40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2004
For many reasons this device will quickly rank next to your mobile phone in terms of essentials to life.
When I got mine, the first thing I did was to start recording CD's in HI-SP in fear that "64kps" equated to something similar to 96kps in Mp3 format (i.e. sounds like the radio). After having put 6 CD's on a disc and fallen in love with the device for how quick and naturally easy to use it was, I looked into the audio compression some more... Then promptly re-recorded my CD's in ATRAC3plus 64kps (HI-LP) - amazingly it's the equivalent of mp3 128kps.
Anyone who says different is either imagining noise or lying, here's a link that further explains the proof that HI-LP (ATRAC3plus 64kps) is equal in quality to MP3 128kps. [...]
I recorded a hardcore track, a rock track and a jazz track all in both HI-SP and HI-LP onto mine, you could flick back and forth all day long and without looking you'd never know which copy was playing
Therefore expect to easily record tens of albums on a single 1Gb minidisc (one comes included which is really handy). 34 Albums is totally realistic at HI-LP. You really can reserve HI-SP for recording studio work or anything else where only the very highest quality recording is required.
Having heard a few stories about NetMD's software I wasn't sure what to expect from SonicStage / MD Burner. But upon installing it I know one thing, it's amazing!
It works how you'd expect it to work, let's you do all the things you need to do - and then some more, like control the entire MD from your PC.
I personally like to use SonicStage for controlling my MD, like when I want to reorder the albums on a disc, or copy mp3's over to my MD. For copying CD's I find MD Burner brilliant, just put in the CD and it's detected, gets all the track info and then asks if you'd like to copy the CD to your MD player.
Copying a complete CD/album takes approx 3-4 minutes, but will be dependant on how fast your PC is etc. I know that you couldn't rip an album into Mp3 and copy it to a device in 4 minutes so on that basis you'll be stunned how quick SonicStage & MD Burner move data to your device.
2.0 of SonicStage is bundled with the device, but there is a 2.3 version available - other then a GUI colour change I haven't seen a massive difference between the two.
SPARE HARD DISK(s)
Plug your minidisk in and it instantly becomes an external hard disk drive. I used to use flash disks to move data round, now I just my minidisk. Think about it a 256Mb flash disk will set you back at least £20-30, a 1Gb minidisk costs around a fiver or less...... and you can have say 15 albums on a disc and still have hundreds of megabytes spare for moving your work round.
COMPARED TO iPOD
The MZ-NH900 is lighter then the 20Gb and 40Gb models of iPod. The minidisc has infinite capacity, if you fill one disc you only need to get another. But strangely the most useful feature for many people might be the Mic-In socket, just take it to a lecture or important meeting and hit record - even a disc with 20+ albums on can record hours of whatever you need recording. This is where iPods fall flat on flexibility, they have no Mic-In and for the student type or busy person with lots of meetings this facility is more essential then you might think.
iPod's also lack an optical input, the MZ-NH900 not only has an optical input but also comes with a free optical cable. For recording from a digital source "the right way".
Battery life is everything, what's the good in having 15,000 tracks if you can only listen to 8 hours of them? Again while iPod's is rated at 8-15 (so expect 8), this minidisc is rated at 23 hours and easily gets 15 from what I've used it for so far. The battery is easily rechargeable - but when it does eventually die it's also easily replaceable (remember the early iPod disaster with non-replaceable batteries!).
OTHER GREAT FEATURES
Digital Speed Control (+100% to -50%), this allows for a tracks speed to be changed without adjusting pitch. For any DJ that wants to mix in the odd track from CD this will save you a few hundred quid.
The configurable EQ is the other great feature; it has lots of pre-sets including virtual surround sound settings, but also lets you adjust the 6 bands manually to your own desire. Again it's the sort of feature that at first you don't use but over time come to love and wonder how you'd live without.
And finally, backwards compatibility, if like me you were an early adopter of minidisk all those old discs don't have to be chucked out - even better Hi-MD can double there capacity! This means you can get multiple albums even on plain 80min discs that are sold everywhere.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
With the increased popularity of MP3 players, in particular the i-pod, minidisc players looked set to be doomed to the pages of history.
However, Sony have come back with the new HI-MD player, capable of playing higher quality music at lower compression rates, and of course utilising the new 1GB discs which can store up to 45 hours of music.
With Sony's new ATRC3plus compression method you can have high quality recordings (at 256Kbps) lasting nearly 8 hours.
The next recording level is HI-LP which uses a compression rate of 64Kbps. This may seem like a big drop down in quality, but with ATRC3plus's advanced compression methods, it is comparable to MP3 at 128Kbps. HI-LP is more than adequate for mobile listening, on the train, bus etc. The difference in quality is noticeable, but really not a problem.
On top of this, you can also convert your music to regular ATRAC3, which allows for compression rates of 132Kbps, for those of you who want something in between.
