Sony Decks

Sony MDS-DAV1

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Sony MDS-DAV1MDLP deck
Intro: 12/2003
Est: ¥ 30,000
Availability:
In: line, optical. Out: line, optical(?), headphones335w x 60h x 323d mm, 3.5kg

Features:

  • ATRAC DSP Type-S.
  • No NetMD.
  • MD deck designed to complement Sony DAV-S880 and DAV-S550 Home Theatre system.
  • Card type wireless remote.

Links:

Specs: Freq. Resp. 5-20kHz +/- 0.5dB, Hybrid DAC

Reviews:

Sony MDS-S500

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Sony MDS-S500NetMD Deck
Intro: 11/2003
Est: ¥44,000
Availability:
In: line, optical. Out: line, optical, headphones. Data: USB

Features:

  • NetMD.
  • ATRAC DSP Type-S.
  • Timer recording and playback (w/external AC timer).
  • Wireless remote (RM-D10J).
  • Scale Factor Edit.
  • Wide bit stream.

Links:

Specs: Dynamic range: > 94dB. SNR: > 96dB. Hybrid-pulse DAC. 24bit ADC (really?)

Reviews:

Sony MDS-SE9

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Sony MDS-SE9Cassette/NetMD deck
Intro: 8/2003
MSRP: ¥ 90,000 in CMT-SE9 system
Availability:
In: line, optical. Out: line, optical, headphones. Data: USB155 x 120 x 345mm, 4kg

Features:

  • NetMD
  • ATRAC DSP Type-S
  • Combination Cassette/MD deck.
  • Designed to integrate with Sony CMT-SE9 bookshelf system.

Links:

Reviews:

Sony MDS-JB980

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Photos courtesy Tamás Kováts
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AVLand's analysis of rear panel connectors
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(352x1246)
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"Type-S "ATRAC Chip
Sony MDS-JB980Upper middle class NetMD Deck
Intro: 8/2002 (est)
£260 (est)
Availability:
IN: line, optical, coax, OUT: line, optical, coax, headphones, DATA: USB430Wx108Hx285Dmm, 4.9Kg

Features: First ATRAC ``Type-S'' machine. NetMD and MDLP support. PS/2 keyboard input. Gold plated connectors. Torroidal R-Core transformer. Colors: Black and Silver. Only available in Europe?

ATRAC Type-S: "Type-S" apparently refers to a new chip containing an improved version of the ATRAC3 codec as well as the ATRAC1 Type-R codec; the combination of the two is called DSP Type-S. From Sony's information sheet: "The two new products MDS-JB980 and MDS-JE780 in the press announcement at CeBIT both adopt the newly developed DSP (Digital Signal Processing) IC chip "CXD2664R." The CXD2664R chip has two DSP functions; one is ATRAC DSP and the other is ATRAC3 DSP. The ATRAC DSP, the TYPE-R algorithm which is the version of the highest grade, is adopted, and the highest sound quality can be obtained at the time of recording. And the ATRAC3 DSP, the algorithm of a newly developed DSP is adopted. It can reproduce the track recorded in MDLP mode in very high sound quality at the time of reproduction. This works in the same way for the disc recorded by other MDLP products. Sony calls the DSP functions of the CXD2664R chip "ATRAC/ATRAC3 DSP TYPE-S". In other words, "ATRAC/ATRAC3 DSP TYPE-S" is a combination of "ATRAC DSP (TYPE-R highest Version)" and "ATRAC3 DSP (newly developed)."

Notes: No Control-A1 jack, as with prior Sony home decks

Links:

Specs: 1-Bit current pulse S-TACT DAC, 1-Bit Sigma-Delta ADC (24 bit sampling), Frequency Response: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, SNR >100dB

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JB980

Sony MDS-JE480

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"Type-S "ATRAC Chip
Sony MDS-JE480Entry level MD Deck
Intro: 7/2002 (est)
£120 (est)
Availability:
IN: line, optical, OUT: line430Wx95Hx285Dmm, 3Kg

Features: ATRAC Type-S, MDLP support. Remote: RM-D10E

Links:

Specs: 1-Bit DAC, 1-Bit Sigma-Delta ADC (24 bit sampling), Frequency Response: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, SNR >96dB

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JE480

Sony MDS-JE780

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"Type-S "ATRAC Chip
Sony MDS-JE780Home NetMD Deck
Intro: 6/2002
``Open''
Availability:
IN: line, optical, coax, OUT: line, optical, coax, headphones, DATA: USB430Wx95Hx285Dmm, 3.1Kg

Features: ATRAC ``Type-S'' (see description under MDS-JB980). NetMD and MDLP support. PS/2 keyboard input.

Links:

Specs: 1-Bit hybrid-pulse DAC, 1-Bit Sigma-Delta ADC (24 bit sampling), Frequency Response: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, SNR >98dB, Dynamic range: 96dB

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-JE780, MDS-JE780 (Courtesy Minidisco)

Sony NetMD Mockup

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Shown at IFA 2001 Berlin
Sony NetMD MockupNetMD Home Deck
Intro: 9/2001

Availability:

Availability:

Availability:

Description: NetMD Home Deck shown at IFA 2001 (Berlin). Appears to be a mockup. No deck looking like this has come to market yet (as of late 2002).

  • Prototype: Mini Disc Deck with Net MD
  • High-speed data transfer from PC to MD (max. 32 x with ATRAC3 in LP4 mode)
  • PC-connection via OpenMG Jukebox
  • MDLP (2 and 4 x long recording and playback)
  • Group Function
  • USB Interface

Links: Unit appeared at IFA 2001 (Berlin).

Reviews:

Sony MDS-NT1

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Sony MDS-NT1PC-connectable NetMD deck
Intro: 9/2001
open price
Availability:
IN: no line input!
OUT: line, headphones, DATA: USB
152 x 52 x 249 mm, 1kg

Features:

  • ATRAC Type-R DSP.
  • NetMD capable unit, supporting OpenMG/Magicgate standards.
  • MDLP and Group function support.
  • Includes OpenMG Jukebox Ver2.2 for audio encoding.
  • No Line Input!

Links:

Specs: 100VAC, Freq resp.: 5-20kHz +/- 1dB, SNR: > 96dB, D/A: Current pulse 24 bit delta-sigma

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-NT1

Service Manual: MDS-NT1

Sony MDS-JE770

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Sony MDS-JE770MD deck
Intro: 4/2001

Availability:
IN: optical, coaxial, RCA, PS/2 keyboard
OUT: optical, RCA, headphones
430W x 95H x 285D mm, 3.1kg

Features: MDLP compatible, Sony ATRAC Type-R. New "E-line" design. New "Group Function" allows for easier managing and organizing of songs on a MiniDisc. Songs can be grouped in up to 99 separate, titleable sets (such as by CD, genre, artist, etc.). Scale Factor edit allows digital adjusting of track volume levels. Keyboard input, timer record, PC Link Kit (PCLK-MN10) connectable. Remote control: RM-D47M

Links:

Specs: AC100V

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JE770

Service Manual: MDS-JE770

Sony MDS-JE470

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Sony MDS-JE470MD deck
Intro: 4/2001 (? guess)

Availability:
IN: optical, RCA
OUT: RCA, headphones

Availability:

Features: MDLP compatible, Sony ATRAC Type-R. New "E-line" design. Scale Factor edit allows digital adjusting of track volume levels. PC Link Kit (PCLK-MN10) connectable. 2-line display. Different from MDS-JE770: no pitch control, no date/time recording, no timer recording, no control A1 II port, no group mode functions, no PS/2 keyboard port. Remote control: RM-D47M. Internally nearly the same as the MDS-S50. Differences from previous MDS-JE440: 1) PC-Link connectivity.

