Wednesday, January 12, 2005

An Extensive Review of the Sony MZ-NH1 MiniDisc Recorder

There is an extensive review of the Sony MZ-NH1 over at Epinions by one "MediaGeek." It's pretty thorough and should be checked out if you're in the market for Sony's top-of-the-line MiniDisc recorder.

A few comments:
But my biggest peeve with the base is that it doesn't have a connection for the USB. So you have to take the unit out of the base to use it with the PC, which I think is just dumb, especially considering how if you leave your MZ-NH1 idly plugged into your PC you can deplete your battery without meaning to. I can't see any reason why Sony couldn't make the base include power and USB.
That's not just dumb, that's retarded. I own a Sony MZ-N1 (the prior top-of-the-line recording in the NetMD era) and it had the USB connection and the power connected to the stand.
My understanding is that minidisc sales actually increased dramatically in the US when Sony introduced MDLP and the ability to download PC audio--mostly MP3s--to minidisc. I believe that, and it is a nice feature. However, up until recently, the software that Sony supplied to do this with was pretty miserable and unintuitive.
Correction: the software still is pretty miserable and unintuitive.
It's faster and makes more sense. Though it's not nearly as elegant as iTunes, it is at least as good as a MusicMatch Jukebox, if not better.
Although I've had my recent problems with MusicMatch, it's not even close to matching MM's functionality and ease-of-use.
If you're not crazy about SonicStage you can also use Real Player to download music to your MZ-NH1.
Not as far as I know. Real had a driver that worked with the NetMD models, but from my experience with my MZ-NHF800 Real doesn't even "see" the unit. I've hunted for updated drivers at Real's site but I didn't find any.

Regarding uploading recorded audio, the reviewer notes:
Transfer times are not super speedy, since Hi-MD is still only USB 1.1, and depend on what mode you recorded in. If you recorded in uncompressed PCM, then a full hour of audio is 650 MB, which takes a while to transfer by USB, but not quite a hour.
I just recorded my first sermon for my church using the NHF800. The recorded audio was about 45 minutes, and I believe I recorded it in Hi-SP. I could have sworn it only took about 5 minutes to upload into the computer. The conversion process from ATRAC to WAV (using the downloadable tool provided by Sony) took even less time. I'll have to pay better attention next week when I repeat the process.

Overall it's an excellent review from a person that has experience with MiniDisc. The reviewer also comes to good conclusions regarding the whole iPod vs. MiniDisc issue. I can't help but consider that with the ubiquity of the iPod Sony is perhaps out-geeking Apple with the MiniDisc format.

No comments: