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candyflip

Where Are All The MiniDiscs?

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Unlike the cassette which you can still find all over the place in thrift stores, eBay and any classified, the retail pre-recorded MiniDisc media is really rare in the wild.

 

Where'd they all go?

 

Let's take a quick look.

 

 

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That's because they were only ever niche in the first place.

 

 

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They were the medium of choice for DIY for a while in the mid 90's. I volunteered at a community radio station and for a few years almost all the local bands submitted their stuff on MD. It would be quite the archive of that period of local independant/underground music. None of it commerically produced though.

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There is a minidisc group on Facebook which is still alive and very active.

 

One of the main drawbacks for those using the format has been the lack of support for using PC to Disc ripping via USB as Sony abandoned the format circa Windows 95. Recently a guy from Adelaide wrote some software to enable writing of discs from modern operating systems and file formats such as FLAC. 
 

I love the format for recording records for listening on the go. There is something nice and tangible about having these cute little discs and players.  Being a kid from the 80’s I grew up with the Walkman, the discman and to some degree the minidisc. I remember watching early discman a making music in awe as a kid. I have 6 portable minidisc players and a home unit which I still use on occasion. 
 

You can still purchase new blank discs from Japan via the bay and they will be delivered to your door in under 2 weeks at a cost of about $6 per disc. 
 

It can be quite fun playing around with these formats although pricing for component units in Australia can be quite high/ unrealistic compared to prices in Europe where these are a little more common :)

 

drew 

Edited by astormsau

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2 hours ago, eman said:

That's because they were only ever niche in the first place.

 

 

It's interesting that even though pre-recorded commercial Minidiscs were undoubtedly 'niche', when you travel the country that produced them in large numbers back in the 90's, they are now unobtainable for love nor money.

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Don't think I've ever seen one.

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I have a Sharp portable and about 30 disks

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I don't think there's much mystery involved. It's just a numbers game. LPs, cassettes and CDs all sold truckloads. Each was the dominant format for a turn. There are millions upon millions of them out there. By comparison pre-recorded MD wasn't even a blip. They held a solid niche for a spell, but my recollection is people used them like blank tapes before them - to copy albums, make mix tapes and record jams. I don't recall anyone buying pre-recorded discs (though obviously some did). I just think there aren't that many out there. And those there are would be pretty tightly held, as you say in the video.

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DAT was where its at!!

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In a similar vein; how many bought, and who still has (or even uses) the Phillips developed DCC (Digital Compact Cassette)? I was flown (with a bunch of others) from Perth to Melbourne in '92 (I think) by Panasonic for the launch of the Technics range of machines, all two of them. We were accommodated in a motel in Wheeler's Hill, if my memory serves me correctly.

Highlight of the trip was seeing The Rocky Horror Show, with Craig McLachlan and Alyssa Jane Cook, among others, all courtesy  of Panasonic.

As for the format , I don't recall ever selling one of the player/recorders. It probably cost more for the sales launch than they ever made in profit from selling the machines to dubious retailers.

Edited by JukKluk2
Grammar correction + small additional detail.

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I was a heavy user of the MD format in late 90s through to late 00s for recordings on the go.  Serious studio recordings were on DAT and converted to CD.

 

MD format was so easy and had a great recording quality.  

 

Never bought any recordings on the format only CDs.  It was purely a working format for me.  At the time I had an alpine MD player in the car which was real handy to listen to bits and bobs when driving.

 

Also had a BOSE home component but when I changed over to the HiMD format it became redundant.  

 

Still use my player today when I get together with my muso mates and do the odd recording.  A real shame sony no longer supports it.

Edited by RobbC

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Anyone know if a HiMD home/studio component was ever released ?  Be cool to have one in the system to listen to some of my old recordings.

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12 hours ago, RobbC said:

Anyone know if a HiMD home/studio component was ever released ?  Be cool to have one in the system to listen to some of my old recordings.

I don’t believe Sony ever released one. Only portable units supported HiMS. I have a nagging feeling some other brand did a component unit which supporter HIMD but the name escapes me and I think it was a rumour rather than fact. 

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Here are some of my portables. 
 