The biggest advantage the HI-MD player has over MP3 players is it's ability to record continuously with track marks. This is particularly important for mixed albums or the recording of a continuous source where track marks are required. There is no gap between tracks, whether they music is taken from a CD or whether the tracks are added after the recording of an external source.
Add to this the ability to use the player as a USB storage device, the ability to convert all recordings to whatever format you wish using your PC (using Sony's new FREE WAV converter tool) meaning you can then make your own MP3's, CD's etc. The long battery life (better than most MP3 players) and the ability to re-use those old minidiscs while still doubling their capacity.
The new HI-MD players are really an excellent buy, I can't recommend them enough!
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2004
Has been played with continuously since it arrived and basically its dead, dead good. Very difficult to fault, even when comparing to the likes of an iPod. Can the iPod also record at CD quality from just about anywhere? Can the iPod also be used as a portable windows disk drive?
Pros: light, looks great, has good controls & decent navigation on menus. Usual Sony high quality sound and it transfers CD/MP3/WMA audio very quickly (at 1 CD every 40secs u can pop round your mates' and leech their CD/MP3/WMA collections in an evening). Well equipped for recording and transferring to pc (I use it to record from turntables, the telly, CD player, guitars, samplers etc), the mic-in is very useful (check out the Sony ECM-DM5 microphone), and it also doubles up as a nifty and very useful portable pc storage drive. Jog protection works superbly - even when sk8boarding. And many, many more.
Cons: an AA battery case (kept within a supplied screw-on case) spoils the sleek lines but is essential for mobile use. SonicStage software is rubbish even on my Sony VAIO laptop which comes bundled with it (apparently Nero6 can be used to talk to Hi-MD). Rubbish earphones - difficult to believe the mighty Sony would put their badge on them. That's it for cons.
I'd rather have the flagship MZ-NH1 model, but only because it has got a radio & doesn't need an AA battery, but these gripes aside I'm extremely chuffed with the NH900. And, more importantly, its actually available in this country, altho only Amazon had any for sale :) Very Highly Recommended.
Why can't someone combine this with a decent mobile phone and something like an iPaq and help us all sort our lives out ...?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2005
i got my sony mz-nh900 at christmas, and since then, i have been thoroughly happy with it. ive had upto 720 tracks on 1 mini-disc, which is outstanding!
the player might look sleek, but it is very tough. i dropped mine on the floor and it continued playing.
most people who have mini-disc players complain about sonic-stage. well, my player came with version 2.1. but i was looking around the net and came across version 3.1, which is going out with the new hd5 players. i use sonic-stage 3.1 for my hi-md, and its great. its fast, easy to use, and doesnt drain away the speed of your computer. the only downside to sonic-stage, just the same with itunes, is that you cant copy the music from mini-disc to computer, if the music was from a different computer. (you can copy back from a mini-disc you made to your own computer though)
in one of the above reviews, someone said that when hi-mds are used for data storage, it is permanently burned to the mini-disc. this is UNTRUE!!! i use mine nearly everyday to bring data to and from school. and the discs are fully re-writable. even if u have music transfered from sonic-stage on the disc, they still can be used for data. i even use a hi-md disc to back stuff up from my computer!
the line-in microphone recording is very useful, and is really good quality.
the playback sound quality is outstanding, even at 48kb/sec.
a lot of my friends have zen micros, and they r filling them up, and having to remove stuff, where as i went against the grain and got the hi-md. i worked out that for 5gb of music on a hard-drive player, you only need four 1gb hi-mds, which is great.
the backlit in-line control is great, but why didnt they backlight the player aswell?
battery life is great. can listen all day at skool, and then the next day again, without needing to charge up. i rarely need the additional battery pack.
people say you cant get hi-md discs in this country! UNTRUE. i bought a box of five 1gb discs from my local dixons store, at £6.99, it wasnt that bad.
dont be dragged down by a hard-drive player, get one of these. it is something completely different to get u away from the ipod crowd, it really is something different!!
one of the best buys ever, and amazon have them at great prices.
if u get one, look around the internet for sonic stage 3.1, it is a great imporvement on the one that ships with the player. it can be used as a very good media player aswell, almost comparable to windows media player 10!!
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2004
Just recieved my 3 blank Hi-MDs which aren't very availible.. but are slowly becoming, and now i feel is the time to write a review. If you're thinking What? 3 blank hi-mds.. thats like nothing..... oh how wrong you are. To store the max amount of music on one disk requires a 48k/sec Quality rate.. which for such a low rate is amazing quality... but in my opinion will detract from the experience. The best option is the 64k/sec which is EXACTLY enough... I have a few 128k/sec mp3s and when even these are converted to ATRAC3plus 64k they sound exactly the same.. NO DIFFERENCE. This means i can store TWICE AS MUCH in the same amount of space then an IpoD could! Which is actually 34HOURS!
My only quibble dibble is that if for some reason you lost everything on your computer (like i did), and only had your music on your Hi-MD... and you reinstalled Windows everything.. the clever SonicStage thinks you are on a different computer! and because of copyright will not let you upload your files from the Hi-MD back to the computer.
