Why minidisc? (….in 2010)

Jazzy chilled beats - MD

Greetings readers….

For those who have been following my posts here, as well as on Twitter, you know that I’ve been ,along with another friend, on the minidisc technology topic for some time now – reasoning pretty much alludes to a recent post of mine here. Recently, a good friend of mine and mutual friend of the other, posted this question. While I referred him back to the post I wrote, I thought I’d further expand on why I hold on to the technology.

1. HIGH QUALITY SOUND – Copies from SACD / DVD-A, VINYL ALBUMS and CDs sound so much better than mp3 compressed sounds. While I am not an audiophile by any great length, I’ve heard the difference and definitely believe this to be true. I’ve recorded live rehearsals and concerts over the air (meaning via a mic) straight to MD and have even achieved true stereo recordings (especially of band rehearsals) to MD…with crystal clear sound. Sony has added support for CD Audio quality recording and playback on the latest HI-MD recorders. This gives you that capability to have 1.4 hours of uncompressed PCM CD quality recording on your little HI-MD MiniDisc unit. Again ATRAC3+ at high bit rates can yield even better sound in my opinion because it uses a 20 bit engine even though it compresses the sound. Good thing is you have a choice of now being able to record with CD quality and not having to convert it if you want to make a regular CD .[COUNTERPOINT} – Yes, there are many digital recorders out (Zoom H4n, for one) that use standard removable media to store audio, record in stereo with built in mics, and can dump the audio to your computer via USB (without the care of proprietary designs), but for me…I don’t need to purchase one because of the MD units I own. You can download music to the from iTunes or import .m4a, .wav, mp3 files, yes, but not without a computer with iTunes loaded.

2. CONVENIENCE – Grab a few discs and go for the day. With the amount of music u can load to an 80 min disc alone (I just put 28 songs on one disc), that’s more music than you;d probably listen to in a day Discs are smaller than CDs and hold more. {COUNTERPOINT} – I’ve iPods since the original 5GB model costing almost $300. Today all iPods hold thousands of songs, which gives you the convenience of taking your whole collection everywhere you go, to listen to anyway you’d like. Should you come across some music you’d like to add to your collection that may be hard to come by, without connection to iTunes (library or online), you’re out of luck (unless you have an iPod Touch 2G or iPhone that you can record that music live as it’s played back from another unit – but then we’re back to sound quality).

3. FULLY EDITABLE DISK’s – you can add, delete, move, cut, join, and re-label MiniDisc’s up to 1,000,000 million times. NICE… [COUNTERPOINT] – Yes, this can be done with an iPod…but again, not without iTunes.

4. PROTECTIVE SHELL – All MiniDisc’s are protected by a plastic shell which stops dust, fingerprints and scratches from hurting your precious music and data. [COUNTERPOINT] – Deal with mp3s only and you back them up to your hard drive? No need to consider a protective shell, only concern is if your hard drive crashes and your music is not archived to CD.

5. MP3 PLAYBACK – With the latest generation of HI-MD players from Sony you can now playback regular MP3 files. Sony added support for native MP3 Playback on the newest HI-MD portable units. AAC (ITunes files) and WMA – windows media files would have been even better for great compatibility Having native MP3 support does allow you to quickly copy those MP3’s onto a 1 gig MiniDisc. Very nice. Fan of album art? If you happen to own the Sony MZ-DH10P, it will even show you the album artwork on the mp3.

6. TACTILITY – Here’s more of an odd reason why I like using MD technology. I like the tactile and sensory aspect of using a MD units, being portable or a deck. I like the sound of opening the unit, popping a disc in, and closing it. Yeah, the MD unit has moving parts (unlike an iPod), but I’ve owned many and only had a problem with one (which was old and purchased used).

7. A friend, Darrenkeith, recently said minidiscs are like having “mini-LPs”. Should you chose to do so, you can make great covers for your disc jewel cases and nice labels for the MDs themselves. Again, kind of a tactile thing that collectors of CDs, LPs, cassettes could more relate to then those who pretty much deal solely with mp3s, etc. Labels and covers that are striking, take a look at some of Jay Tilson’s work.

Anyway, there are 7 complete (7 IS a number of completeness) reasons why I like the MD technology. Love my iPod Classic too, but they both live in coexistence pretty nicely…. Would I steer a newcomer to portable music towards a MD player today? If it was to be their only medium to play music, honestly probably not, but as a unit to use with their current portable player of choice, I’d tout the same merits as I have above.

For some active discussion on MD technology and users who still are into it, check out this article


Note: quoted items are excerpts and shared thoughts of Paul DeMara ofThe Minidisc Collector Homepage

About Fresh

Mac Fan/Sys. Engr - NASA planetary missions. guitarist/producer/AFOL/fitness fan/film+TV+sndtrk composer/podcast host/Python newbie coder. Music by me: http://SFTF.bandcamp.com. Mellowly Cool. Find me on X and Bluesky
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4 Responses to Why minidisc? (….in 2010)

  1. Geoff abear says:

    Fully agree , nothing beats my minidisc. The closest I have found is the Sansclip zip, The ability to have a library of music on minidisc is like the old lp’s. I love classical music and my minidisc player ne410 plays perfect sound for me. Thanks for your article.

  2. Fresh says:


    I appreciate your comment and can truly relate to it 100% 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  3. Kenneth K.Z Herring says:

    I own a Ipod Touch,Creative Zen vision M,2 Zen vision W`s, and a Zune HD. Even though I enjoy these media players, I prefer the sound of MiniDisc. I own 3 decks, and a few portables.

  4. Fresh says:

    Very nice collection, Ken….thanks for sharing. Also, thanks for the audio gifts, they are on my list to convert to MD!!

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