Portable Audio Recommendations.. MP3? CD? MD? *Kinda Long*

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by NickSo, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Hi, I'm thinking of getting a new method of carrying my music. i currently have a Sony CDWalkman with G-protection, and it has served me well. But lately its been having a few small problems (random skipping mainly, even when sitting still). I mostly listen to mixes i create on my computer, so my computer is my main source of music.

    Another reason i wanna get something else is because i have a slow 4x4x24x burner, and im too lazy to wait for a CD to burn. I just wanna transfer the music, and go.

    At first i was thinking MiniDisc player that connects to my computer, because of its portablitiy, its cheap (compared to MP3 memory cards) media, and its play time (with LP2 or LP4).

    I was looking at the $250CAD Sony MZ-N505. Sure its cheap, and im sacrificing some build quality for the price. But then another member warned me about the player in another thread (I use the earcup headphones, and not earbuds. The ones i have require some more juice to power them at a higher level. the amp in this player im told is very weak), and im back to square one.

    I could go for the older MD players, but they dont have Computer connectivity, and i'd hate to spent all my time dubbing my CDs/MP3s over to the MD player, starting, and stopping at the right time.

    MP3 players are a possibiity, but all of them seem very cheap and flimsy. Plus the memory cards are expensive.
    For MP3-CD players, they're either too expensive (Sony, Panasonic), or again, too bulky (Rio), and flimsy. Though MP3 players are the ultimate in portability.

    Or for CD, i could buy a new burner. This could be a good solution, but then my CD player isnt the greatest. How fast will it take to burn a whole CD with a 32x burner?

    Features that are important to me (in order):
    1. PRICE! (Im thinking under $300CAD, or $200 USD)
    2. Time Consumption (to transfer music from computer)
    3. Media (price, length, and rewritablility)
    4. Battery Life
    5. Portablility
    6. Audio Quality

    Thanks
     
  2. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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  3. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Im not totally sure of the method how you record/edit tracks on Minidiscs... But doesnt it record in real time? like if the song is 5 minutes long itll take 5 minutes to record? Maybe ill borrow my friends and see how it is...
     
  4. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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    well, from looking at the specs, it appears you can record from your computer via usb port at up to 32x speed with lp4, 16x with lp2, and 4x with sp. the mz-n505 also appears to offer the same capability as well. here is an excerpt from the minidisco site regarding the units:
    • NetMD is the next generation in MiniDisc technology. It further expands the MiniDisc format by allowing direct PC-to-MD “drag and drop” transfers through a USB connection— at faster than real time speeds. Using your computer, you can transfer audio files (MP3s, WAV files, etc.), title and edit your MiniDisc tracks, rip CDs, and (hopefully) more!
    • NetMD-enabled MiniDisc recorders have a USB port built into either the unit itself or its accompanying charging cradle. Using the OpenMG Jukebox software you can perform high-speed transfer and editing functions directly on your computer screen
    • NetMD interface converts digital audio files into ATRAC or ATRAC3, so you can play MDs recorded with netMD on other MiniDisc units. Remember that ATRAC3 is MiniDisc Long Play compression, so you can only play back ATRAC3 recordings on MDLP-enabled MiniDisc units.
    • Transfer speeds are as follows: 4 times high speed transfer on Standard ATRAC; 16 times high speed transfer in LP2 mode; 32 times high speed transfer in LP4 mode. That means that you can transfer over 5 hours of audio in just 10 minutes!
    check out this article for a discussion on the relative sound quality of lp2/lp4.
    kevin t
     
  5. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    MiniDisc is easily the best "walk-around/run-around" portable music solution out there. Remember the discs cost $2 each at Best Buy, that's 74/80 minutes of CD quality music or something like twice that MP3 quality. You can record some favorite mixes onto about 10 MDs, the initial record will take some time, but once you've got your "portable library" you just pick up a disc and go. Easy as pie. Plus you can record (real time of course) direct from your DVD player's digital out if you want to just throw a song or two on.
    Editing the disc, deleting songs, rearranging songs, etc. is incredibly easy and convenient. Delete one or two songs and then record new ones and then put them in any order on the disc. Infinitely more flexible than CD-R/W.
    MP3 is cool also, but much more expensive for a large portable library. Plus you'll have to attach to the computer and rewdownload every time you want to change your songs. WIth MD you just bring along a couple of spare discs.
    www.minidisco.com is a great place to go to buy gear and discs. www.minidisc.org is great for information about the format. I've had lots of problems with reliability of Sony MiniDisc home decks, but not a single problem with a portable. Most of the people I know with MD (about 4-5 of us) have similar results.
    Another nice thing about MD is that with a cheap mic you can record live. Great for school lectures or business meetings. Add a good mic and you've got instant hifi digital live recording.
     
