Minidisc Recorders


I'm looking to buy a minidisc recorder to record via microphone. It's primary use would be to record rehearsals for use as a conducting/teaching aid. Does anyone have any experience of these technological devices? Which models would be best suited for this purpose?


Hiya sud, not really up on technology, although I have a Sony MD (portable) player/recorder. They are very good tools, and produce exceptional quality playback. But i'm unsure as to whether you could couple up a mic to it?????? Sorry I can't help.Happy hunting.


Active Member
Hi there,

I get pretty good results using a bog standard Sony MZR35 (Quite Old) but with an excellent Mic (Audio Technica AT822 - £300 ish). The Mic is far more important than the recorder, and make sure you record with manual record levels, not the automatic, or everythinhg sounds the same volume!
I've heard the Sharp models can alter the recording level whilst recording (most others you have to pause or stop) but I'm not 100% sure. Check out for lots of useful help.

Andy Cattanach, Faireys.
I think most mini-disc recorders will give similar results but the choice of microphone should be considered more closely. I have a Sony MD player with a Sony ECM-MS907 microphone (about £100 fo the mic). The results are very good (depending on he accoustic of your venue). Visit our band's site to hear some audio clips recorded with this setup.


MD Players/Recorders

I got my minidisk player/recorder recently and i love it, it's so simple to record and edit stuff like playing order and name afterwards.

I agree, the microphone is definitely important. My dad has just bought an MD recorder, the same model as mine, but with a standard cheap microphone. He tried recording a brass concert and it was just too powerful - its really easy to 'overload' the mic and the sound quality isn't wonderful.

Useful tip i was given - buy it from Japan if you can (possible to do over the internet but don't know any site names). If you're lucky enough to have a Japanese housemate travelling home this summer (like me!) get them to buy one for you, as they're about half the price for the same models (Mine's about £30, would have been £60).

Alternatively you can order it on the internet and pay a few quid for the p&p. A mate of mine was buying an MD player and asked the bloke in the shop what microphones he had, to which he responded - "don't buy one here, they're much cheaper on the internet"! I'm guessing he wasn't on commission!


Active Member
more important here is the mic than the recorder. though having said this, be careful as many new models don't have mic inputs, which you'll need, as they are opting for usb ports for computers.

as for mics, for the purpose you wanted (recording rehearsals as a teaching aid) the sony at £100 is more than good enough. wsy jazz orchestra im in use it to record concerts, shove it in the back of the venue, switch on and recorder and you get a full stereo field and dont have to lift a finger.

you cant ask for easier than that! :wink:

James McFadyen

New Member
Naomi has got one for sale!!!

MINIdisc uses a compression technology of 20:1

It's dynmanic range isn't as high as true 16Bit quality, which means when ur setting up ur level, u'll need to watch for digital clipping as you won't have tons and tons of headroom.

However, Brass Bands are very loud and dynamic, I would suggest getting a compressor. Behringer make a good Compressor called the the Composer Pro, it has a noise gate/Expander and a limiter on it as well, so it's a very useful tool. Useing the Composer pro will allow u too pick up quiet bits while also getting those rip-roaring forttissimos recorded without digital clipping. Emmm, hopefully, but adding compression and/or limiting reduces the dynamic range of the recording, so those load forttissimos get punched right down on the recording!

U could try a dynamic mic as these are less sensitive than condensers, but u'll suffer extreme high-end detail.

Unless u've got recording experience and training, u'll be setting urself up for a nightmare - U could try a 4-track tape recorder which will allow u push the dynamic range into the red and produce those lovely warm analog sounds!

IMHO, and in my experience, don't use Mini Disk, not just for the quality aspect but for minimal hassle. I'm a trained and well experienced sound engineer and I wouldn't want to be recording a Brass Band with a Mini Disc recorder - much better off with a laptop, or something which is gonna give u much more headroom than MD's can allow.

Naomi, will be able to back this up, I'm sure as she's used an MD recorder for a while!


Oh and I won't even say anthything about ur breaking Copyright law if record it without permission! :wink: :wink:


Active Member
James McFadyen said:
Useing the Composer pro will allow u too pick up quiet bits while also getting those rip-roaring forttissimos recorded without digital clipping.
only trouble with these is that the end recording with have a very reduced dynamic range to the listener, i.e. p - f rather that ppp - fff. Thats why all the pieces sound the same on listen to the band, cos it is all compressed for radio.

