MiniDisc Page

MiniDisc Page


Minidisc is mostly a compact audio disc format, the data format did not take hold well. It uses a lossy compression scheme called ATRAC (Adaptive Transform And Coding I think). The disc itself is in a cartridge that is slightly thicker than a floppy disc, yet is 2.5" in size, rather than 3.5". The smaller players can fit in nearly any shirt pocket. I have yet to skip my player, and trust me, I have tried. My player has 10 seconds of electronic skip, but the constant shaking and thumping that skips CDs - even with electronic antiskip after you exhaust the buffers - just do not seem to faze MDs. I have recently figured out how to skip my player, it takes fairly solid hits in rapid succession


I have purchased the Sony MD BUNDLE 6, which includes a Sony MDS-JE330 and an MZ-E33 MD Walkman. The MD Walkman is 8cm x 9.5cm x 1.5 cm thick. For the silly Americans in the audience, that is about 3.13 x 3.63 x 0.63 inches, and there are players available that are even smaller.

Copy Protection:
SDMI, but this also applies to newer MP3 devices, as well as DAT and CD recorders. Maybe I'll write more on this later.

The DAT, cassettes, CDs and MP3s are all effective competition for MD. I have found that MD equipment to be reasonably well available. Some players are unbelievably small. I have found CD players too large and discs too fragile to handle. MP3 players are available, but are still a step back in portability and price, as well as the inability to handle multiple hours of audio at a cheap rate. I guess the current form of DAT isn't very portable due to the reading mechanism, or so I have read, I guess because it involves more moving parts than the tape recorders, so it is less efficient?

MP3 Positives:

  • Typically solid state storage on portable units, very low power usage.
  • MP3 Drawbacks:

  • A drawback to portable MP3 players is that you are tied to a specific computer program and platform, the time it takes to rip and compress the files is still large, unless you intend to share your files.
  • No standard memory or cartridge format
  • Most portable players use EXPENSIVE flash cards
  • Present portable players cannot record
  • Equipment not as common as MD, and do not have the selection
  • MD Positives

  • Standard, cheap & rewritable cartridge format, I pay about 1.50$ per disc in lots of 10.
  • (vs. CD) media has a protective case
  • For the price of a good MP3 playback only unit, one can get a portable MD recorder
  • Modern portable units can last 10-20 hours on a single 'AA' battery, depending on the unit
  • MD Drawbacks:

  • Mechanical storage, needs laser pickup.

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