Which is the best portable option: MD or MP3?
Aug 12, 2002 at 5:40 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 39

Faelix

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Hi, people,

I'm a discman user for portable music. Now I want to improve my "musical portability". I think of two options:

* an MP3-CD Player (such as iRiver Slim-X, although I still could think about a hard-disk player)

or

* a MD recorder/player

My main and almost exclusive source of music will be my own CDs, so I don't intend to listen to much downloaded music. I know that a lot of people claims that if you are going to listen to MP3 it is far more logical to get an MP3 player. It is not my case.

I want a choice that is very portable and practical, and that provides a reasonable sound quality (but I'm not an audiophile!) to me.

Thanks for your answers,
Faelix.
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 4:16 AM Post #2 of 39

Watchdog

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I'm trying to make a similar decision right now but I'm also considering the iPod for Windows which is going to be out soon.

So far I've come to the conclusion that the flaws in the MD and iPod options are significant enough that I don't want to buy either.

The OpenMG software for the netMD players seems to be a major hassle and I was interested in MD for editing and speed of transfers, but OpenMG doesn't let you do full editing of songs on the portable player. It also doesn't allow editing to a song if a copy of it is "checked out". It also doesn't allow a song to be downloaded more than 3 times. In general it sucks.

The iPod doesn't have a battery that can be replaced so when the battery eventually dies, your iPod will no longer work!

I've heard all sorts of stories about mp3 players that don't recognize tags properly, can't play certain bit rates, can't recognize multiple folders, etc.........

For now I won't be buying anything because it appears that all the options suck!
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 6:33 AM Post #3 of 39

Y-Z

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Hi, I had to make the same decision too. I first got Nomad Jukebox 3. It plays the musics really good and loud. And most importantly the batteries are removable and replaceble. But it was too thick and heavy. Also the screen's resolution sucks. The text are blocky and didn't display Japanese characters right. I eventually sold it and got Iriver's SlimX. So far I'm very pleased with it. It plays music almost as loud as NJB3. Very high resolution display that can display the most complex chracters very sharply. It's also pretty cheap compare to HDD players and MDs. You could buy a good headphone or amp with the money you saved.
wink.gif
So my recomendation to you is get the NJB3 if you don't care about the size and weight. But if you want to have something more portable the SlimX is your best bet. Hope this helps a little.

Zhou
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 9:56 AM Post #4 of 39

Superbaldguy

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Faelix,

You said you would be dubbing CD's to another source, and not too much in the way of mp3 downloading. The anwser is, clearly, in favour of the MiniDisc.

The ATRAC compression yields *way* better results than you get from mp3's, plus the fact you have cheap media in the form of blanks. If your PCDP has an optical out, you can make stunning digital recordings onto an MD recorder with a TOS-link cable.

The Net MD thing really hasn't proven out to be the cat's meow for downloaded mp3's, as many report issues with the OpenMG software. If you're not interested in Net MD units, the Sony MZ-R909 is a beautiful recorder.

With MD, you get a choice of recording length - SP, LP2, and LP4. For most practical purposes, you can use LP2 and get excellent results plus be able to get 160 minutes worth of music on one disc. SP is for purists and provides CD-like sound quality; the LP4 is really only good for voice stuff.

Just my $0.02, Canadian......
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 11:26 AM Post #5 of 39

Magicthyse

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MD's are probably the worst way to go for you, unless you're prepared to make a significant investment in something like an MXD-D40 deck, AND a portable player or recorder - or if you have a VERY fast PC to use with NetMD. In this case, it makes for a very portable and quite flexible means of carrying aorund music.

Buying just a portable recorder to use with your existing CD deck will prove extremely frustrating.

NetMD allows quick CD dubbing, IF YOU HAVE A MONSTER OF A PC (i.e. P4 1.7+, 768MB RAM+, and a CD-ROM capable of very fast audio extraction). Otherwise, it will be painfully slow. NetMD is also only 160K~192K MP3 quality. If you want to go beyond that and still copy CD's to MD without undue frustration, you'll have to get the MXD-D40 or similar.

