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Help! MiniDisc newbie here!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Lackey, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Ok, so I've decided against an MP3 player for various reasons, and am seeking more info on MD players. For some reason info is hard to come by on the internet, not to mention that models are introduced and discontinued at the speed of light. Basically I'm planning on using this for music playback only (sick of dragging my huge and expensive CD library around), no recording, and I want good audio quality and storage capacity.

    So here's what I'm asking in a nutshell:

    1) Do MD players have the ability to rip music from any CD / hard drive (does RealOne or WindowsMedia work?) / mp3 source?

    2) Do minidiscs actually store up to 5 hours of music on a single disc? If so, what quality is that at? I won't listen to anything under 128 kbps. I ask because I looked at minidiscs and they said " 80 minutes " right on the front.

    3) Can I install the necessary computer software on more than one computer to faciliate ripping of music? I.E., my computer, our studios computer, my buddies computer...

    4) Sony or Sharp? Seems many prefer Sharp, but according to their website they are offering no models at this time.

    5) What kinda quality can I get for around 100 bucks, is it safe to buy used, and is there any difference in audio quality between brands/models.

    whew, I'm an MD idiot. Any and all responses would be appreciated, Yes and No answers will suffice, and some good links would be very helpful.

    Thank you in advance.

    P.S. I checked google, epinions, amazon, talkbass search etc already. Basically confused me more than I already was!
  2. I have had a Sony MD for several years, and the original disk format was designed to store the same amount of music as a CD. The 80 minute version came later, as with CDs.

    (1) MD recorders are designed to allow you to make one copy of anything you want, and to prevent you from making a copy of that copy. There are hacking procedures for many of the MD recorders out there to get round this. try http://www.minidisc.org/

    (2) I believe that you can now store more on them, but I have no experience of the newer models.

    (3) Beware of the Sony minidisc compression software. It produces files on your PC, that you can burn onto a CD and play on Sony CD players, but you cannot copy the compressed file onto an MD recorder due to (1) above.

    (4) Last time I looked at new models, Sony was the only one that loaded the entire index, so that you could locate tracks instantly. Sharp and Technics re-loaded the index every time you needed to access it, and that slows you down.

    (5) see (2)
  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
  4. +1

    The biggest problem with MD is the inability to digitally transfer files - at least I can't on my old Sharp.

    Buying used is probably ok because so many people are switching over the mp3 players now so there are lots to choose from. Sony and Sharp are great.

    ...for god's sake get one with backlighting!!!
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I have a deck with a digital out and I use that to digitally record MD audio to my PC.
  6. But you still have to record in real time right, you can't copy/paste files, right?
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Right. 100% digital, no analog stage involved.
  8. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    In my opinion MD is a great medium for recording, but not the best if you want to use it primarily as a music player.

    You can rip tunes from your CDs or elsewhere, but most MDs will require you to actually record the song from a line in/out. Some MDs have digital transfer, but it varies. Most decks I have seen transfer to the MD, but not from it.

    The MDs are limited to 74 or 80 minutes, and if you want more than that, you will lose quite a bit of sound quality. If you go for the 5 hours of recording capability on some machines, you'll wind up well below 128 kbps.

    If you want to record, I highly recommend a Sharp. But if you're looking for a plain old player, then Sony is a good choice.

    As far as for buying used, I'd rather buy something new. As with many portable devices with moving parts, wear on a MD can affect performance and lifespan.

    As I said earlier, if you're looking to record, especially in the field, a MD is a great tool. I've used it with condensor mics with nice results (make sure you have a MD that has a powered mic input), as well as running a tape out from the mixer into the line-in of the MD. Another neat thing is that with some MDs, you can actually do minor editing on it, like splitting a track.
    But, if you just want a music player, you'll probably find the MD to be less useful than an mp3 player. It's awkward to load music, it is more likely to be affected by shock, it's a little bigger and heavier, and the storage capacity is tiny compared to some mp3 players out there. The only plus I can see is that MD has better sound quality than 128 mbps mp3s.
  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    This is misleading. ATRAC3plus and ATRAC3, the proprietary compression that SONY uses on their new Net-MD devices, is a completely different format than MP3 and is significantly more effieicnt. 128kpbs MP3 sounds good, 128kbps ATRAC sounds significatly better. With ATRAC3plus you can go to 64kbps and still have as good quality sound as 128kbps MP3.

    You can fit a hell of a lot of music on an "80 minute" MD with ATRAC3plus at lower bitrates.

    But there's more information at www.minidisc.org about all this.

    Personally I'm in love with Sony's ATRAC3plus portable CD players. With ATRAC3plus at low bitrates I can make one CD of everything Steely Dan and Donald Fagan have ever released for example. Or all Beatles albums. Or all Bruce Cockburn, etc. Great for Random Play. They just released car players for these discs and I can't wait to get one!
  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Yup, you're right Phil. Completely forgot about the different ATRAC compression methods.
  11. I bought a used Sony S2 Sports Net MD Walkman on Ebay recently which ended up costing me less than £40.00 including shipping.

    Great piece of kit. ATRAC too. Marvellous. :smug: :smug: