After having a portable MiniDisc recorder (Sony MZ-R70) for some months I decided to go for a deck as well. One may ask, why bother spending all this money on a deck, when a decent portable recorder has all the necessary functions, plus it's much smaller. Well, there are few things that decks generally do better: Better sound quality - here we are talking mainly about the DAC (digital to analog converter). A top of the range MiniDisc deck would have more sophisticated DAC and hooked to a analog amplifier will sound better than a portable. MDS- JE530 sounds considerably better than the MZ- R70 hooked to the same amplifier, although I couldn't find any quality difference in the ATRAC sound (4.5 vs. DSP type R). (ATRAC= Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding for MiniDisc, to find out more see http://www.minidisc.org/aes_atrac.html) Ease of use - editing minidiscs is much easier on a deck than on any portable. However the MDS-JE530 is not the best example, but more about this later. Finally, even the most expensive portables don't have things usually found on most decks, like digital output, good sound level indicator and display, custom functions etc. Now, about the unit. It feels well built and sturdy, weights 3.4 kg. All the knobs and controls on the front panel are logically positioned and operate smoothly. The MiniDisc insert slot is in the center, which I like more than the side slot design found on Sharp decks. The display is large and bright. The level control indicator has 19 cells, not as good as on some tape decks but good enough for me at least. It can even be customized to hold the peak levels. The only bad thing about the display is that you cannot set the deck to scroll continuously the song title during play. Instead, when you want to see the whole song title you should press the scroll button on the remote. The MDS JE-530 comes with all types connections one needs. Switching between them is done easily wit
h the switch on the front panel. There is optical, digital IN and OUT coaxial digital IN and of course analog LINE IN and OUT as well as phones output with level control. No microphone input though, but if you have a portable this is not a big problem. However this may be important for some people. Talking about features, MDS JE-530 has more than enough. All the usual ones (editing, play modes etc.) plus pitch control, timer, fading in and out, smart space and auto cut, (useful when recording from analog sources), digital recording, level control and some customizing possibilities. Perhaps the most useful function is the one allowing you to set the sound level at which a track mark is added. When recording from a noisy analog source, the input level never goes down to – infinity dB and track marks are not added properly. With this function you can actually set the input level say to -40 dB and the deck will count everything below this level as silence- very useful if you plan to record a lot from LPs and tapes. When dividing and combining tracks, MDS JE-530 offers a very fine control over the position (1/83 of the second I think) which is not bad at all. The sound quality is pretty good. I did some A-B listening tests against my Technics SL-PG 490 CD player (see other op) both hooked to my Marantz PM-57 stereo amplifier and could not hear significant difference in quality, and if any I'm sure this is due to the different signal path through the amp rather than ATRAC loss of quality. In any case, the sound quality is extremely close to the original. Concerning sound artefacts and coding problems (reported by some people) I have had no problems so far. Now, the remote control RM-D29M was my biggest disappointment. It is much smaller than on the other 5xx series Sony decks. Adding track titles is much slower, since one button holds 3 letters and the cursor has to be moved after each letter by pressing the search button. This make
s up to 4 pressings per letter, which can become annoying if trying to add a long song title. Other than that the remote is OK. Most of the functions can be performed from the remote. If you own Sony CD player, you can control and synchronize the play and recordings from the remote. (I had already bought my Technics by then, otherwise I would have gone for the highly recommended Sony CDP–XE330). I bought my MiniDisc player for £150, back in 1999, (From SevenOaks Hi-Fi, Ipswich, Suffolk) but that was soon after it had been released, now however, if you can still find this machine, I would say you should be able to pick it up for around £100 – 120, as newer models command the market today. Also on an additional note, the MiniDisc Deck is available in two finishes, either Black (MDS JE-530 B) or Silver (MDS JE-530 S), but there is no difference in the actual machine, in case you were confronted by the two names and were confused. To sum up the Sony MDS JE-530, in one sentence, it is a feature packed MiniDisc deck, with great sound and reasonably priced, shame about the remote though.
