For Christmas, my parents got my sister a new Sony HI-MD walkman for recording her trumpet/flute/bass demos she needs to send off to be judged. When my mom brought home the MD player, I went online to check out the hardware just to be sure it was what my sister needed.
All the reviews I found gave it great reviews, even sites that deal specifically with recording instrumental music were praising it. After reading about 10 reviews of the hardware, I figured it must be great so I told my parents to wrap it up.
After Christmas things took a turn for the worse. We tested the unit and it worked great, then I started installing the software on my sisters computer. No problems on install, but when I started it, the main window closed almost instantly and the icons in the taskbar disappeared. When I unplugged the MD player, the windows stuck around and the program seemed to be acting normally. However, the second I plugged the MD player back into the computer, it would crash again. I downloaded the latest version of "Sonic Stage" (2.3) and tried again, no change.
After thinking it might be something wrong with the computer, I tried on 3 other machines, ranging from Windows XP with 512MB of ram and a 1ghz processor, to Windows 2003 with 2GB of ram and a 3200+. SP1 and SP2 didn't make a difference on windows XP. I even tried the supposed 'fix' for some problems that is provided by Microsoft. After reading more reviews I found I'm not alone! While all the reviews on the hardware were great, looking at reviews of the software, I failed to find a single good review!
The solution that actually got the program to work and transfer files was to install the beta of SP1 for Windows 2003 Server. However, when I tried to burn a CD from the recording, it would only allow me to burn a ATRAC CD. So then I had to go download ANOTHER program from Sony to convert The ATRAC3 files into WAV format so I could burn them! There is currently no real alternative for Sonic Stage to deal with the MD players files. Supposedly Real Player can be used, but it didn't work for me, and I hate that program even worse (spyware much?)
After this whole debacle, I will NEVER buy another Sony product! All their proprietary file types, software and lack of real solutions just keep making me mad!