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This week/month/day/year I’ve mostly been…

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kgallen

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Today I've mostly been... happy!

 

One of my colleagues from my new team came up to me today and said "I see you've got a minidisc player.... I've got one too!"... and proceeded to show me his gorgeous MZ-R909. A sleek all-metal player/recorder that has a large 3-line display. He also has minidiscs on his desk, in a box. I tried his machine with my power supply and it fired up straight away. He dug out the charging cradle and the gumstick battery, put it together and it started to charge fine. Hopefully tomorrow he'll give some of his discs a whirl.

 

Oh did I say... I found what looked like a nice MZ-R909 on "the bay" at a sensible price. Might be heading my way... ooops.

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Haha. Brilliant 😂

 

The MZ-R909 is a nice looking machine. I'm pretty it's one of the models I've got a watch list set up for on eBay but I'm doing my best to ignore the notifications at the moment... Which colour did you get?

 

On the earlier theme of MiniDisc storage, I'd been looking for a while for something to keep my MDs in and recently picked up a couple of TJENA boxes from Ikea. They're only cardboard but are pretty much a perfect fit for MiniDiscs in their cases. I'll post a picture when I can but it's these ones: Ikea Tjena Storage Box 25x35x10

 

 

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22 minutes ago, BearBoy said:

Which colour did you get?

Silver. Hoping it lives up to it's description. Due Friday... I also ordered a couple of those gumstick batteries - until now I've stuck with machines that use AA.

 

The MZ-R909 looks to be one of the last before NetMD and Type S. It's Type R MDLP. If my other portables are anything to go by, this 909 looks close to the pinacle for construction. The MZ-NF610 I'm borrowing from my son for example is quite a plastic affair, even compared to my MZ-R700. I have high hopes and hoping those hopes aren't dashed by a machine that doesn't live up to it's listing! 🤞

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I know that nervous wait for an eBay purchase to arrive well. I’m sure it’ll be fine though. 
 

I bought a couple of different types of gumstick batteries and a USB charger a few months back. I’ll post some pictures when the uploading issue is sorted. 

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2 minutes ago, BearBoy said:

I bought a couple of different types of gumstick batteries and a USB charger a few months back. I’ll post some pictures when the uploading issue is sorted. 

That's a good point - I should buy an external charger as I won't get the cradle. Suggestions?

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If the MZ-R909 is anything like my MZ-N910/710 etc then you don’t need the cradle. It should charge the battery with the power adapter connected directly to the player. You’d need to check the manual but I suspect it would work the same. 
 

The charger I bought was like this one: Gumstick Battery Charger Including 2 x Gumstick Batteries NH14WM 1400mAh AA NiMH

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This week I've also mostly been buying an MXD-D4. 😄

 

Arrived today. Gave it a service, seems to work ok. More later...

 

The MZ-R909 also arrived just as I was finishing up with the D4. Seems to work ok with AA cell (in sidecar). Gumstick contacts a bit green. Given them a clean and it's now charging on in the unit. Also more later...

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3 hours ago, BearBoy said:

Looking forward to the updates. I don't think you'll be able to post any pictures at the moment though 😧

Well the MXD-D4 CD section reads CD-R which is great. As I trial I've just dubbed a CD-R of show music to MD at x4 rate. Seemed to work perfectly (just listening through now). Track titles are also copied. Up to now, I've been using my Tascam MD-CD1 to dub CD-R masters of show music/sound effects to MD (which are used live in the shows) but the MD-CD1 machine do have some issues with titles (in addition to adding gaps between tracks). So I'm hoping this MXD-D4 can take over those dubbing duties, which in theory means I can also create a backup MD more easily. With the MD-CD1 I would often need to go in with a PS/2 keyboard to fix titles (these are key since the titles hold the cue number) so making a second copy was always a pain... 👍

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That sounds great, Kevin. I think you'd mentioned the issues with titles on your Tascam before so this should make your life a lot easier. Good to see MiniDisc still having such a practical application in 2021 too.

 

Should be a nice match, aesthetically, with your 520 and 530 as well 🙂

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The MXD-D4 sounds interesting Kevin. Look forward to seeing the pictures! This week I was completely swamped with work, but did get to spend a couple of hours with the Victor XM-B22P which arrived on Thursday. First impressions are very favourable, a nice little player and sounds really good too. I'll post some pictures as soon as we are able. A shipment of blanks from Japan also arrived on Thursday, oh and I bought another MZ-EH50 (silver) - oops..  

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3 minutes ago, BearBoy said:

I think @Richard said he'd tried reaching out to @Christopher to find out whether it could be fixed. Not sure if he heard back?

In the meantime I'll dub Steely Dan Aja 🙂 (in real time so I can listen, and hopefully get SP Type-R) whilst looking at the schematics to figure out adding TOSLINK output for both CD and MD. Looks straightforward. Might design myself a small PCB to make the job really tidy 🙂 (if I do there will be lots left over for give-aways 🙂 as I'll need to order 10).

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4 minutes ago, BearBoy said:

Would that work on any Sony deck lacking an optical output or just the MXD-D4?

Many decks in theory.

