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Minidisc recorder
Old 24th April 2003
  #1
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Saucyjack's Avatar
 

Minidisc recorder

I've been thinking of getting a portable MD recorder to do some field recordings and maybe some down and dirty live stuff...definitely want model with Mic input
Any recommendations on specific models?
Old 25th April 2003
  #2
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Roland's Avatar
I have used several minidiscs over the years, and I have a very good engineering friend that uses them for demo concert recordings, both of us use the Sharps.

Sharp have consistantly produced many very fine minidisc recorders and seem to have carved themselves out a very good reputation. I would of course also recommend checking out the equivalent Sony models. The models change regularly so as I haven't bought one recently I can't help you there.


Regards


Roland
Old 25th April 2003
  #3
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dfegad minidisk, feh.

It's your money and your audio- personally, I would rather use a cassette than a minidisk. I admit there is a certain convenience factor to them but the sound just rubs me the wrong way.
Old 25th April 2003
  #4
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by joeq
dfegad minidisk, feh.

It's your money and your audio- personally, I would rather use a cassette than a minidisk. I admit there is a certain convenience factor to them but the sound just rubs me the wrong way.
Where as I would be the first to agree that minidiscs are not the best format, before you decry them that much go listen to some of the samples here

http://www.skeetmusic.com

I know Mike very well and some of the stuff he records is truly remarkable quality, even if it was recorded on minidisc.

Regards


Roland
Old 25th April 2003
  #5
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Saucyjack's Avatar
 

jo,
have you ever compared a portable MD player to a portable cassette(or even a 4track cassette)?If not go try,use your ears and get back to us.
I will conceed that MD has it's limitations but as a small super portable field/live recorder it has few peers.
Old 26th April 2003
  #6
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matucha's Avatar
I have old JVC and I use it together with AKG C1000, nothing special, but it is funny to hear comments of non-audio friends like, ohh this is so realistic ;-). I use it just for fun and cut some samples of it and use it in my music... hey who cares it is grainy and harsh? Little EQ and some FX... just works. But I'd never use it for something that should be stunning quality.

However the weakest point of these machines are built in preamps... and I gona use it when you have MD as ultra portable solution...
Old 26th April 2003
  #7
Gear Guru
 

Well maybe it's just me, but I really am bothered by the sound of Minidisk.

I once borrowed a minidisk to check out its usefulness as a recorder for band rehearsals.

I liked the convenience of the non linear nature of the storage - the fact that you could delete a track and not have a long silence in there for example, but the sound of it just grated on me. "Grainy" is too kind- it sounded "sliced" to me.

I have used them here and there over the years and just never liked the sound.

A cassette may be dull and hissy but those problems don't annoy me in the same way.

Roland- I listened to a few tracks on your friend's site and I must admit they sounded pretty good, (especially taking into account the fact that they are mp3s- yet another level of compression.) If they were recorded on minidisk then I am really impressed. There is, however, no mention of Minidisk anywhere on the site.
Old 26th April 2003
  #8
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littledog's Avatar
 

joeq,

from your posts we don't know what minidisc you were using or how old it was. minidiscs are similar to digital cameras - they are a young technology that is improving rapidly with each generation, especially in terms of improved implementation of the data compression.

the reliability and road-ruggedness of minidiscs compared to DAT machines is one reason why many respected field recording engineers use them for very remote location recording (like recording monks in Tibetan villages), in spite of the small sonic quality hit you get as opposed to using DAT. The main thing is, when you are up in the Himalayas having something you know will work is even more important than optimal sound. They do, of course, tend to use outboard preamps with them (so perhaps that was part of your problem).

However, I don't know anyone who would even consider using cassettes as an option. The sound hit you take there is just too great...

But if cassettes give you the sound you like, who can argue?

(Hissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss)
Old 26th April 2003
  #9
Gear Guru
 

I guess I was not clear about how my application affects my opinion: I am not trying to extol the virtues of cassettes.

I would never use a cassette OR a mini disk for anything other than a rehearsal tape or some equally throw-away purpose. Just something to bring home so I can memorize that new ending. For that kind of use, I find the cassette less unpleasant to listen to. Not more pleasant- just less unpleasant.

I certainly would not bother dragging a cassette up the the Himalayas, but if all I could bring back was a mini disk recording I think would also stay home.

Perhaps as you guys say, I just haven't met the right minidisk yet. I really don't recall what brands/models I heard, but the most recent one was fairly new about a year ago. I thought it sounded weird and unnatural. I guess I just don't consider the Sonic Hit going from DAT to mini disk to be "small"

The digital camera analogy only works so far: Compression schemes may indeed be getting better in minidisks, but isn't it still compressing to the same size data file? Digital Cameras have been doubling their actual resolution every year as well as improving their compression.

Speaking of cameras, you can get a mini-DV camera for under $400 these days. Almost all of them come with 48k/16 bit uncompressed audio. Cheaper than a DAT and you can record a movie to go with your audio...
Old 26th April 2003
  #10
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by joeq
Roland- I listened to a few tracks on your friend's site and I must admit they sounded pretty good, (especially taking into account the fact that they are mp3s- yet another level of compression.) If they were recorded on minidisk then I am really impressed. There is, however, no mention of Minidisk anywhere on the site.
Most if not all of the binaural stuff is minidisc and some of the other stuff will be too! The steamtrains is a classic example.

If you ever read audio media magazine Mike is a regular reviewer for them. I also have done numerous sessions with Mike, and "yes" on some of those we have used minidisc. What I would say, is properly handled, like anything else, minidisc is capable of stunning results. I have heard many 24bit 96khz recordings that have sounded inferior to things that Mike has recorded on £100 portable Sharps. Its not the kit, its how you use it even in this day and age.

Sure plenty of times I have heard things recorded on Minidisc that didn't sound good, sounding compressed, dull, lacking in detail, but I respectfully suggest that is more down to how the medium has been used. I think the samples you heard prove my point. For outside location work, I still think that the minidisc is an excellent, cheap solution.

Regards



Roland
Old 28th April 2003
  #11
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kosi's Avatar
Don't buy a Sony !tutt
I had three portables and they all broke after pretty short time. The last one had the funkiest fault: When you pressed record, it erased the whole disk immeadiateley !

Anyway, my experience. But I would go for a model without built in Mic, cause then you can change to different mics. I used some mics, that you can put in your ears and wear them like headphones. Very good for concerts to keep your hands free (waving, drink beer etc.) while the recorder sits in your pocket.
Or you take a simple SM57 or whatever.

The first generation of Minidiscs sounded awful, but since (I think) 1998, they used a better technologie and the quality is very good !

cheers, kosi
Old 6th May 2003
  #12
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Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

I've been amazed by the "clarity" of minidisc recordings made by people who I know have no clue and the cheapest of mini mics. The usual issues with ambience and mic placement don't seem to come up. Neither do a lot of the good things, but they do seem idiot-proof (barring clipping) to a remarkable extent. Quite an amazing documentary tool. Everything becomes tidy little grainy digital mice, but you can really tell what's going on.

A band called "Om Trio" has all their albums recorded to minidisc. I'm sure the mics are nothing special. It's all instrumental, funky nasty keys sounds and that, and it's pretty damn presentable. I could easily make a worse recording with a lot of nice gear, or with some effort and knowledge make a much, much better one.
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