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Ral-Clan's Achievements


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  1. Sad man? I think he's got a more interesting hobby and perspective than 90 percent of the population.
  2. @footmobile You must be the opposite of me, because two of the traits you listed as liking about MD remotes are what make me dislike them; "They were a status symbol back in the 90s. You had that backlit beacon on your jacket or shirt.." Ugh. I hated/hate having the MD remote hanging off my jacket or shirt. Not only can it get caught on stuff, but I feel it looks really dorky. I am not a cyborg. "just tapped my RM MZ2s which was securely on my backpack strap." One of my pet peeves. You attach the remote onto your backpack and then when you need to remove the backpack, you realize you are tethered to it. Or you just plain forget, remove your backpack and rip the headphones out of your ears!
  3. Does anyone actually like or use the remote controls that come with some Sony MD portables and are in-line with the headphone cable? I have both an MZ-R700 which comes with the basic black remote (no display) and an MZ-R910 which has a very nice RM-MC11EL remote with a display. My wife also has an Mz-NF610 which has a silver FM radio remote. I will admit these remotes are very cleverly designed and look cool, but I've tried to use them and they just don't make a heck of a lot of sense in everyday practice (to me) for the following reasons: if you don't use the stock "short cable" headphones, you have to find a pair with a short cable or else you end up with 6 to 8 feet of cable between the portable and your ears. they look dorky clipped to your clothes out in public (unless you are the type of person who also likes the look of a bluetooth earpiece) they really aren't small enough - the MD player is already small enough to hold in your hand and glance at / change tracks on - why another device that is the same length as the player? Sometimes I feel like I'm carrying two music players connected by a tether to each other. Sony decided to put the FM radio circuitry (on the FM radio MD portables) IN THE REMOTE instead of the player! This makes the remote HUGE. I'm sure there were technical reasons for this (reception, interference), but it just seems like a kludge. they suck extra power from the unit (the ones with lighted LCD displays or FM radios in them). this is hard to describe, but it doesn't seem to me that the way the cable is connected to them is very handy - it usually comes in one end of the cylinder and exits out the other. If you have the MD portable in your shirt pocket and the remoted clipped onto the outside of your pocket (or your jacket) then the cable has to come outside of your shirt pocket/jacket and hang down across your chest to reach the bottom of the remote. I think the cable should enter from same end as the headphone socket to reduce the amount of cable that dangles loosely. the way the clip is mounted never seems to be in the right orientation - it should have been made to swivel or something so you could adjust it to mount the remote in different ways depending on what you are wearing. The only reason I keep remotes plugged into my portables is to reduce stress on the headphone jack. I had used headphones without a remote plugged directly into my MZ-R700 for many years and eventually the headphone socket developed the internal solder break which is quite common to this unit. By keeping a remote plugged into the headphone jack, the additional edge-connector reduces lateral stress and torquing on the socket (the headphone male pin can't spin or pivot in the hole). Any thoughts on remotes? Does anyone actually love them?
  4. Hi, well, that would be fine too. But these are low end units and I could buy a working one for $20-$40 on ebay - or less on a good day. I was considering repairing this one if I could do it cheaply. If the replacement parts cost more than $10 or so then you're right - might as well buy a fully functional one or switch over to one of the more expensive MD portables in my small collection. I just like to repair things where possible instead of throwing them out. I actually find it fun to fix things.
  5. Well, it's no-nonsense reliable little guy that has given me good service for 10 years, and still has a lot of life in it if a simple part can be swapped. It's an easy fix to do if I can get the part cheaply, why not? I like the less fancy MD portables because you can carry them around without having to "baby" them or worry about them like more expensive models. Sound is pretty good too. Honestly, it's been more reliable than the thin gumstick "high end" MD portables I own. Thanks for the link to the service manual. I looked up the part number I needed it is available - but as with most Sony parts, it is priced way beyond the value of the unit itself. I always wondered why Sony does this - they must be sitting on a warehouse of these parts, which no one will order because of the insane prices they demand. Then in a few years Sonly will send it all to the recyclers. So I'm still looking for a defective unit for parts.
