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on 8 January 2005
I wanted one of these things because I'm not a huge fan of music and don't plan on spending over 100 pounds on something that hold music so I got this. I am very impressed. The navigational system is very clever although I didn't get you had to hold the button to get onto menu. Then I had to try and put some music onto it, it was soooo simple, I put a couple of albums on and even though I converted it to 48 KBPS (which sounds great even though it is the worst quality) it took hardly any time at all. And the sonicstage application is great. The biggest test was yet to come, the listening. I put it on and though it takes a little bit of time to play when it does it is every bit as good as the ipod. I bought some Phillips earphones as I felt the ones that come with it aren't up to the job. And once I'd done this I never have to put the volume over half to be able to block out the whole world. The last thing was the battery life. I got it for Christmas and as you can imagine I was playing it non-stop and despite this the battery life still lasted for a week. So if you just want something to hold music, not something to look good. But if you want something to look good then get the ipod, because that is a great piece of kit, but it has got a rival in this
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VINE VOICEon 23 August 2004
OK, so first off, yes, Hi-MD disks are near impossible to find at the moment.
However, this is a great player. If you use the 64Kbps ATRAC3Plus format for your recordings, they'll generally sound pretty good (not perfect, but what do you expect from those file sizes - certainly at least on a par with MP3, and generally better), and you'll get plenty of music on a single Minidisc, once it's been reformatted into the Hi-MD format - often around 9 albums on the one disc, and the standard Minidiscs are so cheap (around 50p each) that there's no problem getting several to do compilations for whatever mood. I will be happier when the Hi-MD discs are more readily available, though.
The battery life is outstanding - 20+ hours on the one AA battery - I'd be hard-pushed to find anyone who has a problem with that battery life, especially when you can esaily just put in a new (rechargeable) AA battery when the first runs out (unlike the iPod's internal battery).
The price is great - OK, so it's more than the standard minidiscs, and more than a flash-memory MP3 player, but you should really be comparing it to a hard-drive player, as the Hi-MD disks are more in line with the mini HDD players than the others, and compared to the Hard-Drive players, it's comparatively cheap.
Durability - I've only had it a little while, but I've dropped it a few times, without problems.
One last thing, if you had a minidisc skip on you in the past, don't worry about it with this one - I haven't managed to get that happening, even when I've been running.
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on 13 February 2007
When I bought my NH600 it was twice the price you can get it for now, and it was good value then.

This Hi-MD plays and records on 1 GIG discs (although it is backwards compatible to handle old minidiscs also), allowing close to 8 hours of music at standard bitrate (good quality 256 kbps) on a single disc. It is also capable of recording in umcompressed CD quality (although you'd be pushed to hear much difference, such is the quality of Hi-MD compressed recordings).

Hooks up to your PC or Mac via the supplied USB lead and allows direct uploading of your CDs to the unit via the SonicStage software.

This software has been much improved in recent months so don't use the version on the supplied CDROM, get the version 4.2 for free off the internet. There are no longer any restrictions on the number of times you can transfer your music files back-and-forth between MD and PC. There is also a range of other bitrates available from tiny little ones (suitable really only for speech, lectures, etc) up to the current maximum 352kbps.

The hardware has a jogwheel, 6-band EQ (essential to give the bass a good boost for the little earphones provided), optical/line in (for realtime recording) and external power input (power adapter not included).

Takes a single AA battery which lasts for a great many hours.

The only real downside is it is just a little bit chunky compared to the modern slimline models. But, to be honest, it's not something you'd notice if it's stuck in your inside jacket pocket, so what's the big deal.

Oh yeah - another slight downside (and this applies to all personal media players sold in the beloved EU) is that there is a volume limiting module which adds nasty compression once the volume gets too loud for your wittle ears (in the opinion of Uncle Europe). However, this can be very easily hacked (I did it myself - you just press the right combination of buttons and change a displayed value, details available on the net) so you'll soon be listening with the same freedom as those outside the EU (spit).

