Our local all-Sony dealership ("The Sony Store") has a nice 30-day, no-questions-asked return policy, which they invoke when you ask to borrow a piece of gear. In the meantime Sony gets the use of your bank's lovely money (unless you forgot to pay your Visa bill last month, in which case Sony gets the use of *your* lovely money.)
Anyway, week-before-last some friends were excited about having an audience-experience recording of a concert they were doing, so I wanted to do a good job. "This microphone pre-amp hiss from the MZ-1," said I, "is the worst part of the live recording process."
Len Moscowitz, who made the microphones, has a low-noise mic amplifier, but it's rather expensive, and it irks me to have to buy something to replace cheap parts of my Sony gear. So I ran off to The Sony Store to grab an R3. And I'd rather not carry an extra gadget to the concert.
Anyway, with my CSB mics I did some recordings of a friend playing the baby grand, to decide if I'd take the R3 or MZ-1 to the concert. He played the first few bars of "Fur Elise," a song about Beethoven's cat, I think.
After doing a few rounds of that for the recording levels so that I could get used to the R3's tiny level meter, I got two recordings of comparable gain. And I couldn't hear any difference between them. So, using the philosophy of "Better the devil you know" I decided to take the MZ-1.
Some other observations:
I'd be happy to have the R3, but for me there wasn't 1000$ of extra features there to make me want to upgrade.
The concert turned out to be in a high school auditorium with a P.A. system and a couple of wireless microphones (the sound engineer rode gain on the mics so that the space was "ringing" all evening, on the edge of a major feedback howl.) The recording is wonderfully realistic- it sounds exactly like a large chorus with a small number of good voices, singing in a terrible acoustic space with a bad sound system.
Danny Mavromatis (Mavromatis@aol.com)
I have both the MZ-1 and the MZ-R3 - I must say that I enjoy the MZ-1 a lot more than the R3. [Contrary to other's experience with the MZ-1] I haven't had any problems with the loading mechanism whatsoever! I like the MZ-1 because it is heavier and more solid (besides, it looks nice on the table when I DJ!!) - I espesically like the backlit display (good when the lights are dim)! It has an optical *OUT*(great if you want to output something to DAT) and IN, also manual input adjustment (while recording ++), Louder Headphone and Line Output than the R3. The only thing about I don't care about the MZ-1 is the battery (too big and $$$), the title is limited to 10 (?) letters and numbers (no *&^$%@! Symbols), and the ATRAC version 1.0 - I can't tell the difference but perfer 3.0.