Links:

Specs: SNR > 96dB, Freq. Resp.: 5-20khz +/-0.3dB (Sony Europe). Hybrid Pulse DAC, 24 bit ADC (so Sony Europe says).

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JE470

Service Manual: MDS-JE470

Sony MDS-PC3

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Sony MDS-PC3PC-connectable MD deck
Intro: 10/2000
49,000
Availability:
IN: 1/8" miniplug analog, TOSlink optical digital
OUT: 1/8" miniplug analog, TOSlink optical digital
152W x 52H x 255D mm, 1Kg

Features: ATRAC DSP Type R and ATRAC3 Audio Encoding, MDLP capable, uses the USB based PCLK-MN10 connection kit for PC to MD digital audio transfer and control, Sony Mega Storage CD Changer Control, Scale Factor Edit, Time Machine Recording. Driver CD supports both Windows 98 and Windows 2000.

Reviews:

Software Updates:

  • my-minidisc.com offers a driver update for Sony's MDS-PC3 M-Crew software, English version 1.01E (Windows 2000/ME compatible).
  • Sony's M-crew download site offers Windows Me and W2K versions of the control software (v1.3).
  • You can also download M-crew version 1.05e from Sony's website.
  • George Styles releases RIP MDS-PC3 (v0.2b), a free alternative to Sony's M-Crew software that offers improved MP3 file handling.

Links:

Specs: Sample Rate Converter 48/32kHz to 44.1kHz, 24-Bit Analog-to-Digital Converter.

User Manuals: MDS-PC3, PCLK-MN10/M-crew software courtesy Graham Macdougall

Service Manual: MDS-PC3

Sony MDS-SP55

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Sony MDS-SP55
Intro: 1

Availability:

Availability:

Availability:

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-SP55

Service Manual: MDS-SP55

Sony MDS-S50

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Sony MDS-S50PC-connectable MD deck
Intro: 10/2000
39,000
Availability:
280W x 84.5H x 290D mm, 2.4Kg

Features: ATRAC DSP Type R and ATRAC3 Audio Encoding, MDLP capable, uses the USB based PCLK-MN10 connection kit for PC to MD digital audio transfer and control.

Reviews:

Links: Sony's official Japanese page for this unit.

Specs: Dynamic Range: >94dB SNR: >96dB THD: <0.01% Sample Rate Converter 48/32kHz to 44.1kHz, 24bit delta-sigma ADC, Hybrid pulse DAC.

User Manual: MDS-S50

Service Manual: MDS-S50

Sony MDS-JA333ES

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Sony MDS-JA333ESHigh-end MD deck
Intro: 10/2000
MSRP ¥100,000 / $1000
Availability:
IN: TOSLink (x2), Coax (x1), RCA (x1)
OUT: TOSLink (x1), Coax (x1), RCA (x1)
430 x 124 x 376 mm, 10.5 kg

Features: ATRAC with Type-R DSP, MDLP recording modes (ATRAC3), Scale Factor Edit, digital and analog record level control, variable coefficient digital output filter, digital record level adjustment, 6 second Time Machine recording capability, sampling rate converter. PC connectable using PCLK-MD1 or PCLK-MD2 kit.

Links: Sony's Japanese page for this unit (machine translation). A Sony MDS-JA333ES flyer (page1, page2) is scanned in.

Specs: 24bit Sigma-Delta ADC, 24bit current-pulse DAC (S-TACT IC, with 128x oversampling), SNR: > 106dB, Dynamic Range > 106dB, THD .0025%

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JA333ES

Service Manual: MDS-JA333ES

Sony MDS-JB940

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Sony MDS-JB940Home MD Deck
Intro: 9/2000
MSRP ¥69,000
US$400
Availability:
IN: line, optical (x2), coax, PS/2 keyboard.
OUT: headphone, line, optical, coax
430wx110hx287d mm, 5.3Kg

Features: Upper middle class home MD deck. ATRAC with Type-R DSP, MDLP recording modes, and Scale Factor Edit plus variable coefficient anti-aliasing filter. A new USB based PC-Link kit, the PCLK-MN10 (MSRP: ¥15,000), was announced with this unit for audio transfer (via the deck's digital optical input) and control (editing, titling, playback, etc.) from a PC (audio input from MD to PC is [still] not supported). TOC Cloning possible.

Reviews:

Links: Sony's MDS-JB940, MDS-JE640 and MDS-S50 announcement (machine translation) Information and zoomable photos of the Sony MDS-JB940 at MDland (UK). Video Direct and Crutchfield's pages for the unit. Crutchfield's has a page for this unit. Planet MiniDisc has a list of the MDS-JB940 features and specs.

Specs: SNR > 100dB, Dynamic range: > 98dB, THD: <.003%, 24bit delta-sigma ADC, Current pulse DAC.

User Manuals: MDS-JB940, template for Keyboard functions

Service Manual: MDS-JB940

Sony MDS-JE440

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Sony MDS-JE440MD home deck
Intro: 6/2000
US$226 (street)
Availability:
IN: analog, optical (x1)
OUT: analog
?

Features: ATRAC Ver 1.0 Type R, MDLP recording modes, 25-track programming, random and repeat play. Crutchfield's online catalog shows a different version of the MDS-JE440. TOC Cloning possible.

Reviews:

Links:

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JE440

Service Manual: MDS-JE440

Sony MDS-JE640

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Sony MDS-JE640MD home deck
Intro: 6/2000
US$345 (street)
Availability:
IN: analog, [euro: optical & coaxial, non-euro: optical x 2]
OUT: analog, optical
430x95x285mm, 3.1kg

Features: ATRAC Ver 1.0 Type R, MDLP recording modes, digital and analog record level control, 6-second time-machine recording, mono recording capability, 25-track programming, random and repeat play, pitch control, PS/2 keyboard input for easy titling. TOC Cloning possible.

Reviews:

Links: Sony's MDS-JB940, MDS-JE640 and MDS-S50 announcement (machine translation) Superfi UK posts brief info about the MDS-JE640, including a connection table.

Specs: Dynamic Range: >96dB SNR: >98dB THD: <0.006% Power consumption: 9W 24bit delta-sigma ADC, Hybrid pulse DAC.

User Manual: MDS-JE640

Service Manual: MDS-JE640

Sony MDS-LSA1

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Sony MDS-LSA1PC Linkup LISSA Minidisc Recorder
Intro: 3/2000
US$550
Availability:
IN: iLink (Firewire IEEE1394)
OUT: iLink (Firewire IEEE1394), Headphone
430W x 70H x 315D mm, 4.4kg

Features: Part of the Sony LISSA system. The MDS-LSA1 itself does not have standard inputs/outputs... the hook-up between the system's receiver, CD player and MiniDisc deck is purely by i-Link, carrying both audio signals in digital form and all the control data. ATRAC DSP Type R and ATRAC3 Audio Encoding, MDLP compatible, optional PC-iLink (Firewire) connection kit for control via PC and the copying of ATRAC3 file to MD (kit also gives unit digitial and coax connectinons), Scale Factor Edit, Pitch Control, 4x High Speed Dubbing (when used with the CDP-LSA1), 30 Second Time Machine Recording.

Links: Sony Europe's Macromedia Flash-powered page for this unit. Sony's German page for the LSA1. What Hi-Fi has a Sony news brief article (Navigator version) which mentions the LISSA system. Sony Europ'es official press release for the LISSA system. AVLand has a page on the MDS-LSA1.

