Top positive review
184 people found this helpful
Great entry level NetMD
on 2 February 2003
I'm going abroad for several months and I couldn't bear the thought of leaving my music collection behind me. My CD discman only plays CDs at about 3 a.m. on a Thursday for some moody reason, and only then if there's no hint of a scratch on the CD; my old cassette walkman, well, is a cassette walkman, which, apart from the fact that you need a rucksack to carry it, is useless for recording lots of albums; so I turned to Minidisc and I bought the latest to Sony's NetMD range.
Its obviously an entry level recorder so doesn't have some of the cooler features like backlit LCD and the remote is very basic. Its light and looks good (apart from the plastic back), sound quality is excellent even with the basic headphones. The bundled software Sonic Stage seems to work well with both MP3s and CD audio, no serious problems yet.
Everything else you would expect from a Sony MD recorder is there: MDLP for squeezing up to 320 mins on one MD, G-Protection Jog proof, optical cable included, rechargeable battery included, Group function for grouping albums/genres etc, and blah blah blah techie stuff.
For those confused with the concept of NetMD, it is what they call a 'format extension' as opposed to a brand new technology. Its aimed to rival MP3 players in that you can 'download' MP3s to your MD recorder. You could still record MP3s with ordinary MD recorders but NetMD is designed to make the process faster and easier. Faster is the key to it, it uses your PCs USB port to whizz the songs over to be burned onto the Minidisc, whereas you have to actually play the songs through your computer to record on ordinary MDs. Incidentally, the MD doesn't actually play MP3s, the bundled Sony software converts your MP3s to the Minidisc's native ATRAC format, but its all done pretty quickly and painlessly.
You can just drag and drop your playlists from PC to MD in the recording window and make yourself a beverage.
I did hope for something a little more solid feeling, with better headphones, and a fancy remote, but then I'm a cheapskate who wants the best. You don't get the best unless you pay more.
And lets face it, some of the costly MP3 players just don't cut the mustard. Until they sound as good as a minidisc and until they are as versatile, I would stick with MD technology.
Overall, I would say it is a good introduction to minidisc recorders and shows the advantages of the NetMD format extension very well. Musicians and professionals will want to pay more to get more (the MZ-N510 doesn't have a microphone input so won't appeal to budding bands), but if you want a personal portable player which sounds as good as CD, can be used to record/play a range of music formats, and from a variety of sources, then you'll be happy with this.