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Clearing out my office drawer a few days ago, I found myself chasing a small, transparent plastic case around the bottom of the draw, somehow unable to either grab it or work out what it was.

Eventually, victory was mine (I pulled out the draw and tipped it over; I still won!) and sitting on my desk, in all of its 1990s grace, was a small MiniDisc case.

But where was the disc itself?

Caught by pangs of nostalgia for a piece of kit that did exactly what it promised and didn’t have software failures/require updates, I headed to a box at the back of the desk, sitting alongside my old vinyl albums (yes, there is a pattern developing, people). There I found my collection of MiniDiscs, colourful and somehow wanting to be played.

Beside them was my second MiniDisc player, the Sony MZ-R410.

What else could I do?

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The Wonder of the MiniDisc

I’m aware that this might sound like the ranting of a man approaching middle age, jaded by years of iPods and MP3 players and OS updates and finding the right app to record with, but the MiniDisc really was a great format. It didn’t have all of that baggage – it was literally a “press play and enjoy” device.

Better still, it was serviced with great players, such as MZ-R410, a nomenclature that resembles an aircraft more than a music player.

A few hours later I was still listening to the MiniDisc player, using the same, single AA battery that was found in the device. It had been a good 6 years since the player had last been used (briefly, when we moved house) so this was pretty impressive.

Most impressive, of course, was the sound quality. I’m a passionate Led Zeppelin fan, and take all sorts of precautions against playing my CDs to avoid scratches. My current method is to store them in FLAC format on a DVD, ready to be restored to my hard drive in the event of a failure. Back when I bought the MiniDisc player, I stored each Led Zeppelin CD album across 4 MiniDiscs, using some useful compression called MDLP. Not ideal and not quite as good as the original CDs, but still superior to MP3.

That’s not all. MiniDiscs still playback data with no issues, unlike CD-R discs from around the same time. I’m sure I’m not alone in having attempted to play an old disc only to find holes in the reflective surface and small green/brown patches where the media has been attacked by fungus.

No such problems trouble MiniDisc – sure, a good dose of magnetism  might cause problems, but there is no sign of anything eating my music!

What Now for the Minidisc?

Sadly there isn’t an awful lot you can do with a Sony MiniDisc player in 2012. There are no options for using the discs as data storage – they only hold around 150 MB in any case, so data would be limited.

It remains a shining piece of technology, however, proof that moving parts doesn’t have to mean battery drain within 8 hours, and the quality of the recording and playback is far superior to MP3.

The result is a fondly remembered format that was ideal for recording live music and listening to it again later on, something not easily achievable (or indeed desirable if you have any concept of mobile phone security) with a modern media player/smartphone.

The Romance of Nostalgia

It might have been superseded by MP3 and the popularity of the iPod, but the Sony MiniDisc format was a fantastic example of magnetic media shrunk down yet able to offer high (for the time) storage.

In fact, if you were lucky enough to own a MiniDisc player and a collection of small, handy discs (which were encased in plastic) then the chances are that you still have either the player, discs or both.

Why have you still got them, 10 years on? Probably because you realized at the time how useful and portable the format and the players/recorders were. And now, when you look at them, you appreciate that quality.

Or is it just me? Have I been caught in the romance of nostalgia?

Let me know in the comments!

  1. Robert
    October 10, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Yes! But i can´t find any discs! Not here in Sweden any way. Everybody throwed 100 of dollars away and turned over to MP3. Sorry for my bad English. Robert Ullberg.

  2. Andy Umbo
    September 27, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    This is a little after the original article was written, but does anyone have an idea of the best MiniDisc recorders to buy used that work with a microphone? Or where to get them repaired? I have about 5 hours of MiniDisc documentary audio recordings I'd like to transfer, as well as a lot of blank discs I could still use to record. My MiniDisc is dead and gone, but I always loved this format for documentary interview and audio recording. The "auto level" was superior to anything on a tape or a cassette recorder at the time, and it had a very "full" and rich sound (and still does today compared tot he sub-500 dollar digital recorders). If I could get a portable recording unit, I'd still use it!

  3. John
    September 17, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    This article was written some time ago now, but I still have pre-recorded minidiscs, a deck and some portable players (though suspect the rechargeable ones need new batteries). In fact today, Blondie was playing earlier from my minidisc deck through a 5.1 enhanced amp.

    The beauty of the minidisc, while you might admire the aesthetics of such a compact disc, is really only the decoration in front of the heart of the concept, the ATRAC codec.

    Over many iterations ATRAC got better, more featured, richer sound and with MDLP, though that was with a compromise of a loss of quality for double the length.

    There's a surprising warmth that comes from the digital to analog conversion from ATRAC, something I've never, ever experienced with MP3 which I mainly use now.

    I think it's not nostalgia, it's purely that what succeeded Minidisc compromised on quality for quantity, of course vinyl is still king of CD, and CD king of ATRAC, but ATRAC is king of the lossy codecs.

    Here's to the next 24 years.

    • Christian Cawley
      September 18, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Great thoughts, John, thanks for sharing :)

    • John
      September 18, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      I was spurred a little on reading your article and started doing some research, the fruition of which was that I discovered that while the format as a disc the format is dead, the ATRAC codec lives on and is still being developed, albeit through open source developers.

      ATRAC was only ever supported in Windows, unless you could afford to buy one of the professional studio software packages, but it seems that the developers of FFMPEG have actually included the ability to decode ATRAC3/ATRAC3plus on every platform now, as FFMPEG is open source and is available on Mac, Linux IOS and Android.

      So what does this mean?

      Well I have successfully been able to play the OMA format music files produced through SonicStage directly on my Mac and this should be the same for any device using the latest version of VLC Media Player, which has the FFMPEG libraries linked into the application (VLC 2.2.4).

      It means that you can now carry these OMA files on your mobile/cell and once again be able to listen to ATRAC using VLC for Android.

      It also means I need to convert all my CDs again to include OMA :)

      The ATRAC support through FFMPEG appears to have sneaked out with VLC and it appears not to be a "transcode", but a conversion from ATRAC to analogue, which is pretty exciting.

      Have a look at VLC (it's been around for over a decade), it'll allow you to enjoy a hard disk full of OMA files.

  4. Daniël Oosterhuis
    July 23, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    I still love MiniDisc, but then again I'm crazy because I still mess around with cassettes, vinyl records and VHS HiFi audio. What I definitely like about the MiniDisc is the fact you can cut recordings afterwards, very useful if you're recording a radio show/concert, and you want to cut out excess (I always start a few minutes early and leave it for a few minutes afterwards), commercials, and DJ rambling. And some MiniDiscs are just lovely to look at. Although there are tons of funky cassettes out there, it was really more prevalent with the MiniDisc, every MD manufacturer was doing at least 5 different coloured ones. There's just something very satisfying about putting the MiniDisc in and using it, recording mixtapes (or should is say mixdiscs?) from my vinyl collection -especially some 45s which I have a boatload of-, the radio, or my digital audio collection. Even if MiniDisc isn't in the league of analog audio and CD audio quality, it's a very fun format to use.

    • Christian Cawley
      July 24, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      " it's a very fun format to use."

      This is a key observation, I think. There is something innately enjoyable about handling an MD and using the player, with the various features. Far more fun than a boring CD!

