"It all started..."

DO YOU WANNA BE FAMOUS?! Well, here's how. On our "It All Started..." page! We are collecting stories from people just like you who love MiniDisc. We want you to write a brief story explaining how you first heard about MiniDisc, when you bought your first one, and why you think it's the best recording medium on the planet!

Also, we're curious to hear your angle on why the format has been slower to take off in the US than in Europe and Japan. Email your story to us at: contactmda@aol.com. We will be posting all of the stories on this page, plus one will be featured on the MiniDisc Access home page. (For the sake of the kiddies, please make your stories G-Rated. Also, please include both your name and city, so we can give you credit for your work. Finally, please understand that by sending us your story, you are granting us permission to use it on the site.). So, why not go for it?! Then, YOU'LL BE FAMOUS! At least with the MiniDisc crowd!!

Now - Enjoy the following collection of stories from other customers that explain how they first got involved with the versatile world of MiniDisc. And don't forget to send us yours!!!

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My introduction (devout love for) MD began back in 1995 when I purchased a Sony MZ-R3 whilst working overseas. Although these little "gems" weren't available for sale from any of the local retailers where I was stationed at the time, a buddy of mine (who introduced me to the MZ-R3 in the first place) was stationed in Okinawa Japan and was kind enough to pick one up for me!

It was indeed love at first sight. MD's represented a whole new medium that "beat the pants" off of lugging around my collection of CD's. At a time when commercial airlines did not allow the use of Walkman-type portable CD players (due to possible interference by those pesky little lasers) - I had found a "loophole" against this "travel restriction" when flying... "This is a MiniDisc player" I would contest to the flight attendant - "...*not* a portable CD player!!!"... I got away with this on all commercial airlines with the exception of Lufthansa where the flight attendant would typically summons the Captain who would proceed to lecture me on the "unknowns" or possible anomalous behaviors by those "pesky little lasers" - (whether it be in the form of a portable CD player or MiniDisc player)... I would always lose the debate on Lufthansa flights accordingly! No matter - my little MZ-R3 was always guaranteed to bring about lively conversations with strangers thru the course of my travels!

1998 saw my first upgrade to a Sony MZ-R55. This was a welcome upgrade to my MZ-R3 with the new addition of 40 seconds of shock-memory along with a cool backlit remote "stick controller".

2000 saw my final portable upgrade to the MZ-R900 - Sony's first MDLP portable. Although I thought the promises of MDLP where cool, it wasn't until a year later, that I purchased my first component-deck, an MDS-JE770 that I picked up Ireland. My favorite feature of this marvel was the ability to title my MD's with a PC keyboard! A very convenient and cool time-saver!

In a post-911 world, I found myself repatriating back to the states. My love-affair with the wonderful world of MD became soon overshadowed with the iPod scene and MP3's. Although, I was never altogether impressed with the quality of MPEG-3 or Apple's facsimile for the iPod, I was amazed at the storage capacity of the iPod I had (60GB)! This was "quite the business" back in 2004 (or was it 2005???)...

Fast-forward to 2011... I was unpacking some boxes from my days spent overseas and came across my MZ portables. The batteries all charged up, albeit not to their original 100% capacity... I began listening to some of my MD collection for the first time in a decade and my love for MD was renewed all over again! ATRAC trumps MPEG any day in my book!

I continued to unpack my boxes, now searching in earnest for my MDS-JE770 so I could reunite with my beloved hi-fi component, only to discover (recall) that I had sold this unit in order to buy my fiancée (now wife) her engagement ring!

*Ugh*... my only regret in parting with the JE770 is that since then, Sony announced it's "discontinuance" of the MD as we all knew it. It was now next to impossible to find any new MD units out there available for sale. eBAY came to my rescue! I am now the proud owner of two (used) MDS-JB940's (one for backup!) - along with two MZ-RH1/M200 HI-MD portables. Not sure if I'll ever venture into Hi-MD territory as the JB-940's pre-date the Hi-MD format and Sony, Oddly enough, Sony never produced a Hi-MD component deck.

In summary - "It all started" for me over a decade-and-a-half ago. I couldn't be happier that I am now resuming my love-affair with the wonderful world of MD and look forward to the massive project of converting my 350+ vinyl LP's to MiniDisc!

Thanks very much to Phil and Alison for all their help in keeping the MD world alive! I look forward to placing many orders for discs and cases as long as they have them available!

Thanks guys...

Brian
Long Island, NY.

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“I was using tapes to perform my puppet shows. The tapes would break or stop with tape hanging out and I would have to rewind the tape hoping it would be in the same place as when it quit.

I was working at a ministry called Teen Challenge and the Choir Director told me about minidisc. I got my first minidisc player in the early 1990's. The minidiscs are so much more versatile, unlike the CD, where you have a set order, unless you burn another CD. You could end up with stacks of CD’s for one show, if you changed the order of service.

With the minidisc, though, you can change the order of the songs or skits anytime & also take one off & replace it with another on the same disc. Also, they don’t get scratched like CD’s do. I DO NOT understand why this technology did not take off.

Once, I saw a combo CD and minidisc player. That would be sweet to own, then you could use one unit to process music from the CD to the minidisc.

I still use the minidisc & love them.

Thank you, Phil & Alison, for being there.

God Bless”

Charlotte A Reed
Puppet Power

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“Mini Discs are soooo cool and they even SOUND BETTER than CD's. Plus, the 5 hours 20 minutes in LP4 mode is a great feature.

I was out shopping one day, and had a listen to one they had chained down. The music wasn't completely my taste, but it had this high quality sound I couldn’t resist. When it stopped playing, I couldn’t get enough, so I bought one of the last two on sale there. It happened to be a NET -MD, and this was very exciting to me.

I have since gotten a home deck and am now recording my 1400 CD's, slowly, but surely.

Recently, I finished a session on eBay, where I purchased 12 of them for my 12 cousins. I am also recording discs for them. It’s a great format, and you should read all about it in Wikipedia and elsewhere. It might even be higher quality than CD's.

Sincerely,

Steve
Queens, NY

PS- I have since taken advantage of the extremely low, low prices and gotten myself another model 410 to go with my 430. That way, in case it gets broken, I'll have another.”

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”I became a self-employed mobile DJ in 1980. By 1985 I had 8 wooden boxes of 6,000 45rpm records and had a basement job in VFW hall. Another DJ was upstairs watching me lug my stuff with a hand-truck on the steps.

Later he approached me and said when I had an album on to come upstairs & he'd show me a new system. I was amazed!!! His players had a window in which the title & other info scrolled across. And the Disc size!!! (I was just considering switching to or adding on CD players to my equipment)

Well, I went from 8 wooden boxes (each 3' long) to 8 plastic boxes (each less than 1' long) with all of my vinyl (6000 45rpm's & 300 LPs) It took me a year & a half of night works in the Fire house (33 yrs with Phila. Fire Dept.) but, I copied every song and made up a system of song title, year, tempo & time in a book.

People to this day ask about my MDs, and I tell them they're better than CDs!

Thanx for being there for us.”

Jerry Beaucheane
Phila., Pa.

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”I first became interested in MD with the premiere issue of Sony Style Magazine in 1993, which featured the original MD portable on the cover. At the time, Sony was offering a promotion to give out a free prerecorded album by mail. So, my first MD was Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous”. I started to collect albums gradually.

But, I didn't yet have a player. It wasn't until 2003 that I actually bought my first MD player: the Sharp MD-MT290. I was very happy to finally be able to play my MD's, but it didn't have all the features I wanted. So, I sold the Sharp model and bought the Sony MZ-NF810, which has NETMD and high-speed downloading. I love this player and still use it. Although I do wish I had spent a bit more and bought the MZ-N10, as it downloads twice as fast and is a bit smaller.

I later bought a used Sharp MD-MT899. It has the best remote, but the controls on the unit itself are lacking. It is also a good unit.

My latest player is the Sony MZ-RH1, which is the greatest player ever. I will be using MD way into the future. Although MD is not as popular as it was at its peak in 2003, I still prefer to have music and data on physical discs with labels, instead of in a portable hard drive like the Ipod.”

Chad Fletcher
Toronto, Ontario

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”It all started for me back in the mid-to-late 90s. The Mini Disc had come into my life when I stumbled upon it while on one of my typical Sony Store visits, conducting a "Wishful Window Shopping" session (and probably, redundantly and frustratingly buying some blank CASSETTE TAPES, and/or other accessories at the same time).

My love for my favorite music saw me wanting to arrange tracks in sequences that *I* liked, typically "conceptualizing" subject matter; putting the songs about love/sex together, which would sometimes link to songs about the rock & roll lifestyle (sex, drugs, drinking, etc), then grouping the ones about war & nuclear holocaust together (yeah, I listen to a LOT of metal, mostly) which often linked to the political and/or social issues & topics. In addition or in lieu of that, I would arrange them musically, keeping softer melodies (i.e. ballads) separate from the harder rockers -- the only exceptions to my custom sequencing was conceptual albums & rock operas, where each song tells a "chapter" in a "story"; those would stay in their original sequences. Anyway, I digress...

In the late 70s & early 80s, the only means of achieving this kind of personal customization was recording to cassette; or, depending on your age, to 8-track tapes, or even reel-to-reel.

This was where I started out: tapes. I was of the "cassette tape" generation, though during my "cassette days", I had some (brief) experience with the old 8-track format as well (courtesy of my mother's own music & recording obsessions), but not as much with reel-to-reel (even though Mom had one of these too, but it wasn't working so well anymore, so I couldn't "experiment").

The 8-track obviously sucked ‘cos you'd get only 40, 45, 60, 80, maybe even 90 mins. worth of recording, and this recording time was divided by four (thus giving you the 4-stereo channels = 8 "tracks"), and if your songs exceeded that 25% (designated to each of the 4 tracks), your last song in that quarter was "interrupted" by the "track channel change", when it would go from one track channel to the next (1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, 4 back to 1). Plus the sound quality alone ranged from poor to awful.

So, cassettes were always my preferred medium (I even doubted the quality of the CD, thinking it was just a gimmick designed to make people buy their music libraries all over again - thus I missed out on a lot of albums on CD format... but again, I digress...); the cassette sound quality was way better than 8-track, you had more recording time for playback continuity (up to a full hour), and the compact size made them ideal for portability. Not to mention the ability to access random points of the tape (by FFWDing and REWing), unlike the 8-track. While a precious few 8-track players had a (very slow) FFWD feature, many did not, and you were left to let a programme channel (or track) to play thru. The best you had was to jump from track channel to track channel, which only meant you'd be at the same progress point in the next track as you were at the last one. In other words, if you played thru 2 minutes on track one, jumping to track 2 puts you in the same progress position, having already "played" the first 2 minutes. So, if you wanted to hear the first song on track 1 then jump to hear the second song on track 2, the differing durations of the songs themselves would have you either hearing the last bit of track 2's first song, or missing the first little bit of the second song you wanted to hear... or even missing it entirely. A total pain.

Because of this, as I said, cassettes were the source of all my recording purposes... and before long, they also became the source of all my grief and my customizing endeavor's frustrations: - running out of tape by mere minutes or even seconds, thus ruining my personalized program, rendering it (to me) incomplete - any albums that were not 30 (C-60), 45 (C-90), or even 55-60 mins. (C-110, C-120) long, would not nicely fit on one side of a tape (even then, it was rarely a "perfect" fit), and anything falling short of that left you with too much tape leftover that you'd have to find "filler" (other songs) for, or, leave blank and spend 5 minutes winding it to the end to play the other side - the tape was subject and sensitive to all kinds of pitfalls & hazards like stretching, getting chewed up by the player deck, getting soiled or dirty from the elements - too much tape slack inside the shell would cause the tape to twist up on itself and "lock it up" risking stretching, or even breaking, even when trying to fix it and get it playable again - the tape hiss and "surface noise" combined with the natural volume level or signal loss of recording resulted in poor quality recordings ; you either kept volume low to avoid distortion or turn up the recording volume to mask tape hiss & noise. And that's IF your deck even OFFERED manual recording level adjustment! Many decks had that awful ARL (Automatic Recording Level) which constantly adjusted the volume, turning itself up during softer passages then plummeting to almost mute when the sound/music suddenly went louder. Whoever invented that crappy feature should be SHOT. Repeatedly.

Recording quality was mildly improved upon with things like Dolby noise reduction and higher-grade tape types (Type I - Normal ; Type II - Chromium-Dioxide aka Chrome, and Type IV - Metal), but using these often meant needing similar players to play the tapes back on. If you record a tape with DNR (Dolby Noise Reduction), and played it back on another deck that did not have DNR, your recording would sound less-than-optimal - the music would sound clearer, but so would the tape hiss and surface noise. If you recorded using one of the various types of DNR, (B was the standard, but was joined by C and S which cut out even more hiss and noise), then playing back without these same filters gave you even worse sounding recordings on decks not equipped with them. And then using the various types of tape was tricky too ; using the Metal tapes meant you had to play them on a deck that was designed for Metal tapes, otherwise the abrasive metal properties of the tape would cause worse wear to the tape heads, while most Normal almost always gave a muddy sounding playback like (too much bass), which left you with the Chrome tape (hence the most popular), which while delivering crystal clear sounds (more treble in addition to clear bass sounds), it also had the counter-effect of having too much hiss on the higher frequencies, making every cymbal crash and "s" sound in the vocals sound “hissy” and “staticky” (like white noise). Incidentally, Sony's UR Type I (Normal) tape was the best, ‘cos while it was Normal bias and thus reduced high-frequency hiss, it still delivered a balanced clarity. Anytime I need to record to cassette (usually for someone else), I use those exclusively.

Argh!! I just couldn't win!

I was SO sick of tapes! Tapes always would wear out and get damaged over time (if not immediately), they had crappy and/or compromised sound quality all around, not to mention limited options for programme duration (tape lengths) that left you faced with adding extra junk you don't want on the programme "just to fill the tape" or running out of tape leaving your programme incomplete (I ended up employing the toiling task of pulling out the excess tape and cutting it away, reattaching the loose end or the recorded portion to the leader tape - this was effective but left the tape end that I handled covered with fingerprints & skin oils, also rendering the cassette unusable for anything other than the programme it was cut for, or an equivalent, not to mention a pile of wasted magnetic tape).

And then there was of course, the royal pain of when you decide, for whatever reason, somewhere down the road, that you wanna rearrange/shuffle the sequence, or eliminate/add a song (tape space allowing?), which always meant re-recording the ENTIRE programme all over again. And if you were anything like me, you despised, and labored to avoid/prevent those electronic snaps & clicks that appeared on the tape every time you initiated recording in the middle of the tape! Re-recording meant having to face that peril, which was made worse if you ever got away with making a "clean" recording the first time.

Also (and again), if you were like me, and got into any kind of track editing (making them longer or shorter as needed, typically to work in accordance the tape's length in order to fill it "perfectly"), then you were further plagued by these same clicks and pops appearing in the middle of your song, revealing those "telltale" edits. This probably bothered few people, but it was a total bane to me!

