Laptop Studio — Music software reviews, news and info for computer music

28 July 2005

Sony MZ-M100 portable recorder

Filed under: Hardware at 5:34 pm (no comments)
mz-m100

The MZ-M100 and MZ-M10 Portable Audio Recorders breathe new life into an old format. Remember the MiniDisc? Me neither. I thought they had pretty much died, but Sony has resurrected the format by improving it (more storage, no lossy compression) and releasing some portable recorders. Perhaps they already have others in their range, but these two new ones may be worth a look when they are released next month.

They use the Hi-MD format. Basically, this is MiniDisc, except it can hold 1GB of data without lossy compression. This means you could use it as a replacement for a rewritable CD — you can connect these devices to a computer over USB (though it might be a bit slow transferring 1GB over plain USB). The discs are cheap enough — much cheaper than CompactFlash cards or other solid-state options. You can even reformat old-style MiniDiscs to use the new format, but I don’t think you get the full 1GB then.

The MZ-100 has a bigger and brighter screen, a remote control and longer battery life. Otherwise the two are the same. The blurb on Sony’s website says this: This Hi-MD portable audio recorder is ideal for journalists and musicians who need to make high-quality stereo audio recordings using cost-effective removable storage media. The MZ-M100 recorder comes supplied with an ECM-DS70P Stereo Microphone and MDR-EO931Earbud Headphone. The recorder uses affordable Hi-MD media with 1 GB storage capacity. Three recording modes are supported including: Linear (PCM) 44.1kHz/16-bit, ATRAC3plus 256kbps (Hi-SP) mode and ATRAC3plus 64bps (Hi-LP) mode. The recorder supports USB uploading + downloading with PC (using supplied Sonic Stage software), and USB uploading with MAC (using supplied Hi-MD WAV importer software), allowing transferring audio recordings to a computer in .Wav file format. This Hi-MD device can also be used as a USB mass storage device, allowing storing data files on the Hi-MD disc along with audio recordings.

MZ-M100 Key Features Include:

- 6 line large EL (Organic Electroluminescence) display
- Ability to record from multiple sources (USB, Line In, Mic In)
- Self record uploading allows transferring Hi-MD recordings onto a computer as a .wav file
- Up to 33 hours of battery life with rechargeable battery (supplied) and 1 “AA” battery
- Hi-MD selectable recording time provides 94 minutes of uncompressed PCM linear audio, or up to 34 hours of ATRAC3plus compressed audio
- Compatible with both Hi-MD media and standard MiniDisc media
- Data file storage allows storing data files on Hi-MD discs along with audio recordings
- Music and data transfer powered by USB
- Digital amplifier

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