      • Daniël Oosterhuis
        August 6, 2016 at 1:02 am

        Exactly :)

        One thing, you said there's no way to use MiniDisc as a storage format, but I found out this isn't totally true. You can format a regular MD in HiMD mode, with a HiMD Walkman. Next to having the ability to cram 28 minutes of LPCM uncompressed audio on the disc, you can also use it as a storage disk, as Windows will see a HiMD disc as an USB disk. They were able to cram 305MB of data on a regular MD in HiMD mode, which is still impressive considering the discs in regular mode only hold half of that. It wouldn't be a very useful storage format, but it is possible!

        • Christian Cawley
          August 30, 2016 at 4:09 pm

          Thanks for sharing that, Daniel, I'll look into it!

  5. Graeme
    July 4, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    So funny I was just thinking today about my old Yamaha 4 track mini disc player.
    I gave it to a mate. I messaged him & asked for it back.
    I've wasted so much time on these current recording daw's & pow wow interfaces but I thought why not simply go 4 tracks simple & something I know I can get results with.

    Great article enjoy the Zeppelin

    • Christian Cawley
      July 4, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Hope it works out! Thanks for reading :)

  6. Leslie
    June 23, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Dug mine back out. My husband and I want to record ourselves as we practice guitar. Will update as we have success.

    • Christian Cawley
      June 23, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Feel free to share a clip or two!

  7. Graham jessup
    June 15, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Bring it back get rid of this iPod download nonsense ! Mini disc revival needed in 2016 I love mini disc

    • Christian Cawley
      June 15, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Let's start it now!

      • chris
        August 17, 2016 at 3:03 am

        still rocking sony's mz-rh1 in 2016. Funny, when I bought it new, it was 3man yen. Today it sells new on amazon for 9man yen.

  8. fiaz
    March 8, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Lancashire over here and i do live my mini disks. my parents bought some portable recorders a number of years ago, a MZ-S1 among them, and i've been hooked all along. listening to it as i right this!
    i get some weird looks on the bus when i'm switching over the disks, but it kind of makes me feel powerful to know my piece of audio entertainment is far more superior to their pathetic Iphones. Great article by the way!

  9. Mike Bundy
    January 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    In response to Cuauvaz it is possible to get the software. For windows XP you'll need SonicStage 4.3 ultimate, and for Windows 7 64 bit you will need this file and if you have a NetMD which is what I have then you will need a driver file as well - I use NetMD760.
    Apparently HiMD drivers are included in Windows 7 but I was never lucky enough to own one of those!
    Have a look at Sony Insider Forums which is where I found the stuff needed to get my MD going again.
    Don't forget you cannot get the music back off the old minidiscs to a new computer with SonicStage, best keep them as they are.
    You can of course erase all the tracks and re-record on the discs - if not sure download the players manuals

    • Christian Cawley
      March 8, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Good advice, Mike, thanks for sharing!

  10. Cuauvaz
    December 22, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    hi! I'm a minidisc enthusiast since the mid 90's (way before the MDLP option) and I own quite a few discs, a player and two portables, but for some reason I had to a hard reboot my old computer and I lost the software, is there a way to still get it? I can record on my player or the portables but I have discs that I transfered music using the software that I can't erase of edit with out, any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Christian Cawley
      December 22, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Any software options for minidisc would be good to know!

  11. geryon
    December 11, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Great format, robust and almost indestructible. All the minidisc players I have had still work and play and the discs recorded and played without so much as a glitch. Some of my discs are over 15 years old and all still play perfectly. It was the format of choice for people transitioning from tapes to digital, who still wanted control over what they listen to and record.

    The ATRAC encoding used by Sony Minidisc was (and still is) superior to all the crud quality aac and mp3 files most of today's kids are listening to on smartphones. The sound chip was also better and Sony always had a distortion free form of 'mega bass' somewhere on all of it's MD devices, meaning the sound was clearer, deeper and punchier than anything Apple could dream of. I remember when I first got an iPod, the sound was a let down and the bass was lacking. Over the years of owning iPods that has never improved so I went back to sony, with their new range of 'hi-res' solid state walkmans. Better bass, drag and drop files and it supports more file formats. No shitty iTunes.

  12. Roy F
    December 7, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I came to the Minidisc concept very late, in fact after Sony had stopped producing them.
    I was looking for a medium that was portable but above all had great sound quality.
    I had MP3 players but the sound is so flat, listen to a recording on a mindisc and the spatial; awareness is surprising, bits of hidden music are suddenly there and songs you thought you knew backwards come up with a fresh wide sound where you hear every nuance of the instruments. I have now started collecting decks and players to keep my new hobby going for a few years yet.

  13. Pepe
    December 2, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    I just found mine (actually my wife's it was a christmas gift to her back in the 19o?) still in pristine conditions and still played with the same old battery :)
    I'm using a high end head set HOLY COW! I forgatten how good the sound was ...I decided to to record a few vinyl to see how good the conversion may sound ,,,is no brainer .,I found a new old toy ...amazing little gadget ...all I need is a few more blank discs and Im set

  14. Adam Hampton (Stretch)
    October 6, 2015 at 1:43 am

    I originally started off when Minidiscs hit the scene back in 1992, and bought the Sony MZ-1 (I believe) from Service Merchandise (wow, flashback!). And I began on the path of getting every pre-recorded Minidisc I could get my hand on at Best Buy (just about the only place with them), and a good handful of recordable discs. I had that unit for a while, even after damaging/losing the AC adapter. I held on to my collection for over 10 years, and then got a NetMD player (junk), where Sony was making them cheaper to try and stretch them out as long as possible. The NetMD I think was the death in their popularity, along with MP3s and CD-Rs coming out around that time. The need to transfer your music via SonicStage on a PC was such a hinderance, it just wasn't practical. And only recently did someone decide to port the software to Windows 32 and 64-bit versions. For some crazy reason, I let it all go, and GAVE it away. I think I was tired of waiting for everything to fix itself. And within the last year, a co-worker decided to offload his two MD players and a handful of recordable discs. And here I go again, chasing the dragon... trying to get my fix on this wonderful piece of technology! And as I type this, I'm listening to my wonderful music collection on a Sharp MD-MS702 unit at work!

  15. Brian J Hoskins
    August 30, 2015 at 8:24 am

    I became hooked on the idea of Mini Disc in the mid 90s. I was still at secondary school, but I was working a part time job at a local Chinese restaurant. So I saved up my money and bought an MZ-R35 brand new.

    It cost a lot of money! But it was such a massive step forward compared to tape walkmans, which is what most of my friends had at the time. Some of my friends had CD walkmans, but there was always something missing from the CD format. Something important. It just didn't have the romance that cassette tapes had.

    Fortunately, MiniDisc *did* carry over the magic from cassette tapes. That magic was in MIX TAPES. If you had a CD walkman in the mid 90s, you were playing your favourite CDs but you couldn't make your own. My MZ-R35 could record MiniDisc mix-tapes, and they were amazing!
    Funnily enough, mp3 audio players don't seem to have captured the same magic that cassette tapes and mini-discs had. I think it's because you can't create a 'tangible' mix tape. You can give someone a playlist, and it kinda works, but it's not quite the same, is it?

    I still have my MZ-R35, and every time I see it I feel compelled to play something on it. It hasn't lost its magic.