  6. Glenn

    Glenn Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Nick,
    >>Features that are important to me (in order):
    1. PRICE! (Im thinking under $300CAD, or $200 USD)
    2. Time Consumption (to transfer music from computer)
    3. Media (price, length, and rewritablility)
    4. Battery Life
    5. Portablility
    6. Audio Quality
    I think one good solution would be to buy a new CD Burner, Lite-On is a good possibility, and a new portable CD/MP3 player, such as the RioVolt™ SP90.
    The Lite On 40X12X48 CDRW Model: RTL40125S-Retail can be bought on www.newegg.com for $66 with free shipping. It is plenty fast enough, or if you must you could buy the faster Lite On 48x12x48 CDRW Model LTR-48125W Retail for $88.
    The RioVolt SP90 can be bought online or at some retail dealers. It can be bought for around $85 and I think they have a $20 rebate going on now as well. This unit along with other similar models will play regular CDs and CDs with MP3 files on them. Thus if you want to you can have about 20 hours of music on one CD in MP3 format.
    If you wanted to upgrade portable CD players you could get the RioVolt SP250 which adds a FM tuner for about $145 or so.
    I think those options would fit your featuers and wants. The RioVolt prices that I have came from www.amazon.com.
    Total price would be under $200 US. Music transfers are fast. Blank CDs can be bought for a song and dance, almost nothing. Battery life is very good. CD Portablility is good, thought not the best, but you are already used to the CD option. Audio quality is the best and if you are willing to go with lower quality you can record MP3s and have almost unlimited music on 2 or 3 discs.
    You could also go the Minidisc option. It is a unique option that is great for some people. I have minidiscs and for portable recording and editing it cannot be beat for the low price. However I think the biggest downfall for minidisc for lots of people is that it is adding another format into their busy lives and it is not compatible with most of the people around them. That plus most people simply don't have much knowledge of minidiscs.
    Good luck,
    Glenn
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Nick, I would go with minidisc for portable use. Of course, portable minidisc players are smaller than portable CD players. Also, minidisc is typically less prone to skipping than is CD. Furthermore, I feel mindisc sounds better than MP3 at lower compression rates.

    If you went with minidisc, would you get a home deck? The reason I ask, is that if you were to make new mixes on minidiscs, you wouldn't be able to play them at home easily. I suppose you could connect the portable unit to your home system, but I don't know how good the portables are. In any event, a new portable CD player might be the better choice if playback at home is of interest.

    For a good selection of portable minidisc players, I would check OneCall, J&R Music World, and Crutchfield. Do any the retailers in Canada like Future Shop or A&B Sound have anything?
     
  8. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Thanks for the replies guys...
    I really wanna get into minidisc, but im still skeptical on transferring music to it.
    I was planning of getting the 505 with NetMD, but after hearing complaints about it, ive changed my mind.
    I could get the older MD players without NetMD, but itll still take a LONG time to transfer the music from my computer to MD.
    If I wanted to hook it up to my home deck, ill probably just hook it up to the line out and then to my amp.
    Futureshop and A&B sound have the basic SONY MD players (MZ-N505, 707's and more expensive ones).
    Im probably not gonna spend money on a new MP3-CD player... I'd rather invest it on a new burner if i went with the CD route. I've seen the iRiver SlimX before, it looks pretty impressive from reviews and stuff. But like i said before, i'd presonally rather buy a new burner and keep my CD player.
    Thanks guys, keep 'em coming... Ill orobably ask my friend for a 'demo' of his MD player [​IMG]
     
  9. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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  10. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I think he meant that if i didnt have a home MD Deck... Its okay though, i can just hook it up via the line out...
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Nick, that's exactly what I meant. Obviously, if you buy a new portable CD player and continue to make mixes onto CD-Rs for portable use, you will be able to use the CD-Rs at home. However, if you don't have a home minidisc deck, you might find going with a portable minidisc player limiting. I know you can connect portable minidisc players to home audio systems, but they are not as convenient as using a home deck. You won't have a long-range remote or easy-to-read display with a portable unit. I also question the sound quality of portable units when compared to home decks.
     
