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5 Things To Do With Your Old MiniDisc Collection

Christian Cawley 30-05-2012

what to do with old minidisksIf, like me, you have a vast collection of music stored across antiquated formats, you might be wondering exactly what you can do to save space and get rid of these recordings.


In the case of cassette and vinyl, it is relatively simple to record the albums with your computer, enabling you to either place the originals in storage or bin them. But what about MiniDisc? In the face of obsolete formats coming into fashion again (vinyl in particular seems to hold a lot of interest) what exactly can you do with your MiniDisc player and collection?

Copy to Your Computer’s Hard Drive

The most obvious solution is to copy the audio tracks stored on your MiniDiscs to your computer, using the methods explained elsewhere on MakeUseOf for copying vinyl LPs and magnetic cassettes How To Convert Audio Cassettes & LPs to MP3 in 5 Easy Steps Read More .

Many MiniDisc players have the facility to accurately cue the position of the disc and skip tracks, so copying what you need shouldn’t be difficult. They also allow you to “mark” positions on the disk so that you can easily return to them, again a useful thing to know if you’re only planning on recording specific items.

what to do with old minidisks

With the right software on your computer (for instance, Audacity Record audio files with Audacity Read More ) you can then clean up any audio issues (although with a high quality format like MiniDisc it is unlikely that you will come across many).


Use as Modern Art

what to do with minidisc

Like all old formats and hardware, there is a good reason to hold MiniDisc in high esteem. At some point these devices will occupy a place in a museum, with a handful of discs illustrating the portability (and in the eyes of the younger audience, ridiculous size) of the format.

However, the discs were issued in a range of fantastic colours, from the standard black to more impressive translucent pinks, reds, oranges, blues and yellows.

What better use for these items, then, than as a modern art installation highlighting the colourful nostalgic yearning for a time long since gone, when every day was a hot summer painted with great music?


Donate To a Community Radio Station

what to do with minidisc

I particularly like this option as it means putting your equipment and recordings to good use and most importantly avoids trashing and the environmental costs of recycling.

Many community and hospital radio stations operate on a shoestring budget, with little money to spend on buying music, not to mention. Most crucially, they tend to keep hold of old equipment, mainly because of these financial circumstances.

What better way, then, than to help these charitable causes – mostly staffed by volunteers – and ensure their listeners get some good music to listen to while the station itself is able to take advantage of the equipment you donate?


Sell on eBay

what to do with minidisc

As with all “old gear” there is a market for MiniDiscs on eBay. At the time of writing, a small MiniDisc player was selling for £33 with 23 bids with an hour left to go.

Along with the portable equipment, the Hi-Fi separates player and recorders that can be integrated with an amplifier and other player/recorders are also selling well, for prices that are not that much different to the original tariff.

Meanwhile original pre-recorded albums are selling on that format for just under £10. This is pretty impressive and can mean that selling a collection could reap quite a good return for anyone who isn’t in love with the format enough to part with it.


Keep Them Just the Way They Are (Like Vinyl, They Might Become Popular Again!)

You might do yourself a favour by selling old MiniDisc gear, but then again there is every chance that the format will become popular again.

After all, formats such as such as vinyl, cassette and 8-track cartridge have all experienced small booms in recent years as nostalgia has forced people to look again. While the wax cylinder and DAT haven’t been so lucky, there is no reason why a flexible format such as MiniDisc shouldn’t be of interest in the future.

what to do with old minidisks

However, if you own a portable MiniDisc player then why not spend some time copying music from your computer or CD collection to MiniDisc, and heading out and enjoying what is arguably the best quality portable music format developed?

Ultimately, of course, this format is one which simply came along at the wrong time, sandwiched between Compact Discs and MP3. Despite this, it remains easy to use and versatile in various situations such as in the car, at home or for personal use.

Have you parted with a vast collection of MiniDiscs? Are you considering listing your old player on eBay, or perhaps donating the equipment to a good cause? Or do you still swear by the format? Let us know in the comments!

Radio Host Image Via Shutterstock, MiniDisc and Discs Image Via Shutterstock, eBay Logo Via Magnus_Manske, Wikimedia Commons

Related topics: Recycling, Sony.