And one final annoyance were those tracks that overlapped or ran together (were combined) as one. Even if your tape deck had a "music search" function, it would bypass these "new track" points simply ‘cos the sound was consistent and regarded by the machine as one and the same track. Songs that were clearly separated but had minimal space in between also suffered this "ignore" flaw. I am the kind of person who detests long spaces between tracks ; 1 second of space between songs is usually more than enough for me, (sometimes too much), but on occasion, I'll allow up to 1.5 or 2 seconds, TOPS. So I could never "perfectly jump" to the next song even with a "music search" feature on my tape deck, thus the useful feature was then rendered use-LESS . I'd have to wind back and forth til I found that position where the song I wanted began (this activity of constant winding back & forth in a search for something is also hard on the tape, causing it undue and accelerated wear & tear!).

I figured I would never find a decent medium for my recording needs.

AND THEN CAME THE MINI DISC!!!

Everything finally came together! When it came to just playback alone, it had one small perk that even CDs did not; when you stop a track at any point, and resume play later, it picks up where it left off (like a cassette), provided you do not eject the disc in between (one of the few advantages of cassette; retaining playback position even after being ejected from the deck).

But the recording advantages & features blew me away:
- I was able to fit entire albums on a single disc in a complete, uninterrupted duration regardless of its length, ‘cos I was not burdened by having to deal with the leftover blank space at the end (no more fast winding of tape format - blank space was left conveniently ignored via disc format), and I did not RUN OUT of space (although, the 74 minute discs that first came out sometimes were a problem for CDs that ran 74+ minutes, but the 80 mins. MDs that soon came out fixed that!).

- Recordings always sounded great! Often better and with more clarity than the original CD, without any distortion! Recording levels could be adjusted to conform conflicting levels of various CD sources to one matching volume level, but without the telltale fluctuation of the cassette's hiss & surface noise!

- I could record a customized programme, and anytime I wanted to change the sequence, I could use the Move function; if I wanted to get rid of a song, I could Erase it; if I wanted to add a new song, it only took as long as the song itself was to add (record) it, and then use Move to put it where I wanted it in the sequence! All without disturbing or having to redo the entire original programme! And if I wanted to Erase the entire disc and start anew, I could, WITHOUT having to waste time "recording over" the previous programme at the end (in the event where the new programme is shorter than the old).

- Editing tracks for time or content (creating my own "single" version of epic tracks or extending those short ones) was almost always crystal clear and clean! No telltale clicks, pops, or snaps! Much better compared to cassettes!

- The durability and compact size far exceeded those of the cassette! No more nightmares of twisted, chewed up, worn out, stretched tape! No more soiled or contaminated playback area surface, ‘cos unlike the tape which was exposed to the elements, the MD has a protective shell & shutter.

- Unlike cassettes, I could record over and over on the same MD with no audio loss or physical wear, unlike tapes that would become more prone to poor sound quality and physical damage. - The eventual arrival of MDLP recording modes further offered me the ability to cut down on multiple media! If a customized programme ran 85 mins., I could just use the LP (x2) mode and keep in on one disc rather than split it over 2, or have an entire 2-disc set (like live recordings or hits compilations) complete and uninterrupted on ONE disc!

- The Divide function allowed me to place a relatively precise track mark on those combined/overlapped tracks, or even split up long epic tracks into "chapters". Divide also allowed me to cut away (and Erase) excess silence at the start or finish of a track.

- The Combine function allows me to eliminate tracks marks where (I feel) they do not belong, or put songs together in a seamless "medley" fashion, or keep live tracks consistent as one big "concert track". Brilliant.

- Track & disc titling was the icing on the cake!! I didn't have to (though I still do) make labels for the identification of content! Labels or not, as long as there was a MD player nearby, I could always see what was on a disc.

I was giddy like a schoolgirl. When it came to recording, Mini Disc won, hands-down, no contest.

Even though cassettes allowed up to total 120 minutes of recording on a single media, I looked at it as what I could get on a single media WITHOUT having to stop whatever I was doing to go and flip it over or change it and play the other side or another cartridge - this meant what I could fit on ONE SIDE of a TAPE in comparison to what I could fit on a single MD. In other words, where was the maximum level of uninterrupted, consistent playback capacity offered? Since the longest tape made available (not counting DAT - Digital Audio Tape) was a C-120 (60 mins. per side), that meant 60 minutes of uninterrupted music that I could "press 'play' and forget it". But MD offered discs in 60 minute lengths anyway, as well as 74 (and soon after, 80) minutes too! So that's an additional 14-20 mins. on top of the base 60 mins. in one sitting! Even when you account for the "extra" 2 or 3 minutes of tape (this usually fluctuates) you usually get on every cassette, making it slightly longer (62 or 63 minutes) than a MD-60, you're still burdened with the "guesswork" of what will fit on that extra tape. Furthermore, the MD-74 and MD-80 lengths blow that "bonus tape" space out of the water - and with NO GUESSWORK! So, once you factor in the significantly better sound quality and by-far-&-away better versatility of the media (Erasing, Moving, Dividing, Combining, etc), who the heck would wanna stay with tape?

MiniDisc made my taking music on the go easier too. The amount of music I could get onto any number of tapes was greatly increased by as many, or even fewer, MDs, which were smaller and more compact. The only trick for me, as I prefer the LARGE & LOUD format of boomboxes (and not the confinements of headsets & walkmans), was finding a way to make my boomboxes "MD compatible", as many only had cassette decks and CD decks, but no MD deck or MD integration. Before long, the MD walkman was available. An MD walkman was of course the answer, and then I figured I'd just use an auxiliary cable lined out from the headphone jack or the audio out / line out jack (if there was such an option on the walkman) into the boombox's AUX input. The problem then was, by this time, unlike their 1980s predecessors, not many boomboxes of the 90s (when I discovered MD) offered an AUX-IN or other input option anymore! But, a car stereo cassette adapter would overcome that hurdle, and I was happily playing my tunes LOUD & PROUD via a boombox, with confidence that everything sounded great at all times.

My first MD walkman was a MZ-E40, just a simple player with a wee tiny LCD screen comprised of a lousy dot matrix configuration that made any period characters look like big black boxes, especially in comparison to the nice and proportionate size of the dots in a colon (the punctuation symbol, not the human organ!). That was quickly replaced by the MZ-R3, which offered everything from a better LCD screen and more features to RECORDING capabilities! This model, in addition to recording studio and other pre-recorded sources, live recording was made simpler too. I was able to bring my compact, recordable MD walkman, to a karaoke show and hook it up to the amplifier of the KJ's gear (the KJ was usually a pal of mine who'd allow me this privilege). I was able to record my own singing performances for personal review later at home - I could see where my voice was stronger/weaker and know to make adjustments in my performance for next time, and if the performance was overall okay, I'd keep it - and the quality all around allowed me to make better critiques of my singing and keep good copies of my performances for playback enjoyment. They weren't "perfect" ‘cos after all, it's karaoke, not a recording session at Deirks Studios! I eventually was finding the rather large size of the MZ-R3 to be clumsy and bulky, and with the arrival of MDLP recording modes, I needed something new. So I went with the MZ-N1, which not only offered MDLP, had a slimmer, more compact design (looking less like a cassette player, as the MZ-R3 did, and more like an MD player), and a nice LCD display, but it also came with NetMD software and capabilities.

The NetMD thing was handy for a while, once I realized I could copy my WAV files (I'm partial to WAVs over MP3 for sound quality advantages in many instances, not just for copying to MD), and I began "ripping" my WAVs from my PC onto my MZ-N1. But then one day, twice in a row, during a transfer process, my computer suffered a crash. Fortunately Windows was able to recover from it, but it was not boding well for the NetMD. After the second crash, that was it. I immediately uninstalled and removed all Sony-related software from my computer and never used NetMD again, not will I ever. I still keep the MZ-N1's cradle connected via the USB for charging, and use traditional RCA/miniplug connections to occasionally record between the MD and PC (another flaw of the NetMD ; most music transfers were one-way only, usually MD>PC), usually to get short sound bytes or the like exchanged between PC and MD/CD media. For my on-the-go needs, the MZ-N1 was used, until the rechargeable "stickgum" battery kept choosing to peeter out at the worst times, leaving me with no means of “tuneage” while still on my treks. I needed to "rollback" a little bit, to something that took good old-fashioned AA alkaline batteries. That's when I found a MZ-DN430 on eBay (also with MDLP, but no recording capabilities), still in package with all accompanying connections & software (including that damn NetMD - which went promptly in the trash!).

I now make CDR (or CDRW) burns of my WAV tracks then record the CDR/W in real time to MD using one of my full size decks. The MZ-DN430 is still my on-the-go player (for MD; I've been using an MP3 player lately, as an experiment), and the MZ-N1 still sits near my PC in its cradle for PC/MD recording via RCA/miniplug.

I recently "retired" my MD walkman (at least temporarily) in favor of a 16GB MP3 player, mainly with the intent of the elimination of batteries and their limited power (the rechargeable ones are short-lived, and leave me hanging if they die while I'm on the go - without any spares to carry along, I'm left with disposable alkalines, but those are a nuisance too), and the worry over how to carry the number of discs I'd need for the kind of vast music selection & variety I'd prefer while on the go (I do not care for the 4xSLP recording mode as I found it made many recordings sound "tinny" and/or "watery", so anything beyond what I could fit on 2xLP mode was then subject to that many more MDs being required).

However, I am fast becoming disillusioned with the MP3 player too. I discovered an "ARL" (Auto Record Level) effect during the playback of some tracks, with no apparent explanation as to why it occurs? The source file was/is fine, I know - though I am unsure whether the MP3, when copied over to the player, may have been subject to some "auto-level recording" settings, or if it's due to a AVL (Auto Volume Level, as opposed to AVLS: Auto Volume Limit Setting) playback setting on the player (neither of which I can seem to find to adjust)?

Overall, I enjoyed much better results in my early recording endeavors thanks to MiniDisc!! And even though I now do all my primary recording and mixing work on the computer (far more accommodating and easier to manipulate to my picky standards), the MiniDisc still retains a special place in my world for portable media and the playback thereof, as it will and does offer practical purpose for me in the future, as it will be a great way to transport my entire music collection to social functions or gigs (including DJing potential) without lugging bulky LPs, crappy cassettes, or even my precious (and also somewhat bulky) CD collection! I can copy everything from any source (8track, LP, cassette, CD, even TV or radio) to MD, take them "on the road", and if anything should get damaged or even stolen, I need only make a new copy - they make GREAT archives and "daily use" copies!

In addition to my MD walkmans, are my 4 MD decks (MDS-JE630 x2 aka the "twins", MDS-JB930, MDS-JB940 w/ MDLP) and 5-CD+MD deck (MXD-D5C), which will stay among my Hi-Fi equipment for years, as will all my dozens (probably more like hundreds) of MDs and their accessories (flip cases, labels, etc), no matter what new advancements technology brings. In fact, I have yet to experience the Hi-MD. It looks intriguing, and if it can surpass what a regular MD (even in 4xSLP mode), and even the MP3 players, can deliver in terms of balancing high-quality recording with high-capacity recording volumes, I'm gonna be giddy.

In short, I think MD will be resuming its role as my primary player of tunes-on-the-go; Hi-MD or not.

As for why I think MD didn't do so well in the US as opposed to elsewhere (or anywhere?) around the world? Two simple words - "POOR MARKETING", courtesy of Sony. Not enough promotion or advertising. I personally feel it was a kind of deliberate sabotage, or at least merely "with-holding" it, knowing it was such a reliable and quality format of media, it would result in a lesser need for, and thus fewer replacements for blanks, and maybe even result in fewer commercial CD sales; all a person would have to do is borrow a buddy's CD (or, in some parts, borrow a copy from the public library) and make a copy on MD for themselves. But, as we all know, the MP3 file format and P2P file sharing, as well as home CD recording (burning), saw to that anyway - so it wouldn't have mattered. MD may as well have been marketed to the max and reaped the rewards before MP3 stepped in and eliminated "rewards" for anyone (besides the consumer).

Another possible reason is the lack of players, decks, and other accessories that would make them more appealing. Up until I discovered MiniDiscAccess.com, there were no decent means of storage; neither racks for multiple discs (in or out of their cases), or even individual MD cases themselves. (I was giddy when I found the "flipster" jewel cases for MD - they allow me to slip in my own custom-made-on-the-computer graphics covers, unlike those annoying slide cases.) ; there are no multi-players that will play several discs in succession (or shuffle if that's your preference) the way most CD carousels or magazine decks (between 5-10 disc capacity) and "jukebox" style players (accommodating anywhere between 50 to 600 that I've seen) can and do. Even the home decks & walkmans had limited variety, and even when one model may have "had it all", it was quickly replaced with a "dumbed-down", lesser-feature version.

I think there was ONE MD boombox, but it was small, and short-lived. I didn't even get to try one and see if it had any adequate "boombox power" (minimum 40-50W output) or other usefulness?

I'm just glad that the Mini Disc has endured, despite the poor marketing, lack of accessories & multi-playback options, and in the wake of the greater conveniences/advantages of digital format music media like MP3 (and its players, including iPods).”

W T WASP
Calgary AB Canada
wtwasp9@shaw.ca

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"It all started from me when I bought a Sony MDS-JE320 for use in my mobile DJ business...

In the 1980s, I started with 2 turntables & 2 cassette players. Cassettes were good because they didn't skip when jarred & I could tote less media (boxes of LPs were bulky & heavy). I started dubbing to cassettes only the LP tracks I needed. The problem with cassettes was that I spent too much time fast-forwarding & rewinding. I added CD players in the late 80s because CDs...

• were less bulky than LPs
• provided quick, direct access to tracks
• were less prone to skipping than LPs

By the early 90s I was aware of minidiscs (MDs) & bought the Sony MDS-JE320. MDs combined the best of cassettes & CDs, like

• quick, direct access
• ability to 'consolidate’ my music collection by recording only the tracks I needed

Other features that made it a 'no brainer' included

• text readout
• ability to re-record multiple times
• ability to move/combine tracks
• opportunity for greater 'hit density' (ie: lots of hits, not a lot media).

After dubbing a lot of music to MDs (mostly from CDs) I had a lot of good, quality music in a format that was easy to carry with good hit density. At about this time I was also using my Macintosh laptop computer at gigs. With my music in a database program it was quick & easy to locate tunes from my MD/CD collection.

By about 2000, I also had an iPod. Because CDs & MDs were more reliable (no crashes/freeze-ups) I rarely used it, or the laptop, for music playback.

I now own 5 MD units.

• MDS-JE320 is hooked up to a boom-box in my garage. The drive mechanism is a little noisy, but works fine for mostly weekend use
• Sony Walkman MZ-EP11 that I haven't used in years
• a Sharp minidisc bookshelf system (MD-C2) in my bedroom that includes a CD changer, dual cassettes, radio, & auxiliary input (for my iPod or laptop)
• Sony MDS-JE360 in my living room as part of a component system that includes a 5 CD changer & tuner
• Sony MDS-E10 that is part of my DJ rig

Some time ago I stocked up on blank MDs, labels & jewel cases. I probably have more now than I'll ever use. Because I like the small size & flexibility of MDs, I’ve been thinking about replacing one of the aging CD players in my DJ rig with the Tascam MD-CD1. It would take up the same space in my rack-mount rig & would enable me to shuffle between 2 MD players and 2 CD players. That’s 5 music sources, including the laptop, with cross-fade capabilities. I’ve also considered switching to a DJ rig that includes only 4 components. With 2 iPods, 1 mixer, & a PA system, I’d be carrying much less equipment. With my current i-Pod I can store 40,000 tunes in the palm of my hand. Now, that’s what I call very totable with phenomenal hit density!

