Aiwa Recorders

Aiwa portable MD recorders have the following general characteristics:

Aiwa AM-NX9

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Aiwa AM-NX9portable NetMD downloader
Intro: 4/2003
``OPEN''
Availability:
In: USB. Out: headphones

Links:

Reviews:

User Manual: AM-NX9

Aiwa AM-NX1

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*See Notes
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Stack:
Sony MZ-N1
Aiwa AM-NX1
Sony MZ-E10
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Photos: AVWatch
Aiwa AM-NX1portable NetMD downloader
Intro: 3/2003
Street: ¥ 30,000
Availability:
In: USB. Out: headphones80.3 x 74.2 x 17.9mm, 85g (w/batt)

Features:

  • 64X NetMD downloading (LP4 mode).
  • ATRAC DSP Type-S (however, unit's ATRAC chip is not used for LP mode encoding).
  • No audio input jacks! Records only from PC.
  • Kanji capable backlit LCD remote.
  • "Virtual Sound" DSP digital sound equalizer
  • E.A.S.S. GP anti-shock system recovers disc data readout within 0.3 seconds by quickly refocusing, repositioning the optical pickup, and rereading missed data.

Notes: *Note hidden mic and line-in jacks in photo, apparently the rear-case from another unit was used for these publicity photos.

Links:

Included Accessories: Backlit LCD remote, Charging stand, AC adapter, NiMH cell, SonicStage V1.5 CD, AA cell case, carrying pouch, USB cable

Specs: Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW into 16 ohms

Reviews:

User Manual: AM-NX1

Battery LifePlayRecharge
NiMH31/38/45 hr3.5 hr
AA x 147/57/69 hr
Both80/95/114 hr

Aiwa AM-F90

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MZ-R900DPC
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Aiwa AM-F90
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R900/F90 comparison (1024x491)
Sony MZ-R900
Aiwa AM-F90
portable MD recorder
Intro: 9/2000

Availability:
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.

Reviews:

Links:

Hacks:

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

Aiwa AM-C80/F72/F75/F80

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AM-F75
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AM-F72
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AM-C80
Aiwa AM-F80
Aiwa AM-F75
Aiwa AM-F72
Aiwa AM-C80
portable MD recorder
Intro: 10/1999
¥37,800
Availability:
IN: mic/line/optical (3 in one connector). OUT: headphone/line. DC IN: 4.5V (AC adaptor), 1.5V (external AA cell)78.8 x 86.8 x 18.8mm, 163g w/batt.

Features: Digital and analog synchro start, backlit LCD on body and remote, body keys are not illuminated (as they were on the AM-F70). Jog dial for volume control as well as track selection, editing and titling. Titling may be done while playing or recording, but not with the remote. Up to 100 titling characters per track. Remote displays 10 characters, main unit LCD shows 8 characters. Divide rehearsal mode. 25 track program play mode. Microphone sensitivity low/high selector. Double speed playback mode (mono and stereo). Japanese model (at least) comes with one-point stereo mic.

Variants: The AM-C80 is apparently an AA dry-cell powered variant of the AM-F80 that comes with a car cassette adapter. The AM-F75 is a cost reduced version of the AM-F80 that drops the backlight and the remote's LCD. The AM-F72 is a further cost-reduced unit that drops the remote altogether.

Links:

  • Japan-Direct posts clear snapshots of Aiwa's AM-F80.
  • John Beal's bench measurements of the unit, showing that max SNR through the headphone output is 55dB. However the unit was able to record a signal with 92dB dynamic range and 81dB SNR (measured by playing the disc back through the digital output of a Sony MDS-JB930)

User Comments: Contrary to what I have read in some comparisons, the number of titling characters for a track is not 50, but 100. The 2X playback mode works in stereo too. What the unit does is simply play every other sample, resulting in 2x the speed, but no pitch shifting. To activate the mode, you hold the play button for 2sec (works on the remote too). The remote displays 10 characters, the main unit only 8. Nowhere in the manual is "line-out" mentioned and how to use it (it's somehow combined with the headphone jack). The included headphones have a weird rubbery 'ear-coupling' arrangement. If you get them in far enough, they have incredible bass response. Unfortunately I think it's ear-shape dependent, and I don't seem to fit the mould. The jog-wheel doesn't click, so picking characters isn't as easy as it could be. Also when adjusting the volume, the steps are a bit too large (only 20 steps in total, as opposed to 30 volume steps for Sony machines). However because of the analogue-feel of the jog wheel, you can turn-up or turn-down the volume as quickly as you want -- impossible with the digital button-type volume controls in other units. Response time from 'off' to 'play' is about 5 sec. Same as for MZ-R55. In fact the whole unit feels a lot like the MZ-R55, except that it has heaps more features, and 3-4 times the battery life. Overall, this may not be the smallest unit in the world, the MZ-R90 has a few milimeters advantage, but in terms of usability and features, this one wins hands down.
-George Michalski

Reviews:

User Manual: AM-F80

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
LiIon11.5 hr5 hr2 hr
AA x 1
Both20 hr7.5 hr

