Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
If, 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.
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.
With the right software on your computer (for instance, Audacity) 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
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
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
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.
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!