David WrightI am a chairman of an international engineering committee that often has long conference calls by telephone. I record these (in mono) so I can then revisit some of the points and write up the minutes off line.
(JK Audio sells the QuickTap and THAT-1 (among other telephone audio interfaces) that provide high quality recording from telephone lines. Using the JK Audio adapters, non-Sony portable recorders with an analog synchro-start feature can be set to automatically record phone calls. -eaw)
Yota Yoshimitsu adds: As you may know, recording phone conversations without the consent of all parties is illegal in many jurisdictions (including Australia, where I live). Perhaps you should add a disclaimer warning of the possibility that you might break the law by doing this?
Backing up telephone answering machine recordings
Simon WardI use my Sony Minidisc recorder to "backup" my answering machine so I can replay messages when I want since my answering machine deletes the message after listening to it once. The other day a man phoned me and left his telephone number but he spoke so quickly that I couldn't catch the number. So I just recorded it to Minidisc using a telephone tap and then played it back slower using the pitch control. It worked great.
Bournemouth England, September 2002
Bootlegging from Listening Booths
Shade, Fairview Tn[Leaving ethics questions aside...] The Camalot music stores in Tennesee have demo machines that can play a whole CD (the CDs are pre-loaded into the machine). I don't know if its like that everywhere else but I found a way to get songs from the machine. The line out from the machine into the headphones is most of the time a standard miniplug, so I got a male-to-male cord and hooked it up to my Minidisc recorder and recorded whatever songs I wanted!
Daniel Kouvo ([email protected])I often record music from music videos that are shown on TV. Almost all music videos are played from the beginning to the end with no interference of other sounds and the like. Therefore I get the whole track, free. But please note that the sound quality is not always as good as CD/MD-quality sound. For example, on MTV I get a low background "humm"-noise, but it is so low that it almost cannot be heard. But that has a lot to do with your TV, satellite or video equipment. If you for example have a digital satellite receiver with digital audio output, it should give you perfect quality sound.
Mark Canada ([email protected])I enjoy using my MD recorder/player (Sony MZ-R50) as a movie audio player. I have recorded some of my favorite movies' audio tracks on MDs, movies such as Animal House, Better Off Dead, GoodFella's, Rambo, Star Wars Trilogy, Godfather Trilogy and many more.
I just hook up my MD player to the audio out of my VCR, set the MD player to Mono in order to get twice as much audio on one disc, and then record away. I really enjoy taking it on trips, or just driving in the car back and forth to work playing my favorite movies. My friends really get a kick out of it also.
Do you mark tracks for favorite scenes, or use the titling feature at all? -eaw
Yes, I do. While I am listening to the movie, I will make track marks that start at my favorite scenes and then title them. Just to give you an example, here are the tracks I made for the audio movie "Goodfellas":
Track 1 Introduction Track 2 Jimmy Conway (scene where Henry meets Jimmy Conway) Track 3 How Am I Funny? (scene where Henry says that Tommy is a very funny guy) Track 4 Air France Heist (scene where they steal the money from the airport) Track 5 Billy Batts (scene where Billy Batts returns from prison) Track 6 Spider..Spider (scene where Spider forgets Tommy's drink and shoots him in the foot. Track 7 The JFK Heist (scene where they steal the 4 million dollars) Track 8 They Wacked Him! (scene where Tommy is killed) Track 9 Busted! (scene where Henry is busted for drugs) Track 10 The Rat (scene where Henry is going to rat on his friends) End of Movie
The other neat thing that I did a few months ago was take my MD recorder to the movies and record the movie "Austin Powers - The Spy Who Shagged Me!". I attached a small clip-on external microphone and recorded the entire movie. I didn't care too much for the movie (thought it was lame), but to listen to the audience laugh as well as myself and my friends really cracks me up.
Recording Railroad and Aircraft Radio Transmissions
Juan ChaparralNifty little Sharp MD-MT15 MiniDisc player/recorder makes a great scanner - radio recorder! I wanted to capture some radio transmissions of railroad and aircraft but was trying to figure out how I could record radio traffic only when signals came over the air. Naturally, I did not want to just turn a cassette recorder on and leave it-- scanning through hours of tape to see what I wanted was just not an option. I picked up the MD recorder on a whim. It was an excellent buy! The sync-record feature meant I could go away and do other things while the little MiniDisc recorder recorded only when signals were recieved on the scanner. Not only that, but the recorder put each new radio signal on its own new track so scanning through and deleting what I did not wnat was very quick and painless! I highly recommend this type of unit for HAMs!
