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Re: [podcasters] MiniDiscs bias? Tell me why?

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  • Jacek Artymiak
    ... Several reasons: 1) price -- iRivers cost less than Hi-MDs, especially the pro Hi-MDs; 2) lack of line-in/mic connectors on cheaper consumer models, esp.
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 2, 2006
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      On 11/3/06, dave_r_riley <ratbagradio@...> wrote:
      > I've been involved in this discussion at the mini disc community forums
      > http://makeashorterlink.com/?F20E4171E
      > so I'll raise the key point here too.
      >
      > Why are (Hi MD) minidiscs recorders so neglected and underutilized by
      > podcasters?

      Several reasons:

      1) price -- iRivers cost less than Hi-MDs, especially the pro Hi-MDs;

      2) lack of line-in/mic connectors on cheaper consumer models, esp.
      those sold in the US (look out for differences between
      Japanese/US/European models);

      3) software -- SonicStage is PC only, although I seem to recall that
      more expensive pro/pro-sumer models come with Mac software too
      (correct me, if I'm wrong);

      4) software -- early versions of SonicStage used to be the most
      bug-ridden piece of software I've ever seen. OK, all software fails,
      but if Sonic Stage failed, you'd loose your recordings for ever. How?
      When you transferred a file via USB, you'd often have two copies of
      the same file, one on the Hi-MD disc and one on your computer, but
      SonicStage would screw up DRM settings and report files as transferred
      to your computer before they were decoded, but after they've been
      marked as transferred on the Hi-MD disc. And since Sony believes that
      you cannot have two copies of the same ATRAC3 file, you'd be screwed.
      A lot of people, including myself, got burned by this and lost a lot
      of raw recordings.

      Version 3.2.00.06071 is stable and I haven't lost any files yet, but
      many people seem to have given up on Sony and I cannot blame them.

      5) conversion -- you need an extra step to convert ATRAC3 files to
      WAVs, before you can edit them or convert to MP3s. It's done
      automatically, if you configure SonicStage correctly.

      6) durability -- MZ-NH700, which is the model I'm using feels very
      delicate and I use it only in my 'studio'. Maybe the more expensive
      ones are better made, I haven't had a chance to review them.

      7) ergonomic issues -- cheaper models have controls designed so badly
      that I can never quickly get to the settings I want. If you ever
      complained about iRiver controls, MZ-NH700 is even worse. I hear that
      their pro models are better though and I'm considering checking one
      out.

      8) software (again) -- this has nothing to do with SonicStage or
      Hi-MD, but after the last year's rootkit issue, people are less likely
      to trust Sony software.

      Personally, I considered selling my Hi-MD, but kept it after Sony
      released SonicStage 3.2. So far, a year later, I'm a happy user. I use
      iRiver 7xx too, but Hi-MD has one huge advantage over it: you can
      replace discs when you fill them up, which happens just as quickly if
      you choose to record in PCM, i.e. when you turn compression off. Try
      that with iRiver.

      --
      Jacek Artymiak
      devGuide.net / podcasting.pl / netatnik.pl
    • Stephen Eley
      ... First, everything Jacek said. For the longest time you couldn t transfer a recording from your MD recorder direct to your computer -- and when they
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 3, 2006
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        On 11/3/06, dave_r_riley <ratbagradio@...> wrote:
        >
        > Why are (Hi MD) minidiscs recorders so neglected and underutilized by
        > podcasters?

        First, everything Jacek said. For the longest time you couldn't
        transfer a recording from your MD recorder direct to your computer --
        and when they finally provided the option, the things are so
        encumbered with DRM and bizarre restrictions that it's a real pain in
        the ass.

        Second, Sony's really done a terrible job marketing the things in the
        past few years. For quite a while I was actually unaware that MD was
        still around. Once I knew it, I had a hard time finding clear
        information that would tell me which models did what. If you can
        navigate that maze, then sure, you can get a really good recorder for
        a decent price... But not *so* much better than the flash-based
        options.

        And third, there's actually been a backlash against Sony in tech
        circles for a while now. Their crazy proprietary formats started
        it... Then it hit full boil with the rootkit fiasco earlier in the
        year. Their initial attitude of "We have the right to protect our
        content, even if it means destroying your computer" *really* pissed a
        lot of people off.


        > My guess it has something to do with the fact that most podcasters
        > are chained to the computer as their recording options seem to fall
        > away sharply as soon as they step away from the screen.

