Converting Records and Tapes
to MD (Mini Disc) and CD (Compact Disc)
Another Audio Journey
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Mini Disc Equipment, Media & Accessories
(back to MD index)
Bricks & Mortar:
Before you buy, look at at manufacturer's websites or on the Mini Disc Community website or search the internet for product reviews. Get the best unit that meets your needs. For example, for a review of Sony MDS930 variable pitch unit (this unit replaced the Sony MDS920). Check out: http://www.connact.com/~eaw/minidisc/sony_mdsjb930_review.html
Many Brick & Mortar & mail order stores that sell MDs offer multi-year extended warranty packages for between $30 and $40 that kick in after the manufacturer's warranty. You have to decide if it's worth it for you. Some people feel that it's cheaper to replace the unit. I feel that it is worth the money. I've bought the extended warranty packages for all of my units. I've used this type of repair service twice and it's been worth it to me. If you purchase a warranty, be careful to follow the procedures for registration (if required) and KEEP ALL OF THE PAPERWORK AND RECEIPTS!. When available, the costs of extended warranty programs in Brick & Mortar, Mail Order and On-Line Stores seem to be about the same.
Warranties at Brick & Mortar Stores (such as Best Buy) are usually pretty straight forward and hassle free. You take the unit and the paperwork back to any store in the chain and you're done. The warranty will state whether or not have to take it to the same store where you purchased it.
Warranties at Mail Order Stores (such as J & R) can be more difficult to manage. First, you have to register your product (by mail or phone) with the repair service, so do it as soon as you receive the equipment. Don't wait until you need the repair to do this! I've been there. Then, when need to get the unit repaired, you have to call the repair service and give them your registration number. After verifying that you have a valid plan, they will give you the contact information for of the nearest repair facility - several, if you're lucky. These types of service networks have relationships with hundreds of electronics repair shops around the country, but not all of them can service Mini Disc players/recorders. If they have to send it out, you might want to find another place that can do the repairs in-house. You will be responsible for getting the unit to and from the facility, either doing it yourself, or using a common carrier like UPS or FedEx.
Warranties at On-Line Stores, vary and did not exist a few years ago, however, the times they are a changin'. If an on-line store does not have any kind of product warranty, then consider whether or not their prices are low enough so that buying a new MD unit might be a reasonable replacement strategy.
Planet MiniDisc (http://www.planetminidisc.com/planetminidisc)
now offers a 30-day monay back guarantee on everything they sell, and
also offers the option of an extended warranty for 1 year ($29.95) or for
2 years ($39.95) on audio equipment that it sells. Minidisco.com
(http://www.minidisco.com) has a 1-year
replacement policy for MD media and a 30-day defective return policy for audio
that equipment it sells. Check all warranty and return policies before
Out of Warranty or
Non-Warranty Repairs [Rev
If you have out of warranty or non-warranty equipment, you have to look around. Repair shops specialize in repairs, but not in operations of MD equipment, so I would suggest that you not bother them with operations questions or issues. I've tried a few. One such shop (In House Service Repair) worked out quite well initially, but as of September, 2004, this company is no longer recommended. Quality service is important to me from both a technical perspective and from a people perspective. A company's attitudes toward customers and customer service is just as important as its technical abilities. If a company treats customers well, then I m happy to recommend them. If they do great technical work but do not treat customers with respect, I would not recommend them. I would suggest calling any prospective repair shops to determine what they are like from both perspectives and then deciding whether or not you want to do businesss with them.
||They repair all types of audio equipment including MiniDisc.||http://www.atlasaudiorepair.com|
|Consolidated Electonics Internatitonal||They repair all types of audio equipment including MiniDisc.||http://www.consolidatedelectronics.com||Rob Steinruck,
1637 Tillery Place
Raleigh, NC 27604
|In House Service Company||NOT RECOMMENDED||NOT RECOMMENDED||Setauket NY|
|Midwest Audio||They repair all types of audio equipment but have told me that they are not that experienced in MiniDisc repairs.||http://www.midwestaudio.net||774 W
Arlington Heights IL 60005
|Reel to Reel Tape Recorder Repair||Joe does WONDERS in repairing old Reel to Reel tape recorders!||http://www.fieldengineer.homestead.com||Joseph
3 Angie Court
Alamogordo NM 88311
Out of Warranty
Warranty Repair Stories
The first time, the left channel of the analog output jack of my MDS-S37 unit went dead. It seemed that for such a minor problem, the extended warranty had been a good investment. Why replace a machine where the only problem was a connection on the output jack? The good news was that the repair was done within three weeks. The bad news was that I had to either drive or ship the unit out to a repair shop in the suburbs because the only Chicago are location for that repair network that could work on Mini Discs was 35 miles from my office - one way. When you have an extended warranty, you have to use the shops in a specific repair network or store. This unit was covered by the J & R extended warranty, I had to call an 800 number to describe the problem and then get an RMA (return merchandise authorization) Number. I then had to locate a local shop that did warranty work for that plan. Warranties like this are a mixed blessing. You end up having to do a lot of legwork to execute the warranty. If you place a value on your own time, then the savings from the low purchase price and the "convenience" of the warranty may diminish in value.
