Pioneer Recorders

Pioneer PMD-R55

Pioneer PMD-R55
Kenwood DMC-K7R
Courtesy Japan-Direct
Sharp MD-MS721
Sharp MD-MS722
Pioneer PMD-R55
Kenwood DMC-K7R
Portable MD Recorder
Intro: 7/1998
MD-MS721: MSRP ¥46,000
Street ¥37,000
MD-MS722: ¥49,000
IN: line/optical, mic, DC 3.4~5.0v, OUT: headphone/line87 x 25.9 x 81.5mm, 216g, w/batt


  • 40 second shock memory, Sharp ATRAC 6.
  • .25 um process LSI includes digitized RF section, signal encoder/decoder, digital servo EFM processing and ATRAC compression and decompression on a single chip.
  • 20bit ADC and DAC.
  • Backlit remote (MS721 remote features 3 small jog rings for controlling track selection, X-bass and volume. MS722 remote includes watch/alarm clock functions and features 2 small jog rings for controlling track selection and volume).
  • MS722 features large jog dial on front face of unit for titling and control.
  • MS721 features diecast aluminum construction

Mis-features: No date/time stamp during recording.

Tips: The skip-track fwd/bkwd buttons on the remote are used to increase or decrease the recording level (values 0-30). It mirrors the functionality of the base unit. -Arne Bier


Specs: Input levels: Mic H: 0.25mV, 10Kohms, Mic L: 2.5mV, 10KOhms, Line: 100mV, 20Kohms. Headphone: 10mW+10mW, 16Ohms. Line: 300mV (@ -12dB), 10Kohms.


User Manuals: MD-MS721, quick guide, short

Service Manual: MD-MS721

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
LiIon AD-S31BT (3.6V 800mAh)10 hr8 hr3 hr
AA x 16 hr3 hr
Both16 hr11 hr

Pioneer PMD-R3

Pioneer PMD-R3
Photo: Boyde
Kenwood DMC-J7R
Sharp MD-MS701
Sharp MD-MS702
Pioneer PMD-R3
Kenwood DMC-J7R
Portable MD recorders,
Intro: 9/1997
MSRP ¥47,000/ 48,000, street: ¥39,800
IN: optical/line, mic. OUT: headphone, DC in: 3.6V (LiIon) 3V (2AA), 4.5V (car), 5V (AC)87x29.4x81.5, pocket weight: MS701: 216g, MS702: 219g

Features: First recorder with an ``MD Jacket'' (i.e. square front face) design. Sharp ATRAC 5. 10 second shock memory. New 1 chip LSI incorporating the [digitalized] RF section, signal processing encoder/decoder, digital servo, EFM processing and audio compression/decompression circuitry. MS702 is ``sporty look'' model. Sampling rate converter. Digital/Line/Mic synchro start, goes into pause after 3 seconds silence. Mono recording. 2X quick playback mode. Time automarking at 3, 5 and 10 minute intervals. ``Moji Stamp'' function allows text transfer from original to newly recorded disc. Manual recording level control only (no AGC), microphone sensitivity selection is built-in, as part of the recording level control setting (0-20: HIGH, 21-30: LOW). Katakana/ Alphanumeric/ Symbol titling. Random, all repeat, 1 repeat play modes.

Included Accessories: Backlit LCD remote, headphones, LiIon rechargeable, AC adapter, AA case, carrying case.

Mis-features: No date/time stamp during recording. Be aware that when recording from the mic input and you adjust the recording level, a small 'glitch' (a few millisecs silence) will be recorded where the level drops from MIC 'H' to MIC 'L' (position 20 on the 0 - 30 level scale). -Graham Baker

TOC Undo: TOC Undo with the Kenwood DMC-J7R is very simple: Remove the battery/unplug the power supply without turning the unit off. When powered up again, it forgets that there are unwritten TOC changes. -Stefan Werner

Problems: There have been reports on MD-L of Sharp MD-MS701/702 units malfunctioning, displaying intermittent "UTOC Error" messages with damaged/irrecoverable recordings as a result. A user ( advises:

  1. It is important not to do an auto calibration in service mode without a "tdys1" (sony) testing MD or equivalent (Teac). This will definetly cause more problems!
  2. Unit should be returned immediately when the first UTOC errors appear, it is a bad sign! It makes no sense to wait until the warranty has expired.
Sharp later introduced the 702MK model to address the UTOC problem. Failure rates for this newer version are reported by to be about the same as they have seen for other modern MD recorders (1-2%).

Accessories: Sharp seems to have sold the MD-MS702 outside of Japan without the external AA cell case. It's available though from Planet Minidisc and Minidisco.


Specs: 20-20kHz +/-3dB, wow & flutter <.001% peak. Output: Line: 300mV (-12dB) (50Kohms). Headphones: 10mW+10mW (32ohms). Input: Mic H: 0.25mV 10kOhms. Mic L: 2.5mV 10kOhms. Line: 100mV 20kOhms.