Besides the problems others have listed, ie: Sony's inept marketing, & duplication restrictions of the format, I think a big reason that MD did not gain a bigger market share was that a lot of folks owned personal computers, and CD burners were replacing floppy drives on PCs. As the prices of writable CDs came down & inexpensive re-writable CDs became available, people used their computers (instead of traditional audio equipment) for storage, management & playback of their music. It's now easier, quicker & cheaper to burn music CDs than it is to record MDs. And, now with the tremendous popularity of iPods, a lot of folks see no need for any other storage media.

Personally, because I have a large MD collection, and plenty of supplies & equipment, I will probably continue to use MDs for some time. But, because of the ease of downloading & ripping music to my hard drive (that I may or may not store on CDs or MDs) I see MDs as less important in my life. If MDs are to have a future in the USA, it is most likely to a very small, specialized market."

JD the DJ
Des Moines, IA USA
jdstites@aol.com

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“I am the assistant director of a women's barbershop chorus, the Merrimack Valley Chorus Recordings in various media have always been part of our rehearsal and education programs. We rely on recordings to have a record of major rehearsals and coaching sessions. In the past, that meant lots of cassette tapes, and the tedious process of reviewing and transcription (especially for extended coaching weekends).

Several years ago (thanks to a more tech-savvy member), we began using MD instead. MD allows us to record an extended coaching session (several hours at a stretch), then break it down into usable tracks for review and teaching purposes. Non-critical portions (extra talking, false starts, "white space") can be deleted easily, and key sections can be pulled out for critical review and/or as good exemplars for teaching. Out of a 3-day rehearsal, we can choose the best run-through of each song for members to review and model. Sections of the recordings are uploaded to the members-only section of our website, so that all members can have access to the recordings at home. The latest version of a song and its correct interpretive plan are available at any time, and can be updated frequently. Excerpts taken from our best performances are sometimes made available for the casual visitor to the site to be able to listen to the chorus - great for p.r. and recruiting!

Individual singers are also periodically required to record themselves while singing within the ensemble and submit their recordings for one-on-one review. The choice of medium is up to the singer and her assigned reviewer. Many singers use MD for their individual recordings (I finally made the switch myself about 2 years ago), then hand over a disc or simply upload and email the tracks to their tape reviewer for comment. Tracks can easily be forwarded to the director or section leaders for further critique or to use in future rehearsal planning. The director has her own MD recorder and uses it for more frequent review of weekly rehearsals.

The recording quality is outstanding - important when one is focused on the finer points of tuning 4-part a cappella music. (No more wondering if the singer was drifting flat or her tape recorder batteries were dying...) Mic sensitivity allows for accurate recording both at close range (an individual singer on the risers), and from a distance (the full chorus from across the room).

A great resource for musicians who rely on frequent review and critique for rehearsal and education.”

Carol Smolenski
Salem, NH
Assistant director, Merrimack Valley Chorus
North Atlantic Region #1
Sweet Adelines International


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“I was quite happy with cassettes - I could record at home on my twin deck, and I could record (and, of course, play back) on the move with a 'Walkman' - until I discovered the versatility of the 'new and improved' minidisc.

A few years ago, the highest amount of recording time on a MD was 74 minutes. This was not an inducement to stop using cassettes, where the maximum recording time was 120 minutes. I first decided to investigate MDs when Long Play (up to 4x the standard maximum recording time) and 80-minute MDs became available. With a new maximum recording time of 5 hrs & 20 minutes, I finally decided to invest some money.

With my newly-purchased Sharp MD recorder, I began experimenting. Live recording with a cassette was easy, I just had to press the record button - the recording level was automatic. With the Sharp MD it was a hit and (often) miss affair. Recording at home was easier, but I couldn't make 'timer' recordings of radio programs, as I could with cassettes. Also, with cassettes, when I removed the tape I knew when I reinserted it it would play from the place where I had stopped, MDs didn't seem to do this. I was happyish!

To bring things up to date, what's really needed (for my purposes) is a portable MD recorder, with an automatic recording level, and a deck that can (timer) record and, play back any track on an MD by just having the track no. entered.

My next MD was made by Sony. Any Sony portable recording MD, with a Mic. input, will make excellent live recordings of speech or music, as they all (appear to) have an automatic recording level. They can also play back, and record, cassettes, radio or TV via normal Hi-Fi equipment; and even with the 5 hour 20 minute LP recording selected the quality is excellent. I have to say that for live recordings 2x LP is the absolute maximum for quality recordings, especially of music, but 4x LP is good for both speech and music recorded from the radio etc.

To make things easier at home, I'd recommend getting an MD deck. The Sony one I have allows timer recordings, and tracks can be chosen by just typing in the appropriate track number - unlike the portable versions where it's necessary to press a button 37 times to get to track 37. Playing, recording and editing by use of the remote control makes things a lot more pleasurable.

The beauty of MDs is the cheapness of the recording software, i.e. Mini Discs, compared to cassettes, as well as their capacity - up to 5 hours 20 minutes of quality recording. I've now learnt that I can do anything on an MD that I could do on cassette. MDs are smaller than cassettes and CDs, more versatile than either, and don't need the involvement of a computer at any stage - unlike MP3 players (which don't record live and need computer back up). I can't fault them. I love them. Why would I need anything else? It seems that Sony, by winding things down, a lot, and making MD equipment hard to get wish to force us to other, less versatile media. It would appear that Minidiscs were just too good! But they're not dead yet! Long live the Minidisc!”

Andrew Deas
London, England


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"As a student, I often worked in the library and needed to listen to music to isolate myself. At the beginning, it was with an old CD player, but even if the sound was good, support wasn’t practical and it was fragile. An MP3 player solved the problem, but at the cost of sound quality.

In 2007, I decided to take another look at MiniDisc for the sound, size, battery life and recording capability. I had started with this system in 1997 and stopped in 1999. The format didn’t achieve as much success in Europe as it should have due to marginal equipment choices. Plus, it was difficult and expensive to find MD accessories. Now, though, I don't regret the return to MiniDisc.

Thanks MiniDisc Access for people who know MiniDisc equipment."

Erwan Gueguen Nice, France

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”A music teacher I knew, gee, way back in the early 90s, raved about the mini-disk. He had a deck and used it to make 70+ minute compilations of music from his library of CDs. I was amazed at these compilations... Song titles scrolled from the deck. Wow. You would use the remote to add text. If you wanted track # 1 to, say, be track # 7, well, you could do it. What flexibility.

For some reason or another, the mini-disk never caught on like I thought it would. Why it didn't catch on may have to do with the advent of mp3. When mp3 caught fire in the late 90s to present day, it seemed that the mini-disk was dead.

I got fed up with mp3 about two years ago. I had two hard disk players - RCA Lyra and I-Pod - die on me. Let me tell you, the Lyra was 40G and the I-Pod was 10G. That represented around 700 quality albums. While I backed everything up on CD-R, I was still livid. What a waste of time and money.

In early 2004, I went to Best Buy and was intrigued by the mini-disk. ATRAC compression immediately caught my eye with removable media that sounded great @ 132 k! No more worrying about a hard disk meltdown. I immediately started to use Sonic Stage to move my mp3s to disk. You know, despite what some may say, the conversion wasn't as bad as it is made out to be. I now have a portable and a home deck.

I bought a Hi-MD portable six months ago, along with five 1-G disks. This stuff is awesome. I started to rip CDs I have in Hi-SP. Stunning sound! While all my mp3 collection that I have has been converted to LP2, I am right now ripping the CDs I have in Hi-SP right on the 1-G media. I love both! I just wish a home deck was accessible which would play both types of disks. I want to listen to Hi-SP music through my home stereo. Yeah, an RCA jack could hook up my portable, but it isn't the same.

Conclusion: MD isn't dead; it's like the Illuminati, Free Masonry, or the Tri-Lateral Commission. It's there but not too many people know the power!”

Mark R. O'Flaherty Euclid, OH

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”I first used MD whilst volunteering at my local hospital radio station. I then bought my first deck, thinking it a bit of an unnecessary luxury...but then soon found it a necessity.

Despite the proliferation of MP3 and I-Pods, I have stuck with MiniDisc and have a built-in player in the car and several Walkmans, in addition to the decks I have in the house.

Though I have upgraded to Hi-MD, I find it disappointing that Sony have never released a Hi-MD deck or Hi-Fi and I've written to tell them so!

Hopefully, I have enough equipment, and more than enough blank discs to keep me going for the time being as I plan to stick with the format for the foreseeable future.

Cheers!”

Nick Oliver Leeds, UK

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“I became involved in the minidisc format so I could record in real time from my computer onto a disc. Using a minidisc meant that I could get more songs on the disc. And, I didn't need to purchase them. (If you download them electronically, you have to buy them. But, if you listen to them in real time, you can pipe them into your minidisc via the jack plug.)

As I listen to them on my motorcycle, the minidisc fits in my tank bag and is piped into my helmet earphones. In fact, that’s why I wanted the car adaptor, so that it plugs into my jack plug on the bike and then into the minidisc. So, I can ride for hours without stopping to change the battery on the minidisc! My phone is blue tooth and when it rings, the minidisc cuts off, then resumes playing when the call is finished.”

Charlie Vernon Lancashire, England

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“This just started for me....I am a musician and will be taking some fiddle classes this summer, and needed a recorder of some sorts.

My daughter was in the Czech Republic in 2003, and was interviewing Czech composers. She purchased the MZ-N710 there, and used it to record interviews and music. Upon her return, she used it on and off, but the battery (the "gumstick" type) died, and it was difficult to find a replacement, so she packed it away and used her Discman, and later her Ipod.

When I told her about the camp, she offered her MD player, but didn't seem to know where all the accessories were (typical - she offered my DH her CD player for his car - w/o the accessories, and just lately, her old laptop - without the power supply).

Although the unit was distributed in Europe (and not in US), when I called Sony, they did have replacement parts (charger stand, adapter, battery), but it added up quickly to well over $100. (I didn't know about your store then).

So, I got on eBay and ended up buying two MD Recorders (MZ-N707 and NF-610) for about that same price, with most of the original accessories! Not five minutes after the auction ended, my daughter called to tell me that she had located almost everything that went with the player (except the dry battery case : "so that's what that was!").

But, after I played a disc on her player, I was hooked. The sound is much better than my Ipod! And, the bonus is that I can record live! At first, I was considering selling off the extra MD players, but I think I'd better keep the back-ups, just in case.

So, now, instead of doing laundry, I put my favorite music on minidiscs....”

B. Hathaway PA

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“I am a professional recording engineer. I believe in hard disk digital technology. I have used a minidisc for years and love the clarity of sound that I receive. Recently, I purchased a Flash card recorder that was supposed to be the top of its technology. When I went to record at a show, I received a very distorted recording of what I had listened to. Take my word for it. At this time, flash card digital recorders are just not going to cut it in this application. Sure you have a lot of nice functions, but who cares when the sound is distorted? I put the recorder up on eBay, dusted off my trusted minidisc and haven't had a problem since.

At this time, stay with Mini Disc.”

Cowan Dawson

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“I first saw the mini disc in 1997. I'm a wannabe singer, and a friend and neighbor wanted me to meet a friend of his, who he said was a real good singer. So off we go to the club this gentleman was singing at. I think it was in August of 1997. We were introduced and I was invited to join the man on stage and sing. It turned out to be a great afternoon, and after the show he showed me the equipment he was using. I was fascinated when he explained all of the functions that the mini disc player/recorder was capable of. The ability to combine tracks, move tracks around and divide tracks is something that no other machine is capable of, at least not that I know of. I know you can do all this if you install the right program on your computer. A good program means that you have to be pretty computer literate, and I'm not.

One of the biggest selling points for me is the durability of the discs and the quality of the sound. There's no question that they're better than your standard CD's. I think that the reason they haven't caught on here in the USA as much as other places is that you can only play one disc at a time and then you have to physically change the disc. Whereas CD players, like the one my son has, hold five hundred CD's on a carousel. The thing can play forever (well, almost), and I think that's a big reason for the lack of minidisc popularity here in the US.

I've run across a few DJ's that use them, but that's about it. I think with the advent of the new mini disc that can hold up to 45 hours of music, this might change. I hope so, since I love these machines and want to be playing them for a long time to come.

I bought my first one in 1997, but it went south on me. It could have been repaired, but the cost was too high. I now have my fourth player, (a used one I just purchased on E-Bay) because I like to have a back-up. Hopefully these machines will be around for a long time.”

David Bell Chula Vista, CA

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”I got involved with minidisc in 1992 or 3. I was living in NYC and saw a Phillips, about the size of the transistor radios the cool kids had in the early 60s, and it cost $500. It was made to be plugged into your stereo, and I wanted to buy it on the spot, even though I had no stereo to use it with. I am old enough to have been thrilled when the first audio tape began to appear, and I've spent years recording music collections onto reel to reel and later onto cassette.

When I saw minidiscs, I was instantly hooked. The ability not only to record, but to edit seamlessly and to move tracks blew my mind! Honestly, the digital aspect of it was secondary to me- my musical addiction began when I was about four, staying up late at night and listening furtively to a 1954 Magnavox am clock radio, in mono, of course. I can't add much to what others have already said about MD technology - it's just unbelievably great.

Where I differ from most of the people whose stories I read is that I don't involve my PC- I don't really understand why anyone would, though I certainly understand why the industry wants it. From the very little I know, it seems like taking a very easy, on-the-fly recording/editing method and turning it into a real procedure. I'm no fan of Microsoft or of Sony; it seems to me that Microsoft just wants to push expensive, resource-hogging hard- and software at me whether I have a need for it or not, and the entertainment industry, in this country at least, wants to bring on a situation where the consumer pays to see video or hear music pretty much every time they do so, even after ponying up for the equipment, the connections, the monthly service, etc.

And that's why I think the MD hasn't taken off here. A Lot has changed in the American business climate in the years since the MD first hit. Sony didn't market it at all when it came out. Then, there were the licensing squabbles, and by the time that was over, American actors had won lawsuits regarding royalties for repeat showings of movies or TV shows, and the whole entertainment industry got serious. At the time, MD recorders were commonly being sold that could make 5 digital copies of another MD at once at high speed. I think someone wet themselves thinking about the potential for distribution of bootleg material, and those machines disappeared very suddenly, soon followed by any others that didn't have the SCMS thing.

I think the whole digital audio/video thing has been captured by the new business model, and the idea is to get everyone to spend as much as possible as often as possible to end up with collections that are at best impermanent, if only because we can no longer buy or repair the player, or the battery can't be replaced, or the music moved, or whatever. It's just not about what the consumer wants to buy, it's about what the industry wants to sell, and sell again. I am not more entertained now than I was 30 or 40 years ago, but I sure pay a lot more for it. Now that free internet radio is dead, analog can't be far behind, and we're all supposed to download our $1 copies of songs onto our iPods and toss the whole thing out when the battery dies 13 months later.

Which brings me to here. Like some of the other writers, I'd like to buy about 6 MD recorder/players and several zillion discs and keep using them into my old age, but wouldn't know what to buy of the recorders currently being produced. I can't tell if they even work without involving a PC- can someone please take pity on me and 'splain this? Obviously, I'm a dinosaur, and I don't want to move any more music into any more formats and keep any more collections. I have an ancient Denon M2000R which I treat with great respect, and I'm moving my MDs onto CDs, hoping that some combination of machinery and media will stay up and running till I go deaf.