  16. ross
    May 20, 2015 at 12:59 am

    I've got a 'big' mini disk player I use for tracks for my singing sets, still the best sound ever!!! Anyone have any idea how to sent spotify tracks from an ipad to a minidisc?? Thanks in advance ross

  17. Byron
    May 4, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    A very nice thing about MiniDisc, at least the older 1990s versions, is that they are entirely independent of the computer. In these days, that is a big plus. You can enjoy your music without constant tracking of what you're listening to, etc. And the sound is sublime.

  18. Preston
    May 4, 2015 at 10:56 am

    I just got out my MZ-RH10...and the OLED screen seems to have gone. Alas. I haven't used it to listen to music for a long time as I'd rather listen to the sounds outside while walking around. However it's often in use for recordings and to transfer LPs to the computer. I wonder if these wonderful things are repairable, or if spare parts are now a dream.

    There isn't anything out there that I'm aware of that does in-unit editing, recording AND works as a personal music player. And computer data backup. And has piggybacking AA batteries (a boon when I was field recording around the middle east with iffy electricity). The myth of progress.

  19. adriano
    April 14, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I Love Minidisc.
    I have 300 minidisc recordable more MD Player recorder.
    Live Minidisc.

  20. Kurt
    March 18, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I thought I would add my two cents here. A friend of mine gave me a Sony minidisc player/recorder. I bought a Cyndi Lauper disk on eBay. I have a pair of Sony MDR -V6 headphones. I normally listen on my iPhone 6. I was blown away by the difference in audio quality. The stereo field is wider. The bass is tighter. Distortion is less - almost nonexistent. I have done several comparisons between the two devices, and the minidisc sounds better – much better. I cannot believe it.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 20, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Always good to hear a story of a new Minidisc fan! How much was the disc, by the way?

      • andrzejpolko
        July 18, 2015 at 1:01 am

        Probably it was as chip as dart.
        As far as I know the compression of the MD was always called the best of any other. Mp3 is a substitute only. I can hear it when I compare the sounds of MP3 (even the best, 320kbs) to the same music in MD format. MD is the best format for compressing of any sound I have ever seen (heard).
        If you lost some recorded material on MD I can recall it for you. Just give me a note. If it is very important I will do it for you with double pleasure.
        The most important is not to record (not to use) the disc at all.
        I never take any money. I love to help!
        Andrzej

  21. martyn
    February 16, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Sure did! Was a brilliant nite!! Highlight being landlords 75 year old mother trying to 'pogo' punk style to tracks from the sex pistols... guess you not from the west Yorkshire area then? Just picked up some denon twin m - disc players as a trade in. Never seen any before but sure wish you could still buy new ones... These will be at least 12 years old but still sound the 'business' Martyn.

    • Christian Cawley
      February 20, 2015 at 9:38 am

      North Yorkshire here, occasionally venture into South Yorks for family reasons :)

  22. martyn
    February 12, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Work and live in West Yorkshire, had to go mobile again as all regular bars we worked in seemed to want to currently do mainstream pop dance and karaoke! ! Play classic rock and some punk thru a 3 kilowatt sound system. ... Sounds Mega! Am at the Gundog pub this sat 14th formerly the Sportsman on Crown street in Halifax, Should be a busy nite if enough of the old crowd remember and turn up..... Worked in another bar a few years back, a young girl asked for a track and I pulled out a minidisc box to show her the album, she looked totally amazed, had never seen one before! There's life in the 'old format' yet....Martyn.

    • Christian Cawley
      February 16, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Karaoke is everywhere these days. So sad. Sounds like you can put on a great evening of music with your selection :)

  23. Ginou
    February 6, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Oh Memory Lane :)

    MD Players came along for me when I was finishing college. Went through two models... I still have my Net MD MZ-NE410... still going on strong, with about 14 mixed discs. ( I had over 30...)
    Sound quality is still superb and I have had ONE AA battery in it for over a year !!!!!
    The only thing I truly regret is not being able to connect it to my wireless headphones, but that's ok.... I use the plugged one :)
    Vive les MINIDISC :)

    • Christian Cawley
      February 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

      My minidiscs sit on a nearby shelf, staring at me... challenging me to play them. Sometimes I give in.

      Without a doubt, I think one of the unsung advantages of MD was its low battery use. Those truly were the days...

  24. martyn
    February 4, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Nice to know people still appreciate a good format even tho its inventors killed it off too early! Work as a dj playing rock music... hate laptops ,hate the boomy muddy sound of mp 3 tracks. Played thru a decent system in a big venue they are still far superior. Ok cd have the edge sound quality wise but minidiscs are harder to damage and seem to last forever! Even cd 's eventually skip if you que in the same track enough times. Afraid I'm still hooked even after all these years, only downside is size of box to write track lists on.... Buy a high end one at a good price on ebay and you won't be disappointed! My tascam players still used on a weekly basis... long live MINIDISC!! Martyn, from MARTYN'S ROCK SHACK.

    • Christian Cawley
      February 12, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Thanks for sharing that Martyn. Where is your rock shack?

  25. Robert Russell
    January 4, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Greetings all mini disc player lovers. I have one of these--a Sony mzn505 mini disc player--but alas no software and it's not downloadable from Sony. Does any one have them disc?,I will gladly pay a reasonable price

  26. Alan
    November 11, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Yes, I absolutely agree! The hardware implementation was excellent. It was let down by the software (OpenMG Jukebox/SonicStage). I still have my first Sharp Minidisc (non-LP capable) portable, superseded by a Sony NetMD portable (lost somewhere in an unopened box after my last house move about 6 months ago). I finally scored a perfect Sony NetMD portable yesterday at a charity store for $3.99 USD. Looks, records and plays perfectly! Finally, portable bliss again.

    I hate MP3 even at its best bitrate and find Minidisc ATRAC compression sounds better when using quality headphones (no, not those cheap ear buds that Sony, Apples etal sell). I find even with the best earphones that MP3 is ear fatiguing after just minutes, and I lose interest rapidly in even my favorite music. By contrast, I can and have listened to the Minidisc for hours.

    Truth be told, I still prefer CD for newer music releases master for digital, and vinyl for older music. (I still feel that older music mastered for it's original media sounds best.) If you don't believe me, listen (on a high quality sound system) to "Who's Next" on CD and then on LP. But you can’t beat Minidisc for the combination of portability, robustness and quality.

    It saddens me to think of a whole generation of human beings who really believe that MP3 played through cheap $2 ear buds (or 3" portable speakers) is the apex of quality music reproduction.

    Full disclosure: I still play my turntables, Akai reel-to-reel deck and Nakamichi Cassette deck through my 1970’s era Sansui receiver… so perhaps I’m just enamored by obsolete technology. Nah… it really did sound better in the ‘70s….

    PS - Regarding Ricks comments... digital has it's place, I'm just not convinced that digital sounds better then analogue for music reproduction. And… it just about summons up everything that is wrong with the music industry - it focuses on cheap, fast, and mastering for bass and loudness rather then quality. I can tolerate a few clicks or some tape hiss… I can’t tolerate compressed to lifeless MP3.

    Peace out man!

