Aiwa AM-F90

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All, notes, AM-NX9, NX1, F90, C80/F72/F75/F80, F65/F70, F5/F7, F3, F1, AMD-100

Aiwa AM-F90
R900/F90 comparison (1024x491)
Sony MZ-R900
Aiwa AM-F90
portable MD recorder
Intro: 9/2000

IN: optical/line, microphone. DC IN: 3V
OUT: line/headphones
78.2 x 17.1 x 72.0mm, 94g (120g w/batt)

Features: ATRAC IC: CXD2671-201GA. First MDLP mode portable recorder. Record-breaking battery life as of its release. A unique disc based settings ("Personal Disc Memory") feature remembers program play, treble & bass, repeat mode, playback speed (80-110%), and volume settings for up to 20 discs within the unit. 'Double' jog dial. First Sony portable with program play mode. Shock proof memory capacity depends on record mode-- LP4: 160s, LP2&mono: 80s, SP: 40s. Date stamp, digital REC level control, 8 step bass and treble settings, 1-99 minute melody timer. Selectable microphone sensitivity (HIGH/LOW). Aluminum body. Unit can be set to do END SEARCH automatically (no more accidentally erased recordings!); this settting is in NVRAM and remains even when batteries are removed. Available in silver, white, blue and red. 9 character backlit remote display. G-protection (anti-shock mechanism) present on US and Euro edition but not on Japanese model.

Notes: End-Search can be permanently automated on the MZ-R900. Quoting from its user manual as follows:

How to Set Rec-Posi: If you wish to avoid overwriting the currrent contents of an MD, do the following procedure. All new material will then be recorded from the end of the current contents.
  1. While the recorder is stopped, press the jog lever, flip the lever repeatedly until "Rec-Posi" flashes in the display, and then press the lever again.
  2. Flip the jog lever repeatedly until the "From End" flashes in the display and then press the lever.
The Japanese section of the manual notes that these settings are retained even if the power is cut (oddly, the English section of the manual incorrectly translates this point). Overwrite recording is done by first positioning with Play-Pause at the overwrite point.

User Comments on features: (noted by Leland McArthy)

  • Beep on remote is defeatable.
  • Offers auto track marking at selectable time intervals 5 min, 10 min, 15 min.
  • Mic sensitivity low and high are user selectable via software switch (not physical switch on the unit as with MZ-R50 and earlier).
  • Line Out mode will not drive headphones, leading me to believe it differs from the Line Out mode in the R90, which will. Might be quieter?
  • LP2 mode sounds quite good. LP4 mode is useable for music, but not for the most demanding listening.
  • Unit's startup, track switch, and esp. FF/REW times are improved over the MZ-R90, though still not offering the responsiveness of the older (e.g. MZ-R50) class machines.

User Comments on LP mode quality: (Ed Heckman) I've spent a couple of hours checking out the sound quality on my MZ-R900 and comparing it to my MZ-R50. To do this, I recorded "The throne room and end title" from the Star Wars suite digitally to a disc on the R50, then moved the disc to the R900 and recorded it again using standard stereo and LP2 modes. Then I listened to all 4 recordings through the R900 using my Sony NC10 earbuds. (The CD was played through the R900 with the R900 paused in record mode.) On a scale of 1-10 with the CD being placed at 10, this is how I would rank the sound quality of the various recordings:
Recorded on R50: 9.5
R900 stereo: 9.8
R900 LP2: 9.2
I didn't specifically test the LP4 mode in this manner, but I have used it. I would probably rate it somewhere around 7.6. I should note that it took very, very careful listening with my eyes closed and as little outside noise as possible for me to be able to hear the differences between the 4 versions. I would say that under normal listening conditions there would be no detectable differences between the recordings.

User Comments on distortion: Tim Corcoran found distortion on two different MZ-R900 units. This problem does not exist on all units.




Specs: Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW

User Manuals: MZ-R900, J/E

Service Manual: MZ-R900

Battery Life (SP/LP2/LP4)PlayRecordRecharge
NiMH21/23/26 hr8/10.5/13 hr3.5 hr
AA X 130/35/38 hr7/10/14 hr
Both53/60/66 hr19/26/30 hr

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