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  1. Michael H.
    January 6, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    "Keep Them Just the Way They Are (Like Vinyl, They Might Become Popular Again!)"

    Sure, some formats became popular again for the sake of nostalgia or... hipster-reasons... But Vinyl SHOULD be popular for the audio-quality (which includes the "resolution", but probably more importantly the dynamics range, which gets crushed on CD, without the format being at fault, almost all the time).
    There's no real point in messing around with MiniDiscs or any sorts of tape (except maybe for professional recordings), but Vinyl is (or should be) about the quality of it. Because in reality the most convenient ways you can get audio or music have flawed quality. And that's either because you have compressed mastering for digital distributions like CD and streaming, and also lossy data because of streaming.
    Do note there are amazing-sounding CDs, it's not the format to blame, but most of the good ones would be pre... say 1995, with the exception of some smaller artists and mostly soundtracks and so on which would still remain mastered properly into the 2000s. - Anyway, that's the Loudness War. Just saying, that's why you'd choose Vinyl, and there's not real point to MiniDiscs in practice anymore.

  2. David
    June 16, 2018 at 12:44 pm


    I've just imported a van from Japan. It came over with many extra's, including a Japanese multi media system. After fiddling around with it and finding many features including T.v and MP3, the multimedia screen folded out to reveal that it was also minidisc compatible (Love it!). I'm so happy as being the not so careful person that I am, I often found that I'd scratch discs on numerous occasions. I for one will now deffo be looking at purchasing a few minidisc's on ebay! :)

  3. Craig Wilson
    September 5, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Hi there,

    I'm 37 now and during my University years (1998-2001) - almost 20 years ago (Yikes!) - I extensively used my Sony MiniDisc Deck and Sony Mini-Disc Portable to record and listen to music. When I left Uni and got a job, I bought a better Sony MiniDisc Deck (MDS-JB940 QS) and an In-car MiniDisc player.

    As time marched on, I found that I was only listening to my MiniDisc collection in the car, as I had less time to sit down and listen to music at home, however upon selling my car and trading up I no longer had space for the in-car player.

    For the past 4-5 years my collection of MiniDisc's ended up sat on a shelf except for the odd spin when I had some time to sit and relax at home. Even then, having bought a NAS drive and Logitech Touch Squeezebox for my Hi-Fi, and a separate Squeezebox Boom for another room, I found I was listening to the music I had ripped from CD (FLAC format) or had bought online and downloaded to my NAS. The MiniDiscs were not getting a look in as they were less accessible.

    My collection of circa 250 MiniDiscs is a musical snap-shot of my time at University and it really saddened me that almost half of my music collection was unloved and gathering dust. I started looking at ways to transfer my collection to mp3 / FLAC but most searches spoke of using a PC and Soundcard or paying £10 or more per disc for a company to transfer the music - both methods involved Digital to Analogue and Analogue to Digital conversion and a whole lot of hassle, and even worse, a reduction in quality.

    For a good number of years I was stuck. I didn't want to use a PC and Soundcard to copy the music and I couldn't afford / justify the cost or paying for a professional to copy them for me.

    So what did I do. Well, its 2017 and I have finally found a solution. About a month ago I bought a HHB CDR-800 Professional Compact Disc Recorder off of Ebay. This is a 20 year old CD Recorder which cost circa £2000 when new. Funnily enough, its roughly the same age as the CD player I used to play most of the CDs I recorded on to MiniDisc back in 1998-2001.

    I've hooked my MDS-JB940 MiniDisc Deck to the CD Recorder via optical cable and so far I've digitally copied over 100 MiniDiscs to CD and then ripped the CDs to FLAC format files for storage on my NAS drive (and upload to Google Music). Most CDs pull the Meta-Data automatically and so I've been able to retain full track and album information, and add album covers etc.

    Luckily, due to the amazing quality of MiniDisc as a format, and my patience when I made the recording - I added all the track names etc. - even when MetaData doesn't pull through, I just copy the info from the MiniDisc Deck's screen. Simple and awesome!

