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Sony MZ-R700DPC Full Review

post #1 of 18
Yup - this is my review on the R700.

I got it a few days ago, and think i am ready to share my views on this amazing little gadget. (sections are headed by bold face titles)

WOW! factor

If you are a veteran MD user, i doubt this particular unit will set you shouting. It is a nice-looking unit, at least in blue, IMO, and works well. No problems, but nothing extra-ordinary. I've heard the same about the R70 in other reviews.....perhaps one should say this is a tweaked R70, that's just slightly better, with MDLP.

However, for a newbie like myself, MD as a whole is really great. There is no way in heck i'm ever going back to MP3 technology unless the next generation of products (8-cm. CD-R MP3 players) are done really REALLY well and, in addition, support some different codecs, like, say, Real Audio 8 ATRAC3 But for now, i'd say that anyone who'd like a more portable solution that a PCDP would really LOVE MD....i did.

Build Quality, Size, Operation

I have seen repeatedly ppl saying that the R50 is the best MD sony ever made - mainly because of the unit's fast track access times and amazing build quality. Well, i was pretty amazed by the R700's build quality. Solid aluminum, i can give the unit a very good squeeze and there is no play.

However, size isn't compromised at all - the unit, excepting for the slight hump at the back for one AA, is literally the size of two MDs, in cases, stacked (that translates to 4 MDs stacked alone).

Also, operating the MD was a breeze. I learned how to title AND digitally record without a manual.....and without any mishaps! (I seemed to have misplaced the manual). However, the Xitel DG2 that was bundled with my MD stunk. Big time. First of all, the sound quality is not even close to the capability of a REAL digital recording......like that done a PS2. Secondly, the darn thing don't work! I am not going to upgrade my sound card just to record mp3s - the mp3s i like are ALL at 256K ripped from my CDs, anyway. So, while this was simply a minor annoyance for me, for others it may not....i simply caution you.

Sound Quality

Ok, now we get to the good stuff. First of all, I must say - LP2 is excellent. Compared to standard stereo, LP2 is almost the same EXACTLY...the differences are slight. I would say that if distorts on LP2, its gonna distort on the normal mode. However...from what i've heard so far, nothing distorts on either mode to a point where i can notice/it's annoying (i don't listen to much classical, and have not tested out any stuff...).

Coltrane sounds good.....vijay is happy

Generally, the difference between a digitally recorded copy on MD and the original CD are slight. The CD is crisper, the highs are clearer, the soundstage is bigger, the bass is more open, and voices come out more naturally. May seem like MD sucks, no? Well, i said the differences are slight...and i meant it. Sometimes, when my ears are tired, the MD actually sounds better. This has NEVER NEVER EVER happened to me with mp3...with good reason.

While MP3 does very well with voices, it fails to do well with bass above 192K, below which the bass is boomy. I have heard ppl say they have gotten rap transparent at 192K - well, boomy bass will be boomy bass no matter what bitrate it is at j/k

basically, ATRAC is just a better system - better sounding. If i lost a CD , and only had 292K mp3s, i'd be disappointed. This is because i can always tell when i'm listening to an mp3 - 320K is hard, but with jazz, i would know.....the difference would be small, but enough to make me buy the CD again. So much for archiving with MP3. Now, if i lost that same CD but had digitally recorded it onto LP2, i would reconsider repurchasing the CD. That's how good the MD, sounds IMO. Sure, mp3 at 320K has detail, but for me, something always has been just "not right," and ATRAC doesn't have the problem. I can tell detail is missing, but i could care less, especially with Coltrane and rock - do i want to hear the Coltrane take a breath? Not really... lol


I know, I know, titling doesn't need a second to itself. However, i really think people on headwize/head-fi like whining, have low dexterity, or were grumpy when they tried titling on a portable MD. I title while my music is being recorded, and then i'm set. My best time, i think, was the title, "Father of Mine" in 56 sec. Not too bad. Sure...i could title it with a PS/2 keyboard in like 4 sec. on a fancy MD deck.....but i'd still have to wait for the song to end. So....i don't think ppl should cite difficulty titling songs as a reason to not go MD...


Overall, i am very pleased with this MD, and reccomend it without reservation. I paid $207 and got it from giftsplash on-line, along with 10 TDK FINE 80 min. MDs from MiniDisc Access.

With standard ATRAC, that translates to 13 hrs. 20 min. of almost indistinguishable from CD sound. Unless u'v got stax, but who'd walk around with stax? Remember, md is portable.....

Anyway...talk about bang for your buck. I have a full audio set-up for portable use....888s, the R700, and MDs, with audiophile-quality sound @ under $300. It works for me!

Happy listening,

- vijay :>)
post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

Sony MZ-R700DPC Full Review

Great review, coolvij.......very thorough and well-written (13?)
I agree with your assessment of MP3s........they always sounded a bit "thin" to me, whereas MD is damn close to CD. I really have to listen to hear a difference, and depending upon the music, sometimes there is none.
I have a feeling that the MZ-R50 I got is gonna seem rather big and clunky in comparison to your 700. I'm glad you like your new toy and it sounds like you're one happy camper. BTW, just picked up Miles Davis "Someday My Prince Will Come", Columbia Original Master Recording........very nice!
Thanks for the review.
post #3 of 18
Thanx for the feedback, joelongwood. And don't get me started on the whole age thing.... :P

tell me about how miles is in "Someday My Prince....". Is he in a honky mood, or swinging hard, or fusing? Tell me - i am REALLY getting into him now. At least, his early stuff. One of my jazz band songs is Milestones. Good lord, it has such a catchy tune - i was humming myself to sleep.