    • Owen
      November 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Hey I have had my MDS JE-520 for at least 20 years now! and am loving it. Bought from Richer Sounds all those years ago and still going strong, with not a problem in sight, original remote control, manual. Over 100 disks of music, I just love it. The editing and track moving facilities was what caught my eye all those years ago and all the other functions, what a package of it's time. And I did'nt even have one any where near the top of the range. It still sits proudly with my Denon HDMI receiver and is not going anywhere for now. I also have the MDX -66XLP (Xplode) Mini disc changer sitting here that was used in my car long with USB dongles, the mini disc sounded twice as better, OK it also had the Xplode technology, but the clarity was a lot clearer. Sadly no car to put it in at the moment, I'm reluctant to sell it thou....Oh well It's on my lap as I type...How sad...Lol

  27. Alan
    November 11, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Yes, I absolutely agree! The hardware implementation was excellent. It was let down by the software (OpenMG Jukebox/SonicStage). I still have my first Sharp Minidisc (non-LP capable) portable, superseded by a Sony NetMD portable (lost somewhere in an unopened box after my last house move about 6 months ago). I finally scored a perfect Sony NetMD portable yesterday at a charity store for $3.99 USD. Looks, records and plays perfectly! Finally, portable bliss again.

    I hate MP3 even at its best bitrate and find Minidisc ATRAC compression sounds better when using quality headphones (no, not those cheap ear buds that Sony, Apples etal sell). I find even with the best earphones that MP3 is ear fatiguing after just minutes, and I lose interest rapidly in even my favorite music. By contrast, I can and have listened to the Minidisc for hours.

    Truth be told, I still prefer CD for newer music releases master for digital, and vinyl for older music. (I still feel that older music mastered for it's original media sounds best.) If you don't believe me, listen (on a high quality sound system) to "Who's Next" on CD and then on LP. But you can’t beat Minidisc for the combination of portability, robustness and quality.

    It saddens me to think of a whole generation of human beings who really believe that MP3 played through cheap $2 ear buds (or 3" portable speakers) is the apex of quality music reproduction.

    Full disclosure: I still play my turntables, Akai reel-to-reel deck and Nakamichi Cassette deck through my 1970’s era Sansui receiver… so perhaps I’m just enamored by obsolete technology. Nah… it really did sound better in the ‘70s….

    PS - Regarding Ricks comments... digital has it's place, I'm just not convinced that digital sounds better then analogue for music reproduction. And… it just about summons up everything that is wrong with the music industry - it focuses on cheap, fast, and mastering for bass and loudness rather then quality. I can tolerate a few clicks or some tape hiss… I can’t tolerate compressed to lifeless MP3.

    Peace out man!

  28. Alan
    November 11, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Yes, I absolutely agree! The hardware implementation was excellent. It was let down by the software (OpenMG Jukebox/SonicStage). I still have my first Sharp Minidisc (non-LP capable) portable, superseded by a Sony NetMD portable (lost somewhere in an unopened box after my last house move about 6 months ago). I finally scored a perfect Sony NetMD portable yesterday at a charity store for $3.99 USD. Looks, records and plays perfectly! Finally, portable bliss again.

    I hate MP3 even at its best bitrate and find Minidisc ATRAC compression sounds better when using quality headphones (no, not those cheap ear buds that Sony, Apples etal sell). I find even with the best earphones that MP3 is ear fatiguing after just minutes, and I lose interest rapidly in even my favorite music. By contrast, I can and have listened to the Minidisc for hours.

    Truth be told, I still prefer CD for newer music releases master for digital, and vinyl for older music. (I still feel that older music mastered for it's original media sounds best.) If you don't believe me, listen (on a high quality sound system) to "Who's Next" on CD and then on LP. But you can’t beat Minidisc for the combination of portability, robustness and quality.

    It saddens me to think of a whole generation of human beings who really believe that MP3 played through cheap $2 ear buds (or 3" portable speakers) is the apex of quality music reproduction.

    Full disclosure: I still play my turntables, Akai reel-to-reel deck and Nakamichi Cassette deck through my 1970’s era Sansui receiver… so perhaps I’m just enamored by obsolete technology. Nah… it really did sound better in the ‘70s….

    PS - Regarding Ricks comments... digital has it's place, I'm just not convinced that digital sounds better then analogue for music reproduction. And… it just about summons up everything that is wrong with the music industry - it focuses on cheap, fast, and mastering for bass and loudness rather then quality. I can tolerate a few clicks or some tape hiss… I can’t tolerate compressed to lifeless MP3.

    Peace out man!

  29. bellinsky
    November 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Minidisc-- just a wonderfull format.
    My favorite. I'm jogging with minidisc music. Full sound, good to handle.
    Sonys biggest fault to discontinue this format.

  30. Edwin V Schaik
    November 6, 2012 at 12:41 am

    i like md, cause i have myn favorite music live on disc,100disc 80 full, 5hr disc,
    now i can rec 10hrs sighn from djS!!,
    and i notice that no1 say somthing about rec

  31. Brad Salter
    October 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Much love for the MD!

    Like many others I took the plunge years ago. I recall agonising for weeks over which format to go for - recordable CD or Minidisc? Little did we know a certain MP3 player would slay the pair in a matter of months...

    Having finally got round to flogging lots of my hi fi kit on *Bay I came to my Sony MDS-JB940 Deck UK Edition in the loft...A very nice piece of hardware back in the day.

    A quick search on said site revealed these decks are making good money (mine at least £100 starting bid) – with original MD discs going for £10 a piece minimum. I spotted a Jean Michelle Jarre 5 disc set in the hundreds, plus it seems there is a floursishing niche market, with our Japanese friends keeping the price high one suspects. All of this got me thinking, as well as looking through my 150 odd recorded discs... The more I looked at it, the more the nostalgia grew and I just couldn't part with it! It’s now hooked back up to my hi fi and sounding pretty damn good – just as I remember it! It’s running alongside a Rega Saturn CD and holding its corner with ease.

    I've even got some ‘mix tapes’ too and yes, I agree with previous posts - there is something very relaxing about making compilations in such a fashion, with the youth of today somewhat missing the point – process is as important as outcome! I'm currently listening to my ‘Lo Fi sessions’ – complete with my titles scrolling across the display, (my deck allowed connection of a full size keyboard) RETRO! Plus, it’s as if 150 albums have just appeared in my collection! Result!

    I may even break out my MD walkman, just to see some gormless youth mouthing to his mate ‘wassat?!’

    ‘It’s not where you’re from – it’s where you’re at!’ (Ian Brown 1990)

    Long live the MD!

    • toni
      October 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      I hav a Sony mini disc MD-MZ410 walkman never used I was thinking to sale but i dont realy know how much they go for anyone can tell me pls if u know thax

      • Nick
        November 4, 2012 at 3:38 am

        toni, check out ebay as thousands of MD items there and you can compare to what's for sale.

  32. Clint Eff
    October 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    The minidisc in my opinion, is far superior in sound quality of the CD, it's much easier to use, last much longer and is more versatile than a tape deck and a CD recorder. I have a Pioneer Elite MD recorder (Didn't know they made one!) that I bought for about $100 four years ago. It'd been purchased by a guy who never used it and it was in pristine condition. MSRP: $800 USD. It's not only beautiful to look at, it's sound is FAR SUPERIOR to the Sony. LOVE IT! The CD came along in the early 80's, the MD came in the early 90's. My take is this: For the record companies to continue to make $$$, they chose the CD format and who knows, they may have delayed the release of the MD format because, if the MD came at the same time as CD, I think people wouldn't have gotten rid of their LP's, (which IMHO, sound better) which would've stunted the sales of CD's so, they gave us CD to keep the money train rolling and make us give up LP's (which I didn't), which they now sell back to us at 2 and 3 times what we paid for them! I saw the writing on the wall. My experience is that LP's sound better recorded to MD's, than they EVER did to CD's and I love flipping people out when they come to my house and listen, then I show them the MD, which many have NEVER seen before! The MD gives you better sound than the CD and also, more options that tape decks. I think the marketing of the CD is what killed the MD. My thoughts? Better than CD and MP3. If anyone out there has any MD's they don't use or want, send them to me because I DO!

