Sony Recorders

Sony portable MD recorders have the following general characteristics:

Sony Qualia-017

Sony Qualia-017High-End portable MD player
Intro: 6/2004
Out: headphones


  • Expensive!
  • Exterior case machined from a solid brass block.
  • "High quality, low profile ear-bud headphones with an extended bass capability".
  • Charging stand.
  • Available in chrome finish, silver plate, or gold plate.
  • std-MD (not Hi-MD)



Sony MZ-NF520

Sony MZ-NF520portable FM/TV/Weather NetMD recorder
Intro: 5/2004
In: None (no Mic, Line/Optical input). Out: headphones, DATA: USB81.0 x 30.7 x 74.4, 113.3g w/o batt


  • A downloader -- no mic, line or optical input.
  • FM/TV/Weather tuner built into (backlit?) LCD remote.
  • Cannot record from tuner.


Accessories: Tuner remote, Fontopia headphones (Canadian version), blank MD, USB cable, CD-ROM with SonicStage 2.0 and NetMD Simple Burner


Service Manual: MZ-NF520

Battery life SP/LP2/LP4
(Download count assumes tracks of 5m duration)
AAx136/42.5/48 hr55/230/325 tracks

Sony MZ-N920

Sony MZ-N920portable NetMD recorder
Intro: 05/2004
In: line, mic, optical. Out: headphones. Data: USB. DC IN: 3V78.9w x 72.2h x 15.9d mm, 94g (main body, w/o batt)


  • Kanji displaying, backlit, stick type LCD remote
  • Digital amp
  • 6 band graphic equalizer
  • VPT acoustic engine
  • 64X USB downloading (no uploading)
  • SonicStage 2.0, SimpleBurner

Markets: Japan



Battery Life

Sony MZ-N420D

US Models
Canadian Models
Sony MZ-N420DPortable NetMD downloader
Intro: 4/2004
Street: <US$100
Data: USB. Out: headphones81x30.7x74.4mm, 113.3g w/o batt.

Features: Bare bones MD downloader (no line/mic/optical inputs, no remote, no built-in editing functions).

  • Unlimited checkout (feature of supplied SonicStage V2.0)
  • Group mode support.
  • Digital sound preset
  • 10 play modes
  • Colors: Canada: red or blue. USA: orange/grey ("Psyc") or blue.


Accessories: Fontopia in-ear-phones (Canada), SonicStage V2.0 CD w/NetMD Simple Burner, One blank, USB cable


Battery life SP/LP2/LP4
(Download count assumes tracks of 5m duration)
AA x 142/48/56 hr75/300/600 tracks

Sony MZ-NE810

Sony MZ-NE810portable NetMD downloader
Intro: 06/2003
Data: USB. Out: headphones
No line or microphone input!
73.3w x 14.8d x 79.8h mm, 82g (body only)


  • Pressing "Download" button on unit automatically rips and downloads CD tracks and titles them with CDDB (when used in conjunction with Simple Burner software operating in "simple mode").
  • NetMD downloader/player -- no live recording capability.
  • ATRAC DSP Type-S (though not used for recording as all encoding is done on the PC).
  • Digital amplifier
  • Remote displays Roman/Kana/Kanji alphabet
  • Ships with NetMD Simple Burner (a first for Japanese NetMD units?)



User Manual: MZ-NE810

Battery LifePlayRecharge
NiMH28/36/40 hr3.5 hr
AA x 1
Both74/92/106 hr

Sony MZ-NF610

Sony MZ-NF610portable NetMD recorder
Intro: 04/2003
In: line/optical no microphone input. Data: USB. Out: headphones81w x 74.4h x 21.2d mm, 103g (body only)

Features: Unit appears to be an MZ-N510 with a radio tuner remote, but like the MZ-R700/MZ-G750 duo, most likely incorporates changes to the main circuit board to accomodate the radio remote.

  • NetMD Recorder with AM/FM/TV/Weather radio incorporated into LCD remote (unit cannot record from radio).
  • Bookmark track function (see Sony glossary).
  • "Quick mode" (allows user to optionally trade battery life for faster queuing and FF/REW speeds).

Markets: N. America (only?)

Included accessories: AC adapter, AM/FM/TV/Weather radio remote, headphones


Specs: Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW


User Manual: MZ-NF610

Service Manual: MZ-NF610

Battery Life
NH-7WMAA AA formfactor
14.5/15.5/17.5 hr5.5/8/9 hr7.5(FM)/7(TV/Weather)
AA x 136/42.5/48 hr9/12/16 hr18.5(FM)/17(TV/Weather)

Sony MZ-NF810

Photo: AV Watch (Japan)
Sony MZ-NF810portable NetMD recorder
Intro: 04/2003
In: mic, line/optical. Data: USB. Out: headphones81w x 74.4h x 20d mm, 108g body only

Features: Unit appears to be an MZ-N710 with a radio tuner remote, but like the MZ-R700/MZ-G750 duo, most likely incorporates changes to the main circuit board to accomodate the radio remote.

  • NetMD Recorder with AM/FM/TV/Weather radio incorporated into LCD remote
  • Bookmark track function
  • Six Band equalizer and Virtual Phone Technology (see Sony glossary).
  • "Quick mode" (allows user to optionally trade battery life for faster queuing and FF/REW speeds).

Markets: N. America (where unit is dubbed MZ-NF810CK and equipped with a Car Kit), UK, (Europe?, Japan?)

Included Accessories: USB cable, OpenMG v2.2(?), SonicStage1.5, Charge stand, AM/FM radio equipped LCD remote, Headphones, NiMH cell (part# NH-10WM, lower capacity than Sony's heretofor supplied NH-14WM), battery case, AC adapter, optical cable, "Car Kit" (including cassette adapter and Remote Commander (in-car mountable remote))


Reader Comments: The LCD remote is un-backlit, bulky, and inferior to the RM-MC11EL that came with the MZ-R900. The worst part is that the "radio on" button (which turns off the MD and switches on the radio) is right on the top, so it is easy to push by mistake with your thumb when trying to use the other buttons. -Wing Durestos

Specs: 5mW+5mW headphone amp


User Manual: MZ-NF810

Service Manual: MZ-NF810

Battery LifePlayRecordRadioRecharge
(user manual specs)
17/21/23.5 hr7/9/12 hr9(FM)/9(TV/Weather)3.5 hr
AA x 138/44/50.512/15/18.518.5(FM)/17(TV/Weather)
(user manual specs)
57/66.5/73.5 hr22/30/35 hr29(FM)/23(TV/Weather)
(press release specs [NH-14WM?])
19.5/23/27 hr7.5/9.5/13 hr3.5 hr
(press release specs)
63/70/85 hr26/34/41 hr

Sony MZ-N910

Sony MZ-N910portable NetMD recorder
Intro: 03/2003
In: mic, line/optical. Out: headphones/line78.9w x 72.2h x 15.9d mm, 93g (body only), 116g w/battery

Features: Unit appears to be nearly an MZ-N10 but with a conventional NiMH (gumpack) battery and [non-rotating] jog-lever instead of jog-knob.

  • ATRAC DSP Type S
  • Max 64X download speed (LP4 mode)
  • 200 second (?) G-Protection
  • 6-band equalizer & Virtual Sound
  • Bookmark and group mode functions
  • 3 line display on main body
  • Charge stand (power only, no USB connection)
  • Personal disc memory (remembers settings for 20 discs)
  • Melody Alarm (avoid missed train stops)
  • Jog Lever
  • Variable playback speed (50-150%) [though a user reports the quality is surprising low and hence unusable].
  • Microphone sens. selector
  • Name bank
  • Joint Text (!)
  • Auto time-mark (places track marks at regular intervals [user settable from 1 to 99 minutes] during recording).
  • Date/Time stamp recording
  • backlit LCD remote
  • Fully aluminum body.
  • PowerMode option (NORMAL/QUICK/PowerSave) User manual excerpt:
    • When the power mode is set to "QUICK", the power remains on within the recorder even when nothing appears in the display. This leads to a shorter battery life. For this reason, it is recommended that you charge the battery daily.
    • [In quick mode] if no recorder operation (including opening and closing of the lid) occurs for 17 hours, the power in the recorder automatically turns off. For this reason, the next time you start playback or do another operation, the recorder will not respond quickly. The unit, however, will return to quick mode afterwards.
    • The [Power Save] function allows you to maximize the operating life of the battery when playing the recorder with headphones/earphones (with a remote control) or a line cable connected to the headphone/LINE OUT jack. Power consumption is reduced by turning off the display when no operation has been made for a while.

Markets: UK, Europe, Japan


Included Accessories: USB cable, OpenMG v2.2(?), SonicStage 1.5, Charge stand, backlit LCD remote, Headphones, NiMH cell, battery case, AC adapter, optical cable, carrying case with clip.