The second time I had to use a warranty repair service my MDS-JE-510 machine that would randomly power up and down by itself. This unit that was covered by the extended warranty from Best Buy, I took the unit to one of their stores, described the problem, got the ok for warranty repair work right there in the store, and picked up the unit at that store after the warranty work was done in about 2 weeks. The repair process at Best Buy was by far the easiest and the quickest.The "repair" really has not changed much. The problem still occurs, however the problem seems to be a fix, requiring minimal technical skills that you can do yourself, if you are so inclined: http://members.tripod.com/~snnake11
Mini Disc Models [09/30/2000] (back to MD index)
Due to the passage of time, this table of MD models below is obsolete.
Check out these equipment browsers where you can look up and review specific models.
Variable Pitch & Extended Editing
Variable Pitch & Extended Editing
Continuous Variable Pitch &
|XU-301*||3-CD changer and MD||Record/Play with pitch control|
MD Advanced Features (back to MD index)
Combination MD/CD Models (back to MD index)
In late 1999 spoke with a JVC engineer who said that the variable pitch control on the XU-301 is on the MD section and NOT the CD section of the unit. J&R had told me in was in the CD section. I asked JVC to send me info (spec sheet) and the variable pitch is listed with the CD specs. I called JVC another and spoke with another engineer time and still got the opposite information. I've looked on their website and still cannot definitely tell whether the variable pitch control is for the MD or the CD section. Through trial and error, I found out that variable pitch is for playback on the MD section only and that is the case for the Sony Models also.
Also J&R says the list price on this model is $550, their regular price is $449 and it's on sale now for $399. This may be a good deal - a 3-CD changer with a Mini Disc record/play in one unit. The CDs are in 3 separate drawers so that you can change them independently. You can do synchronized recording from CD to Mini Disc.
The Sony MXD-D3 is an MD/CD Deck with Record, Play, Extended Edit and Dubbing (CD to MD, regular and high speed) - Continuous Variable Pitch (pitch immediately changes and doesn't pause and restart at new pitch like JB 920 & 930), but only one CD drawer. I've got this model. Also has optical/digital input/output and analog input/output, this has been a real dream unit. This unit will dub an entire CD to an MD, digitally, with track markings in under 5 minutes.
MDLP (Mini Disc Long Play) (back to MD index)
As of May 2002, the newest version of this model (Sony MXD-D40) supports MDLP (long play), a new feature that allows for up to 160 or 320 minutes of play on a single MD. MDLP tracks cannot be played back on an older SP (Standard Play, non-LP) machine, however, SP tracks can be played and recorded on an LP machine. LP2 mode is reportedly quite close to standard ATRAC. LP4 mode has noticeable artifacts, but is still suitable for portable applications. Newer machines by Sony (Sony MXD-D40), JVC, Sharp and Teac support MDLP.
Variable Pitch on Playback (back to MD index)
The latest deck I purchased (in 2000, Sony MXD-D3) has built-in variable pitch (speed) playback and a CD player. This variable pitch is immediate and continuous in that as you lower or raise the pitch, the change takes place without any interruption in the music. On some of the older MD models such as the MDS-JB920 and MDS-JB930, there is an annoying pause in the music after adjusting the pitch.
For MD Deck models that don't have variable speed, you can get variable speed added to a model by a third party, but that would definitely void any warranty. Add-on variable speed costs between $200 and $300 additional. The unit with the built in was about $150 more than the other decks. The prices on MD units have dropped in the last 2 years. I think I paid $300 or more for my first unit and that comparable unit costs between $230 and $260 now. You can often find a deal or talk J & R into a deal.
NetMD (back to MD index)
Some of the newer MD portables have the NetMD capability. NetMD further expands the MiniDisc format by allowing direct PC-to-MD "drag and drop" transfers through a USB connection. Using your computer, you can transfer audio files (MP3s, WAV files, etc.), title and edit MiniDisc tracks, rip CDs, and more with future applications. NetMD-enabled MiniDisc recorders have a USB port built into either the unit or its charging cradle. Using the OpenMG Jukebox software you can do high-speed transfers and editing functions directly on the computer screen. Net MD provides up to 32x speed for transferring music files. If you don't have a Combination CD/MD unit, the QuickRipT CD dubbing software enables fast transfer of CDs to MD without storing files on a hard drive. The newer portables with MDLP provide three recording modes that allow recording in standard mode (SP) for the richest sound quality or two different long play modes (LP2 & LP4) for the most effective use of space on a single MD. The bundled Open MGT jukebox management software supports secure music downloading, playlist organizing, track titling and music mixing.
Pre-recorded Music for Mini Disc [03/02/2001] (back to MD index)
At the time of the first draft of this webpage, the Best Buy chain had pre-recorded MDs in its stores. The chain discontinued carrying these sometime in 2001. There are several websites that feature pre-recorded MDs. I've not browsed the web for this in a while but I'm sure that there are other such sites.
- Mini Disc Community website: http://www.minidisc.org/purchasing.html#prerecorded.
- The Sony Music Store had almost 200 titles: http://thestore.sonymusic.com/thestore/music.asp, emailto:email@example.com.
Converting Records and Tapes
to MD (Mini Disc) and CD (Compact Disc)
Another Audio Journey
Ethnic Dance Chicago Home Page - Door County Folk Festival Home Page
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