Hi-MD Equipment Check at Sony Netherlands
Marck Evers and a team from MDcenter.nl went to Sony City Netherlands for their Spring Show 2004
(this is a hands-on showing of new equipment to dealers). They conducted tests,
and asked many questions. This is a summary of their
Uploading Topics (these are direct answers from Sony)
- High speed MD to PC uploading can be performed with recordings made from mic, line & optical sources.
- All Hi-MD formats that can be recorded with the units themselves can be uploaded (i.e. PCM, Hi-SP & Hi-LP).
- Uploaded tracks can [currently] only be played back on the PC by using the supplied SonicStage2 ("SS2") software.
- Extended SonicStage software will become available that will be able to burn audio-CD's.
- Exporting from Extended-SS2 to WAV is still unknown.
- Exporting from Extended-SS2 to MP3 will not be possible (an external WAV->MP3 step is necessary).
- The Macintosh is still not supported (even Hi-MD's "USB data storage" mode is reportedly not Macintosh compatible).
Tests with Prototypes of MZ-NH1 and Hi-MD formatted 74 min discs
- The speed of a Hi-SP download to MD is 8x (timed).
- The usable disc space on a 74 min disc formatted as a Hi-MD medium
is 270MB; extrapolated to an 80 min disc this becomes 290MB (305MB
- The transfer rate of a data-mode file copy (200MB video file)
to MD (i.e. download) is 3.55 Mbps (Sony datasheet says 4.37 Mbps)
- The transfer rate of a data-mode file copy (same 200MB video
file) from MD to PC (i.e. upload) is 6.22 Mbps (Sony datasheet says
- We did not succeed in ripping CD-audio in PCM format and
transferring it directly to MD. Ripping CD-audio in PCM to hard disc is
possible, but before transferring it it is converted to ATRAC (possibly
to protect CD-audio from lossless copying).
- When playing back tracks that are on a Hi-MD formatted disc, the
sound is also transferred back to the PC via the USB bus and will be
heard over the speakers/headphones. (Contrast this to existing NetMD
units where the sound is only available via the Walkman's headphone
- While playing back MD tracks over the PC it is possible to
simultaniously record them with e.g. Cooledit 2000 (effectively a
- Using the SS2 program makes the MD inaccessible as a data-drive,
so no simultaneous data/music transfers are possible.
- The uploading of existing ("NetMD") recordings (SP, LP2 & LP4) is
not possible (tested with an MD recording made with our own MZ-N10,
and with recordings made with the MZ-NH1 in "NetMD"-mode).
- Hi-SP files are stored on the disc as real Hi-SP audio (no
half-baked LP2 to semi-SP kludge as with NetMD).
- All recorded audio is placed in a collection of ".hma" files (of
unknown format) in a single directory on the MD. One large .hma file
contains all the audio-data, the other files are for index-data &
titles. These ".hma" files can be freely copied back to the PC hard
drive, but no subsequent playback of them is possible. (They present
fertile ground for further investigation however).
Etcetera (answered by Sony)
- A free official update from SS1.5 to 2.0 will be available in April.
- The battery cannot be charged via the USB bus.
- The Hi-MD equipment shown to date can record in either NetMD
(aka "std-MD") mode to std-MD media or in Hi-MD mode to Hi-MD media,
both via USB downloading as well as via audio inputs. So it's fully
backward compatible with old equipment. Also SP & SP-mono recordings
can be made from analog, mic & optical inputs.
- There is no PCM mono or Hi-SP mono mode.
- Track, album & artist title information is transferred separately
to the disc and can be viewed separately on your display.
- Prices of units (Holland):
- MZ-NH1: 479 €
- MZ-NHF800: 399 €
- MZ-NH900: 385 €
- MZ-NH700: 299 €
- MZ-NH600: 249 €
- The MZ-NH1's LiIon battery is removable just like e.g. a NH-14WM.
Comments on Hi-MD Gear Look and Feel
Connect.com Online Music Service
- Local artists will also be made available (e.g. Dutch artists in Holland)
- Payments can be made by credit-card as well as other mechanisms.
- Music will be assembled from as many labels as possible, not just Sony Music.
References to Original MDcenter.nl Documents (in Dutch)