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Newbie needs help with picking a unit off ebay

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I'm totally new to MD recording but have decided that it would be the best way for me to record band rehearsals. Could you suggest units that would be good choices or units to stay away from. I'm looking in the lower end market since I'm on a pretty tight budget.

The only thing that has been mentioned to me so far is make sure it has atrac-3 compression and that it takes regular AA batteries as an option.

Mic suggestions would be cool to. I would like to keep this purchase of the MD in the $30-$50.

Some units that have been suggested to me are:

- Sharp MD-SR60

- MT200W-Sharp

Any help you could give this clueless guitarist would be great.



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I'd go with used HiMD instead of the older MD units. Unless you've absolutely no money. Just make sure it has a line in AND Mic in. In order of increasing cost...








Search for these 2nd hand. You'll find some details here...


Keep an eye on..


Edited by Sparky191
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All HIMD models record sound at the same level of quality. So any recorder from the list posted by Sparky would be a good choice. There are different features for these models though. You might want to check what models have features you might find important. If good sound is all you need then go with the cheapest HIMD model you can find.

Up until a few months ago it was possible to get HIMD units on eBay for very good prices. The prices have gone up lately though. I see NH700's selling for around $165 now. That's double what they were last fall. But those are new units. You may find a used one considerably cheaper. Keep an eye on what gets posted in the classifieds on this board and other MD boards too. There's the Audio-T board and Minidiscussion. The TapersSection is another board where you might find used stuff for sale.

Buying used is always a risk of course. I bought my HIMD used and I had a problem with it at first. Turned out to be a bad disc but I thought I was going to be out the money I spent for a while.

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You are unlikely to find any Hi-MD under $50. The advantage of Hi-MD is that it can record in PCM, the same quality as a CD, and those recordings can be uploaded to a PC (and, for some more expensive models, to a Mac). So I would recommend saving up for a while and getting the NH700, which takes an AA.

Anything that is not a Hi-MD records compressed sound and will not upload. That doesn't mean you can't get good recordings--you can, as good as higher-quality mp3. But to get them to a computer, you'll have to record them from the headphone jack in realtime into your computer.

If you are desperate for a recorder right now and only have $50 to spend, look for the most recent model you can find. There is information on all models at http://www.minidisc.org under the Browser tab. Be sure to look under Connectors. Note that some lower-end models, like those with a 4 or a 5 as the first digit in the model number (MZ-N505 for instance) do not have microphone jacks, only line-in (which needs an amplified source, like a mixer output) or USB (MZ-N420, which will not record live). MZ-N707 and MZ-R700 have mic jacks and take an AA battery; many others have outboard AA battery connections.

All models that are not Hi-MD are old. They will be used or, if you're lucky, set aside on a shelf for some years. Use common sense about sellers, and check any pictures to see if paint around the buttons and controls is worn away--a sign that the unit may be on its last legs.

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Sorry I didn't see the price limit you set on the MD. If you want a good recording system for not a lot of money you might check out a IFP-XXX recorder from iRiver. They have mic pre-amps which aren't great but are ok and they record to mp3 but at very high levels. Plus you can get an IFP-890 for under $20. It's only a 256 meg recorder but you can record 90 minutes at 320kbps stereo with them. They have manual recording level control and a lot of other features. For a budget recorder they are pretty good. Plus you can upload to a computer through a USB cable. And the settings don't change every time you stop recording.

They won't sound as good as a MD recorder initially because of the quality of the mic pre-amps. But when you upload a MD to a computer you're creating a second generation recording and that drops the level some. So if you want to edit on a computer you will end up with sound that is pretty close with either a MD or these iRiver recorders.

I have a couple of MD models one of which has a mic input and I still bought 2 of the IFP-890's. They are pretty good to stick in someone's pocket with a lav mic attached to them. You can almost treat them as a throaway recorder in case you want to put them in a rough situation. MD probably does sound better even after you upload through your sound card but they aren't as convienient as these mp3 recorders. And you can get models with more memory if you want. I figured I had a use for both types of recorders. But for anything I really want to be quality I use my HIMD of course.

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