The Sharp 702 portable Minidisc recorder has received many awards since its release at the end of 1997, including What Hi-Fi Best Accessory 1998. If you can get your hands on this great piece of kit it would be well worth it as not only is it available at knock down prices with the advent of the Sharp 722 and brand new 821 but also there is very little difference between them!
The main difference between the Sharp 702 and the newer models is increased battery life, longer shock memory, a new ATRAC (version 6.0 instead of 5.0; 5.0 is equivalent to Sony 4.5) and a new design (+clamshell instead of slot-in in the case of the 821). The battery situation is not really an issue if you purchase a 702 as the battery of the 722 which gives you significantly longer playback and record time is compatible with the Sharp 702 and can therefore be used instead of the supplied battery to give equal battery life! Also, purchase from Richer Sounds in the U.K and you get the new battery with the unit as standard! It is currently available for around £150-160. The later models give 40 seconds of shock
memory instead of 10 (as is the case with the 702) and the new design is a matter of taste. The ATRAC change has made no audible difference to the sound and the innards of a 722 are practically identical to the 702.
Build quality of the Sharp 702 is very high and both of the units look slick (nicer than the competition in my opinion, although I only own the silver model and can therefore not comment on the appearance of the other colours). If you need any sort of digital fader or digital level control/ digital input volume control then do not buy the Sharp (or for that matter any other MD portable, as none of them have this facility). The MD portable recorders are similarly priced to the budget MD
decks and there is basically a trade off of facilities for the size of the unit.
The Sharp 702 has optical digital input but the level of this is fixed and requires a special optical cable (again, now supplied by Richer Sounds with the unit - but check before you buy. Otherwise it can be purchased from Willowvale, like the battery). Level, when recording from the analogue 3.5mm jack input, can be controlled and can be altered whilst recording (unlike on the Sonys). The display is clear and the in-line remote is backlit which is helpful late at night. Track titling
can only be done when paused on the track currently playing (disc titling when the disc is stopped), but the editing method (going into the menu to select required, editing facility) is similar to the Sony method and is excellent to use. Test mode can be entered (see Minidisc Community Page under 'Hacking') and the bass boost levels can be altered. I recommend replacing the earphones which come as standard as they can be harsh and do not do the unit justice (I recommend the Sony
831s at £15).
The ATRAC version used is Sharp 5.0, and I can't tell the difference between Sony ATRAC 4.5 and the Sharp version. High quality 24 bit A/D Conversion is used with a good DAC which, if a little soft sounding, has an excellent Hi-Fi sound when the units volume is turned to maximum and the 3.5mm jack line out is connected to your amp (the Sharps have a unique system whereby the headphone output doubles as a line output and equals line level when the volume is set at maximum). The unit has a sampling rate converter for digital inputs between 32 and 48 Khz.
Recording is very easy thanks to the clear and detailed recording level indicators on the display. Mono analogue recording is possible (doubling recording time of disc) and the usual program, repeat all, repeat one functions are provided. There is a syncro-recording function and a microphone input which sounds excellent, ideal for speech/ lecture recording. The unit also has a facility whereby the TOC from one disc can be copied to another to save valuable titling time although this will not work with copied discs because of SCMS. Auto-track marking can be cancelled. As far as I know, there is no way of defeating S.C.M.S on this unit. The unit weighs 219g including battery. The original 600mA 702 battery supplies 5 hours playback time or 3.5 hours recording. The new 800mA battery supplies significantly more. Charging time is 65-70 minutes. The unit is supplied with the following accessories:- Earphones, In-line remote control, AC adaptor, 600mA (800mA?) battery, lead, carry bag (optical lead?). I would recommend the purchase of the additional battery pack which allows the use of two AA batteries in addition to the rechargeable, which boosts playback time to approx. 20 hours with the 800mA battery!!
I purchased this unit from Richer Sounds in Nottingham, U.K in July 1998. It was a good price at £200 and is now considerably cheaper with more accessories!
