Sony MZ-R30

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(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 (

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

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