Specs: 5mW+5mW headphone amp


User Manuals: MZ-N910, J

Service Manual: MZ-N910

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
31/38/45 hr11/16/20 hr3.5 hr
AA x 147/57/69 hr11/16/21 hr
Both80/95/114 hr29/38/50 hr

Sony MZ-N710

Courtesy Minidisc Australia (1600x1200)
Sony MZ-N710portable NetMD recorder
Intro: 03/2003
In: mic, line/optical. Out: headphones/line81w x 74.4h x 20d mm, 108g body only


  • ATRAC DSP Type S
  • Max 32X download speed (LP4 mode)
  • 200 second (?) G-Protection
  • Charge stand w/USB connection, USB connection also on main body
  • 9-character LCD on main unit
  • Group mode support
  • Jog Lever
  • Automatic time-based track marking (5,10,15 minute interval)
  • non-Backlit LCD remote
  • Body has aluminum top

Markets: UK, Europe and Australia (not Japan, US)


Included Accessories: USB cable, OpenMG v2.2(?), SonicStage1.5, Charge stand, non-backlit LCD remote, Headphones, NiMH cell (part# NH-10WM, lower capacity than Sony's heretofor supplied NH-14WM), battery case, AC adapter, optical cable.

Specs: 1.2mW+1.2mW(?) headphone amp


User Manual: MZ-N710

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
19.5/23/27 hr7.5/9.5/13 hr3.5 hr
AA x 1
Both63/70/85 hr26/34/41 hr

Sony MZ-NE410

Sony MZ-NE410portable NetMD downloader
Intro: 03/2003
In: USB. Out: headphones81 x 74.4 x 28.9mm, 100g (w/o battery)


  • System Controller/ATRAC DSP IC: CXD2680GA (CXD2676)
  • Group mode functions.
  • Entry-level NetMD recorder.
  • No audio input jacks! Records only via USB download from PC.
  • Max download speed 32X (LP4).
  • No remote.
  • "Quick mode" (allows user to optionally trade battery life for faster queuing and FF/REW speeds).


Included Accessories: Canada: Fontopia headphones, SonicStage 1.5, NetMD Simple Burner, USB cable

Specs: Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW


User Manual: MZ-NE410

Service Manual: MZ-NE410

Battery life SP/LP2/LP4
(Download count assumes tracks of 5m duration)
AA x 142/48/56 hr75/300/600 tracks

Sony MZ-N510

Photo: AV Watch (Japan)
Sony MZ-N510portable NetMD recorder
Intro: 03/2003
In: line/optical no microphone input. Data: USB. Out: headphones, DC IN: 3V81w x 74.4h x 27.7d mm, 103g (body only)


  • System Controller/ATRAC DSP IC: CXD2680GA (CXD2676)
  • Entry-level NetMD recorder.
  • ATRAC Type-S
  • No microphone input
  • Group and Bookmark track function (see Sony glossary).
  • Recording level change and character input while recording
  • Quick mode (!) according to Sonystyle Canada.
  • Non-LCD remote
  • "Quick mode" (shorter battery life: turns off the LCD, but leaves unit "on" for up to an hour with no user input -- unit will respond almost immediately when a track is played or cued within that hour).

Markets: N. America (where unit is dubbed MZ-N510CK and equipped with a Car Kit), UK, Europe, (Japan?)

Included Accessories: USB cable, PC software (SonicStage 1.5, Simple Burner 1.1), headphones, blank MD, AC adapter, carrying pouch. N. American unit includes a "Car Kit" consisting of cassette adapter, Rotary Commander (in-car mountable remote), cigarette lighter power cord and velcro mounting strips.


Specs: 5mW+5mW headphone amp


User Manual: MZ-N510

Service Manual: MZ-N510

Battery LifePlayRecord
NC-7WMAA AA formfactor
15/16/20 hr4/6/7.5 hr
AA x 142/48/56 hr10/14/18.5 hr

Sony MZ-B10

Sony MZ-B10"business" MDLP recorder
Intro: 2/2003
Street: ¥ 20,400
In: line/optical, mic. Out: headphones, DC IN: 3VDC118.2 x 24.0 x 75.4mm, 150g (body only), 190g w/batt.


  • MDLP Support (but not NetMD)
  • Large LCD shows both elapsed and remaining time.
  • ATRAC DSP Type-S.
  • Button layout resembling portable tape recorders, to ease use by first-timers.
  • Digital pitch control allows slow or fast playback without change of pitch (useful for e.g. language learning or reviewing a lecture).
  • Twin Speakers
  • Automatic Time Track (inserts track mark automatically at regular intervals).
  • Built-In Monaural Microphone
  • Voice Mirror (blinks LED as voice signal occurs, assuring the functioning of microphone and recorder).
  • Hand Strap
  • Carrying Pouch


Included Accessories: In-ear headphones, carrying pouch, AA cell, handstrap

Specs: Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW, Speaker amp (mono): 140mW (70mW x 2)


User Manuals: MZ-B10, J

Service Manual: MZ-B10

Battery LifePlayRecord
AA x 240 hr24 hr

Sony MZ-R410

Sony MZ-R410non-NetMD portable MD recorder
Intro: 1/2003
In: line/optical no microphone input. Out: headphones81w x 74.4h x 27.9d mm, 101g


  • ATRAC Type R
  • No remote, no microphone input.
  • G-protection

Markets: UK/Europe (only?)

Included Accessories: AC power adapter, headphones, optical cable


Specs: 5mW+5mW headphone amp


User Manual: MZ-R410

Battery LifePlayRecord
AA x 137/46/51 hr8/13/19 hr

Sony MZ-N10

Photos: AVWatch
Photo: PocketFad
Photo: Sony
Photos: (1000x750)
Photos: Minidisco
US Model
Euro Model (1280x927)
Sony MZ-N10portable NetMD recorder
Intro: 9/2002
Est: JPY40,000
IN: microphone, line/optical. OUT: line/headphones. DATA: USB. DC IN: 6Vexcl. protrusions: 78.5 x 73.3 x 13.8mm (min. thickness: 12.9mm)
incl. protrusions: 83.8 x 74.3 x 18.9mm
weight: 84g (incl. battery)

Features: Sony's 10th anniversary Minidisc recorder, with several changes from previous models:

  • ATRAC DSP Type-S (see description under MDS-JB980). (System Controller/ATRAC DSP IC: CXD2678-202GA)
  • Unit is 30g lighter and 2.6mm thinner than the MZ-N1 (accomplished with new optical pickup and motor (30% thinner) and miniaturized main IC (33% smaller)).
  • LP4 audio downloading at 64x realtime (LP2 @ 32x?, SP @ ?x).
  • Downloading handled by SonicStage Ver 1.5 software (no mention of OpenMG Jukebox). Note: Japanese model ships with Japanese SonicStage, which cannot be installed on non-Japanese systems.
  • (Correction) USB and charging connections are made through the docking stand only.
  • Auto time-mark (places track marks at regular intervals [user settable from 1 to 99 minutes] during recording).
  • Personal disk memory on MZ-N10 now remembers group mode (on/off) setting as well.
  • User settable option (NORMAL/QUICK) for the unit's fast forward and reverse engagement delay (selecting QUICK reduces battery life). (Shared by all 2003 MZ-Nxx units, except, perhaps the MZ-N910).
  • Rehearsal Mode: holding the track mark button down for a few seconds enters rehearsal mode, allowing fine +/- adjustment of the track mark's position, just like home Minidisc decks.
  • Available in silver and grey.

    Common to MZ-N10 and MZ-E10:

  • Built-in 3mm Lithium Ion cell.
  • Further thinning of the magnesium case.
  • Backlit remote has 2-line display for Roman alphabet titles, 1-line for Kanji titles.
  • "Virtual Headphone Technology Acoustic Engine" uses DSP to provide "Studio, Club, Live, or Arena" effects.
  • Equalizer allows 7 steps of adjustment (-10dB to +10dB) in 6 frequency bands. Equalizer settings are established with one of four fixed presets ("Heavy, Pops, Jazz, Unique") or one of 2 custom (i.e. user defined) settings. Equalizer and "Virtual Headphone" cannot be used together.
  • "Bookmark Track" function can remember up to 20 "favorite tracks" from an MD and allows one to subsequently play just those tracks (tracks are registered by holding the joystick button down for 2 seconds while listening).
  • Adjustable playback speed from -50% to +100% (factor of 0.5x to 2.0x) in 13 steps without change of pitch.
  • "New" Play mode (See Sony portables glossary).

Other features incorporated from previous unit: 3 line LCD on main body, Jog-dial (now apparently a "Jog-knob" similar to the JVC XM-R700), manual REC level control selectable for digital and analog signals, MDLP group function, G-Protection Jog-proof, battery remaining indicator on main body and stick controller, one touch eject.

Features dropped: No Name Bank.

Remote: RM-MC35EKLU

Variants: European edition: Silver color only, power amp 2mW+2mW (equivalent to setting volume level to 25 out of 30 on the elsewhere available 5mW+5mW edition).



