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Failing MZ-RH1, advice needed on other Hi-MD players

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My trusty MZ-RH1 has lost the OLEDs on the RHS of the display, which is a bummer because that's where all the useful information is shown. The OLEDs just packed up one day.

Luckily it still plays perfectly, and I have the sidecar so I can see Playback information, track numbers etc. But when it comes to recording and editing, though the machine will still do it,  the sidecar doesn't show that information so I can only do things like Rec. format/Move/Erase by complete guesswork - not at all ideal.

I have another MD player/recorder which is good for the old formats, but when it comes to recording and editing Hi-MD I'm stuck.

Seems to me I have a few options:

1) Repair. There's a video of a guy replacing the OLEDs on his Mz-RH1 on YouTube - he's something of an expert and the process looks like hell, even if you can get a replacement part and are an expert. So, NO to that idea.

2) Buy another MZ-RH1. They go for serious money on eBay etc, and there's no guarantee that they're going to be problem-free. Mine is fine, I just can't SEE what's going on with recording and editing. So I'm reluctant.

which leaves me with

3) Buy another Hi-MD machine for recording and editing, which will hopefully be cheaper. This is where I need some advice. I've looked at the specs, such as they are, for Sony MZ RH10, MZ RH910, MZ RH710, MZ NH1 and MZ NH700.

What I want to know is which of these machines can :

- Format and record a disc (any sort, not just the 1Gb Hi-MD ones) for recording in Hi-MD, (SP and LP)

- Play both kinds of MDs, Hi-MD and old-style, LP2, LP4 etc. Not essential but it would be nice.

- Edit recordings in Hi-MD format - Move/Erase tracks. This IS essential.

Any tips welcome from anyone with experience of any of those machines (Sony MZ RH10, MZ RH910, MZ RH710, MZ NH1 and MZ NH700). My inclination is to go for an NH1.


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Avoid the NH1, it has known issues with the unique cable, and a battery (same as RH1) which costs BIG bucks to replace.

I'd keep the RH1 for uploading to PC (of SP/LP2/LP4/Mono), the one thing that it and only it can do. It doesn't need a screen for that.

If you're going MD, I would recommend the NH700 as it seems the most reliable. The second gen (RH10/910/M10/M100) make a lovely sound on playback but seem to have had more mechanical/electrical problems. And the NH700 takes AA's - a very strong selling point.

Another way is switch to all-digital, the PCM-M10 or ICD-SX7xx/8xx/9xx.

If you get Sound Forge 9 (or 10) which comes with quite a few different devices for free, you can use it to edit uploaded ATRAC especially HiMD formats. The only trick to that is to be able to decrypt the files first which you do from inside SonicStage using the file conversion tool (built in to SS).

Finally, the question answered that you didn't ask - for playback, use none of the above but get a purpose built player-only (either HiMD or "loMD", the former can play both). This is good for several reasons:

1. you don't accidentally destroy precious recordings by pressing the track mark/record key

2. They are very solidly built (you will need to invest in a good charger and some brand new Gumsticks but these are available for a few bucks) and can be taken in more severe external environments like jogging (there's only one that even attempts to be waterproof, the MZ-S1 and I don't particularly recommend it).

3. There is much less to go wrong with the mechanics/electronics.

MZ-EHxxx (HiMD) or MZ-Exxx, making sure in the latter case you get the ones that can play MDLP. MZ-EH70,MZ-EH50,MZ-EH930,MZ-E630 and so on.


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Thanks for your suggestions. As it happens I was on the spot yesterday to pick up an MZ-NH900 pretty cheaply which is lacking a battery but has a mains lead. It seems to be able to do all I need (I got a download of the manual), plus I can pick up the battery it needs cheaply (it also has the ability to use AAs but I can get by with mains, I'm not out in the field).

Alas, I'm a Mac user so PC transfer on the MZ-RH1 is a no-go - I used to use it with the old Mac OS systems but Sony didn't provide any support for anything past OS-X Leopard, effectively, which was long ago. I suppose I could install Parallel Desktop or somesuch Windows enabler, but everything I read about SonicStage is off-putting. Which makes it such a shame that my beloved MZ-RH1 is reduced to so little functionality (playing, basically) now that I can't see the display. Why didn't Sony design the sidecar so that it displayed ALL the information?


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The 900 was the original "standard" (many people wouldn't spring for NH1) and there are lots out there. It has some issues with powersupply, typically the screen gets dim and needs to be adjusted, but on the whole is pretty reliable (and includes a mic socket which the NH600 and RH710 for example do not). A word of warning: do NOT under any circumstances put rechargeables in the AA battery case. All the happens is that the charging circuits get very confused. You need a decent 1.6 V. It may even be the way that some of these machines become unusable. The HQRP batteries for internal are currently widely available. I picked up a few and am extremely happy with them. That said, I have only ever given up on about 2 (out of 15 or so) regular Sony-or-OEM-replacement NiMH gumsticks (not the case for the Li-Ion... they simply die after a while).

One more thing. Running any of these units with a dead or non-existent internal battery seems to deprive them of a certain buffering of the PS (Gyula from Budapest will probably tell me this is rubbish!). I recommend having a chargeable battery in the unit especially when transferring tracks TO the unit (with FROM, either it works or it doesn't - but with TO, you may end up wasting your effort).

And if you don't need your RH1 for upload, I am sure there's folks here who would buy it off you just in order to do that, at less than the ridiculous prices people are asking on eBay,

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  • 4 weeks later...

why would  you want to get rid of the RH1 since it works fine just the display is gone ? I only ever use mine for  transfering material to my pc   - it is the only model that will so that. You don need the display  for that function since  Sonic stage takes over. so  if you have lots of discs that  you may in the future want to  put on your pc to turn into mp3's keep it


But you say sounds lke it dont  record now? still  will presumable  transfer to a pc?

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