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Thursday, June 29, 2006

A review of the Sony MZ RH1

  • Direct link to the mp3
  • notes
    • OS X Universal Binary Audio Apps
      • Sound Studio, Wav Editor very slow on dual core mini - ways to go on these apps
      • Soundtrack Pro very fast and Bias Peak Pro 5.2 available as Universal binary/Intel macs
    • Freesound project
    • MZ RH1 comapred to MZ M10
      • Retail $299
      • UI and physical improvements
        • Smaller actually much thinner than the MZ M10 almost half as thin
        • LCD Display is now on the side and is nice an bright
        • UI for playback improved switch on side that moves up and down to move back and forth between tracks and press in to listen to a track. On the MZ M10 I had a hard time finding tracks on the MZ M10
        • UI on the unit is much improved there just seem to be fewer options and fewer menu options
        • Recording UI much better slide the record button to the right and you are recordings. MZ M10 you have to push record and puase and then pause again. Took me 30 minutes to figure this out the first time. After that it was ok, but I found that when I hand this off for others to use there is about a 50/50 chance they can't get it right.
        • Time mark off by default. Time mark divides recrdings into files at chosen time intervals - can be a pain. Once accidentally turned it on and go recodings at 5 second intervals. Better defaults
      • Can use previous generation MD discs (not hi MD) and upload over usb previous generations could not and these recording had to put be played via line out and caputred by an audio interface in real time. I don't have any pre HiMD minidisc units but for those who do this is a nice feature
      • Mac support for atrac recordings. MZ M10 had support for downloading PCM wav recordings but not atrac. Now atrac recordings are compressed on the fly to allow you to fit more data on a disc. According to Doug Kaye, these atrac recording hold up better than mp3s when converted to wav. On the Mac the Hi-MD importer app simply lists all the recordings an allows drap and drop to your Desktop or other folder. Recordings are converted to wav format on the fly and are available for use in any audio app that supporsts wav (just about all of them). This should allow Mac users to download atrac recordings made on an MZ m10 and other previous models. Will report back on this
      • This podcast was recorded in Hii SP mode 256 kbps bitrate and converted on the mac.
      • Mac vs PC. PC users can continue to use Sound Stage from Sony, which in my opinion has one of the worst user interfaces arounds. I used it with the MZ M10 and had a hard time making playlists and copying files. Wish I could have the mac app on the PC
      • Claims better sounding mp3 playback. No playlist support. I don't ever plan to use it as an mp3 player. Maybe as good a player as an iPod shuffle. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems very limited
      • Sony could have owned the mp3 player market
      • Recording - PCM wav mode 90 minutes, Hi-SP (256 kbps atrac) 2 hours 20 minutes, HiLP 10 hours
      • Power adapter much smaller than in the MZ M10
      • Pouch to put it all in
      • Other good features that make minidiscs popular - automatic gain control, ultra-portable, ablility to plug in to a sound board (and power outlet), walk away and get 10 hours of high quality audio (at a conference for example)


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