    I bought into the MiniDisc format in a big way and I still have real warmth for the format. Despite finally being able to access the music online or via my home network, I have no intention of selling my MiniDisc equipment or Discs. The music they contain is part of my life and I really want to show my baby daughter how we listened to music in the old days. As it happens, I still have plenty of old tapes, records and CDs too.

    If, like me, you have MiniDiscs sitting around collecting dust, I highly recommend looking for a professional CD recorder on Ebay or elsewhere. The professional models, unlike consumer models, can defeat Digital Audio Copyright restrictions - which limit you to only one copy of a CD - and so copying MiniDiscs that are copies of CDs is totally possible. :)

    I've been enjoying listening to all my old music and now I can listen to it whenever I want, wherever I want and on any device I care to use.

    • Christopher byrne
      January 28, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      Mini is Walkman players seem to be coming very popular again I don't know why they were ever continued in the first place looking at the prices of secondhand midi disc Walkmans and the large ones that one keeps in the house the prices seem to have skyrocketed.
      I wonder if the same will happen that has happened to vinyl and cassette's.
      If one looks on eBay that's just one selling and buying site the prices have gone up considerably over the past year
      I have been an entertainer for many years and for pure portability and easily to carry or transport I record all my backing tracks on to mini disk apart from from my PA system I carried to Sony Walkman and put them through my PA.
      I am well aware some of you will see there's different ways to do things but this format happens to suit me.
      I have read one statement on this site with somebody has stated they have blank midi discs just gathering dust put them on eBay you will have no problem selling them or any secondhand Walkmans.
      All I say is long live the MiniDisc

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    February 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm

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  5. Derek
    January 21, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Was a Dj for many years,always used Sony minidisc players, love minidisc format
    Have eight sony mini disc players, still have two that have not been opened as yet hope it becomes popular again

    • Christian Cawley
      January 29, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      I wish I had a couple of spare ones! Enjoy the MD, Derek :)

  6. Patti
    May 3, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    What about all the performers such as solo vocalists and duos who have collected their whole reportoire on Minidisc and still want to use it? It is still a great backing track medium, but getting harder to find the players and people who will sell backing tracks on minidisc!

  7. George
    April 21, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Sony mini disc are not a thing of the past, I am old school, not only can you copy your cd's to
    But make sure it's a minidisc recorder, no matter the brand, minidisc are compact, you carry them anywhere, my use for them are simple, you have a child, learning to read, it may take time, and a little money, setup mini studio, take your kids books, and a little creativity with your
    Own voice, into the mic and record a story, short or long, when finish listen to it, simple, kids can listen to it while traveling, I purchase 3 of them, Sony minidisc recorder mz1 to make one
    Two others to walk around with, still trying to complete one unit aiwa minidisc incomplete but works, when your radio station fades away, put in a mini disc play your own music, Bluetooth
    Audio transmitter and receiver works with it, patch cords, take care of your minidisc player,
    Some people don't, cherish them, many uses.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 21, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Great tips, George, thanks for sharing!

    • Felix
      January 22, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      Tks for the tips,I had a couple mini disc player and still have some blanks ,looking to start back listening to them .

  8. Christian Cawley
    March 10, 2016 at 10:19 am

    It's a pleasure reading all of your MiniDisc stories here. Keep them coming!

    March 8, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Hi There
    I Still Have My Sony MDNZ 1 Net MD Walkman Almost Brand New I Was Wondering I Have A Massive Library Now Of Over 188,000 ACC / Mp3 Files In iTunes Alone & On Back-Up Storage Systems ( NAS Drives ) etc I Would Love To User It Again , I Make Family & Friends Hundreds Of MP3 CD For Their Cars & Probably They Rip To iTunes Also For Transfer To Their iPods Smart Phones etc , But Wondered If I Could Hook Up My MD Player & Transfer These Mp3 Files To A Disc & Like CD-R I Burn I Usually Add 100 Plus Tracks Or More To The MP3 CD's ( Depending On The Genre & Bit Rates I Decide Upon For Each Individual Mix/ Playlist Burned , I Know Attrac3 Is A Compression Method Used By Sony To Fit Tracks Onto The Disc But Thats Because Normally If It Didn't Have This Only 15 Mins Of Recorded Material Would Normally Fit , So In Effect Is MP3 Equivalent To Attrac3 & Only Similar Amounts Would Fit !! I Never Got Round To Using The Long Player On It Either Does This Help Add More Music !!!!
    Regards Andrew