  12. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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    maybe i misunderstood him. i thought he was saying that if you bought a portable (say, mz-n505) and later decided to buy a home deck, the md's you made on the 505 would be incompatible on the home deck...which according to all that i've read isn't true. i apologize to keith if i misquoted him.

    kevin t
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    In my experience portable units sound fine connected to hifi gear. I've done it many times.

    I would -highly- recommend a netMD unit though. Where have you read of trouble with them?
     
  14. hwshi

    hwshi Stunt Coordinator

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    hi nick, i will also jump in here and say get a md. player.i jumped in 5 years ago and have had no regrets.practically never skip,i.e.jogging,working out,riding a bike...VERY portable,cool factor,sound quality....i ended up installing a car deck and a home unit(mostly for editing ease and text input).i do not connect to my mac through net md but simple mini plug so can't comment on netmd.
    however as someone who travels a lot there are other bonuses- outside of north america it is a very popular format.like someones mix md,plug in a mini plug or toslink to each player and record their md. into djs',ask them to plug in a md to there boartd and get a copy of their set(10-20$) usually helps.as someone else mentioned plug in a mic. and get a digital recording of whatever it is you are recording....
    if you have freinds or relatives in asia get them to pick you up blanks(dirt cheap over there).
    i could go on...
     
  15. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    I went from an MD player to an iPod. I know they are a bit expensive, but now the 5 gig unit is $299, and they also make them for Windows PCs. I would say increase your price range by $100, it would be worth it. If you factor in the cost of the MD media (cheap, I know, but you are going to spend at least $20 or more on it), you are not looking at a huge difference. The iPod is just amazing! I use it on my commute (subway) every day, and on all my car trips. I can also plug it into my stereo if I want. It's perfect.
     
  16. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Philip Hamm: The SONY RANT in After Hours said that it was flimsy with a weak amp:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...ight=Sony+rant
    Though yesterday i DID go over to futureshop and the salesperson was nice enogh to go to his car and lemme demo the MD player. I wasnt as dissapointed though. It gave good volume, but only when cranked up to the MAX level 30 with my Sony 'DJ' style earcups. (on my Discman, where i'd normally listen to 4 with earbuds, i listen to 7.5 or so on the phones, with about 2.5 more volume 'headroom').
    For the price, it does provide adequate volume, but like i said, only at max levels.
    HWSHI: Yeah, my friend has an aunt in HK, she got him this like super expenisve MD Player (not NetMD though). How cheap are MD's overseas? I havent checked the big name electronics stores, but at one place, they had $3 a disc ($15 for 5 discs, $30 for 10), which isnt bad considering they're rewritable, and they hold more music...
     
  17. hwshi

    hwshi Stunt Coordinator

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    hey nick, i usually travel to south east asia every winter and go nuts on mini discs.usually get whatever is on sale and from a reputable brand. usually works out to 1-2$ canadian a disc.i buy in 10-20 pack bundles. this past winter i was in hong kong for a couple of days and went up and down an electonics store street and just looked for the best deals in each one and stocked up.might want to consider getting someone to buy you one out there as the models available are unbelievable and quite a bit cheaper than here.although there are the odd specials on portables here that even out the prices.and if it's a model that uses a different voltage than here just get a universal charger they sell out there or here.it's worth it as it fully charges a batterry in less than 3 hrs. and works anywhere.
    and i also use ear cup headphones and have no problem blowing out my drums with my sony mz-r91.granted that was the top of the line sony md about 4 years back. got it in tokyo for 300ish canadian meanwhile wqhen it finally made it here it was retailing at 540$.
    good luck,
    hwshi
     
  18. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Im thinking it over, I've narrowed it down to either an MP3CD Player, or MiniDisc player.
    I have like 12 CDs full of MP3s from the past years, and using my MP3CD Player would really put those to use.
    Well, payday isnt for awhile, so i got time [​IMG]
     
  19. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks for the minidisco website. i've been looking for some md cases for some time. just ordered a few...but their shipping charges are out of control...almost eight bucks? WTF? [​IMG]
     

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