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Sony MZ-M100

A top-notch little field recorder that captures uncompressed Linear PCM audio By Frank Moldstad

MZ-M100In an era when ?MP3 quality is not an oxymoron, its nice to see a portable audio device being marketed for its fidelity. Sony, which invented portable audio 25 years ago with the introduction of the Walkman, has just released its latest model, a top-notch little field recorder called the MZ- M100 (MSRP $439.95). It can record high-quality uncompressed PCM audio files onto Hi-MD removable discs, which come in 1GB capacities and cost about $7 apiece.

The Linear PCM capability and the small size (2 x 2 -in. square) should make the MZ-M100 attractive to anyone seeking a high-quality mobile recorder that can transfer audio to a computer for editing. Among the potential users Sony has targeted for the MZ-M100 are recording engineers and journalists.

The MZ-M100 comes with a miniature stereo microphone, and includes an optical port for recording directly from digital playback devices. The optical port will also accept analog input via a mini-plug. There is a USB port for connecting to a computer, and software for transferring files on both Macs and PCs is provided SonicStage for the PC and Hi-MD Wave Importer for the Mac (OS 10.2 and above).

The Mac software is designed for straightforward transfers from the recorder to the computer, automatically converting Linear PCM files to WAV format. Thats about all it does, although for importing mobile recordings, that is all it needs to do. The PC software is more versatile, allowing the transfer of MP3s, and use of the new Hi-MD ATRACS3plus format, a high-quality file compression scheme that the MZ-M100 can also record in that is 20 times the ratio of CD compression.

However, the MZ-M100 is recognized as a disc drive by both Macs and PCs, and it can be used for storage of data, images, and other files. I had no problem dragging and dropping MP3 files as well as JPEG files onto the MZ-M100 on a PC, and then opening them on a Mac.

Hi-MD 1GB disc

The 1GB Hi-MD disc will hold one hour and 34 minutes of Linear PCM files. Smaller capacity 80-minute MD discs can also be used, provided they are formatted on the MZ-M100.

One of the other important features of the MZ-M100 is its battery life. The recorder comes with a rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery that is able to record Linear PCM audio continuously for five and a half hours to a 1GB disc when fully charged. Battery recharging is done by plugging the MZ-M100 in with the provided power adapter, and pressing the charge button on the front of the recorder.

For more recording time, the MZ-M100 also comes with an AA alkaline dry battery case that snaps to the top of the recorder, providing an additional two hours. Using both batteries, the MZ-M100 is capable of recording continuously for eight hours. For technical reasons, there are slightly different recording times with the standard 60/74/80 minute standard discs. With both batteries, the standard discs are able to record up to nine and a half hours in the LinearPCM format.


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Related Keywords:MZ- M100, Sony, Hi-MD, field recorder, Linear PCM, portable, uncompressed, PCM


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