If you're already carrying around an old-model discman (I presume it's old-model), either the D-CJ01 or the SlimX will most probably be smaller.

Given your choice, the best ways to go are:

MP3 CD player (e.g. SlimX, DCJ01)
MP3 HDD player (e.g. iPod for Windows - no other player is really much good at this time, IMHO. It's not that much bigger than an MD too, if you're looking at portability)

If it helps, click on my www link and go to thje DCJ01 <-> N707 comparison.
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 11:44 AM Post #6 of 39

Superbaldguy

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Having an MD deck would be great, but that doesn't allow any sort of portability. At least with an MDR, you have some flexibility. If you're not into mp3's and downloads, the simple CD->MD dub is simple with an optical out, provided the Discman has such provisions. (how far back to PCDP's have line outs?)

Getting a deck + MDP combo is a good solution, also, but rather expensive. The bottom line is that ATRAC-R pisses all over the mp3 compression.

Anyway, this could be debated until the Second Coming.
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 1:18 PM Post #7 of 39

Magicthyse

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Quote:

Originally posted by Superbaldguy
Getting a deck + MDP combo is a good solution, also, but rather expensive. The bottom line is that ATRAC-R pisses all over the mp3 compression.



A deck by itself wouldn't be much use.

What I'm getting at is that the only time when MD can really compete with HDD WAV/MP3 and MP3CD players for CD-source playback is in terms of ultimate portability (and arguably battery life), for which you pay the price of extreme hassle to get the source into MD format. Only when you add a deck with high-speed dubbing, does the whole process become bearable, and at which point, you're well over the cost of HDD-based MP3 players, let along MP3CD players.

Funny. I have both MD & CD, you apparently don't, I've tried a direct comparison, end of story.
N1<->DCJ01 comparison (Using SR60):
SP=320K MP3
LP2=192K~160K MP3
LP4=<>96K MP3

Why do I use MD? Simple - it's the only platform which allows me to record high-quality sound on the move at a dirt-cheap cost.

I've only started to use it for CD-dub playback and MP3 playback recently after I got the DHC-MD595 system, which dubs at 4x in SP. I'd say without a high-speed dub deck, MD is frustrating at best.

 
Aug 13, 2002 at 1:57 PM Post #8 of 39

acs236

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Quote:

Originally posted by Watchdog

The iPod doesn't have a battery that can be replaced so when the battery eventually dies, your iPod will no longer work!


Watchdog, I won't buy an Ipod for this very reason, but the situation is not as grim as you suggest. You can send the Ipod back to Apple and they can replace the battery -- it's just not user replacable (sort of performing surgery sufficient to invalidate the warranty).

As for the original posters question, I think Magicthyse hit it right on the mark. The real advantage of MD is its ability to record, battery life, and size. I may pick one up in the future for these reason, but for playback on the go, it's hard to recommend.

All of the music I listen to is from MP3s that I made myself from CDs I own. I compress at 320kb/s VBR, so I can fit at least 5 or 6 albums per CD. This translates into roughly 4-5 hours of music (at least, I think I'm being fairly conservative here). 320k vbr is probably equivalent to SP mode for an MD player, which only allows you 74 minutes.

You said that you're not an audiophile, and I imagine that you'd be content with a lower bit rate for MP3s, so you could fit so much more music on a CD as compared to an MD and still get decent sound quality.
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 2:05 PM Post #9 of 39

Braver

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going from pCDP to a MP#-CD-player or a HD player doesn't make sense to me. you win nothing in size or convenience. you might be able to carry more on one CD, but you'll have to make MP3s of everything. big hassle if you want to have your entire collection available for on the the go. an Ipod would be cool, and actually pocket-sized.