Reviews:

Specs: 24-Bit Analog-to-Digital Converter

User Manual: MDS-LSA1

Service Manual: MDS-LSA1

Sony MDS-JB730

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Sony MDS-JB730Home MD Deck
Intro: 6/1999 (? guess)
?
Availability:
IN: line, optical, coax. OUT: line, optical, coax. Control-A1?

Features: Model is Europe-only(?). Type-R DSP ATRAC. Special REC Level knob (not AMS) allows easy setting of both analog and digital levels (also settable from remote). Pitch control on front panel allows pitch change during playback (range of 2% to 112% of normal speed). Pressing PITCH CONTROL once changes to PITCH STEPS with 12 steps per octave, pressing twice changes to PITCH FINE with steps of 0.1% When current speed is different from normal speed, the PITCH CONTROL key lights on. (cf. JE530: No PITCH CONTROL key. The function works in a similar way, but it's accessible only from SETUP MENU.) Stereo/mono rec switch. Settable output level. No PC keyboard titling connector. FADER key on remote only. Remote: RM-D15M (same as one with MDS-JE520). TOC-cloning possible.

Reviews:

Service Manual: MDS-JB730

Sony MDS-JA555ES

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Sony MDS-JA555ESMD deck
Intro: 6/1999 (? guess)
MSRP ¥120,000 / US$1100
Availability:
IN: TOSL ink (x2), Coax (x1), RCA (x1)
OUT: TOSLink (x1), Coax (x1), RCA (x1)
430 x 126 x 376 mm, 15.3 kg

Features: ATRAC with Type-R DSP, variable coefficient digital output filter, digital record level adjustment (-inf to +18dB), 6 second Time Machine recording capability, sampling rate converter, BSL Discmotor. PC connectable using PCLK-MD1 or PCLK-MD2 kit.

Links: Sony's Japanese page for this unit. Sony Deutschland's German page for this unit (which incorrectly states ATRAC 4.5). The T-Station has further information on this unit. HiFi Choice (UK) has an audiophile oriented review of this unit.

Specs: 24bit Sigma-Delta ADC, 24bit current-pulse DAC (S-TACT IC, with 128x oversampling), SNR: > 108dB, Dynamic Range > 108dB, THD .002%

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JA555ES

Service Manuals: MDS-JA555ES, MDS-JA555ES

Sony MDS-PC2

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Sony MDS-PC2PC-connectable MD deck
Intro: 6/1999 (? guess)
?
Availability:
IN: line, optical (x2)
OUT: line, optical (x1), headphone (minijack)
PC to Control A1
150 x 65 x 275 mm

Features: Comes with extensive software to allow control of the unit from a PC as well as advanced MD recording options. Volume control on remote. Random (shuffle) play, CD Synchro recording.

Links: Sony's Japanese page for this unit. Crutchfield, an electronics dealer, has an informative page for this unit. Timothy Stockman reviews the Sony MDS-PC2 deck. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit. Steven Tellman writes a brief review of the unit.

Specs: ATRAC version 4.5, R-CORE transformer, 20-bit A/D converter, Hybrid Pulse D/A converter, both digital and analog level control, 12 segment peak meter.

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-PC2, MD Editor 2 Courtesy Timothy Stockman

Service Manuals: MDS-PC2, MDS-PC2-b

Sony MDS-JB930

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Sony MDS-JB930Upper range home MD deck
Intro: 6/1999 (? guess)
MSRP $480
Availability:
IN: line, opticalx2, coax. OUT: line, optical, coax. Control: keyboard (PS/2), A1 (S-link) x 2W 430 x H 110 x D 287 mm

Features: ATRAC DSP Type R, CD-TEXT transfer, current pulse D/A, variable coefficient output filter. Pitch control. Time Machine Recording (6 sec.). Date and time stamp recording (confirmed). 15 track music calender. 2 lines display. Remote: measuring 210 x 70 x 25 mm with 25 numerical buttons for track selection which double as text entry buttons, plus 41 other function buttons. TOC Cloning possible.

Problems: Units manufactured before Oct. 99 seem to have a problem in divide rehearsal mode when working with the last track.

Links: Dave Chambers submits a very thorough review for this unit. David Boulet contributes another thorough review of the Sony MDS-JB930. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JB930

Service Manuals: MDS-JB930, JB930-b

Sony MDS-JE630

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Sony MDS-JE630Home MD deck
Intro: 6/1999 (? guess)
MSRP $360
Availability:
IN: line, opticalx2. OUT: line, optical. Keyboard: PS/2430x95x280mm, 3.5kg

Features: Very similar to MDS-JE530 (below), but adds PS/2 keyboard connector (for titling), and CD-TEXT capability (via S-link).

Tips:
(Courtesy Mitch P.) Many useful functions are available through the keyboard interface, e.g.:

  • Use the / (backslash) key on the keyboard to divide the track and get a track mark. This nice feature also allows you to preview your "division" before actually doing so.
  • Push the - (minus) key on the keyboard to delete a track.
  • Pushing the "cntrl" and "enter" keys on the keyboard instantly puts the JE630 in synchro-record mode.

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-JE630, MDS-JE630 courtesy Eric Whitney

Service Manual: MDS-JE630

Sony MDS-JE530

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Sony MDS-JE530MD Deck
Intro: 6/1999 (? guess)
MSRP $300
Availability:
IN: line, optical (opticalx2 on non-euro model?), coax (euro-model only?). OUT: line, optical, headphones. Control-A1 (euro only?)430x95x280mm, 3.5kg

Features: ATRAC DSP Type R, 24bit ADC (hybrid pulse) and DAC, 6 second time machine, digital recording level control, 2 line display, pitch control. Control A1 connector (S-Link). Remote is smaller and with fewer buttons than previous JE5xx units, requiring multiple presses to enter a single character. Stereo/mono rec switch. Settable output level. FADER key on front panel and on remote. TOC-cloning possible.

Notes: NO date/time stamp recording.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JE530

Service Manual: MDS-JE530

Sony MDS-JE330/M100/S40/41

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MDS-JE330 (1428x574)
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MDS-M100
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MDS-S40
Sony MDS-JE330
Sony MDS-S40/41
Sony MDS-M100
Entry level MD deck
Intro: 6/1999 (? guess)
MSRP $250
Availability:
IN: line, optical. OUT: line, (no digital out!), (no headphone!)430x95x280mm, 3.5kg

Features: ATRAC 4.5, 20 bit hybrid pulse ADC, 20 bit DAC, 6 second time machine, digital recording level control (deck has no conventional level indicators. During recording the alphanumerical display changes to 11 level indicating segments. No level indication during playback). No stereo/mono rec switch (mono recording set from setup menu). No headphone output. Remote included (was omitted in previous MDS-JE320). TOC-cloning possible.

Notes: The Sony MDS-S40/41 decks have been reported to be identical, except with Sony listing the S41 as having an E1 core transformer. Both units should operate and perform identically.

Links: Sony's MDS-S40 page. Sony's MD Bundle 6 (MDS-JE330 + MZ-E33) has a $50 rebate (pages 1 and 2). (Todd Lynch points out Sony Bundle 6 coverage at Crutchfield.) The Korean MD page posts photos and a Korean language review of the Sony MDS-S40 (MDS-JE330 in alternate packaging).

