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Minidiscs with a mic in and digital out

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Davo737, Jun 11, 2003.


  1. Davo737

    Davo737

    Feb 29, 2000
    Syracuse, NY
    I've spent alot of time searching here and the web, and am looking for minidisc recorders that have both a powered mic in and a digital out. But, I'm having trouble finding out which of the gazillion different models have these - can't seem to find many detailed spec sheets with side by side comparisons. Does anyone know of the top of their head which models I should looking for (the only one I know for sure is the Sony MZ-R55)? Thanks a ton.

    Regards,
    Dave
     
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    No currenlty sold portable MD recorders have digital outputs except very expensive (over $1000) "pro" units from Marantz and HHB. A few (like 2 or 3) first generation models made in the early 90s did. These are rare and sell for inflated prices on eBay when they actually show up in working order. Keep in mind these are all SPDIF outputs, not high speed "upload" connections.

    My solution was to buy a portable and upload to my Mac with an analog cable. This worked very well, although the transfer was not digital sound quality was excellent. I already had the necessary cable and the recording SW was freeware so it was a no-brainer.

    You can buy MD decks with digital outputs, though. In the USA, the cheapest Sony the $150 JE-480 lacks a digital out but one can be added easily as a hack for low $$. Cheapest deck with digital outs off the shelf is Sony's MDS-E10, just under $500. European folks have it easier as the JE-780 is sold there with digital outs for roughly $250.
     
  3. You might want to consider a portable DAT like the Sony TCD-D8 (or the older TCD-D7). They have a digital output (with an optional 7 pin cable). Since the recordings are not compressed (MDs are compressed) you have the potential to get a better recording. That along with the digital output gives you the potential for some really nice recordings.
     
  4. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Here's something to consider...

    For the past 3 years or so I've used minidisc as my main portable recording medium. I would record rehearsals and shows with the portable and use a home minidisc deck and audio CD burner to make a CD. I rarely do that now that I got my hands on a Nomad Jukebox 3. The upside with the Jukebox is that it records directly to WAV files or MP3's if you like and the fire wire connection makes transfer to a PC so easy for later editing with something like CoolEdit. The downside is that the mic input needs a pre-amp which reduces it's stealth recording usefulness, I still use my Sharp MD recorder for that. I've gotten excellent results with it with rehearsal recordings and one live show and the added bonus is the fact that it has a 20gig hard drive and you can also use it to record from other input sources which include digital ones if you have a SPDIF cable.
     
  5. Davo737

    Davo737

    Feb 29, 2000
    Syracuse, NY
    Cool, thanks for all the tips!
     
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    DAT machines are on the way out. The last company making transports has announced they are getting out of that market. Not to mention both recorders and media are much pricier than MD.

    MD is not a lot better off in terms of format life as it it is also an old technology (10 years) and in the US market everyone but Sony has abandoned it for consumer use. Overseas a few other Japanese makers (notably Sharp) still sell MD units but most gave up a few years ago. Only Sony still makes any decks for home use.

    Hard disk recorders like the Nomad are still in their infancy. None have mike jacks :spit: and many don't even have level meters! Most record only to mp3 (Nomad does support WAV for real "CD quality"). All the vendors come from the computer marketplace and have no clue about audio products.

    While not small or cheap, Marantz is now selling a portable CD recorder :cool: It's about $700 and has all the usual drawbacks of recording direct to CD. It is a nice pro unit, though: XLR mike ins, phantom power, etc. It's about the size of pre-Walkman cassette portables.

    It's just a bad time to buy something...in a year or two the smoke should clear and it'll be obvious what portable digital format to buy.
     
  7. Phil, what's the recording time on the Nomad when recording WAVs? In other words, how many hous of music can you record uncommpressed?
     
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    700MB is 80 minutes of stereo on a CD, so figure about 110 minutes per gigabyte...20GB drive means 2200 minutes, that's over 36 hours!

    Of course, you MUST eventually transfer the music off the drive, unlike traditional recorders which use removable media (tape, discs). In that sense, the recorder really is a peripheral to some other device (computer, CD recorder, etc.)
     
  9. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    3 hours at one time, which means when you set it up to record it can record continously for 3 hours after that you would have to set up to record again for another 3 hours.
     
  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Yeah it's a whopping amount of time which is why the lack of a built in microphone preamp is not such a deal breaker.

    You'd be amazed at how fast you can transfer a gigabyte of data from the Jukebox using a fire wire connection.
     
  11. judd levison

    judd levison

    Jun 2, 2003
    davo,

    for what it's worth you might try and track down a Sony MZ-N707Blue.

    they are disco'd recently but there may be a few floating around...i know GC made a big buy from Sony when they were disco'd.

    mic in, mic level adjustable in the soft menu and optical digital out.

    i have one and it's great. unfortunately Sony has decided not to replace it with anything that has a mic level input.

    good luck
     
  12. Mmm - interesting - I have the same model, and the the digital-optical is INPUT only. That is to say, it is not an OUTPUT. So, how is it that mine is different to yours? Mine is an MZ-N707 R (blue). Have you actually connected the optical on yours to an optical in on another device? I did, and could not get it to work, and examined the instructions closely, and found that in fact, the opto is input only. I wonder if there's a subtle difference? (I'm in the USA - I wonder if there's a regional difference...)

    Just curious -

    - Wil
     
  13. judd levison

    judd levison

    Jun 2, 2003
    wil...just call me dick nixon...

    i stand corrected. i picked it up about a month ago and made an assumption about the digi out.

    mic in...no digi out.

    my apologies.
     
  14. Davo737

    Davo737

    Feb 29, 2000
    Syracuse, NY
    thanks for all the input - i'll keep my eyes open for a good deal on one of those sonys.

    regards,
    dave