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mikeprocter

MD recorders

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I want to record the (strictly amateur) musical efforts of friends and family. It seems that the right technology to go for is minidisc. I'd be grateful for any advice on the choice of machine -- either specific models (though the manufacturers sometimes market a given model only in certain countries) -- or, perhaps more helpful, the sort of desirable features I might not think of for myself. For instance, how can I best transfer material from the MD to my PC? Perhaps the most usful advice of all would be reference to some informative websites.

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Mike,

I've been using a MD recorder for several years now. I've watched them gradually supplant analog tape recorders among people who do live recording.

Whether or not MD recorders are moribund in some sense, they are currently the only game in town when it comes to field recordings. Once you've heard your first MD recording and compared it with an analog tape, you'll never go back. DAT is still too unavailable and expensive for non-pros. Recorders which record direct to CD are still not portable enough.

I know it sounds silly to say this, but be sure the recorder has a jack for a microphone. Some new MD recorders are recorders only in the sense that they can record music from your computer, not a live mic.

Your MD recorder will NOT include a mic, either separate or built-in. You'll have to purchase one separately.

It would be nice if the MD recorder has a "line out." The earphone jack can be used to connect the recorder to the sound card in your PC, but it is slightly less convenient than a "line out."

I've always bought SONY recorders but that's simply because they are easiest to find in local stores.

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I use a MD recorder with my orchestra classes. It provides instant feedback in a digital format, and the quality is flawless. Track marks can be added instantly, allowing the playback to start right at a specific part of the recording. Plus, the tracks can be named and moved around on the disc. I will echo the praise of Sony recorders, as I have a Sony unit also.

Visit http://www.mindisco.com for great deals on MD recorders and accessories. For awesome binaural mics, visit http://www.core-sound.com and see what they have there.

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Just a quick note. MD recorders are NOT the only game in town. I've been doing field recordings of bluegrass, Irish, and jam bands to DAT for 3 years now, using a pair of MBHO mics run into an Apogee AD1000 AD converter/preamp. Expensive, but killer. You can get a Song M1 DAT for around $500, and it clobbers MD since it doesn't use any lossy compression scheme. Laptop based recording is starting to make inroads into the field recording community, and Marantz, just came out with a battery powered CD recorder. I can't remember the suggested retail. Check www.sonicsense.com and www.cascade-media.net for more info.

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I did a lot of research before I got mine. It was basically a battle between the Sony MZ-R909 and the Sharp MD-MT888. I heard that if you want to record with a microphone then Sharp has a better mike pre-amp than a Sony and the recording level can be changed while you are recording which is very important (MZR909 does this now I think). I bought a Sharp MD-MT888 (called the MT770 in some countries) and I am very pleased with it indeed. Don't just go for a Sony 'cos of the name! One feature that the Sony one has however is a speed control.

As for getting the recording in your computer I just use my music sequencer to record the track with a direct input into my soundcard. There is an optical out on the unit and a lead is provided but your soundcard has to have an optical in otherwise you have to pay for a USB adapter. I have found jack in to be fine.

If you are looking to get any other kind of unit make sure that it has a microphone input. Some just have a line in and would be fine if you go through a mixer or pre-amp into the unit but obviously this is not so portable.

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