Sony finally did it! MD players are worth the money now!! Don't buy an MP3 player!!

I have been waiting about 2 years for Sony to finally get thier head out of there ass on MD players. That day is now here.They are small, hold much high quality music, and are virtually skip free.

Once Mp3’s became big we started seeing all these memory chip portables out there. They had between 32 MB-10GB of storage on them. The cheapest ones were typically around $80 and only held about 30min of mediocre sounding music.

I was looking for an Mp3 player this past week for me to use at the gym. because they are much smaller than a CD player and don’t look as dorky. I wanted to spend about $150 bucks on one, so I was probably going to end up with a 64MB one at best. That would hold about an hour of music or so.

I was about to leave the house and go to CC or BB to pick up a crappy Mp3 player when I decided to see what my options were in MD players. You see, I have always loved MD players. The ONLY draw back to them was that you had to record to them in much the same way that you recorded to regular tapes. You had to play the song in its entirety to put it on the disk. They had released a MD recorder a while back with a USB hook up, but it was garbage because you still had to play the entire song to get it on the disc. And MD players have never been able to work with MP3’s. Until now.

On CC website I found the Sony MZ-N505GLD MD player. It was only $150 bucks so I decided to check it out. I was pouring with joy when I found that you could hook it up to your PC via usb and download the songs to the unit at 32X speed. And it says it is compatible with MP3 and WMA files as well as regualr CD’s. If you record at 66kbs you can get as much as 5 hours of music on one disc. That immediatly makes it a better value than any MP3 player.

So I went and got it, just a little skeptical about the ease of transferring files to the player, with the intention of returning it if it wasn’t easy as pie. Boy was I happy when I got home and hooked this bad boy up. It took a while to install the software for some reason, but once it was running it took me about 5 secs to figure out how to get the songs onto the discs. I put 4 albums on one disc , at 135kbps rate and they sound great. Took me about 15 minutes max to complete the transfer to the unit. A little slower than a memory based MP3 player, but when you are only paying $2 for a MD that you can put 5 hours of tunes on, its not a huge sacrifice to make. You can arrange them into folders on the disc so you can access each album at any time without having to click thru each song.

The way that the unit is compatible with all the file types is very slick. You MUST use Sony’s proprietary software to upload to the unit. Sounds crappy, but its actually very userfriendly and works much like media player. This software converts the file, from Mp3, WMA, or WAV, to a proprietary file type called ATRAC3. Then it feeds them to the discs. Works great.

To close out this massive post I must say that this is the first time in a long time that I have gotten a new technology that has worked exactly how it was supposed to. If you are even thinking about getting a portable MP3 player, don’t waste your money. I have had one, and I have this and let me tell you, this this is the bomb. It really DOES work how they claim it does. And the music sounds great. It costs less than most Mp3 players and is much much more functional. One battery will last over 40 hours of play back.

Heres the link if you wanna check it out at sony.com:

Holy crap, thats the longest post I have ever made I think!!

GET THIS THING. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!

This advert brought to you by…

I figured you would get nailed for that shameless bit of endorsement at the end there, but all the same I am REALLY excited about this development. I and a sound designer in theatre and minidiscs are a sort of standard for playback at your smaller/medium end theatres. SO, anytime I’ve had to record say 15 minutes of Crickets or waves or whatever and not had the option of a decent CD player for playback, i’ve had to sit there for the whole fifteen minutes recording from comp to MD player. add those 15 minutes up over 2 or 3 or 4 shows a month for 5 or six years now, and thats a lot of my life wasted. I’m sooo stoked. I minght even start making MDs for personal use now. I’d love to see them become more commercially supported, they are a physical media, which i live for some old fashioned media, but a hell of a lot more durable than CDs…

Thanks for sharing!!!
CJ

Ok, I am excited. I have had my RCA Lyra, which I love, for the past two years. It is time for a change.

You say you take it to the gym? Does it skip?

One word: iPod.

Five hours at 66kbs. Woo.

Ipod? Have you seen the prices of those things? Nice but too expensive.

It does not skip at the gym at all. At least not yet. I haven’t worn it on the tread mill though. I put it in the little holster on there.

66kbps still sounds very good for 5 hours of tunes. Granted, I won’t be recording in the bit rate. I used 135kbps, which is the highest you can record in before you hit the standard MD rate. I put 4 albums worth of mousic plus like 5 misc songs on it and it is now totally full. Thats all on a 2 dollar disc that I will not have to erase to put more songs on. I just keep the disc in my carrier and make a new one.