OK, I'm done- if you're still reading, thanks for tuning in to my little rant. Now open your window, put out your head, and scream, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

J. Snyder Overland Park, KS

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“My name is David but my homies call me "Dirty". You can too if you want, 'cuz anyone down with MD is a friend of mine.

It all started back in '98 or so. I was working at Guitar Center of Lynnwood (great store by the way) and saw a lot of new products coming in before most people might see them. I started looking into multi-track recorders. All I knew is I did not want to use the cassette tape format, so when I saw the Yamaha MD4 it was love at first sight. I knew nothing of the minidisc, but it was one of the only digital recorders in that price range that was affordable for a starving artist.

So I bought it and have been in love ever since. The MD format is by far the best, and mixed with Yamaha's research power, the MD4/8 is worth every penny. Minidiscs are tough, like a mustang. I’ve dropped them, stepped on them, threw them against the wall, and spilled SODA on them with no problem at all. They still deliver clean, clear audio. They’re small in size, so packing them around is a cinch. With all the advancements made since, I still find myself using my minidisc to record my music. It always sounds better.

If you would like to listen to some of my projects using my MD4, check out my site:

http://www.soundclick.com/dtalks

and leave me a message or ask me a question.

Thanks People. Stay down for the MD!!!”

David “Dirty” Brown Lynnwood, WA

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“I was introduced to minidisc when I was working on a military base where I’m the sound guy for the USO and MWR (Navy recreations). Most of the bands that come in and entertain the troops have their minidisc and ask me to hook up their MD on my board for recording their sets. That’s when I got curious and ordered my first Net MD and got hooked on it ever since.”

Alex Verzosa Burbank, CA

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”My minidisc journey began in 1995 when I was a technical gopher at the World Science Fiction convention which was held that year in Glasgow, Scotland. These conventions traditionally include a "masquerade" (sort of a fancy dress competition) and I was put in charge of managing the musical and sound-effects backing tracks required by each of the competitors. Of course, every competitor turned up with a different medium - cassette tape, CD, even vinyl! - and some only needed part of the track they had in mind. I needed a way of collecting all the disparate pieces of sounds and music together into one place, and to be able to do some basic editing. Then one of my tech colleagues produced the answer to my prayers, a Sony MZ-1! I'd never seen one of these beings before, but as a keen technophile and "hi fi" fan I was blown away by the possibilities. Real digital recording, onto re-writable media, with instant track access and the ability to split, re-order and combine tracks! Fantastic!

As I was living and working in the Middle East at the time it was 3 years before I was able to acquire my very own MD (thank you Sony ME Marketing). My MZ-R30 was built like a tank and saw many hours of service as a sound-effects unit in amateur dramatic productions. I also began transferring my analogue vinyl and tape collection into digital format on standard MD. The small size and robust construction of the discs was a major plus. Eventually the MZ-R30 succumbed to a broken flexible cable in the lid and the LCD started blanking out. It still worked though, and my son was all too eager to get his hands on it. Even today it still plays, but has been battered almost beyond recognition! How do Sony build things this strong?!

When the MZ-R30 began playing up I needed to replace it quickly and cheaply as I relied heavily on it for theatre work, so I bought an MZ-R70 in 2001 to keep me going. There was nothing spectacularly different about the R70, except perhaps its ability to take a standard AA battery and run forever, at least compared to any other music player on the market then. At about this time I also invested in my first hi-fi separates MD unit, a Pioneer MJD-707. This has a nice noise reduction circuit which came in handy for transferring the dozens of cassette tapes I had lined up for digitization at this time. The Pioneer is still going, though it has occasional overheating problems.

I was getting quite serious about MD by now, and couldn't really understand why MP3 was getting all the limelight, except for the obvious fact that Sony couldn't be bothered putting up a fight. Why buy something so expensive, that can only be used with an even more expensive computer, and then only runs for a couple of hours - we're talking single digits here! - before the battery expires? On top of that, you have to store all your precious music, whether ripped or downloaded, on a fragile magnetic hard disk where it's vulnerable to everything from power surges to viruses. MiniDisc was, and still is, light years ahead of all that! I'd always resisted putting CD in my car because of skip problems and the bulky disc storage, but MD was perfect for in-car entertainment. My CDX-R6750 delivered excellent service until its lack of support for anything but standard MD meant it had to make way for a higher capacity ATRAC CD player. Anyway, although I didn't want to use my PC for long term music storage, I still used it extensively for effects capture, design, mixing, and editing so I was very interested when NetMD appeared and promised PC integration.

I dipped a toe in the water with the MZ-N710, but was instantly disappointed when it turned out that the MD-PC relationship was very one-sided and all that NetMD offered was MP3-like downloading and a choice of compression factors. Still, it was a step forward and when the Pioneer deck complained of overheating that summer I decided to upgrade it with a Sony MDS-PC3 deck. This is a very strange beast, part MD deck, part PC component. The most interesting part of the package was the PCLK-MN10 PC link device which, together with the Sony M-Crew software (even more idiosyncratic than the beloved SonicStage) provided direct PC control of the NetMD unit as well as a useful optical digital output.

Today I use the MDS-PC3 as my source device for live theatre productions because it's small, light, has a full complement of digital I/O, and most importantly has a permanently backlit LCD screen. Essential when working in a blacked-out control booth!

After this, Sony seemed to lose interest in MD even more than they had already. I treated myself to a new MZ-N1 which hasn't performed up to Sony's usual high standards and now functions as a semi-permanent PC peripheral for making quick copies of effects discs in Standard or LP2 mode. But this was only the calm before the storm! In 2005 HiMD arrived in all its glory, well most of it, and I just had to upgrade. My first HiMD purchase was an MZ-NH1, a gorgeous piece of kit, if slightly impractical due to its tiny on-board LCD and the fact that when cradled it can only be charged, not connected to a PC. Strange.

Shortly after the release of the NH1 the rumor mill went into high gear concerning Sony's abandonment of the long string of missed opportunities that we know as MiniDisc. In response I bought two more HiMD units, an RH10 and an MZ-NH600 because by now I don't think I could live without MD. The MZ-NH600 is my long-term insurance policy and has never been out of its box! I also picked up an end-of-the-line Sony CMT-SE9 hi-fi separates system which includes SA-CD, DVD and cassette as well as NetMD (including somewhat pointless PC connectivity) at a bargain price.

So, without realizing it, I've picked up examples of just about every development in the MD story over the last 10 years or so. I sometimes dream about buying an RH1, not because I need another MD player, but just because it reportedly allows digital upload of standard MDs, which would save a lot of time. But my real dream is of a revitalized MD world in which Sony finally understands all the benefits of the format and properly enables all of its functions, such as full bi-directional data transfer for all formats.

MiniDisc is still the most robust solution around, has twice the power-efficiency of any other format, and a proprietary compression format which knocks the spots off the competition but co-exists alongside uncompressed PCM and MP3 support. I'm sure professionals would welcome multi-track solutions either direct to MD or to hard-disk with optional mix-down to an on-board MD device as a safety.

MiniDisc is far from dead, but looks like it will live out its remaining days in dignified obscurity.

Cheers,”

Alistair Cameron Banchory, Scotland

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“Hi there folks here is my story;

It all starts back in 1992, the Blue Jays bringing the World Series trophy north of the border for the first time and a high school kid who enjoyed portable music reading the local business section of his paper. There, like so many others who have become famous, I first read an article about the next step in portable recordable media. I thought it sounded fantastic, but at those prices and my savings I figured I would never own one. After that I promptly forgot about the MD and its possibilities.

Is that where this story ends? Of course not. Fast forward 5 years and I was now a 3rd year university student on an exchange program in the hot bed of MDs, Japan. Everywhere I turned MD called to me, so as a present to myself I splurged and bought a SONY MZR-55 and the accompanying boom box with MD Link technology. So not only could I record from the CD player, but with the proper cables hooked up I could control and enjoy the MDs thru the speakers!

Eventually, my R-55 was stolen and replaced by the R-90. When mp3s first came on the scene I bought a little USB adapter allowing me to record mp3s to MD. Then I took another trip to Japan and purchased a wonderful compact stereo called the LAM-1. It gave me my first taste of true NetMD performance and also gave me high-speed CD-to-MD recording. I absolutely loved that little thing and got about 18 months of hard use out of it before a motor went on it. Because it was Japanese and I live here in Canada, Sony said there was nothing they could do and no one else since has been able to work with it.

Now I run with an MZ-N1 and MZ-E10 as well as an in-dash MD stereo for my car. Whenever I make a new MD, I print off my own labels for them and they all look great.

As for the question of why MDs haven't come on in North America. It is simple to me. With the exception of Axia, Sony is the only mainstream hardware company (at least in Canada and I use the term mainstream very loosely). There is no competition in the market. Sony does no advertising for the MD to let people know what is out there, unlike Apple who have put the iPod everywhere.

And the final straw for me was the introduction of the UMD for the PSP. Here was an opportunity for Sony to exploit the MD/Hi-MD format and link 2 of its products together. I certainly would have considered a PSP and upgraded to Hi-MD if they had linked them. Having the ability to play music on two different systems and having the rewritability of the MD format could have resulted in greater popularity for both the MD and PSP. Instead the UMD is all but officially buried, the market for Hi-MD is miniscule and everyone and their brother have or want the popular thing (iPod). Hmmm, do I sound a little bitter? If I do it's because I am. Sony really dropped the ball, just like BETAMAX.

Anyway, that is my story of how I fell in love with the MD and will continue to love everything about it for the rest of my days.”

Russell Crowe (yes, that is my real name)
Toronto, Canada


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“Mine isn't much; I have a Fiero I made a convertible of, and like to spend good weather using it for most transportation. Storage is at a premium, I can't stand commercials on radio, so needed a means of carrying good music in small packages. MD looked like the way to go. Still does.

As far as why the format has been slow, I have one reaction to your question - Betamax! It seems that the same marketing genius who was in charge of Betamax at Sony was given responsibility for MD as well. The philosophy appeared to be "Let's price this stuff so high that everyone will think it is really great and will pay whatever we ask in order to get it."

Today, I'd bet few people under 25 have even heard of Betamax despite its very good quality. MD seemed to be the same, and now that solid state is coming on strong, I doubt there will be much further development. Hope I'm wrong.”

Bill

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“My wife bought a component-sized Sony md player/recorder for Christmas many years ago. I hadn't even heard of minidiscs before that morning. I had always enjoyed recording my own collections of songs and was still using cassettes. She can't recall how she came to hear of the technology; she was convinced I'd appreciate being able to record onto a digital medium and be able to access particular songs during playback (like a cd). Home-cd burners were still pretty far off into the future; DAT recorders were available but really expensive (and to her DAT was just a glorified cassette anyway).

That Sony JE330 was one of best Christmas presents I ever received (and it recorded only in a "standard" mode: there was no LP2 or LP4 modes to extend recording times). I've stuck with the md technology since; I have no i-pod. There’s probably trouble on the horizon though....I was also a big fan of the Sony Beta VCR's.

Long live the minidisc! ("i-pods....we don't need no stinking i-pods")”

Jeff Jones Topton, PA

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“I was a Minister of Music in Houston when my life with MiniDiscs began. A fellow Minister of Music in the Houston area told me of this amazing technology called Mini Discs. I was skeptical at first and didn’t give him much credence. But later, I was to lead music in a revival in Oklahoma and I didn’t want to take all of my cassette accompaniment tracks with me! The cassettes were just too bulky and to worry about magnetic scans as they went through the security stops at the airports was the final straw.

I borrowed his recorder and a smaller “walkman” type of a player and headed off to Oklahoma. I have been hooked ever since! I bought a “Bundle Pack” where the deck unit was placed in our sound booth and the portable player stayed with me.

I later moved to Mustang, Oklahoma, where I had to buy a stereo unit in my office that had a Mini Disc recorder built in. I also purchased two more bundle packs where I could put one deck in the sound booth and the other deck in my choir room. The two portable players stay with me in a drawer in my desk until I need to go out of town with them.

Most recently, I went to Mexico on a mission trip and took a player with me with some discs that I had recorded with Hispanic music for use there!

Its main purpose is to take the accompaniment cassettes I have and dub them over to a digital format that I can modify as I need. For instance, I can put rehearsal cues in an accompaniment track so that I can better work with my choir. And then later, I can take those cues out if I so desire! With a CD, I have one chance to put the cues in where I want them and if I miss my mark, it’s just too bad. Plus, that CD is toast after I finalize it! With a MD, I can go back and add songs, modify cue points, add titles, whatever I want or need to do! The ease of editing is so amazing! In fact, I once added some material to make a particular stretch of music longer for one of our Easter Pageant scenes! I dubbed the original music to the MD about 5 or 6 times; edited it to make it fit in this particular slot, and then inserted it into the spot to make this section long enough to accomplish my purpose in this Pageant!

Another time, one of my teen-aged singers was entering into a contest where she could have only a certain amount of time. Her material was longer than that prescribed time slot and she asked me if I could help her. I was able to cut out a section to make the song shorter but kept the integrity of the original song!

I’m sold!”

David Baker Associate Pastor / Worship Ministries Chisholm Heights Baptist Church Mustang, OK

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"As far as when I began with the Minidisc, it was probably at least 9 years ago when I got my first Sony MD player, back when I was a bachelor tech geek, and along with my best friend, there really were not many geek toys we didn't try out.

However, since I got married, my toy allowance got cut back quite a bit so I've been sticking to MP3 players and CD-R portables."

Brendan Vila Frederick, MD

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“ I was in high school, it was about 1991 and i was looking through an Audio magazine that was in my library in school. I saw a format for a thing called Mini Disc technology. I thought to myself, man that looks so cool, a new format you can record on?

Tapes were getting old by this point, but i was still using them. I really wanted an Md player back then, but couldn't afford the $2000.00 they wanted for a home deck. Even the portable was over $700.00. That was way too much.

But i thought to myself, hey the price will come down. Look at the cassettes when they first came out, they were pretty pricey. A few years later, i saw this technology surviving DCC format, and also CD. I couldn't believe it was still around. But still a little too pricey, ( if i was rich, i would have owned one back in 1993).

Anyway, i used to walk around with a Realistic cassette walkman which i loved. It had a 3 band graphic EQ on it, and sounded amazing for a cassette deck. A friend of mine sold me a Fisher CD walkman a few years later which i dropped about 10 times, but still worked great. The only problem with that piece of machinery was that it was an early CD walkman and ate batteries for breakfast, and also skipped like crazy. It had a 10 second shock buffer, but if i used that, i only got about 4 hours of battery life, as opposed to 8 hours without it.

One day, my mom was carrying it out to the car and dropped it, and it finally died. She felt bad and bought me a new one for Christmas. It was a red Sony CD walkman. I used that from 2001 up until this year. I never had a problem with it.

I met this guy at work who used a Mini Disc player. The one day he said, hey Joe, i have a song i want you to hear and pulled out his player, and i thought, omg! A mini disc player!! He said yeah, i like this little machine, and we went on for about 20 minutes about how he liked how user friendly it was and such.

Then, another guy started working at my company and we went over to his house because he had a pair of speakers he wanted to sell me. He said, have you ever heard of Mini Disc players? I said yeah why? He told me that his wife just bought him one. It was a Net-Md.

