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About spiff

  • Birthday 09/21/1962

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  1. No need to apologize and welcome to the brethren brother! The few and the proud...indeed. I myself am a faily recent minidisc adopter and plan to stay that way for life. Fortunately MD goodies are still faily common in my country and I am stocking up for a lifetime. I recently bought a brand new and boxed Sharp MD_SD8 player for pocket change. IMHO it´s one of the smallest, slickest and best sounding MD players around. Aren´t you glad you are not one of tens of thousands users of the 30Gig Micro$oft Zune whose little toys went "lemming" worlwide? link: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/1...54&from=rss
  2. Makji: I am a beginner here, but I hope my experience can be somewhat helpful. Last week the S.M.A.R.T. monitoring tool started giving me warnings, so I decided to replace my main hard drive (that contains my entire Sonicstage file collection). Since I have everything backed-up in different formats, I decided to be bold. I got a copy of Acronis True Image (version 11) and cloned the entire partition to a new, bigger HD. To my delight everything went smoothly and I can access my entire music collection form Sonicstage w/o problems. Since you still have the old drive, you might try it yourself. The catch is that Windows will not tolerate a brain transplant (new motherboard and CPU), so after the drive cloning, you will have to reinstall windows on top of the previous installation. I don´t actually know if SS will tolerate this process, but you might consider giving it a try. Good luck!
  3. Oops! Good point GFX! I forgot to mention that I double-bag the batteries in Zip-Lock baggies (heat sealed pouches would be even better) and I always let them warm up to room temp before taking them out. I always store them under the egg tray. See if you can remove it in your particular refrigerator model. That keeps them out of sight and dampens temperature oscillations. A "do not throw away" note is also a good idea!
  4. Sadly, the answer is probably "yes". Your MZ-RH1 battery might be at the end of it´s useful lifespan, especially if it´s already over two years from the manufacture date (NOT the date when you bought it!). Here are a few hard facts about Li-ion batts: 1.- They are only good for 2-3 years after they were made (which means you can buy "new" batteries that are almost useless). 2.- They only last about 500 full recharge cycles or 2000 partial ones, whichever comes first. That´s why it´s not a good idea to deeply discharge them for no good reason. Li-ion has no memory effect! 3.- Li-ion batts HATE to go totally flat (although the built-in firmware should prevent it). 4.- It´s quite common for the battery gauge to become "elastic" (for lack of a better term in my limited english) when the battery is worn out. It will show full capacity very quickly when recharging and then go flat just as quickly under load. 5.- If you have several spare batteries, store them in your fridge (not in the freezer!) at about 50% charge and set up a rotation schedule. That should spread the wear between all of them and limit the shelf storage decay to less than 5% per year. I have three spares for my RH1 and they are still going strong after three years! This link might be interesting and useful: "Hatin´ on lithium-ion": http://www.dansdata.com/gz042.htm Good luck!
  5. Try www.minidiscaccess.com Good Luck!
  6. I fully realize not everybody is a big fan of Electric Light Orchestra (E.L.O.), but I´m having an interesting problem with their song “Sweet talkin´woman”. The file in question is a 256 kbps mp3 archive that plays fine through Winamp, SonicStage or any mp3 player you might care to mention. Additionally the file transfers and plays perfectly well on any of my Sony NetMD and HiMD minidisc units (including a Sony PSP!) at the various compression and ATRAC settings I have tried so far. Trouble happens when I record and play that file on my Sharp IM-DR80 NetMD unit. The transfer goes without a hitch, but when I play the file I get weird distortions and silences, always reproducible in timing and duration. The weirdness is very severe with LP4 compression and markedly less so with the LP2 setting. It is not a disk problem, since it always happens regardless of the multiple disks I have tried. I doubt it is a hardware fault of my Sharp unit, as the aberrations only occur with this particular file, despite my eclectic musical mixes, and is independent of the location of the track in the disk (beginning, middle or end makes no difference). Since this is my only Sharp unit, I cannot positively rule out a hardware failure and I am limited in the type of tests I can perform. However, I strongly suspect this particular file is causing a severe case of indigestion with Sharp´s implementation of the ATRAC codecs. If anybody has any insights, ideas or additional tests they might like to share, I would be very grateful.
