NetMD Topics

June 2002
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  1. What is "NetMD"?

    Announced in mid-2001 and first introduced on the Sony MZ-N1 portable recorder in December, NetMD is an extension to the Minidisc format that allows direct transfers of compressed, ATRAC audio from a PC to Minidisc via USB interface. Audio transfers can be conducted at rates considerably faster than realtime (up to 64x for LP4 audio on certain units).

  2. Why is it considered a "format extension"?

    NetMD equipment requires complementary NetMD PC software for control and data transfer functions to be conducted. By standardizing the PC<->MD USB protocol, Sony assures compatibility between NetMD equipment and NetMD software packages from various manufacturers.

  3. What NetMD software packages are there?


    (Note that none of the non-commercial packages provide high-speed downloading from a PC or Mac since the secure DRM aspects of the NetMD USB protocol have not been cracked)

  4. What equipment supports NetMD?

    So far:

  5. What restrictions does NetMD impose on transfers?

  6. What is known about the information transferred over the USB link?

    NetMD hacking is still in its infancy. So far, however:

  7. Is there any way of transferring MP3s to MD without using OpenMG Jukebox?

    Dino Inglese, a Minidisc T-Station message board member offers this tip for using Simple Burner to circumvent OpenMG Jukebox (see his humorous original posting). CAVEAT: You will need Nero, and Nero's Imagedrive feature, or something similar that can create a virtual CD disc image and allow you to mount it to your desktop.

    Five easy steps to a clean and hassle free MP3->MD download

    1. Open Nero, select Audio CD from the presets and drag all the MP3's you want into it. Nero is far less picky about formats and sample rates. I found this method foolproof.
    2. Save or 'Burn' your CD to your hard drive (not your burner). Nero will give you a default filename of 'image.nrg'
    3. Use Nero's Imagedrive (bundled with Nero) to mount the .nrg (CD-image) you just created. Lets say Drive 'F' for this example.

      I am not an expert, but I found these first 3 steps took around 2 minutes or less for a regular size audio CD (i.e. burning and converting about 10 MP3 tracks to an audio CD 'image' on my hard drive). I have a 1GHz/PIII, so that helps with the MP3->PCM conversion times. A faster machine would mean proportionately faster MP3 conversion and image creation.

    4. Select your 'virtual F' CD drive in Simple Burner and burn it to Minidisc.
    5. When you are done, trash the large .nrg file sitting on your desktop.

    If your machine is fairly fast then Simple Burner's CD->ATRAC conversion is done in on-the-fly in RAM with the disk hardly ticking over at all.

    Advantages of this Method

  8. Wouldn't the transfers go even faster with USB 2.0?

    Current NetMD download speeds require less than 20% of USB 1.1's 12Mbps peak bandwidth:

  9. What other NetMD FAQs are there?

Copying Status: Public Domain. However, no liability is accepted for the correctness and safety any procedures or advice given here. This FAQ is distributed in the hope that it will be useful. Also, please include a notice that this file can be found at in any copies that you post.

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As always, I would be much obliged for any updates and corrections from Sony Engineering. -Eric Woudenberg

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