This is an excellent unit that I got at a big discount - 150 USD including rebate. It's so easy to use for recording that I didn't even have to use the manual, although part of that is because of prior recording experience with my Sony MDS-JE510 deck. Still, this unit IS easy to use.
I have recorded to it from the analog o/p of VCR, opt. out of CD, and analog out of CD, all with good results.
My main complaint is that the 702 simply will not edit or erase disks that have been recorded on the Sony. It plays such disks with no problem, but that's it. I consider this an important but relatively minor inconvenience.
How does it sound? Like most other MD players, it sounds fine. Also like other portable players, it has no digital o/p, although it does have digital in. If you're looking for an inexpensive portable MD recorder and see the 702 (the MK version is best, is the general opinion) for 150 or less, you might want to consider it. Comes with a good set of accessories, including a mini-to-opt. digital cable. Does NOT come with an AA battery pack.
On a scale of 1 to 10, the MS-702 gets an 11. I got this unit in December of 1998, and I haven't even glanced at the possiblility of getting another one. The audio quality is simply supreme, and the headphones and output volume is much louder than the Sony. In addition, the LCD backlit remote control can be held and controlled comfortably with one hand(try that with a Sony!) and the size is small enough to fit in your pocket. The fact that you can take any audio source in the world and digitally record it makes this an indisposable piece of audio equipment. I've put everything on here - CDs, tapes, MP3s,
VCR audio, radio, even video games, and it works perfect every time. Quite possibly the most advanced portable audio system on the planet, now at a price of $200 or less. Once you get one, everything else just doesn't cut it anymore.
This is a GREAT unit, it's been around for a
while, but let me tell you about it...
I found this deal at refurbdepot.com, its a
refurbished MD recorder, but you know what? It
works perfectly fine! In fact theyve found that
refurbished units are 50% more likely to work
than retail because theyve undergone more
extensive testing! Anyway... on to the good stuff.
This thing is a miracle. It is small, a bit
heavy, but it fits in my jean pockets (so I wear
baggy pants, who cares:) ) On the unit itself are
all kinds of buttons. When I first opened it I
almost died because I didnt think I would ever
get a hang of it, well let me tell you I did and
quick! All the buttons are clearly labeled. Sharp
did a great job of compacting all these features
into this small unit. Things I like about the
main unit are: Included rechargeable battery
which last a LONG time, option to add AA battery
pack, recharges battery itself (plug unit into
wall for 3 hours and its done!), I like the fact
that it has a hold button so when I put it in my
pocket, it doesnt screw up a lot, but I can still
use the remote. Things I dislike about the main
unit: LCD isnt backlit, if battery needs to be
changed, its about $50.
The remote control: The remote is a very very
handy part of this MD player. From it I can view
the song title, time remaining, and time gone. I
can also change the bass (3 settings+off), change
the volume, change the song, turn it on, turn it
off, play, pause, stop, rewind, fast forward.
Wow, what a useful little contraption:) I
especially like the backlight function on the
remote. What do I dislike? I think personally
that the cord could be a bit longer between the
remote and the unit (any headphones can be
plugged into the remote so thats good though!).
Some "hidden" features:
Backlight on remote can be turned on and off,
look in manual at back of book.
If you dont save the song title, a little fish
swims on the remote instead of scrolling the song
I give this unit an 8/10. It would be higher but
the newer units are lighter, and I would like to
see a better connection to computers (for TOC
editing and recording).
I recently picked up a Sharp MD-MS702 mk (second
revision) from an electronics store. I have come
to the conclusion that Sharp has some quality
problems. The unit worked fine until after about
20 hours of use (about 8 recording hours, the
rest playback hours), the unit began to not read
the disc, and UTOC ERRORa would appear, and a
series of loud clicking noises came from the
transport. Ejecting and re-inserting the disc
would sometimes clear up the problem, but it
became so bad the unit could not even read the
TOC and would power down.