User Comments:

The Japanese model comes with Japanese software only, so beware. I was able to install the new drivers that came with it and it worked with Open MG 2.2 and Sonicstage 1.2, but I was not able to install Sonicstage 1.5. The menus would be gibberish anyway unless you had a Japanese OS or some kind of Japanese language support. The operation manual I got contains no English.

You can attach the USB cable without the cradle, but not both the USB cable and the external power or the AA battery pack at the same time. This is due to the fact that the external power comes in through the AA battery pack which attaches to and covers the USB port. The USB connector is a flat thin one I have never seen before. The power supply is 6V, no doubt due to the LIon battery charging needs.

There is a power option that selects between NORMAL and QUICK. I don't know if that is new, but it seems to reduce the delay that happens on older units when you fast forward or reverse play.

The mechanism is very quiet, quieter than my N505 and much more so than my R900. Nice and small and light. Controls seem intuitive and easy.

Transfer Speed Improvements: For LP2 mode, which I use the most, transfers are much faster, but the TOC update time limits the benefit. I tried a single 33 minute track and the N10 ran at about 30x real time while the N505 ran 15.5x realtime, so the N10 was almost 2 times as fast. With a 64 minute album of Miles Davis, which contains 7 tracks, 5 of which are about 10 minutes long, the improvement over the MZ-N505 was a factor of about 1.5 (it took 3 minutes 5 seconds to completely tranfer the disc). This is using OpenMG 2.2 or SonicStage 1.1. I don't think SonicStage 1.5 makes any difference to the download speed, it must be recorder and driver dependent.

Rehearsal and Bookmark Mode: When you add a track mark with the track mark button on the unit, you can hold the track mark button down for a few seconds to enter "REHEARSAL" mode and adjust the position of the track mark. This works just like on the home decks, although I am not sure if you can select how fine the increment of changing the position is. This is a very cool feature that is a first for Sony portables (Aiwa portables have had this since the AM-F5). Bookmarks are made by holding down the joystick for 2 seconds while playing.
-Leland McArthy

Specs: Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW into 16 ohms. 20-20kHz +/-3dB.

Included Accessories: (Japanese edition) Backlit Remote, AC power adapter, USB cradle, USB cable (1.5m), SonicStage Ver 1.5 CD-ROM (download software), attachable AA cell case, carrying pouch.

User Manuals: MZ-N10, MZ-N10 Courtesy Minidisco

Service Manuals: MZ-N10, MZ-N10

Battery Life (SP/LP2/LP4)
"was" refers to Sony's pre-release figures
LIP-3WMB - 3.7V, 340mAh builtin
17/20/24 hr
(was: 23/27/30)
8.5/11/14 hr
(was: 9/13/16)
100%: 3.5 hr (cradle or direct), 80%: 1 hr
AA x 127/32/36 hr
(was: 32/40/43)
7.5/10/11.5 hr
(was: 11/16/20)
Both42/52/58 hr
(was: 58/71/77)
15/20/26.5 hr
(was: 22/33/41)

Sony MZ-R910

Sony MZ-R910Portable MDLP recorder
Intro: 6/2002
IN: line/optical, mic, OUT: headphones, DC IN: 3v78.9 x 72 x 17.1 mm, 108g body only (135g w/batt)


  • Non-NetMD.
  • Quite similar in features to Sony MZ-R909, but with battery life of the Sony MZ-N1. Differs from MZ-R909 as follows:
    • It lacks Joint-Text, a feature for copying track titles from CD-Text type CDs to MD. (Given that most CD-Text CDs had copy-prohibited titles, and that a special cable and Sony CD player was required, the feature's disappearance is not surprising).
    • LCD pixels and symbols are black instead of th MZ-R909's blue.
    • Magnesium shell makes the unit a bit lighter than the MZ-R909.
    • Case edges are more contoured than the MZ-R909 (see T-board comments).
  • Personal Disc Memory (remembers program play, treble & bass, repeat mode, playback speed (80-110%), and volume settings for up to 20 discs within the unit.)
  • Available in silver, blue and pink.
  • Playback speed control without pitch change.
  • Digital sound presets (8 step treble and bass adjustments that can be stored as "preset 1" and "preset 2")
  • ATRAC Type-R



User Manual: MZ-R910

Service Manual: MZ-R910

Battery Life (SP/LP2/LP4)PlayRecordRecharge
30/38/42 hr12/17/21 hr6h cradle, 3.5 hr direct)
AA x 145/52/62 hr12/19/23 hr
Both79/95/110 hr30/43/52 hr

Sony MZ-G755

Sony MZ-G755Portable MDLP recorder w/AM/FM tuner
Intro: 5/2002
Street: £165
IN: line/optical, mic, OUT: headphones, DC IN: 3V81 x 28 x 74.4mm, 144g w/batt

Features: MDLP capable, ATRAC DSP Type-R. Remote has built-in AM/FM tuner with 40 presets. No NetMD support. Differences from Sony MZ-G750: ATRAC DSP Type-R, (... and ?).

Manufacturer's Specs:

  • Built in tuner remote comtroller
  • Digital FM/AM tuner with 40 pre-sets (35 FM/5 AM)
  • G-Protection Jog Proof
  • MDLP
  • ATRAC TYPE-R DSP for high quality
  • 4-position control key on the unit for ease of use
  • Digital Mega Bass
  • Up to 48 hours battery life
  • 1 x AA sized battery goes inside the unit (battery not supplied)
  • Digital recording level control
  • Pop Up eject

Accessories: Euro-model: Remote control with built-in AM/FM tuner, headphones, NiCd rechargeable battery, AC power adapter/charger, TOSlink to 3.5mm mini jack optical cable, carrying pouch with belt clip

Available From:


User Manual: MZ-G755

Service Manual: MZ-G755

Battery LifePlayRecordRadio
Alkaline AA x 136/42/56 hr9/13/16 hr28.5 hr
NiCd (NC-WMAA) x 111.5/14/16 hr4/6/7.5 hr9.5 hr

Sony MZ-R701

Sony MZ-R701Portable MDLP recorder
Intro: 5/2002
Street: AU$527, HK$1600
IN: line/optical, mic, OUT: headphones, DC IN: 3V

Features: Appears quite similar to the Sony MZ-R700. ATRAC DSP Type-R, Non-LCD remote. No NetMD support.


Dealers: Available from Dick Smith Electronics (Australia).


User Manual: MZ-R701

Service Manual: MZ-R701

Battery LifePlay
AA x 153 hr

Sony MZ-S1

Still from publicity film shows mockup with "MZ-0000" badging
(note orange gaskets) (1024x768)
Backlight (1024x768)
Compared to MZ-R900 (1024x768)
Photos: M. Wiley, IGN (1024x768)
Sony Feature Comparison Chart
Sony MZ-S1"Sports" portable NetMD recorder
Intro: 4/2002
IN: line/optical, no mic input, no remote jack, DATA: USB (mini-B), OUT: headphones, DC IN: 3V97.3 x 104 x 40mm, 215g body only (3.5" x 4" x 1.5", 7.5oz)

Features: First "Sports" Minidisc portable. Second (after the MZ-1) Sony MD recorder to incorporate backlit LCD on main unit (amber backlight). No remote; "one-thumb" joystick control on top of unit. "Buckle"-design case latch for improved ruggedness. Bright reflective surface (presumably to reduce solar heating and make finding a dropped one easier). Sony states "Splash Proof Water-Resistant(1) Design with high-impact plastic housing is designed for outdoor fun, with rubber gaskets, bushings, and waterproof seals that help keep out water, moisture, and dirt" but clarifies "Not meant to be immersed in or come into continuous contact with water". No Mic input, no remote jack.


Included Accessories: AC Adaptor, Headphones, Handstrap

Manufacturer's Features List:

  • Easy One Hand Joystick Operation
  • Backlit LCD Display
  • Splash Proof Water Resistant(1) Design
    (1) Not meant to be immersed in or come into continuous contact with water.
  • Reflective Hand Strap Supplied
  • Reflective Casing And Rugged Buckle Mechanism
  • G-Protection(tm)
  • Up To 54 Hours Playback Using One "AA" Battery (LP4 Mode)
  • Internal Battery Compartment Holds 1 "AA" Type Battery
  • "Easy Skip" Group/Folder Function
  • Plays Back In ATRAC3(tm) [and ATRAC. -eaw], Supports Multiple Internet Audio Formats (MP3, WMA, WAV)
  • New NetMD Simple Burner Quick Rip CD Dubbing Application (Supplied) allows you to swiftly and easily dub music tracks from your CDs directly to the NetMD Walkman with no need to store files or manage music on the hard drive
  • Compatible With Windows(r) 98/98SE/2000/Me/XP Operating Systems
  • Music Management Software Supplied
  • Ability To Record From Multiple Sources (PC, Portable CD, Home CD Unit, Radio)
  • MDLP Long Time Stereo Recording And Playback (Up To 320 Minutes/Over 5 Hours Of Music) On One 80 Minute Disc (LP4 Mode)
  • Digital Mega Bass(r) Sound System
  • Remaining Recording/Playback And Battery Time Indication On Unit LCD
  • Multiple Playback Modes, Normal - all repeat, 1 track, 1 track repeat shuffle, shuffle repeat, program, program repeat; Group - all repeat in a group, 1 track in a group, 1 track repeat in a group, shuffle in a group, shuffle repeat in a group, program 1 in a group, program repeat in a group; or lets you play through a MiniDisc from start to end.