For awhile, i tried buying it off of him, but he wouldn't part with it, lol. I started looking into getting one. I did all kinds of research on what people were saying about certain model's. Finally, i decided to go with an MZ-NH600D. I love that you can put over 45 hours of music on one disc! I love this thing. It’s the best piece of electronic equipment i ever purchased.

You see, I’ve been listening to Walkmans for over 23 years, and this thing is better and more versatile than anything you could possibly imagine. Before i bought this, i looked into buying an Ipod. But eh, i don’t like the fact that you don’t have removable media. You really can’t beat technology like this. I hope it sticks around because I’m going to buy another player and get a home deck as well.

The reason this technology hasn’t taken off is because Sony markets for crap. If this was my product, i would have made sure that commercials, ads, and poster boards and such told the world about the best format for recording music EVER. All they had to do was say that, drop the price and license it to other's earlier, and they would be sitting pretty right now. Nothing would have been able to compete.

Here’s to hoping this technology sticks around for eternity, because i love it. I’ll be on here buying stuff in the future trust me. I saved your site to my favorites.

Thank you for putting a great site online for people who know audio equipment.”

Joe Bomenka Pennsylvania

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"I first heard about MiniDisc back in 1993 when I started seeing articles about this new digital music format that was going to replace cassettes, and that, according to Sony, you could record and erase on them 'a million times'. My first reaction to this was 'that sounds amazing - got to look into that!' since, with all due respect to the cassette, its days were numbered and the time was right for some digital audio format to replace it. About the same time, this other new audio format called the DCC (Digital Compact Cassette) also came out by Phillips, which we MiniDisc supporters know was supposed to rival MD. From what I remember, DCC supposedly claimed to have higher audio quality (less compression, a 4:1 ratio) than MiniDisc (which had 5:1), but the DCC didn't really have a prayer - good as it was, it was still a cassette format, and in the mind of the mid '90s audio consumer, that was on the way to becoming obsolete. I had thought about the 'MD vs. DCC' debate for some time after hearing about both - knowing I would eventually invest in some new way to record music.

Then in 1995, I got a job in an electronic store, selling audio equipment. At the time the store had a few Sony MiniDisc portables and home MD units, and also carried the Phillips DCC deck. I got to hear the MiniDisc there for the first time - with every listen, my ears could not tell an MD from a CD. All the dissertation about compression rates and that the DCC had better quality went out the window - it make no practical sense to invest in a DCC unit once you took into account everything else - the portability factor, that MD, like CD, was an expandable format (in that down the road, the CD eventually begat the CD-R; with the ever-increasing popularity of MP3's, would hold far more music than when it originally came out, and MD eventually went this route by way of MD-LP and now Hi-MD ... could a cassette hold a candle to this?).

So having worked in the electronic store, I saw first hand that the MiniDisc was going to win the new digital format battle. In the time I was there, about nine months till spring of 1996, MiniDisc wasn't a big seller, moving maybe one or two units a week, but nobody in all that time bought the DCC deck (to be fair, it was the 8-track tape of the 1990's! At least DAT, which never really took off with the general listening public, is still used among the music recording community).

Some time between working at the electronic store and my getting my first MiniDisc units, I started seeing ads on the subway for MiniDisc - "where music is going" -- a woman on roller skates listening to an MD walkman. Also saw an ad somewhere that proclaimed "I can record on a disc! I can record on a disc!" with a very enthralled young guy who really seemed quite elated that, in fact, he could now record on a disc.

I eventually got my first MiniDisc units in 1998 - Sony had a bundle where they sold the MDS-JE330 home recorder/player with the portable MZ-E33 player -- with rebate the whole deal was $250, a great price to get one started with MiniDiscs. Once I put it together and started making copies of my CD collection to MD, I did feel like that guy in the ad ... it was real cool to finally be able to make digital copies of my favorite albums on a disc. To be able to transport them very easily with the MZ-E33 was just as cool. It felt like the second phase of a digital audio era (the first one being of course when CD's first came out -- now we had a convenient way to duplicate them, make mixes of our favorite songs, etc). I even took to the editing function where you can delete entire sections of a track, merge it with another, chop off part of a track and so forth. Sure, you can do this and much more with computer software, but for simplicity and convenience, you can't beat using the MD for basic editing.

The MiniDisc made it possible for me to edit together a 24-minute version of Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond". As you Pink Floyd fans know, on the 'Wish You Were Here' album, it comes on 'Parts I - V' then later 'Parts VI - IX' (really a part one and two with section numbering the different movements) ... using a copy of the original WYWH disc plus the version of SOYCD that appears on their compilation 'Echoes', I was able to edit seamlessly where part V and VI would've faded together, had the group decided to fill one side of the original LP with the track. With all the ways Pink Floyd has released this classic, it was never in its full 24-minute glory ... but with some MiniDisc editing and a good ear, you can make one yourself!

I went on to get the MD-LP when it came time to need to bring more music on a disc around (and stave off the desire to get an iPod or any MP3 player) and now am considering getting a Hi-MD unit since I don't yet have one that records live audio. Sure, I've burned many a CD-R in my time, and also went on to get MP3 playback devices, but they've never really done it for me the way MiniDisc has.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm the only one who bought into MiniDisc - very few people I know did and some wonder 'how come in the age of CD-Rs and iPods do you still use MiniDisc?' Well, my Pink Floyd story is one reason, the fact that the MiniDiscs themselves are designed the way they are (protective case around the disc, unlike regular CD's) is another, plus it's always a conversation piece, something to bring up that shows that not everyone is the same, not everyone does what everyone else is doing. Having an iPod today is like wearing jewelry -- many people do it, many people have it, it's more a status symbol and showing off one's social status than a display of intelligence and thought into what you're buying and using -- which is to me what owning MiniDisc is."

Robert Ciccone

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“Well, I'm kind of an audio nut. I first heard of minidisc back in 1993 and saw my first one in a mall in Colorado. I wanted one so bad. Back then they were almost $1,000 just for the portable non-recording one. It was about as big as a stack of about 3 or 4 CD cases. I didn't get on myself until 1998 when the price came down and I finally had the money to get one. I loved it, I had that system until 2004 when it broke. It was my fault that it broke. I took it apart just to see what exactly was inside. I got another one though. Mini-disc is great, you can re-record, move track around to where you want them, etc.

I think the reason MD hasn't taken off here in the States is because we don't like change. Unlike Europeans where they accept and embrace change. When I put a MD deck in my car in 1999 my friends said it reminded them of 8-track. Why I don't know. I love my MD system. I remember also wanting a DCC deck. I was finally able to purchase a used one. Now, comparing the two I'm glad I invested in MD first. It's more user-friendly and compact. I do have a CD recorder which I don't like as much. I've noticed that home burned CD's are very flimsy and the sound quality has a tendency to deteriorate. I never had that problem with MD.

I wonder if the PSP is capable of playing a regular music loaded MD if you transfer the actual disc from the square case to the PSP case. Maybe I'll try it later. For now though I still enjoy using my MD system, especially to record From LP to CD. I just record my LP songs onto MD and then digitally transfer them (via optical cable) to my CD recorder. There's more control that way. On a CD, once you make a mistake you basically have to "scrap" the whole disc and start all over again. Thank goodness for MD. Hope it stays around.”

Daniel Anglada Taos, NM

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“I first heard about minidisc back in '00 when my friend who was going to school in Japan had a portable and a deck in his car. I liked that fact you could record for hours.

I bought one soon after. I had the Sony sports edition (white & orange). It had an input portal, but unfortunately, I lost it.

Now I have a new one. The newer ones don't have the same input, probably because of the Download issues. I used to be able to record from the tv, pc, and anything with an output.”

Sean Scott

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“I went the Minidisc route years ago to cope with an hour's subway ride to and from work in New York City. I'd been using cassettes, but was aware of the MD's potential advantage from the first tentative articles about the technology in Popular Science. Not the hardware -- it hadn't been developed to that degree, and they showed a SONY mockup -- but the idea that I could compile my favorite music on a CD format that'd let me instantly listen to a favorite track without having to stop - rewind - play - check it - rewind - play, and maybe find what I wanted to hear again.

My first was a Sharp, about the size and shape of a Klondike bar, followed by an elegant Aiwa about the size of a deck of cards. And later, a small, similarly-sized SONY that offered the advantage of working with two AA cells on board, rather than with the clip-on AA battery cases used by the others.

Then, somewhere along the way, J&R Music in New York City offered an elegant Aiwa boombox that featured a cassette deck on top with a CD-player and MD recorder side-by side in the lower third of the unit. With a full-size readout and graphic depiction of the tracks as I added them, with time elapsed and time remaining, it quickly became the one I used for recording. I'd happily have bought a back-up unit, but it wasn't long before Aiwa abandoned the MD format entirely.

Anyway, to make a long story intolerable, I bought about 20 of the flip-style jewel boxes a few years back, but quickly learned that they're hard to manipulate with one hand when changing MDs while driving. Both my beautiful Oldsmobile and my equally delightful Honda CRX have tape decks that go backward and forward -- continually. They won't play tapes, so I've modified my armrests and the bottom of my MD players with Velcro and have the best of everything.”

So, since I was going to continue to use the slip cases, I gave the 20 jewel boxes to a nice lady to add to her garage sale (very big here in upstate New York where I now live). Why order new ones from you? To avoid having to describe what it was I gave her last year, asking for them back, and trying to find them in the enormous house where she lives.”

Steve Quinn Leeds, NY

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“My interest in minidiscs I can't exactly explain. I bought my first unit/deck back in late 2000, I think. I wanted something better than CD and better than cassette tapes for my trips to the gym and my walkin' about town. Minidiscs provided a combination of portability and customizability. And the many styles of discs I've gotten from you guys are really attractive! So much so that I hate putting labels on my discs. However, I knew when I bought them that the technology was already obsolete, but I wanted to have some FUN.

Then I got a deck with LP4 mode. That let me record radio programs (Air America's Al Franken Show gets recorded every day around here), something I simply could not do with tape or CD. And then I got a portable with LP4 mode so I could listen to recorded radio shows while I walk.

Now, Hi-MDs allow me to catalogue all of Billy Joel or ELO or Mellencamp, maybe even Elton John, on a single disc. Wow! That's some obsolete technology!!! (The iPod and podcasting now allow anything MDs can do, except the interchangability of physical media, so I still think MDs are doomed, but I am having FUN!!! And I think I've ordered from you guys three times now.)

I live right across the Hudson from New York City. Finding MD stuff, even there, is tough. So you guys are a lifeline to fun Fun FUN!!!”

Mike Engling Hoboken, NJ

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"I went the Minidisc route years ago to cope with an hour's subway ride to and from work in New York City. I'd been using cassettes, but was aware of the MD's potential advantage from the first tentative articles about the technology in Popular Science. Not the hardware -- it hadn't been developed to that degree, and they showed a SONY mockup -- but the idea that I could compile my favorite music on a CD format that'd let me instantly listen to a favorite track without having to stop - rewind - play - check it - rewind - play, and maybe find what I wanted to hear again.

My first was a Sharp, about the size and shape of a Klondike bar, followed by an elegant Aiwa about the size of a deck of cards. And later, a small, similarly-sized SONY that offered the advantage of working with two AA cells on board, rather than with the clip-on AA battery cases used by the others.

Then, somewhere along the way, J&R Music in New York City offered an elegant Aiwa boombox that featured a cassette deck on top with a CD-player and MD recorder side-by side in the lower third of the unit. With a full-size readout and graphic depiction of the tracks as I added them, with time elapsed and time remaining, it quickly became the one I used for recording. I'd happily have bought a back-up unit, but it wasn't long before Aiwa abandoned the MD format entirely.

Anyway, to make a long story intolerable, I bought about 20 of the flip-style jewel boxes a few years back, but quickly learned that they're hard to manipulate with one hand when changing MDs while driving. Both my beautiful Oldsmobile and my equally delightful Honda CRX have tape decks that go backward and forward -- continually. They won't play tapes, so I've modified my armrests and the bottom of my MD players with Velcro and have the best of everything."

S.Q. Leeds, NY

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”Here is my MiniDisc Tale:

I LOVE music. I have to have music on to do much of anything. Music in the morning, on the train, just walking around, at the gym, and at school. I am in college to become a graphic designer (web, print, etc.), and I always need music to help me think.

I have always carried around a Discman and a case of my favorite CD's, but then one day, in a hurry, I forgot my Discman in class. I went back to get it, but it had already been taken. In a panic, I jumped on-line and looked for a new Discman. I was searching for a sale, when I thought about a Portable MP3 Player. They were too overpriced and I didn't like the limit of space on them.

While looking at them, I happened to see a MiniDisc player, but didn't know much about it. I Googled "MiniDisc Players' and 'MiniDisc Access' came up. I browsed the site and saw all the great accessories and all the nice looking discs, and all the time each disc held and decided that I needed to get a MiniDisc player.

I rushed to Best Buy and bought my NetMD (MZ-N420D) for about a hundred bucks. I rushed home, burned a few songs onto my MD player and listened to them. I was amazed at how fast the songs burned onto the player because I have a pretty slow computer. I loved the way the songs sounded.

In my opinion, it sounded better than my Discman ever did. I now take my MD player everywhere and will never go back to a Discman ever again.

I now only have to carry my MD player, a few discs, and thanks to my new case bought from MiniDisc Access, it all literally fits in the palm of my hand.”

Jose Hernandez Alhambra, CA

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“Well, I discovered my MiniDisc player while just browsing the web. I had sold my iPod (I hated it) and was looking for other audio devices. I then discovered Hi-MD MiniDisc. I was pretty amazed! 45 hours of music on something smaller and lighter then a floppy! I was hooked. I just had to have one. So I purchased a Sony MZ-NH600D for myself. It was amazing. Awesome. Words cannot describe it. Right now I am even adding a NOFX CD to it. When I first encoded a song into 48kbps atrac3plus I thought it would sound terrible. But 48kbps atrac3plus sounds like 192kbps MP3! Right now I am almost 13 and plan to get the Sony MZ-RH10 for my birthday (MZ-DH10P has no line input). Overall, I love minidisc!”

Mav Block Age 12

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"I’m a professional musician and long-time MiniDisc user. I currently have two pro units, two consumer models, four Walkman types, and one car MD with CD changer. I’ve been using them almost since they first came out (going on ten years now?) and saw my first one when a gadget-freak buddy of mine showed me the one he had just purchased. I think the MD format was and continues to be one of the, if not “the,” highest quality, most convenient, and most dependable stereo recording format available. That having been said, the MD format is probably entering the last stage of its life cycle as newer technologies, particularly non-mechanical ones, become less expensive and more feature-laden.

Sony has a knack for shooting itself in the foot (or at least some of its products) by hobbling them in the name of copyright protection. Evidently, their intellectual rights are more important to them than the success of products like the MiniDisc. Copyright infringers will continue to infringe regardless of the ease with which they are able to do so. Here are some of my pet peeves about MiniDiscs which I think at least partially contributed to its lack of acceptance in the U.S.:

A bewildering array of features that come and go, seemingly arbitrarily, on successive models.

SCMS – worthless for copyright protection but a great way to piss off owners.

Inability in all but their first ultra-expensive professional models to execute high-speed dubs that include all text labels.

Inability of the NetMD products and SonicStage to add material recorded originally on MiniDisc to the library. Again, no real copyright protection but a big disappointment to owners.

