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Apparently there is a glitch that lets you bypass SCMS on the R900 and R700. It is nothing like the old MZ-R50 parameter mode hack however... This R900 method has a few drawbacks and is tricky, perhaps tedious, but it usually works. It has been brought to my attention that this does not work everytime, it seems to depend on the timing of the steps.

Basically, you just put the unit into RECORD-PAUSE, turn SYNCHRO ON, plug in the optical cable, then turn SYNCHRO OFF--all in that order. If it doesn't work the first time, try again and see what works, as the success rate does seem to depend on your timing. If you need a more detailed run-down, read on:

Put the MD that you want to make a copy of (SOURCE disc) into the deck with the optical output. Of course put the disc that you want to record on into the R900. The SOURCE disc should be one that was already recorded via optical connection, and thus is SCMS FINAL... In other words, if you try to make a digital copy of it, normally the recorder will read "NO COPY" or some similar message depending on what unit you use.

  1. With SYNCHRO switched to the ON position, and WITHOUT the optical cable plugged in, you need to put the R900 into RECORD-PAUSE. The display will read "LINE", since the optical cable is not plugged in yet.

  2. The source you want to record from must be PLAYING... If it is paused, this will not work correctly.

  3. SYNCHRO NEEDS TO BE ON! With the source playing, plug the optical cable into the line/optical input. The R900 will switch from LINE to DIGITAL, and the display will then read "NO COPY", and the R900 will stay in RECORD-PAUSE... this is normal since the SOURCE disc is SCMS final. **IF YOUR R900 STARTS RECORDING NOW, then your source disc is not SCMS final, and you need to find a different source disc (either that or your R900 is really special ^_^). The display should be flashing "NO COPY" and not allow recording...

  4. Here's the magic:
    SWITCH THE SYNCHRO TO THE **OFF** POSITION. As soon as I do this on my unit, it actually starts recording, even though the display continues to read "NO COPY"!!! The entire display will continue to flash, as if it is still in record-pause, but if you look at the time, you will notice that the seconds are counting, and actually recording!!! VOILA!

    Sometimes this might not work. I've found that is [sometimes] depends on the timing of steps 3 and 4. Sometimes if you plug in the optical cable and wait too long to turn off the SYNCHRO, it won't work. See what works for you, and if you think you find a pattern, let me know.

  5. This will work until the source is interupted in ANY way... if you do any of the following, I found--at least on my machine--that the recording will pause, and you'll have to start over from step #1:

    • You cannot press PAUSE on the source (or the R900 for that matter).

    • You cannot manually change tracks on the source...

    • You cannot switch the SYNCHRO back ON. It must stay OFF for this to work.

    It is okay to record multiple tracks, as long as you let the source play through without changing tracks yourself. When the source MD goes to the next track however, the track marks are not "copied" by the R900... so an MD of multiple tracks will be recorded as ONE LONG TRACK. It is okay to push the T MARK button, and that will work without interrupting the recording.

    Now, depending on your machine, the above restrictions may or may not apply to your R900. One user notified me that he could change tracks manually without having the recording stop, and his R900 also marked the tracks automatically (neither of which was the case on my unit). His serial # was in the 167XXX range... for reference, mine is in the 11XXXX range...

If you read carefully, you probably noticed that the source HAS TO BE PLAYING before you plug the optical cable into the R900 in step #3. This means that you will have to lose the first few seconds of what you're trying to record... you can work around this by starting near the end of the previous track, and wait until you want to start recording before switching the SYNCHRO OFF.

This method might seem confusing, but the bottom line is IT WORKS (at least on my unit). Also, once you do it a few times, it is really not that tedious at all. However it is very easy to do something wrong and perhaps think that it is not working, so if you can't figure it out, please try again before assuming that your unit is "fixed" and won't work this trick.

If you can get this to work on your unit, let me know where you bought it from and WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT! Also, the unit's serial number would be of great help, as we are trying to compile a list for reference purposes. This is surely a glitch that slipped by Sony, and I would expect them to fix it shortly.

Additional Information on the MZ-R900/MZ-R700 SCMS Workaround

From Nedi:

I have a little additional information for the SCMS trick for the Sony MZ-R900 Minidisc recorder. When trying to copy a copy prohibited digital signal, this is what happens:

After the optical cable is plugged in, the MZ-R900 display switches from LINE to DIGITAL (as mentioned in the existing description).
DIGITAL is displayed for a short time period, the period is unique to each MZ-R900. This period must be discovered by the user.
The MZ-R900 display switches from DIGITAL to NO COPY. For a short time period during the switch no message is displayed.
NO COPY is finally displayed on the MZ-R900.
The period during 2.2, when it switches from DIGITAL to NO COPY, is the time where the SYNCHRO SWITCH must be set to POSITION OFF. This must be done before NO COPY is displayed. This method works reliably with my MZ-R900, however the tracks are recored only as ONE LONG TRACK. I bought my unit in July/2001 in Germany.

The trick works on the MZ-R700 too! (from Peter Nunn):

Just wanted to thank you and let you know that the instructions, including Nedi's tip (above), have allowed me to bypass SCMS on my MZ-R700!

This is very important to me, as one of the reasons I bought the '700 was so I could digitally record my own original compositions directly from my KURZWEIL K2500 Sampler/Synthesizer's optical out. The first time I tried it I was so disappointed seeing NO COPY and then learning about SCMS from my manual. I was resigned to thinking I couldn't do it.

Then last night, a friend said he'd read SCMS could be disabled and told me to check this page. When I found out the method was for the MZ-R900 I wasn't expecting much. I tried it anyway and after a few attempts, it worked on my MZ-R700! Thanks again!

For your info, I bought my MZ-R700DPC in July 2001 through ebay. Serial number is 51253641.

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