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-S41, MDS-JE330, MDS-M100, MDS-M100, MDS-S40, MDS-S40

Service Manuals: MDS-S41, MDS-S40, MDS-JE330, MDS-M100

Sony MDS-DL1

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Sony MDS-DL1MD Deck for Set Top Box use
Intro: 6/1999
MSRP ¥59,000
Availability:
IN: line (stereo miniplug), optical (miniplug). Digital I/O: i.LINK S200 (firewire) X 2 (4 pin). OUT: headphone, line (stereo miniplug). DC IN: 9V.150x65x245mm, 1.3kg

Features: Unit couples with Sony DST-MS9 [¥50,000] satellite receiver (or SAS-MS9SET [¥62,000] package which is receiver plus SAN-40DK2 antenna) via i.LINK (Firewire) for on-demand downloading and recording of ATRAC audio tracks at 4X realtime. Image and text data may also be downloaded and stored on hitherto reserved 2.7MB area of audio MDs using new "MD Clip" feature. MD Clip area can also be accessed via Sony VAIO PCs with i.LINK interface, using "MD CLip Editor" software, allowing a maximum of 100 text and image files to be stored. The images and text can be timed to display at certain tracks or times on the disc. The iLink cable carries image and ATRAC music data as well as control information for the MD deck. Remote: RM-32M

Download Service: Set top box provides TV screen based GUI to "MusicLink" service for track selection and download control. MusicLink interactive satellite service to start 12 May '99 on Sky PerfectTV! channel 734 and is available in Japan only. Downloads will be no-charge until Summer '99 when they will likely become ¥150 to ¥200 each (exact price not yet determined) via pay-per-view payment scheme.

Links:

Specs: SNR: > 95dB

Reviews:

Sony MDS-JA33ES

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Sony MDS-JA33ESHigh end MD deck
Intro: 6/1999 (? guess)
MSRP ¥120,000
Availability:
IN: line, optical x 2, coax. OUT: line, optical, coax, headphone430 x 125 x 345mm, 12.4Kg

Features: ATRAC "Type-R" DSP (offers calculation power twice that of previous ATRAC DSP chips) featuring "Intelligent bit reallocation algorithm". 24 bit potential Variable Coefficient (VC) digital filter with four settings: "standard", "clear", "plane", and "fine". Digital record level control (-inf/+12dB). Can be connected to PC with PCLK-MD1 kit. R-core transformer. Current pulse D/A, 24 bit delta sigma A/D

Links: Sony's Japanese announcement of the unit.

Specs: Freq. resp.: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, Dynamic range: >104dB, SNR: >108dB, THD: <0.002%

Reviews:

Sony MDS-JE320

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Sony MDS-JE320MD Deck
Intro: 11/1998 (? guess)

Availability:
IN: line, optical. OUT: line
Availability:

Features: Cost reduced version of MDS-JE510. Compared to the JE510, it lacks a headphone jack, mono-recording mode, date and time stamp recording, digital optical output and the wireless remote (though front panel IR port is still present so a remote may be purchased separately). Unit is sold in Sony MD BUNDLE 5. Understood to work with RM-D10P/D20P remote. TOC cloning not possible (machine ejects disc when power applied). Unit suffers same self-turn on problem as the MDS-JE510 (see MDS-JE510 entry for repair details and Sony service bulletin).

Links: PCAVTech's Technical Benchmark page for this unit. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JE320

Service Manual: MDS-JE320

Sony MDS-JE520/S39

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MD-S39
Sony MDS-JE520
Sony MDS-S39
MD Deck
Intro: 9/1998
MSRP $360
Availability:
in: US: optical x 2, Europe: opti cal & coax, line. out: optical, line, headphone430 x 95 x 280, 3.5kg (S39: 280 x 90 x 287mm, 2.8kg)

Features: ATRAC 4.5 (IC: CXD2654R), digital recording level control (with fade in and fade out), 6 second time machine recording. Hybrid pulse DAC, 20 bit delta-sigma ADC. Two-line text display on front panel provides increased track and title information over previous Sony decks. Larger level meters than previous JE5x0 units. 15 element music calendar (vs. 25 in previous JE5x0 units). Editing can be performed from the remote (not possible with previous JE5x0 units). User settable LEVEL SYNC threshold (i.e. silence threshold for track-marking). TOC Cloning possible. Remote: RM-D15M. MDS-S39 version (mini-compo variant) can be controlled with a GUI interface from a PC or Mac with the PCLK-MD1 connection kit and software (¥15,000). Unit does not spin the disc in record-pause mode (as the JE500 and JE510 do).

Components: MD mechanism type: MDM-5A, Optical pickup type: KMS-260A/J1N

Notes: The JE520 has several built-in odometers (total play hours, total recording hours, total errors, etc.), see page 3 of the service manual.

Links: A Sony press release announces this unit. Sound on Sound has a review of the Sony MDS-JE520 from a pro-audio perspective. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit.

Specs: Freq. Resp: 5-20kHz +/-3dB, S/N >96dB, Line in impedence: > 47k Ohm, Line out level: 2Vrms/50k Ohm, Headphone: 100mW/320 Ohm max.

Minor Glitch: If you play-pause unit and edit track name, character '!' selects A point for A-B repeat mode. This only occurs in play-pause mode (very minor problem).

Tips:

  1. While in the mode for setting the Rec Level ( any input kind ) one can press and hold the "yes" button while turning the JOG wheel to inc./dec. by 1 dB instead of 0,1 dB.
  2. Playing a track one can press the letter "D" button on the remote control to se if there is any time and date stamp on the track.

Comparison: The JE520 and JB920 both have: digital record level control, 2 optical digital inputs (1 optical digital output), timer standby recording, advanced timeshift recording (6 second time machine), 20-bit A-to-D Converter (520 = hybrid pulse, 920 = current pulse), off-center insulator feet. The JB920 alone has: pitch control, coaxial digital input and output, date/time stamp, anti-resonant aluminum front panel, R-core power transformer, S-Link interface to Sony A/V equipment: CD Text and Custom File transfer, Rec-It ("the amazing remote control convenience that enables one-button recording of whatever CD track is currently playing"). -Gary Milliken

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-S39, MDS-JE520

Service Manuals: MDS-JE520, MDS-S39, MDS-JE520

Sony MDS-PC1

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Sony MDS-PC1PC connectable MD deck
Intro: 9/1998 (? guess)
MSRP ¥54,000
Availability:
in: optical x 2, line. out: optical, line, headphones. control: A1 x 3 (1 front, 2 back)280x90x287mm, 2.8Kg

Features: Jog thumbwheel on unit is reminiscent of the MZ-R30 and MZ-R50 portables. When the included ``MD Editor'' program is installed on a Windows '95 PC or Mac running Kanjitalk 7.1, the computer can be connected to the MD deck and the deck operated via mouse input to a GUI based control program. With this program, titling can be done in Kanji and Hiragana (JIS1&2) to MD sector 4 (vs. MD sector 1 for Roman and Katakana titles), but the deck can only display Roman and Katakana titles. When coupled to a CD player with an A1 control port (e.g. Sony CDP-CX200F, Sony CDP-CE515), program editing can be accomplished via simple drag and drop opertion. Wide bit stream block floating calculation gives 20 bit accuracy dynamic range. Sampling rate converter, 6 second time machine. Usual TOC editing functions plus A-B erase. Included with the PC1 is the PC link kit (PC connection cable, application software CD-ROM) and wireless remote. The PC connection cable converts RS232C to a Sony A1 (S-Link) control signal and is part number CAV-50C. ATRAC 4.5. Unit is the same as the MDS-JB920 internally.

Links: Sony's Japanese press release for this unit. Sony's US MDS-PC1 announcement. Sony's Japanese page for this unit, which includes some interesting screen shots of the GUI editor. Sony's Japanese page for downloading Japanese versions of the MD Editor software that controls MDS-PC1 decks and PCLK-MD1 connected Sony machines. Sony's English specs for the unit.