        That's very untrue. Not everyone has a need to record in the field,
        but if you do, you only need *one* good portable recording option that
        fits in your budget -- and most people are able to find that, at
        prices from the refurb iRiver up through the Marantz.



        --
        Have Fun,
        Steve Eley (sfeley@...)
        ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
        http://www.escapepod.org
      • Matt Kane's Brain
        ... Older recorders are definitely more durable. I ve bonked my old MZR-35 for like 10 years. -- matt kane s brain http://hydrogenproject.com aim - mkbatwerk
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 3, 2006
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          On Nov 3, 2006, at 2:04, Jacek Artymiak wrote:

          > 6) durability -- MZ-NH700, which is the model I'm using feels very
          > delicate and I use it only in my 'studio'. Maybe the more expensive
          > ones are better made, I haven't had a chance to review them.

          Older recorders are definitely more durable. I've bonked my old
          MZR-35 for like 10 years.

          --
          matt kane's brain
          http://hydrogenproject.com
          aim -> mkbatwerk
          mkb@...
        • Michael Mennenga
          ... I still use a Mini disc in the studio, but it is nothing more than a spot server. (Beds and re-joiners only) I have a portable unit that I use on
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 3, 2006
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            Matt Kane's Brain wrote:
            >
            > On Nov 3, 2006, at 2:04, Jacek Artymiak wrote:
            >
            > > 6) durability -- MZ-NH700, which is the model I'm using feels very
            > > delicate and I use it only in my 'studio'. Maybe the more expensive
            > > ones are better made, I haven't had a chance to review them.
            >
            > Older recorders are definitely more durable. I've bonked my old
            > MZR-35 for like 10 years.
            >

            I still use a Mini disc in the studio, but it is nothing more than a
            spot server. (Beds and re-joiners only)

            I have a portable unit that I use on occasion, but it is clunky and a
            pain in the ass to transfer audio off of. I have to re-record into the
            DAW in real time, which makes it worthless compared to other devices on
            the market now.

            If you have one, use it, but don't waste any money buying a new one.

            There are much better portable recorders out there.

            --

            Michael R. Mennenga
            Director of Technical Operations
            Farpoint Media.
            www.farpointmedia.net


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • dave_r_riley
            Thanks to those who offered their opinions on MD. I m sure there will not be an absolute resolution of this topic while the recording options are so fluid in
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 6, 2006
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              Thanks to those who offered their opinions on MD. I'm sure there will
              not be an absolute resolution of this topic while the recording
              options are so fluid in way of rigs available.

              Here's a response from the MD partisan's POV (the respondent is not me):>
              _______________________

              Most of the podcasters' gripes are based on old models (no uploading)
              and old software (before 3.2), which left a lingering prejudice
              against Sony in general and MD in particular. Sony was asking for it,
              of course--it could hardly have done more to alienate potential buyers
              than combine restrictive hardware and buggy software.

              The MZ-RH1 fixes nearly every problem. (The main remaining gripes, for
              me, are not being able to turn off auto trackmarking with Line-in and
              not having a record button on the remote.) But don't tell that to
              people who are still just figuring out (RTFM)
              [RTFM defined: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM --DR]
              that they can't upload via the USB connection from an NetMD unit, and
              are angry about it. Sony also ignored Mac users for many years, and
              apparently lot of podcasters have Macs.

              Someone complains that the MZ-NH700 is fragile. No way. My MZ-NHF800
              (same basic unit) has had two-plus years of very frequent use, has
              been dropped more than once on hard surfaces, and just keeps going.

              The IFP 7xx series is, indeed, a useful player and a nice little voice
              recorder if all you want to do is record mp3. But...

              PCM recording? Nope.

              ["PCM" explained: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse-code_modulation
              --DR]

              Hi-fidelity mp3 recording? Maybe, if you don't do the firmware
              "upgrade" that limits recording to 96kbps. (And without that upgrade,
              you have to install iRiver Music Manager to transfer anything, though
              it's an easier drag-and-drop interface than SonicStage.)

              Hi-fi music recording? I tried using the same mic-->battery
              module-->Line-in I use with MD and the iRiver sounded like the music
              was recorded underwater.

              Use with any mic? No, because it has a weird recessed mic jack.

              Intuitive interface? Maybe it depends on what you're used to, but to
              me the iRiver interface makes MD look user-friendly by comparison.