There are some anti-piracy measures though that some may not like. The big one is that you can only copy the same song off of your computer 3 times before it wont let you copy it again to a MD. It works like a library. When you “check out” the song to your player, it keeps track of it in your comp. When you “check in” with the song you get to check it back out a 3rd time. Basically you can only have a song checked out 3 times at once. Hope that makes sense. If you have 3 copies checked out and you want to check out more copies, you need to re-rip from the original Mp3 or CD and then it will let you.

This is a non issue to me because:

  1. I don’t have any friends with an Mp3 player so I can’t ever see myself making more than one or two copies of a song for some compilation discs or something.

  2. I think that having 4 copies of a song in 4 different places is an acceptable number of copies of a song to own.

  3. You can always still use the regular format of tracks to use this as a regular old MD player, so you are not limited by this if you are a pirate. :rolleyes:

  4. This thing is only $150 fricking dollars!!

The other thing is that I am not sure that you can play the compressed discs on a standard MD player. Just like if you made an MP3 cd for one of those MP3 cd players, you couldnt play it on a regular cd player. You can still record songs onto the MD using the old fashioned method though.

I know I sound like some Sony rep or something like that, but I have been waiting for MD to come around since the advent of the MP3. I am very excited about this because the product works absolutley wonderfully just as I always wanted it to. I think anyone who is into MP3’s as far as portability goes will love this unit.

Oh, one thing I forgot to add is that with this thing, I can a single track that is NOT the last one on there.

Example:

Tracks 1,2,3,4,5 on a regular MD you need to erase the 5th, 4th, and 3rd to get to the 2nd.

on the Net MD systems you can erase the 2nd without messing with the others.

I hated that on the original players.

It sounds like a fun toy, but I don’t see the advantage over an MP3 player, except maybe the price point, but that’s not my #1 consideration.

I not challenging but just curious about your excitement since I don’t know that much about MD players. Other than size why is this MD player superior to my $ 150.00 RIO VOLT SP250 digital audio CD/CDR?CDRW player? At a glance audio quality is more or less identical for compressed files (and potentially better with full Cds) Rio’s media is cheaper - capacity vastly larger - and I can play regular CD media and FM.

Rio 250

Sony MD Player

astro – I don’t have the MD player (I actually have the Rio Volt as well), but I’m guessing the main advantage is size. The MD player looks like it’s much less bulky, which, if you’re using it for things like taking it to the gym, makes a BIG difference.

As an owner of both the N505 and the older R70, I have to tell you that your percieved limitation of the standard (non-NetMD) systems isn’t true. You could delete and add at random.

This sounds pretty good, but is there any way to edit tracks? I have a lot of CDs with crappy samples that I get rid of when I tape them.

If you mean cut out a piece of a track, no. If you mean delete the filer tracks then yes. You could edit the a piece of a track out with any basic sound editing program though. I think Windows Xp comes with one.

Purd Werfect:

The advantage is storage capacity. One MD holds about the same as a CDR, over 600MB of storage. And MDs are cheap, around $2. Compare that to $50 for only 128MB of compact flash or smartmedia storage.
astro:

I have a Rio Volt 150 and I love it. But MDs are smaller, less prone to skipping, the batteries last longer, and MDs are rewritable. Not worth ditching the Rio Volt for one, but I’d pick the MD over it now.

Oh, hell, they brought this out right after I got my MZ-R700, which still records at 1X. Next $150 I get, I’m buying this new one… I’ll sell my current one off to a friend.

Anyway, now that MD has managed to get faster than 1X recording, I cannot see how it isn’t the perfect method of portable music. Mp3 players are too expensive, Mp3-CD players are too big (even the ones that use mini-CD’s) and require you to own a CD-RW drive in the first place, and the iPod… well… we’ll just ignore the iPod.

Now all Sony has to do is advertise their goddamned minidiscs!!!

When did that happen? I thought MDs could only hold 140MB. Is there a new standard out? But the “5 hours of 66kbs music” translates to 140mb. (‘kbps’ is kilobits per sec, not kilobytes, right?)

Don’t forget, downloading stuff via USB means you’re gonna be waiting a while. And at 66 kbs, you may as well carry an AM radio instead.

The iPod is definitely the most expensive music player out there, but given its massive storage, musical clarity, and its load-everything-in-ten-minutes Firewire connection, it certainly justifies the price.

the MD data discs could hold 160, IIRC. But yeah, it’s only 140mb for music.

As for the 66kbps, it’s not an MP3, it’s a whole different encoding algorithm.

IMHO, the 66kbps compression sounds about the same as a 112kbps mp3. Not spectacular, but good enough for driving down the highway, or jogging.

Of course, you haven’t even heard MD quality at 66 kbs. It’s just under CD quality.

Of course, that’s recording at the lowest quality. Regular quality is equal to CD quality, and even then a MD is still far cheaper than the iPod.