Sony Hi-MD minidisc format

18 Mar

A sony Hi-MD walkman

Musicians, radio journalists and the general public will love Hi-MD

UPDATE AFTER FIELD TEST Well, we have been using the new Hi-MD in the field and I have to say, life is a lot easier. In terms of our business here, there is very little to complain about. We can run for long periods on the internal battery and we always have the option of attaching external AA cells for extra time. The recording onto PCM (that is CD quality) audio is incredible and getting it onto the VAIO with the latest version of sonic stage is a breeze, the audio packages can then be edited from the WAV file instantly. So, we are happy, let’s make that clear – before we cause trouble Problems: there are a few. I have to say that I couldn’t care less about having no MP3 (the latest generation of minidiscs do) but until the sonicstage version that let a WAV download from the Minidisc unit came along it was as good as useless for recording radio features and then editing them. OK, thanks Sony, it was fixed – but a little late. I still have a problem that there is no option of mono recording. This could usefuly double the capactiy of a disc for my radio work – just a minor grumble though. My main problem is that there is no ability to transfer or use data outside Sonicstage – so I cannot transfer my files outside Windows XP. I am migrating to Linux and Sony has decided to keep me on Microsoft. A shame. Let’s not stay negative though – the Hi-MD is indeed what I have been waiting for since I got into radio and it has slimmed down the field to feature time for RQ by some big margin. NOW LISTEN TO OUR ORIGINAL FEATURE The amazing new technology of Sony’s revolutionary minidisc format is coming soon. For now, we have a preview to make your mouthwater. Very soon, we’ll let you know how it performs in the field. So, we’ll take it to a field. Musicians, radio journalists, sound effects nutters, spies, oral historians. You are all going to love it. Find out why straight away and in-depth very soon on Radio Quality. More details at Sony Global Site

listen to the feature

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audio transcript

Let me put on my professional hat for a moment (cough, cough); the new Hi-MD minidisc format has been announced by Sony to come out in early summer and it will be a massive step forward for radio journalists (especially web radio) and for amateur musicians everywhere as well as for the train travelling music loving public. Now let me take my professional hat off. This is absolutely fantastic. The new Hi-MD is unbelievable. I’ve been waiting for this for five years ever since I started using Minidisc – it’s fantastic. All that beautiful perfect digital storage that I can record onto anywhere from microphone. And now I can use it as standard file storage for my PC as well. I can’t wait to get my hands on this. OK – let’s get somewhere between these two hats. Radio Quality, the site you are listening to, is created almost exclusively by using a high quality broadcast microphone to record onto Sony Minidisc walkman, the audio then gets uploaded at one-to-one speed via a HiFi component Minidisc player through an optical cable into a Soundblaster card and then edited using Cooledit2000. Hi-MD will make this process much faster, much safer and more integrated. For a start I will be able to get the material onto my Vaio through the digital route while I’m still on the road (of course I can’t do that now as there is no optical input on the Vaio and no optical output on a Minidisc Walkman). And remember this, Michelle Shocked recorded ‘The Texas Campfire Tapes’ on a Sony Walkman Cassette so imagine what you can do with a harmonica, an acoustic guitar and the new Hi-MD! I also listen to music on minidisc and take recordings of radio programmes to enjoy when i’m on the road – just like Jo Public. But maybe the big difference, apart from the upload function, which is truly mouthwatering, is the possibility of storing all the files that go with your project on the Hi-MD, whilst being able to just listen to the audio parts of it as if it was a normal Minidisc. So you can keep your script/lyrics, your original raw recordings and clips, your edited final version, your streamable format and your MP3 compression all together. Archivists will love us (and Sony) in the future. And of course this feature is great for the average punter – so here are my top five uses for the new Hi-MD walkman range: Number 1: As I’ve already pointed out it’s a miracle for making radio. Number 2: It’s going to act as a plug and play USB file storage, like a USB key, of 1GB per disk. So whenever yo go away you can just caryy an extra disc with all your favourite shreware to give to your friends. I suggest Adaware, AVG antivirus, Cooledit and Textpad for starters. You’ll make even more friends. Number 3: Bore and suprise your family with photos of your holidays, children, pets or model railway hidden in your music collection. Number 4: Take music samples around to your musician-friends: you can audition the samples from the walkman and just upload those that you want to use and manipulate on the computer. Number 5: Capture your old Top of the Pops videos that you recorded in the 70s and 80s onto Divx, store them on the Minidisc and you can then delete them as you relise they are embarrasing. I’m sure you can think of more…. So what else? I cannot imagine that the ergonomics of the new machine will be anything less than we expect from the good folk at Sony, but there are still some things I need to know. Firstly, how will the fairly severe copyright protection mechanisms impair my ability to copy and recopy my own work? Secondly, how well will the new technology allow ATRAC and other Sony recording formats to integrate with software such as Cooledit2000 and Cubase that pros will want to use? I’ll be getting hold of the Hi-MD as soon as I can and I’ll let you know the answers to these questions and just how sexy it really is. I’ll also give you a run down of which models do what. Oh, and of course, the launch price. Start saving up now.

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