  33. syxiepoo
    October 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

    As a sort of follow-on, a couple of observations.

    The 1GB Hi-MD disc is eminently useful for moderate data storage (clearly NOT many hi-grade images).

    Someone said that the demise of Hi-MD was like that of Beta VCR - technological high quality defeated by pure commercialism. I still have a Sony Beta Hi-fi machine and the image and sound quality was always far superior to even the best VHS. Sadly, tape, of either format, was much too bulky and the mechanisms prone to jamming, so my Tivo is now the acceptable solution!

    Now, commercial greed has pushed up the price of Hi-MD blank discs to, typically, £12 each! I'm glad I had the foresight to stock up on these and regular disks a couple of years ago.

    I would summarise by saying that, whilst MP3 is flat and impersonal, MD is warm, tactile ... and technically interesting. All my friends, female as well as male, are fascinated by the MD technology and blown away by the sound quality.

    Sony, in particular, really should consider bringing MD back.

    • Jean Poirier
      October 3, 2012 at 4:36 am

      I am using a minidisc for live sound recording when filming with my super8 movie camera. Jean

  34. hoitdeimei
    September 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    - Or is it just me?
    - No.

  35. Rick
    September 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Doing a little cleanup I just counted a total of 230 recorded Minidiscs and 30 blank MDs still in the sealed box. I still have a Victor (JVC as it is known in Japan, where I lived from 98 to 2000) with 1 playback deck and 3 record/playback decks. It would record 3 CDs to 3 MDs in sequence. Pretty good system.
    Also have a NET MD from Sony somewhere.
    Any ideas if people would by my medias for any reason? I live in Brazil which makes it even harder to find people who even know what a Minidisc is.
    But it was nice to find this post.
    Cheers.

    • Nick
      November 4, 2012 at 3:32 am

      Sell it on ebay.

  36. Ed Lopez
    September 26, 2012 at 5:20 am

    MiniDisc format was far more pure and loyal to the original source than MP3... and it was as small as a format could get before moving into an MP3 player. It's quite sad the format isn't supported and that it never gained traction beyond Japan. MP3 is has trumped because it's an easy fix for people who demand less in sound quality. This is not to knock those that like the MP3 format - I understand it's still much easier than carrying a MiniDisc player around, but the MP3 should have done better. I always wondered about DAT. I hear musicians that still use it to record demos. Somewhere the demand for quality waned in favor of quantity - but some sources that store a lot of music sound so horrible, I have no idea how people can be satisfied with them.

  37. bz11
    September 26, 2012 at 4:00 am

    This article really gives me goosebumps. I have a box labeled "MD" stored in my room. I opened the box and these are the list;

    -A hard box with 25 pcs minidiscs.
    -4 minidiscs albums; VH1-Divas, Barbra Streisand - Back To Broadway and 2disc Forest Gump OST.
    -Sony MZ-RH1 (Black)
    -Sony MZ-N10 (Grey)
    -Sony MZ-N10 (Silver)
    -Sony MZ-N707 (Silver)
    -Sony MZ-R900 (Silver)
    -Sony MZ-E810SP (Pink)
    -Panasonic SJ-MJ95 (Silver)
    -Victor (JVC) XM-C11 (Red)

    I also have bookshelf Panasonic SC-PM30MD that still playing md. I really find Minidiscs are very unique and still excite me. Thanks to this article. For now I'm putting my nano aside and let this nostalgic technology entertain me.

  38. Ben Sharp
    September 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Another big fan of the mini disc, been using them since I was about 11 years old and still have a couple of portables, a deck and a player in the car.

    Much as I love the format, it's always been doomed due to the manufacturers limitations on it's use and how difficult it is to use the format with a computer. If it was an "open" format and more pc compatible it would be the king of all music formats.

    It's a shame really, it's great that you can back up all your music in high quality but you can't get it off again apart from a real time re-recording with another deck.

    I also find the labels quite irritating.

    All that said, I do still like them, I do still keep buying them and lust over new MD equipment and I do still listen to them everyday. It's probably a testament to how good a format it could have been that despite it's drawbacks it still has a huge following.

  39. Synthman
    September 15, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Minidisc is the best thing ever. Im a musician, and its a great tool. It will never ever die out for me. People say its a dying format? lol.. Look at the new HI MD format. Its totally awesome and superior.

  40. Den
    September 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Spooky indeed. I just dusted off my old Net MD Walkman and bought a Sony Minidisc component for my hifi on eBay. It may be an old format, but everything I put on it is mine - not rented from Apple. And it has already outlasted at least half a dozen various iPods that I've bought....

  41. Ryan Lock
    August 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I took my old mini disc player everywhere. It eventually lost it's ability to record new discs, so it died a slow death as I became tired of previously recorded music. Still the best media player I've ever owned, beating my classic iPod which bleeds points for being tied to iTunes.

    Right now my mobile media player of choice is android phone with expanded memory and Power Amp app. Drag, drop and play.

  42. Jimma
    July 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I personally use MiniDisc every single day. I have MiniDisc in my Mini (proper Mini of course, not BMW imposter), in my VW Camper, I have 12 or more MD and Hi-MD portables, a component deck, 2 bookshelf systems and a MD drive linked to my laptop and 1000 plus discs. It's fair to say that since I started using MiniDisc in 1998, I've come to really, really love the format.
    I have never had a disc or player/recorder fail and I've taken them to many places that have really tested their endurance.
    It's just such a shame that more people haven't adopted this marvelous invention and it's sad to see it killed off by ipods and the like. I know people enjoy being able to carry around their whole music collection on one small unit but it is sadly at the expense of sound quality. Mind you, if I wanted to drop the quality and go for quantity I could fit 45 hours of music on one Hi-MD disc anyway, but I think I'll stick to high quality sp and one album per disc. I don't think most people really know what they are missing out on.
    I recently did a comparison for a friend that was asking about my Sony MZ-NH1 Walkman. He had just been listening to a Pendulum tune bought from itunes on his iphone and I happened to have the same tune recorded from cd onto MiniDisc. When he listened to the same tune on both units one after the other using the same headphones that the huge gulf in sound quality became immediately apparent. In fact he said the difference was "unbelievable".
    I will continue to use MiniDisc for the forseeable future. It just does everything I need and more.
    I recently gave my seven year old nephew a brand new MD Walkman for his birthday. He absolutely adores it and his friends have never seen anything like it. It's great fun making discs for him and he loves listening to new music. His little sister is next on the list for an MD player in a year or two.
    Anyway that's enough of my gushing, you get the idea.
    I love the MiniDisc and long may it live!!

    • Saikat Basu
      July 22, 2012 at 7:39 am

      And I read somewhere that MiniDiscs weren't that popular in America as they were in Japan. I could be wrong though.