User Manual: MZ-S1

Service Manual: MZ-S1

Battery LifePlayRecord
AA x 140/49/54 hr9/13/16 hr

Sony MZ-N707

MZ-N707 with car adapter
Courtesy AVLand (UK)
Photo: Henke
Sony Feature Comparison Chart
Sony MZ-N707Portable NetMD Recorder
Intro: 3/2002 (US)
MSRP ~US$250
IN: USB, line/optical, mic
OUT: headphones
81 x 27.7 x 74.4mm, 116g body only, 142g w/batt

Features: NetMD recorder, allows direct PC to MD downloading of compressed audio (i.e. ATRAC) data via USB. MDLP. Additional features over MZ-N505: microphone input, remote control (with editing capability), charging stand, included car-adapter kit (via dummy cassette). Available in two-toned black/red and blue/silver. No microphone sensitivity setting.


  • Unlike the European MZ-N707, the North American MZ-N707 comes with the same editing remote as the MZ-R700 which is the RM-MZ-4R. The European version comes with the RM-MC10L, a remote similar to the RM-MC11EL (used for the MZ-R900 & US MZ-N1), but molded in black and presumably lacking a backlight. -Nassib Khayat



Supplied Accessories (UK edition): AC power adapter/charger, Headphones with LCD remote control, NC-WMAA NiCd (AA cell shaped), Optical Cable, Recharge Stand, 1.5M USB cable, OpenMG Jukebox Ver2.2 CD-ROM, Carrying pouch with belt clip.

Specs: Frequency Response: 20-20kHz +/-3dB, Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW



User Manual: MZ-N707

Service Manual: MZ-N707

Battery Life (SP/LP2/LP4)PlayRecordRecharge
15/16/20 hr4/6/7.5 hr3.5 hr
AA x 142/48/56 hr9/13/16 hr

Sony MZ-N505

Note "MZ-R550" badging of these early publicity photos (1280x950)
Note USB port built into body
AV-Land (1409x963)
Sony Feature Comparison Chart
Sony MZ-N505Budget NetMD Recorder
Intro: 3/2002 (US)
MSRP ~US$200, Street: ~US$150
IN: USB, line/optical no microphone input, OUT: headphones81x27.9x74.7mm, 104g (body only), 130g (w/batt)

Features: Cost-reduced NetMD recorder, allows direct PC to MD downloading of compressed audio (i.e. ATRAC) data via USB. MDLP. Available in gold (yellow?), silver, and blue. No microphone input!

Variants: Euro-version has non-LCD remote, North American version has no remote.



Specs: 5mW+5mW headphone amp

Included Accessories (UK): AC power adapter, Remote Control, NC-WMAA Rechargeable AA NiCd battery, Headphones, Optical cable (TOSlink to 3.5mm-jack), 1.5m USB cable, OpenMG Jukebox V2.2.


User Manual: MZ-N505

Service Manual: MZ-N505

Battery Life (SP/LP2/LP4)PlayRecordRecharge
NiCd15/16/20 hr4/6/7.5 hr3 hr
AA x 142/48/56 hr9/13/16 hr

Sony MZ-R501

Sony MZ-R501portable MD recorder
Intro: 1/2002
208 EUR
IN: optical/line, NO MIC or REMOTE JACK. DC IN: 3V
OUT: headphones
83W x 27.8H x 75.8D mm, 113g (body only)

Features: ATRAC Type-R, MDLP capable, G-Protection anti-shock, digital and analog recording level control, End Search/Auto End Search, Group function. Appears to be nearly identical to the MZ-R500. Note: Unit does not have microphone input or remote jack. A microphone or remote cannot be used with this unit.


Supplied Accessories: AC power adapter (European and Chinese models), Headphones, Optical cable (not USA model), PC Link kit (MZ-R501PC only), Digital PC Link Kit (MZ-R501DPC only)


User Manual: MZ-R501

Service Manual: MZ-R501

Battery Life (SP/LP2/LP4)PlayRecord
AA x 136/42/48 hr7.5/10/13.5 hr

Sony MZ-N1

Sony Feature Comparison Chart
Sony MZ-N1Portable MDLP recorder with NetMD interface
Intro: 12/2001
IN: line/optical, mic, DC IN: 3V
OUT: headphone/line
I/O: USB (on cradle)
78.7x71.8x16.9mm, 90g (body only)

Features: (First) NetMD equipped portable MD recorder, allows direct PC to MD download (but not upload) of compressed ATRAC audio at up to 30X real-time for LP4 audio (16x for LP2, and ~2x for SP mode audio. MDLP. ATRAC Type-R. (System Controller/ATRAC DSP IC: CXD2677-202GA) Docking cradle provides USB port and charging function. New stick controller with Kanji (Chinese character) display. 3 line LCD on main body. Magnesium case. G-protection. Group function. USB interface can be used for titling, limited editing, and control of the unit from a PC. Selectable microphone sensitivity (HIGH/LOW). "Ultimate Skip-Free G-Protection Technology" (Sony's 3rd generation shock recovery system that combines a lighter servo mechanism and improved electronic circuitry. Adds shock protection to the pick-up mechanism, thereby minimizing the loss of position. It continues to provide quick recovery from both horizontal and vertical shock.)

Software: PC download application is Open MG Jukebox 2.2, and allows CD, WAV, and MP3 tracks, as well as music purchased on the Internet to be downloaded to MD (being converted to ATRAC in the process, as necessary). OpenMG system will ensure that a bonafide NetMD recorder is connected before allowing a transfer, and will prevent ATRAC audio files created on one PC from being played, downloaded or used on a different PC. Open MG Jukebox is SDMI compliant and allows up to 3 track 'check-outs' from PC to MD, tracks can subsequently be 'checked-in', deleting them from the MD. (Check-in transfers the track "rights" back to the PC, but not the audio).

Included Accessories: Backlit remote, headphones, USB cradle, USB cable (1.5m), OpenMG Jukebox V2.2 CD-ROM, AC adapter, rechargeable NiMH cell, battery carrying case, external dry-cell adapter case, carrying pouch.

User Comments: Front panel rocker-control has poor ergonomics. -eaw


  • The Japanese MZ-N1 comes with software that installs an English version if an English language version of Windows is running, however the installer and help file is in Japanese.
  • Though the MZ-N1 can display Kanji titles on its remote, it only writes Kanji titles to MD with the Japanese version of the software.
  • The US MZ-N1 comes with the same remote as the MZ-R900 (RM-MC11EL/S).
  • The US version does NOT include the carrying pouch (the soft cloth bag) that is shown in Brian Youn's review of a Japanese unit. The manual, which lists all of the equipment and accessories included, does not mention a carrying case either. -Haemish Edgerton



User Manuals: MZ-N1, German

Service Manuals: MZ-N1, 1.4, MZ-N1

Battery Life (SP/LP2/LP4)PlayRecordRecharge
30/38/42 hr12/17/21 hr6h cradle, 3.5 hr direct)
AA x 145/52/62 hr12/19/23 hr
Both79/95/110 hr30/43/52 hr

Sony MZ-B100

Courtesy George Themelis
Sony MZ-B100MDLP business recorder
Intro: 10/2001
IN: microphone, optical/analog line in
OUT: headphones
81.2 x 108 x 25.7 mm, 180g (160g body only)

Features: MD recorder intended for business use (dictation, recording meetings). Internal stereo flat microphone and monaural front speaker. Voice-Operated Recording function automatically starts recording when it senses sound, and stops recording when the sound stops. MDLP compatible, Group mode functions. Easy Search function allows skipping ahead or back one minute per button press. Two types of track marker let you indicate the importance of recorded events. Jog dial for easy speed control and editing, Large LCD with 3 lines of display, Playback speed control function (+10% to -20%). Click alert indicates disc is out of space. Operating instructions: English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Spanish.

Tips: Hitting FF or RR for about 1 second or a bit more, releasing, then immediately hitting FF or RR again, results in an instantaneous response.