              Durability? I don't trust that joystick to last.

              Recording time? Probably long enough for most uses, especially in
              mono. But what do you do when the 1GB is full and you don't have a
              computer with iRiver Music Manager to upload onto?

              [NB: This was the primary reason I went with HI MD to partner my
              iRiver. I also wanted to fulfil rule one of live recording: always
              have a backup! --DR]

              On the other hand, since it's a flash unit there's no disc noise, a
              big plus. It records directly from its FM tuner--some people find this
              exciting--and plays back .ogg, .wma and .mp3 files without conversion.
              And it has a very well-designed case. Those that can still be found
              (refurbished) on eBay are a bargain for a unit with a mic input. But
              people who think it's a true hi-fi recorder on par with Hi-MD ... well
              ... ignorance is bliss.

              [Post source: http://forums.minidisc.org/index.php?showtopic=17697 ]

              ________________________
              DAVE RILEY: >
              Just an aside, on the topic of recording for podcasters: Since the
              iRiver 700 series is no longer being manufactured there is an obvious
              problem with it: great device, pity you can no longer get one. There
              are some models available, of course, and eBay is a great seraching
              source for those that may still be on the market--touch wood and
              battery -- but they're rare.

              My mentor in these matters
              http://seanfitz.wikispaces.com/MP3players
              is also now recommending a very inexpensive flash recorder (cheaper in
              fact than the iRivers)unit which I have never heard of:

              Funtwist D-Chord 240

              Overeview:>
              http://www.funtwist.com/funtwist_e/htm/product/mp3_music_all.htm

              These units come at a great price but I don't know about their
              qualities as I haven't used, let alone seen, one. The company is
              Taiwanese. But they seem to offer the same attributes as the iRiver
              ifp 700 series, although I guess the mic in option doesn't offer plug
              in power like the iRiver.

              dave riley
            • Stephen Eley
              ... The MZ-RH1 also runs from $300 to $350 according to Froogle, so comparing it to the iRiver 7xx series is rather unfair. At that price range you ought to
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 6, 2006
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                On 11/6/06, dave_r_riley <ratbagradio@...> wrote:
                >
                > Here's a response from the MD partisan's POV (the respondent is not me):>
                > [ . . . ]
                > The MZ-RH1 fixes nearly every problem.

                The MZ-RH1 also runs from $300 to $350 according to Froogle, so
                comparing it to the iRiver 7xx series is rather unfair. At that price
                range you ought to be comparing it to the Zoom H4 or the Edirol R09...
                And if you look at those units, with uncompressed solid-state
                recording, excellent stereo mic inputs, and *really good* built-in
                mics, I just don't any clear advantages for the Minidisc.



                --
                Have Fun,
                Steve Eley (sfeley@...)
                ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
                http://www.escapepod.org
              • dave_r_riley
                ... I grant that point,it is in fact the MAIN issue: cost/price range. But I purchased my MZ NH700 for $AUD 200 which is the same price of the iRiver ifp 700
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 7, 2006
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                  --- In podcasters@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Eley" <SFEley@...> wrote:

                  >
                  > The MZ-RH1 also runs from $300 to $350 according to Froogle, so
                  > comparing it to the iRiver 7xx series is rather unfair.

                  I grant that point,it is in fact the MAIN issue: cost/price range. But
                  I purchased my MZ NH700 for $AUD 200 which is the same price of the
                  iRiver ifp 700 (assuming I could locate another one). (I missed an
                  earlier price of $AUD 175 across the counter as each time a new MD
                  unit comes out the prices of the old stock falls (The MZ-RH1 release,
                  nonetheless, sold out across in Australia in less than a month!Sony
                  Aust had to quickly reorder to meet demand... And Australians are
                  thought to have rejected the mini disc and it was supposed not to have
                  "taken off" here!)

                  The latest HiMD here -- MZ-RH1--retails at about $AUD 500 plus. The
                  Edirols come in at $AUD 850. But as I suggested this new Mp3
                  player/rec on the block --
                  FUNTWIST D-CHORD 240 128MB (ORANGE) USB 2.0/MP3/FM/VOICE/SD+MMC --
                  has a price tag of "only" $AUD 99.95(oops theres' even a price offer
                  as low as $AUD 89!)* which is a bargain if it has the same or similar
                  promise as the ifp iRiver 700 series.(It's not German despite the name!)

