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Overall Impressions

Given the Digital Rights Management limitations that Sony has placed on NetMD, the engineers that designed the N10 have done a fairly solid job with the MZ-N10. As with any previous Sony MD unit, there are always a handful of things that perhaps Sony could have done better (eg, make "From-End" the default option for Record-position, add a backlight to main LCD, make it easier to enter manual recording level mode... I could probably name a dozen different things). When it comes to being able to transfer mp3's back-and-forth from your computer to your portable device (and vice-versa), MD will probably never be as easy to use as other devices on the portable MP3-player market. However the sound quality and portable/live recording capabilities, and shock/skip resistance are where the N10 draws its greatest strengths.

From a pure hardware perspective, the N10 is a marvel of engineering when you consider the features that it provides in such a tiny package. Although not perfect (it seems no portable MD unit ever is), Sony continues to decrease body size while adding useful features, and this 10th anniversary MD model is quite impressive.

On the software side, NetMD still has quite a bit of room for improvement. The check-in/check-out limitations, lack of true ATRAC (SP) encoding, and lack of audio uploading continue to be thorns, but with a full year under the belt and no significant upgrades to the NetMD interface (aside from transfer speed increase), one has to wonder if this is all that Sony is ever going to give us. But NetMD shortcoming-related gripes aside, the N10 is certainly a solid unit, and for MD enthusiasts and newbies alike, is definitely worth checking out.

MZ-N10 (silver, top), MZ-N1 (blue, lower-left) and MZ-R900 (light blue, lower-right)

The N10 for this review was kindly supplied by Randy over at Japan-Direct (www.japan-direct.com). I have ordered many imported electronic goods from them over the years and highly recommend them for their service, quick shipping, and warranty support. If you're looking to import an MZ-N10 (or any Japanese MD model), and are a bit antsy about ordering from overseas, I cannot recommend them enough.

Author Contact Info

- Brian Y. Youn -

e-mail: [email protected]

Index of MD reviews: http://www.minidisc.org/brian_youn/

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Copyright © 2002 by Brian Y. Youn, All Rights Reserved