Comparison of the
YAMAHA MD4 and MD8 Multitrack Recorders

Martin Frischherz ([email protected])


Since I use both the Yamaha MD4 and MD8, I thought it might be of interest to the MiniDisc community if I made a rough comparison of the two units.


YAMAHA's multitrack recorder page. The MD Community Page Yamaha MD4 and MD8 pages. Yamaha's close up line-art of the MD8 front and back panels.


What both units have in common:
Price ~ $990 ~ $1300
One MD:> $20 (140MB, allows up to 18min 8track or 37min 4track recording)
Recordable tracks 4 8
Display dimmer NO YES, (5 steps)
VU meter More segments (-39, -27, -18,-15,-12,-9,-6, -3, 0 dB) Less segments ( -36, -24,-18, -12, -6, -3, 0 dB) Peak hold on/off
Display for song title (the song name scrolls through the display) 12 characters wide 11 characters wide
Auto punch I/O Single take Up to 99 takes (depends on free space on disc). After you recorded several takes, you can decide which one to keep.
Free space on disc (if you delete a song which is not the last song on disc, you get a free block which is discontiguous with the blank top) New recordings go to the largest free block automatically. You don't see how many free blocks are there. New recordings go in whichever free block you want. Songs can be moved to get one large (contiguous) free block. Disc info function lets you know where your songs are physically located on the disc and where the free blocks are.
Renumber songs NO YES (if you move songs to get one larger free block, they keep their initial song numbers. With "renumber" they get new numbers according to their new physical location on disc)
Song markers 8 Markers per song 10 markers per song
Add/Remove tracks to/from an existing song NO YES, you can convert an Ntrack song to an Mtrack song where M and N are either 1, 2, 4 or 8. If M<N you have to decide which tracks to copy. You can convert an MD4 song to an 8track song for the MD8. (I actually had troubles converting an MD4 song into an 8track song. One track always became corrupt and disgusting to listen to. Finally I succeded with a trick. I had no problems converting a 4t song which was initially recorded on the MD8 though)
Part copy (copy a segment of one track to another point in the song) NO YES. You can copy eg. from elapse 1:05-1:23 track 1 to elapse 2:13-2:26 track 7. Source and destination must not overlap.
Groups Four. Directed to tracks one to four. Four with a group master gain control each. Can be directed to tracks 1,5 (grp1) 2,6 (grp2) 3,7 (grp3) 4,8 (grp4). When recording you can decide for each track separately IF it receives the corresponding group signal (eg. grp3 for tr7) OR the corresponding input channel (eg. ch7 for tr7).
Aux Sends One aux send, one (stereo) aux return. Two aux sends, two (stereo) aux returns.
Insert I/O NO YES (channels one and two only)
ATRAC Version 2 3.5
Cue/Review speed 2x, 4x (Buttons) 0.5x(fwd only), 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, 32x (Jog/Dial) At half speed fwd the signal is heard at half pitch
Pitch control +- 6.15% +- 12.05%
MIDI Out In/out/thru
EQ High(12kHz), mid(1kHz), low(80Hz) +- 12dB High(12kHz), sweepable-mid(250Hz-5kHz), low(80Hz) +- 15dB
Cue Gain for each track Gain, pan for each track, Flip switches
  • On the top surface. I like this (very handy)
  • MIC/LINE IN, x4 phone jack
  • AUX RETURN stereo, Phone
  • AUX SEND, Phone jack
  • MONITOR OUT stereo, RCA
  • PHONES OUT stereo, phone jack
  • FOOT SWITCH, phone jack
  • MIDI out
  • On the back (because there is less space on the top surface). I like this also
  • MIC/LINE IN (CH 1&2) Balanced XLR(phantom on/off switchable)
  • MIC/LINE INPUT, x8 (CH 1-8) Balanced phone jack
  • LINE INPUT stereo x2, Phone jack x4 (this is the 2x aux stereo return)
  • 2TR IN stereo, 2x RCA
  • MONITOR OUT stereo, RCA
  • PHONES OUT stereo, phone jack
  • AUX SEND, x2 Phone jack
  • FOOT SWITCH, phone jack
  • MIDI in/out/through

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