Sony MZ-N10

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Photos: AVWatch
Photo: PocketFad
Photo: Sony
Photos: (1000x750)
Photos: Minidisco
US Model
Euro Model (1280x927)
Sony MZ-N10portable NetMD recorder
Intro: 9/2002
Est: JPY40,000
IN: microphone, line/optical. OUT: line/headphones. DATA: USB. DC IN: 6Vexcl. protrusions: 78.5 x 73.3 x 13.8mm (min. thickness: 12.9mm)
incl. protrusions: 83.8 x 74.3 x 18.9mm
weight: 84g (incl. battery)

Features: Sony's 10th anniversary Minidisc recorder, with several changes from previous models:

  • ATRAC DSP Type-S (see description under MDS-JB980). (System Controller/ATRAC DSP IC: CXD2678-202GA)
  • Unit is 30g lighter and 2.6mm thinner than the MZ-N1 (accomplished with new optical pickup and motor (30% thinner) and miniaturized main IC (33% smaller)).
  • LP4 audio downloading at 64x realtime (LP2 @ 32x?, SP @ ?x).
  • Downloading handled by SonicStage Ver 1.5 software (no mention of OpenMG Jukebox). Note: Japanese model ships with Japanese SonicStage, which cannot be installed on non-Japanese systems.
  • (Correction) USB and charging connections are made through the docking stand only.
  • Auto time-mark (places track marks at regular intervals [user settable from 1 to 99 minutes] during recording).
  • Personal disk memory on MZ-N10 now remembers group mode (on/off) setting as well.
  • User settable option (NORMAL/QUICK) for the unit's fast forward and reverse engagement delay (selecting QUICK reduces battery life). (Shared by all 2003 MZ-Nxx units, except, perhaps the MZ-N910).
  • Rehearsal Mode: holding the track mark button down for a few seconds enters rehearsal mode, allowing fine +/- adjustment of the track mark's position, just like home Minidisc decks.
  • Available in silver and grey.

    Common to MZ-N10 and MZ-E10:

  • Built-in 3mm Lithium Ion cell.
  • Further thinning of the magnesium case.
  • Backlit remote has 2-line display for Roman alphabet titles, 1-line for Kanji titles.
  • "Virtual Headphone Technology Acoustic Engine" uses DSP to provide "Studio, Club, Live, or Arena" effects.
  • Equalizer allows 7 steps of adjustment (-10dB to +10dB) in 6 frequency bands. Equalizer settings are established with one of four fixed presets ("Heavy, Pops, Jazz, Unique") or one of 2 custom (i.e. user defined) settings. Equalizer and "Virtual Headphone" cannot be used together.
  • "Bookmark Track" function can remember up to 20 "favorite tracks" from an MD and allows one to subsequently play just those tracks (tracks are registered by holding the joystick button down for 2 seconds while listening).
  • Adjustable playback speed from -50% to +100% (factor of 0.5x to 2.0x) in 13 steps without change of pitch.
  • "New" Play mode (See Sony portables glossary).

Other features incorporated from previous unit: 3 line LCD on main body, Jog-dial (now apparently a "Jog-knob" similar to the JVC XM-R700), manual REC level control selectable for digital and analog signals, MDLP group function, G-Protection Jog-proof, battery remaining indicator on main body and stick controller, one touch eject.

Features dropped: No Name Bank.

Remote: RM-MC35EKLU

Variants: European edition: Silver color only, power amp 2mW+2mW (equivalent to setting volume level to 25 out of 30 on the elsewhere available 5mW+5mW edition).



User Comments:

The Japanese model comes with Japanese software only, so beware. I was able to install the new drivers that came with it and it worked with Open MG 2.2 and Sonicstage 1.2, but I was not able to install Sonicstage 1.5. The menus would be gibberish anyway unless you had a Japanese OS or some kind of Japanese language support. The operation manual I got contains no English.

You can attach the USB cable without the cradle, but not both the USB cable and the external power or the AA battery pack at the same time. This is due to the fact that the external power comes in through the AA battery pack which attaches to and covers the USB port. The USB connector is a flat thin one I have never seen before. The power supply is 6V, no doubt due to the LIon battery charging needs.

There is a power option that selects between NORMAL and QUICK. I don't know if that is new, but it seems to reduce the delay that happens on older units when you fast forward or reverse play.

The mechanism is very quiet, quieter than my N505 and much more so than my R900. Nice and small and light. Controls seem intuitive and easy.

Transfer Speed Improvements: For LP2 mode, which I use the most, transfers are much faster, but the TOC update time limits the benefit. I tried a single 33 minute track and the N10 ran at about 30x real time while the N505 ran 15.5x realtime, so the N10 was almost 2 times as fast. With a 64 minute album of Miles Davis, which contains 7 tracks, 5 of which are about 10 minutes long, the improvement over the MZ-N505 was a factor of about 1.5 (it took 3 minutes 5 seconds to completely tranfer the disc). This is using OpenMG 2.2 or SonicStage 1.1. I don't think SonicStage 1.5 makes any difference to the download speed, it must be recorder and driver dependent.

Rehearsal and Bookmark Mode: When you add a track mark with the track mark button on the unit, you can hold the track mark button down for a few seconds to enter "REHEARSAL" mode and adjust the position of the track mark. This works just like on the home decks, although I am not sure if you can select how fine the increment of changing the position is. This is a very cool feature that is a first for Sony portables (Aiwa portables have had this since the AM-F5). Bookmarks are made by holding down the joystick for 2 seconds while playing.
-Leland McArthy

Specs: Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW into 16 ohms. 20-20kHz +/-3dB.

Included Accessories: (Japanese edition) Backlit Remote, AC power adapter, USB cradle, USB cable (1.5m), SonicStage Ver 1.5 CD-ROM (download software), attachable AA cell case, carrying pouch.

User Manuals: MZ-N10, MZ-N10 Courtesy Minidisco

Service Manuals: MZ-N10, MZ-N10

Battery Life (SP/LP2/LP4)
"was" refers to Sony's pre-release figures
LIP-3WMB - 3.7V, 340mAh builtin
17/20/24 hr
(was: 23/27/30)
8.5/11/14 hr
(was: 9/13/16)
100%: 3.5 hr (cradle or direct), 80%: 1 hr
AA x 127/32/36 hr
(was: 32/40/43)
7.5/10/11.5 hr
(was: 11/16/20)
Both42/52/58 hr
(was: 58/71/77)
15/20/26.5 hr
(was: 22/33/41)

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