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What's the best-sounding MD portable that runs on AA (not gumstick)?

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Pretty self-explanatory actually. :D

I'm trying to find out which MD portable sounds the best and runs off a standard AA/LR6 size battery. I know plenty of gumstick battery players and recorders that sound fantastic, but not sure about the AA ones. The reason I ask this is gumstick batteries are getting harder to find; I can really only find two brands reliably, Vapex and HQRP, and the HQRP ones look kinda... shady. AA batteries probably won't ever go anywhere, though.

Just in the interests of future-proofing myself, so to speak, I'd like something that sounds great as a player and can use standard batteries without the delicate and cumbersome attachment.

Would prefer it has MDLP capability but doesn't need NetMD, or even the ability to record at all. Prefer not Hi-MD since those command a significant price premium and I am not all that wealthy. :D

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Most allow the attachment of a AA compartment.

Is that what you mean or do you want it integrated?

AFAIR the budget/low end Md players were the ones that had it integrated and so not the best quality

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I have been through a few portables, all Sony except for an older Sharp model that expired well before it should have and a Kenwood that was defective right out of the box. Best sound for me was from the Sony MZ-DN430 Psyc MiniDisc Network Walkman. I think this model even has Type S ATRAC. A friend of mine tweaked the sound on his and got it to sound even better.

For a while, these were going refurbed on eBay for 30-40 USD, but I don't think they are that cheap any more. Still, worth taking a look. Strictly just uses one AA.

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As Mosaic has already suggested, I have been using Sharp MT20 & Sharp SR75 for the last year or two and I love them. They can both still be found fairly cheaply.

Couple of points to note, the only difference (as far as I know) between the MT15/16/20 and the SR40/50/60/75 etc is in the accessories that came with them when new, some had a remote and some didn't, some had rechargeable AA's etc, etc. There may of course be some experts out there that know more about them than I do.

Also note the MT15/16/20 takes TWO AA batteries, which makes it quite a heavy, chunky thing. Oddly that's one of the things I like about it, nice and solid. At least it doesn't look like it's going to break just by sneezing on it! The SR models just need the one AA.

Of course non of those are MDLP which may be a problem for you. I've also got a Sony MZ R410 which is MDLP and runs off a single AA but there's one drawback (IMO) - it's rubbish! Tiny display that you can hardly see, I found it fiddly to use and the volume you can get from it is pathetic.

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MT15/16/20 looks nice. Battery life isn't that spectacular but I have zillions of AA NiMH batteries due to wireless mice/keyboards/remotes/etc. Has a nice big display and all the controls are on the unit. I'm pretty annoyed that the player-only models, which seem to have the best battery life when playing discs (likely due to the lower mass of the laser read mechanism), almost universally seem to have no on-unit display and only very basic controls on the unit, pretty much forcing you to use a remote.

I like the option to use a remote (so I can pause/play without having to take my device out of my purse or pocket) but I don't really like being forced to use them. Because of that my DR80 is stuck with bass-boost on maximum and doesn't reliably start playing because some settings are all fouled up, and I don't have its remote so I can't fix it. >_>;

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I found the B-100 to offer the best combination of convenience and performance for field recording for a long time: sturdy, compact design, built-in mikes, monitor speaker, single-AA power, and decent ergonomics. Has MDLP, too, though I never used it.

I made a lot of very decent live-music recordings with mine, and I keep a unit (well, three units--I'm compulsive) around for quick-and-dirty playback of disks that have yet to be transferred to other media. (I used an RH-1 for a year or so, but while it is a fine recorder, it was not always convenient to wrangle separate mikes, and the controls are dinky--and, of course, it's a gumstick model.)

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Two recommendations from me:

1 - Sony MZ-NF610 or N510:

It's a bit chunky but feels good in the hand; nice tactile feel to the buttons, has great sound - can adjust treble and bass and is S-Type. AA Battey lasts for AGES on this one!! There's a hack out there to enable 'line-out' on the unit, too. One minor downside is the LCD screen is small (but clear). These are fairly common on ebay around the £20 mark, so well worth looking out for.

2 - Sharp MT290:

It looks and feels a bit more plasticky but the bass performance is superb, I find it better than any Sony or Panasonic unit I've ever used (and I've used many!). The bass really 'thumps' without muddying the overall sound, so I find it suits rock music really well (which is what I mostly listen to). There are three bass settings which you can individually adjust and save as presets, which is nice. Or you can just turn it off and leave it flat; have never tried that so cannot comment on how it sounds 'bass-less'.

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Ah yes, forgot all about the Sharp MT270/290. One thing to remember (especially considering your experiences with the DR80) is that the MT270 has the bass boost button on the body as it doesn't have a remote but the MT290 (with remote) has no bass button on the body.

Certainly fits all your criteria, easy to find & relatively cheap, one AA, MDLP. Quite a small dinky little thing.

And on the subject of the DR80, have you tried any other Sharp remotes with it? Don't know that much about later Sharp models but on the earlier ones the remotes were pretty universal. At least in respect that all the buttons would function correctly even if displays/backlights may not work. Looks as though Sharp carried on using the same connector for the remote so might be worth a go.

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I haven't tried any old remotes with it. I'm actually a bit concerned about buying anything for it. The unit's working fine... I'm listening to it right now and marveling at how much its sound quality blows away anything else in my house, my other MD recorder (Sony N505) and my Nexus 4 included... but it wasn't working a few nights ago. I'd put a disc in and it'd just beep at me when I pressed buttons. I tapped it against my palm thinking maybe it got jostled around in post to see if it'd dislodge anything that might be stuck and sure enough, it did.

Now it's working, not stopping no matter if I turn it different directions or shake it violently. Maybe the laser assembly got stuck from years of disuse, I know the guy I bought it from said it was collecting dust in a drawer for years. Still concerns me though. Finding another Sharp Auvi unit isn't super easy, those folks who have them tend to hang onto them. >_>;

It's kind of ridiculous, though. My Nexus 4 sounds pretty damn good (certainly beats low-end MP3 players and the other MD unit I have), but the Sharp is just so much clearer, more defined and more energetic-sounding... and it's playing an LP2 encode (converted from FLAC) from SonicStage. The same album I have on my phone is in 320kbps MP3, converted from the same FLAC source. I can't wait to find my optical cable or buy a new one so I can get some real SP discs recorded.

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  • 3 weeks later...
The two largest producers of machines mds players/recorders built using as power supply a classic AA battery.
For a commercial choice the machines only powered with AA batteries are placed in the category of "entry level".
Also HI MD devices; NH600, NH 700, NHF800 are AA battery powered.
It is not difficult to be able to say which of these devices "entry level" is the best; surely Sony devices of the first series HI MD. ( see above ).
To my experience, certainly not the N505 Sony.
A nice day to all
Sergio


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  • 3 weeks later...

NH900 is a great unit so is the RH710, I have both on ice for the eventual MD "end of days". :-(

I also like the NH600, I have the non-"D" version which has an optical input, might be a mic input as well plus a 3v connection but most importantly runs on a single AA battery.

I have always thought the G750 looked like a great unit, makes me want to go shopping on eBay ...

I think if you use SP or MDLP only you have to consider many of the early Sony and Sharp units as options. The HiMD units tend to really sell for a premium on eBay and even though I have never personally had any issues with one, some say they can be more "finicky".

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