  6. Hi, the ribbon cable (flexi cable) connecting the mainboard of my NZ-NE410 NetMD portable to the circuit board in the clamshell door has started to break after many years of use. The machine still works well, but the display flickered for a while and now has stopped showing anything. It's an extremely fine repair and would be very difficult to patch in jumper wires (harder than the well-known overwrite record head repair that is similar in nature). Therefore, I'm looking for a dead or malfunctioning replacement model from which I can take the whole display/control panel circuit board with intact ribbon cable and replace the faulty one in my unit. So I am looking for a dead or broken MZ-NE410, NZ-NE420, MZ-DN430 or MZ-NF520. These were also branded the Sony "Psyc" models. They all seem to use the same parts for this panel / flexi cable. Does anyone have one they can donate or sell to me? Optionally, if someone knows where I can buy just a replacement ribbon cable / flexi-cable, that would be GREAT. I am not quite sure how it solders onto the display circuitboard (as it is mostly plastic) but I would like to give it a try. Is anyone aware of a service manual for this unit? Please reply to this thread or e-mail: w00denflutes A T y a h o o DOT ca (replace zeros with "o" in the above address) Thanks very much!
  7. This statement doesn't make any sense. How can going from an already compressed, lossy format (mp3) to another compressed, lossy format (LP2) ever possibly be better than going from an uncompressed format (CD/WAV) to LP2? That's like recompressing a JPEG to another JPEG. Artifacts are cumulative. I use LP2 for portable listening and it's generally just fine. I don't have top of the line headphones, just decent mid-priced JVC ones that are widely available. I've also used Senhiesser MX400 earbuds which have a good reputation. LP2 is just fine - seriously. Maybe if you're listening on those $300+ headphones you will notice a serious difference. Or maybe if you have "golden ears". As for LP4 mode... I've also put radio broadcasts and spoken word stuff (i.e. family oral history interviews) on MD in LP4 mode. You will notice some faint artifacts of you focus your attention on listening for them, but generally LP4 mode is absolutely listenable for vocal stuff. Certainly at least as crisp and clean as a good cassette recording (minus the noise floor). Music in LP4 can be problematic, yes. Dance / club / mass produced pop that's heavily compressed and "wall of sound"-ish can still be satisfactory (not great, but satisfactory). The codec, to my ears, seems to have been designed for that type of music. Again, I compare LP4 to cassette. If you were happy with the music on cassette in the 1980s/90s, then LP4 won't be any worse. LP2 is much better than cassette. SP is close to CD or DAT. Music that has highly distinct parts either in the left or right channels will suffer from squishy sounding artifacts in LP4 mode - as this messes with the joint stereo encoding of LP4. As an experiment try recording two different songs to the left and right channels of the same LP4 minidisc track. You'll hear some interesting artifacts. Really, you should record the same passage of music in all three modes (SP, LP2, LP4) to a minidisc and have a friend toggle back and forth between the three, without you seeing what he/she is doing. Then you try and guess the mode each passage was recorded in. Have your friend score you on your correct guesses. Only this sort of blind A/B listening test can overcome the false psychological differences (or placebo type effects) we sometimes insist we hear.