It's a decent Hi-MD. It's seventy quid. Get it.
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on 3 October 2004
I ordered this on first class mail from amazon and typical of the shop it came right on time intact and ready to use.
The box contained:
The MD player
A set of earphones
A CD of bundled software
A USB cable
and the manual
When I first powered it up the first thing that hit me was... how quiet it was, not just quiet, silent!!! so no more whizzing of gears from the old days of CD players:)
The downloading was... AMAZING!!! i plugged it in and was pleasantly surprised to find XP recognises it as a mass storage device so you can use the MDs as data CDs. I bought 10 normal 80 minute MDs and discovered that, because the player treats them as data disks, you can store much more on them than a conventional netMD. The software was easy to use as all you have to do is import files from your music (SonicStage gives you an option to search out all the music files on your PC. if like me you have a lot, dont use this as it will take ages:)) the converting and burning are done simultaneously which makes it so much easier as you can set it off and leave it.
Playback is sooo easy, it sorts out all the music into albums and then you can easily navigat your way through a lot of music.
in conclusion, if you are looking for a modern minidisk with a lot of features, but you are on a budget, go for it
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on 2 May 2005
I bought this player after spending loads of time choosing between the Creative N200 and Iriver flash 7XX series. I have many CDs and only a few MP3s (30) the "obvious thing" I thought was to buy a MP3 player and rip all of my CDs to MP3. Then I came across HI-MD and thought again.
If you have loads of MP3s that have been downloaded recently and they have DRM protection then this player is NOT for you BUT if you like me have lots of CDs and a few older non protected MP3s and you want portable music "Non Skip" music on the move then read on.
Ok let's deal with the biggest negative's first, this model has no MP3 encoder or radio but I wanted something that plays MY favourite songs not a radio DJ's. The software supplied SonicStage v2 isn't the best either (download v3.0 its better)and the Sony control system is a bit fiddly but just like an Iriver player, once you get used to it, it's fine.
One thing to note is that this is a MiniDisk player and so it only plays Sony Atrac files. Mainly the sound quality is better than expected and it's brilliant if you convert CDs directly to Sony's Atrac3plus 64K rate. This gives you an amazing 45hrs of "CD quality" music. Ignore most of what you've read about converting MP3s to Atrac. All music has to be converted to this format prior to playing so your old MP3s and WAVs are turned into Atracs. If you had a decent MP3 file (192Kbps or higher) then for the most part the sound quality is fine.
Compared to the aforementioned MP3 players above, I got my player for £50 plus £5 for a 1Gb HI-MD. This is a lot cheaper than the equivalent MP3 model of 128K. On the Iriver and Creative players I transferred 22 MP3 songs at most and they were both full. This times 8 equals 1GB so we can say that we can get roughly 176 songs onto a 1GB model of the same players. Now onto HI-MD, you can get around 500 songs of around the same quality onto 1 HI-MD disc. Don't worry too much about HI-MD discs you can get them easily on Amazon or Ebay and you'll only ever need a few. Most MP3 players have
In short, the sound quality is great, HI-MD holds about 500 songs plus you have folders and playlist support. Furthermore if you don't mind using SonicStage, manual podcasting MAY also be possible.
Its not a perfect solution to portable music (there isn't one) but in my view when comparing it to a flash based MP3 player its well worth the money.
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2005
Great battery life (I've had over 30 hours from a single rechargeable AA battery), good sound quality, lots of storage on replaceable disks, reasonable size, and a low price compared to HDD players. That's what makes it worth owning - I use mine every day.
The lack of a backlight on the display is a pain - if they'd included a backlit remote that would have resolved the problem, but they haven't so either you have to buy a remote or put up with this. There's no ability to set up proper playlists - they're played either randomly or in the order they're on the disk. That said, given the capacity of the disks, and the fact you can just swap them over, you can put together a playlist on a disk, and swap with another disk if you want to play something else, so it's not too major an issue.
Navigation is functional if not high-powered.
The big, big, big annoyance with the Hi-MD players as a whole is that they don't play MP3s. You either record from the Line In, or use the crappy SonicStage software to transfer music onto the player. You can't even transfer the tracks off again, and although it can act as a mass storage device for transfering data and other files, this doesn't help in putting music on, as that has to be done using SonicStage (it's put in a single, special file).
I think if they'd made it support MP3s or at least playing music back from the file system, rather than forcing you to use an under-developed proprietary transfer program, then it would have got 5 stars. That's what loses the 5th star for me. Once you've gone through the hassle of putting your music on there, though, it sounds good, and the positive aspects of the player shine through. I wonder how many iPod owners can even imagine a) playing music non-stop for 27+ hours, and b) just swapping for another rechargeable AA battery when it does run out of juice.
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on 9 August 2005
The other reviews cover most of the features and good/bad points already, but just to point out what struck me most about this player.
- The photo in the Sony/Amazon listings has been taken to make the unit appear slimmer than it actually is, though it is still a nice compact size.
- The LCD display is excellent - it is clear, big enough for the job and you can change the contrast. Only problem is that it isn't backlit, which is a shame. However, the unit is compatible with a Sony RM-MC40ELK backlit remote control.
- SonicStage software can now be updated online (SS 3.0) from the Sony website. This version is much better than 2.0, and with a little bit of practice you quickly get the hang of it, though it lacks some of the user-friendlyness of say, Musicmatch Jukebox as a PC music manager. It is also rather memory-hungry, so don't expect to run too many other programs while you convert files to ATRAC3plus, unless you have shed loads of the RAM (I've got 512 MB), and it does take a while to complete and then transfer onto the device.
- This little toy is going with me to South America for 3 months, and I chose it because of its price, compactness and inherent ability to expand it with more discs. Two or three 1 GB discs should be perfect (about 100+ CDs), which means that it will be extremely portable and not as much of a thief-magnet as an iPod.
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on 28 December 2004
I love the amount of storage you can get on this little thing, especially as the sound quality is as good as CD.
I wish instruction books were clearer as I thought you had to press the rotating wheel to put up the volume thinking that was part of the five way switch I got a sore finger and found out much later that it's the button in the middle that is five way(you nudge it left,right up,down and press in).Apart from that it's a great machine, toally skip-free unless you lay it on a washing machine on full spin! I dropped it and it didn't skip.
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on 27 February 2005
I love my md player, its one of the best audio products I've bought for years.
The 1gb disc is fantastic but its not essential as you can use standard MD's as well, although they work out about 300mb I think.
Sound quality on the highest setting is what you'd expect from an ordinary MD player however this does cut down greatly on the the amount you can store (just like mp3 really). The lower quality mode, really is alot lower in quality but you can just about squeeze 45 albums on the 1gb disk or 8albums on an original MD disk.
The player feels well made, and the buttons are easy to use (except the five way switch if you have big digits I guess.
My only gripe is the headphones, they are really uncomfortable.
Overall a quality product, that runs off 1 AA. Beats Ipod hands down in my opinion.
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on 13 July 2005
I was extremely dubious of the claims made of this device as to whether it would deliver. I was not disappointed and have gone on to buy a further one for a family gift and recommend it to friends. Even being a bloke and not interested in reading the manual(!) it was pretty straight forward and the software was in my humble opinion, excellent. If you want something 'less fiddly' spend more money - enough said. I think you get superb value for money and much more with this particular model.
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