Specs: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB. S/N: >96dB

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-PC1

Sony MDS-JA30ES

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(1533x501)
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Sony MDS-JA30ESHigh End MD Deck
Intro: 9/1998 (? guess)
MSRP ¥120,000
Availability:
in: line, coax, optical x 2. out: line, optical, headphone430x125x345mm, 9.3Kg

Features: ATRAC 4.5 (IC: CXD2537R). Very similar to Sony MDS-JA50ES (below), with these differences: 1) 20 bit delta-sigma A/D (vs. 24 bit in JA50ES), 2) includes newly developed S-TACT IC pulse generation section [for DAC], reducing digital and analog noise, 3) has only one R-core transformer (vs. 2 in the JA50ES). Remote: RM-D14M

Links: Sony's Japanese Page for the unit. Sony Deutschland's JA30ES page. A user's review of the Sony MDS-JA30ES.

User comments: In comparison to the JA50ES, the '50 seems to have far better construction and power supply. As a result, it has slightly better numbers in dynamic range (105dB vs 104dB) and S/N ratio (108dB vs 107dB). These numbers are for playing back, so the difference in A/D converters has no effect. Notice that JA50ES is really heavy (14.3kg vs 9.3kg for the '30). If you look and touch these units, you can feel the difference of materials.

Specs: Dynamic range: 104dB. S/N (manual: >104dB, brochure: >107dB, German Stereo magazine: >112dB). Freq. resp: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB. THD: brochure: <.002%, German Stereo magazine: <.0012/.0013 (L/R). Line in: 47 kOhm, 500mV rms (min: 125mV rms). Coax in: .5Vp-p +/-20%, 75 Ohms. Optical in: 660nm. Line out: 2Vrms@50 KOhms, impedence: 10 KOhms. Digital out: -18dBm, 660nm. Phones: 28mW, 32 Ohms. GaAlAs laser output: 780nm @ <44.6 micro watts (measured at 200mm for the object lens surface of the optical pick-up block with 7mm aperture).

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JA30ES

Service Manual: MDS-JA30ES

Sony MDS-JE510/S38

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MD-S38
Sony MDS-JE510
Sony MDS-S38
Home MD Deck
Intro: 9/1998 (? guess)
MSRP $299
Availability:
in: line, optical (european unit: coax in). out: line, optical, headphone.

Features: Essentially the same as an MDS-JE500 (circuit board, A/D/A chip, ATRAC chip, main ASIC, user manual, feet, all identical). Some units made in Malaysia. European/Japanese unit (see below) adds A-B erase. TOC cloning not possible (machine ejects disc when power applied).

Components: MD mechanism type: MDM-3A/3B, Optical pickup type: KMS-260A/J1N

Variants: Information in the service manuals indicate that there are at least two JE510 models, the AEP, UK, and German ``European'' model (with coax input) and the US, Canadian and E ``North American'' model (lacking coax input). The NA model contains the same mainboard, BD board, HP board, optical pick-up and drive mechanism as the JE500. The European model has a different mainboard layout to carry the coaxial input and a few more capacitors in its analog section. The coax input adds a connector, three resistors and one capacitor, but no new ICs. The principal difference is that the NA model has the CXD2650R chip while the European model has the CXD2652AR instead. The latter can control an external DRAM chip, in this case IC124 -- a 4Mbit dram memory buffer, giving a total of 6Mbit DRAM when the internal 2Mbit DRAM of the CXD2652AR is included, this allows the 6 second time machine function on the European and Japanese versions. Incidentally, the CXD2652AR with 4Mbit external DRAM memory is used in the MZ-R30. The CXD2650R and the CXD2652AR chips are both ATRAC 4.0. -Dirk (dito@berlin.snafu.de)

The MDS-JE510 sold in Japan has a 6 second time machine, 2 optical inputs (but no coax input), A-B repeat and A-B erase functions. The RM-D10P remote titler allows Katakana entry on US model.

Problems: Several users have reported a problem wherein the unit will switch itself on automatically. The cause is thought to be a failure in the disc insertion sensor microswitch. (Part Number: 176262121, Description: Switch, Push) The problem seems not to occur if a disc is left in the machine, although when this is done there have been occasional reports of the unit then behaving as if no disc were in the machine and refusing to eject it. Ethan Straffin has made a page for reporting and viewing the Sony MDS-JE510's self turn-on problems. Joe Redifer has made a page describing how to shim the microswitch to alleviate the problem. Chris Stanley and others report their success with Redifer's self turn-on fix for the Sony MDS-JE510 (and that it also works for the Sony MDS-S38).

Links: PCAVTech's Technical Benchmark page for this unit. Sony Business to Business page for this unit. Malaysian AudioFile's review of the MDS-JE510. Sony Deutschland's MDS-JE510 page. A user demonstrates that the JE510 can record out to 19kHz. An article from October '97 issue of What Hi*Fi? gives a comparison test of the Denon DMD-1300 and the Sony MDS-JE510. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit.

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-S38, MDS-JE510, European, N. America

Service Manuals: MDS-JE510, MDS-JE510, Self turn-on Service Bulletin, MDS-JE510, block diag #1, block diag #2

Sony MDS-JB920

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Sony MDS-JB920MD Deck
Intro: 7/1998
MSRP $480
Availability:
in: opticalx2, coax, line. out: optical, coax, line, headphone430 x 108 x 295mm, 4.9kg

Features: ES deck functions in a mid-range priced deck. ATRAC 4.5. Variable pitch and speed control, range: -95% (!) to +12.5% (Sony US announcement says variable pitch, Sony Italia announcement says variable speed, apparently it varies both at the same time, as if varying the motor speed with tape or vinyl). Digital Record Level Control for recording and playback. A-B delete. User settable LEVEL SYNC threshold (i.e. silence threshold for track-marking). Two-Line front panel display. CD Text and Custom File Transfer automatically records and displays disc and track information when recording from CD to MD. R-Core Power Transformer, 20-Bit Analog-to-Digital Converter, Current Pulse Digital-to-Analog converter and Anti-resonant Aluminum Front Panel. 6 second time machine recording. S-Link circuitry allows operation with other S-link equipped Sony A/V products Can be controlled with a GUI interface from a PC or Mac with the PCLK-MD1 connection kit and software (¥15,000). RM-D17 remote (equipped with EDIT/NO and YES buttons). Date and time stamp recording. Unit does not spin the disc in record-pause mode (as the JE500 and JE510 do). Unit is the same as the MDS-PC1 internally. TOC Cloning possible.

Components: MD mechanism type: MDM-5A, Optical pickup type: KMS-260A/J1N

User comments: Digital and Analog REC LEVEL are separate. There is a built-in FADER that can be used for recording AND playback. Disc loading is much faster and much quieter than the JE500 (about like the old MDS-501) and the disc is pulled in much sooner than on the JE500. Editing is more complicated due to the menuing system. Super Undo also works. An automatic demo mode pops up when the deck has been on for 10 minutes with no disc. There are two pitch controls, regular and fine. Pitch controls are slow and aren't useful during playback because every time the pitch is changed, the sound cuts out while the machine recalculates or does whatever processing it needs to do to change the pitch. It is able to do it about once a second, so it is easy to turn the pitch control faster than the JB920 can keep up. It's definitely useless for DJ effects where a smooth change in pitch is required. Text scrolling is much faster than the JE500. Track calendar is much smaller than the JE500 (only goes to 15 tracks). VU meter is longer than the JE500. The 2-line simultaneous text and track/time display is very nice. The procedure for getting into Test Mode works. Digital In and Digital Out can be set to 16, 20 or 24 (!) bits. Analog LINE-OUT output level can be electronically adjusted. -Shawn Lin

Mis-features: Does not show running date and time stamp information during disc playback (shows static track date and time stamp info), normal track time (and track remaining time) increments (decrements) properly however.

Problems: The disc drive mechanism has been shown to be finicky when loading discs, however Sony knows about the problem (an internal technical information bulletin has been published to SONY Service centers).

