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What's the Difference Between "Type R" and "Type S"

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I'm looking to pick up a NetMD recorder/player on eBay. I see some with a reference to Type R and some with a reference to Type S. What do these "Types" refer to? What's the difference? Is one preferable over the other? Thanks.

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These were improvements in ATRAC encoding. Type R was a 2 pass system that was incorporated into portables when processing power became powerful enough to do the extra processing. Type S improved the ATRAC3 performance in a similiar fashion. Both of these changes were to the encoder and required no changes to the playback processing

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I'm looking to pick up a NetMD recorder/player on eBay. I see some with a reference to Type R and some with a reference to Type S. What do these "Types" refer to? What's the difference? Is one preferable over the other? Thanks.

Type-S would be the latest and the greatest (and last) refinement of the DSP chip, so it would be worth picking up. Type-R, however, is not really bad. I can detect a slight difference in quality, but not noticeable.

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These were improvements in ATRAC encoding. Type R was a 2 pass system that was incorporated into portables when processing power became powerful enough to do the extra processing. Type S improved the ATRAC3 performance in a similiar fashion. Both of these changes were to the encoder and required no changes to the playback processing

Not meaning to disgree with you here, but isn't type R an encoding method whereas type S is a decoding method? Any unit labeled with type S also included type R.

I always thought type S worked on all MDLP playback, even if recorded on older MDLP units. In other words, LP2 recordings made on my Sharp DR7 benefitted from this feature when played back on my EH930. Type R SP recordings had to be performed on a unit to use that feature.

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almost right. type s does include type r but just to clarify. type r is used during sp recording only and is on the encoder side. you can get benifit from this played back on ant unit. type s is for lp2 and lp4 playback only. it is done on the decoder side and only affects the disk on the specific unit that has the type s label on it. if you put a lp2 or 4 disk in a non type s unit you get no benifit at all. the enhancments for type r sp recording are very good. type s is very good for lp4 recordings= less distortion.

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almost right. type s does include type r but just to clarify. type r is used during sp recording only and is on the encoder side. you can get benifit from this played back on ant unit. type s is for lp2 and lp4 playback only. it is done on the decoder side and only affects the disk on the specific unit that has the type s label on it. if you put a lp2 or 4 disk in a non type s unit you get no benifit at all. the enhancments for type r sp recording are very good. type s is very good for lp4 recordings= less distortion.

What I meant was any recording unit labeled with Type S does include Type R recording for SP. That is kind of covered in item # 10 here.

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Very interesting. I just fired up my first unit with type S and it seems to confirm this. Up until now I was underwhelmed by the LP2 format (132K Atrac3) especially on the RH1.

But stuff that sounds not-great in that format on the RH1 sounds amazingly good on the type S portable. I don't have a type S deck, though it seems only the last few decks manufactured actually had this feature. A (?partial) list: JB980, JE480, JE780, S500, SE9, DAV1.

Another question might be, if we have tracks recorded in LP2, is there a way to recover the marvellous sound (put another way, is LP2 a decent archival format)? My guess (and I am sure someone here can speak to this) is that you need one of the decks in the above list, with optical out (ie not the 480) in order to extract the goodies properly. But maybe uploading from the RH1 will actually do as well. I am suspicious on this point, especially given that the RH1 doesn't seem to play it back all that well.

It's possible my testing wasn't very systematic. But it kindof hit me over the head when pointed out in this thread that type S is a playback only technology.

Ah, the quest for Nirvana!

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Actually, according to the manual the RH1 does have Type-S support, so in theory LP2 (and LP4) should sound as good on that as any other Type-S portable. The amp might be more tuned to Hi-MD formats though, possibly.

I looked quite carefully for that before posting. Perhaps you could check again and tell me what page of the manual. I agree, if it says type S that would not explain the difference.

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I looked quite carefully for that before posting. Perhaps you could check again and tell me what page of the manual. I agree, if it says type S that would not explain the difference.

It's on page 83, second paragraph from the bottom. That is, from the online manual here. Presumably it's the same on the printed version, but I haven't checked. It's certainly well hidden away! I've kind of assumed that all Sony MD and Hi-MD units since Type-S was introduced have the Type-S chip as standard, though this may be wrong of course.

By the way, to answer your previous question I wouldn't use LP2 for archiving music (voice should be fine though), due to the low bitrate. Obviously Type-S uses some processing to enhance the perceived quality and it generally sounds fine, but most of the original audio data is gone forever. This is particularly noticeable if transcoding to another format like MP3 where the results aren't too pretty. With disk space so cheap these days I'd archive to wav or other lossless format like FLAC, or possibly higher bitrate ATRAC (I use 352k for Sonicstage backups), and use LP2 for your portables. A deck with optical out recording to lossless would preserve the reduced data-LP2, but that's about it.

Edited by Barock
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It's on page 83, second paragraph from the bottom. That is, from the online manual here. Presumably it's the same on the printed version, but I haven't checked. It's certainly well hidden away! I've kind of assumed that all Sony MD and Hi-MD units since Type-S was introduced have the Type-S chip as standard, though this may be wrong of course.

Great find, Barock. I just checked the printed manual for my MZ-RH10 and the same paragraph is there on page 87.

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Great find, Barock. I just checked the printed manual for my MZ-RH10 and the same paragraph is there on page 87.

Agreed.

