Archive for the ‘Minidisc’ category

Microsoft Gets Its Zune On

January 28, 2007

Microsoft has released official information about their upcoming Zune brand of digital entertainment devices and services, which has the unstated goal of toppling the Apple iPod/iTunes empire. The computer software giant stated the products are “designed around the principles of sharing, discovery and community”.

Zune 30GB Player:

 The first Zune product out of the gate on Nov. 14, 2006 will be a 30GB portable media player, priced at $249.99, which can play and store up to 7,500 songs, 25,000 digital pictures or 100 hours of video. This device, which will be available in black, brown or white, includes built-in wireless technology so one can share full length sample tracks, playlists, pictures and personally recorded audio directly from Zune to Zune.  Sharing of any audio has a set limitation of only being enjoyed by the receiver up to three times in three days and may not work with all sample tracks. Sample tracks shared in this way can also not be passed along to another Zune from the person who was the original recipient.  

Zune Marketplace:

 

 

 

Music which is shared from Zune to Zune and found enjoyable by the recipient can be flagged for later online purchase from the Zune Marketplace, which is Microsoft’s answer to the Apple iTunes Store. The Zune Marketplace will offer “a huge selection of music” which can be bought and synced with the Zune player. This marketplace works with Microsoft Points – a prepaid online currency Microsoft uses currently through Xbox Live Marketplace – so one can purchase music without needing to input a credit card.

Also, Zune Marketplace users will have the choice of individual music download purchases for 79 Microsoft Points per song or a subscription based model for $14.99 per month, which is similar to the current PlaysForSure type online music services used by a variety of Microsoft allied MP3 player manufacturers such as Creative and iriver.

More Zune Player Features:

 Besides the wireless sharing and Zune Marketplace, other features talked about by Microsoft in today’s announcement include being able to customize one of the three base body colors by combining each “with a distinctive double-shot finish created by the overlay of one color on another” as well as using personal pictures or themes on screen; a 3-inch LCD video screen which allows for viewing in portrait or landscape mode; on the go playlists support; digital photo slide show viewing with listening to music;a built-in FM tuner; and support through included Zune software for importing of existing music, pictures and video from iTunes and Windows Media Player in a variety of non-subscription or copy protected formats (audio files in unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4, H.264).

All About MiniDisc

January 26, 2007

MiniDisc was one of the more versatile audio recording options available, and that’s why it’s survived into the days of the MP3. But saying it’s versatile just doesn’t convey the surprising number of cool things you can do with MD — some of which just aren’t

possible with any other format.

MiniDisc lets you: 

 1)  make mixes of PC audio you’ve downloaded from the Internet or ripped to your hard drive

2)  make high-quality live recordings (with an optional microphone and a recorder with a mic input)

3)  make mixes of your favorite CD tracks

4)  change the order of tracks without having to re-record them

5)  break a lengthy track into multiple separate tracks, or combine several short tracks into a single-track suite 

6)   instantly erase any individual track or an entire disc 

  7)  add disc and track titles that appear on a compatible player’s display panel (great for labeling mix MDs with artists, titles, and other reference information that could never fit on the outside of the cartridge)

Recording options:

select the sound quality and music capacity you want.
Previous generations of MiniDisc recorders offered only one sound quality option: ATRAC™ compression, which fit up to 80 minutes of audio (the same amount a regular CD holds) onto a tiny MiniDisc. But these days, MD offers more recording quality options than ever. Some let you fit more material onto a single MD, some provide superior sound quality, and some use advanced encoding technologies to try to achieve both.

Many recorders offer MiniDisc Long Play (MDLP™) mode. This means they can use ATRAC3™ compression to either double or quadruple recording time — so you can opt to record between about two and a half and five hours of material onto an 80-minute disc. Be aware, though, that the more compression you use, the lower your recording’s sound quality. Also, MDLP recordings will not play back on non-MDLP-capable players.

·         Sony’s advanced Hi-MD™ recorders use sophisticated ATRAC3plus™ compression technology to fit up to 45 hours of music (at a bitrate of 48 kbps) onto specially designed 1GB Hi-MD discs! (Higher bitrates are also available.) These recorders are also backward-compatible with standard MiniDiscs, and can use ATRAC3plus compression to record up to 13 hours of music onto a regular 80-minute MD. Although ATRAC3plus is designed to provide better sound quality at lower bitrates than the older ATRAC and ATRAC3 formats, the “higher bitrate means better sound” rule of thumb still holds. And as with MDLP, Hi-MD recordings will not play back on non-Hi-MD players.

Hi-MD introduces another first in the world of MiniDisc: full CD-quality sound! You can choose to record music to a Hi-MD or regular MD disc as uncompressed PCM (CD-quality) audio, and lose none of the sound quality of the original recording. (A 1GB Hi-MD disc holds 94 minutes of PCM; an 80-minute MD holds 28 minutes’ worth.) CD-to-MiniDisc recording
Do you ever record mix tapes or CD-Rs for a party or the car? Mix MDs are much better! MiniDisc makes it easy to erase or replace a song, break apart or consolidate tracks, and even change the song order, without re-recording. That’s just not possible with other formats! Plus, blank MDs can be re-recorded up to a million times without degradation.
There are a couple of disadvantages to MD recording, however. Unless you’re using a Hi-MD recorder to capture uncompressed sound, MD won’t deliver quite the same sound quality CDs can. Also, unlike CD-Rs and CD-RWs, MiniDiscs won’t play in any CD or DVD players.
You can record to MiniDisc via digital or analog input. Either sounds great, but digital transfer gives you slightly better sound quality. Just connect your CD player’s (optical or coaxial) digital output to your MiniDisc recorder’s matching digital input. It’s that simple — you’re ready to record! Choosing a MiniDisc player or recorder:
A home MD recorder is perfect for the MD enthusiast who mostly listens at home, or who routinely records from CD, radio, TV, or other home audio sources. Just hook the MD deck up to your receiver, or any audio component with a compatible output, and you’re ready to record.
It’s still possible to find some MD portables out there, and MiniDisc’s durability and portability make it a good choice format for listening on the go. A portable player/recorder with a microphone input gives you the most versatile listening and recording options. Add car cassette and cigarette lighter adapters for listening in the car. Add a compatible microphone to make live recordings anywhere. A USB interface, included with some models, lets you easily record PC audio (see “PC connectivity” above). And, if you only record at home occasionally, a portable player/recorder makes a great stand-in for a home deck.