The Sony MZ-N505 is now at the budget end of the mini-disc player market and has been discontinued by Sony. Despite this, it is still available to buy from many online retailers and there are always plenty of these models lurking around on eBay. This MZ-N505 can be picked up for a mere £79.99 brand new and comes in three different colours - silver, blue and a ghastly gold/yellow. The MZ-N505 boasts a sleek and modern looking design with rounded edges and a two-tone finish. Small enough to fit snugly in the palm of your hand and weighing in at just 104g this device is the epitome of portability. The controls are located on the front of the player and are easy to access and very responsive. This player is perfect for a workout at the gym or passing some time on a long train journey with 56 hours of playback using just a single alkaline battery the MZ-N505
The MZ-N505 also has three different quality settings for recording - SP (80 minutes of music), LP2 (180 minutes) and LP4 (300 minutes). The first quality setting is obviously the highest and gives CD quality sound which when played back through the supplied headphones gives a good range of tones and the bass is full and thick. Taking the step down to LP2 quality there is little or no difference in the quality of the playback so this is the setting that I use the most. Using LP2 you are able to fit three average sized albums onto a single mini-disc at near on CD quality which is very useful indeed. Using the LP4 mode you can fit an incredible five hours of music on a single mini-disc but at a seriously reduced quality. Listening to music recorded on the LP4 mode is certainly not a pleasure and there is a significant loss in quality marked by a persistent hiss in the background of the music. The music also seems to lose some of its richness and both high and low tones seem to be dulled and the bass is almost non-existent. Considering the fact that I can fit three albums onto a single mini-disc using the vastly superior LP2 mode I rarely use the LP4 mode.
Along with the player Sony also include their own software package, Open MG Jukebox that can be used for transferring tracks from a computer to the player. In all honesty this program is really not worth the hassle - it suffers from serious instability issues when using both Windows 2000 and XP and has the most irritating interface I have ever come across.
Instead of Open MG I use Real Player, a standard music player and CD ripper, which on the whole is a much better program and doesn't suffer from rampant instability. Though in order to use Real Player to transfer tracks you need to have Open MG installed on your system as Real Player needs the drivers from the MG software to make the MZ-N505 compatible with it's ripping technology. Using Real Player you can expect to transfer roughly an hours worth of music in a little under ten minutes which obviously equates to a transfer rate of 6x. Once the tracks have been transferred the MZ-N505 has another useful feature which lets you create groups of songs on a single mini-disc. This means that you can separate albums or clusters of songs and skip through them without having to skip through every single track on the disc.
The headphones supplied with the player are of good quality, which is a major plus point as some manufacturers often included cheap headphones to keep the price of producing the player down. The inclusion of a stick remote is also a great feature and has access to most of the player's functions including the basic ones such as skip, play, stop etc. This is of course a very useful feature and means I can carry the player in my pocket and still have access to the controls without having to take it out of my pocket. The sound from the headphones is very rich and the digitally enhanced bass comes through clearly even at high volumes and the headphones don't buzz or vibrate. As far as ergonomics go the headphones are comfortable to wear, fit snugly inside your ear and I have been comfortable wearing them for hours on end.
Over the past three years I have been very happy with my MZ-N505. It has kept me entertained on many a gym workout and on innumerable train journeys. If you are looking for a cheap, portable music player then look no further than the MZ-N505. Combining an exceptional array of functions and a great price you really can't go wrong.
I have bought this amazin minidisc from argos.co.uk for like £169.99. It comes with a pack of 5 free minidiscs and each you can record about 74 minutes each. When you buy the product, it comes with a remote control, headphone, rechargeable battery, AC power adapter/charger, carrying case - belt clip type, digital cable. Here are all the features: 56 hours playback. MDLP. G-protection jog proof. USB port in main unit. Requires 1 x AA battery. Size (H)3, (W)8, (D)7cm. New speed-up data transferring process. Title edit on PC. MD walkman control on PC. Recording function. ATRAC TYPE-R DSP high quality sound rec - for SP mode. Stereo/monaural/synchro rec. Digital recording level control. Manual recording level setting. Digital-in/line-in/stereo mini jack. Full editing functions. Group function - group mode/group skip mode. Bookmark function - 20 songs. AMS - auto music search. Cue/review. Repeat - 1/all/shuffle/program/group. Digital mega bass. Remaining battery indicator. As for what I think of it, I feel it is amazing because you can download songs from Kazaa for example, or any file-sharing program, and you can transfer it to the minidisc with ease. The program is called sonicstage and it takes about 2 minutes to transfer a song. It will also impress all your mates because it is new technology and it looks really stylish and small.