NetMD & USB connectivity

What is NetMD?

NetMD is the USB interface that was used for tranferring audio to a MiniDisc via a computer.

How did it work?

Most NetMD recorders used USB Mini-B to connect to a PC. Some used full size USB Type-B, and others used a proprietary connector.

A PC would then copy audio to the disc using software, usually SonicStage or Simple Burner.

Do NetMD discs work on a non-NetMD device?

Yes. Be aware that the LP2 and LP4 formats do not work on non-MDLP equipment (only silence will play.) All NetMD equipment supports MDLP, but not all MDLP equipment supports NetMD. Discs recorded using NetMD in SP mode will play on all MiniDisc players, including the MZ-1.

How do I use NetMD on a modern PC?

The best way to copy music to a NetMD device is to use either Web MiniDisc or Platinum-MD. Both are easier to install and use than Sony's legacy SonicStage app, and have improved features such as more audio codec support and full-width titles in all locales.

Do all NetMD devices work with the new software?

Hopefully! Although we have not tested every NetMD device, developers have worked with owners of several troublesome units (such as the Sony LAM series) to fix device compatibility on these programs. If your device has issues with one tool, try the other.

Hi-MD is not yet supported by the modern tools.

Are there differences in audio quality between SonicStage and the new software?

Yes. Our current understanding is that SonicStage records MDLP (LP2 and LP4) better than Web MiniDisc and Platinum-MD, but the new software records SP better than SonicStage.

SonicStage converts all audio to ATRAC3 (LP mode) before sent to a device. If the selected audio mode is SP, then the device converts the LP2 audio to SP mode interally. This means that audio recorded in SP mode via SonicStage will sound the same (or worse, due to another encoding to SP) as LP2, but will still be compatible in SP-only players.

Web MiniDisc and Platinum-MD use the FFMPEG library to convert all incoming audio to uncompressed PCM WAV, then sends that uncompressed signal to the recorder. The recorder then converts the audio to SP mode using its interal ATRAC chip. As a result, the new tools record SP audio at a higher quality than SonicStage does.

However, SonicStage uses a proprietary ATRAC3 (LP mode) encoder that generally performs better than the reverse-engineered open source ATRAC3 encoder that Web MiniDisc and Platinum-MD use. So LP discs may sound better when recorded from SonicStage.

Does all MiniDisc equipment with USB support NetMD?

No. Some equipment, such as the Kenwood MDX-G7 or the HHB MDP500 support USB, but only as a speaker input (MDX-G7) or as a real time audio output (MDP500).

  • faq/netmd.txt
  • Last modified: 2 years ago
  • by specialk