      March 8, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      MAKEUSEOFF Hope You Don't Mind This !
      As With Everyone On This Thread Is & are Probably Massive Music Fans , Here's A Side Line I Do While Compiling & Sorting My Vast Music Selection For Myself & Anyone Else :)
      I Have Thousands Of Albums Etc But Over The Years I Decide On Collecting Every Ever UK Chart Hit & Now Half Way Through The USA Billboard Hot 100 From Both There Inception , Since I Got Into Spotify 5 Years Back ( That's Another Story !! ;) ) I've Been Putting Everything Into Decade Playlist On There Also & Genre Mixes , & Of Late Been Putting In The Exact Weekly Chart Release Singles Into Yearly In Order Of Release Years , I Think There Great If You Like To Go Back & Reminisce On ' Those Times & Places Songs Mean To Us ' I've Mainly Done The Seventies So Far ( My Fave Period & The Early Eighties ) Go Here & See For Yourself
      Also The Second Link Has Add 3 Million Hits & Plays So Far , It's Quite Unique That Mix Songs I Listen To On A Sat & Sunday Morn Throughout The 70's As A Kid !!! Stewpot !! :)
      ALL MY PLAYLIST YEARS/ DECADES GENRE etc = https://open.spotify.com/user/1122533510
      Stewpot !!!! ..... https://open.spotify.com/user/1122533510/playlist/2paY4EVNoXSk8QzO1kdwx6

    • Sefa
      March 10, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Hi Andrew, your post is a bit difficult to understand, because I can only guess where one sentence ends an the next one begins... no offends! But I try to state a point to the compression settings of MD and in general. In my opinion lossy compression should only be used once in an encoding chain. Once you have any signal applied with a lossy compression method to any content (be it a photo, a video or audio) the original information can not be gained back. It now depends on the art of maths and knowledge of human perception of the engeneers and scientists who developed the compression methods, wether you can sense the lost information or not. This just works well, if the source is untouched and original. If there has already been a lossy compression to the material before, then the information was already reduced once, and another reduction of this reduced information will produce those well known artifacts. I often see this similar to something I often did, when I was a kid: I liked to copy nice sketches of space-ships or super-hero-comics by tracing them through a transparent piece of paper. If the original print was traced, the result was acceptable and nice. But if you tried this with an already trace-copied picture, the result became ever more crappy, because you could not decide wether the lines were originally looking this way, or just because your hand was not calm enough in the first genaration. How could you even tell, while not knowing the original? This would be the metaphor of making a lossy copy of a lossy copy, where the source has already been reduced from the original. The other thing is if you make a more accurate or less accurate copy from the original source. The metaphor for this would be making several carbon copies at once from one original. The first carbon layer would be the best looking, the second layer undernethe would be good, but not as good as the first and the third even worse and so on, but the differences would not result from a poor source material, but from the less accuracy with every carbon layer. I compare this with the act of using a low compression ratio or a high compression ratio, i. e. a 320 kbps mp3 to a 64 kbps mp3.
      I use lossless source material (CD or FLAC CD-rips) and the lowest compression ratio on MD for music, because I believe, that music sounds worse with every smallest detail differing from the original. But I use the highest compression ratio (LP4) when making copies of audio-dramas for my kids. Here it is important to understand the dialogs, and not every detail in the timbre or the coulour of an actors voice or a wolf howling.
      You can try it by yourself: sound quality vs. recording time to MD. In the first case you gain 80 minutes on a 80 minutes MD with no Long Play activated. With LP2 you gain 160 minutes, or even 320 minutes (thats 5h and 20m!) with LP4 recording mode. In my opinion the sound quality of a LP4 recording is comparable with a mp3 web radio with a bandwidth of maybe 96 kbps. Thats fair enough for my children. Some people even like to hear music with that quality. But thats something everyone has to decide for himself. So, you CAN gain 4 times more time on a MD by using LP4. But I would not recommend to make mp3 files out of that source material, because this would be making a trace copy of a 4th layer carbon copy of the original. Have fun experimenting. Enjoy Music! Regards Sefa