Aiwa AM-F65/F70

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Aiwa AM-F65
Aiwa AM-F70
Portable MD recorder
Intro: 12/1998
MSRP ¥42,000
Availability:
IN: line/optical, mic. OUT: line/headphone77.6 x 19.3 x 97mm, 187g (w/rechargeable cell)

Features:

  • Backlit 10 character LCD on remote as well as backlit LCD and control buttons on body.
  • Large style jog dial for inputting disc and track titles (up to 50 characters).
  • High speed (2x) playback mode for mono or stereo recordings with no pitch change.
  • Title search function allows another track to be selected by name while unit is playing.
  • Divide function has rehearsal mode (as MD decks do) that repeatedly plays 3 second segment at divide point, allowing divide point to be moved with AMS knob or << and >> keys (edit point step size is 60ms).
  • Synchro start recording from digital and analog sources.
  • Repeat 1, all, shuffle and 25 track program play mode.
  • 40 second shock memory, sampling rate converter.
  • 1 bit DAC/ADC.
  • Date and time stamp recording.
  • Time mark function can automatically make a track mark every 5 minutes.
  • Bass boost.
  • 3 step battery life indicator on main body as well as remote.
  • Included accessories: LCD remote, stereo headphone, one point microphone, AC adapter (AC-D401 [AC-D401U in US]), LiIon cell, Dry cell case (for AAx3), Carrying pouch, Neck strap.
  • Color: gold.
  • US, UK (& European?) units omit neck strap and one point microphone, US units replace earbuds with 'swoops' (HP-M038), which are behind-the-head street-style headphones.

Variants: The Aiwa AM-F65 has been released in Europe, it is nearly identical to the AM-F70 but has no backlight on the main unit's LCD panel, has no LCD panel on remote, and comes without dry cell case (for AAx3).

Tips:

  • When you're in titling mode, hit the shift button (also the search button) right above the jog dial to choose between the uppercase, lowercase, and symbol character sets. -Ian McFarlane
  • Record-pause (and hence record mode) can be activated from the remote. To activate from stop mode, hold down the MODE button on the remote for at least 2 seconds, then press the PLAY/PAUSE button. The recorder will then be in record-pause, to commence recording, push the PLAY/PAUSE button again. Also while in pause mode you can use the MODE button to access the recording options (record level, auto track marks, etc) as normal. -Brian Youn

Links:

Specs: Freq. resp: 20-20kHz +/-1dB @ 10KOhm. Headphone amp: 10mw + 10mw

Reviews:

User Manual: AM-F65 Electronic Shopping Mall

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
LiIon10 hr4 hr2 hr
AA x 325 hr10 hr
Both40 hr16 hr

Aiwa AM-F5/F7

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AM-F5
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AM-F7
Aiwa AM-F5
Aiwa AM-F7
Portable MD recorder
Intro: 12/1997
MSRP ¥45,000 (initial production 8000 units/mo)
Availability:
in: mic, line, digital. out: line, headphones. DC in: 4.5v97x21.6x77.6mm, 189g (main unit only), 216g w/batt

Features:

  • Jog dial on the main body and remote, allowing easy character entry and disc operation (the volume knob doubles as the jog dial on the remote).
  • Divide rehearsal mode (allows fine tuning of divide point with jog dial).
  • Provides syncho recording from digital and analog sources.
  • Sampling rate converter.
  • Stereo/mono recording.
  • Normal and 2X speed playback.
  • Time mark function makes track marks every 5 minutes.
  • Date and time stamp recording.
  • Program (25 tracks), repeat, random, play modes.
  • Resume function (restarts play from stopped place).
  • 3 position battery level indicator.
  • Auto and manual recording level controls, manual recording level can be changed while recording is underway.
  • Silver color.
  • One point stereo mic included.
  • Separate L/R recording level meters.
  • AM-F5 remote does not contain LCD.
  • ATRAC 4.2 (according to Aiwa Germany).
  • Differences from Sony MZ-R50: 10 second (Aiwa) vs. 40 second (Sony) shock memory. Sony button layouts are simpler. Sony has LCD remote. Aiwa allows manual recording levels to be changed without pausing the machine. Aiwa has recording level meters for both channels. Different batteries. Aiwa has smaller appearance. Both machines use clamshell (not slot in) disc loading.

Variants: AM-F7 model is nearly identical to AM-F5. It adds a backlit remote (plus firmware changes to drive it) and a few bug fixes.

Links: Nic Boyde's page for the unit. Aiwa Germany's page for the unit. Aiwa's English announcement for their AM-F7 MD portable Doug Rice shows how he made a Remote Control Timer for an Aiwa AM-F5.

