Name MDS-E12
Manufacturer Sony
Released 2000/10
Device type pro
Recorder Recorder
NetMD No
Hi-MD No
Radio No
Dimensions 482w x 44h x 290d mm
Weight 3.5kg
ATRAC ver Type-R
Battery No
Sidecar battery No
Voltage 100, 230
Power cable AC
Price (launch)
¥90 000
Inputs RCA in, XLR in, Digital coaxial
Outputs 1/4 inch headphone, RCA out, XLR out, Digital coaxial
Control PS/2 keyboard, RS-232 serial, 3.5mm control

Sony MDS-E12

As MDS-E10, minus optical TOSLINK, plus XLR balanced analogue, plus parallel and RS-232 serial control, plus real-time clock. Supports Scale Factor Edit.

1U Rack mountable MD recorder. MDLP support, PC Keyboard Support and comes with a wired remote. CTRL-S input.

The printing on the display window is in gold (white on the MDS-E10).

Content adapted from: MDS-E12 Page, Sony Product Page (archived)


All MDS-E12 and MDS-E10 machines (see Note) ignore SCMS on digital inputs - i.e. you can record any digital source (Coax or TOSLINK S/PDIF) with any Copyright/Original SCMS state. If your machine starts up with the splash screen “MDS-E12” or “MDS-E10” then the Copyright/Original bits recorded will be the same as the source. If your machine starts up with “MDS-E12 PRO” or “MDS-E10 PRO” then the Setup menu contains a new item “Copy Bit” which allows you to set the Copyright/Original bits on the recorded track to either “Permit”, “Inhibit” or “PreRecorded”. Permit means the track can be copied digitally unrestricted, even using consumer decks. Inhibit means that consumer decks can't digitally copy the track and PreRecorded means that one generation of digital copy is allowed by consumer decks.

In “Monitor” mode the SCMS bits output on a digital interface will be the same as the SCMS bits on the input. i.e. these machines don't operate as “Copy Bit Killers” on pass-through. One such device that can do this is the Behringer SRC2496 (although this is now a discontinued product). Other products such as Focusrite USB interfaces and some PC soundcards can also strip SCMS.

Note: Some early machines, or machines from some regions may require an internal resistor modification to allow SCMS to be ignored. See the Service Manual Supplement-1 listed for the MDS-E12/MDS-E10 - a Serial Number range is given where the mod is required. This resistor mod does not make the machine “PRO” and the Copy Bit option will NOT appear in the Setup menu - this comes with newer firmware in the machine. The only sure way to tell if a machine is “PRO” is from the startup splash screen. If you can see inside, early machines tend to use Nichicon “Fine Gold” capacitors in their analogue sections. This usage seems to have stopped in the later machines which tend to be “PRO”.

The Japan version of this unit is marked as 100VAC input only, however it seems that the AC board isn't very different between the Japan and other versions. While modification to 240VAC input has not been verified converting the unit to run of 120VAC is as simple as moving the yellow wire to the (UC2) solder point, 240VAC should be the (CN2) solder point but this has not been attempted yet.

This modification is supported by pages 77 and 81 of the Service Manual

E12 AC Board


Drive: MDM7SC (Type-R, CXD2662R)

Eject belt: 17mm dia x 0.8mm square section (53mm circumference). e.g. Linx Audio (eBay)

Belt replacement guide

Parallel port: If you have the “non-PRO” MDS-E12 (splash screen says “MDS-E12”) then the Setup menu Parallel port behaviour for the REC and STOP settings are transposed. If you want the parallel input to be “STOP” then the menu item needs to be set to “REC”. Conversely if you want the parallel input to be “REC” then the menu item needs to be set to “STOP”. If you use the Parallel→Preset setting, then input 2 is REC (not STOP as labelled) and input 3 is STOP (not REC as labelled). This bug is fixed on the “MDS-E12 PRO”.

The upshot of this, is if you are using the parallel interface and using the preset settings you will get the same transport behaviour from both versions of the E12, namely input 2 performs REC and input 3 performs STOP.


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test88.130.59.107, 2022/04/21 07:01
Hey there,
Thanks for putting all this information together.
Quick addidion: I can confirm, soldering the yellow jumper onto the CN2 plug makes it possible to run the machine in Europe on 230V.

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  • equipment/sony/pro/mds-e12.txt
  • Last modified: 2 months ago
  • by jdub