  43. Markus
    July 21, 2012 at 1:09 am

    I LOVE MINIDISC. I bought my first deck in 96. In college from 97-01 I did an 80s radio show on the college station, and hooked up a tiny digital fm walkman to a portable MD recorder to record all my shows off the air. We even got an MD deck in the radio station which allowed me to do prep stuff at home.

    Last weekend I brought out a bag full of MDs of my shows and listened for hours and hours. The discs are from back when buying online was fun and new, and I could buy Hello Kitty MiniDiscs, and other cool designs from Japan, instead of the boring ones they sold here in the US.

    A terrific (though costly) investment at the time; they still sound just as great today. They will out-last the CDs I have because of the genius cartridge that prevents the actual disc from being touched/scratched. (Hopefully the last MD deck I bought 12 years ago will outlast CD decks though.)

    When it comes down to it, price and lousy marketing doomed it here in the US, though it did well in Japan. I get into arguments about it with people; the MD was never meant to replace the CD, it was meant to replace the tape cassette.

    I'm so glad I didn't go with DCC instead!!!

    • Bad Disciple
      July 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Hail all, nice to see so many people owners of a MD and still thinking of it!
      Myself owing a Sharp MD-SR50 which I always had with me and I've used it for the quite good purposes (being a musician) of recording sudden ideas or situations etc. Then new era begun... I also put it aside first taking care to move (almost) everything in my computer. But... recently I remembered some material on few of those mini-discs which I DIDN'T move in the computer!! So I picked up my old MD-SR50 and connected it to the computer... and... it doesn’t want to recognize the disc anymore, it just doesn't want to work. I've always been careful with it and kept it in a very good condition, though. It just doesn't work anymore with none of the mini-discs. It shows all starting indications, "TOC read" and then says "Can't read"! I need to recover those old mini-disc records and I wonder could there be a way to bring it back to functioning as it seems it works just till reading the disc. Otherwise I'll have to buy NOW a new MD player/recorder to recover that material (and I can perfectly use it in different recording situations as I still have so many virgin MDs)... Any suggestions?

      • Seshadri Srinivasa
        September 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm

        That was because the Optical lens would be dusty with moisture on it. Get the optical lens cleaned by a professional.
        Care should be taken so that one does not touch the recording head which records magneetically. Alingment of the magnetic head must not be disturbed, infact, do not touch the recording head...

        Even I had the same problem. My close pal who was a Sony engineer, fixed it for me and ti works pretty well.

        I posses JVC 4-in-one which has a 3 disc changer, 3 MD walkman, 2 Sony MD recorder and one Kenwood MD recorder. I have a collection of 200 MDs. :)

        • Nick
          November 4, 2012 at 3:28 am

          Seshadri, the cleaner will do no good as the laser is shot for what Bad Disciple says happens. Not worth repairing and time for a new unit. MD units can still be bought and you can get a deal on ebay.

  44. The MCP
    July 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Not only do I still love my MiniDiscs, I still actively *use* them all the time -- my car stereo is still an MDX-C5970 in the dash, and an MDX-C65 six-disc changer in the trunk. :) (Complemented by an MDS-JE330 deck in the home-stereo rack, of course.)

    To me, the MiniDisc is the near-ideal format for car stereo; the fact that the discs are protected inside a shuttered plastic shell, and will only fit one way into the loading slot, makes them far superior to CDs since you can, with a bit of practice, load and unload discs strictly by feel, without even having to look at them or take your eyes off the road. And oddly enough, I find that I actually *prefer* having only a few discs' worth of music handy when driving; the few times I did try hooking up an MP3 player for a long road trip, I found that having 2000+ tracks on shuffle-play was actually quite distracting, because I kept giving in to the temptation to repeatedly click the "skip" buttons trying to find just the "right" song that I *knew* was in there somewhere, but the shuffle-play was obstinately refusing to bring up.

    • Joseph
      August 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      Congratulations man :)
      Minidiscs for LIFE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Dan
    July 12, 2012 at 12:41 am

    Nice reading all the comments regarding the Minidisc....I bought my 1st machine in 1994...and own many Pro studio units including the E-12 and older units such as the MDS-B5/B6P decks. My collection is over 1100+ discs with over 22,000 songs in the library.....never had a disc fail....even the ones recorded back in 1994....long live the people that love them.
    As a Broadcaster for 33+ years, I will continue to use the format and believe in 100%.

  46. syxiepoo
    June 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I started several years ago with a simple recorder/player that I still have - somewhere. More recently, I bought a Sony MZ-RH1 and started recording PCM in Hi-MD format. The results are unbeatable and even on smaller MDs, the capacity most adequate. I've occasionally made some subjective comparisons between this and MP3 and Hi-MD wins hands down every time. I was so impressed with this kit that I now have three MZ-RH1s hooked up with my music/PC systems around the house. MP3 technology is very impressive (I have a few + phones), but the MD recorders are simply jewel-like and, for me, will always be a unique piece of audio history that still delivers the goods. In fact, if I could find a Hi-MD recorder deck unit, I'd seriously consider buying that too!

    • Nick
      November 4, 2012 at 3:21 am

      Yes Syx not too many people know unfortunately the sad news of Sony was just about to release it's ES series deck with Hi-MD and scrapped it just before the mass manufacturing process. No one else I believe will ever take a chance on a Hi-MD deck so we will only have portables with this technology. We will never know how great these units would have sounded and I am sure would've blown away all other recording mediums for the personal consumer.

  47. Russ
    June 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I still use my minidisc player at home when I want to just relax and listen to an album. I also carry a mp3 player for commuting. Both hare their use, but I am still partial to the Minidisc. In fact I have a MD, NetMD and HiMD and I like each for different reasons.

  48. Hitesh Nair
    May 30, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Memory Lane

  49. bylordandsword
    May 30, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Minidisc disks are optical media, not magnetic.Having said this, I love MD! I skipped iPod and MP3 and forward to FLAC and other lossless format. So far all my MD disks are still in great condition, while my DAC tapes are failing...

    • Timo
      June 2, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      Indeed, MD is primarily an "optical" format and for all intents and purposes immune to magnetic data corruption or erasure.

      More precisely, MD is Magneto-Optical. During recording the laser is used to heat the recording layer of the disc to a temperature at which it can be magnetically influenced by the recording head at which point the data is digitally encoded. The temperature is VERY specific and it's extremely unlikely the disc will ever encounter that temperature in normal use.

      Once the data as been encoded it, theoretically, cannot be damaged or influenced by magnets like computer diskettes (remember those?) or tapes or credit card strips because the temperature change is required.

      On a bet, I once put a recorded MD right on an extremely powerful magnet and left it for hours. No damage or corruption at all, perfect playback and no errors. I won the bet. The temperature change is absolutely required to change the data.

      Interestingly, the record head actually touches the surface of the disc although only to get the magnets in the correct proximity to the recording layer. And the optical playback laser reads from the other side of the disc!

      MD is a fascinating technology in and of itself and ATRAC 4.5 sounds extremely good compared to the first generation.

      There is a Sony technical paper out there which explains this much better than I.

  50. Wayfarer
    May 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I'm a long way past approaching middle age - left it behind a while ago. Which means I remember valves. Not only do I remember them, I reckon - in essence - we've now gone back to them.

    As a small boy we had a radio. Valves of course but (contrary to the whistling, crackling nonsense we see in 'period' dramas) quality was excellent. But you had time to make a pot of tea while it warmed up. As times got better, we had a record player too - valves again.