  8. Hi, I have an MZ-NE410 which is working great, except that the LCD has been behaving strangely over the past year. Sometimes after starting listening to a disc I would notice that although there was audible music and the buttons on the face of the unit worked (i.e. to change volume or track), there was nothing showing on the display. At other times the display acted "drunk" - it would update slowly and sometimes characters would be corrupted. Other times it worked fine. Sometimes simply opening and shutting the clamshell cause the display to work again. I've taken the whole lid of the clamshell apart, removed the glass LCD and cleaned the contacts on the LCD and circuit board. After doing that the display worked great for about five minutes but now it's back to acting wierd again. I would have thought it might be the ribbon cable to the circuit board on the lid, but that seems to be okay (will have to look at it more closely) and the buttons all respond (they use the ribbon cable too). Perhaps one of the components on the lid's circuit board has developed an intermittent solder break. Does anyone know of common problems with the display on these NetMD models before I go taking stabs in the dark? Thanks
  9. Hi Folks, I have a question about SonicStage. I have avoided SonicStage for years for multiple reasons. I've always tried to use SimpleBurner only. I dislike having to keep any sort of library of my tracks in digital form on my computer. I enjoyed the simplicity of CD-->MD. Using SimpleBurner worked great for years, while my music collection was solely on CD. However, I find now that I have more and more music in non-CD format (downloaded podcasts, MP3 collections, etc., tracks on USB voice recorders) that I need to get on MD, SimpleBurner isn't enough. I need something that will allow me to get an mp3 on my NetMD portable (yes, I know, it must be transcoded to ATRAC, but that's okay). So, I've just installed SonicStage 4.3. However, I still do not want to have to keep copies of the songs I transfer in SonicStage's library on my laptop's hard drive. Is there any way to get SonicStage to behave as a simple facilitator of transfers WITHOUT having it store a copy of the audio file on my laptop's hard drive? Really, what I would love, is something as simple as SimpleBurner that also handles MP3s, wavs, etc. Sounds like the LinuxMinidisc project will eventually do something like this, but if it is ever done it will probably be years from now. Any suggestions for doing what I want to do in SonicStage? Also, is that check-in, check-out nonsense now gone from SonicStage 4.3? I hated it when I couldn't manually delete a song from a Minidisc because it had been transferred under SonicStage and now said "PROTECTED". Thanks.
  10. Ah, thanks Jim. Don't worry, I'm not about to go into competition with you, but I appreciate your openness. Well I opened my MZ-N1 and the ribbon cable did not seem to be broken or even cracked. I then scanned every bit of the ribbon cable with a 10x eye loupe and also didn't see any problem. However, I only took the top (door) shell off and examined what was visible there. I didn't take the bottom shell of the unit off - perhaps I should do that to see if there is a break there. Strangely, the MZ-N1 has not had any further problems writing to or editing test discs. No disk blanking even after much testing. I do recall that when it blanked my disc (for the very first time) last week, it seemed to be struggling to write the TOC (I could hear the head resetting itself over and over again and it took a loooong time before it wrote to the TOC and I ended up with a BLANKDISC). While the MZ-N1 was open, I put some lithium grease (a very light film) on the sled rail and worm screw for the laser/magnetic head. The unit seems to be much quieter now and I haven't heard the heads doing as much searching / resetting / struggling. I wonder if lithium grease was an okay choice.
  11. Just an observation - the MZ-N1 does not behave this way. It writes to TOC after every NetMD track is transferred, even when transferring many tracks at once. I know because I used my NZ-N1 for the very first time last evening to transfer tracks to disk via NetMD (SimpleBurner) and the MZ-N1 was plugged into the wall's power outlet. At the time I thought the TOC writing behaviour was strange, because I hadn't remembered my MZ-N505 (the portable I normally use for NetMD transfers) ever writing to TOC after each track (as you say, the NZ-N505 seems to write to TOC once after all the tracks are finished transferring). Or at least that's what I can tell. The MZ-N505's screen doesn't tell you much during transfer other than "PC-->MD". On the other hand, the MZ-N1's screen is much more helpful. There is a red LED that flashes during data transfers, and the screen actually shows how much of the track has been transferred in minutes and seconds DURING the transfer. It then also shows "TOC EDIT" or "SAVING" or something similar after each track is transferred. It's a nice portable. If it didn't suffer from the weak overwrite head ribbon cable it would be perfect. Perhaps the MZ-N1 is different, though, because it was the very first NetMD portable. Maybe Sony streamlined things afterward.
  12. Jim, thanks for your input on this thread. You seem like one of the most knowledgeable people on the topics of MD repair. The MZ-N1 in question that blanked the disk is now a candidate for dissection, to see if the write head ribbon cable has broken. But it's also had another problem, which I've noticed on a few of my second-hand MD portables - motor shrieking. When the MZ-N1 gets to the outer tracks of the disk, the motor whir is very noisy at times. I've a really badly abused MZ-R700 whose motor noise can get so bad it sounds like an electric grass trimmer. Have you ever diagnosed what causes the motors to do this? Thanks.