Links: PCAVTech's Technical Benchmark page for this unit. A Sony press release announces this unit. Sony's Japanese announcement of the unit. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit.

Specs: S/N > 100dB (playback).

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-JB920, Scanned courtesy Stephen Shores

Service Manuals: MDS-JB920, MDS-JB920, supplement 1, MDS-JB920

Sony MDS-W1

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Sony MDS-W1Double MD deck
Intro: 5/1998
MSRP ¥89,000
Availability:
in: line, optical x 2, coax. out: line, optical, headphones430 x 120 x 295, 5.2Kg

Features: ATRAC 4.5. Provides 2 independent MD drives that allow recording to one MD while editing another, or recording from two different sources simultaneously. Seemless (uninterrupted) playback and recording from one drive to the next. Unusual "Inter Disc Move" function will move a song from one disc to another at 4 times realtime, defragmenting the copy and deleting the original. The move is done losslessly in the digital domain with raw ATRAC data. Sampling rate converter. Digital recording level control (-inf to +12dB). Large, 140 x 40 dot matrix display shows graphic information to simplify editing. Wide Bit Stream (uses block floating calculations to create an effective 20bit dynamic range). Includes built in timer that can control its AC outlet for connecting a tuner, etc. RM-D22M remote.

Links: Sony's Japanese announcement of the unit, and its English translation.

Components: MD mechanism type: MDM-5B (similar to MDS-JE520), Optical pickup type: KMS-260A/J1N

Specs: S/N > 98dB (playback).

User comments: Think of this machine as two independent MD decks. Each MD drive has a complete set of controls, including AMS knob and buttons for edit/yes, display mode, source select, etc. The large (140 x 40) dot matrix display allows a small "GUI"-like interface that's reasonably well laid out and straightforward to read and use. All buttons and messages in English (manual was Japanese however). Regarding inter-disc move: Inter-disc move runs at 4 times realtime (a 60 minute disc can be moved in 15 minutes). There are two move modes, "whole disc" and "single track". Whole disc mode moves all the tracks from one disc only onto a blank disc, defragmenting while moving. Single track mode moves a single track onto the end of the target disc, defragmenting while moving. The normal input sources available for each drive are: optical #1, optical #2, coax, analog, analog from other drive and digital from other drive (in this case digital means S/PDIF, observing SCMS limitations). Unit has pitch control (you must enter a menu to adjust it) and line out level control. Can do "relay" recording; if set, when recording comes within 10 minutes of the end of one disc it starts recording on the next one.

Simon Mackay asked:

Is it possible to play material on Deck A on the MDS-W1 out to a device such as a mixer while recording the results of the mix (with the material on Deck A) from the mixer's tape-recording bus on Deck B? This is so that a backing track on Deck A could be recorded on Deck B with the vocals derived from the mikes attached to the mixer.
David Tamkin replied:
Yes, but it isn't easy. The problem is that only one deck can have the outputs at a time; as soon as deck B begins recording it will grab the outputs and the mixer will no longer be receiving the material from deck A. You could start deck B recording silence (don't try to use Music Sync) a moment before, so that deck A will grab the outputs when you start it playing; or you could start some dummy noise coming out of the mixer (whether it comes from deck A or from one of the mixer's other sources), let deck B grab the outputs, and then either start playing deck A for it to grab the outputs or press the OUTPUT toggle to give them to deck A.

The usual way for recording from one deck to the other is over one of the internal buses; fighting over the outputs is the major stumbling block in the way of recording from one deck to the other over a cable.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-W1

Service Manual: MDS-W1

Sony MDS-JA20ES

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Sony MDS-JA20ESHigh End MD Deck
Intro: 5/1998 (? guess)
MSRP US$ 700
Availability:
IN: line, optical X 2, coax X 1. OUT: line, optical X 1, coax X 1.17 x 5 x 13.625", 16.5lbs

Features: Appears physically identical to Japanese MDS-JA22ES model, similarly containing same "Type-R" DSP for ATRAC (IC: CXD2654R), Wide Bit Stream feature for 20 bit accuracy, tray loading, digital record level control and "R-Core" transformer. Unit has frame & beam construction, aluminum front panel, double thickness top plate, variable coefficient digital filter, 20 bit A/D converter, current pulse D/A converter, wide range pitch control, jog dial, remote, automatic cd text and custom file disc and track name transfer from compatible Sony CD players, digital output bit length selector (16, 20 or 24 bits), advanced time shift recording (time machine), S-link interface, two line text display, expanded fluorescent meter (like JE520), 15 element music calendar, time and date stamp. Unit allows mono recording mode. RM-D19M remote.

User comments: Does not have the MDS-JA22ES GUI interface. Remote commander features "menu/no" & "yes" keys, a "D.O Bit" digital output bit length selector key, "recorded" & "present" date keys & a unique and handy "Rec-It" key. Utilizing this feature requires that a "CONTROL A1" cable is connected (from MD) to a "CONTROL A1" compatible Sony CD player. When playing a CD from the A1 connected CD player, you can press the "REC-IT" button during a track you wish to record. This returns the CD player to the start of that track and recording commences. When the track ends, the MD deck stops recording and CD playback continues on to the next track as usual.

Links: Crutchfield's Online Order Form for the unit. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit. Michael Fremer (Analog and LP advocate) writes a generally positive Sony MDS-JA20ES review. Hifichoice.co.uk also has an MDS-JA20ES review.

Specs: Freq resp: 5-20,000 Hz (+/- 3dB) / S/N: >107dB.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JA20ES

Service Manuals: MDS-JA20ES, MDS-JA20ES

Sony MDS-JA22ES

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Sony MDS-JA22ESHigh end MD Deck
Intro: 5/1998
MSRP ¥89,000
Availability:
in: line, optical x 2, coax. out: line, optical, headphone430x125x345mm, 7.5kg

Features: According to Sony's Japanese web page: ``The newly developed 'Type-R' DSP used for ATRAC provides a factor of 2 improvement in processing capability. In addition to improving the calculation accuracy, a unique 'Intelligent bit reallocation algorithm' has been used, by re-allocating the bit quantities and re-analyzing the audio data, an audio quality even closer to the recording source has been achieved.'' Wide bit stream. Tray loading. Digital record level control. R-core transformer. Can be controlled with a GUI interface from a PC or Mac with the PCLK-MD1 connection kit and software (¥15,000).

Links: Sony's Japanese announcement of the unit. An English translation of Sony's MDS-W1 and MDS-JA22ES announcement.

Specs: S/N > 102dB (playback), Dynamic range: > 99dB, THD 0.003% .

Reviews:

Sony MDS-JA50ES

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Sony MDS-JA50ESHigh End Home MD Deck
Intro: 12/1996
MSRP ¥180,000
Availability:
in: optical x 2, coax, line. out: optical, line, hdphn.430 x 125 x 375 mm, 14.3 kg

Features: 24bit delta-sigma A/D. Current pulse DAC (same as JE700). ATRAC 4.5 (IC: CXD2537R) with new ``adaptive high frequency control technology'', 11.6ms edit point accuracy.

Adjustable recording level control for both digital and analog inputs. Non-clip function in digital recording mode automatically reduces recording gain to avoid clipping (can be disabled). Selectable fade-in and fade-out of digital inputs during recording. Fade in and out curves can be separately set to follow a linear, sin, or log curve. Fade in and out times can be set separately between 1 and 15 seconds. Digital level control has 3 settings: off, recording use only, recording and playback use.

Various track mark functions: off, auto (level based), as well as 1 minute and 5 minute intervals. Auto track mark silence detection level can be set from -72dB to -0dB in 2dB steps. Auto track mark minimum silence duration can be set from 0 to 9.5 seconds in 0.5 second steps.