Calling Sharp Customer NO-SERVICE is wasting
time. So, I did some research and found that
lubrication of the worm gear that moves the
optical block needs lubrication. THIS IS NOT FOR
THE INEXPERIENCED, but being a radio technician
and experienced with small devices, I opened the
case of my 702 and lubricated the worm gear and
track, which both showed NO SIGNS of any
lubrication. I used some VCR grade lithium grease
from Chemtronics. This solved the problem! The
unit has since made about 10 hours of recrording
and about as many hours of playback- not a single
skip or error, even on old discs. THIS IS NOT FOR
THE INEXPERIENCED- if you aren't well versed in
electronics, take your unit to a VCR/Electronic
repair shop. Grease in the wrong place or the
slip of a screwdriver will render your MD machine
useless and beyond all hope of repair.
After all that, I while I am still partial to my
Sony MDS-302 (over four years old and hundreds of
hours of use), I will say the Sharp does make a
good recording, and it does have the ability to
be a great note-taker if the mono recording
feature is utilized. I DO NOT like the fact that
you cannot TITLE IN while recording, the unit
MUST be in STOP mode to allow the editing of
titles. I wish the unit had slighlty more AF
output on the headphone jack. The display can be
hard to read on the unit itself, and while the
remote is backlit, the display on the main unit
is not. My 702 does have good battery life, about
three hours of record, and almost 5 hours on
playback. I wish the car adapter wasn't so
expensive (almost 50 bucks) and you need the
Sharp adapter- the two radio shack adapters would
power the unit but NOT allow it to charge the
Overall, the MD-MS702 mk is a respectable unit.
Though, Sharp seems to have some serious QC
issues with their MD units. My 702 failure is
fairly common from what I have seen and heard.
STAY AWAY from the original MS-MD702 (one without
the letters "MK" next to the model number on the
bottom)...lots of problems!!!
I bought the 702 just over ayear ago, and until
recently thought it was great. The sound
quality, the battery life and recharge time was
high and low respectively. The looks of it were
also nice (to my eyes).
However, the detractions also weigh in - the
short antishock time meant that walking along
with the player in my pocket is impossible and
recently it also started going wierd - randomly
refusing to work and jumping for no reason.
Another problem is the units noise - it whirrs,
clicks and clacks at a stupidly loud volume.
Lastly, the method of inserting the discs, while
novel and very cool, is impractical. eventually
the 'door' starts to jam when a disc is inside,
or a label thats not stuck down properly means
the disc wont come out. And recently, through a
lack or proper care, the 'door' mechanism broke,
meaning that when a disc was playing/recording
dust was able to get in and get onto the disc.
To summarise, it is a good player and a good
recorder, but because of the door mechansim, it
is quite delicate - it has to be treated well, or
it will break.
I bought the Sharp MD-MS702 recorder off ebay for
about $132. It took two weeks to ship and then I
finally opened the white "sharp" box. Inside
there was the unit itself, remote, battery, AC
adapter, phones, an analog cable and a carrying
The unit is very small compared to other cheap
recorders. The design is neat and it looks cool.
The buttons are pretty easy to find, only "next"
and "previous" buttons are in not very good
place. But you will not have to use them much -
the remote is just great! Big LCD and easy-to-
find buttons make it easy to play MD's. Phones
are a complete disaster and they should've packed
a couple of blank MD's with the player.
I am used to listening MP3's and recording them
to the minidisc through the mic port turned out
to be very easy. MD-MS702 inserts track marks
itself and you can just set winamp on "play"(with
a special plug-in to insert gaps" and go
watch "The Simpsons". Titling was a bit of pain,
because of the lack of some sort of PC
connection, but it's a minor thing. The sound was
pretty good even with mic port recording. Only
some Korn songs with too much of bass sounded
bad. The Xbass feature is cool too - there are 4
levels of bass. The front-loading feature with
what Sharp is so proud is pretty nice-looking,
but if it broke, it would cause a lot of trouble.
Overall, it is a great and *cheap* unit and I am
very happy with it!