ATRAC CD production need), the need for local WMA LSL's is only tempory for production purposes. The unlock process is pretty much an in-line method as they are obtained off the server, so no real time/effort hassles there either. But outside of such arrangements, acknowledging that some people refuse to touch WMA for any number of rational or irrational reasons, then imaging to an Audio CD iso is still good a method - but kinda space-hogging for archival purposes on HDD's
  10. No, i dont print my own labels (for floppy, MD or an.other exchangeable media you might label). No need really, not when (due to the scale of 'printing' i do) i can go out there and have DIY CD inserts/MD Labels etc printed to colour commercially cheaply enough to not make it worth the hassle of home printing The outfit i use (who sell me spare capacity they have, i just don't get the finesses of 'to order, delivery by a chosen date' because of it, and hence get a price break to suit), have been producing commercial grade labelling for a long time and as long as i supply properly prepped (to commericial printing standards) material for them to use to work from, i get the results that add the extra bit of finesse to the end result of recorded MD/CD and a professional looking insert/label to boot I dont take advantage of the extra step, the option to have printed card sleeves (to hold the individual MD cases in), but if demand gets better - i might just pay the extra and start getting those made too from same source Sorry i aint revealing the source - they probably wouldn't appreciate being swamped by low-quantity users requesting what was effectively a 'mates rate' deal (the owner of the company, is a close old friend - someone i know from my full-time days in radio ironically enough).
  11. Breepee2 :- Dunno where you are located, nor care really, but the 'not difficult' bit you mention is not a global fact There are people out there who wouldn't know they could 'add' both coaxial and digitial i/o cheaply to their existing setup to suit real SP mode transfer to MD, hell there are people out there (a lot of at that) who don't realise their existing 'analogue out' embedded sound systems (remember, lots of them in use) may also have non-optical digital outputs to start with. And even if you had access to lots of the options out there, easily (remember, there is still a lot of people who wont import or buy online, or even mail-order), a lot of people don't realise the scope there is for super cheap ways of adding 'missing' digital i/o to an existing sound system. Not everyone has the desire, or intention of ripping out/disabling an ordinarily good (enough for their purposes) soundcard/embedded system, to replace with a super-duper pricey quasi-AP device that for the most part, your average user wont even be able to justify buying So whilst mine and the OP's suggestions may seem a tad irrelevent to those who indulge in mega-bucks spending, or even chasing the last nth degree of s/c perfection, the suggestions are worth having on the available list, for the majority who don't obsesse over the nth degrees or the spending of big bucks. Sure, i use a mix bag here of mega-bucks pro cards, cheapo budget stuff and just about anything in between, but i do still respect and recognise the masses in their budget concious/technically uninterested desire to transfer-n-go with their music and audio content. Maybe 'technically uninterested' people who aint into megabucks perferfection seeking are not exactly seen as worthy, by the proportion of the MD community who feel that 'technically uninterested' = ignorant slobs...?? Dunno, don't care, will dump useful options to suit the 'technically uninterested' proportion's benefit.. and ferk the rest of you who think i'm out of line to do so At the end of the day, the 'technically uninterested' and 'non audio obsessives' outnumber the technical and perfection obsessives by a massive factor - so they are more than equal in worthiness to be informed of what's out there...
  12. Well, Rombusters, i agree totally with the sentiments about the sources and codecs and compression in general. I added a note in a different topic that the audio source really defines what's needed (in a perfect non-world of transparency), and it's all a balancing act on a good day getting results of encoding.. let alone getting a codec to work efficiently and up to some kinda standard of output. There is stuff i listen to, on audio CD or vinyl or cassette (1st gen studio grade stuff dumped onto consumer media for my purposes) that literally i would (if i was audiophile or quality obsessive) would say don't encode very well in any lossy codec (even 500K Ogg output can sound a little tainted for my minor picky moments) - but when i keep in mind that DAP playback (in lossy circles) is really an arena that's more comparable to listening to CD transferred to HQ tape type transfer (like it's analog analogy, but lacking the noise clearly and without the CTFR limits), it kinda tells me that (out of knowledge and experience) that transparency is a kinda lost cause. It's simply a case of use what works best for each audio instance, whatever combo gives you usable results (unless you are doing glorified walkman mode, in which case it's SP/LP all the way), and don't be afraid to mix and match to get the desired combination of content stored at a reasonable (read useable) quality. Interesting interview mind..., tells little.. but is usefully that extra step more useful than the average Sony blurb ---------------------- Former MD SP user (back in my radio days). Defected to mp3 and WMA... Returned to MD recently, after being asked to master demo's and short-quantity MD and ATRAC CD releases, so i'm using top-models from each side of the personal portable ATRAC world, as personal devices and to act as portable demo machines. MZ-NH1 D-NE1 D-NE20 Other stuff :- iRiver H300 iOPS MFP-350 iRiver iMP-250 iRiver iFP-390T Archos AV480 The most unique, custom-build DAP-64 (x64 based transportable 24 track integrated editor/recorder/processor/mixer/player - supports all non-ATRAC formats, hopefully may support ATRAC one day). And a crap load of ancient pro analogue and digital stuff, incluiding portable Betamax recorder with digital adaptor/mod/demod.