                  But in regard to the HiMD format and its issues, the latest version of
                  SonicStage software has just been released (my MD came with 2.1)--

                  SonicStage 4.0 CP Full Installer --

                  and it's available here for download:

                  http://forums.minidisc.org/index.php?showtopic=17506

                  I haven't had any problems with it in the way some contributors have
                  suggested. Transfer is one click (and quite fast given that I was
                  shifting 8 hours of audio to my pc) so too was conversion. AND the
                  files stayed on the MD player after transfer so I got transfer to the
                  pc and the media archived if I want on an MD disc so that I don't have
                  to store these files on my computer.

                  As I've said here before, the iRiver ifp software drove me crazy on my
                  XP driven pc(& I could not make the software stable on this computer)
                  and I now have to use another computer on my domestic network to
                  upload the audio then transfer it across to this computer(where I
                  edit) via the network. Sonic Stage was a total easy breeze in comparison.

                  The other feature that drew me to the MD is that I do community radio
                  and most community radio stations in Australia are MD dependent as so
                  few are computerised.It is, along with CDs, the standard radio sharing
                  format.And since my podcasts are often broadcast on radio the mp3
                  format has a limited utility in way of sharing. So I can now edit
                  media and convert/save it to MD for later radio use.

                  dave riley


                  *On the Funtwist
                  http://www.vanquish.com.au/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=31&products_id=396
                • dave_r_riley
                  ... I grant that point,it is in fact the MAIN issue: cost/price range. But I purchased my MZ NH700 for $AUD 200 which is the same price of the iRiver ifp 700
                  Message 8 of 10 , Nov 7, 2006
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                    --- In podcasters@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Eley" <SFEley@...> wrote:

                    >
                    > The MZ-RH1 also runs from $300 to $350 according to Froogle, so
                    > comparing it to the iRiver 7xx series is rather unfair.

                    I grant that point,it is in fact the MAIN issue: cost/price range. But
                    I purchased my MZ NH700 for $AUD 200 which is the same price of the
                    iRiver ifp 700 (assuming I could locate another one). (I missed an
                    earlier price of $AUD 175 across the counter as each time a new MD
                    unit comes out the prices of the old stock falls (The MZ-RH1 release,
                    nonetheless, sold out across in Australia in less than a month!Sony
                    Aust had to quickly reorder to meet demand... And Australians are
                    thought to have rejected the mini disc and it was supposed not to have
                    "taken off" here!)

                    The latest HiMD here -- MZ-RH1--retails at about $AUD 500 plus. The
                    Edirols come in at $AUD 850. But as I suggested this new Mp3
                    player/rec on the block --
                    FUNTWIST D-CHORD 240 128MB (ORANGE) USB 2.0/MP3/FM/VOICE/SD+MMC --
                    has a price tag of "only" $AUD 99.95(oops theres' even a price offer
                    as low as $AUD 89!)* which is a bargain if it has the same or similar
                    promise as the ifp iRiver 700 series.(It's not German despite the name!)

                    But in regard to the HiMD format and its issues, the latest version of
                    SonicStage software has just been released (my MD came with 2.1)--

                    SonicStage 4.0 CP Full Installer --

                    and it's available here for download:

                    http://forums.minidisc.org/index.php?showtopic=17506

                    I haven't had any problems with it in the way some contributors have
                    suggested. Transfer is one click (and quite fast given that I was
                    shifting 8 hours of audio to my pc) so too was conversion. AND the
                    files stayed on the MD player after transfer so I got transfer to the
                    pc and the media archived if I want on an MD disc so that I don't have
                    to store these files on my computer.

                    As I've said here before, the iRiver ifp software drove me crazy on my
                    XP driven pc(& I could not make the software stable on this computer)
                    and I now have to use another computer on my domestic network to
                    upload the audio then transfer it across to this computer(where I
                    edit) via the network. Sonic Stage was a total easy breeze in comparison.

                    The other feature that drew me to the MD is that I do community radio
                    and most community radio stations in Australia are MD dependent as so
                    few are computerised.It is, along with CDs, the standard radio sharing
                    format.And since my podcasts are often broadcast on radio the mp3
                    format has a limited utility in way of sharing. So I can now edit
                    media and convert/save it to MD for later radio use.

                    dave riley


                    *On the Funtwist
                    http://www.vanquish.com.au/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=31&products_id=396
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