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Why do you choose MD?

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Reasearching things, I fell upon these bulletin points on another site:

* Hi-MD units are mechanical devices, and as such, emit a noise intermittently as the disc spins up to read from or write to the disc. During recording operations, if a microphone is directly connected to the unit (ie. without a wire attachment), or simply in close enough proximity with a relatively quiet background, this intermittent motor noise can be audibly present in the recording if some basic precautions aren't taken. This contrasts with flash-based recorders with no moving parts for recording, who are able to record in silence with no self-noise (unfortunately, too many flash recorders in Hi-MD's price range are simply poor recorders).

* relatively poor storage capacity (1GB per disc) compared to recent hard-drive and flash-based digital audio players

* the slow transfer rate of MiniDiscs/ Hi-MDs when transferring audio (and data) to and from the computer. Flash memory-based and hard drive-based devices offer far faster speeds

* the relatively large size of Hi-MD units when compared to far smaller (predominantly flash-based) units

Also, this was in another post on the board:

* Of course, why use a mechanical format when flash memory is so much more reliable and cheaper, etc. But the end-user experience is what counts to me.

So taking into account that I'm a total noob--what are the pros that led you to choose HI-MD over flash/hard-drive recorders and also the cons of the flash/hard-drive that made you choose HI-MD?

Thanks in advance.

- Andre

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This may be the last year this can be said, but for the moment the combination of recording quality, features, small size and price still favor Hi-MD.

Flash recorders are catching up fast, but no one has done it entirely right yet.

The MZ-NH700, under $200 on Ebay, is still THE bargain high-fidelity recorder. You can get two of them for the price of a serious flash recorder.

I want something I can slip into a pocket, attach small mics to and unobtrusively record concerts. Hi-MD is still the best device for that.

Hi-MD is palm-sized, has a mic jack (with preamp) and has superb recording quality. It also has easy, gapless track marking--they can be inserted during recording or later, during playback, so recordings can be edited on the unit. Track marking is extremely useful.

Spin-up noise is only a factor when people are deluded enough to think they can sit a mic right on the unit, or when you're trying to record something extraordinarily quiet (at which point preamp noise is also a problem).

I can live with USB 1.1 transfer speeds--it's just not that big a deal.

Hard drive recorders missed their chance. The Iriver H120 and H140 (20G or 40G hard-drive recorders) had a firmware glitch when it was introduced that dropped samples or added noise, making serious recording impossible--until Rockbox finally fixed it a year or so later. Those are line-in recorders--their preamps get very noisy when they try to handle mic input. Hard drives have serious spin-up noise, too, which is beautifully reproduced by their built-in mics. And they have their own mechanical parts that can be broken. Drop your 20G recorder the wrong way, and you've lost 20G of material. Also, I have compared my H120 and Hi-MD side by side, and the Hi-MD recordings just sound better.

Until very recently, little thumb-sized flash units recorded only in compressed formats. If all you're recording is speech, that's good enough--Hi-MD probably provides more fidelity than you need. But music demands more.

Flash recorders also have a fixed capacity--what do you do when your 2G is full and you don't have your computer to dump it into? With Hi-MD, you can just switch discs.

Sony has just introduced a little flash recorder that does record in PCM, but it needs an external recording connector, and is line-in only (no preamp for mic recordings). If they get a clue, they could probably make the ideal small flash recorder.

Now, units like the Edirol R09 or the Zoom H4 do have specs that exceed Hi-MD. But both have built-in mics that add bulk--not to mention that if you're caught taking one into a concert you can't just say, "That's my mp3 player." As far as I know they don't do track marking. Still, with a little evolution--remove the mics, add editing features--units like that will eventually outstrip Hi-MD.

While it's not a relevant consideration for a new user, MD was around long before flash and hard-drive recorders, so many people continue to use them out of habit.

But when the ideal flash recorder arrives, I'll make the switch.

*(unfortunately, too many flash recorders in Hi-MD's price range are simply poor recorders).