  13. Sorry if i forget to include MD mode equivs, or if i inadvertently apply the wrong MD mode analogy.... 105 or 133 (ATRAC 3), which i guess is around MDLP2 (sorry, just getting used to MD once more, after a long long departure from it) is pretty much what NetMD users i know used a lot for 'fire and forget' multi-album storage. Works pretty well for job like getting an 8 CD collection to one CD-R (for ATRAC CD purposes) without hitting silly low-rate levels. Personally, at MD/NetMD levels, i'd go with the above advice that quality is more preferable to quantity. For Hi-MD, the options are more open, the extra capacity of Hi-MD media kinda closes up the ATRAC-CD vs Net MD capacity difference (at a price of course), and if you play the encode each track to what works best for the track vs storage considerations (aka what you can low-compress, low-compress, what you want to be sharper and more authentic, go with higher levels and mix/match to suit needs). With later MD, Net MD and Hi-MD (and likewise for the FP's and NW-H s and ATRAC-CD) there is no hammer of damocles ready to whack you one on the head if you mix/match to suit needs. After all, the object where quantity storage is the key, is making the best use of what you have. If quality counts, and ferk the quantity, SP/LP modes are on the cards.. or Hi-MD's Hi-SP.
  14. On a serious note, quickly. If you are using phones as monitors, like described in the setup the OP uses, it's ok to use EX71's, but they are not really a brill choice for monitors. Their bonus, and probably only saving grace for such use at this price level, is their isolation (which is the only EX series 'success story' i would commend). The fact they do double duty probably suits the OP, but given the choice, a little money invested in some light monitor cans (DJ type, or even some lightweight studio/musicians cans) would give a reasonable isolation and be more 'in tune' with what most people monitoring a recording would probably expect. Not a lot more than EX71's, cheaper in some cases, the MDR-V300's would probably make better cheap monitor cans. If you fancy going a bit more upmarket, but avoid audiophile spending excesses, Seinheisser EH-2200's (if they are still around, haven't seen them on sale for a while). The Sein's are musician/dj orientated, or even semi-studio orientated. They don't brick-wall isolate like the EX's, but used where i am used to seeing them more often (in recordings sessions by bands), they have enough isolation to remove the louder excesses of any monitor speakers or amps (amps, where mics pickup is taking the played audio in a semi-live feel) without blocking out the quieter subtles. In other words, you can hear the guy next to you plucking the strings on a bass or lead guitar, the basic essence of the drummer's percussion, sufficiently to be able to listen to along with the mix sent down the cans, but not get swamped by room monitors etc or when the drummer goes mental
  15. Yes, that's borne out (in one respect) by the custom cans i use for edit work. They are both ex efficient (4 drivers per channel composites) and have a flat high response (in other words, they have a proportional response across the range, no horrid top-n-bottom excesses at the cost of ferk all midrange like lots of high street/shopping mall outlet cheapies). Such hisses are noticable on those, but not as bad as say on 'coloured' boombox phones of high-efficiency. But if the cans/buds/phones have a tendency, like EX71's (to use one example, MDR818's also have some of the characteristic too, but lessened as i recall), to respond like the 'coloured' speakers you get on mini-hifi systems (very top and bottom end coloured), then a hiss is going to be still quite noticable - but on 'coloured' drivers, the hiss is out of balance with everything else usually.
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