Specs: 2.8cm speaker. Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW, 20-20kHz +/-3dB


User Manual: MZ-B100

Service Manual: MZ-B100

Battery Life (SP/SP-Mono/LP2/LP4)PlayRecord
AA x 1Speaker: 25.5/30/27/30 hr
Headphones: Add ~10hr
9/12/12.5/15 hr

Sony MZ-R909

Photos: Japan-Direct
Photos: (1024x768)
Sony MZ-R909portable MD recorder
Intro: 8/2001
MSRP: ``Open''
IN: microphone, analog, optical
OUT: headphones, line out
80.0W x 75.5H x 20.5D mm, 110g (137g w/batt)


  • Updated and improved version of the MZ-R900.
  • ATRAC Type R
  • Group function
  • 3 line 9 character LCD
  • Speed-sensitive jog-dial (fully rotatable).
  • Combined headphone and line out jacks (use the unit's menu system to switch between the two different modes).
  • LCD on remote (remote is RM-MC11EL, same one as used on the MZ-R900).
  • Selectable microphone sensitivity (HIGH/LOW).
  • Available in silver, blue, and red.
  • Other improvements over MZ-R900: (Courtesy Brian Youn)
    • In manual recording-level mode, recording levels can be adjusted while recording is underway.
    • Dual VU meters on left and right channels during recording and playback,
    • LCD contrast adjustable in 8 steps
    • SOUND settings can be changed from the main unit (without the remote)
    • Playstation-like control pad (push for PLAY, rock left, right up or down for other functions).

Notes: The MZ-R900 will fit into the MZ-R909's charging cradle and charge properly. (MZ-R909 Cradle ["charge unit"] part#: 1-476-763-12)



Specs: 5mW + 5mW headphones output, 100VAC.

User Manuals: MZ-R909, German

Service Manual: MZ-R909

Battery Life
NiMH24/27/31 hr8.5/11/14 hr3.5 hr
AA x 134/40/45 hr7.5/12/15 hr
Both64/75/84 hr20/28/37 hr

Sony MZ-R500

Sony MZ-R500portable MD recorder
Intro: 1/2001
IN: optical/line, NO MIC or REMOTE JACK. DC IN: 3V
OUT: headphones
83W x 28H x 76D mm, 113g

Features: MDLP capable. G-Protection anti-shock, digital and analog recording level control, End Search/Auto End Search. Optical cable supplied with unit. Note: Unit does not have microphone input or remote jack. A microphone or remote cannot be used with this unit.




User Manual: MZ-R500

Service Manual: MZ-R500

Battery Life (SP/LP2/LP4)PlayRecord
AA x 136/42/48 hr7.5/10/13.5 hr

Sony MZ-R700

(1.2MB) (2164x2132)
MZ-R700DPC (includes PC Link Kit)
Sony MZ-R700portable MD recorder
Intro: 1/2001
$250 USD
IN: optical/line, mic. DC IN: 3V
OUT: headphones
81W x 28H x 75D mm, 116g (142g w/batt)

Features: Similar to MZ-R900 (MDLP capable, G-Protection anti-shock, digital and analog recording level control, Manual End Search/Auto End Search). Optical cable is supplied with unit.

Differences from MZ-R900: Non-LCD remote, battery is AA formfactor (i.e. round, accepts AA drycell or AA shaped rechargeable), does not have 1) double jog lever 2) Joint-text recording (transferring titles from special CD-TEXT CDs when recording with special Sony cable from special Sony CD players) 3) date-time stamp recording 4) Personal disc memory 5) Microphone sensitivity switch.

Variants: In Asia the "PC" version of the unit is apparently shipped with an analog version of the USB audio adapter.




Specs: 5mW+5mW headphone output.

User Manual: MZ-R700

Service Manuals: a, R700-G750

Battery Life
NiCd13/14.5/18 hr4/6/7.5 hr2 hr
AA x 140/46/53 hr9/13/16 hr

Sony MZ-G750

Sony MZ-G750Portable MD recorder with built-in AM/FM tuner
Intro: 1/2001

IN: optical/line, mic. DC IN: 3V
OUT: line/ headphones
81W x 28H x 75D mm, 118g (144g w/batt)

Features: Similar to MZ-R700 but includes AM/FM tuner (in remote). MDLP capable, G-Protection anti-shock, digital and analog recording level control, Manual End Search/Auto End Search. Tuner contained entirely within LCD remote control, hence cannot record from tuner. Internally the MZ-G750 differs from MZ-R700, containing 5 additional ICs and several circuitry changes (see the service manual for details).

Manufacturer's Specs:

  • MDLP recording and playback
  • Up To 48Hrs Battery Life
  • Digital FM/AM Built in Tuner Remote (DOES NOT RECORD FROM THE RADIO)
  • MDLP Long time stereo recording (up to 320 min. recording) and playback
  • Jacket sized light-weight MD recorder
  • Takes 1 x AA battery
  • Easy Pop Up Eject mechanism
  • Digital Recording Level Control
  • Manual Recording Level Setting
  • Record mode setting (SP/LP/LP2/MONO)
  • End search/Auto end search
  • Track Mark ON/OFF (Divide/Combine)
  • Erase (1/ALL) / MOVE / Character Input
  • Digital Mega Bass

User comments: Mark Litgenstein: The MZ-G750 is exactly the same size as the MZ-R700, the only difference is the headphone out, which comes with power out to power the remote. The remote includes the radio, the player doesn't. So you can't listen to the radio without the remote, but you can listen to MD without the remote. I can really recommend this unit. It's not cheap, but the radio is a very welcome addition.



Specs: 5mW+5mW headphone output.

User Manual: MZ-G750

Service Manuals: MZ-G750, MZ-G750

Battery LifePlayRecordRadio
Alkaline AA x 136/42/48 hr9/13/16 hr28.5 hr
NiCd (NC-WMAA) x 111.5/14/16 hr4/6/7.5 hr9.5 hr

Sony MZ-B50

Sony MZ-B50portable MD recorder
Intro: 10/2000
IN: line/optical, microphone
OUT: headphones
90 x 123.4 x 28mm, 220g

Features: Built-in stereo microphone and speaker, voice-operated recording, track mark button on remote, 1.6x speed playback capability, 40 second anti-shock protection. VOR (voice activated recording) function. "Clear-voice" speech playback enhancement function to ``emphasize the left-right orientation of individual voices, making them easier to distinguish and hear'' (only works on stereo recordings). No End-Search: unit is the first Sony portable since the MZ-1 to be entirely free of manual end-search -- new recordings are always appended to the end of the disc. No manual recording level control, recording levels are always set automatically. Selectable (HIGH/LOW) microphone sensitivity control. Record-start function available on remote.



Specs: 5mW+5mW headphone output.

User Manual: MZ-B50

Service Manual: MZ-B50

Battery LifePlayRecord
AA x 218 hr6 hr

Sony MZ-R900

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

Sony MZ-R70

Sony MZ-R70Portable MD Recorder
Intro: 1/2000
IN: mic, optical/line. OUT: headphones/line (x2). DC IN: 3.0V81x26.2x74mm, 115g (155 w/batt & MD)

Features: Cost reduced Sony recorder of ca. MZ-R90 generation but with non-LCD remote (RM-MZ3R), no jog dial, no joint-text (i.e. CD->MD track name copy), and no date/time stamp recording, no microphone sensitivity switch. Includes digital rec level control, 40 second shock memory, pop-open eject. Unit accepts one AA cell internally. Colors: silver, blue, black.

Comments: Unit is relatively thin except for the round hump on the back to allow room for the drycell battery. MZ-R90 LCD remote will operate properly with this unit (including backlight function).

Variants: MZ-R70PC version comes packed with a (Sony badged) Xitel MDPort-AN1 USB to analog audio converter. A Sony press release describes the MZ-R70DPC in more detail. A downbeat MacNN article that expressed disappointment at Sony's apparent lack of Macintosh support for the MZ-R70DPC (though unofficially supposed through 3rd party drivers) prompted Dale Greer to write the MacNN article's author.

Links: Superfi (UK) has further photos of the unit. Superfi posts zoomable, rotatable scans of this unit. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit. Christian Almind submits a review of the MZ-R70. The December 2000 issue of PC World includes a "Gift Guide" recommending a Sony MZ-R70PC. eTown posts a generally positive review of the Sony MZ-R70PC.


User Manual: MZ-R70

Service Manual: MZ-R70

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
NiCd (NC-WMAA) x 16.5 hr3 hr
AA x 117 hr3 hr

Sony MZ-R90/R91

MZ-R55 vs. MZ-R90 optical block
Sony MZ-R90
Sony MZ-R91
Portable MiniDisc Recorder/Player
Intro: 10/1999
R90: ¥46,000
R91: ¥44,000
in: optical/line, microphone
out: line/headphone
R90: 78.9x17.3x72mm, 105g, 148g w/batt & disc
R91: 78.9x18.0x72mm, 110g, 153g w/batt & disc

Features: "Jacket Size" MD Walkmans, world's smallest size and weight for a recording portable (as of Aug 24 1999), longest recording and playback times (as of Aug 24 1999), smaller size achieved through redesign of the optical pickup mechanism (MZ-R90/91's pickup is 50% smaller in frontal area than that of previous model MZ-R55), "One Touch Eject" feature, "Name Bank" function (allows you to store up to 600 characters worth of commonly used words in the unit for easy MD titling), "Smart Stick Controller" with titling and editing functions, "Joint Text" feature records the titles from a CD while recording (not achievable with all CD players), digital recording level control, 40 second shock memory, Synchro Recording from digital source. Headphone and line out are combined into a single plug (switchable between the two functions with a jog lever). No microphone sensitivity setting. MZ-R90 only uses high stiffness magnesium alloy for top of case.