  10. Sefa
    March 5, 2016 at 9:29 pm


    my name is Sefa from Germany and I'm 43 years old now, and it is hard for me to believe, that the MD format is now older than I was when Sony invented it. By that time, even the CD format was only 9 years old (but at that time, that was half my age!). But back to MD.
    From the beginning I was fascinated but never had enough money to buy a DIGITAL recorder (DAT were even more expensive). Later, when Philips inevnted the DCC (anyone remembers this one?) I bought one of these units in 1994... and was so dissappointed. Ok, DCC was recording digitally (and lossy) too, the hardware and the tapes were a little bit cheaper than MD, the decks could also handle old analog Compact Cassettes - but this was not what I wanted... I had to admit, that I wanted cool features like random access to any recorded track, the ability to delete any unwanted track and instantly gain back the capacity to record a new track, beeing able to combine or devide tracks, rename them, reorder them - and I did not want to deal with a tape drive that had to wind and spool and wind and spool. Sadly and clearly DCC could not give me what MD had promised.

    Many years later in 2002, I was not a student anymore :-), I bought my first Sharp-MDLP Portable. This time it was, because I needed a small device to record the sessions with my bandmates. And it was good - with LP4 I could record 5 hours to one disc! By that time the first iPod (with 5GB) was on the market with the promise of carrying "1000 songs in your pocket". Several other forgotton MP3-Players wre about to come up, but these were all just toys to me. You could not record anything on those devices, and the capacity was very small. With MDs you could built up your private music library (just like every one was used to do with CDs) and carry them with you! Espacially my wife became a fan of the "tiny" portable by that time. But somehow, when I gave up on making music, and storage on mobile devices was not an issue anymore - the small device faded away and became something precious but useless in my drawer.

    One year ago, I decided to sell it on ebay... To do so, I had to check if it still worked. BUT there were those old session recordings. And there were other private recordings. Interviews with my wifes grandma who had passed away, songs sung by my eldest doughter when she was just 4 years old and things like that. And all was intact. The only thing that stopped working was the small removable accupack. But I can still use the DC-adaptor or, to still be mobile ONE AA-size battry to power it up for hours and hours! Try to do this with an iPhone.

    Guess what. I did not sell anything. When I called my wife to look and listen, my two smaller kids (now 6 and 7 years) came too and were so fascinated - because they never saw something like that! Papa puts some very cute and poppy coloured discs into a strange device and then you can listen to music! They were used to handle with analog cassettes, because we have many audio-dramas for kids on old cassettes - so I could explain them that this is something similiar. But again they were very impressed of this device and asked me immediately if they could have one like that...!

    Ok, to make a long story short: Since then I have bought over 100 used MDs and 3 (!) MDLP-capable MD Decks. One for my children (about 40 € in good condition), One for my HiFi-Setup (about 90 € in excellent condition) and one for my desktop, where I can record songs via Toslink from my digital music library (NAS). After years and years tapping on touchscreens on tablets and other so called smart devices, I am sick of it. I have also bought one SONY X202ES CD-Player in super-excellent condition. This unit is 25 years old. But I can listen to my CDs again, and record them in best quality to my MDs. My children are happy. They don't have to handle the old crappy analog cassettes anymore. Nothing is as robust like the MD. They love to have 5 to 7 audio-stories on one MD with instant access. I like to put a real media into a real device, and like physically browsing my MD-Library when i want to listen to music (sure, those are not recorded in LP-Mode!). I think, besides the Compact disc (which was invented by SONY and PHILIPS together) this is the best ever invented piece of hardware on the music market. Did you know that SONY has invented something similar on the professional broadcast market called XDCAM-HD? It is a bluray recordable disc with a capacity of about 45 GB for professional HD video production used in TV-Stations. So the paradigm of an optical disc in a robust cardridge still lives on. Though sadly SONY had made some mistakes with the marketing of the MD in past days, that led to the end of MD-production. Maybe for the iPod/iPhone-Generation there will be no way back... but who knows. Look at my children. They love the MD. And they appreciate the physical robust media.

