Test Drive: Denon DN-M1050R Professional MiniDisc Recorder

Onboard editing

One of the things that defines the MiniDisc format is its talent to edit right inside the box. This box also gives you some tools to help the editing process. CUE POINTS, or markers, are programmable (much the same way as are A and B points) on any track, with up to five cues per track. Once they’re written, the CUE SEARCH button above the STANDBY/CUE button becomes a “fast finder” for the prerecorded cues.

Using four editing functions, the DN-M1050R becomes a basic word processor for audio. With dedicated buttons for each, DIVIDE splits a single track into two; COMBINE takes two tracks and makes them one; MOVE places a track anywhere in the track order; INSERT takes a track or section of track and “pastes” it within another track. There are three UNDOs and a REDO, for those of us who can’t make up their minds. Editing is instant, of course.

Although very short audio pieces may not COMBINE, and tracks with CUE POINTS will not COMBINE or DIVIDE, the editing functions are quick and easy to do.

While recording, a two second silence will trigger a new track number. For voice-overs, I have found recording on MD to be an absolute blessing. Recording multiple takes in a row (with 2 seconds of silence between them) will show up as multiple track numbers. If you would like to keep all of your takes, you can simply move or combine the good takes together into one complete read. Or, if you just want to keep your good takes, you can simply erase all the bad ones and delete any holes. What is leftover would, once again, be a perfect, complete read.

Naming tracks or the disk itself is a “push the button, spin the infinity wheel” proposition, unless you connect a keyboard (highly recommended!).

MDs use a TOC (UTOC), or Table Of Contents, to keep track of items on the disk. Similar in theory to the File Allocation Table (FAT) that keeps track of the files on your computer’s hard drive, the TOC keeps track of the audio and the edits you’ve made. In reality, the tracks aren’t really moved, combined, divided, or inserted. They sit on the disk right where they were recorded, with the edits being performed on playback from the information stored in the TOC.

In earlier machines, the TOC was written upon completion of the use of the disk. That is to say, the TOC wasn’t written until the disk was ejected from the machine. For those machines, interrupting the writing of the TOC, turning off the machine without ejecting the disk, or suffering a power failure before the TOC was written would cause the loss of everything done during that “use” of the MD. I have even lost all of the contents of a disk in these situations. The DN-M1050R has solved this most perplexing problem by writing the TOC during the first few seconds of a recording, then rewriting it upon completion. Although the unit ships with this option turned off, it is easily enabled in the presets. Also, you can manually cause the TOC to write with the TOC WRITE button.

Thank you, Denon.

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