Initial Impressions of the
Sony MZ-N505 Portable NetMD Recorder

Michael Chiaramonte
March 2002

I just received an MZ-N505 Silver MiniDisc recorder and I thought I'd send the information so you could get a better picture of what it's all about. It comes with:

It also comes with additional promotional items and several manuals, one for the unit, one for the software, and little ones for installation, etc.

The unit itself is very tiny; not much bigger than a disk in dimensions other than width, where it is about the size of between two and three MD's. It has an input for the AC adaptor, a line-in that accepts optical (no microphone), the USB connection, and a stereo-mini headphone input (1/8 inch) that has a remote control input.

While the unit itself does not come with a remote, I tried the MZ-R30's and MZ-R50's remote on it and they both work. The MZ-R50's has an LCD text display which displays all the text, it seems, perfectly. The unit uses 1 AA battery and while I used it most of the night, transfering songs to it and listening to the differences between stereo and LP-2 mode (which I might add are far and few between), the battery meter still says that it is full. The other really interesting thing is that it is USB 2.0 compliant.

There are two major problems. The disk eject mechanism is a little strange, and sometimes it will not eject the disk, rather it attempts to but remains closed, which causes the unit to re-read the disk. The other problem is with the OpenMG 2.2 software, which frequently reports Assertion failures, but if you simply tell the computer to continue on anyway it seems to work without any errors in the transfer between the computer and the MD unit.

Several readers asked Michael if the interface was really USB 2.0, or just 2.0 compliant (as are USB 1.1 interfaces). Michael replied:

I don't know whether or not the interface takes advantage of the USB2.0 format, all I know is that the manual states that it uses USB2.0 and is USB1.1 compliant. You may also want to clarify that I used OpenMG 2.2 in Win2000 and XP and that while both crash, it is more stable in Win2000.

Clay Schneider added however: Reading the MZ-N1 manual, it does NOT claim to be usb 2.0 compliant, NOR does it claim to run at usb 2.0 High Speed. It only claims to "support usb 2.0 Full Speed" -- which means nothing more than that it runs at the plain old usb 1.1 1.5Mbytes/s speed which has been around for years.

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