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I use MD because I trust it, and we have been using it for years... I have the first recorder made (MZ-1) and it still works great, almost 15 years later. (Hi)MD has cheap, removable media as well, great for archiving your recordings, much more durable than CDR.

Prices are dropping for flash, yes. But get back to me in 15 years with a flash based reorder that still works great and I'll try it out.

As far as Hi-MD... Who can say Domain Wall Displacement Detection isn't just amazing in concept and usage. B)

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I will admit, when I bought my N510, I was actually first attracted to the format by the coolness factor of the media. I liked the idea of removable candy-coloured discs--for me, it seemed like the indie choice for music recorders. I also came across this graphic when the iPod's major competitor was still the CD walkman, but the argument applies here:


MD recorders have removable media, and that therefore makes their capacity so much more versatile than flash recorders. You can replace broken or damaged discs without losing an entire library of music, and never have to rely on a computer to dump your recordings.

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Up until the past year or so MD was really on a plane that no other portable recorder could match. There were more expensive flash based recorders that were beginning to make a splash but they were designed for music recording and little else. Now the flash based market (and even the hard drive based market) are making strides to catch up with MD. In some ways they have exceeded what MD can do in fact. 24 bit audio comes to mind as one thing that the current flash based recorders can do that te HIMD devices can't.

The future sure looks like it will be in flash drives. With a removable card slot and possibly multiple card slots the storage will eclipse what MD can do easily. It just isn't that easy to swap discs in the middle of recording a concert in stealth mode. The latest HIMD models took some of the grief out of swapping discs by allowing recording level to be retained after a swap. Having to reset the audio level is a big pain on all other HIMD units IMO. But it can be dealt with.

I'm still VERY happy with my MD equipment. It really does do an excellent job of recording quality audio. I don't do a lot of stealth recording so swapping discs in that situation isn't that big of a problem for me. HIMD is nearing the end of it's life IMO so that has driven prices down on first generation HIMD units for now. I prefer those units for various reasons and since I'm a budget conscious consumer I didn't hesitate to buy a first gen. HIMD when I needed a better quality recorder for my business. I was using regular MD which is great but having to upload through a sound card was driving my quality level down too much for my needs. I didn't mind the slight loss of quality for recordings that were for my personal use but I have a video business now and I needed top quality, uncompressed audio. Considering the prices of the various units the choice was very clear for e. I bought a used MZ-NHF800 and a bunch of discs for about a third of what I could have bought a new quality flash recorder. The possible slight increase in sound quality just wasn't worth it to me.

Prices of new first gen. HIMD have been going up and so have used prices. But I believe the best bargain by far is HIMD. It's a great and reliable format that has a long track record of excellent service. I know I've used my MD recorders for several years and I've always been happy with them. Maybe it's because I came from an age where mobile audio recording was accomplished only with a mono cassette recorder that was designed strictly for voice recording. Believe me MD is light years ahead of the state of the technology I grew up with. The slight improvement of the flash recorders is just a drop in the bucket compared to the leaps and bounds I've seen over the years.

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I'd like to address the cost, durability and reliability issues, of flash memory. Flash is no where cheaper than minidisc, before Christmas I seen a 1gig SD card on special for $15, they normally run around $25 on special most of the time, a 1gig minidisc $6 on average, enough said.

I will give them about the same grade in the durability department, they're both pretty tough suckers.

Now let's address reliability, it's pretty much accept fact that flash memory is limited to rewrites in the thousands, some, in the know, say even less. Minidisc rewrites are in the millons. I've also have heard far to many horror stories of lost data from flash memory, far more than minidisc. :tease: Later, POE.

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So taking into account that I'm a total noob--what are the pros that led you to choose HI-MD over flash/hard-drive recorders and also the cons of the flash/hard-drive that made you choose HI-MD?

You should ask yourself:

"What's important to me?"

If lots and lots of music is important to carry around with you, there are devices with more capacity (and less, too).

If tiny size is important to you, there are smaller devices. There are also bigger ones, too.

If glitzy displays and videos are important to you, there are larger and more colourful displays for night-time use.

If recording from radio on the unit itself is important to you, forget it on Hi-MD.