Still, all considered, the MiniDisc format is hardly a dog, and I recommend it to anyone who needs a flexible, high-quality stereo recording format."

Gene Ryan Orlando, Florida

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“My brother is a devotee of MD's too, we both think the technology is superior to iPod's or is it Ipod's? He has a website called "BeforetheIpod", and we both have walkman collections, his more extensive than mine.

http://groups.msn.com/BeforetheIpod/shoebox.msnw?Page=1

Many of the items like the Boodoo Khan--he has a repaired one that works, no sound like it on other walkmans--he has provided some history on; at least of the 16 or so pages, most of it is about his collection, a little space to guitars and photos of him taking apart a Cadillac and putting it back together to install a "new" sound system as the Bose sound system was broken.

My personal interest in Mini-Discs is that I sing/play clarinet so mini-disc recorders with mic offer me an opportunity to record things though so far I've used mainly MD's without mic to copy CD collections. From what I've read, iPod's or Ipod's added microphones, later, but the microphone technology on the MD was better thought out and accomplished with the sensitivity settings and mic settings. Also, consider the fact that compression applications are in fact altering time through digital codes, something Einstein couldn't quite do (time and space). Even though it's mathematical, it's still rather mind boggling.

It seems to me compression is the more advanced technology, though some people may want 60 Gigs for photos; that universality appeals to people, but I am personally more intrigued by mini-discs, sound quality and different settings, and constant improvement. Now one in Japan coming out (not the one with Hi-MD and camera) that copies a CD in 40 seconds (Hi-MD) on E-Bay. Problem is Sony tends to be expensive (now can get an equivalent Hi-MD with Mic for $170 on mysony.com with points; I spent too much money on a NH-1) and as soon as you spend your money, there is a better one! I'm not in a full-time job now, so my hobby may have to resume when I have dollars coming in.”

Beth Hanson Chicago, IL

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“Well, my story began in 2000 and it was an easy decision to make. When I used cassette, be it for the car or for portable means, I always splashed out a bit on good equipment including tapes as well. Going portable was okay, but the music library is just too big to carry around and that includes in the car, as well.

So, my first buy was the MZ-R55 and I still use it. But, I did treat myself to a MDS-JA20ES deck in a lovely champagne finish and personally what a machine. Flexibility, well I love it and why? Well, for me it’s simple. I can make recordings in the digital domain by matching word lengths on input and output whether it is 16,18,20,or 24-bit. So, now, thanks to my Meridian 518 with the 568, I can experiment by making recordings now that I could not make before. Playing back the recordings and comparing them whether it is using the Meridian 24-bit deck or the Sony minidisc deck just makes the whole experience educational. If I am honest, I did have my reservations about using compression formats but this ATRAC Type-R on my machine does produce recordings which are hard to distinguish from the original CD.

Some audiophiles may think I need to refresh my head if I was to say that listening to recordings made from this machine sounds as though I am playing the original source. Of course, this whole matter is purely subjective, but I am slowly beginning to make new recordings of my music inventory and trying to achieve 20-bit resolution recordings with which the 518 digital audio processor which comes into its own.

Every other feature this deck has speaks for itself and if I was pedantic I could find fault with some things about this deck but on balance it has more plus points than minus points and it’s reassuring to know that I bought a good machine as with my other equipment.”

Michael A McNamara Manchester England

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“I became interested in MD when I was 18 after I had seen the power of my mate’s portable device. I thought back then that the sound quality was superior to cd's even if that isn’t actually accurate! I liked how tracks could be cut up and manipulated so easily, so I decided to buy a portable Sony device and a Hi-Fi from JVC. I quickly copied all the cds I had to MD and listening to them on a portable device which was so small was brilliant.

Recently I saw the new Hi-MD and thought it was brilliant. The guy I bought my laptop from in the Sony shop recommended them over the Sony iPod-type device. I thought they looked more sleek, so I bought the MZ-NH1 with the fancy remote. It was more expensive than the iPod but I think the sound quality kicks ass and would recommend it to anyone!

Basically I can't understand why the MD's haven't taken off to the extent that the iPods have and to a greater extent what Walkmen did back in the day. All I know is that I am very happy with MD and I will be sure to purchase again, when I get back to England in a couple of months because I can't carry anything else back.”

Rich King Whistler B.C Canada

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“Dinosaur Days

We must program the time machine to 45 rpm and go back, back into time. This is a very good place to start, we come across a beautiful cave girl performing ritual dances, and generally ROCKIN' out in a cave. She is supposed to be cleaning the cave, but every 2 to 3 minutes, she has to stop and put another record with the big whole in the middle on the single play turntable. She performs this ritual for years, because she loves the little record with the big hole in the middle.

Then one day she meets a handsome hunk with a cassette deck in his "VW Bug" (Ancient Mode of Transportation). She falls in love with the cassette deck, it is the answer to all her prayers. She records all her 45's to cassette tapes, and now she has her own cave, with an awesome sound system by Sony.

But "Beautiful Cave Girl," is still not happy. The primitive cassette deck in the equally primitive car eats tapes and jams up the cassette player. Cave girl has to pull out a thousand yards of tape, and throw cassette and tape out of Donkey Cart window. Tapes jam up in the portable player, and tapes jam and unravel in the audio system back at the cave. Cave girl gets so frustrated she takes the bone from her hair and beats all the cassette players into total extinction. She throws all the components into the Brea Tar Pits, with all the other dinosaurs that have become extinct.

But while she is in Los Angeles, she goes into Best Buy and they have a Minidisc Recording Deck and a cool portable player, all packaged together. She has to have it, so since this is 1997, she flashes the plastic and takes it home.

I was hiking and bike riding with my tunes long before MP3. This addition to my sound system launched me into the audio future. After 8 years, this deck and my portable are still going strong. I bought a second portable, a Sony S2 recorder/player, so I could try out putting even more songs on a minidisc with the new recording format and using my computer.

I just love minidisc. I have put hundreds of 45 rpm recordings onto minidisc, and have thousands more to go. I am a 45-rpm record collector, and this format will preserve my collection of music a lot longer than any other format. I can upload my music from my mini disc collection into my computer, and even burn a quick CD for the car. I keep my record collection in mint condition, in my record room, but I can play all the songs over and over on minidisc. I buy tunes off the internet and load them onto my minidisc. It’s just as easy as loading my MP3 player, but I like the minidisc for permanent storage.

Cave Girl still dances and ROCKs OUT around the house, but the music flows steady from dawn to dusk on minidisc. LOL”

Linda Taylor Adelanto, CA

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“I have always had an interest in Hi-Fi audio beginning with stereo records. Over the years I've collected 200 + vinyl albums to play on our stereo system.

When I got into CD's, Hi Def TV's, & Surround sound I put together a Home Theater System that included a Sony CD - MD recorder/player. This seemed a perfect way to get rid of the boxes of records & create a neat, very compact method of saving everything to minidiscs.

I recently bought a portable minidisc unit (MZ-N510 ck) so that I now can record from CD's, Analog (records), & digital sources and play music while I jog, workout or drive. Thanks to MiniDisc Access I found a superb method of storing all of those minidiscs."

Art Logan Vista, CA

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“I first became aware of the minidisc player when I was working on the Pacific Princess. I was trying to cut into a large wheel of brie and the knife was getting stuck on something. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the Italian waiter approaching to tell me to "get the hell away from the buffet table" for the third time but I was determined to cut through this uncooperative French cheesy comestible. Frustrated, I scooped the entire wheel onto a plate and took it to a corner table where I could have my way with it. To my surprise, the reason the knife would not penetrate the brie was that there was a large foreign object baked right inside. With my hands, I pulled apart the cheese and found a Sony minidisc player. I was hooked! But this was 1984, and although I had a minidisc player, the discs were not commercially available until around 1991, which was actually a good thing because it took me 7 years to clean the cheese out of the damn thing, but it works terrific and the smell has all but gone away. Thanks”

Michael Fic
Kelowna Canada


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"Well...(thinks back on when he first came across the minidisc) it was back in 6th grade (2001) when our class had a 3-4 day field trip and the first night we where in our camps and one of my friends had a minidisc. At the time I didn't think much of it, but it always stuck in my mind.

Christmas of 2002 I got a "RCA k@zoo" 64mb mp3 player, great player able to hold a good 2 hours of music, at first I didn't have that many Cd's so didn't listen to it much.

Freshmen Year I started taking it to school, and have carried it around listening to music to this day. During this summer my mp3 player broke and I sent it back to RCA. I got it back a month later. Although, it wasn’t completely repaired, I was fine with that. Christmas came around again and when my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I thought a new portable player would be nice.

Remembering my friend had a minidisc player, I asked him what he thought of it. Because he told me that the minidisc had great music quality and long battery life, I looked into minidisc some more. It came down to a 512mb mp3 player or a minidisc player. I picked the minidisc for its compact size, 5 hours of storage on a disc, long battery life (50+ hrs ^_^), and easily removable storage. I was able to get a Sony MZ-420D for only $80 (1/2 the price of the mp3) and a great deal on a 10 pack of discs ($15).

…and thats how I got into Minidisc."

Ry Haynes Loomis, CA

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“I first became acquainted with the minidisc format when the school at which I work decided to build a new theater in 1998. The sound designer on the project specified two minidisc units for the facility, one a player and the other a player/recorder. We use the decks for recording sound cues in order to replay them in a proper order without having to worry about constantly changing CD's.

Running a theatrical production can get hectic, but it is nearly impossible to make an error with this format. We like the convenience of the re-usable small discs and the ability to easily label each cue.”

Wayne Rasmussen New Jersey

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“The year was 1992 and I lived in Madison, WI. I went into a large electronics’ store and saw a display with a portable Sony recorder behind a plastic casing. It was very bulky as a portable unit but much smaller than a deck unit. It also weighed more than 5 pounds, which is quite heavy for a portable. I listened through headphones and was very excited. I thought to myself, you mean for a small investment of $ 799 and $15 each or a blank disc, I can digitally record my own MDs and listen to only the tracks I want to hear.

This was exciting to me. I purchased the unit and later a second one, but it was under the Aiwa name, but yet the same recorder. Six months later came the first Sony deck unit, it was a mini-system unit, not a full size deck, and the price had dropped 20%....WOW.

Why do I think MD is the best? I like to quick access to each track. I like the ease of recording and the extensive editing. It is more intimate than working with CD. You can erase tracks at any time or move them around. You can even do editing of a track. It is an amazing format. You can put in titles to each disc and track.

Over the years I have left the format for CD recording, I am very concerned about the format as the availability of a good deck unit are getting harder to find and Sony is the only maker still supporting the format. I am afraid it will soon go the way of beta. Sony did the same thing with MD as they did with Beta.

When it first hit the market, they kept the price prohibitively high and refused to allow other makers to share in the format and kept supplies low. This is a marketing plan to sink a product. When they finally released it to other manufacturers, CD recorders had already filled the market and at about the same price, MD was dead as a major medium. Sony did not play these games abroad, only in the US. Even now the games continue as the only deck unit available is almost impossible to get."

Bill Walter

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“I first came in contact with an MD when one of my friends in 6th grade had it.....I didn't know much at the time because back then CD burning was still really expensive to do (with CD burners running around $400) so fast-forward a few years...since 7th grade I have been burning CDs...and although I don’t have that many of them....i ended up having to buy a 72 cd binder because I had burned so many game backups and whatnot....so this year (2004) I decided "What the hey? I might as well get a better player.....mp3 or minidisc." So me n my dad walk on over to the store...and I see that the MP3 Players are only 128 megabytes...and with me being a computer wizz....I know that that can only fit about 32 4 megabyte MP3's at one time....so I see this MZ-NE410 sony walkman...it catches my eye..the price gets me....i find a REALLY great deal on a pack of 10 minidiscs....and as soon as i step in the house i rip open the package (and become frustrated with error messages from sonicstage and what not) and after solving the error issues w/ the software....I enjoy burning close to 80 songs on one minidisc! I take my minidisc to school...outside...the store..wherever i go! and i now learned that my cd carrying case can double to carry my minidiscs (though i DOUBT that i will EVER have enough music to fill up 10, much less 72)

So thats my story! I love minidisc, though I don’t plan on buyin 10 more players like most people do....but I am looking into the car adapter....and Minidisc access...I got my eye on you ;)”

Kadar (Prounounced Carter) Anwar Age 15 Woodbridge,VA,USA

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”I first learned of the minidisk format on your web site. I had done a Google search on replacement headphone pads and your site was one of several that came up. Of all the sites I visited, yours was the only one with "generic" ear pads of various sizes that would work with any headset. My particular headset is a Sony MDR-84. Sony no longer makes replacement ear pads for this model, so your site was most welcome. The pads fit and I'm using the headphones again.”

Ron Kelley Chatsworth, CA

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“I've got a laundry list of reasons for having an MD player. My deck got stolen out of my car a few years ago, along with all of my cds. After that, I bought a steel cd case for my cds because any case is so bulky that it often ends up getting tossed into a backpack, or left in the floorboard of my car. I figured the giant, steel monstrosity was the best way to protect my cds from getting damaged and it would be more difficult to make off with. How wrong I was... Those plastic sleeves for cd storage, if you take the cds out of them often enough, end up scratching the cds over time.

In addition, I don't have a stereo in the house. My laptop has been my stereo system ever since my kids were small because I haven't had time to research or the cash to put into a nice rack system. Maybe once they go off to college... until then I need a better way to store my music, and a better way to listen to it.

After years of trying to make the cd format work for me, I'd had enough. So... my friend told me about MD players. She's carried one for years, and I've seen the players all over the place, I even saw an MD player with minidiscs scattered all over the counter in the end credits of one of my favorite anime series (It's "Noir" for any of you anime fans out there).

I took a long look at them. Less expensive than mp3 players with comparable storage, great sound quality, they don't skip, minidiscs are hard to damage... and best of all, it's totally portable. I can shove my MD player in my pocket while I'm walking the dog or doing other things. When I'm not using it, my MD player can ride around comfortably in a backpack or my purse, without being an unintentional weapon for use against innocent passers by and I don't have to worry about it getting stolen out of my car, because it's always on me.

That's my story :-)”

Stacy Spokane, WA

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“I initially became familiar with the MD format in 1996, while serving in the Army in S. Korea. As we all know technology in Asia is usually leaps and bounds ahead of the US so when I saw this and what it could do I was interested...but not hooked.

Enter 2000 when I leave the military to join Corporate America. I traveled quite a bit for business and pleasure and hated hauling around all of my cd's in an effort to ignore the inane chatter of other travelers. Finally, after three years of doing this, in 2003 I break down and buy the Sony ME-410, since I love Sony products, and take it on vacation with me. Naturally, everyone was curious and I was constantly engaged in impromptu MD lessons. I was hooked! Sold that one to my best friend due to the fact that I needed an AC adapter for recording and I really wanted a remote. I commute to work via train and carrying the player in my hand or pocket is hardly practical. I buy the MZ-NF610. I like it, I love it, I want more of it make it... Oops I was having an Army flashback.

I love the MD format for its size, portability and durability. I initially was bothered by the fact that there was not a readily available supply of product in local retail locations. I'm over that now that I've found this and other sites that cater to MD lovers.