I was new to minidisc, and didnt know where to start, I was looking for a hi-fi seperate that can record from a digital source, and playback digitaly to an amplifier or receiver. I have always found sony to be my favourite manufactuer, due to their warranty support and the build quality. So I went out to search for the Sony MiniDisc Deck that would suit my needs. It was then that in a local Hi-Fi shop, I spotted the MDS-JE530, this had everything that I needed and much more. The design looks up tp date, and the controls are all layed out very well and are simple to use. The sound quality form this product is excelent, the system always runs smooth, and I have never found any problems with this purchase, as with any of my sony purchases. You should but this poduct if you are starting out into the minidisc world and dont want a bottom of range product without splitting your products, or if you already have a minidisc deck then this product will be a great replacement at a very good cost, it couples very well with a sony portable player, meaning you can create high quality recordings, and then take them anywhere. This is the best minidisc related product I have ever seen, and thank sony for creating a great, cheap, reliable product, and I hope that you can enjoy benifits too. UPDATED>12.01.01. Even a few months after purchasing this product, I am still very satisfied with it, you should really consider moving into the technology of MiniDisc, although I do appreciate that it could be very costly. Look out for the Sony MDS-JE440, which is the update of the JE530s, but if you are lucky enough to get hold of a 530s, i would buy it, and not go for the newere model. This is mainly becasue there are no new benificial features, apart from the Stereo Longplay feature, where supposobly you can record for an extended time on an 80 minute disc. But bear in mind that this probably means a loss in sound Quality. The JE-530s, is by far still a great MD Deack, and will stay
a Hi-Fi enthusuasts favourite for a long while.
When i bought the sony MD deck it was mainly for the feature of pitch control this works very well, but what like most about it is the quality of the sound, in recording as well as playback. Comparing with other models labeling the tracks was is very easy to do on this model, easier to do it on the remote control as it uses the style of a mobile phone. The bass quality is smooth and has a powerful punch to it. It is extremely good value and the best place to get it is Richer Sounds.
Having used my '530 for a few months now (and using some other decks) I have come to the conclusion that this must rank as one of (if not) the best MD on the market. Certainly of the several I've tried [the replacement model for this is a "640", which is more or less the same with one important new feature which is a stroke of genius - a "PS2" connector on the front, which enables one's PC keyboard to be plugged into the front to make titling even easier]. The machine is extremely versitile; having both coaxial and optical digital conections (many other machines have only one or the other) making it more universal for adding to any decent system of seperates, although it would have benefited of a coaxial output as well. It can even be connected to a DVD player if one wanted to copy CD's, for instance - perhaps use the DVD's audio amplifier saving having to by a seperate amplifier. Just a thought, though. Anyone with seperates will have ended up with a multitude of remote control units. The remote with this piece of kit will do all the functions of a Sony CD player (the '220 in my case and I suspect the higher spec models, so you can put at lest one of your remotes away!) Basic functions aside, there are some extremely useful features on board the '530, such as the pitch control, so when one is backing up your old stretched concert bootleg tapes that one bought from a record fair, if need be you can re-record them to a more bearable speed. Or you can use it to slow down a guitar riff so that you can learn to play it, then mark the piece and play the marked section of track over and over to get the piece right. Audio reproduction cannot be faulted, however, manufactureurs should be including better quality interconnects with the decks as opposed to those flimsy and naff ones that are shoved in the box to make the system "operational". Also, a nice touch would be to incl
ude a couple of blank discs in the box. These would not cost too much to include, pennies in their case What lets the unit down is the casing - the poor fitting, wrap 'round tin plate has gaps between the facia and the casing, which is very poor. Although not a top of the range machine, Sony could have at least machined the parts correctly.
I have owned my sony JE530 minidisc deck for about four months. I bought it as a replacement for my aging analogue cassette deck. The deck is very well featured with coaxial and analogue inputs and optical and analogue outputs,digital pitch control and the full range of edit and text facilities. Recording from a CD via the coaxial input gives an almost perfect copy, the compression barely evident. Recording via the analogue input using the decks internal DAC is also very good. I was surprised just how good the sound is from this deck,much superior to any analogue tape deck that I have owned. Once you have made your recording you can input text for all the individual tracks and there is a facility for dividing,combining and renumbering the tracks you can even edit parts of a track. all in all a well made great sounding product, and easy to use.