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hi rick,

technically any recording medium that uses compression is not 
high-fidelity, (hi-fi) so it depends not so much on the quality of the 
recording medium as the expected quality of the playback medium.  that 
is, what is the intended use of these recordings?  mini-disc and mp3 are 
lossy compression schemes, so they degrade the audio signal no matter 
what the marketing hype says, but they can both produce good quality 
recordings depending on you intentions.  Using headphones, I find mp3s 
trying to listen to at anything less than 256kb/s, as I can hear the 
swishy flange like compression artefacts in things like cymbals , and 
minidisc similarly seems to mutilate the upper frequencies a bit too 
much for my ears (or whatever upper range hearing that hasn't been 
blasted away by overdriven guitar amps and pub gigs).  as a result I try 
to record to a raw, uncompressed format like .WAV or .aiff wherever 
possible.  But that is only if I'm recording for listening pleasure.  If 
the recording is just for personal reference and quick and dirty 
sketches, so to speak, then it's not so much an issue.

another option is to go with a portable dat deck, as these are 
apparently getting blown out dirt cheap on ebay at the moment, and 
possibly in stores as well (haven't looked).  the dat mechanisms are no 
longer being manufactured, so it is possible to find portable units 
around the us$150 mark, or so I have heard on the internet grapevine.  
this is a lossless format that will produce superior quality to minidisc 
and mp3 - only thing being that if your tape mechanism dies, you'll find 
it increasingly harder to get it repaired I assume.  I'm also assuming 
the dat tapes are going to go up in price as the format becomes 
superseded. (which again could also mean now is a good time to stock up 
at blowout prices...)


> I am wondering:    with all you experts on this list:
> don't say a laptop).
> I mean,  is there any elegant solution under $200?
> as a subcategory for this thread, I'd also be curious what the 
> distinction is in fidelity between Mini Disc and
> say,  mp3s or other media.
> thanks,   Rick