    By the time I was a teenager we had transistors in everything. Suddenly everything started up *immediately*, with the exception of the TV (still valve-run). I still have my cassette Walkman - and still use it.

    These days my TV is the only thing that *does* start up quickly. My PC takes an age, my PVR takes its own sweet time too. I listen to music on an mp3 player - when it finally deigns to announce it's ready, that is. I read books on a Kobo reader - if I remember to start it up in good time, as otherwise my coffee cup can be empty before I get past the startup routine and those dreadful previews - opening a paperback never took this long. As for my DVD player - I can have a *meal* while I wait to get to the play menu!

    I'll say it again - we might as well be using valves!

  51. Christian Cawley
    May 29, 2012 at 8:41 am

    It's absolutely fantastic to see so much love for MiniDisc!

    I genuinely thought I was on my own with this. When researching this piece I checked out a couple of very old websites and thought "wow, these haven't been updated since the 1990s!" - I very nearly gave in...

    Perhaps we should hold an international MiniDisc day in which everyone is encouraged to enjoy their old MD music collection?

    • Bad Disciple
      July 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Hail all, nice to see so many people owners of a MD and still thinking of it!

      Myself owing a Sharp MD-SR50 which I always had with me and I've used it for the quite good purposes (being a musician) of recording sudden ideas or situations etc. Then new era begun... I also put it aside first taking care to move (almost) everything in my computer. But... recently I remembered some material on few of those mini-discs which I DIDN'T move in the computer!! So I picked up my old MD-SR50 and connected it to the computer... and... it doesn’t want to recognize the disc anymore, it just doesn't want to work. I've always been careful with it and kept it in a very good condition, though. It just doesn't work anymore with none of the mini-discs. It shows all starting indications, "TOC read" and then says "Can't read"! I need to recover those old mini-disc records and I wonder could there be a way to bring it back to functioning as it seems it works just till reading the disc. Otherwise I'll have to buy NOW a new MD player/recorder to recover that material (and I can perfectly use it in different recording situations as I still have so many virgin MDs)... Any suggestions?

      • alex
        September 22, 2012 at 9:03 am

        Sounds like your laser gave out. Look for a mid-grade deck on an auction site. They aren't very expensive until you start looking high end. Decide if you want a digital out or not, and bid until you get one at a decent price. They're still readily available in used shape.

  52. Dave Taylor
    May 29, 2012 at 12:36 am

    I keep mine in the shed (workshop) hooked up to a set of little speakers I bought on e-bay. I even have the same model (and one other) I was still using mine regularly a couple of years ago until finally giving in to progress and adopted an iPod. I still love it. Having adopted the old walkman years ago and wearing a couple of those out I embraced the minidisc like it was Julia Roberts knocking on my door and asking me out to dinner.

    So, despite the iPod I still use my minidisc and have about 30 discs of music set up in the shed - what can you say, "It's a Sony!"

    • Gordon Bishop
      May 29, 2012 at 2:57 am

      I own many audio formats for which each has a special duty. As for minidisc, it has held it's own with me due to both quality of sound and robust mechanical nature in a portable package. I did leave out one important aspect to the nature
      of design, and that is the retention of data. Not a one of the 200+ discs I have recorded as far back as 1998, have any loss of data to be sure. I understand that MD were tested to hold recorded information for a minumum 30 years. I do worry that my SD Memory Cards may fail after sitting for 10 years due to slow leakage of voltage charge to each memory gate. Enough said, enjoy the format for what it brings to each of you.
      .

  53. Matt Cameron
    May 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Love this blog!

    I still use MiniDisc on a daily basis, love the format, and am lucky enough to pick up bargains off a 'well known auction site' on a weekly basis.
    I also have a 160GB iPod Classic, and whilst convenient, I've started to tire of the constant 'updates', software problems dumping album-art and mixing up song titles (you know the kind of thing!)

    MiniDisc has other advantages not yet mentioned. There is something relaxing about making up 'old skool' style 'mix tapes'. I also find I tend to concentrate more and select my music more carefully when 'out and about' with MiniDisc. With an iPod, I found I would get a bit...well.... 'lazy'. I would skip from album to album, and jump tracks before even finishing them! With MiniDisc, I don't do that. I listen to an album from start to finish, the way albums are SUPPOSED to be listened to (obviously, it's a pretty subjective view, but that's how it works for me!)

    MiniDisc holds a very nostalgic place in my heart. It allowed me to carry my music collection with me when I served out in Iraq. It took knocks, drops, temperature extremes in a generally grotty environment. In return it gave me a little bit of luxury, all carried in my pocket!

    Long live MiniDisc. Technology may have moved on, but boy, what a great bit of kit!!

  54. Brad KIng
    May 28, 2012 at 12:41 am

    I wouldn't swap my Sony MZ-R410 for any I-pod/mp3 player out there! And 8 tack will eat cassette any day! We move on and convenience becomes the driving force, unfortunately, along the way, we lose quality. If that's not true then why are LPs still with us and gaining in favor again? I still have and use my Rega Planer 3, magic!

    • alex
      September 22, 2012 at 8:59 am

      I still live and breathe these things. I have an MDLP deck in each of my cars, two MDS-JE780 decks, an MDS-JB980 deck, two MDS-JB940 decks (that I don't really need), an MDS-JE630 deck, and two Sharp MDS-722 portables. And hundreds of blanks. They sound fantastic and the format is fantastic for editing - there isn't another format that can touch it for access, removing individual tracks, and cutting pieces out of tracks and moving or deleting them to make them sound flawless. I will always be upset that the format never caught on, but there was a time when Sony just had to maximize the audiophile attitude without putting it out there for mass consumption, which never allowed it to catch on. What a shame.

  55. MrFresh
    May 27, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I still use my minidisc recorder/players today - two Sony MZ-M100s and one Sony MZ-M200, as well as a Sony MDS-JE630. To make a long story short, I, too, professed (and profess my love) for the minidisc in 2012: http://www.vibesnscribes.com/2010/05/23/why-minidisc-in-2010/

    Great post!

  56. Toxteth
    May 27, 2012 at 3:48 am

    I still have a MD player in my car. It was one of those units that also controlled a CD changer, which is also still in my car. I haven't used the CD changer in years, but still occasionally pop in one of the nice mixes I made on MD. It works flawlessly and sounds good too. I sometimes feel old when I have to explain what the MD is to young folks who have never seen or even heard of them. But, it's also a nice reminder that I was once, briefly, on the cutting edge of technology.

  57. Chuck Pilger
    May 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    You reminded me that I have one of these sweet little players here somewhere in my desk. I bought it as a gift for my wife to replace her decrepit cassette player way when mini-disc players were hot. I set up the software on her computer and transferred a lot of her favourite music to mini-discs, but sadly she never really took to it and I felt it was wrong for me to use a gift I purchased for her. As a result it languished on a shelf for a few years then got stored away. Your article has convinced me to dig it out and start using it myself. I haven't heard some of that music since it was transferred to the mini-discs.

  58. Tina
    May 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I did buy an MD Player when they first came out to replace my Sony (cassette) Walkman. I actually still remember how excited I was when the sales person put the precious little device on the desk. It was metallic blue and I loved it. Unfortunately, I no longer own it. The player didn't survive its extensive use and I eventually recycled it and sold the discs.

