Any Sony R90 and R900 owners here?
May 27, 2002 at 10:55 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4


New Head-Fier
Dec 18, 2001
Is it just me or does the Sony R90 sound better than the R900? I bought the R900 as an 'upgrade' to my R90 but the sound on the R900 is really thin. The R90 also seems to have a more powerful amp - even though both are rated as 5mw+5mw i.e. I listen to the R90 at half volume but need 3/4 of max volume on the R900.

Maybe this is how Sony managed to double the battery life.

Interested in comments from R90/R900 owners.

May 27, 2002 at 6:09 PM Post #2 of 4
In fact I never owned eighter of these but I am a former R70 owner and a present R 909. Anyway, what I'm gonna say are rather general considerations.
About the volume, you should compare the max volume (BE CAREFUL!!! DON'T DAMAGE YOUR HEARING) and not the volume at any particular vol setting. The reason is that different units have different SPL increment, i.e. the sound of say the R900 may increase sharper for the last 4-5 steps then that of the R90. Difference like this was BTW noticed by B. Yoon between R900 and R909. I have the latter and also Sharp MT 866 (rated at 2x5mW at 32 ohms) and it is actually a lot quiter at volumes between 15-25 than R909, but the volume increases sharply above 25. At max volume they're about equal.
About the thin sound I don't know, you can always tweak the sound via the sound presets.
May 27, 2002 at 11:17 PM Post #3 of 4
I found that my R909's output is actually a bit better than my R70, despite the same amp specs. As BLR mentions, the volume controls on the newer MD units do not seem linear.

I like the design of the older MZ-R90; I wish Sony would bring back some of the older units, and add the new features. How about an MDLP MZ-R50?
May 28, 2002 at 4:33 AM Post #4 of 4
I've owned the 900 in the past but sold mine because I hated the thinness of the sound. While I liked the remote, playback/record time and feature set, I didn't care for its playback quality, ATRAC encoding or mike preamp. We've talked about this extensively in the past. You might want to look up Leon's posts on the subject.

Currently, I own a Sharp 770 and a used Sharp 821, which I picked up for less than a hundred. The 770 sounds way better than the 900, the 821, a little better (but the bass is notably stronger).

When the 821 dies, I might pick up another Sony. If so, I'll buy nothing less than a 909 or NZ-1, because their sound is superior to the 900's and so is the encoding (ATRAC-R). If you want to check this empirically, go to Canal Dev in NYC and bring a pre-recorded MD. The clerk might look at you wearily, but I guarantee s/he'll let you listen to both models.

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