 

C1A9D53B-B156-4787-A5C7-0936711FB58A.jpeg

1A10D19F-A18F-4AC7-BDE0-5CDC8066D6D5.jpeg

DEB6DCC3-1A3B-49B4-8FC8-18F888E406ED.jpeg

2BC4D9D0-08A5-45D7-B0C9-C908CBD761A9.jpeg

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Sharp portable with a stuffed and now unobtainable rechargeable battery. :(

Sony MDS-JA3ES deck

Alpine Car deck (not sure which model.  In storage.

Some pre-recorded discs.  Plenty of used and new discs.

I must drag out the Sony and a few discs for a trip down nostalgia lane.

 

Also have a TASCAM DA-20 Mk2 deck, some pre-recorded tapes and quite a few new and used.

And whilst we are on the obsolete formats, Philips DCC900 and Marantz DD-82 decks and a Philips DCC130 portable.  Heaps of pre-recorded and blanks.

 

Cheers,

Alan R.

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On 29/11/2019 at 10:48 AM, astormsau said:

I don’t believe Sony ever released one. Only portable units supported HiMS. I have a nagging feeling some other brand did a component unit which supporter HIMD but the name escapes me and I think it was a rumour rather than fact. 

There was a home deck released with Hi-MD. It was the Onkyo MD-133. A Midi sized deck but packing the goodness of the Hi-MD format. A Hi End ES Deck with this feature would have been great. I still use the format and have a pile of components from a JA30ES and 2x JA20ES units to an MZ-E99 Player and a lot in between. It was an awesome format in its time with unbeatable editing features.

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I used to sell MD in the very late ‘90s and early to mid ‘00s.

 

MD seemed to have a hardcore following, but it was never as inexpensive as tapes were, and discmans were 1/5th the price and CD-r was around.

 

Great format, bad timing, bad business decisions and it never got cheap.

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I seriously considered buying a minidisc player back in the day, but didn't. Kind of wish I had now.

 

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I've still got mine.

I originally used it on my BMW motorcycle whilst touring.

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I believe Aiwa may have produced a home HiMD deck.

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I loved MD,  it was so fun to make compilation discs with them.  I also used them to record band practice etc at the time. Sadly I sold all my players / recorders,  including my beloved Sony MZ R50, though I have some old discs around still.  

 

I do have two rare pre-recorded MDs here - a Rosanne Cash album,  and I still have a sealed (gulp)  Mariah Carey album  😊.

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Posted (edited)

I had a Sony MDSJE320.

I didn't think much of the sound quality. I didn't enjoy the lossy sound. In spite of the noise I preferred my Luxman cassette deck.

 

I sold the Sony in box with manual and remote 10 years after buying it for the same price I paid for it. And I sold the discs for the same price I paid for them. The buyer was thrilled.

 

Good riddance to minidisc.

I did however think at the time that the technology was interesting. ( I did own one)

At the time - For people who listen to music on-the-go it was probably a good compromise of size vs sound quality.

 

MP3 killed the minidisc not CD-R IMO.

 

Edited by eltech

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I have one commercial MD - Muse Showbiz. (bought it in London, UK in the early 2000s).

 

I got my Sharp MD-MS722 in 1998 at Duty Free, Auckland Airport, NZ for .... wait for it ... approximately NZ$800 !!! (from memory - I think - eeek perhaps I got it in Asia (?) - Oh dear - memory is fading!).

I purposefully got it for it's a. featureset, but b. chunky design, jogwheel and frontloading :)

 

 

MD_zps_rs.jpg.5c15c6f7fdfc02ed302321e335bee99e.jpg

 

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Oh I remember those chunky dial design ones...pretty cool eh?  :) 

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5 hours ago, candyflip said:

Oh I remember those chunky dial design ones...pretty cool eh?  :) 

 

I ❤ it. Apparently the design was inspired by a camera 😄.

 

... and it still works (including the inline LCD cable remote) ... OK, the rechargeable battery no longer holds a charge (haven't tried to source a new one) ... but it does have a fingerscrew-on outboard AA battery expansion pack. Moreso - it can take 5V DC from a mains adapter. I can connect/play it to my Amp AUX-in. It has a dual optical/line-in and separate mic in for recording.

 

Where would I be without 24bit ATRAC and Digital X-Bass 😉.

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