Tho, i think that happens when you play it...dah, dah ,daah, duh, dah, dah, daah, duh, dah, dah, daah, duh, daaaaaaaaaaaaa...........ok, i'll stop now.
post #4 of 18
I just copied the first post in this thread to the Featured Full Portable Equipment Reviews section...
post #5 of 18
I have seen repeatedly ppl saying that the R50 is the best MD sony ever made - mainly because of the unit's fast track access times and amazing build quality.
cool, the other thing to remember about "slow access time" is that it isn't necessarily that older units were "built better" -- the newer units have MUCH better anti-shock, and the way they do it is to actually read 40 seconds of music into memory. So when you switch tracks, the delay is not the laser moving (like on a CDP), which is actually very fast, but rather the player reading some of the music into memory before playing.

However, the Xitel DG2 that was bundled with my MD stunk. Big time. First of all, the sound quality is not even close to the capability of a REAL digital recording......like that done a PS2.
This is a limitation of USB audio, not the Xitel -- it simply passes on the digital data given to it by the USB port of your computer.

Secondly, the darn thing don't work! I am not going to upgrade my sound card just to record mp3s - the mp3s i like are ALL at 256K ripped from my CDs, anyway.
As several of us said in the other thread, I'm pretty sure this is actually a problem with your computer, not the Xitel. USB audio is highly CPU-, OS-, and bus-dependent. The quality of audio coming out of your USB port can range anywhere from decent to horrible, depending on your hardware, operating system, CPU load, and a number of other factors. I'm not sure it's fair to blame this on the Xitel.

joelongwood wrote:
I have a feeling that the MZ-R50 I got is gonna seem rather big and clunky in comparison to your 700.
Joe, it's really not that big It's a tiny bit thicker, about the same height, and the width is basically the 700 plus a "control panel" on the side (with big, *useable* buttons that you'll come to appreciate LOL). It's weight is the biggest difference, but when you buy a tank, you expect it to be heavier

The only real drawbacks to the 50 are the battery life and EndSearch.
post #6 of 18

Great review and congrats on the MD purchase. I'm waiting for my MZR900DPC to come in. I had the japan model a few months ago (in blue) and returned it - buyers remorse. Big mistake! Not gonna happen this time. I made some great recordings straight from my Sony portable CDP. Now, I'll just hook up the 900 to the PS2 for more convenience.

Ultimate portability, great sound, great g-protection, though the real time recording was a drag. But Net MD may fix that.

Regards - reynman
post #7 of 18
Great review to read.

Recent Panasonic players have similar access speeds as the R50, by means of newer technology... one of the cases where new isn't bad.

A very interesting thing would be the software ATRAC encoding that could come out alongside Sony's new NetMD interface - a computer with some 1GHz processor (even with the OS) should do a more thorough encoding than dedicated LSI chips, no?
post #8 of 18
Leon - interesting point. Hey, maybe you could do Type R at high-speed. All tho i kno almost nothing about Type R and whether that is even possible. :P

And thanks for the positive feedback, everyone.

Rutland: hehe

Hehe, never mind.....
post #9 of 18
I knew that the Xitel incident with me was cuz of my cheapy soundcard. Its just that i would have loved to have been able to use the thing WITHOUT upgrading my soundcard. If i do, i'm gonna try and get one with a toslink on it, so then using the Xitel would be unneccesary, right?
Right, but I'm a bit confused... the Xitel is a USB Audio device -- your sound card shouldn't matter at all. You should be hooking it up directly to an open USB port on your computer. Right?
post #10 of 18
Right. Wait, forget what i said....
post #11 of 18
Coolvij: does this thing have the ability to save data ala the USB connector? ie: since you can plug it up via USB, can you use it like a ZIP?

I've read at minidisk.org about data only models, but have been wondering when they were going to get it so one device can do both. (iomega has a HipZip that uses Click disks that does both, but for MP3 its still not worth it to me)

Always looking for another tax write of (but, honey, it tax deductable! )
post #12 of 18
Sorry, AR, but the Xitel only transfers audio to MD. and i think MD data is pretty much dead.

All though, MO technology can allow ppl to store GIGS (yeah, gigs) of info on an MD. Its just that Sony's scared....
post #13 of 18
The reason I chose a sharp md-mt90 as my first md recorder is the fact that you can change levels on the fly. This is probably THE reason than sharp are a bit better than sony. Also, the sharp's screen is larger. They're not trying to cram 90 thousand things in 1/2 square inch.

My only gripe? The sharp is a bit bigger than what I'm used to (I'm coming from a nomad II mp3 player). But then again, who cares? Does 1 cm matter for a battery compartment? It's in my pocket anyway.
post #14 of 18
You are probably right about the Sharps - but this time, i went in for two things: MDLP, and looks. I kno the second really shouldn't matter, but i just don't like the way almost every Sharp looks, excepting the 722 - which just looks strong, IMO, and the SR60, which looks nice but doesn't have enough features.

I guess everyone has different needs...
post #15 of 18
I was considering MDLP, but I don't have that much comedy stuff, so mono mode is ok for me. For my music though, sound quality is the bottom line. So mdlp is out. For looks, I think the magnesium off the sharp is niiiiiice.
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