User Manuals: MD-MS701, HTML

Service Manual: MD-MS701

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
LiIon AD-S31BT (3.6V 800mAh)5 hr3.5 hr2.5 hr
AA x 28 hr4 hr
Both13 hr7.5 hr

Pioneer PMD-R2

Sharp MD-MS200
Denon DMP-R70
Kenwood DMC-G7R
Pioneer PMD-R2
portable recorder
Intro: 1/1997
msrp:¥48,000, street: ¥32,800
IN: line/optical, mic (w/plug in power). out: common jack for headphone (10mW+10mW @16ohm) / line (50Kohm)109.2 X 29.8 X 81.3 mm, 275g (incl. rechargeable)

Features: Sharp ATRAC 4. Slot in design. Digital and Mic Synchro start recording (has Hi/Lo selector for mic synchro start threshold), Double speed playback, Time Auto Mark function (track mark at 3, 5 or 10 min. interval), Auto time stamping, Sample rate converter, Stereo/mono recording. Autoplay on disc insertion. With car adapter, resumes from start of song when car is started. Manually adjustable gain level can be changed during recording. Up to 100 characters per track and disc title may be entered, totaling up to 1700 characters per disc. Defeatable beep (hold bass boost button). "Moji Stamp" feature copies title and song names of one MD onto another, as follows: after dubbing MD->MD (analog, or digitally if permitted), original disc is placed in the MS200 to read and store the name data, duplicated disc is subsequently inserted and the stored names written to it from the MS200's memory. Industry's longest continuous recording time, on rechargeable (AD-MS10BT) (as of intro date). Ext power: AC adapter:5.0v, Dry cell case: 6.0v, Car adapter: 4.5v. The MS200 comes with one lithium ion battery and a LCD-less remote control (AD-MS20RM). Dry Cell case (AD-MS10BC) and LCD remote control sold separately (both AD-ST60RM and AD-SS70RM can be used). Pioneer and Kenwood models come with LCD remote that includes a ``play mode'' button setting Random, Repeat and Repeat 1.

Little known modes: P-save mode, stores less music in the shock-proof memory. To toggle it on/off, hold the ``Display'' button for 2 seconds when the unit is stopped. A-play mode, automatically goes into play mode when a disc is inserted. Hold the ``Mode/Ins'' button for 2 seconds when the unit is stopped.

Note: No AGC (automatic gain control) recording. The battery life is 9.5h (PB) when "auto Power Save" mode is ON. In this mode, the memory saves only 5 sec of data. If you turn OFF this "auto Power Save" mode, the memory saves 10 sec of data (which is the ordinary amount for other portables), and the battery life gets 20% shorter (==7.6h), according to the manual.

Mis-features: No "remaining track time" display.

Problems: Japanese domestic units have trouble charging on North American 120VAC house current.

Parts: Unit's DAC chip reported to be made by AKM semiconductor.

Links: Sharp's comprehensive summary page. A scan of all its surfaces. Conrad Sanderson's Sharp MS200 pages (and a subpage). The German Stereo magazine and a user compare the MZ-R30 and the Sharp MD-MS200. Emanuel Borsboom has a table comparing the Sony MZ-R30 and Sharp MD-MS200. Steven Smith has done a little bench testing of the unit. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit.


User Manual: MD-MS200

Service Manual: MD-MS200

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
LiIon AD-MS10BT9.5 hr7 hr3 hr
AA x 6
Both35 hr25 hr

Pioneer PMD-R1

Denon DMP-R50
Sharp MD-MS100
Pioneer PMD-R1
Denon DMP-R50
Kenwood DMC-F5R
portable recorder
Intro: 12/1995
msrp: ¥49,000
in: optical/line, mic. out: hdphn.109.2 x 30.5 x 81.3 mm, 275g w/batt.

Features: Sharp ATRAC 3. "slot-in" (non-clamshell) disc insert/eject [easier to manage when you're on the go], stereo/mono recording, track move/ divide/ combine/ erase, random play, sound-synchro recording [starts recording when audio appears on the input, automatically truncates between track silence exceeding 4 seconds], auto marker, remote on headphone cord (volume, track select/position, stop/ pause/ play, bass boost), katakana/roman alphabet input/display. Line out uses the headphone connector. Unit available in black or silver. Comes with: headphones, remote control, lithium ion rechargeable battery, AC adapter, analog line cord, carrying case. Playback time 4.5 hours, recording 3.5. Recording time about 12 hours with separately available battery case (AD-MS10BC)

Comparison: with Sony MZ-R3 (showing features unique to each): Sharp MD-MS100 Defeatable beep sound. Ability to change recording level whilst recording. Standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Loud!! Uses 5V adapter. Combined headphone/line-out jack (though output impedance is adjusted to match the load). Calibrated level meter in dB. Suppl. acessories: headphones, rechargeable Lithium battery, power adapter, analog cable, carrying bag, remote control. Sony MZ-R3 Date/time stamps on recordings. Automatic gain control. Uses 4.5V adapter. Separate outputs for headphone and line-out. Suppl. acessories: headphones, power adapter, analog cable, carrying bag, remote control.

Problems: Japanese domestic units have trouble charging on North American 120VAC house current.

Links: Sharp press release. Sharp Japan Spec sheet (in English). Sharp Japan page for this unit, including a cute animation of the "Slot-in" design.


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