Sony MZ-N10 Counterpoint
Howard Chu
January 2003

I just bought a MZ-N10 last month from Japan, thru HyperJack. I'm tempted to say my MZ-R50 is still the best. The MZ-N10 recordings sound great, but the battery life has been nowhere near the specs, and the menu dial frequently skips over the menu entry I want. The automatic end-search is good, the lighted remote control is irrelevant because I never bring it with me for live recordings anyway (and it would just drain the battery further, after all), and the remote only displays one line of information. There's no record switch on the remote, which also makes it rather pointless.

I'm finding it inconvenient to have to constantly get into the menu and switch from Headphone to Line Out depending on where I am and what I'm working with. If my home deck had MDLP I suppose that wouldn't be (as much of) an issue. The extra AA-case is too flimsy and unlike the MZ-R50's, the battery door isn't secured when the case is screwed onto the recorder. I dropped the unit once and the AA battery went flying across the room. (And the AA case is indispensable because the internal battery drains so fast. I recorded on average 5 hours of LP4 audio per day on my recent Ireland trip and had to fully recharge every night. That was without any playback time at all, just straight recording, for 8 days in a row.)

The USB cradle is also annoying; I can't just pop it in there for charging and still operate the controls. Once it's in, it says "PC -> MD" on the display and ignores all the on-unit controls, even if the PC is off. The only way to make it do anything is to bring up a program on the PC, or pop it out of the cradle, hit the necessary button sequences, and then reseat it in the cradle. Piece of s#!t.

I'm happy to have the 5 hour recording time, but I could have gotten the same thing in pure ATRAC/SP if I had bought an MD-Discam instead. Still thinking about why I never did. Considering that I'd be uploading to the PC in realtime no matter what, the MD-Discam now seems like the better choice...

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