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Getting a Touch Wound Up by Modern Players

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Hi all.

I'm something of a veteran of minidiscs, but I have tried to move over to the newer technologies, just to keep up with the times if nothing else. In the hope that I can find a better quality product that will in effect supercede Minidiscs.

I've tried pretty much everything. I've had iPods, which whilst the interface was lovely, the sound and build quality was lacking, I've tried importing fancy new MP3 players with superb sound quality from China, to little avail, most recently I've a Sansa Fuze, which again, doesn't match the sound quality or the build quality of any of my Minidisc Players. All of these units are now sat in a drawer, or in a bin or some such, and I am still using my MZ-N510.

I used to have a Nakamichi MD-45Z in my car, which I changed out for a top-of-the line CD Head Unit thinking it would be the way forward, but the damn things skips everytime I go over a bump and the quality is not a patch on the Nakamichi's.

Incase you hadn't figured I'm getting rather annoyed by the state of things post MD. My old MD gear is running out, Pioneer Deck has seen better days, N510 seems to be getting a touch tempremental. I can live with this as I've had these units for a damn long time and don't mind shelling out on them to replacement. I'm thinking an Onkyo Deck and an RH1.

Chief of issues though is my car. I love the sound from my MD45z, but in this day and age I am not going to sit around and manually record to an MD-SP Disk. I'd like to be able to stick my music on a disk and play it in the car using the dreaded Sonicstage. Does anybody know of a headunit that will let me do this?

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In other threads I have strongly recommended the MDX-66XLP MD changer in conjunction with a Sony head unit. IF you choose one of the "right" vintage, you can also play back ATRAC CD's in the head unit, which effectively gives you HiMD in your car. What I mean by this is that any track that plays in Sonic Stage (as usual there are exceptions) can be transferred, essentially without conversion and therefore with no lossy-lossy conversion artifacts, to an ATRAC CD.

Neither format (ATRAC3 or ATRAC3+) seems to skip, at least for me. (Wiz who has the 710, says different). You can even mix the two format types on a single disk.

The head unit models are GTX-510,610UI,710 and also MEX-BT5000 and 5001 (these last two are bluetooth as well, the only bluetooth models I've been able to find with ATRAC support). Later and earlier models tend to lack ATRAC. Lower-NUMBERED models will lack the ability to control a remote changer for MD or CD. These 5 models also play MP3 disks as well as some other formats which I have not investigated, in addition to "ordinary" CD's. But who wants an "ordinary" CD when you can fit an entire opera cycle (eg Wagner's Ring) on a single disk with quality quite adequate for the car)?

There's no HiMD directly in the head unit. In my wife's car we've put an MDX-CA790X with an old MDX-65 changer (no MP3, nothing fancy). I have the 510 with the MDX-66XLP under the seat. It's a fairly easy install, the slave required no power other than the single Sony "Unilink" connecting cable.

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They are getting hard to find, but the connect 2 adapter is wonderful, it connects to the back of the Sony deck, and lets you play any Sony device that the remote plug fits into, try finding one and you will be in heaven. You can also try the sony hard drive machines, sound as good as the MD but hold more. You don't have the recording options of MD though

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Great solutions posted!

Just to add my two cents - I use the MDX-C670 and really like it. But I have to say that currently I've switched back to a Sony ES CDX player and the sound is to my ears, slightly better than the MD. I think its nothing to do with the MD but just perhaps the basic electronics and so on inside the MD deck. The MDX I had in my car is very nice, just lacks maybe some benefits of the ES line.

I have also not had much time to create MDs for on-the-go car driving since I had to tear down my home stereo system for a move and have been to busy to get around connecting it all up again. And yes, it can be a tad bit time consuming to sit and record songs when you have either a portable iPod to dump songs on, key word dump.

I prefer the careful selection of songs for MDs, sometimes full albums or the very best of an artist, or songs that remind me of my lady. It just takes a little time but thats actually part of the fun and joy of using the MiniDisc format. I love titling songs so I can see them in my car stereo, there's a slight sense of satisfaction in that.

