I gave the new MZ-RH1 minidisc recorder a spin last night and I have to report that it works as advertised. I tried out three minidiscs recorded about 6 years ago in regular minidisc SP format and they uploaded to my PC and converted to WAV without a hitch.
All these minidiscs were airchecks recorded in mono mode, so they were 144 minutes long, and they took about 20 minutes or so. That’s slower than what USB 2.0 will allow, but I suspect that the limiting factor here is the maximum rotational speed of a minidisc, since the data density of SP minidisc is not nearly as high as later incarnations like MDLP and Hi-MD.
Even at 3x to 6x real-time upload speed, that beats the heck out of the 1x real-time you get by simply playing a minidisc into the PC’s audio input. And the process is also easier, since Sony’s SonicStage automates it for you, and you can continue to multitask pretty risk-free.
So, if the MZ-RH1 turns out to be the last of the minidisc recorders it’s a fitting culmination. That’s especially so because it will allow me to archive all my valuable minidisc recordings onto CD-R and DVD-R (or other formats) just in case a working minidisc recorder can’t be found years from now.
And for those of you interested in a little mediageek-pr0n, I took some pics of the MZ-RH1 when I unpacked it yesterday.