NetMD doesn't seem like the revolution it was supposed to be. I have no experience with it, but it doesn't seem all that practical to me.

leaves MD. which is IMO sweet: best portable sound, size, battery-life, shock-resistance etc. but you're stuck with slow transfer. which might be a problem if you're going to copy a whole collection. the media is cheap, but not as cheap as CD-RWs.

but options will have you copying your CDs. MD is slow, but sounds great, and is handy, versatile, small and reliable. MP3 is cheap (Ipod isn't tho) and quick.
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 3:05 PM Post #10 of 39

Peddler

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There are solutions available on the web regarding replacing batteries on the IPOD - apparently it is a standard Sony battery and can be replaced by the user with a little effort.

MD is an excellent format but you are limited to either real-time recording or NETMD which has its own limitations.

I have just sold my MD recorder to get the Creative Nomad 3 and I think it's an excellent device and, with the right encoding, sounds easily as good as MD or CD.

Admittedly the new Windows-based IPOD's look really cool - perhaps when the Nomad reaches the end of its life I shall think about getting one.
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 6:28 PM Post #11 of 39

Superbaldguy

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Magicthyse, is the MXD-D40 deck made in Japan? I'm somewhat interested in a good MD/CD deck, but would want something half decent. I'm not at all struck on the Sony stuff that isn't Japanese made.

After getting three portable MD units, it's time to go for something different.
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 10:51 PM Post #12 of 39

Magicthyse

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I believe it is made in Japan - I'm not sure. The D-CJ01 is made in Malaysia and it's given me no trouble, and a Taiwan-made clock radio from Sony has lasted me, oooh... 18 years? In fact, I think this is the oldest piece of electronic equipment I have in the house.

A deck is not going to be as roughly handled, and I do firmly believe that most problems experienced by portable, non-made-in-Japan portable users is self-inflicted.

The only problem with the MXD-D40 is the lack of an optical out port, so you can't 'upload' from MD in digital to a PC or CD deck. This is the primary reason why I have the MDS-JE770 as well as the DHC-MD595.
 
Aug 14, 2002 at 12:00 AM Post #13 of 39

lextek

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I would go for the MP3. There are a lot of high capacity players out there. I use the iPod and love it. I think the battery can be replaced. It does have a connector on it and somebody made it for Apple. It is nice to have a large library at your fingertips without having to change discs. Especially when it fits in the palm of your hand..
 
Aug 14, 2002 at 7:10 AM Post #15 of 39

Magicthyse

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Quote:

Originally posted by lextek
I would go for the MP3. There are a lot of high capacity players out there. I use the iPod and love it. I think the battery can be replaced. It does have a connector on it and somebody made it for Apple. It is nice to have a large library at your fingertips without having to change discs. Especially when it fits in the palm of your hand..


I'll just mirror this so Faelix doesn't take my dissitation on MD's as a recommendation for them...

The battery has a 5-year life on a once every 2 day charge, I believe. The likelihood is high that once you've started to wear out the batteries, the unit will be obsolete. Even then, they can be replaced at the factory.

If you can afford it, for the MP3/CD afficionado who doesn't have to record on the move, the iPod is in order of magnitudes superior to MD in terms of sound quality (with like-for-like audio material), ability to drive different headgear, versatility, speed and lots of other stuff. It's also not that much bigger than an MD.

The introduction of the new models and iTunes3 has finally made me get serious about buying one. Pretty soon I'll be looking for a buyer for my D-CJ01. If you have a Mac, one of the seriously cool things is the ability to sync your calendar and contacts on the iPod - and this calendar that you sync can also be published on the web or shared with other people. You see, I can say the iPod is a valuable business tool and get tax deduction that way
biggrin.gif


If cost is the issue however, the SlimX is a value/feature-packed MP3CD, albeit with slightly inferior sound quality, while the D-CJ01 is a no-frills, high-quality MP3CD player - it will improve your music portability in that you can compress several CD's into one CD.

Do NOT go MD unless you're prepared to spend money on a high-speed dub system or deck, or if you do have a monster of a PC to use NetMD Simple Burner with. If you are prepared to do that, they ain't bad.
 

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