  7. Hello everybody! I was offered a used (almost new!) MZ-RH910 at a very good price. The catch is that I remember some posts and anecdotal evidence stating that the overall quality of this particular model is uneven and prone to failures. Could anybody please enlighten me? Repair stats? Personal experience? I already own an RH1 (saving it for uploads and special show-off occasions!) and a RH700 (ugly and bulky, but a recording workhorse), but I would also like a cheap and dependable day to day Hi-MD listening unit. Your help/opinions is greatly appreciated.
  8. spiff

    Fickle Discs

    My dear friend: This is hardly the place to start a scientific discussion. As a matter of fact I own several telescopes and I have lived in a few places above 3500 meters ASL in both the northern and southern hemispheres, both in cold and warm climates. Condensation will always occur on a surface that is colder than ambient temperature and not the other way around. If you are taking your MD from your pocket or any other place warmer than ambient temperature, as I stated in my earlier post, condensation will simply not occur. If on the contrary "If he has his Md in his backpack overnight , When he takes it out in early moring sun , .....it will condense" you are right, you just didn´t clarify it in your first post. As for minerals "dissolved" in air, you said it yourself. They are particulates, not a solution, and they will precipitate given a little time. This is a problem in urban polluted centers, like downwind from a smelter, or from Rocky Flats after an "atmospheric leak". It is extremely unlikely in the environment described. As for "Thermalconductive materials" (as in a chunk of copper....) cooling faster than other materials (such as plastic), you are quite right. But they will still only cool down to ambient temp and not below it, unless you want to mess with the laws of thermodynamics. The exception being if it´s part of a heat pump, such as a Peltier unit. This is simply not the case in a MD unit (as far as I know). Finally, there is no Hippocratic oath for scientists. I see no particular benefit for myself in trying to impress you, since I don´t know any of you or vice-versa. I do not brag about the optical, audio or other toys I own, nor do I show-off my accumen by throwing around jewels like "Adiabatic lapse rate temp decreases at an exponential rate above thermal climactic change points" to impress the crowd. I simply try to convey simple ideas with a simple as possible language, just as I do in the classroom. I´m just doing my best to help somebody with a problem, by trying to clarify imprecise and vague statements. I apologize if I ruffled your feathers, but I believe you failed to convey your ideas in a clear and helpful manner. Take care.
  9. spiff

    Fickle Discs

    Hi there! I´m no minidisc expert, but as a scientist and fellow researcher, I would like to dispell a fair bit of vodoo nonsense from the replies you got so far. 1. Minerals do not dissolve in air. Period. 2. Some volatile chemicals do dissolve in air. However, if our minidisc units work fine in polluted cities all over the world, the clean air high in the Himalayas is unlikely to affect your recordings. 3. Dust might be a problem, if you record in windy and dusty places. Any plastic bac will cure your problems if this is indeed the cause. 4. It´s impossible for condensation to be the culprit. First, cold air at high altitudes is VERY dry and second, condensation only occurs when the object is COLDER than the surrounding air, therefore providing a cold spot for the humidity to condense, giving up heat and warming the object in the process. In your case, your MD unit is likely to be warmer than the ambient air (it comes from your pocket, backpack, etc.). 5. Low temp is likely the cause of your problems, but I think is the battery that´s causing you trouble. Alkaline battery chemistry is very sensitive to near freezing temperatures . Just switch to rechargeable NiMH, or even better, to disposable lithium AA batteries. They are expensive, but are cold insensitive and have a 10 year shelf life. You might consider doing some testing in a cold place (your refrigerator for instance) and see if the problem occurs after a while, to give the battery some time to cool down. Just remenber that condensation will happen on the MD AFTER you take it out of the fridge. Leave it open for several hours on a well ventilated place before using it again. 6. Static electricity might also be a problem. If you operate your unit in cold dry air, especially with synthetic clothes and gloves, you might be inadvertently zapping your unit and causing it to misbehave. Hope this helps and good luck with your recordings!