  13. Thanks for your comments sfbp and Jim, I am happy (thrilled & relieved and just plain thankful) that I was able to do a TOC cloning on the disc (my first ever TOC cloning), and as a result was able to recover my audio in one large contiguous file. I am dubbing it to my computer as we speak, so that I never am without a backup AGAIN! I used the Kenwood DMC-G7R (clone of the Sharp MS200) and taped over the disc sensor pin (which was very small and way back in the disc slot (I didn't even notice it at first). This allowed me to trick the machine so I could do a disc swap. As you mentioned, Jim, even though the Kenwood is an SP Minidisc player/recorder only, it copied the TOC from the LP4 master TOC disc to the damaged disc just fine. Thank goodness! And, as both of you mentioned, there are spots where the audio is fragmented - although mostly it is fine, as I tended not to erase much. Even if fragmented, I'm happy to have it - I'll even stitch it back together manually in an audio program with a smile on my face. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I'll never record valuable song ideas to a medium that cannot be backed up easily again. In a strange move of serendipity, the day before my MZ-N1 blanked the disk, I was perusing the clearance bin of my local big-box office supply store. They had a couple really nice Sony ICD712SX digital recorders on blowout for $69CAD. I thought them rather above average with their swiveling stereo microphones and PCM recording ability - and the price was very nice! But I didn't buy one at the time because I had my minidisc portables. Well, as you can imagine, this morning I went out and snatched one up right away. It's a very impressive and feature rich recorder. It also sounds very nice. I'm happy. Here is information on the ICD712SX: http://tinyurl.com/mwybeyn I'll continue to use minidisc for fun, portable music listening, and for longer contiguous recordings (i.e. live concert taping that is immediately going to dumped to CD). But the music ideas are going to the new IC recorder where I can easily dump them via USB to backup media. Thanks also for the information about the common failure on the MZ-N1. This sounds like another tinkering exploration to try and repair the ribbon cable break for the write head. I've had almost every portable I own opened up at one time or another, but not this one, so it should be a learning experience and a fun adventure. I got it at a Thrift store with charging base for $6.99CAD so I'm not overly disappointed it failed. It does also have a bit of a noisy motor when playing the outer portions of a disc, so it would be nice if I could see what is causing that. Thanks again everyone - how nice to have a pleasant resolution to this problem. Thankyou!
  14. Hi folks, Long time Minidisc user here, but never had a major problem with them. I am a musician and record song ideas to minidisc as I get the inspiration. I use my minidisc recorder as an "ideas" scrap book to archive potential future songs I wish to develop. I record in LP4 mode, as these are just "notepad" ideas and I want to get a lot of recording time on a disc. Unfortunately, today recording an idea and pressing STOP, the recorder (an MZ-N1) took a LONG time to write to TOC once finished recording.The resulting track was there, but it was silent. Previous tracks would still play, however, and I could jump around on the disc. So I thought everything was okay. I then ejected the disc and tried it in another minidisc machine (known good machine I use regularly). Immediately got the message BLANKDISK. Please NO! This was a disc with about 4 hours of song ideas on it. The disc was almost full of several years of ideas. Now I can get nothing from it. As you can imagine, I am very emotionally upset by the irreplaceable loss this represents. I did immediately write protect the disc after seeing this message and have NOT since tried to record to it. I'm HOPING that somehow the TOC can be cloned and the music data made listenable again - even if it's one long four hour track - I don't care! I have several questions: 1. Can an LP4 disc even be restored with TOC cloning, or does it only apply to regular old SP discs? 2. How can I do this (I have several other models - MZ-R700, MZ-N505 and an old Kenwood DMC-G7R SP only portable which was a clone of a SHARP and can do TOC cloning (but only for SP discs maybe) - all portables). 3. Is there anyone out there who could possible help me salvage this disc, it means so much to me. Thanks for your help.
  15. So which portable units, in your opinion, are the most robust and servicable?
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