    After all it is a lossy audio codec but still has excellent sound quality in the last generation of devices. I just hope that people don't throw away their MDs but sell them on ebay, so i can buy them for my own library... Long Live the MD! Greetings to Romania Lawrence!

    • Christian Cawley
      March 5, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      Lovely post, Sefa, thanks for sharing your memories of MD!

  11. Jon
    January 22, 2016 at 7:08 am

    I love the minidisc format and have started to begin/regain my old collection back being 31 years old now. Infact tomorrow I am picking up an old minidisc camcorder lol. I appreciate you taking the time to write this fine piece of nostalgia.

    • Christian Cawley
      January 22, 2016 at 9:34 am

      A minidisc camcorder? I had no idea such a device existed. Looking one up right away!

  12. Lawrence
    November 23, 2015 at 10:58 am

    My name is Lawrence and I'm from Romania. Shamefully, in this particular country there was no big fuss about the MD players at their time as we woke up rather late from a stupid communist regime and technology came in mainly as a basic wave. Because of the high prices of MD players, it became kind of unreachable for most of us.
    As I have always been a smart-tech fan I found MDs quite appealing and fascinating and I've tried so hard to track down those amazing expensive players of their times and get them for my own collection. Time passed and I am proud to say it's been a dream come true - I now have a fine collection indeed. I am perfectly aware it's quiet obsolete but I praise them all the same just as in day one! These players work fine even now, looking hot as ever especially the anniversary line and I can't stop thinking what a great era has sunk into the great past!
    I also own quiet a few premium portable CD/MP3/Atrac Sony walkman models and they all seem immortal - they simply play unmistakably on and on... Amazing! Well done Sony! It's been a long and sweet journey collection all these gadgets in mint condition as they are - looking freshly grabbed out of the box, but it was all worth it and I can't say good-bye to something so precious to my very soul! Collectors do know what I'm talking about! It's great having a son to share a piece of Sony history with when he gets old enough to treasure it... as his dad does, no doubt about it!

    • Christian Cawley
      November 23, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Thanks for sharing your MD love, Lawrence - always good to see a new story about this much loved platform!

  13. Russ Haney
    September 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    What are you talking about? I still use my MD player, in fact I have a Minidisc, Net-md and Hi-md recorder. I also use a MP3 player if I cannot carry the MD. At home I prefer to use the MD player for music.

    LONG LIVE MINIDISC!! Of course sometimes I feel like I am saying this to the ether.
    Love them or hate them I believe they will be with us for some time, at least until they stop being reusable as they are not making them anymore.

  14. Danilo Pianca
    June 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I'm Danilo from Italy. I'm 51 y.o. and I 'm a huge music fan since I was young. I never though at MD technology in the past as I allways recorded my music on reel tape.
    Nowadays, thank to e-bay I discover this fantastic thecnology and I started a MD collection.
    I think it was really cool and versatile (and it sounds good too).
    Still there are a lot of MD collectable on e.bay at a cheeper price and a lot of playre/recorder too. so.... why not a MD collection.
    Thank you for the suggestions above
    Greetings from Italy

    • jun castillo
      November 9, 2017 at 4:59 am

      Mini disk is way better than lossy MP3, we were fooled during the launching of MP3, they persuade us to use MP3 and dropped the old formats, like vinyl, CD , cassette tapes & MD, but for those who are knowledgable enugh with those formats, MP3 is worst , bcoz each song only 2MB to 5MB , its so incomplete & not detailed when u hear those music. In the old format each song is 20MB to 800MB its so complete u cant missed to hear even the smalest audio thats being recorded . So Mp3 wins in marketing but Mini disc won in the hearts of the people specially to those music enthusiast alike.