Sony MZ-N707 fits and plays five hours of music on minidisc

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October 03, 2002|By Michael James

If you've been too intimidated to take the plunge into the MP3 computer music scene, then Sony's MiniDisc Net MD MZ-N707 player might be a good alternative.

What's a minidisc, you say? Well, it's less than half the size of a regular compact disc and costs about $2. Not bad, considering that you can compress about five hours (roughly five full-length albums) on one 80-minute disc.

What makes it happen is Sony's Net MD compression technology, which, like MP3, extracts audio from a compact disc and compresses it into a digital music file by filtering out sound elements that the human ear can't hear. The tiny Net MD player will fit in your pocket and, with the supplied USB cable that connects to your computer, it'll encode - or "rip," in geek parlance - your regular audio CD music onto the minidisc.

The 2.5-inch minidisc uses a digital audio compression technology called ATRAC, or adaptive transform acoustic coding, to store more sound in less space. The Net MD player is a versatile device: With the built-in microphone jack, it's capable of making audio recordings of just about anything you want - including vinyl records, TV shows or your kid's birthday party.

The Net MD MZ-N707 costs $230, although a scaled-down version, the MZ-N505, lacking the microphone jack and a few bells and whistles, is $150.

If you want to go hog wild on minidiscs, Sony also sells a high-end minidisc changer, the MDX-66LP, that fits snugly in your car glove box or on the vehicle's floor. You can put six minidiscs in it, which means you can have about 30 albums available at any time. Very neat, but very expensive - $450.

Information: 800-222-7669 or www.sony.com.home.

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