I believe that it hasn't taken off well in America primarily due to marketing or rather lack thereof. I think it also hasn't taken off because Americans are fascinated with the Bigger is Better concept. Cars, phones, etc. The phones in Asia are way smaller... Now that people are coming to appreciate the importance of portability, size does matter in this particular instance, they like the format. Not to mention the clarity of sound and the re-recordability. Who knew? Although I think proving Sony's '1 million times' is going to be daunting since most folks just buy more discs it will be great fun trying all while educating others about the format. Thereby, Hopefully, drumming up more business for the industry and more products for us users.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!”

Kimberly Goode Bristol, CT

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“As a musician, I have always loved recording performances and rehearsals. Listening to these recordings is the best way by far to improve and mature musically, because you can hear what works and what doesn't from a listener's perspective.

I had always heard that the minidisc format was not good because it used digital compression on the audio signal. However, when I finally heard a MD recorder from a friend, I found the sound to be incredible! Much better, and easier, than the DAT machine I had bought a few years ago. The editing features were amazing. For instance, I could easily edit different parts from several takes of a song and have one "perfect" take of a song.

The MiniDisc Access web site seemed to be tailored towards musicians (carrying hard-to-find MD models with external mic inputs). When I called, Phil was very friendly on the phone, and assured me that he hand-checked each machine before selling it. I was thrilled to spend my money with MD Access rather than buying from a huge corporation such as Best Buy or Circuit City. Thanks.”

Doug Largent Brooklyn, NY

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“I first became involved with the MD format two Christmases ago when my significant other bought me a player. Loved the format and the compact design. I’m actually thinking of getting an MD player for my car stereo system as well.”

Katherine Prioli Philadelphia, PA

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“I was a converted skeptic. When I first listened to A-B tests laid on by Sony dealers (that was in Paris), I knew I could hear a difference. That virtually ruled the format out for serious music (and really still does - I don't use it for classical music very much, where top quality has to be the prime consideration for me). The only classical music that really passed muster was prerecorded discs, but there was a marketing error there - at least in Europe. They cost more than the equivalent CDs, and could not actually be considered as good, with so much of the sound taken out - and of course everybody had CD players already. Some of the CD players cost thousands, and were bound to sound better even had other things been equal.

I did get some Naxos classical recordings, though, which were excellent and reasonably priced. However, this stupid marketing error did, I believe, virtually eliminate the prerecorded MD market, and may, I believe, contribute to the eventual demise of the format.

I could say, however, that although I also own an Ipod, the comments about quality apply even more to mp3 format. I doubt if anybody seriously considers mp3 a serious competitor to MD where quality is concerned, but it is just so convenient to have music as compressed as that, especially for portability and Internet transfer.

Anyhow, I bought my first MD in about 1998, when the really small recorders arrived, and have not regretted it. I used to do a great deal of travelling (that is the English spelling!), for which it was ideal, although good speakers were always a problem - but headphones were an alternative, although even there, bigger is still better.

I then got lazy and got a new CD player with built in MD, which made copying very easy, also got a proper Titler for even greater ease of use.

I don't believe that I have ever copied any music to MD that was not either my own or my family's - it was really just a convenience thing, to make life on the move more enjoyable, whether abroad or just walking the dogs in the UK.

By the way, I was very unhappy when working for a period in Egypt to find that the Sony guarantee was no longer world wide, and they did not want to know anything about it when something went wrong there. That is a really backward step for them - I have been buying Sony products since 1962, and the guarantee was always worldwide.

Anyhow, despite the advent of the usurper mp3, I always find myself listening to MD if both are available to me and if CD is impractical, although it's a little more work and more difficult to have such a range of music available on the move.

MiniDisc: A really good invention, worthy of the Sony name.

What do I want next? - A hard disc recorder that caters for CD, MD and mp3 - oh, and don't forget to make it affordable!”

George Duncan Newbury, Berkshire England

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“I've been involved in music for over 15 years as a guitarist. A particular recording that sparked my quest for capturing the live sound was Peter Frampton's double live album. I can still recall racing around Six Flags over Georgia when i was a kid and hearing "do you feel like i do" over the loudspeakers. But really until now, most of my attempts to record "live" have been through a line from the mixing board. This never works well, though, because the mix going to the PA just isn't the mix you want to here on tape. Until now i haven't been able to afford alternative methods. This is my second md recorder. My first was a Sony and it lasted about 18 months. This time I'm trying the sharp dr7 which seems to be better set up for live recording. I love the quality of the recording, the fact that it's digital, the long battery life, the rechargeable battery, the removable inexpensive media, the compact size, and, of course, the "cool" factor. very handy. :)”

David Milligan Augusta, GA

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“i came across the minidisc format back at Iowa State University. One of my friends had a sony md player and i just thought it was a neat format; small, rugged, different. i dunno, it caught my eye. so i found one i liked and got it. thats about it.”

SPC Chris VonAhnen Baghdad, Iraq

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“My wife and I are really newbies. We use a Sony MZ-NF610 player/recorder, which we decided was an excellent way to exercise/jog with our favorite jams piped in via an MD in an armband case. So far, so good.

We are an active ‘middle aged’ couple, who prefers recording our favorite Classic Rock/R&B/70's Disco tunes on MDs from our large CD collection using our massive home Stereo/AV system. Also, we use the Sony audio compression software through our personal computers' CD drives to give us HOURS of music on a single 74/80 min. minidisk...so cool.

My wife is an attorney, and mostly hogs the MD since she runs/jogs miles every day. I’m a retired Air Force officer, who now works as a civilian program manager for the U.S. Air Force and get to use the MD whenever I can drag my skinny old butt onto the treadmill for a workout.

As an experienced (primarily) electronics and computer system technician, I have always been deeply into the latest technology, especially audio, video, and (for the past 15 years) computer systems. I've owned, built, repaired and generally monkeyed around with everything from 8-track stereo, quadraphonic systems, and reel-to-reel systems to Sony Beta video and early Commodore 64 PCs.

And, yet, I consider MiniDisk to be one of the most innovative, simplistic, and truly rewarding technologies I've yet encountered. Just the capabilities of MD alone, along with the miniaturization of highly portable, high definition/digitized audio blows my mind. What else can I say?”

Chuck Petito U.S. Air Force Oklahoma City

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"It all started in a favorite used record/musical instrument store, Rustic Music at 13th and Pine. A part-time employee, full-time local treasure named Bernie introduced me to his new Sony MZ-R700. On that well-built metallic blue mite he had half the Beatles catalogue! A revolution akin to the advent of the transistor radio!

I just happened to be flush with cash at the time, and I was keen to take a bit of good advice from Bernie for once, since I regularly gave him reason to doubt my sanity in searching out numerous easy and sleazy listening versions of 60’s rock. (It’s what one refers to as a "Spirit of '66er" --see the cartoon on the wall at Rustic of the guy collecting 40 versions of "Wooly Bully"). So, I went right out and bought one of those little blue mites for myself!

*****

My first and last digital audio device had been a Sony CD player purchased in 1986 that provided no more than six years of service. And, this from a kid in high school who had no business paying $350 for it in the first place in 1986. To hasten its demise, I soon after bought an AR turntable and a Shure V15-IV cartridge in 1988. I don't remember listening to CDs much after that. Certainly not enjoying them unless played through an old, tube-circuit floor radio. Luckily, this was when new releases were still available on vinyl in the US. LPs played on my AR blew "digital audio" away, and new LP’s were half the price of a CD! In some cases, vinyl re-issues of the basic modern jazz repertoire were one-third the price of a CD-- and sounded better than their digital counterparts.

Once college began aggressively limiting my funds, new CDs were completely out of the picture... even new LPs. At least in a college town with two great record stores, you could find a vast selection of material on vinyl, new and used, that stodgy large record companies and "audiophiles" could only dream of getting on CD. "The Beatles For Sale," in stereo, is one good example to this day.

After school, I became a dedicated "digger" for the odd, obscure and sought after (and better left forgotten) vinyl, much of it never to be put onto CD. Fifty cents... one dollar... two dollars... a dime... twenty-five cents. And so it went for ten plus years. I've been more than content to keep out of the big brand name record stores, confirmed in finding new vinyl releases of new and old material remaining strong to this day. Perhaps vinyl will outlast the CD?

*****

So, imagine how good the Sony MZ-R700 had to be for me to buy another Sony product and re-enter the digital realm?

The build quality is jewel-like, yet tank-like. Well laid-out controls. Faithful reproduction. The original rechargeable battery is about to approach a third year of service. You don't even have to take it out of the recorder to recharge! Recording isn't even limited to old crusty vinyl, by any means. The computer, or a pair of stereo lavaliere mics, with a tiny pre-amp/EQ no larger than two 9 volt batteries can faithfully record your buddies band with the too loud drummer.

The remote control gave out inside the recorder (not in the cord, as you'd suspect), but why did it need a wired remote in the first place? On the whole, it couldn't be more convenient. You can gather six or eight classic 1960's LPs in less-than-pristine states of preservation, likely purchased for $2 to $5 (or even less with a bit more looking), give them a good cleaning, and get a $2.00 blank MD. Then, for between $20-$45 bucks, you'll have the most convenient (and cool) medium that would have cost no less than $70-$100 in bulky, hard-to-handle CDs. And still have the LPs to treasure, or give away to a needful soul wanting some righteous tunes.

Or, if you're paranoid, you're certain to recognize the overwhelming simplicity in the mechanics of vinyl reproduction compared to any medium since, coupled with the highest fidelity vinyl can bring to life, and you’ll clutch at those records for dear life!!!"

Gary Eichelberger Philadelphia, PA

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“It all started back in the 2002-2003 school year. One of my friends was a big digital music person (used the free download sites, before they were shutdown) and had purchased one. I was interested in the player, but never really thought about it much.

Once I started driving, I wanted some music other than the radio, so I used my portable CD player. It worked great, but the battery life was horrible and it would always skip if it didn't sit just right. So I started looking for something different. That's when I remembered about the MD.

I had thought about getting an MP3 player but you have to have a computer to switch out songs or a bunch of the expensive memory cards. So I went with the MD. It was probably one of my best decisions. I got the Sony MZ-N510CK just a few months ago. The car kit is great. It has the car remote so you can keep your eye on the road (unlike most CD players). Plus, I have dropped it a few times (luckily on carpet) and it still didn't miss a beat.

I think the main reason that they haven't been a big hit, is because you have to re-record your whole collection onto the discs. Which most people don’t care to do. CDs are there and ready. I don't know about you, but I think the wait to record is well worth the benefits of these great devices. They should see what would happen if they replaced the actual Mini disc CD with a Mini disc DVD! Think about that. There might possibly be over 10 hours on one disc.“

Ralf Meyer Flora Vista, NM

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“I first found out about Sony Mini disc technology approximately four years ago. I purchased a used SUV that had a Sony MD player in dash / 10 disc controller. For the longest time I went from store to store, even on the Internet, trying to purchase Minidiscs to play in my car stereo. After a month or two of searching, I gave up, and only used the CD and radio function. Then one day a friend of mine was riding in my car and asked me why I don't use the Minidisc player? I told him I could not find anyone who sold Minidiscs. After laughing for twenty minutes, he told me I had to buy an MD player and make my own. That was the day I went out and purchased the MZ-R70. As for why it has not taken off in the USA, I suspect that it was not marketed enough. Perhaps Sony figured that those people who would want to use it most will find this type of format naturally, and that the average consumer would not be swayed from burning cds. I used to burn CDs, but rarely do anymore. Frankly, if I had learned about the MD technology before I purchased my SUV, I doubt I would have went out and bought an MD player. But now, I find that the MD player is far superior for my needs. It is smaller, NEVER skips, disks are re-recordable (if that is an actual word) and I swear the battery lasts longer than my portable cd player...Now if they could only make my model record faster.”

Johnny Walker Black

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“I first heard about MiniDisc back in about 1991 or so when I read about it in an Audio Equipment magazine as the latest upcoming technology from Sony. I fell in love with the concept right then, and was cheering for MD to win out over Philips' Digital Compact Cassette (DCC), which it ultimately did (though I actually saw a few blank DCCs at London Drugs a few months ago!) I was frustrated that for the longest time you could only get portable walkman-type recorders rather than conventional component decks. Once those came available in Canada in the late 1990s, I jumped aboard. Decks now appear to be gone again in Canada with the exception of rack-mount pro gear units for radio and TV, but my Pioneer deck is still going strong. . As for why it's not taking off in North America, I suspect the real problem is that Sony hasn't been advertising properly. If they had run a TV ad campaign that pushed MD as the replacement for Cassette Tape, which it really is, alot more people would have appreciated the value of the medium earlier on. I always point out to people that where CD was the digital replacement for LPs, MD is the digital replacement for Tape. . I can't stop laughing at how MD has been taking off as a medium for MP3. In the early 90s, audio magazines were continually trashing MiniDisc, complaining about how ATRAC was a lossy compression algorithm, so why would anyone want to use it (they never pointed out that CDs are also lossy when compared to today's SACD or DVD-Audio). Now we have MDs being used to record files encoded in a lossy compression algorithm that is SO lossy, you can really hear the difference from the original - MP3s always have a slight but distinct glassy, tinny sound to them I find. However, I've never been able to tell the difference between a track recorded to MD from CD and the original CD.”

Chris Vancouver, BC Canada

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“I got my first minidisc in a Rolling Stone magazine in 1994 (still have it too! plays great!). No way to play it, no place within 100 miles that had a MD player - but, it informed me on the sleeve, I COULD BE A WINNER! Of course, I didn't find out until 1996, when I bought my first MD recorder, that I was a loser. No loss there. However, the MD recorder I bought was a display model from Best Buy and after 2 days of almost constant operation, it just stopped working. I brought it back, and they could not fix it, but suggested a local factory store - who were also unable to fix it, accusing me of dropping it! After 2 years without, I got a bundle (player & home deck) and got started up again. I still have both and they run great, though I have upgraded to two new "road dogs" - MZ-N410 and MZ-N510. They do a great job for the car, though I noticed the line out really didn't have a lot of gain - I'd have to max out the volume on the MD and even then had to go 40%-50% of the car deck's power to get decent sound. I found a headphone amplifier (the Boostaroo! www.boostaroo.com) that would boost the gain so I could use normal radio power, not to mention save my MD's battery power. Now I face the daunting task of transferring old archived tape to MD - and seeing how much of my beloved mid 80's tape collection survived.”

Steven Darchuk Minneapolis, MN

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“I CAME TO USE MINIDISC IN A SPECIAL WAY. I HAVE BEEN SINGING SOUTHERN GOSPEL MUSIC ABOUT THREE YEARS AND UNTIL LAST YEAR I WAS USING CASSETTE TAPE SOUNDTRACKS FOR MY MUSIC NEEDS. I MET SOME OTHER SINGERS WHO INTRODUCED ME TO MINIDISC. I FOUND OUT THAT THERE ARE MANY SINGERS LIKE MYSELF WHO ARE USING MINIDISC IN THEIR MINISTRIES. THERE ARE MANY PROFESSIONAL GOSPEL GROUPS, AS WELL, THAT STILL USE MINIDISC. I, ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE THAT CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE VERSATILITY OF MINIDISC, NEVER WANT IT TO GO AWAY. THANKS.”

GARY JOHNSON NEWNAN, GA

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“My wife got me the Sony sports model last year for christmas. Its great, much better than an MP3 player in my opinion. Battery life in incredible. Thats it.”

