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Analog output on NH700

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Hi folks. This is my first post here after having bought myself a brand new MZ-NH700 on Saturday. Thanks for the great forums, I did lots of reading here before buying my new recorder and I've learnt heaps.

Anyway, after doing some testing tonight I'm quite disappointed with the analog output on my NH700. One test I did was to record a track in SP mode and record it played back on both the NH700, and my old Sharp MT-90. I recording onto the computer through the line-in on my Audiophile 2496 sound card. This showed very clearly at the older Sharp unit had a much stronger analog output. The recording from the new Hi-MD was about 10db quieter than that from the old Sharp. This was with both units playing at their max volume.

I repeated the same test with a sweep tone that I generated in Adobe Audition and recorded through the optical input on one of the MD's. This was again recorded back from the analog output of each player. Again, the Sony unit was recorded at a much lower level, but more interestingly the recordings of the two units sounded very different (and I don't just mean in volume!). In Audition's spectral view I could see that the recording from the Hi-MD included extra stray frequency components that weren't in the original sweep. These were not present in the recording from the old Sharp unit which was much closer to the original tone that was recorded.

When I recorded the same test sweep in Hi-MD mode (PCM) and transferred it back to the computer digitally in Sonic Stage the resulting .wav file looked and sounded much better (without the stray frequencies). At least that much was a relief!

I'm disappointed with what I've seen because with all the hassles that go alond with Sony's DRM and Sonic Stage, I was rather counting on the fact that I would always be able to fall back to doing analog transfers of my recordings back my PC etc. Now it seems that these analog transfers will very inferior compared to what I can do with my old (pre Net-MD) Sharp recorder.

Any comments? How do other people find the analog output from their Hi-MD recorders?

BTW, I'm in Australia. I know that European Hi-MD players have lower output from the headphone jack, but that doesn't apply to the models sold in Australia does it?

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I ran some tests on the NH700 analogue output - this post might help: http://forums.minidisc.org/viewtopic.php?t=6560

The reason for the big difference in sound and the "stray frequencies" (harmonics) in your sweep test is that, with the volume maxed out at 30/30 on the HiMD, the headphone amp is clipping. I found that the onset of clipping is around a volume setting of 27/30 (even lower at sub-100Hz frequencies because of a quirk in the amp design). And yes, the output level is pretty puny!

BTW I bought my NH700 in Singapore so I assume I have the same version as you (i.e. non-European model).

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The NH700 isn't meant to have a line out though, unlike the NH900 and NH1 models - maybe they're better. In any case I wouldn't want to entrust the preservation of my recordings to the NH700's headphone out (or the MT90's for that matter).

At least the NH900/NH1 'pseudo' line out might be a fairer comparison to the MT90 at full tilt - which is also supposed to be line out...

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lets just hope that in the future some hack will be found for adding that line-out mode for the NH700. Maybe we can see different results if the output circuit is the same... if not, we're doomed! ahahha...

damn... the circuit should be different: NH900 has a digital amplifier while the NH700 has an analoge one sad.gif

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Any 'hack' would only do for the NH700 what it did for the R700 etc. - the line out wouldn't even be pseudo, just a volume up/equaliser off type of thing.

But anyway, what about using the USB connection as a 'digital' out for recording/playback to computer (on the NH700 etc) - isn't that better than any line out?

OK, obviously you can't use it for SP, but it should bypass the amp and it's anomalies...

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Thanks for the helpful replies people.

I didn't realise that some of the higher models had a separate line-out mode that's missing on the 700. I wish I'd known that earlier, although I probably still would have chosen the 700.

I also discovered after my original post that the MT-90's headphone output is rated to 10mw per channel - twice that of the 700, so it's hardly surprising that I get a stronger analog signal out of it.

It's good to be aware that the 700 clips at maximum output. At least if I do have to record from the analog output I'll know to back the volume off a couple of notches.

Obviously digital transfers are the best way to go with HiMD, but with all the limitations that go with it it'd be really nice to have a good line-out as an alternative!

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