July 20, 2002
Initial review: Sony MZ-N1 NetMD

Initial review and lessons learnt derived from my initial experiences with the Sony MZ-N1:

  • Ripping music: It doesn't help with a funky PC, 580+ Mb of RAM etc -- if you don't enable the following (in Windows 2000) option for your CD-ROM, you'll forever be listening to initial noises on your rips:

    (Right-click the CD-ROM drive in Windows Explorer) -> Properties -> Hardware -> (Select the CD-ROM drive) -> Properties -> Properties -> Check the box marked "Enable digital CD audio for this CD-ROM drive".

    That was intuitive, wasn't it? Thanks to Lars for figuring it out!

  • Sound quality: the LP2-mode, enabling storing approximately twice the normal amount of music on a minidisc has more than good enough quality for everyday use. I was able to convert 3 CDs worth of music on to an 80 min disc in 132kbps (LP2) quality. Very nice.

  • Overall / Review: Yep. It's small. And it's cool. And sleek. The Sony NetMD concept may very well be the hybrid technology that gets MiniDisc back in the spotlight: it offers (very much) cheaper storage media compared to additional Memory Sticks (or alternatives) for MP3-players. Also, the backwards compatibility to other Minidisc players (also available for cars and home stereo systems) may be attractive for many. Last but not least - convenience. Minidisc used to be all about music enthousiasts painstakingly copying one CD at a time; then "typing" CD and track titles manually. Sony NetMD / OpenMG offers a CDDB connection which enables you to get names/track titles straight off the Internet when copying music. Very convenient...

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I have fond memories of my first personal stereo. I got it as a present from my parents in about 1985. It was a brick of a machine. I think it was a Sharp. It had a shoulder strap rather than a belt strap, and it was my faithful companion on my ...


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