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I bought myself a portable minidisc player years ago when they had first come out and used it to record my CDs via direct optical link purely because the MD format is much more durable than CDs, and also because they are a lot smaller (discs and players).
Problem is though that the portable player is limited in functionality when recording tracks and also the quality is adequate at best. So I went out and got myself a component MD deck, and I couldn't be happier.
The JB920 is a Sony QS deck, which guarantees a certain level of performance and definately one of quality, nothing on the unit feels cheap, apart maybe for the remote.
It is very easy to connect to the rest of your steroe system, especially if you have Sony components which have Control AI functionality. Even not there are plaenty of connections on the rear, both coax and optical digital In/Out and also Analogue RCA In/Out as well as a headphone jack on the front. In addition to these connections you can purchase the PCLK-MD1 which allows you to directly connect the unit to a PC and using the software you can edit table of contents, set options and best of all, title discs with a keyboard. 2 problems with this though, good luck finding one and secondly, it connects using a serial connection and I haven't managed to find a USB version.
The performance of the deck is excellent with little or no audible difference between the CD recording to the MD, especially if you use a digital input. Therefore the final product is far superior to using a portable deck for recording.
Using the deck is very easy, basically chuck a MD in, press record then press play on the connected CD player and the deck will start recording when it realises there is digital input and will create each track without you having to do anything.
Want to copy MP3s on to it? Well if your computer has digital audio output, basically its the same process as above if you connect it to the deck.
I'm not going to go into techno babble about the unit, but the fact remains that these days you can buy these decks pretty cheap on ebay or secondhand and if you are into your MD's, then you can't go wrong.
(+) Awesome sound quality, Brilliant bass and treble capability,Brilliant recording facilties onto the new "medium" of writing MP3S on to portable audio, available in stylish colours such as balck and metallic silver, Easy to use (-) In terms of mini disk players on the market today can seem quite expensive (£240) - as you can see not the cheapest around, remote control is a little confusing, especially for the technophobic first time user (all of the buttons, seem to be in IT Jargon)