Minidisk Line in Recording

2 replies [Last post]
John Disdle
Joined: Dec 28 2000

I have built a mic. to line pre-amp, that powers an electret mic. insert from a PP3 9volt battery. The gain is 11db or 23db switched. This is for use with a Sony NH700 minidisk recorder.
I remember reading somewhere, that the line in has a wider dynamic range than the mic. in. I need to start recording without going into menus to set manual mode.

My unscientific test so far has shown, that you can hit the end stop without distortion, where the Sony MS907 via the mic. input will clip.
This is most noticeable, when recording a train passing over point work from about 20ft. The same recording on my NV DS15 (no manual rec.) sends the AGC pumping.

So is the minidisk AGC different to the Camera AGC?
Am I wasting my time going down this road?
I know the minidisk is a poor mans recorder these days, but it beats the cassette deck of old.

Joined: Oct 22 2001


Maybe there is something I've done which can help you.

First, I use a Sony MZ-N707, which is fairly close if I'm not mistaken. I have a MS907 mic, but I use more the Senn. MKE300. I have used a SD MixPre mixer in front of the Mini-Disc for the times I use line-in. I have also used the Senn. ME64 and 66 direct into (mic-in).

The troubles I had, (don't use it much more except for a plant mic with the MKE300) was getting it into record mode with AGC off. Like you know it's not just a one button record and it drives me nuts. (if your model is the same) I don't know what camera you have, but most have a AGC that is the same as in the mini-disc. Some of the newer Panasonics cameras do have a ALC instead and seem to work better. I found the AGC in the mini-disc unuseable unless there was no way I could control the sound. A train passing close by would be such a change in volume, that it's going to be really hard. It sounds like you are on the way by using line in. I don't know if you will be able to get away without using AGC. It sounds like you will be able to run tests beforehand so I'm sure you will figure it out.

The mini-disc gave me better sound then any camera I have that cost under $2000 USD. The problem I had was getting the sound back to the computer and it's A to D. Other than that, not much problem and the ATRAC compression didn't bother me all all. (didn't do music only voice and SFX).

I don't use it much anymore, but I wouldn't hesitate to use it if I needed it. If I use it, it's pretty much a set it and forget it, mic. Then, I come back to for a surprise (good or bad).

The market is changing. I have since picked up a Edirol R1. It's a lot bigger, still has a plastic feeling, but is working great (so far).

HTH, Chris

John Disdle
Joined: Dec 28 2000

Thank Chris.
I don't know the N707, but the NH700 uses Sonic Stage software to transfer from minidisk to pc. The Sony menu system is still basically the same. Anything useful is hidden.
I have done a few more tests, and I am convinced the line in has a greater dynamic range, even with AGC on. (Sony default)

The MKE300 has quite a high out put, and would need manual control. Good luck with the Edirol R1. No funny menus to find manual rec. I`ll bet!!