ATRAC1 upload to PC and playback in VLC

This article addresses uploading of ATRAC1 files in MD-SP or sometimes referred to as RAW SP files to pc. These have the extension .aea and can be played back in VLC Media Player (I use version 2.2).

With my standalone Pioneer Minidisc recorder I can record to standard Minidiscs. In my previous blog I described how I uploaded Hi-MD ATRAC3+ files to PC and played them back in the original .OMA container. Not only you want to keep the files as close to their original as possible, you also have to deal with the DRM system Sony put in the player and files.

Note that only the MZ-RH1 is capable of uploading old Minidisc recordings to PC. Other Hi-MD recorders are not capable of doing that.

Start: replace the driver

To start we need QHiMDTransfer (credits by Manner Moe aka Thomas Arp) version 1.0.0 testing, which you can download here or my mirror here. Install it after you download it, remove previous QHiMDtransfer versions before installing, and make a backup of your files.

Connect the MZ-RH1 with a normal minidisc in it, your PC will recognize it as a NetMD. As you have used the drive before with SonicStage the driver is installed. This driver has to be replaced with the WinUSB driver in order for QHiMDTransfer to recognize it.

Start Zadig (I used the XP version) and update it. It is located in the drivers directory of your QHiMDtransfer installation. Replace the current driver and you are ready to go. Remember that sometimes you have to pull the battery or switch off the MZ-RH1 and reconnect to your PC in order to cycle the usb connection.

Open up QHiMDtransfer and choose the NetMD drive. Upload the tracks you want to your PC, or rename or delete them (caution, since it still is a test version do this on your own risk). Open the .aea file in VLC and enjoy your music. Currently 1 hour of .aea uploaded music is around 100mb.

Further investigation

In further blogs I want to address the following things:

-Generating my own ATRAC1 files in .aea or wav
-Generating ATRAC1 LP2 or LP4 files and transferring them.
-Comparing ATRAC1 LP2/LP4 to ATRAC1 SP in file size vs length.
-Frequency analysis to spot the differences in quality with the same music source.

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