Don't bother with either one. Get a used DAT recorder. Sound quality is excellent and you can record at least 2 hours non-stop (and some decks can use 3 hour tapes).
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Thanks for the reply, Taraszki. The limitation with DAT is that I can't play it in the car or through a Walkman, right? I'm not looking for ultimate fidelity here, but rather overall flexibility balanced with halfway decent sound. Maybe this is too much of a mid-fi or a low-fi question for this board, but I would imagine others have thought about how to hear music somewhere other than in their living rooms. Unfortunately for me, I have very little time to sit and listen to my main stereo, so I've got to grab it on the run -- driving to work, washing the dishes, working out. So everybody, what's YOUR solution to that problem?
You will almost undoubtedly have much better results with a tape player. You can get decent used tape players for a song, and you might even get paid for taking a used car tape player. One of the main drawbacks with MD's is the digital compression and minimized bandwith. Basically, you will find yourself losing the most at the extremes (lousy highs and no bass) if you use an MD player. I toyed with idea about 5 years ago and found the MD's to be completely unacceptable. I have a couple of female friends who do prefer the newer MD players for jogging since they're lighter and smaller. You will also likely find a better selection of chioces if you choose to buy tapes from your local record store.
I have Denons' MD-1000 . I have not used a tape since I got it. Don't even think about using tape again, Home Theater had a review and stated that it was almost indistinguishable from their best DAT recorder and way, way more convenient. Do you really want to wait for tape while fast forwarding or rewinding ever again? I have 28 years of experience in recording and the Denon Minidisc recorder sounds better than most analogue 2 track sources I have used.
I would not say that MD sounds better than any 2 track analog. That, in my opinion, is not true. If your not looking to spend much money, and I'm assuming your not. MD might be the way to go. It will sound good in a compromised environment,i.e., your car and it is flexable. By the way the cost of a disk is lower than a good tape. However, you can buy a CDR for relatively cheap. That might be a better option because, "alright all you MD nuts", cd's sound better and everyone has a player.
Thanks for the info, Ramstl. My hesitation with CDR at this point -- and I may be completely wrong about how it works -- is that you can only record the disks once. So you forget to add a song or bump the turntable when it's recording or decide you want to reorder the tracks and you're stuck. But maybe I don't understand how it works. Is there some kind of finalizing process you go through? Also, I'm not crazy about the harshness of CDs on ordinary equipment, and have found that tapes can lessen that problem. I don't know how MD affects that. Also don't know how vinyl sounds recorded onto a CDR. Any comments?
Ramstl, I said most, not all analogue 2 tracks and that still says a lot. You may not have heard the DENON minidisc recorder yet. Don't judge the Denon based on your experience with other brands, it is in a class of its own. Some CD recorders produce CDs' that cannot be played on other CD players. Michael, you can avoid some harshness by using analogue outs of a Minidisc recorder. The minidisc format offers more than the CD recording format. Easy editing, low costs discs, very small size and %99.8 of CD or DAT quality. I think it is a mistake to think of Minidisc as good mostly for car listening, think of it as a far superior replacement for every use that cassettes gave you. Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
I don't want to debate what is better sound, MD or CD. In my opinion CD is better. However, that will depend on the system, the environment and the listener. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, each person has to decide which is best for them. In a car the environment is compromised, therefore, the differences can be masked to a certain degree. To answer the question about mistakes on CD's, if you use CDRW you can record over the last track. However, not all decks can read CDRW. One reason that I would not buy a MD, besides the sound qaulity difference, is that the last thing I want is yet another format! This format offers nothing for me accept: 1) added expense, new hardware and software 2) lack of present compatibility with hardware 3) no sonic improvements. Therefore, in bailing out of the cassette format I would go to CD. Not only does everyone own a CD player but the sound is better. You can even upgrade to better A to D's down the road for even higher rez! Here is an example: If you have a great musical experience recorded whatever software and you want to share it with others how many people out of ten would you be able to share it with if it were on CD? Maybe 9 out of 10. How many on MD. maybe .25 out of 10. That means you can enjoy it almost anywhere. Now I'm sure that Sony would also like it to be 9 out of 10 for MD and I'm sure that they will continue to improve the sound but I don't need no more stinking boxes taking up my $ and space. That is unless it increases archival and sound quality. Well, I know I said I didn't want to debate but I did. Sorry!
Thanks everybody for your helpful replies. I have decided for now to go with -- tape. My reason is idiosyncratic and may annoy some of you. Sorry. Here's what I was thinking: I really love great audio, but find myself in a lifestyle that doesn't allow for a lot of quiet, reflectic, analytical listening in a subdued, dedicated listening room. It's more like Can I hear something new as I'm driving the kids to daycare? Can I pick up a bit of sonic joy as I'm cleaning up the living room and washing the dishes? Can I get in a funk groove while grabbing a precious few minutes to exercise? Whatever I would get would be used in the car and on an exercise bike as much as in the living room. I would buy a recorder in anticipation of buying a new system for my car as well. (The existing CD player is on its last legs.) So here's the cincher for me: I went to my downtown library branch yesterday and saw they have literally hundreds of tapes available to borrow. Everything you can imagine. Music, of course, but also great fiction and nonfiction books. I just finished Doris Kearnes Goodwin's book on FDR and Eleanor during WW2. So sitting right there on the shelf is a tape that has FDR's Fireside Chat speeches during that time. I open up the box and see it, along with every other tape I inspect, is in great shape. It hasn't been abused by your typical library patron. Do I see any CDs around that I can borrow? A few. Any MDs? No, not a one. I realized that at this point in my life, I'd rather hear something completely new -- like FDR's speeches -- that makes me think and feel differently than something that is pleasant but expected. Yes, CD and MD would sound better, but what am I going to do -- check out the FDR tape to record it onto an MD or CD so I can play it in my car? In sum, I've decided this is a quantity of info vs. a quality of info decision, and I'm opting for quantity.