Mis-features: Longish start from power-off state (ca. ~9 seconds) and track seek times (ca. ~2-5 seconds) due to slow [power saving] drive motor spin-up gives unit a sluggish feeling response to user input.



Specs: Sampling rate converter converts to 44.1kHz from 48kHz/44.1kHz/ 32kHz sources, frequency response: 20-20,000Hz +/-3dB, max output level: 5mW+5mW, AC100V.

User Manual: MZ-R90

Service Manuals: R90, R91, MZ-R90

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
Ni-MH12 hr6.5 hr3 hr
AA x 116.5 hr4 hr
Both29 hr14.5 hr

Sony MZ-R37

surface scans (989x1352)
Sony MZ-R37Portable Recorder
Intro: 3/1999
MSRP $300
IN: mic, line/optical. OUT: line, headphones. DC IN 4.5V116.8 x 18.5 x 86.1mm, 160g (body only)

Features: ATRAC 4.0 (IC: 2652AR) Sony's first "cost reduced" portable recorder (apparently for US and European release only). Unit is of ca. MZ-R55 generation but slightly larger than MZ-R50. 40 second shock memory. Editing and titling functions available on remote. Unit includes 2 rechargeable (AA size) NiCad batteries [MZ-R37SP version comes without batteries or AC adapter], but can also run on Alkaline cells. Synchro start recording, sampling rate converter. Difference to MZ-R55: no microphone sensitivity setting, no "erase" button ("delete" function appears under edit menu), and no date and time stamp. Included remote has no LCD, but MZ-R55 [LCD equipped] remote works properly with it, including backlight function.

Variants: MZ-R37PCIF version is the same base MZ-R37 unit bundled with a USB to analog line-out interface adapter (reportedly made by Xitel), allowing easy recording from a PC. MZ-R37SP ("Self-Powered"?) version was released a year after the initial version, it ships without the AC adapter, and Sony quotes slightly longer battery life figures for it.

Links: Sony Japan's MZ-R37 tourist model page. A Sony announcement stating that the MZ-E33 player and the MZ-R37 recorder will be released in the US in February. PASS (UK) makes an oversized wired-remote button box for this unit. MiniDiscussion has collected user reviews for this unit.

Specs: Freq. Resp: 20-20kHz +/-3dB


User Manuals: MZ-R37, MZ-R37SP

Service Manuals: 1.3, 1.4

Battery Life for MZ-R37PlayRecordRecharge
NiCd (NC-AA) X 25 hr3 hr
AA x 213 hr5.5 hr
Battery Life for MZ-R37SPPlayRecordRecharge
NiMH WMAA X 211.5 hr8 hr
AA x 215.5 hr-- hr

Sony MZ-R55

Aiwa AM-F70 & MZ-R55
Sony MZ-R55Portable Recorder
Intro: 10/1998
MSRP ¥46,000
Street ¥36,000
Init. Mo. Prod: 70,000 units
IN: line/optical, mic. OUT: line, headphone, DC in: 3V78.9 x 18.9 x 84mm, 147g (190g w/disc and NH-14WM rechargeable),

Features: ATRAC 4 (IC: CXD2652AR). Unit is small, 75% the volume of the MZ-R50. 40 sec shock memory, backlit remote "stick controller" with 9 character display (vs. 6 in previous versions). Operation, editing and track labelling functions available on remote as well as main body. Titling may be done while recording is in progress. Clamshell opens via pushbutton (rather than slider). Two step bass boost. Selectable microphone sensitivity (HIGH/LOW). First recorder with 1.2V drive. Uses NiMH gumpack rechargeable (NH-14WM). Available in gold, blue, yellow.

Sony announces the upcoming release of a USB to MiniDisc connection kit that will be bundled with the MZ-R55.

Parts: MD-Mechanism Type: MT-MZR55-161, Optical Pick-up Type: KMS-280A

Mis-features: Contrary to what is stated in the manual, the battery cannot be recharged while the unit is in use. When the unit is in the ``stopped'' state, pressing the stop button will start the battery charging. In manual recording level mode, unit must be paused to change the level setting (as with all Sony portables).

Notes: The MZ-R55's remote can be used with the MZ-R50, but in this case the backlight is inoperative (only the MZ-R55 emits the command codes needed to control the backlight). The MZ-R55 remote is completely interchangeable with the MZ-R37 remote. -Gerald Tomyn

Tips: Take special care to close the rechargeable battery compartment hatch carefully and completely; the plastic tabs at the corners have been known to break when they are not grasped completely by the metal hook edge inside the player.

Problems: Hoshing Kwong describes a circuit board fix for the Sony MZ-R55 self recording-start problem.


Specs: 16 bit ADC/DAC, Headphone amp: 5mW+5mW


User Manuals: MZ-R55, HTML

Service Manual: MZ-R55

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
NiMH NH-14WM4 hr2.5 hr3 hr
AA x 210 hr5 hr
Both16 hr9.5 hr

Sony MZ-R35

Sony MZ-R35Portable recorder
Intro: 9/1998 (? guess)

Features: From all appearances, an MZ-R30 with new sheet metal (specs are identical) and slight (?) firmware upgrade (has Ver 1.7 vs. R30's Ver 1.6). Available in Silver or Metallic Blue.

Links: Martin Borus' CeBit '98 page has a photo of the unit. Matthew Dolan has a page covering the MZ-R35's test mode in detail. PASS (UK) makes an oversized wired-remote button box for this unit.


User Manual: MZ-R35

Sony MZ-R5ST

Sony MZ-R5STportable recorder w/docking station
Intro: 11/1997
MSRP ¥72,000
base: in: optical x 2, line, out: optical, line, headphones, active speakers. portable: in: mic, out: headphonesbase: 232x61x154mm, 970g. portable: 109.5x20.1x77mm, 185g (235g pocket weight)

Features: First wide bit stream portable (but wide bit stream available only when using base). Portable has 10 second shock memory. IR ``card'' remote. Edit point accuracy of 60ms with rehearsal mode. 2 second time machine recording. Digital syncho start recording. Sampling rate converter. ``Stick controller'' remote. Base has headphone as well as speaker jack. Active speaker jack volume level can be controlled with I/R remote. Undo. Date and time stamp recording. Program play. Timer rec/playback with external timer. Buttons and display prompts in English. No jog dial or power jack on remote. (Note that the portable unit is not equivalent to the MZ-R50, they are completely different units).

Parts: MD-Mechanism Type: MT-MZR50-143, Optical Pick-up Type: KMS-280A/J2N

Links: Sony's page R5ST announcement and its hasty English summary. Nic Boyde's pictures and information on the unit. John Lawrence's review of the unit. The Korean MD page posts a Korean review and good closeup snapshots of the MZ-R5ST.

Specs: S/N (with base) >92dB analog, >96dB digital. Dynamic range: >92dB (analog), >96dB digital.


User Manual: J/E

Service Manuals: MZ-R5ST, training

Battery LifePlayRecord
LiIon LIP-85.5 hr3.5 hr
AA x 29 hr4.5 hr
NiMH x 2 (external)6.5 hr4.5 hr
LiIon + AA x 216 hr8 hr
LiIon + NiMH x 213 hr8 hr

Sony MZ-R50

Sony MZ-R50Portable Recorder
Intro: 10/1997
MSRP:¥48,000, street:¥39,000
IN: mic, line/optical. OUT: headpho nes, line. DC IN: 6V109.5x19.7x77mm, 190g (240g pocket weight)

Features: ATRAC 4 (IC: CXD2652AR) Approximately 70% the volume of the MZ-R30, 16Mbit DRAM provides 40 seconds of shock proof memory. Syncho-start recording for digital input signals. New ``stick controller'' type remote with normal stereo mini-jack for headphones. Stick controller provides all the functions of the MZ-R30 remote plus control of play mode and display mode. Scrolling display on remote shows time elapsed (not time remaining), track title, MD title and time recorded (not date recorded). Remainder of display on remote shows the track number (alternating with total tracks on the MD), a little flashing disk icon, play mode, battery level, and REC for when you are recording. Digital bass boost, position pointer, date and time stamp recording. Selectable microphone sensitivity (HIGH/LOW). Repeat modes: all repeat, 1 repeat, shuffle. AA cells are used with included external drycell case. Available in blue, orange and silver. Optional car mount kit: CPM-MZ6VK (includes mounting plate that attaches to screw hole at rear of MZ-R50, the mounting plate then snaps in and out of a base mount that one attaches to car interior with included velcro strap). Line outut rating: 194mV, 10Kohms. Considered by many to be the pinnacle of Sony's Minidisc development in terms of ruggedness and usability [except for the presence of END-SEARCH].