Steve BommaritoMy favorite part of attending car races is the sound! I took my Sharp MD-MS200 and a Sony stereo microphone to the 2001 US Grand Prix at Indianapolis and was able to record some great audio. Listening to the cars while looking through the pictures I took makes a great multimedia slideshow.
Recording Videogame Music to MiniDisc
Steve Winters ([email protected])One thing I want to share with your readers is the idea of recording videogame music (scores) to MiniDisc. This can be done with either a Playstation or Nintendo64. All you need to do is buy a mini-plug adapter, and then connect the left/right audio cable that comes with your videogame console to the mini-plug, then connect the adapter to your minidisc recorder. It's simple. Recording can be time consuming however, especially if you have to play the game in order to reach certain songs that you wish to record.
Do you use any of the MiniDisc features when doing this? -eaw
Yes I do. I use track-marks when necessary, often in the middle of scores where the music gets intense - like in Final Fantasy Seven or Eight. I also title songs, usually just labelling them as "Battle Music 1" or 2, etc. If I know some of the songs "belong" together, I sometimes combine them, or move them so they are more melodic. You know, slow songs with slow songs, or fast ones with fast. If there's a particular game with exceptional audio, I won't switch to mono, I'll keep it on stereo, but it's gotta be real good to do that. But if the songs are available on MP3, like most Final Fantasy scores, I'll just record them from my computer using WinAmp and an audio cable coming out of my sound card - I find this the quickest way to record MP3's from a computer to a MiniDisc player/recorder (without special software/hardware ). You can also record from a GameBoy or Super Nintendo. Essentially anything that has an audio out jack can be used as a recording source.
Phil PorteusI use my Sony MZ-N505 NetMD recorder for listening to audio books. I download the files from the web or rip them from the CDs onto MP3s and then download them onto the Minidisc via USB. With the LP4 feature you can get 4 CDs worth of audiobook onto one Minidisc, and LP4 quality is sufficient for an audiobook. Of course all the cool Minidisc features can be used. When you have to step away from the player, just hit pause and when you come back the track is exactly where you left it. Then when you finish the book simply erase and burn another title. No need to lug around a five or six CD set when a couple of Mindiscs will do the trick.
Daniel Kouvo ([email protected])Sometimes when there is a special program with cool music on the radio I record the whole program on MD. Afterwards I cut out all the speeches and leave just the music on the disc. Often on radio shows the hosts talk over the music and many songs aren't played to end. But, what I do is that I "mix" the tracks. I cut them so that the beats continue in another track or I put a cool sound effect between two tracks etc. This is very tricky in order to make it sound good and I often have to erase some of the tracks when they don't "match" with the others. But if you have patience and maybe some knowledge in music making, you can end up with a cool sounding mix which may even sound as if it was mixed by a DJ. I have sucseeded in this (after hours of editing).
Unattended Radio Recording with a Portable
Russ JohnsonOne of my hobbies is AM radio DXing, which means I like to identify and log stations on the AM (medium wave) radio band. Stations usually identify at the top of the hour. The best times to DX are around sunrise, sunset and throughout the night..times I am usually asleep or otherwise busy!
Thanks to my MD recorder (Sharp MD-MT200), I can make unattended recordings and play them back when it is convenient for me. I set my radio in the "on" position and connect it to a digital timer which turns the radio on/off for as many top-of-the hour segments (3-4 minutes worth) as I program in.
The MD recorder sitting the synchro-record mode is connected to the radio output and it records a new track for each on/off period. It is an easy matter to replay the tracks and to know which track corresponds to the time of recording.
My logging results are much better as the MD audio quality is noticeably better than from cassette tapes. It is also easier to locate what you want on an MD recording vs. a cassette. Retrieving and replaying a segment is a breeze with MD. The Sharp MD-MT200, a decent radio and a good digital timer is definitely the way to go for unattended recording.