Has selectable resume function modes: 1) disabled 2) starts play where it left off (just like the portables), or 3) starts play at next song, even after power off. During playback auto space (insert space when crossing tracks) or auto pause (enter pause when crossing tracks) can be set, or disabled. Peak hold function, works during recording or playback. Digital output filter has 4 settings to control rolloff of frequencies above 20kHz to better suit system, room or song acoustics (adopted from Sony ES CD player). 6 second time machine. Digital out word length can be set to 16 or 20 bits, when connected to another 20 bit machine or D/A converter can do 20 bit dubbing. Handy indicator LEDs on the play, pause and record buttons.

Entire front panel has 6 display modes: 1) time, track#, meter, misc. modes, disc/track title. 2) time, track#, meter, misc. modes, output filter setting. 3) time, track#, meter, misc. modes, rec. gain setting (in dB). 4) time, track#, meter, disc/track title (remove music calendar, mode indicators, etc). 5) time and track# only (remove meter, disc/track title). 6) blank entire display (remove everything, unit functions as normal otherwise).

20 segment level meter. Tray loading mechanism. Rigid vibration resistant chassis. Two R-Core transformers (separate ones for digital and analog sections). Note: No monaural recording. No mic inputs.

Specs: Freq resp: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, S/N: (brochure: > 108dB) (digital rec/play), Dynamic Range: > 105dB (digital), THD < .002% (digital), Wow/flutter: less than 0.001% W-Peak. 5 year warranty.

Links: German Stereo magazine review of this unit. Initial JA50ES technical info (translated). Sony's MD pages covering the 1996 Audio Fair mention this unit. Sony's JA50ES annoucement at CeBIT. Behnam Tony scanned in the Wide Bit Stream block diagram (showing a 24 bit data path from the ADC to the ATRAC chip!). Sony US's MDS-JA50ES page. A brief summary of MD activity at CES '97 mentions that the MDS-JA50ES will be introduced in the US.

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-JA50ES, MDS-JA50ES

Sony MDS-JE700

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Sony MDS-JE700Home MD Deck
Intro: 10/1996
MSRP ¥69,000
Availability:
in: optical (x2), coax, line. out: optical, line, hdphn.430 x 107.5 x 315 mm, 4.4Kg

Features: ATRAC 4 (IC: CXD2650R, same as JE500). Current Pulse DAC. Sampling rate converter. 2 second "time machine" function. A-B erase. Separate L/R recording level controls. R-Core transformer. Available also in black. Remote controller: RM-D10M. Optional keyboard like controller/titler: RM-D10P. Essentially the same unit as the MDS-J3000

Specs: Freq resp: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, S/N: > 100dB (digital rec/play), > 94dB (analog rec/play), Dynamic Range: > 98dB (digital), > 94dB (analog), THD < .003% (digital), < .005% (analog), Wow/flutter: less than 0.001% W-Peak.

Links: Sony's MD pages covering the 1996 Audio Fair mention this unit.

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-JE700, MDS-JE700

Service Manual: MDS-JE700

Sony MDS-J3000

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Sony MDS-J3000Home MD Deck
Intro: 10/1996
MSRP ¥77,000
Availability:
in: optical (x2), coax, line. out: optical, line, hdphn.280mm (width) x 92.5mm (height) x 380mm (depth)

Features: ATRAC 4 (IC: CXD2650R, same as JE500). Current Pulse DAC. Sampling rate converter. 2 second "time machine" function. A-B erase. Separate L/R recording level controls. R-Core transformer. Available also in black. Remote controller: RM-D10M. Optional keyboard like controller/titler: RM-D10P. Essentially the same unit as the MDS-JE700.

Specs: Freq resp: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, S/N: > 100dB (digital rec/play), > 94dB (analog rec/play), Dynamic Range: > 98dB (digital), > 94dB (analog), THD < .003% (digital), < .005% (analog), Wow/flutter: less than 0.001% W-Peak.

Links: Sony's MD pages covering the 1996 Audio Fair mention this unit.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-J3000ES

Sony MDS-JE500/S37

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MDS-S37
Sony MDS-JE500
Sony MDS-S37
Home MD Deck
Intro: 6/1996
MSRP $600 (MDS-S37 ¥49,000)
Availability:
in: line, optical. out: line, optical17 x 4-3/4 x 11" 7lb. 12oz.
(11 x 3-1/4 x 10-5/8" 5lb. 4oz.)

Features: ATRAC 4 (IC: CXD2650R). 20 bit A/D converter. Sampling rate converter. "Wide Bit Stream" (18bit digital i/o?). Stereo and Mono recording. 2 second time machine. Hybrid-pulse DA. Included remote: RM-D8M. Can be used with RM-D10P remote commander. TOC cloning not possible (machine ejects disc when power applied).

Specs: Freq resp: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, S/N: > 96dB (digital rec/play), > 92dB (analog rec/play), Dynamic Range: > 97dB (digital), > 92dB (analog), THD < .004% (digital), < .006% (analog), Wow/flutter: less than 0.001% W-Peak.

Comments: from German Stereo Magazine, 10/96:

  • The slight improvements in coding complex music weren't audible to the testers (and ATRAC 3.5 already scored well against DAT).
  • Sounds very good (transparent sound, no coloration).
  • Very low noise DA converter, even with small signals (approx. the level of DAT DTC 790, a little bit better than the MDS-503).
  • At normal record levels the AD converter is very quiet too.
  • At small analog signal levels has more noise than the '503 and noticablely more than DTC 790.
  • The converters are far from Sony's claim of 20 bit resolution, the 18 bit converters of the JA3 were much better ("a few grades"). The reason for this seems to be the bundling of ADC / DAC into one chip, whereas the JA3ES has separate AD and DA chips.
  • For most users completly satisfying (esp. for this price 600,-DM)
  • Music-synchro feature (works with any digital input): starts recorder if the SPDIF input has a signal above -60 dB
  • UNDO function
  • New slot in mechanism
  • Freq. response up to 18kHz
  • Evaluation: excellent ***

Variants: Different versions existed for the JE-500.
Part numbers (taken from the service manual):

  • 4-983-660-1: US model
  • 4-983-660-2: Canadian model
  • 4-983-660-3: AEP, German model
  • 4-983-660-4: UK model
  • 4-983-660-5: Singapore, tourist model
  • 4-983-660-6: Hong Kong model
According to the May '97 German Stereo magazine, a modified version called the MDS-500 PRO is available for 1000 DM from Karches Media in Augsburg, Germany (+49-821-514140). The unit has balanced inputs, 19 inch rack mount and no SCMS. Options are pitch-control (+449 DM), AES/EBU inputs, and cable remote control.

There are at least two different versions of the MDS-JE500: `older ones' and `newer ones'. The differences are a few changed values of capacitors and resistors in its analog section (dito@berlin.snafu.de).

Links: Sony's page for the MDS-JE500, for the MDS-S37. Sony press release announcing 4th generation MD units (MDS-JE500). HiFi World magazine's review of the MDS-JE500 gives a good critical review of Sony's mainstream MD deck. A user's review of the MD Bundle3 (which includes the JE500). HiFi World magazine's review of the JE500. A What HiFi article dicusses the relative merits of the Kenwood DM-7090 and Sony MDS-JE500. A user reports on a problem and solution related to line out signal strength on the JE500 (and other HiFi equipment). A snapshot of the inside of a Sony MDS-JE500 (prepare to see some air).