 

The beauty of at least the Sony decks (or more specifically the Sony DSP chips) is that they use SPDIF natively for the internal digital audio path - on the ribbon cable from the drive back to the main PCB, the audio is SPDIF 🙂 [Note 1]. This means that adding either TOSLINK or Coax output is relatively trivial. All that is needed is a simple 74HCU04 buffer stage plus the output circuit. For optical this is just the optical transmitter. For coax, this can be done "dirty" by just driving that output to an RCA. To be done properly, the coax stage should use transformer isolation as can be seen in Sony's schematics (I'm looking at the MDS-E10 now for instance). Since coax is an electrical connection, the transformer isolation avoids ground loops since the GND/0V of the two interconnected decks are not commoned together.

 

Optical out is easy for me to do now as I know all of the components. For the coax I would like to do it properly, so would want to use the transformer-based output circuit. At this point in time I don't know the specs of the transformer. I suspect it is 1:1 windings, but I don't know the impedance, so I would want to dig into this and find the correct component - not necessarily the exact one Sony use, but the same electrical characteristics. I would need to find the part first, as I would need a PCB footprint to design it in. Research for "another day", but as you've raised this I might do some tentative research.

 

Would coax output be of interest to you? I could probably design a PCB to support both TOSLINK and coax if of interest. For the D4 I want to make a dual-TOSLINK [Note 2]. However maybe I could do a PCB that is single TOSLINK+Coax if this is of interest.

 

[Note 1] Actually the digital audio exists on the ribbon cable in both SPDIF biphase mark (refer back to our work on the Copy Bit Killer) and data+bit clock. On the MXD-D4, the DAC is a Philips part and this takes SPDIF directly (two streams, one from the MD and one from the CD). In "most" other Sony machines, the DAC is something like an AK4524 and this takes separate data+bit clock. In both cases these come straight from the drive over the "narrow" ribbon cable 🙂

 

[Note 2] You have me thinking now about my own requirements... The E10 has both optical and coax I/O. The E12 only coax I/O. The 520/530/770 have optical I/O plus coax input.

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18 hours ago, Richard said:

The MXD-D4 sounds interesting Kevin. Look forward to seeing the pictures! This week I was completely swamped with work, but did get to spend a couple of hours with the Victor XM-B22P which arrived on Thursday. First impressions are very favourable, a nice little player and sounds really good too. I'll post some pictures as soon as we are able. A shipment of blanks from Japan also arrived on Thursday, oh and I bought another MZ-EH50 (silver) - oops..  

Blanks for collection? Or recording?

Both?

 

How many silver EH50s do you have?!

😉

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48 minutes ago, kgallen said:

Would coax output be of interest to you? I could probably design a PCB to support both TOSLINK and coax if of interest. For the D4 I want to make a dual-TOSLINK [Note 2]. However maybe I could do a PCB that is single TOSLINK+Coax if this is of interest.

TBH, I'd had a momentary brain fade when I asked the question and was labouring under the misapprehension that my MDS-JE500 was lacking an optical output. It isn't 🤦‍♂️ What it is missing are any coaxial digital connections. This isn't really an issue as I only really use that deck for wiping protected MDs that I've received bundled with players I've bought on eBay.

 

Where I do have a "gap" though is that my MDS-JB980s are lacking a coaxial digital output (it's one of the things Sony seem to have dropped for cost saving reasons after the MDS-JB940). In order to connect my MDS-JB980 to my PC I need to use a small convertor I bought that converts the optical signal to an electrical one, as my PC audio interface is coax only. It's not the end of the world but would be neater if the 980s had coax outputs.

 

TL;DR You can never have too many connection options imho 🙂

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45 minutes ago, slugbahr said:

Blanks for collection? Or recording?

Both?

 

How many silver EH50s do you have?!

😉

 

The blanks were for the collection and for recording also. Box of Panasonics, some Axia singles, Sony Red Hot (will use those as I have dozens already), TDK Fine, and some interesting Sony's in retail hangers and a TopValu 1st series, some Daiso's and probably some other stuff I can't remember... (oh a couple packs of Bit Clubs - the Blue telegraph wires ones and the original translucent bar codes).. 

 

Sorry, I meant another EH50 in general. I just have one silver and one blue. 😉

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9 hours ago, Richard said:

 

The blanks were for the collection and for recording also. Box of Panasonics, some Axia singles, Sony Red Hot (will use those as I have dozens already), TDK Fine, and some interesting Sony's in retail hangers and a TopValu 1st series, some Daiso's and probably some other stuff I can't remember... (oh a couple packs of Bit Clubs - the Blue telegraph wires ones and the original translucent bar codes).. 

 

Sorry, I meant another EH50 in general. I just have one silver and one blue. 😉

No white or pink ones??

That's racist!

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43 minutes ago, Richard said:

 

I would really like a pink one, but haven't yet managed to find one in good enough condition. Or if I did, they sold before I could get to them.. Not to worry 🙂

 What's your budget? Do you need anything more than just the unit?

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The silver EH50 arrived today. For some reason, the sled with the laser on it was all the way out at the edge of the player as opposed to being in the usual resting place in the centre. Quick test and everything is working as expected, but I do wonder if it maybe needs a tiny bit of lubrication on there somewhere as I'm not 100% convinced about the noise it makes when moving from the beginning to the end of the disc for example compared to my other players.. Other than that, seems to be almost as new, boxed with all the accessories etc.. 

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