If transferring audio to and from computers with no software is important to you, forget it (you'll need to use SonicStage) - if you want to transfer faster-than-realtime, that is. Otherwise you have more options than any other recorder, IMO.

If an alarm clock and timer and games are important to you...look elsewhere.

If recording live audio from a MIC is important to you, there are no devices that reach the level of quality Hi-MD does (for the price).

If sound quality is important to you, Hi-MD Walkmans might be a good choice (just remember to not use the included earbuds...)

If optical, mic and line inputs are important to you, have fun finding them in a similarly-priced device, let alone one this small, or implemented this well (note, only a few units don't have all three inputs).

If you trust hard drives (and flash-based units) about as much as you can throw them, perhaps Hi-MD will be good for you.

If you think that embedded, non-removable batteries make no sense at all and just limit practicality, Hi-MD is a good choice (especially the older AA-powered models, IMO)

If you think that embedded flash is nonsensical and limiting, then Hi-MD might be good for you.

If you like gapless playback and think that any device without it really isn't...then Hi-MD might be good for you.

If you want to change speed of playback without changing pitch, then some Hi-MD models might be good for you.

If you can't find any units that do what Hi-MD does well ....then you'd be right.

It's 2007 and no company has still made a recorder that matches Hi-MD's capabilities, size, battery life for the price. So I find it quite amusing when people think the current recorder is their "last recorder".

Outside of quality sound and recording (and editing) prowess, you can be tempted by any number of other devices. It all depends on what's most important to you.

Edited by tekdroid
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Off topic but I wonder if Borat registered first or the movie came out first. Makes you think about it, hmm...

Anyways, why MD? Everything, from the awesome SQ to editing and playback options. I just can't stand the sound of anything else, I just can't see how most big companies can have the heart to market that crap (crap as in mp3 players). Making people spend their hard earned money on what is mediocre at best. I have owned several mp3 players and listened to various iPods and just can't stand the sound, it is so flat and dull, there is no life to it. So I finally had enough with bad SQ and reminded myself of my first MD the N510, and how impressed I was with it. Then I finally bought the RH1 after being disappointed with the RH10 (for the NH1 it was too hard for me to get, wasn't really available, and I knew that it was missing something). So to this day I still love my RH1, and will never bow down to iPods.

P.S. I always had a thing for MDs even before I considered a mp3 or MD player I knew that MD had a place in my heart. Also don't they look so cool?

Edited by Sparda
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  • 4 weeks later...

i use md because i started listening to my music(trance) with it and i can really feel the music.minidisc design is much better than any mp3 and for sony it MADE IN JAPAN and you could get quality from this.md has better sound quality than mp3 but its abit lower than cd but the difference is quite inaudible.

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I chosed Minidisc because I have already invested on this format since 1992 so it is difficult to let go of something I am already familiar with and accustom to. I like the uniqueness of the disc itself, still to this day I think it has that futuristic appeal.

Edited by mdmania
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minidisc design is much better than any mp3 and for sony it MADE IN JAPAN and you could get quality from this.


nearly all Hi-MD models are Made In Malaysia. Several models have button weaknesses and other issues that reveal themselves with some use (that have been discussed on this forum).

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Why I chose the RH-1:-

1) good quality mp3 playback AND wav recording in an affordable small unit.

2) backwards compatability with my old MDs, including upload facility.

3) the discs are robust and good for archive purposes etc.

4) style: a combination of cool and ever-so-slight nerdishness

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Because I-pods suck.

No, really. My MD's have suffered all kinds of torture and still go on trucking. My brother's ipod died on the (original) charger. Left it overnight working just fine, and in the morning it was bricked. Go figure.

Warning: Strong language.


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Firstly I'm not one of these people that think Ipods are crap. I have one myself, and I like being able to carry around all my music. BUT, I do have issues with the sound. The new Ipods sound better than earlier ones, but not as good as my RH1, (well at least to these ears) Why MD? The Sound quality, and the recording capacity, and the remote. Long live MD :pleasantry:

Edited by GQ Smooth
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