However (just to be a curmudgeon) I notice there is quite a habit by Sony of cut-and-paste. Eg a manual with no microphone input may have a whole section devoted to recording with a mike.

The difference I observed was quite startling - and I went back and checked a couple of times.

One reason I was intrigued is that if d/l to SP on the RH1 is producing "fake SP" (ie LP2) then somehow there had to be a compensating technology to enable them to pull this sleight-of-hand. That would argue in favour of RH1 supporting type S.

Very odd.

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  • 4 weeks later...

If I'm not mistaken, every unit that Sony released since the MZ-N10 (not counting the E10) has had the Atrac type S feature. That includes all of the Hi-MD models...

Well, I am now the possessor of the best sounding (and incidentally, looking) portable MD unit so far. I'm not the one to boast or I might have taken some pictures in that other thread, not my style.

It's an NF810. The NF610 is a close second, but the problem with that beast is that it was badly bashed up when I got it; the mechanism makes a lot of noise, and the radio doesn't work (I eventually determined that the problem was not in the radio/remote but in the main unit. One of the screws on the main unit was rusted!!!! - so that was as far as I got). So I figure it will die pretty soon.

The NF810 however is absolutely perfect. It also plays LP2 amazingly well. The RH1 doesn't come close. I tried it using several MDs, and the same head phones and remote on all three units.

What do the NF610 and NF810 have in common? They have Type-S. Although the HiMD units say they have type S, my opinion is that it is somehow "included" in the HiMD base feature set, as you imply. I further believe that the "real" type-S machines sound better.

To be fair, LP2 isn't the state of the art, and we know that the diagnosis of the waveform shows the cutoff. But with all the concerns about HiMD not being so well supported (or sold), I'm very happy with MDLP. Worst case (I lose the SS database completely) I can play LP2 disks back from my JE640 deck to recreate the digital - granted it won't be great but at least I will have the waves in digital form. Mostly I have made CDs for archival purposes already where I didn't have the CD to start with, so SS is irrelevant.

For now though, the sheer pleasure of having 2 hours 40 mins of high quality listening on 1 disk, which is enough for any 2CD album, is enough to make me forget all the rest.

BTW I listen to almost 100% classical. When I playback these disks on the JE640 through my stereo, it does not sound as good as a CD of the same music that I have made or bought. Maybe that's because the 640, unlike the classier 980, doesn't have Type S.

But for headphone listening, the NF810 (which is an N710 they tell me) rules!

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it has been proven that lp2 type s is no where close in sound quality as sp is to the master. do not archive at lp2 you will have to do it all over again later.

It's also been proven if you can't hear the difference, it don't matter. Numbers don't matter, what you hear, and what you like is what matters.

Bob

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it has been proven that lp2 type s is no where close in sound quality as sp is to the master. do not archive at lp2 you will have to do it all over again later.

I agree totally. What is archivable is not necessarily what immediately sounds "the best".

SP is essentially broadcast quality, agree 100%. But so far, for listening, I take LP2 type S (ie not LP2 on a HiMD machine) over all others. Needless to say my backups are all .WAV or physical playable CD.

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  • 2 weeks later...

BTW I listen to almost 100% classical. When I playback these disks on the JE640 through my stereo, it does not sound as good as a CD of the same music that I have made or bought. Maybe that's because the 640, unlike the classier 980, doesn't have Type S.

But for headphone listening, the NF810 (which is an N710 they tell me) rules!

Interesting stuff!

The 640 does not have Type-S according to this http://www.minidisc.org/part_Sony_MDS-JE640.html so this probably signals to the community that Type-S is not gimmick.

I had a 980 back when I had my full MD kit. Lovely piece of kit and I got a kick out of plugging a PS2 keyboard into it so I could title discs and include smileys and stuff. I bought a silver UK model in perfect condition from a guy who was transferring all his music to iPod. Eventually I did the same but am now back to good ol' MD. How ironic.

Edited by Arr-Nine-Hundred
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How many versions of MDLP were there?

Type S has MDLP version 2

Versions?! Sorry, I don't have a clue.

That might complicate the handy-dandy chart I whipped to help clear some of the confusion about the "Types". I used the material from this thread and what I found on minidisc.org:

http://opticalgarbage.com/minidisc/type-sr.html

It's just a first draft, please give me some constructive feedback. Maybe it can get included in the Official FAQ if we refine it further.

Edited by Arr-Nine-Hundred
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Type R is only involved on recording mode, not to playback, on SP mode, the pure Atrac (292KB/Sg)

A enhanced Version" of Atrac3 (132/64Kb/seg) + Type R is called Type S

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this page http://www.sharoma.com/minidisc/hacking.htm says

# System Controller/ATRAC DSP IC: CXD2680GA (CXD2676).

# ATRAC Type-S, which is comprised of:

1. ATRAC1 Type-R.

2. ATRAC3 (MDLP) version 2.0.

I would also like to understand if Type-S is just a chip that combined Atrac SP + MDLP.

from here http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/lofive...php/t24487.html

ATRAC Type-S is just a combined, one-chip DSP for the ATRAC Type-R codec used for SP mode and the ATRAC3 codec used for MDLP modes, so there's nothing new to test. Supposedly, Type-S increases the SNR of LP2 and LP4 encodings by 6dB upon playback, but doesn't offer any improvement for SP encodings.

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