  10. Dear Lynel and Innlaeufer: Thank you for your kind words and congratulations on your geographical knowledge in finding this little spot in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately you won nothing except the well-deserved satisfaction of knowing your stuff! Amazingly, minidisc equipment is still plentiful and widely available in Chile, including MD blanks. This may be unbelivable, but there is a "special" chilean MZ-RH1 model. I don´t know what´s special about it, but at least that´s what my RH1 manual says. I suspect the lithium-ion battery might come from a different supplier (based from the markings) and the cable ferrite toruses might also be slightly bigger. Unfortunately, the MD also seems on the way out as a mass consumer item in Chile, as most electronic stores are liquidating them. You can still get them from the local Sony Store though. Also I´m am sorry to say that I traded the chilean summer for the canadian winter during the month of January because of a business trip! Have a happy and successful 2007!
  11. You are quite right! I gladly take it back... Thank you for the correction.
  12. Dear friends: Thank you all for your kind and generous comments. First, I would like to apologize for the “spanglish” in my first post. Despite my best efforts, a fair bit managed to get through. I¨ll try to be more careful next time. Perhaps I went a bit overboard with the mechanical elegance concept, but it never ceases to amaze me how we take for granted today what was a marvel of technology a few years ago. Perhaps a simple example might illustrate the point better than a long winded rant. By most everyday standards, 99.9% precision and accuracy (two different concepts!) are considered excellent. If you have the time and interest, simply check the squareness of the beams in your house, how level your floor is, the alignment and fit of the different panels in you car, the stability of the voltage and frequency in your household current, etc. To your surprise, you will find out that many of these are not even close to within 95% spec. and yet we don´t even notice or care. A simple watch, however, is an entirely different matter. A 99.9% accurate watch will loose or gain approximately a minute and a half in a day (86 seconds) or about three quarters of an hour in a month. In this digital-quartz age most of us would consider such a watch a total piece of garbage. Yet such watches were considered OK for a cheapo timepiece made in Japan in the early sixties. (Yep! Back in the late fifties and early sixties made-in-Japan wasn´t a symbol of quality. The Japanese sold watches by the kilogram and went a far as naming one of their islands “USA”, so the could legally sell their products as “made in USA”. Today, of course, is a different story. The Koreans went through the same garbage to quality process, and we are still waiting on the Chinese). The minidisc on the other hand, has to accurately read pits of 0.4 microns in a 6 cm disc (as a very ROUGH estimate of precision, please don´t flame for this!) this is better than 1 part in 150,000, or 99.9993% precision. This is an outstanding value for a mass-produced device where mechanical components are involved! An equivalently accurate (all mechanical, no quartz) watch would have to loose no more than 15 sec per month. You can buy them from Switzerland, but they will cost slightly more than the US$ 380 you paid for the RH1!
  13. Your battery might still be bad! Try checking the current capacity it can deliver (you will need a voltmeter with a current setting (milliamps). A dead battery might still give the proper voltage with no load, but fail to deliver any current. When using the AA module, be sure to remove the gumstick. High internal resistance in a bad battery might fool the electronics.
  14. I may be a newbie in this forum, but I´m a 45 year old geezer living in Valdivia, Chile (I dare you to find it in a map...). I realize that my slow decline towards inevitable senility and my relative geographical isolation might color my judgment, but I would like to share my crusty point of view on what makes the Sony MZ-RH1 the best piece of portable audio yet. Things were easy when I was in high school. Your choices in portable audio were simple then, you had none. Only during my first year of college I was able to buy a small and simple FM receiver with stereo headphones. Man, it was cool! However, you were always at the mercy of the dubious musical taste of the local DJ. I thought I died and went to heaven when I purchased my first Walkman tape player. It was as big as a brick (with a weight to match) and sucked really hard on four AA batteries. It had a hissy sound and only a few hours worth of electrical juice. Things slowly improved through the years with smaller and lighter machines, better endurance, auto-reverse and various Dolby filters. However the tape limitations put a hard ceiling on audio quality and linear track search was a real pain in the behind. Years later, the availability of portable CD players largely overcame these shortcomings, but the size/features cycle began all over again. My first portable CD player (a Magnavox unit) was as big as a brick and sucked really hard on blah, blah, blah. On top of that, it had no shock protection, no oversampling or digital filtering. It skipped really bad when you walked and couldn’t even read some commercial CD´s. It thought it was a real step backwards, despite better sound and random search ability. Even worse, since recordable CD´s were a laboratory curiosity then, carrying a day´s supply of the music you wanted to listen, implied carrying a lot of commercial CD´s (half of the tracks on average are just filler junk) and a lot of disk swapping. Finally, when recordable digital units became available, my problems were finally solved, or so I thought. But the choices... I quickly discarded recordable CDs because of low capacity and large size. So, minidisc or solid-state memory player? I agonized for weeks between an early Sony R-series unit (I forgot which one) or the Diamond Rio mp3 player. In the end, I decided real-time transfer of my entire CD collection was too painful to contemplate and settled instead for a Creative Labs Nomad I unit. With a slot for a Smartmedia card, it also theoretically allowed for “unlimited storage”, but the price of removable memory at the time made it a crazy proposition. After many memory players, including the infamous iPod Nano, I rediscovered the minidisc at my local electronics store three months ago. It was a NH700 unit on sale for less than US$ 60 in local banana currency. To my delight I found that the HiMD format addressed all my previous objections. The sound quality! Unlimited storage! All the lost years! Now, three months later, I own several MD recorders, including an MZ-RH1 and I began to ask myself what makes it so desirable. Granted, it is not perfect (it badly needs an optional AA battery module IMHO) and while SoundStage is in no imminent danger of being elected Software of the Year, it is a perfectly serviceable program. Before any of you shows up at my front door with a sawed-off shotgun, I dare you to first try the Nomad Music Manager over a parallel port connection… Yeah, it hurt that bad! I also dare you to do a proper double-blind test and try to pick-up the RH1 from the rest of the HiMD units. I think without an oscilloscope, bat hearing or spider-sense, mere mortals cannot readily identify it, despite of all the loud (and subjective) claims over improved sound quality over previous HiMD recorders. So why is it so appealing? Because we are all attracted towards quality, especially mechanical quality. Take a careful look at the RH1 and you will realize what a diminutive and complex marvel it is. Compared with an all-electronic player, even an expensive one, the RH1 shines as a mechanical engineering show-off piece. People have always put a premium over mechanical complexity and precision, as it is far more difficult and complex to achieve than pure electronic accuracy. That’s why people are willing to pay a relative fortune for a Swiss mechanical watch, instead of a Casio full of bells and whistles, despite the latter being inherently more accurate. Anyways, I apologize for the long rant and thank those of you with the patience to read it. Maybe the younger readers of this forum will find this concept a challenging one to expand upon.
  15. Hello Gents: I realize I´m a rank beginner in this site, and new to minidiscs in general. I got my fist unit two month´s ago (a MZ-NH700 that was on sale for less than US$ 50 in local currency!) and I got hooked. I just purchased my shiny new RH1 a week ago. This site was a wonderful place to get started in the format! Anyways, in the past I had lots of similar problems with digital music units (CD, MP3, etc) due to static electricity build-up. Just check if the problem occurs more frequently under dry weather conditions, or when you wear certain clothing with a high percentage of synthetic fibers. If this is the case, then a simple change of clothing or a pouch for your unit might solve your problem. Also check your headphones, sometimes the plastic cord material is more susceptible to transfer static electricity to the player than others.
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