Sony MZ-R700 User Review

Niels Pijck
May, 2001

I am a MiniDisc and Sony fanatic and when my faithful MZ-R30 started to show some problems (minor problems, but 99.9% isn't good enough!), I decided to buy a new portable recorder. I knew someone at a local store and he could get me a MZ-Rx00 for a very low price. I chose the Sony MZ-R700, because it has the best price-quality balance for me: the R500 looks a bit stripped and the R900 just was too expensive. The R700 is to the R900 as the R70 is to the R90. Just as with the R70, the R700 is also available with a USB-based PC connecting kit (the ones from MiniDisco work okay too btw!). Of course the R700 has a lot more features than the R70.

The unit is small and looks very "cuddly" (the best word is "aaibaar" in Dutch, which means something like "caress-able"). It is just another one of the jewels that the Sony-people designed (well, I think so anyway). Though, it has a strange bump on the back (outer battery casing), which makes the unit a bit bigger than older, earlier units, but this is a feature that I actually like, because now I can read the display while sitting in front of the unit. Above all I like that the unit runs on LR6-type (i.e. AA) batteries. I hate it when my battery runs out and I have forgotten my dry battery case for the R30.

Okay, I'm not going to talk about the specs, because they are all over the web. I will just take a few features that are important to me when using the unit and talk about those... just to give you an impression.

Features that I think are great:

Features it lacks:

Although I named a few "Lackings", the unit is really great and lives up to my high expectations of Sony (MD) Equipment. I just was a bit spoiled with the R30, as a Sony technician once told me. He also told me that the R30, R35 and R50 are the best units Sony has produced till now. However, I write pieces for a rather well visited Dutch MD-page (see below) and use my equipment very often, and so I just wanted the best and the newest for the money I could spend. And I'm glad I did: I think it is beautiful, it does everything I want it to do and is easy to use (I am a "Dj" here in Holland and use the unit every day for a couple of hours: listen to new music, to record my performance, use jingles, make college-notes, make loops, etc.). It is a portable recording studio and HiFi-component in one small unit!

So if you can afford an R900 class machine, and don't have the money for the very expensive R900, but enough for the R700, it would buy it! NOT the R500, which does not feel very solid. Overall impression: Great(er) looking, good (better) performing, but it misses the "overall quality- feel" of the older units (R30/R50).

But remember, I always say (freely after Scotty from Star Trek): "The first MD-unit you own is like the first woman you love. You will never love a woman quite like that again."

The R700 is supplied in Holland / Europe with:

Niels Pijck's Dutch MiniDisc Page

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