Differences: between JE500 and S37: JE500: Headphone and analog phono input and output connectors are gold plated. 1/4" headphone jack.
S37: Audio bus connector. RM-D10P titler cannot be used when audio bus is connected. Miniplug headphone jack. No timer recording function, timer recording can only be done when connected to Pixy system with audio bus. Audio bus connection is not required for normal operation.

Problems:

  • It appears there may be a firmware problem on the early machines that happens mostly (perhaps only) just after you start titling while recording. A "Retry" and "Retry Error" can sometimes appear on the display while recording. The "Retry Error" one (more severe) can cause a problem such as a drop out. To experiment: soon after a song starts recording, hit "name" on the remote and start entering a title. One user got the error a couple of times upon first hitting a letter key. Workaround: enter titles after waiting at least 10 sec. after pushing RECORD.
  • If you stop recording DIRECTLY after a song, then it will cut off a 1/2 second of your song. Probably the record buffer is not fully written when the STOP key is pressed. Workaround: Press PAUSE, wait and then press STOP.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JE500

Service Manual: MDS-JE500

Sony MDS-503

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Sony MDS-503Home MD Deck
Intro: 6/1996 (? guess)
MSRP $770
Availability:
in: optical, coax, line. out: optical, line, hdphn.430 x 97.5 x 292 mm, 3.6Kg

Features: ATRAC 3.5, "Wide bit stream", sampling rate converter, 6 second "time machine" function. Divide positioning in +/-60ms steps. Remote controller: RM-D6M. Optional keyboard like controller/titler: RM-D10P.

Specs: Freq resp: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, S/N: > 98dB, Wow/flutter: less than 0.001% W-Peak.

Links: Information about putting the MDS-503 in test mode. Sony Page info (translated). A User's initial impressions of the MDS-503.

Reviews:

Sony MDS-JA3ES

PictureNameDescPriceConnectorsDimensions
sony_mdsja3es_thumb_110.jpg
Sony MDS-JA3ESHigh End Home MD Deck
Intro: 2/1996 (? guess)
MSRP ¥108,000 $1200
Availability:
in: optical, coax, line, MICx2. out: optical, line, hdphn.430x125x345mm 6 Kg

Features: 20 bit, ATRAC-3.5, smart space, sampling rate converter, 6 second "time machine" function. Remote controller: RM-D2M. Available in gold or black.

Specs: Freq resp: 5-20kHz +/-0.3dB, S/N: > 105dB (digital rec/play), > 98dB (analog rec/play), Dynamic Range: > 98dB (digital), > 98dB (analog), THD < .004% (digital), < .004% (analog), Wow/flutter: less than 0.001% W-Peak. Feb. '96 Stereo Review buying guide manual: The MDS-JAES MD recorder has a S/N of 103 dB. The JA3ES a 20-bit digital playback filter with dither, ... and 20 bit output.

Links: Electronics Australia review of the MDS-JA3ES. MJ magazine interview with the JA3ES designers. Sony Page info, Sony Japan Page (nice pictures!). Sony Canada page.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-JA3ES

Service Manuals: MDS-JA3ES, supplement 1, supplement 2

Sony MDS-303/S35

PictureNameDescPriceConnectorsDimensions
sony_mds303_thumb_110.jpg
sony_mdss35_thumb_110.jpg
Sony MDS-303
Sony MDS-S35
Home MD Deck
Compact MD Deck
Intro: 10/1995 (? guess)
MSRP ¥59,000
MSRP ¥54,000
Availability:
in: optical, line. out: optical, line, hdphn.
in: optical, line, AV bus. out: optical, line, hdphn.
430 x 97.5 x 292 mm approx 3.6 kg
280 x 82.5 x 286.5 mm, 2.4Kg

Features: ATRAC 3. 96dB s/n, 3 recording modes (auto end search and record from start of blank area, record (overwrite) from song mid-point, record (overwrite) from song start), smart space, multi-jog dial for editing and character input, timer standby. Divide positioning in +/-60ms steps. "Disc in auto power" turns machine on when you put a disc in. 15 segment peak meter. Remote controller: RM-D4M.

Comments: MDS-S35 has minijack for headphones and Sony AV bus for integration with Sony ``Pixy'' systems, MDS-303 has a 1/4" phone jack and no AV bus.

Specs: Freq resp: 5-20kHz+/-0.3dB, S/N: > 96dB, Wow/flutter: less than 0.001% W-Peak.

Links: Sony MDS-303 Japan Page info. Sony MDS-S35 Japan Page info

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-S35

Sony MDS-302/S30

PictureNameDescPriceConnectorsDimensions
sony_mds302_thumb_110.jpg
Sony MDS-302
Sony MDS-S30
Home MD Deck
Intro: 10/1995 (? guess)
MSRP $700
Availability:
in: optical, line. out: optical, line, hdphn.430(W) x 97.5(H) x 292.0(D) mm

Features: ATRAC-3, smart space, auto cut, record, pause. 18-bit digitial playback filter. Remote controller: RM-D3M.

Specs: S/N of 96 dB (compared with the S/N of 90 dB for the Sony DTC-790 DAT deck, 92 dB for the DTC-60ES DAT deck, and 94 dB for the DTC-2000ES Sony ES series DAT deck).

Comments: In Japan, the MDS-302 was taken over by the MDS-303 at the end of '95. And also, MDS-S30 was taken over by the MDS-S35 at the same time. But no significant difference between 302/S30 and 303/S35 (very slight design change). -Takeshi SASAKI

Links: Sony Page info. An MDS-302 Owner's Comments. All Pro Sound carries this unit, as does Wholesale Connection. Sony Canada page. The Star (in Malaysia) has a review of the MDS-302. Johnathan Woithe has a brief page describing his problems with the MDS-S30.

Reviews:

User Manuals: MDS-302, MDS-302

Service Manuals: MDS-302, SUP-1, SUP-2

Sony MDS-501

PictureNameDescPriceConnectorsDimensions
sony_mds501_thumb_110.jpg
Sony MDS-501Home MD Deck
Intro: 10/1995 (? guess)

Availability:
in: optical, line, mic. out: optical, line, hdphn.17 x 3 3/8 x 14 " (WHD). 11 lbs 7 oz.

Features: ATRAC-2. Pulse type A/D converter. Hybrid pulse D/A converter. 45 bit digital filter. Jog dial for AMS, editing and title inputs. 25 track programming. Shuffle play. Music scan. Date function for archival purposes. Title input for disc and track records up to 1700 characters per disc and looper title, U/L case and numbers. Record level control. Remote commander remote control RM-DM1.

Notes: The 501 will save TOC information after the power is turned off only if the recorder had actually been set to timer-recording when the unit was turned on and recording had begun. Otherwise, power can be removed to "undo" an edit (or a recording!) on this machine. // European version has a sampling rate converter, US version does not.

Links: Interactive Labs info.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-501

Sony MDS-101

PictureNameDescPriceConnectorsDimensions
sony_mds101_thumb_110.jpg
Sony MDS-101Home MD Deck
Intro: 10/1994 (? guess)

Availability:
in: optical, line, mic. out: optical, line, hdphn.9x3x11 3/8" (WHD). 6 lbs 6 oz.

Features: ATRAC-1. Instant 10 key access track selection on remote and random track access. Title input for disc and track, records up to 1700 characters per disc and looper title, U/L case and numbers. Audio bus connection for MHC models. 25 key remote control. Normal edit functions.

Comments: First Sony Home MiniDisc Deck.

Links: Interactive Labs info.

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-101

Service Manual: MDS-101

Sony MDS-S707

PictureNameDescPriceConnectorsDimensions
Sony MDS-S707
Intro: 2

Availability:

Availability:

Availability:

Reviews:

User Manual: MDS-S707

Service Manual: MDS-S707

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