    Oh, and does anyone remember the appearance of a mini disc in Matrix? Somehow I knew when I saw this scene that this technology would not have a break through.

  59. Wez
    May 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Everything you mentioned rings true to me. I've still got it to hand and know full well the AA battery will still work. A fantastic piece of technology one of my all time favourite gadgets. Thanks for the post it's put a smile on my face looking back and feeling all nostalgic.

  60. HannibalCat
    May 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Not only do I still have a portable mini disc player, but another built in to the last stereo I ever bought. And a pile of perfectly playable discs filled with chart music, soundtracks and Goon Shows. The portable player is the only way I have of getting my old LPs onto my PC; copy the LP onto minidisc and then sample that with Audacity. Cumbersome, but it works.

  61. Kaisher Moi
    May 25, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Sony Minidisc sounds better than the iPod; but the iPod was popular.

  62. Ron Cook
    May 25, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Mini discs used to be the only half way decent portable music media and the only one you would trust for professional use. 150mb may seem a joke now, but at the time was another one of those "wow" factors. Wonder if we'll be saying the same of the iPod in a decade. Ron Cook

  63. Fuhgawz500
    May 25, 2012 at 5:44 am

    I think it is unfortunate. I also have a MiniDisc player and a box of discs. Sony has created many failed media mediums that were pretty clever but premature. Their timing and marketing strategies seemed to be lacking in those days. They have done much better in recent years with the conquering of DVD with Sony BluRay as well as the overall quality of the PS3 system. Good article! It got me all nostalgic. Perhaps I will go pull my MiniDisc player out.
    Cheers!

  64. Elliot Carey
    May 25, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Could not agree more
    Still have mine
    I don't doubt in another 10 years I still will

    I remember the days when I first received it as a gift and marvelling at its plug and play multimedia capabilities. Both as a music player and a chunky storage device

    The biggest benefit was always the microphone slot I used to use it to record audio for films as it was easier than running cables to the camera in some situations!

  65. Colin
    May 25, 2012 at 12:56 am

    I still have a sony redio/minidisc player (with speakers) on my bookcase. The sound quality is superb, the discs are small to store and there's nothing to scratch. Minidiscs were my favourite format of all time... and still are.

  66. Ezra Wadman
    May 25, 2012 at 12:53 am

    I remember mine first and may last mini disk. (the first having an chance meeting with the pool i worked at)
    the last one i had was the last one i saw for sale in the states period. i also remember being able to get mini disks mush larger than 150 meg my memmory telles me i had at lest a 1 gig some ware. now if i can just find it.

  67. Tim Brookes
    May 25, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I loved MiniDisc. They were virtually indestructible. I still have my old MD player (which replaced my cassette WalkMan) in a draw somewhere at my parents house. I won't be getting rid of it, purely for nostalgia reasons. If only Sony would have opened them up to data storage back in the day, I would have probably used it for moving stuff about at a time when the Internet was slow and flash storage was expensive.

    Spotify on an iPhone blows it out of the water these days of course, and Sony SoundStage was a horrible turd to use. Still, I loved my MD player.

  68. rick
    May 25, 2012 at 12:33 am

    You must really put a premium on nostalgia if you consider it a 'win' to split one digital CD into across four mini discs for playback. Why not just transfer the album to 8-track tape? Remember how 8-tracks would pause ... and klunk ... in the middle of your favorite song to continue playing an album? With mini discs I'm pretty sure you're manually swapping out discs three times to hear one Led Zeppelin album .. which means that 8-track tapes are more advanced than mini discs in at least one very important way: convenience.

    As a professional dj who lived through the transition from everything analog to everything digital, mini discs seemed like a digital tease. Yeah, the audio quality was an improvement, but it was far from user friendly. It didn't save you any time because playback and recording all had to be done at 1x real time. And, once you got something to mini disc .. then what? It wasn't usable for live mixing. You could send a song on mini disc to another dj, but in reality you're just sentencing that person to wasting a bunch of time transferring the song to a usable format.

    The mini disc was an awkward stepping stone between the analog world into true digital where great sound quality arrives in seconds ... not minutes .. and technology lets you do more with it once it has arrived ... LOTS MORE.

    Of course, if you enjoy hovering over a mini disc player at the ready to switch out to disc 2, 3 or 4 of your favorite Led Zeppelin album ... then go for it. Just remember, you'll never swap out mini discs as fast as an 8 track can KLUNK and continue playing the every same album.

    RICK

    • Colonel
      May 25, 2012 at 2:24 am

      Ummm, Rick, did you ever actually use a minidisc? I'm guessing not by your ignorance about them.

      You didn't split one CD across 4 MiniDiscs, you could actually compress 4 CD's onto one MiniDisc using the MDLP compression technology. Perfect for travelling, as you could carry a decent collection of around 40 albums on 10 MD's in a carrying case, as I did when I was backpacking (and space was at a premium) around the world at the time MD's first hit the market.

      And the sound was a hell of a lot better than the current MP3 recordings. Not quite as good as CD, but very close.

      And as the technology improved, you went from transferring the recording from 1x, to 2x, and then with the NetMD's and the HiMD, it was a LOT quicker!

      Granted, compared to what is available now with MP3 Audio devices, they seem bulky and unwieldy, but at the time compared to a portable CD player (like the Sony Discman) and carrying around the larger CD's, they were a great, compact alternative!

    • Christian Cawley
      May 25, 2012 at 7:40 am

      RICK: what are you talking about? Did you use MiniDisc?

      I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and imagine you perhaps used it early on in its development, because what you're describing there in no way correlates with any MiniDisc experience I ever had.

      Bizarre.

      • Sean
        May 25, 2012 at 9:45 am

        Rick's commenting on what is written in the article. I too thought it was pretty inconvenient to split one cd across four minidiscs but that's what the author wrote.

        "I stored each Led Zeppelin CD album across 4 MiniDiscs, using some useful compression called MDLP."

        • Christian Cawley
          May 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

          Aha, I see. "Each" should read "Every" or "the entire collection"

          Even so, Rick claims to be "a professional dj who lived through the transition from everything analog to everything digital" so he really should know better.

          And it seemed pretty clear with the word "compression". Colonel certainly seemed to understand ;)

  69. martyn jones
    May 25, 2012 at 12:22 am

    There's your challenge Make Use Of - find me someone who will repair my MDS-E85

    • Jim Hoggarth
      November 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Not sure if this is allowed here, but you can always email me as I specialise in minidisc repairs: jim.hoggarth@blueyonder.co.uk. Cheers, Jim.

  70. martyn jones
    May 25, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Got my Sony MDS-E58 rack mount waiting for repair. Wonder if it's going to be cheaper to buy another one.

  71. Kate
    May 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Oh my god this post is so spooky as I came across my Sony player and bundles of mini disc's only last week whilst sorting through a box in our attic.

    I can't believe it's been 10 years since they came out, I used to listen to mine on the train commute to London everyday and I remember people sneeking glances at the player whenever I ejected a disc for another. lol

    I was so impressed that I could fit three albums ripped from the Shoelane library CD section onto one disc... Oh how times have changed with my 160gb iPod which currently has just shy of 10k songs loaded on it.

    To me the mini disc was the perfect hybrid of cassette and CD and it made me feel hip and trendy as hardly anybody had them or had even heard of them.

    I feel the need to dig it out and take a journey down a musical memory lane... :)

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