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Thoughts on Sony NW-HD5 from another new owner

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by ak47wong, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. ak47wong

    ak47wong
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    Hi all,

    I'm new to this forum, having lurked here for a few weeks gleaning lots of useful information that's helped me in my decision of which music player to get. I've been really impressed with this forum. You guys are great! Anyway, it came down to a decision between the NW-HD5 and the 20GB iPod and, as the subject line says, I went with the HD5, in black. I enquired about the HD5H but was told it wasn't available in Australia. I wonder if that's true?

    SonicStage

    After reading all the bad comments about SonicStage I was preparing myself for the worst. But now that I've used it, I don't know what all the fuss was about - I think SonicStage is fine! I've used a lot of good and bad software in my time and I reckon SonicStage is actually quite good. I've spent a lot of time using it to organise my music, renaming tracks and albums, and so on, and have had hardly any problems with it.

    So to anyone who's considering an HD5 and is put off by the thought of having to use SonicStage, I'd say: Don't worry about it! For the record, I've used iTunes as well and I don't think one is far superior to the other. I have some tips for using SonicStage too, but I'll post them in the appropriate thread :)

    Codecs and Bitrates

    The first thing I did after hooking up my player was to transfer some music using various codecs at different bitrates to see how they compared. My first observation, unfortunately, was that ATRAC3plus@64kbps was inadequate for satisfactory sound quality; I could hear compression artifacts immediately, so that ruled it out for me :(

    ATRAC3plus@256kbps gives much better sound quality, but I found CD rips were too slow and took too much space for my liking, so I looked for a compromise. I settled on ATRAC3@132kbps, which seemed to give similar quality to my MD Walkman (MZ-R90).

    In terms of bitrate and file size, 132kbps is roughly halfway between 64kbps and 256kbps. Although ATRAC3plus is supposedly a superior codec to ATRAC3, I perceived a big jump in quality from ATRAC3plus@64 to ATRAC3@132, but a less obvious difference between ATRAC3@132 and ATRAC3plus@256.

    If you're interested in learning more about the ATRAC-family codecs, check out the MiniDisc FAQ. Especially interesting is the "ATRAC Road Map" which shows that, according to Sony, ATRAC@292 (original MD (pre-MDLP) technology, not used on the HD5) is equivalent to ATRAC3@132, which is equivalent to ATRAC3plus@64. My own tests show otherwise, but that's their marketing angle.

    There's also an interesting interview with the ATRAC3plus developers.

    If you're curious, I used Sennheiser PX100 and HD560 Ovation II headphones for the listening tests.

    The Player

    It is a thing of beauty, the black HD5. Well, not really. But it is small and light and the interface is simple and intuitive. Navigating through long lists isn't nearly as easy as with the iPod scrollwheel, but it's not too bad, and buttons are actually easier in some instances (such as moving up or down by just one or two lines).

    There are a few different scroll speeds available. If you hold the button down, it scrolls slowly at first, then speeds up after about 4 seconds. If you double-press and hold down the button down, it scrolls at a much faster rate (this is in the manual, but I think some people found this out by accident).

    You can return to the playback screen by pressing Stop in the top-level menu. So no matter where you are in the menu structure, you can go back to the playback screen by holding Search/Menu for 1.5 seconds, then pressing Stop. This could be handy sometimes (or you can wait 30 seconds and it will go back to the playback screen automatically).

    Did everyone's HD5 come with two sample tracks from "W.Brothers"? Forever Dream is a nice demo, but what's the deal with Slip Stream? It sounds crap!

    Has anyone tried taking off the "BATT" sticker? Does it come off cleanly?

    Andrew
     
  2. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    Have removed all stickers (except the serial number one) very cleanly indeed :smashin:
     
  3. ca6leguy

    ca6leguy
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    Andrew,

    I am also looking for the NW-HD5H in Sydney but can't find any retailer selling that. I may have to settle down with the 20Gb version. By the way, how much did you pay for yours and which retailer did you buy it from ? Have your navigation buttons developed hairline cracks which quite a number of people here are having ?
     
  4. ak47wong

    ak47wong
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    Hi, I got it from Retravision Five Dock (John Whitford Discounts) for $407, but I actually bought it through the Advantage Shopper service, as an NRMA member.

    And there are no cracks on my buttons yet :)

    Andrew
     
  5. ca6leguy

    ca6leguy
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    :(
    Hi Andrew,

    You got your NW-HD5 for a good price. I am also a NRMA member. How do you go about using Advantage Shopper service ?

    I think black is the best color to get since the crack is less visible. But is the black colour painted on ? I have a Sony radio which is silver in colour but after a few weeks of usage, the silver colour came off at the corners. :(
     
  6. ak47wong

    ak47wong
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    There's a link in my previous post, but here it is again :)

    As for whether the black is painted on, I suppose it would be, but I don't really know to be honest, not being very knowledgeable about manufacturing. Maybe you should visit a Sony store and check it out in person.

    Andrew
     
  7. Aargh

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    The black looks to be anodised, not painted. however i have put a small scratch on mine (damn old firmware issues of crashes and having nothing on hand to get the battery out except a key) and the anodised finish is not that thick.
     
  8. Hrochnick

    Hrochnick
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    Did you scatch the body or the battery hatch? I scratched the battery hatch on mine in exactly the same way. I think that is made out of different (softer) stuff than the body.
     
  9. Ennis

    Ennis
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    Hey been reading through most of the posts on the forum and have decided to get the HD5.

    Just a question ak47, what was the price of the HD5 in the shop at Five Dock? Was it $407 on the shelf or did you have to go through that NRMA thing to get it at that price. If that was the case do you know what the price was in the shop? Any help would be good, cause I only work about a block away from that store.
     
  10. ak47wong

    ak47wong
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    The price I got was through Advantage Shopper. I don't know what the price is in the shop, so you'd have to ask them. They'll probably just quote you the RRP, but you can always try to bargain. After all "everything's negotiable" (or was that Bing Lee). By the way, they had to order it in from Sony, so they might not carry it normally.

    Andrew
     
  11. ca6leguy

    ca6leguy
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    Usually you can get quite good deals from Bing Lee and The Good Guys. You can try to get the best price from one of the stores then go to the next one and ask them if they can do better. Thanks to Andrew, at least now we know that it should not cost more than $407. :thumbsup:

    Anybody from Sydney managed to get it cheaper than $407 ?
     
  12. Ennis

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    Cheers for the info mate.

    Good question, I wonder if anyone has got it cheaper than Andrew? I doubt it.
     

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