Also the SonicStage program is very resource intensive and you would want a good/ up to date compie to get it to work fast and efficient.
Sony have also just released a 20GB HD based player which is tinier than anything i have ever seen and it is so pretty..just so pretty. The NWHD1 supports ATRAC/3Plus and so you can actually store about 10,000 songs! And who in the world has that many songs. ALSO it has an amazing battery life of 30hrs.. which is just as much as what this hi-md offers.
Hi-MD is better for those who like to record things and share things with their friends (and they must have a hi-md player) .. but in the long run I regret a tincywincy bit that i didn't buy this harddrive player because well in simple terms it is better.
Just as a final note.. whatever you do ... DO NOT buy an iPod. They are so unreliable... all 3 of my friends had bought one and in the end had some kind of massive problem. And if you drop.. you've got to reshop (poor rhyme i know). Getting it fixed costs tonnes... the battery life is about 10hrs (POOR) and when it finally runs out fully you have to get it replaced for A HUGE SUM. Sony's player stores twice as many songs, more durable, reliable, AND 3x the battery life.
Conclusion: Go around everywhere seraching for people's reviews, opinions and then decide what to buy.. do not rush into like i did. :(
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2004
After months of indecision as whether a minidisc or mp3 player was the best route I finally decided on the sony MZ-NH900 - I am still thoroughly happy with my choice and use it on a daily basis.
One factor which put me off a little were reports that sony's software is disappointing. I can report that I have had no problems with running or using the software (I currently run MS windows 98SE). Transfering music is, relatively, quick and very easy. Music can be compressed to varying degrees which allows several albums to be burnt onto a single minidisc without any perceptable loss of quality. Menus on the unit can be a little confusing but after sitting down and having a play they quickly become more accessable. Battery life is adequate (a rechargable battery is provided which can be backed up by detachable AA battery case). A lot of the new generation sony minidiscs are Hi-MD, meaning they can play 1GB minidiscs compared to regular 700MB(ish) minidiscs. However, this is one of the few minidiscs sold that includes a 1GB minidisc in the welcome pack. Currently these discs are not for sale in the UK, which is worth bearing in mind. Minidiscs are, however, re-recordable and editing discs is easy using the software provided. That said, if you record data to your minidisc, such as powerpoint presentations etc, (effectively using your minidisc as a removable disc drive) this burns permanently to the minidisc.
A couple of niggles are (i) the awful earphones that are provided (ii) the tacky velour carry case - not expected on a near top of the range model so be prepared to replace both these items! and (iii) the lack of a backlight on the main unit screen.
Even with the niggles, I am pleased with my initial decision (infinate storage space and no loss of quality) and would recommend this minidisc player/recorder.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2005
i got my Hi MD around 9 months ago and in that time there has not been one problem. Ive dropped it once knocked it around a few times
but nothing happened so its pretty durable.
i have got around 700 songs on one 1gb disc compared to the i pod mini which gets 1000 songs in 4 gb.
the remote is extremely useful you can keep the MD in your pocket and still control everything.
The battery life is quality up to 30 hours on one AA battery.
the only problem is the head phones but you can always buy new ones
the best walkman i have owned im sure you will feel the same.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2012
I'm not going to wax lyrical about how good HI-MD is - just here to say how to get it going with Windows 7 64bit and Windows 8.
SonicStage should run OK on any these OS's without resorting to compatibilty mode, the problems are related to the drivers. Download Sonicstage 4.3 Ultimate from the SonyInsider Website.
I have tested this with Windows 7 64 bit running the SonicStage software version 4.3 and it works in HIMD mode.
For NetMD mode in Windows 64bit you need the 64bit NetMD driver from the SonyInsider website. You can use WindowsKey + PAUSE to access the Device Manager. (with the Net MD connected). Double click on the NETMD driver and choose reinstall from a folder on the computer. Browse to the folder where you have extracted the 64bit MD driver and install. If you look on youtube there's an instruction video too.
Also I have it running fine in Windows 8, but IN ADDITION you need to "disable driver signature enforcement in windows 8". Just search for the text in quotes - it involes restarting the PC in an advanced mode and selecting from a menu.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2004
I received the sony MZ-NH900 Hi-MD walkman a few days ago from amazon.
I loaded the software onto my PC (windows 98) without problem.
Made the necessary connections between MD & PC & started to transfer music from CD onto PC & then onto MD using sonicstage & directly from CD to MD with the simple burner software.
Both transfers went without hitch, the software being simple to use & effective.
Sound quality from the MD is simply stunning from such a small package.
Although the standard headphones aren't bad, I would recommend getting the Sennheiser PX 100 compact headphones to replace the standard headphones to see a noticable improvement in the sound.
All in all an excellent product at an excellent price.
One very happy customer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2005
Due to this product's massive price reduction, the HI-MD is well worth it. Take advantage over HDD mp3 players by having a shock-resistant shell and an unlimited amount of music storage.
For most people on the move, 1GB is more than enough music!