Sony MZ-R900 Line-out Distortion

Tim Corcoran
March 2001

Basically, there is ruinous distortion present in line-out mode, where we connect the headphone socket to line-in on an amplifier and select the LINE OUT menu option to boost the output from headphone to line levels. Note, this is NOT a recorder problem, rather an issue involving the playback amplifier stage.

Specifically, if you attempt to playback a loud high-frequency sound (such as a strong female lead vocal) the output clips severely and I mean severely, it makes your teeth grate at the sound... It seems to me that the output boost they apply in LINE OUT mode is too much and overtaxes the voltage levels available from a 1.2v battery (despite the obvious voltage multipliers they must use internally). I have confirmed this exact problem in a second imported unit. We'll see if it's fixed in the world/Euro/US models... I have not noticed any problem with HEADPHONE output levels and the problem is present on Minidiscs not originally recorded with the MZ-R900.

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