My Hi-MD Almost Here, but May Not Be All That’s Promised

I just received word from Minidisco that my long-pre-ordered new Hi-MD recorder is just about ready to ship. I bought the top-of-the-line MZ-NH1 because it has a docking port, good battery, and I want to really leverage it for audio production.

Hi-MD was first announced back in January, with the promise of units to arrive in April. Then in May, Sony said units would arrive in July. And, of course, now it’s August and some of the entry-level units have been available for a month or so and the high-end units are about to ship, at least to those who pre-ordered.

The one disappointment I’m anticipating is that the ability to upload recorded audio from MD to PC is apparently not yet ready for primetime. It looks like the SonicStage software that Sony uses to interface with the MD is not ready to support exporting uploaded audio into an editable format. This support is promised to be resolved in a free app called “Wave Converter” that Sony says will be available in the Fall.

However, one thing that confuses me is that Hi-MD is supposed to be able to record into uncompressed WAV format in addition to the compressed ATRAC format — shouldn’t audio recorded in WAV be editable and not require conversion?

I’ll guess I’ll find out very shortly when my unit arrives. One guess I have is that unless some kind of evil DRM scrambles the data, using an uploaded audio file recorded uncompressed in straight PCM is just a matter of stripping out the file header and loading the file into an wave editor as straight PCM. Again, we shall soon see.