Minidisc fetish item - Sharp MD-DS8 player with Dolby Headphone

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael St. Clair, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. Michael St. Clair

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    I did something I thought I would never do. I bought an import Minidisc player.
    Why? Because I love Dolby Headphone. With regular headphone audio, I can only listen for a half hour or so before I get mental fatigue from the audio coming from 'inside' my head. Adding a crossfeed circuit like on the Headroom amps (sound is still in your head, but the soundstage is smoother) lets me increase that to a couple of hours. But with Dolby Headphone, I can listen all day. DH is a virtualizer circuit (the first good one - I've listened to many) that makes the music sound as if it is coming from a pair of speakers a few feet or more in front of your head. If you want to try stereo DH, check out the MusicMatch plugin.
    Anyhow, the player. This thing is SMALL. Stack 2 Minidiscs together (in their sleeves). That's how big it is. The housing is brushed aluminum (on the grey model) on both sides, and it weighs less than 100 grams with gumstick battery. Battery life on LP4 with the gumstick and the extra AA attachment is supposedly 180 hours. But other modes eat more power, and DH doubles the power consumption.
    A couple of criticisms:
    1) DH must be controlled with the remote. But if you get it set the way you want, you can remove the remote and it will stay set that way for days, probably indefinitely if you don't let it go for too long with no battery or power.
    2) The battery door is flimsy. This is a complaint of most/all of these tiny players with gumstick batteries. The best thing is probably to always charge the gumstick in the player with the cradle, and don't constantly open/close the door. Too bad, because it would be nice to carry extra pre-charged gumstick batteries, but I can't recommend swapping them out on a regular basis.
    3) More than enough power for extremely efficient headphones (Koss KSC-35, Grado SR-60, etc), but don't think you can plug in some Sennheiser HD580s or some Beyerdynamics. Too bad there is no 'high power' mode that trades off battery life for headphone power. This is the general state of the industry, manufacturers battling over battery life without addressing more diverse power needs.
    But the DH lets me listen for hours. And that's why I got it. I'm a happy camper. For me, DH is where it is at.
    This is also the first player with a 1-bit digital amp. Hey, it sounds great to me (better than my MZ-R700), but I haven't heard a lot of players. And it has a 4-pole (isolated ground for each channel) ability for special headphones, but I've got to stick with my existing, quality 3-pole portable headphones for now (the MD-DS8 can handle them without harm, but this might be costing me more battery life).
    The one and only MD-DS8
    The only other 2 players with DH:
    The ugly-assed MD-ST800
    The stylish MD-ST880
    I got drawn in the the 1-bit digital amp hype (and I knew it); I'd love to know how the 880 sounds...the remote is cool, and the housing is nice. Battery life is a little shorter.
    If Minidisc sticks around in the US for another year or so, I think we'll see a recorder/player with DH. And I'll never switch to another portable format (like MP3) until they have DH (and address other needs, like battery life and weight, but that's another story).
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Michael, thanks for the review, that MD player looks incredibly cool to me!!! Much cooler than my big honkin' MZ-E40 (still going strong after all these years).
     
  3. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    [​IMG] It kind'a looks like a electric shaver sitting in it's little craddle. It's smarter looking than my little blue Sony MZ-R90! Best wishes!
     
  4. Allan_Lim

    Allan_Lim Agent

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    Michael would you mind sharing where you bought this player from?

    Sounds very interesting.
     
  5. Michael St. Clair

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