Parts: MD-Mechanism Type: MT-MZR50-143, Optical Pick-up Type: KMS-280A

Notes: The MZ-R50 has no FAST playback function, but the unit has a FAST indicator on the LCD (you can see it if you look at the LCD in oblique light) because it is the same LCD used in the MZ-B3 (dictation recorder), which has the FAST playback function.

Tips: When titling a track or disc you can hit the play button to quickly go the first character of the different subcategories (foreign characters, A-Z, a-z, 0-9), the ``erase'' button will backspace over the previous character, and the ``end search'' button will insert a character space in the title. The degree symbol can be inserted by doing this: 1) Display a capital letter with the cursor on that letter. 2) Press ERASE. 3) Without pushing anything else, dial down 5 slots, and after the apostrophe, the degree sign will be displayed.

"SuperHold" function: If you push "TITLE/ENTER" so the recorder goes into track name editing mode, then slide the "HOLD" into hold mode, now everything is hold, player as well as remote! -Bo

It seems that the remote for Sony's high end CD Walkmans (D-E01/D-EJ01) will function properly with the MZ-R50 (and most likely Sony's other MD portables), including the backlight function.



Looking for an MZ-R50?: Amerinet is selling the MZ-R50 for $250 new. You can also search for one on eBay.

Notes: New ``stick controller'' remote can also be used with R30, R4ST, E30, E50, EP10, and EP11 (but there are some functions that you can't use). MSRP is ¥6,000.

User Manuals: MZ-R50, HTML, J/E

Service Manual: MZ-R50

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
LiIon LIP-87 hr4 hr2 hr (80%); 3 hr (Full)
AA x 212 hr5 hr
Both22 hr12 hr

Sony MZ-R30

(Photo: Doornekamp)
Photo: BorusSylt (861x1353)
Sony MZ-R30portable recorder
Intro: 10/1996
msrp: ¥48,000, street: ¥34,800
in: op tical/line, mic. out: line, hdphn (5mW+5mW). 6V ext. pwr116.5 x 26 x 78mm, 220g w/o bat, 317g pocket weight (w/battery, disc, headphones, remote).

Features: ATRAC 4. New style "vertical" jog dial for easy character input, track editing and song selection. Sampling rate converter. True synchro start and synchro pause. Position pointer graphically displays position on disk. Mic high/low sensitivity switch, synchro rec on/off switch. Stereo/mono recording. Manual/AGC recording level. Level meter has hysteresis, showing signal peaks. The included remote does not include an LCD, but the remote for the MZ-R4ST does and can be used with this unit. The Sony part number is RM-MZR4MP and costs about $50. The MZ-E30 remote also has an LCD and will work with this unit. Optional car mount kit includes mounting plate that attaches to screw hole at rear of MZ-R30, the mounting plate then snaps in and out of a base mount that one attaches to the car's interior with the included velcro strap.

Components: ATRAC IC: CXD-2652R, RF amp: CXA-2523R

Differences between MZ-R30 and MZ-R3: MZ-R30: Sampling rate converter, track-search (can view other track titles with jog dial while a track is playing), digital synchro-start recording, digital mono recording uses (L+R)/2 (MZ-R3 is L-channel only).

Tips: When titling a track or disc, you can hit the play button to quickly go the first character of the different subcategories (foreign characters, A-Z, a-z, 0-9). // The Sony MZ-R30 is the nearly the same size as a Palm Pilot (the 'R30 is just 10mm thicker) and so can be used with a Palm Pilot case.

Setting recording level: The values for each bar of the level meter of the MZ-R30 are (from bottom to top): 1 = -51dB, 2 = -40dB, 3 = -30dB, 4 = -20dB, 5 = -12dB, 6 = -6dB, 7 = -4dB, 8 = -2dB, 9 = 0dB ("OVER"), These values are the minimum values for which the bars light up. Each bar actually represents an interval. For example, bar 1 indicates a level of -51dB to -40dB, bar 5 indicates -12dB to -6dB and bar 8 indicates -2dB to 0dB. When manually setting the record level, this means you should adjust the level so that the 9th bar doesn't light up. (Or at least not very often.) Mathijs Vermeulen ([email protected])

Comparison with Sharp MS200: R30 has a unique jog dial that makes entering title easier. Operation of MS200 is slower than R30, taking longer to read a disc and for TOC writing. MS200 has 4 level bass boost, R30 has only 3. Bass level can be selected with remote on MS200, but not on R30. R30 gets hot after recording for some time. With the Pioneer PMD-R2, play mode can be changed (Random, repeat all, repeat 1) using the LCD remote control, but not on the MS200 nor R30. R30 comes with a dry cell case (holds 2 AAs), battery case for MS200 (holding 6 AAs) must be purhased separately. R30 only features: Track searching using jog dial (you can select the track by the title, and you can do it while playing tracks). Track move using jog dial. Shuffle repeat play is possible. Slimmer than MS200 (26mm vs 29.8mm) and slightly lighter (265g vs 270g with rechargeable). Disc does not come out while playing. More than 100 characters can be used for a track title. Independent Line out. Auto REC level control. MS200: Recording level can be changed while recording is underway.

Notes: The MZ-R30 has no FAST playback function, but the unit has a FAST indicator on the LCD (you can see it if you look at the LCD in oblique light) because it is the same LCD used in the MZ-B3 (dictation recorder), which has the FAST playback function.

Links: Sony's prerelease page in English and Japanese, Sony's 'R30 intro announcement at CES '97. Its scanned surfaces. A user's impressions of the Sony MZ-R30. The German Stereo magazine and a user compare the MZ-R30 and the Sharp MD-MS200. Excerpts from a What HiFi article mention the Sony MZ-R30. Emanuel Borsboom's table comparing the Sony MZ-R30 and Sharp MD-MS200. Ico Doornekamp's Sony MZ-R30 FAQ. A brief summary of MD activity at CES '97 by a Sony staffer and a visitor mentions the Sony MZ-R30 intro into the US. Mat Smith scores the relative merits of the Sony MZ-R30 vs. Sharp MD-MS702. Matthew Dolan has a page covering the MZ-R30's test mode in detail. PASS (UK) makes an oversized wired-remote button box for this unit.


User Manual: MZ-R30

Service Manuals: MZ-R30, training

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
LiIon LIP-128 hr5 hr5 hr (80%: 2.5 hr)
NiMH BP-DM20 (double AA size)
(Use external charger: BC-DM20)
4.5 hr3 hr
AA x 26.5 hr3 hr
AA + LiIon15 hr8.5 hr
NiMH + LiIon14.5 hr8.5 hr

Sony MZ-R4ST

Sony MZ-R4STportable recorder w/docking station
Intro: 7/1996
msrp ¥67000, street: $500
dock in: optical, line. out: optical, line, 1/4" hdphn. portable: in: mic. out: hdphn.78x23x116 210g, 255g/bat, 300g/pocket weight

Features: ATRAC 3.5. Portable recorder with docking station. Li-ion (LIP-12) rechargeable. Resembles slightly thicker MZ-E3. LCD on both body and headphone remote. Has no titling or editing buttons (on docking station instead). Away from station, portable unit has only playback and mic-record functions (with AGC or manual level control). Docking station: large LCD screen for titling and displaying other information. Provides line and optical i/o connectors. Sampling rate converter. Date and time stamp recording with station or portable, display on station only (AM/PM format). Playback: LiIon: 6.5 hr, NiMH: 3 hr, AA: 4 hr, LiIon+AA: 10.5 hr, NiMH+AA: 9.5. Recording: LiIon: 4 hr, NiMH: 2 hr, AA: 2 hr, LiIon+AA: 6 hr, NiMH+AA: 6 hr. LiIon recharge time: 5 hr, Power consumption: Rec: 1.0W, Playback: 0.7W

Mis-Features: Only records left channel when mono-recording from a digital source. Cannot turn off auto track marking when recording from an analog source. Portable unit does not have A/C adapter power socket. No wireless remote control, even when docked. Divide point is as accurate as your ability to push the pause button (no 60ms positioning with rehearse mode like the decks).

Links: Sony Japan Page Pre-release info (and picture). An initial report on the MZ-R4ST's look and feel.


User Manual: J/E

Sony MZ-B3

Sony MZ-B3portable recorder
Intro: 8/1995
msrp: ¥69,000
in: mic, remote control (mini mini-jack), no digital or line-level input!. out: hdphn. pwr: 4.5V135.3x30x80.5mm 305g (405g including remote, 3 alkaline cells)

Features: ATRAC 3. Built in microphone and speaker. Stereo and mono recording. Voice activated recording (switch selectable) makes use of memory to avoid clipping the beginning of the recording. High speed playback at 1.6x and 2.2x. "Position pointer" shows relative disc position of current record/playback point. Power: 3 Alkaline AA cells. LIP-12 LiIon rechargeable can be used, but not charged with this unit, a separately available charger (ACP-MZ60A) is required. Foot control unit (FS85B3) separately available that has start/pause/forw/rev/stop functions (can be ordered from Tri-tronics for $100 retail). Two track mark types: While recording a discussion you can add regular track marks as well as special track marks (but only with the remote). To add a special track mark, press TRACK Mark twice within one second. To find special track marks while playing, hold the VOR on/off button down and press FF or REW slightly. The special track mark indication TT appears following the track number. Each time you press FF/REW you can find the next/previous special track mark. Discs can have up to 254 track marks in total of the two kinds.