James McFadyen

New Member
Besides u can get 24bit recording equipt for next to nothing these days.......................but don't expect it to be packed with Apoggee ADC's and DAC's (Analog to Digital Converter and Digital to Analog Converter, respectively.)
My minidisc player (Sony MZ-N710) is a net minidisk player. It has got the usb port but also has a mic slot and an optical line in. Allowing you to put recordings onto your computer and enhance them or you can play it through your hi-fi if it has an optical output. It cost me £118 and was worth every penny. Practical and doesn't break the bank!

Use a good stereo microphone (my school just purchased one in the region of £100 and it is fantastic) and (from what i gathered in your post) i think you would be sorted. Our school has the fancy laptop recording thingy but in my eyes it's expensive and pointless for how we use it. Minidisc is just as good for what i need and less hassle. Fair enough if you were planning to make a cd worthy of selling on 4barsrest i would recommend perhaps some proffesional recording equiptment as the quality of minidisc recording isn't proffesional, but for recording rehearsals for your own personal use, i think that minidisc would do just fine! :D

But look for minidisc players on
That's where i got mine from- saved £60 on what the highstreet stores lowest prices were and the postage is free on items over £35 i think!


Active Member
Agreed you must get a decent microphone. Itls like have a good instrument with a duff mouthpiece. Nae much gud man. :wink:

I have the sony net MD MZ-N1 and a Sony mike that cost about £70 through school...correct price was nearly £100.

Please don't record on automatic recording level....drives me nuts when people spend loads of money on gadgets and don't know how to use them.


Active Member
I agree with James, I much prefer my Laptop/PC and proper mic system to a MD and single mic, as an A2 music/music technology student.

But I think MD recorders are great for those without the knowledge/equipment/finances/time for such recordings.

And they are especially good for shoving down the back of the rehearsal hall for the MD or band to listen to and critically analyse later!

ps. never use the preset recording levels, they clip WAY too much and are really obvious.
anyone know any shops that sell proper microphones eg sony ecm-ds70p ??? i whent in to dixons today and asked if they sold the small portable mics and they said theve never seen one! i could do with getting one befor sunday, any shops in bradford/halifax anyone knows?

Naomi McFadyen

New Member
I've either used my MD4S or portable SonyMD player...
with this I use a stereo condensor mic... cant think of models etc just now as I'm not with the equipment... has good mics and stuff at good prices (the mic I got was only £25 and it's brilliant!)...
StarLand are based in Plymouth but will deliver anywhere in the UK... and it's next day delivery as well... :)

James McFadyen

New Member
I would really recommend the Rode NT1 (Condenser Mic)

It's a bit pricey (c.£150) but a superb mic with superb response. Stay away from the Rode NT2, was meant to be an emulation of the Neumann U87 - Sounds more like a tin can - HORRIBLE MIC!!!

The Rode NT1, like any other decent Mic users Balanced XLR connections!

There is no point in getting a decent recording system, even if it is the dreaded MINI Disc (I'm a sound engineer, we're very very fussy!) and getting a crap mic. Recording equipt ain't cheep! And that is the sad fact.

I see a lot of ppl in here use very consumer mics, which are obviouly not right for the job, from my experience get urself a PZM mic or buy 2 condenser mics. A stereo mic has the advantage of recording in stereo, but to be honest absolutely no use whatsoever in recording a Brass Band!!

if you are going to do stereo recording, get 2 mics and space them out or have them as a coincident pair - watching out for phase!! :roll:

You could go out and buy a cheep mic (£25 say) not to offend you Naomi, but the money you spent on that MD recorder will be wasted.

What's the most important rule in recording - 'Crap in = Crap out' (that goes for the playing as well! ;)

If ur just out to do it as a hobby or for ur own listening pleaseure, get urself a 4 track (using tape casstte) hell of a lot less hassle (I can assure you!) and u can use that £25 mic!! yea! problem solved and it'll cost u a fraction of the price you once thought.



Active Member
I have just upgraded my minidisc player/recorder to the Sony MZ-N910. If you want a high quality durable minidisc unit, then this is probably a good one to go for.

It isn't cheap, having paid £250 for it, but if - like me - you listen to music all the time and make use of it as a recording unit as well, it might well be worth the outlay.

Probably one of the best features for me is the all aluminium body. It makes it much lighter to carry, as well as easily taking any reasonable knocks from usage without cracking like some of the plastic units.

It is also full of useful features, like the USB download, blacklit LCD in-line remote, and - most importantly for the topic of this thread - has a MIC INPUT, which is essential if you want to use any of the previously mentioned mics.

None of the cheaper models feature mic inputs, hence why I was forced to go for a higher priced model. Seems this feature is now classed as a luxury, relegated due to the inclusion nowadays of USB inputs.

I won't blab on any more, as there is more information in the link at the top of the post :lol:


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