Reviews:

User Manual: AM-F5

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
LiIon7 hr4 hr2 hr
AA x 319 hr10 hr
Both26 hr15.5 hr

Aiwa AM-F3

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Aiwa AM-F3portable recorder
Intro: 1/1996 (?)
msrp: Y58,000
Availability:
in: optical/line, mic. out: line, hdphn/remote.109.3 x 81.8 x 26.5mm 290g w/rechargeable attached

Features: Stereo/mono recording, 1bit d/a a/d. Backlit panel and buttons (buttons backlit on AC adapter only), Empty, Mid, Full battery level indicator. Optical, Line, Mic input done with one jack and a line/mic switch. Line/Headphone output similarly done with 1 jack and a switch. Six mode "DSP" (parametric equalizer with flat, rock, pop, jazz, bassboost, and `live' settings). Display has 4 modes: 1) track no./elapsed track time, 2) track no./remaining track time, 3) remaining no. of tracks/remaining disc time. 4) date and time stamp info (though in this mode time does not increment). Display repeatedly scrolls current track name. Four track marking modes: 1) copy marks present in digital input signal, 2) make a mark every 5 minutes (appropriate for meetings and lectures), 3) manual mode (push button to mark), 4) make a mark after 3 seconds of silence. Double speed playback. Auto start/pause mode (sound activated) records only while sound is present on mic inputs (may be set to high or low sensitivity and is also affected by mic input gain setting). Character input for titling, which can be done from the main unit or from the remote, in which case the volume knob is used(!) to select the characters. Up to 50 letters, numbers, symbols, or kana may be entered per track. Writes recording date and time on each track. Manual/Auto recording level adjust (level can be manually adjusted and switched between auto and manual modes during recording). Play modes: repeat 1, repeat all, random play (operates properly, will not repeat tracks), program play, index search function (entire disc's song names are scrolled in display, pressing 'enter' as one scrolls past causes song to play). Settable preferences: enable/disable ear guard function, enable/disable resume function, enable/disable LCD backlight (when disabled, backlight can be turned on for 3 seconds with DISP button), set LCD contrast. Recharge time: 2 hr=90%, 5 hr=Full. Rechargeable cell: LIP-12. Unique "clip on" attachment of LIP-12 rechargeable or 2 AA drycell case to side of unit. Playback: 2 AA only: 4 hr, Rechargeable only: 6 hr. Record: 2 AA only: 1 hr, Rechargeable only: 3.5 hr
Comments from German Stereo Magazine 10/96: Excellent manufacturing fit and finish. Integrated DSP. Works well as dictaphone. Manual recording level adjustable (2*12 segments !!). No sample rate converter. Usable for jogging (the other tested devices were not (Sharp, Sony?)). 6 Hour playback with rechargeable batteries. Recommend electret micro with high amplitude for best performance (input is noisy relative to DAT units). DA/AD worse than in home decks, but acceptable. ATRAC 3.0 (matches quality of converters), which sounds ok (improvement of ATRAC3.5 was a lower noise floor only). Evaluation: very good **

Mis-features: Cannot simultaneously charge battery and operate on AC adapter. In pause mode the fast foward/rewind function is unavailable, only track skip. Unit only records in append mode, cannot overwrite existing tracks.

Links: Bala Swaminathan's review of the Aiwa AM-F3, Aiwa's Japanese page for the unit.

Reviews:

User Manual: AM-F3

Aiwa AM-F1

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Aiwa AM-F1portable recorder
Intro: 12/1993 (? est.)
msrp:
Availability:
in: optical/line, mic. out: optical/line/hdphn/remote.85x105x30

Features: ATRAC 2. Double speed playback, mono recording, back lit display, illuminated buttons, many index modes. Play modes: repeat 1, all, shuffle, random. Volume control on unit is digital, on remote is dial. "DSL" bass boost (3 levels). Editing: combine, divide, renumber, erase, erase all. Editing example: 1) Position unit to required point or track. 2) Select "edit", then toggle with "edit" to select function. To move use |<< or >>| to change the track number, then enter >>|. Text entry uses volume + and -. Edit positioning to within 1 second acuracy. -20dB Mic atten switch. Playback time: Li 2.5, ext. AA 2.5, both 6.5 hours. Recording: Li 2, ext. AA 2, both 4.5 hours. Dim: 1.5" x 4.5" x 5.5" -Ian Ogilvy

Reviews:

Aiwa AMD-100

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Aiwa AMD-100portable recorder
Intro: 12/1992 (?)
msrp: $600
street: $250?
Availability:
In: optical, line, mic (1.38mv min:0.55mv). Out: optical, line, hdphn (5mwx2 max, load 16 ohms)4 1/2" x 1 5/8" x 5 1/2" 1.1lbs

Features:

  • Aiwa clone of Sony MZ-1.
  • ATRAC 1.
  • Track divide, combine, swap and erase.
  • Battery level indicator.
  • 24 Character title display.
  • Disc and track labeling.
  • Date and time stamp recording.
  • 21-selector program memory.
  • 4-way repeat play (one/all/shuffle/program).
  • Resume play function.
  • Clock display.
  • Automatic and manual gain control (can switch between these two modes while recording, or change the manual gain while recording).
  • -20dB mic attenuator switch.
  • 3 level bass boost.
  • Backlit display.
  • Resume mode.
  • AC adapter, rechargeable battery supplied.

Reviews:

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
Rechargable BP-MZ1 (NiCd)1.25 hr1 hr1-1.5 hr

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