The MiniDisc has always offered high-quality audio recording and playback in a portable unit, but the format has never achieved mass-market status like other portable audio products. However, things may change with Sony’s NET MD range. Bringing together the power of MiniDisc with the versatility of MP3 digital audio, the Sony MZ-N707 Recordable Network Walkman could redefine the way we listen to music while on the move.
The MZ-N707 recordable Network MiniDisc Walkman is one of a new range of products from Sony that allow you to playback digital audio files such as MP3, WMA and WAV as well as standard MiniDiscs. Using the included MG Jukebox software, digital audio files (eg: MP3) stored on your computer are converted into ATRAC 3 and then transferred to the unit via the supplied USB cable. The software also allows you to record direct from audio CDs and create playlists of your favourite tunes.
One of the best features, now seen on most MiniDisc recorders, is MDLP–a long play mode that will record up to five hours of material on a single 80 minute MiniDisc, when using the MDLP 4 option. Sound quality is top-notch, even in MDLP4 mode. We recorded one track using different MDLP modes and audio sources and the difference in quality was hardly noticeable. Those worried about battery life will be pleased to know that the MZ-N707 will run for up to 56 hours on one AA battery–the included rechargeable battery runs for up to 20 hours. The MZ-N707 is supplied with a charger/cradle, rechargeable battery, USB and optical cables, in-ear headphones, stick-type remote controller, MG Jukebox software and a carry case with belt clip.
Our only criticism is the unstable software; it had a tendency to crash on our PC running Windows 2000 when we tried to drag multiple files into a playlist. But software gripes aside, the MZ-N707 is a top-quality MiniDisc recorder that sounds great. If you’re thinking of getting a bog-standard MP3 player, think again and take a look at this. –Martin Snelling
- Up to 56 Hours battery life
- Full featured NetMD Walkman
- Direct PC connection with USB
- ATRAC DSP Type-R
- Group function
- G-Protection Jog proof
- Stick-type LCD remote controller
- Cross Control key on the unit