Should I record DJ sets with Hi-MD or mp3? Is it easy to get music off the MD player and convert it?
July 1, 2004 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Hi-MD vs mp3? I'm looking to buy something to record DJ sets with. I've been using my somewhat trusty Creative Jukebox for a while now, but it's time to move on. So, do I get an iPod or a Hi-MD Walkman? Does Sony "own" my music if I record to Hi-MD? That is, will I be able to get music off the MD player and convert it to other formats and whatnot?
posted by badstone to Technology (14 answers total)
Note: I do not possess a HiMD.

However, I *do* possess a recording MD, and Sony owns your recordings. My MD was specifically engineered so that I could NOT get recordings off it without using the line-out and re-recording.

...which sucked.

Back when I bought, there weren't many (any) other reasonable options for highly-portable long-length recording. There are many options now, so I would recommend staying the hell away from Sony. They intentionally cripple their products. YMMV, of course, but I wouldn't buy an MD nowadays.
posted by aramaic at 9:40 AM on July 1, 2004

I personally have my eye on this thing. The claim of 24hrs of playtime on the battery is very interesting, even if it only turns out to be 18 or 20 hrs real-time.
posted by Hackworth at 9:47 AM on July 1, 2004

I believe MD would be a better format. Sony does not own your music, more than an airline owns any work you do while on their plane.

Why not DAT tapes? That would have the best quality and most compatability, as far as transferring it to your computer and the fact that I don't forsee DAT tapes going away anytime soon.

On Preview: What's the difference between using a line-out and transferring your sets via USB? I mean ideally badstone would get an optical out, not analog. His sets would be one big MP3 in an iPod device, and he'd have to break it up the same way he'd break up the "rerecording" of the MD format.

But saying that Sony owns your recording is like saying the man who sells you a pen and paper owns your book. They might own the MD format and keep it closed for monopolistic purposes, but they certainly do not own recordings you make.
posted by geoff. at 9:50 AM on July 1, 2004

Oh yeah DAT is probably out of your price range. Ok well, if I were you I'd get a MD. Check out this FAQ on HiMD and the whole site.

I do not have a MD, I know people who do. For simply playing music I'd probably chose an iPod. For recording I'd definitely chose a MD, preferably DAT though.
posted by geoff. at 9:55 AM on July 1, 2004

Don't go near MD, it's a dead format. Dat tapes is a good idea - or why not just go the whole hog and use a PC. You don't say whose DJ sets you'll be recording, or how or where, which makes a positive answer hard - just don't go near MD!
posted by ascullion at 9:57 AM on July 1, 2004

Go for Hi-MD. Not the older (compressed) MD tho'.

This is a rundown of the Hi-MD spec. It looks as if the uncompressed PCM (CD-quality) setting & the USB upload to PC could be the answer. Just don't use compressed modes & you'll be OK soundwise. The SoundStage upload software will probably stop copies of protected direct uploads but if you've recorded a set from a mixer then you won't have a problem, even if you've used CDs with protection.

As for hard disk audio recorders, avoid mp3 if you are serious about your sound. WAV or AIFF is the way to go.

The iPod won't record at a high enough quality. See this discussion. If a device can record an AIFF or WAV then you're OK but they're not so common. In fact I haven't seen one but I wouldn't be surprised if they bacome available in the future...more aimed at the procuction/pro-audio end tho'.

Another alternative is recording via a sound input box onto a laptop hard drive using Pro Tools or one of many available audio recording progs. Might be slight overkill but it'll be dead easy to edit & runoff CDs of your sets. A good setup to use at home (or use your standard PC) for recording mixes.

The other alternative is a DAT recorder. Even more overkill as they are one of the few portable audio devices more expensive that an iPod ;-)
posted by i_cola at 10:14 AM on July 1, 2004

Aha! The Nomad Jukebox 3 records in WAV format & has a line-in. Looks good & could be ideal. Review here. [Annoying advert]
posted by i_cola at 10:25 AM on July 1, 2004

In retrospect, if the new MD format allows you to record to PCM and upload via USB, that sounds like quite a good deal I was making my judgement on the limitations of the old system.
posted by ascullion at 10:53 AM on July 1, 2004

Depending on your needs, a basic MD may be just fine - I've been happy with mine for years. It's not a popular consumer medium (it's never taken off here in the US) but it's almost a standard for radio & concert recording.

You'll not find a cheaper or more portable way to make digital, stereo recordings.
posted by aladfar at 11:34 AM on July 1, 2004

geoff: Sony does not own your music, more than an airline owns any work...

'twas merely a figure of speech (on my part, anyway). As in "Sony won't let you do what you want with your own recordings", not as in "Sony has copyright over everything you record."
posted by aramaic at 4:06 PM on July 1, 2004

Response by poster: yes, that's what my "own" in quotes meant - that Sony restricts me from doing what I want with my music.

re: whose sets - mine. I want something to plug into my mixer.

re: dats & PCs - out of my price range, I only have a work PC, not a home one. well, I have a work laptop to take home, but it's got a crappy sound card, and I definitely can't haul it with me to shows and spill beer on it.
posted by badstone at 4:34 PM on July 1, 2004

You could go with an iRiver unit. They allow you to record in realtime in uncompressed .WAV or as mp3 (up to 320kBps). There is a review here. Probably more expensive than the Nomad listed above, but a much smaller footprint (if thats important to you).
posted by urban greeting at 3:04 AM on July 2, 2004

How 'bout this: Buy a Nomad J3 from somewhere that will let you take it back for a refund if it isn't what you need, give it a few days of testing & if it doesn't do what you want as well as you want, take it back & try the Hi-MD. Or vice versa.

If you get a chance to post back to this thread I'd be interested in knowing how you get on.
posted by i_cola at 4:59 AM on July 2, 2004

or what urban greeting said...
posted by i_cola at 5:44 AM on July 2, 2004

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