Last updated: 2003.07.01

Introduction to MiniDisc

MiniDisc is a very compact, near CD quality digital recordable media for music. It uses magneto-optical technology as the storage. It is random access, like a CD, so that you can fast forward, jump tracks, delete tracks, add tracks, etc during recording. It also stores song and album titles on the disk for display. The discs are small. Just less than 3 square inches. They are thin.

In Japan, MD is the perferred format for music, because:

  • The discs are small
  • The sound quality is very good
  • Media is relatively cheap, about US $1.50 if you buy in bulk, for 80 minutes discs
  • The player are extremely portable. My Sony MZ-E707 is the size of the disc, no kidding
  • Battery life is great -- my unit goes for 2 weeks before need for recharging if I use it daily walking back and forth to work.
  • There is something wonderfully tactile about flipping through a pile of MD's.
  • You can easily give friends music by just recording MDs for them. Since it is a rewritable technology, swapping MDs and taping over MDs are part of the routine.
  • Sony has a line of Net-MD devices that you can drag and drop MP3s and record them onto MDs.

If it is so Great, why have you not seen one?

Good question -- for some reason, MiniDisc has never really took off in the States. I think Sony, its creator, is cursed in releasing new and superior technology in the United States. Read More about Sony in the book Sony: The Private Life by John Nathan -- a facinating story about the building of Sony American.

Back to MiniDisc, Sony actually made a second push in the U.S. last year, 1999, but the efforts seem to have failed again.

My Players

I have two. I bought my first recorder/player, a Sony RZ-91 end of 2000. I then brought a playback only player in 2002.

The best source of information on MiniDics is on the minidisc.org website. One U.S. supplier is minidisco

MP3 and MiniDisc

I just installed a AOpen AW744 Pro sound card in my NT system. See the full story on my MP3 page. I can then record MP3 directly onto minidisc via a digital optical link.