Components: ATRAC IC: CXD-2536R, EFM/ADIP/Servo IC: CXD-2535BR, RF amp: CXA-1981AR

Differences from MZ-R3: MZ-B3: mechanical (rotating) volume control, no remote, no line output, no line or digital input, no AVLS, no digital bass boost, no beep, AGC recording only (no manual REC level), no auto-track mark, no titling input. MZ-B3 has built-in mono mic (plus jack for external stereo mic).


  • No song or disc title input.
  • Cannot change track order, only track delete and entire disc delete editing functions available (similar functions to MZ-R2).
  • Some users have reported that the voice activated recording does not work so well in practice.
  • No line input or output terminals, however manual states that line level inputs can be recorded through the microphone input jack. Clay Schnieder comments: The surprising part of using the mic jack for line level input on the MZ-B3 is that it actually works (I have done this with my unit). It functions like a very wide range auto-level control. It apparently senses the line level and adjusts to it. Pretty impressive, as it is also a plug-in power mic connection!

Links: Sony Page info (translated) Sony US page info. Frank Beacham discusses the use of the MZ-B3 portable for radio journalism. Digital Dictate sells the Sony MZ-B3 recorder as part of their speech recognition package.


User Manual: MZ-B3

Service Manual: MZ-B3

Sony MZ-R3

Sony MZ-R3portable recorder
Intro: 5/1995
msrp: $650
in: optical/line, mic. out: hdphn, line. 4.5V ext. pwr.115.8x29.8x81mm, 265g w/o bat. 360g w/bat

Features: ATRAC 3. Ni-MH (BP-DM20) rechargeable or 2 AA cells (LIP-12 LiIon rechargeable can be used with separately available external case). Track/disc titling. track delete, move, join, divide. AGC and manual recording level control but cannot manually change recording level during recording. Date & time stamp during recording, stereo/mono recording. bass boost. Recording: AA: 2 hr, Ni-MH: 2 hr, LiIon: 2.5 hr, AA+LiIon: 4.5 hr, Ni-MH+LiIon 4.5 hr. Playback: AA: 4 hr, Ni-MH: 3 hr, LiIon: 4 hr, AA+LiIon: 8 hr, Ni-MH+LiIon 7 hr. Power consumption: Rec: 1.1W, Play: 0.7W

Components: ATRAC IC: CXD-2536R, EFM/ADIP/Servo IC: CXD-2535BR, RF amp: CXA-1981AR

Differences between MZ-R30 and MZ-R3: MZ-R30: Sampling rate converter, track-search (can view other track titles with jog dial while a track is playing), digital synchro-start recording, digital mono recording uses (L+R)/2 (MZ-R3 is L-channel only).

Specs: On playback: 88.6 dB S/N, 87.9 dB Dynamic range, <0.08% from 20 Hz to 18 kHz THD+N at 0 dBFS* -2.7 Linearity error at -90 dBFS. Record/Playback Digital input: 87.1 dB S/N, <0.095% THD+N at 0 dbFS -.014 dB Linearity error at -90 dBFS. Record/Playback via analog input: 83.7 dB S/N, <0.095% THD+N at 0 dbFS +.04 dB Linearity error at -90 dBFS. The bass boost on the portables does this: the Mid setting (dB re 1-kHz level): +16 at 25 Hz +6 at 112 Hz and +5 at 18 kHz. the Max setting (dB re 1-kHz level): +19 at 32 Hz +6 at 185 Hz and +5 at 18 kHz.


  • To get rechargeable AA's to work in an 'R3, you need arrange for the sense bar that detects "rechargeable batteries present" to be activated. Open up your 'R3, holding it so the bottom is facing up and the battery bay is on the far side. Pop the door open. On the right-hand side, you will see near the bottom a little sense pin. Get a bit of newspaper or eraser to hold the pin shut, then put your AA rechargeable batteries in. They should charge normally. Do this at your own risk; it isn't likely to be a Sony-approved technique. -Gian-Paolo D Musumeci (and others)
  • When titling a track or disc, you can hit the play button to quickly go the first character of the different subcategories (foreign characters (when available), A-Z, a-z, 0-9).

Notes: The MZ-R3 has no FAST playback function, but the unit has a FAST indicator on the LCD (you can see it if you look at the LCD in oblique light) because it is the same LCD used in the MZ-B3 (dictation recorder), which has the FAST playback function. -Matthew Richardson
Although this was an analog recording test, I found (bars 'lit' vs -dB). 1: -45dB 2: -30dB 3: -20dB 4: -12dB 5: -6dB 6: -3dB 7: 0dB (maximum, borderline of distortion) -PrinceGaz

Links: Sony Page info. A few users prefer Sony's earlier MZ-R1 in comparison to MZ-R3. Ebay has several as well, at more reasonable prices.


User Manuals: MZ-R3, MZ-R3

Service Manuals: Circuit desc., MZ-R3

Sony MZ-R2

Sony MZ-R2portable recorder
Intro: 12/1993 (US: 4/1994)
msrp: $750
in: optical line, mic. out: line, hdphn. DC IN: 6V84 x 29.9 x 106.8mm, 310g (w/batt) (3/8" x 1 3/16" x 4 1/4")

Features: ATRAC 2. 10-second shock-resistant memory. Stereo headphones w/remote. Only allows simple editing operations: track mark, track erase and end search (no track move or titling). Bass boost. Battery life indicator. AGC and manual recording level. AC adapter, carrying case. Cannot manually change recording level during recording. No mono recording, no smart-space.

Tips: To set unit in manual recording level mode: Press the red record button to the right and HOLD IT for a few seconds, ``Manual Rec'' will appear on the display. Set the record level using the `<<' or `>>' buttons before pressing `pause' to start recording again. The level cannot be changed whilst recording, only whilst in `pause'. ``Erase All'' function can be accomplished by seeking to track one and entering record mode, without first pushing ``End Search''.


Components: (ATRAC IC: CXD-2531AR, Shock proof controller: CXD-2526AR, EFM ACIRC encoder/decoder: CXD-2525R, ADIP demodulator: CXA-1380N, Servo signal processor: CXA-1620R, RF amp: CXA-1861R)


User Manuals: MZ-R2, MZ-R2 Japanese and English

Service Manual: MZ-R2

Battery LifePlayRecord
2.5 hr2 hr
AA x 32.5 hr2 hr
Both6.5 hr

Sony MZ-1

(Courtesy (1024x951)
MZ-1 & MZ-2P
(Photo: E Tedeschi)
MD-R1 (ca. 1992) vs. Sharp MD-MT770 (ca. 2001) (1280x960)
5 MDs thick! (1280x960)
Note "Disc Loading Mechanism" displayed in loading slot (1280x960)
After disc is inserted, "Disc Is Inside" displayed in loading slot (1280x960)
Optical I/O connectors (marked in Korean) (1280x960)
Goldstar photos: 5jongsup (1280x960)
Sony MZ-1
Goldstar MD-R1
portable recorder
Intro: 11/1992 (US: 12/1992)
msrp: $750(?), 748,000 KRW
In: optical, line, mic. Out: optical, line, hdphn, DC IN: 10.5V @ 1 Amp4 1/2" x 1 11/16" 5 1/2" 1.5lbs incl nicad (Korean MD-R1: 114x139x43mm)


  • The first Minidisc unit on the market.
  • ATRAC 1.
  • 10-second shock-resistant memory, 10 key direct track access.
  • Shuffle, repeat, program play modes, auto-resume, backlit LCD display for disc name, track name, time.
  • Bass boost.
  • Track divide, combine, swap, erase.
  • Disc and track (21 chars max) titling functions.
  • Date and time memo.
  • 1 hour continuous record on BP-MZ1 NiCad battery pack.

Variants: Korean MD-R1 unit had Korean language case markings and labels and sold for 748,000 KRW

External power comments: The DC power input on the MZ-1 is 10.5V. A user has reported that a 12 volt DC supply will damage this unit.

Components: (ATRAC IC: CXD-2527R (x2), Shock proof controller: CXD-2525Q, EFM ACIRC: CXD-2525R, ADIP demodulator: CXA-1380N, Servo signal processor: CXA-1602R, RF amp: CXA-1381R)

Historical: An MZ-1 advertisement from a 1993 Popular Science.



User Manuals: MZ-1, PDF

Service Manuals: MZ-1, alt, corr 1, corr 2, sup 1, sup 2

Sony MD-Mockup

Sony MD-MockupMD Portable Mockup
Intro: 6/1991 (est.)


Features: Vaporware. MD Portable Mockup used for publicity photos. Never appeared as a product. (Note the early, ``upside-down'' orientation of the MDs, with the shutter on the left).


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