Technically my setup for MD transfer consists of an iMac with optical output which goes directly into an MDS-JE780, Japanese only model which records in stereo and MDLP with Type S DSP. I also have analog ins from a Sony ES amp thats got a Denon turntable connected to it and a Sony ES cassette deck for rare tape recordings, etc. yep, Im an ES lover!

As for bumps on the road, sure my ES/CDX skips but rarely, its normal, just avoid bumps, it may also have to do with your suspension. My MDX deck NEVER skipped which thinking about it that was cool. I'll be storing the MDX if ever I want to use it again, I bought it NEW for almost nothing from someone who never installed it in their car.

But for my iPod and MiniDisc in car solution, I want to keep the stellar CDX player and so I bought one of those trick gadgets you connect to the CD link thing in the back of the cd player deck - then I connected a GOOD set of audio RCA's with a mini-stereo plug on the other end for other audio devices. So when you select Changer from the SOURCE button, it finds and thinks there's a CD/MD changer attached but its that little device and you just turn on your portable and you're set! I use the iPod in non-stop song shuffle mode like a radio.

I bought it at eBay - its a Unilink adapter of some kind, about 12 to 15 or so bucks worth it. Although, it did at times freeze up my MDX player in which I had to reset the deck, so it may work great in some decks and a little fussy in others - do a search for "Sony Car Stereo Radio UniLink Audio IPod adapter AUX IN" or a variation of that and you'll find the adapter.

Ive thought about an MD changer either MDLP or stereo so thats another great solution but right now, Im enjoying the great D/A converter chip in my CDX but with a flexible, affordable and easy setup to plug in other portables.

Oh and as for the nano, I'm just a hair away from auctioning it off or craiglisting it, as much as I love the album covers, the menu's are annoying to navigate, dangerous if driving and even walking, the build is awful, very true, plus the sound isnt that great. Ears tend to adapt though, and sometimes bad ends up sounding good, thats a whole other topic.

Sorry for the long winded post, hope it gives you or anyone else other ideas on rollin' with the MD in 2010!

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Wow, thanks for the solutions guys.

I definitely like the idea of an Atrac CD player, I'm looking into that with great interest.

It seems I have a few options. An MD-LP Changer, which is a possibilty, I was rather hoping to have it the other way around though with an MD head unit and a CD, or Atrac CD changer in the glove box or something.

An external Portable MD recorder with an Aux in is another idea, but not something that really appeals to me to be honest, part of teh reason I love MDs in the car is the fact that it's so easy just to pop one in the player and listen to it, no need to fumble around with leads, and no need to worry about any disks getting scratched or anything like that. I can keep them in the door card if necessary. I suppose the positive of this though is I could get HiMD in my car.

I agree with you about taking the time to record a good disk, label a good disk, but quite honestly I forget to mark the tracks correctly. If I had a fool proof way of doing that, then I'd be a lot happier. :)

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Sorry, there are no Atrac CD changers, only MP3 changers, from what I understand. It hardly matters (to me) because you can get so much on a single disk. CD changers are 10-a-penny but the MDX head units are hard to find, especially with MDLP. I lucked out with the CA790X, some guy brought it here from HK, because it was never sold in N.America.

There's also a few head units that actually RECORD MD in the car, but they all date from before MDLP. FWIW I believe LP2 is plenty good enough for most (noisy) cars.

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Well, I will have a good think about it then. I've had a look on the bay and there are a few MD changers available, so I may well go down that route.

Record MD in a car? Blimey.. How odd.. I agree, a car is hardly an excellent acoustic environment anyways.

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Not for microphone... record from radio :)

I had to get my changer from japan, but the UK was the other place they seemed to crop up.

There's 2 there now, one buyitnow for 55. Sounds like a steal, I paid almost double that, though I misguidedly tried to go with the FM transmitter option.

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FYI another unit that does AtracCD is the CDX-GT705DX. Like the others it does WMA and MP3 but unlike the 510/610/710 it does NOT do AAC.

Unlike the 510/610/710 it does NOT have a 3.5mm jack for AUX in, but it does do AUX in via a couple of RCA connectors at the back, so one would have to bring those out with a dangling cable.

They all have Unilink for changer-controller and/or satellite.

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