Model Naming Convention

Looking at finding a minidisc recorder can get confusing, with the huge number of model names and numbers. As time went on from the initial Sony MZ-1, the Sony naming convention changed and evolved. Then NetMD came along and shook it up a bit, and finally Hi-MD changed it again.

This page attempts to clarify the model naming conventions, starting with Sony Portables (the most widely sold and used, though there are other manufacturers).

To begin, the first few models began with MZ and a number; e.g. MZ-1 (full recorder), MZ-2P (playback-only).

For the second generation, the model names became a bit more uniform. They were differentiated by the third character in the model name: MZ-R2 being the first to use the new convention.

Going forward, the general idea was as follows (again, at least for Sony-produced models):

  • Recorder: MZ-R
  • Playback-only: MZ-E
  • NetMD Recorder: MZ-N
  • 1st gen Hi-MD Recorder: MZ-NH
  • Hi-MD Playback-only: MZ-EH
  • 2nd gen Hi-MD Recorder: MZ-RH, MZ-DH (USB only), MZ-M (same machines as the RH, but bundled with a Microphone and Mac transfer software)

There were also subsets for some specific functionalities:

  • Business Recorder: MZ-B

Finally, letters at the end of the model number had unique features:

  • NE, D, DN, DH denoted a basic player, but that was capable of recording only by NetMD: MZ-N420D
  • W denoted a Wireless Remote: MZ-E606W
  • P denoted a Camera: MZ-DH10P

Within the R/E groups: with some exceptions: 1-digit and 2-digit machines do not have MDLP, and 3-digit machines have MDLP. The main exceptions are:

  • The MZ-E800 and E300 do not have MDLP
  • The MZ-E10 has MDLP
  • The N1, N10, B10, NH1, NH3D, EH1, RH1, EH50, and EH70 all have MDLP or HiMD, as appropriate

For concurrent a bigger number will typically mean a higher end or more fully featured machine, unless you see a 1 or a 10 in which case it's either the first or the flagship.

For example, the MZ-R500, 700, and 900 were all sold together, and the 900 is the high end machine. A year or two later, the MZ-N505, 707, and N1 were all sold together, with the N1 as the flagship.

Sony was inconsistent at maintaining generational numbering, so the R501, 701, and 909 are all part of the same generation, while the R410 and NE410 are from separate (but adjacent) generations.

Similarly, not all same-number machines are in the same generation or have comparable features:

  • The MZ-NF810 and MZ-NE810 are of the same generation but have very different features
  • The MZ-R910, N910, and RH910 are all different hardware generations and have some different features

So it can be worth double-checking a potential machine to make sure it's what you think it is and has what you need, and if a name on an auction doesn't match, check with the seller or be prepared to receive the less favorable of the potential options.

Sony MD decks are in the MDS and MXD families. The MD-only decks are in the MDS series, while the MXD series are CD/MD dubbers.

  • MDS-E - rackmounted pro decks
  • MDS-JE - mainstream deck,
  • MDS-S and MDS-M - small/compact deck, often matched to mini components
  • MDS-JB - high end/flagship deck
  • MDS-JA - ES series high end/flagship decks
  • MTS-PC and MDS-NT - computer-oriented decks. PCs use PC-Link kits for realtime dubbing, NT1 is a NetMD deck
  • MXD - The MXD-D series are CD/MD dubbers/fast-dubbers. None have NetMD
  • Sony LAM: desktop stereos with USB sound, NetMD, and CD→ MD dubbing
  • CMT and HCD: compact stereos/mini-compo stereos, CMT is usually the name of the bundle and HCD is the name of the individual system unit
  • SJ-MR - Portable Recorder
    • Panasonic doesn't have dedicated nomenclature for NetMD or business recorders
  • SJ-MJ - Portable Player
  • RX-MDX - Boombox
  • SA-PM, SC-PM - bookshelf stereos
  • SA-HD, SC-HD - settop decks
  • guides/model-naming.txt
  • Last modified: 8 months ago
  • (external edit)