My Hi-Fi System: Hi-MD and All the Rest

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This post was originally published in 2016 and was refreshed and updated with current information.

Well, I'm in my early 30s and I suddenly got that urge to get me some stuff couldn't have when I was younger. So I did some research into whatever happened with magnetic-optical-technology, especially the Sony MiniDisc.

While I didn't find out what happened to other MO-technology, I did find out that Sony introduced Hi-MD in 2004, only to discontinue it in 2011. Some Hi-MD players can actually store other data than audio and even play MP3s. Two things that make the whole MD thing better!!

In 2016, I ordered an MZ-NH600, MZ-NH1 are way overpriced and overrated. Why is the MZ-NH600 better than MZ-NH1? It uses normal AA batteries! I also got a bunch of MDs only to learn Sony discontinued their software SonicStage. Not only that, they even stopped serving the software at all. After some digging, I found a community-pached version of SonicStage that runs with current Windows.

So what's new now? I finally got around to buying Hi-Fi components: I got an Onkyo MD-105FX from Japan. The trouble is, I live in Germany and the device is from Japan. Differences in the plugs aside, here in Germany, the electrical system run at 230V at 50 Hz, the device from Japan takes 100V at 50 or 60 Hz. It uses the same plug as the US, but the US seems to run at 120V at 60 Hz. Given the price of these units, I'd rather not use these at the wrong voltage. And it's hard to find a transformer that'd get me the 100 Volts I need. I'm not getting a 230V to 120V one and then plug in another one for 120V to 100V.

I got a transformer that claims to do 110V. It might just be a mislabelling, just like everyone claims it's 220V here in Europe, but it's actually 230V. We used to have 220V in mainland Europe until 1987. Since then, European countries moved to 230V, with the standard made to be within the 220V spec. This transformer might actually provide 110V, since it claims to take 230V. So I'll just use the small one.

I also got other devices from the same range: Onkyo A-905X Amplifier, Onkyo K-505X Cassette Deck, Onkyo C-705 XCD-Player, and Onkyo T-405R Tuner. From what I could glean, it's not all from the same generation — the letters after the number can denote the generation: none/R, X, AX/TX, FX. Luckily, they are all compatible with each other through the generations. The only component I didn't get was the Onkyo EQ-205 Equalizer. Sure, it would complete the whole set, but it was Japan-exclusive and the sound settings I can make with the amplifier are already plenty. Buying Onkyo systems allows me to use Onkyo RI (Remote Interactive), which brings advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, I can control everything with one single remote. On the other hand, switching on the amplifier switches on all the other components on at the same time, even those I don't regularly use. Sure, I can manually switch off the unneeded components, but I can't do that remotely.

My 2022 Hi-Fi Stack: TEAC T-H380NT Tuner, Onkyo A-905X Amplifier, Onkyo MD-105FX MiniDisc Recorder, Onkyo K-505X Cassette Deck, Onkyo C-705X CD-Player
My 2022 Hi-Fi Stack: TEAC T-H380NT Tuner, Onkyo A-905X Amplifier, Onkyo MD-105FX MiniDisc Recorder, Onkyo K-505X Cassette Deck, Onkyo C-705X CD-Player

As you can see, I soon replaced the Tuner with a more modern TEAC one that supports DAB+ and internet radio. It also has some unified remote control solution, but I didn't have the time to build some kind of bridge for that. But it wouldn't be that hard, would it? There's already docbender/Onkyo-RI, so I would only need to work on the TEAC side.

I've played with the thought of replacing the CD Player with a CD Changer, but looking at the eBay listings, that seems like a bad idea: they seem to break easily.

Of course, there are speakers connected to the system. I got a pair of Teufel Ultima 20. Is that brand even known outside Germany? 

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