Mike Hulin San Antonio, TX

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“I bought my first MD in a bundle (home/portable/and two disc) back in 1997. It is all of the best. It's the most compact of the recording devices. No worries about fingerprints or scratches, and has the easy music access of CDs. PLUS, the editing features during recording are matched by no other. Of course, all of us MD users already know these things.

HERE IS SOMETHING THAT YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW!!!!! Sony has a video MD recorder. DCM-M1. It will record 10min. of video, or over 4000 pictures, and, of course, it fits in the palm of your hand. It has all of the editing features you would expect from an MD. If you dig (hard), you can find them on Ebay. I went to the Sony website, though, and couldn’t find them there. I don't believe that they are selling them in the States. We just don't seem to get it. Well, at least a few of us do.”

Troy

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“A few years ago I was looking for something other than cassette tapes to record my school music groups. A friend of mine had a multi-track digital recording device, and when I was in a music store doing some follow up research, one of the sales people asked me if I had heard of mini discs. Of course I hadn't, and he told me about them. I was still a little skeptical, but I politely listened and then turned my thoughts to other ideas.

A few weeks later I was browsing through a 'Good Guys' store and saw a minidisc recorder on sale. There was some promotional literature to read and it really seemed promising. I bought it, took it home and have been hooked ever since. I regularly record my groups, and this was SO easy. I bought a MD player for my rehearsal room, and then one for my office, and then another for my home and still another small portable to record concerts in the gym.

CD recordables are nice, but they're nowhere near as convenient or easy to work with. I only wish MDs would catch on better, because they are truly based on a superior technology.”

Ray Dietz East Wenatchee, WA

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“Hey All, It all began in late 2002....I bought my first minidisc player at BestBuy. I saved up for the longest time to get the MZ-NE410. I am a 16 year old BMX rider and I needed something light, something that DIDN'T SKIP, and something that held a lot of music, and this was the way to go.

I recently visited relatives in Japan over the summer and I saw that almost every person has an MD player in Japan... I was stoked! I went all out and purchased an MZ-N910. I now can get hooked up because I have relatives and they said it would be a good idea to let them help me out since the MD's that come to the U.S. are made in Malaysia, whereas the ones that are in Japan, are manufactured in Japan so its better quality.

I'm still biking and still going strong...I have purchased the N10 and E500 and a home recording deck MXD-D4 since my trip this summer! The thing I would like to see in the future would be that the minidisc will replace the CD! I am striving to convert all my friends to this hidden technology...its going to be a minidisc revolution!

God Bless to all the fans of the MINIDISC!”

Chris Hiramatsu Santa Maria, CA

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"I BEGAN USING THE MINIDISC JAN 1ST 2000. I OWN 2 RECORDERS 1 IS THE SONY MDS JE510 THAT I USE IN MY HOME AND WHEN IM ON THE ROAD WORKING AIRSHOWS I RECORD THE SOUNDS IN STEREO WITH MY MZ-R37 SILVER POCKET MINIDISC RECORDER. PLUS I RECORD THE RADIO STATIONS WHEN I'M OUT OF TOWN. I SAY THE MINI DISC IS 100 PERSENT BETTER THAN REGULAR CASSETTE TAPE. GREAT FOR RECORDING THUNDER STORMS."

ELLIOTT ALPER LOS ANGELES, CALIF

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“I became involved with mini discs from a friend I work with. He's very heavy into quality music -- both playing and listening -- and was looking for something he could carry to work and still keep the same high quality of listening as a CD. When I was trying to find something similar, he suggested I go this direction and I bought my first minidisc on eBay with his help, and have been thoroughly happy ever since.

Love the fact you can get 3 CDs on one minidisc ... or more for a little less quality ... and that I can throw a disc or two, with my player, into my backpack for work or travel. And, with this last order, I now have the cassette converter for use in my car and I'm really tickled about that. I have virtually my whole CD library on minidisc now and occasionally copy friends to get additional. They're great.”

Claudia Kent, WA

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“To be honest, I don't remember how I first heard of minidiscs. More than likely, it was during my frequent explorations of the internet. I do know that, at the time, I was looking for a way to preserve a large collection of home and pre-recorded cassettes, as well as an equally large LP collection. Discovering the minidisc format was like a revelation to me.

I went to my local Best Buy (they actually stocked MD gear in those days!) and bought a Sony MDS-JE330 deck, which came with a portable player and 5 blanks. I took it home, hooked it up, and got busy with the music collection. I now have most of my LPs and cassettes transferred & preserved on MDs and I love that they take up way less room in this format. I have archived family recordings as well, and it's good to know that my late Dad's sense of humor is forever preserved in this portable digital format.

Why hasn't MD caught on here, when it's all the rage in Europe and Japan? For some reason Sony's just dropped the ball when it comes to marketing MD here in the States and I don't understand why. You'd think they’d want their baby to succeed here as well. I've seen some TV commercials recently, but they are few and far between. In any event, I am giving the MD format a ringing endorsement and I highly recommend it to anyone who asks me about it. Long live Minidisc!”

Phil Vera

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“While on a Military trip to Australia in 1999, I was introduced to minidiscs and have been "hooked" ever since! Initially, I recorded about 500 c.d.'s that I already owned and used for doing d.j. work. Since then, I have added over 500 more to my collection.

I am convinced that they are the world's best medium for recording as, I put them in flip cases, print a ¼" label to identify the album or nature of the recording then, when I put a minidisc in a playback machine (don't buy anything but Sony) it is so easy to cue to a song and have it play instantly! At the drag strip, I have recorded sounds of top fuel and alcohol cars and the sound is incredible! I have taken cassette tapes of my "late" Mother and step-Father and divided each recording into multiple tracks and labeled each according to subject.

One of my favorite projects was, recording the L.P.'s of Cruisin' 1955-1969 and combining them with the contents of the same c.d. collection. There were different tracks on the albums and c.d.'s so, I have a comprehensive collection of both. Then, instead of having about 12-15 tracks as on the c.d., I divided every song and commercial so each can be cued in an instant, which is especially neat when doing car shows.

When I go to other countries, I take my recorder and have gotten some real masterpieces! During the last war effort, I found a computer that had 1000's of songs of many genre's and with only a ¼" pin stereo wire, I was able to copy as many as I had time to copy. With the purchase of a portable c.d. player, I was able to copy several c.d.'s of several G.I. friends.

There really is no end to the versatility of a minidisk. Try it, you'll get hooked too!”

George Salt Lake City

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“I was in Comp-Tech class listening to my old Sony CD player when it decided to just stop! I put in fresh batteries but it still wouldn't work! I then went to Sony.com to see if they had any cool new CD players when I saw that they had something called a MiniDisc.

I checked it out and found out how cool MDs were, till I saw the price. I was still only in High School with no job in sight. I then explained my problem to my friend in High School, a local audio guru (1 mp3 player, 3 MD players, 3 CD players and 2 iPods) and he told me that the best solution to my problem was an MD! He traded an older MD recorder (MZ-R37, I think....) for my Dad's old broken Palm VII (he also loves to fix up things) and it was awesome!

I could now record my notes directly from the teacher's mouth and write them out at my leisure later! I was doing this for about a month when I saw my friend with his MD recorder and realized what I had been missing out on! I then went and sold my old MD on EBay (Thank God for EBay) and bought a MZ-N505! It is totally awesome because i can now store up to 5 hrs on one disc which means I won't have to carry a big CD case, adding to my backpack load (its already up to 25 lbs), and I am able to just burn songs right on MDs!!! THANK YOU SONY FOR THE MD!!!!”

Jonathan Marinaro

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“...I started using MiniDiscs because they were digital and re-recordable and it was the new technology from Sony at the time (and Sony usually rocks!) My brother is actually the one who turned me on to them.”

Greg Phoenix, AZ

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“I started using MD several years ago in my home studio, as a mastering and archiving tool. It's the fastest and most direct way to capture and preserve audio content in an "amateur" studio context, and probably the cheapest too. I've archived cassette recordings I made as a child, old band rehearsals I'd recorded on a walkman, and samples I'd taped from movies and television. Tracks can be arranged however you like, and "false starts" can easily be erased and redone.

More recently I've used a portable MD recorder and a high-end Sony stereo mic to make recordings of live gigs played in coffee shops (mostly acoustic guitarists). MD technology means I can add or delete track markers, and edit out long stretches of silence or unwanted stage patter. MD is also an invaluable tool for recording band rehearsals, for the same reason-- it becomes a snap to find and label that "perfect" version of a song or that priceless riff, and practicing at home with a MD recording means no worries about tape speed and pitch issues. Veteran PC users will always claim that CDs are cheaper and easier to burn and share with others-- but how many of these folks will cheerfully haul their PC or laptop to a gig? My MD recording setup fits inside a tiny handbag.

Why hasn't MD technology caught on more in the States? Because MD is a tool, not just a medium, and Americans today are not as often skilled users of tools as they are passive consumers of culture. CD-Rs are dirt-cheap, that's for sure-- but they are static bits of audio candy, meant to be consumed and disposed of. Even if by some miracle MD became more of a "home stereo" standard here in the States, 95% of people would just listen to the albums and mixes the other 5% of us made for them. It's entirely possible, therefore, that MD will remain a "cult favorite" amongst audiophiles (and MP3 junkies, of course). Why expect the general population to harness the full potential that MiniDisc offers, when they can't even program their VCRs?”

Glenn Kindlmann Minneapolis, MN

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“I travel extensively for my work. Part of making the long flights bearable is to listen to recorded books. I check them out from my local library and this had generally meant that I was lugging borrowed CDs across the globe. When I thought I had left part of a CD-book in a hotel room and found out that it would cost $130 to replace because I had to buy the whole 12-CD book, I nearly had a heart attack. The good news is that I found the missing CD, but I was still left with the trauma of that potential cost.

Listening to the CD books on a plane was also frustrating because I had to keep the player and the stack of CDs close at hand, which usually meant on my lap. Every hour or so, I'd have to shuffle my stuff around to swap CDs hoping not to scratch them up too bad in the process.

I looked at MP3 players - I couldn't afford enough memory cards to get a whole book stored, and I knew I didn't want to unpack my laptop everytime I needed to load the next piece of the book. I've learned the hard way to mis-trust hard drive devices so these players weren't an option either. I considered a CD-R, but a portable player that would play CD-R/Ws was as much a MD and I would still be dealing with a bulky and somewhat delicate media. CD-R wasn't an option because I didn't want permanent copies of library "books”. I feel that as long as the recorded book was officially checked-out to me, the fact that I copied them to MD fell within the spirit of copyright laws as long as I erased the file when I returned the CDs to the library.

Enter the MD-N707: On days when I'm not travelling, I copy audio-books to MD as I'm getting other things done around the office. When I travel, I leave the player in my shirt pocket along with maybe one extra disc. If I do need to swap discs, it's only once (or twice on a very long flight.) The only problem is the inconvenience that almost without fail, you have to tell the guy sitting next to you all about your MD and why they should buy one too. My MD has been a great ice-breaker with strangers in airplanes!

I have since transferred a lot of music that I'll carry with me to listen to as well. I can carry a lot of music in my carry-on!

On a recent trip, I took a microphone along. I was able to record meetings, doing track marks at key points in the conversation. While walking through downtown Buenos Aires, I noticed a street musician was using an MD to provide his backup music. With his consent, I recorded about 20 minutes of his performance too. Let's see you do that with a CD-R device!

To get the most out of my exercise time, I've picked music clips at various degrees of intensity. There would have been no way to do this without the editing abilities of MD. I found that a few of the songs didn't produce the effect I had hoped for, in a few minutes, I cut out the bad and replaced them with new. For variety, I've got 3 different mixes on my exercise MD. I pick a mix and go for it!

Why isn't MD more popular? (1) Sony playing both sides of the fence with Sony Electronics and Sony Music. (2) Check-in/Check-out of ATRAC files. In practical terms, it doesn't stop anyone from pirating, but it's perceived as a limitation. (3) The separate format for data discs was a huge mistake, Sony could have owned the audio and Zip drive markets with a portable device that did both audio and data. (4) Sony has done a terrible job at marketing and product placement. Marketing of MD players in the U.S. is essentially non-existent. There are people, though apparently not at Sony, that are dedicated to placing their company's products in movies and TV shows. How often do you see a MD player in a movie or on TV? Let's face it, Q would have put an MD player in James Bond's car, why didn't we see it? Any movie placed in the future should assume that MD will be the default audio format. Buffy would have listened to MDs, you can't kill demon-spawn with a soundtrack that skips. The list goes on....”

Jason Beck

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"MINIDISC is here... That was the first thing I had ever heard about mini disc. I was amazed. In 1999 I was floored by the Idea of a recording medium that was smaller than the CD's of the time. I fell in love with the Sharp MD-SR60 that was in a Best Buy ad.

From that moment on I was hooked. I was unable to get hold of a MiniDiscplayer/recorder till Winter of 2001. Then, a friend of mine at Sears gave me a used MD player/recorder for .49 cents (U.S.) for the MD player of my Dreams, a Sharp MD-SR60.

From then on I have collected 3 other MD player/recorders, including a Sony MZ-R37 (my favorite unit) as well as a unit I don't currently have a number for. Since then I have devoted myself to finding as many MD player or recorders as I can. Then, just two weeks ago I found the web-sites Minidiscaccess.com and minidisco.com for ALL my mini disc needs here in America."

Raven East Virginia

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“Regarding how I got started with minidisc, I first discovered the medium probably about 10 years ago at the Sony Store in Chicago. I've always enjoyed making "Greatest Hits" and music compilations on tape, but couldn't believe in the quality and flexibility in this new medium to record with.

My home MD recorder cost $900 at the time and I invested in a car unit (MDX-400 -an in-dash 4disc changer which I loved but was somewhat flawed from an engineering standpoint with a removable faceplate). To this day I can't believe this format couldn't overtake recordable CD's as it is 100% more flexible and offers ability to change recordings without starting from scratch.

People are always fascinated with these little discs and to this day, some have never seen a minidisc before. One thing everybody loves is the text - to be listening to a song and see the title or artist (some CD units do this but certainly not to the same degree).

I am so glad it is surviving with MP3 (even tho! ugh I am still an old timer when it comes to recording the old fashioned way!) I will always be a Minidisc supporter as the best music recording medium available!”

Casey Grabowski Schaumburg, IL

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“About getting hooked w/ minidisks. A cousin of mine had bought an md player and I was amazed by the size of the disk and the amount of music you can fit on it. It's practically like a cd and w/ the same capacity. And because I'm always looking for easier ways to handle my music and to store it, md's were the best option 'til then.

My friends and I were so sure that md was going to be the biggest thing after cd's, but I think it was too fast for people to make the transition from cds to mds. They were just making their transitions from cassettes to cds, and then in came cd burners and mp3's that really opaqued the mds.

I hope that mds don't get forgotten. I think they are better than cds, since they are smaller, and they are protected so its very hard to scratch them. (Unlike cds that scratch very easily.) The only problem I've had w/ md's is that I haven't been able to download music from my md's to my computer or to record music from my md to another md or a cd.”

Carlos Jaquez Basalt, CO

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“Hello, I did a lot of research on a music format that would suit my needs, and MiniDisc was chosen. I have an MP3 player, but it only holds at most 2 hours of sub-par quality music. I like my audio crisp and clear, and this was starting to bug me. So, I invested in a Sony MZ-N505 player/recorder off of e-bay.

Needless to say, I'm sold on the technology. The music will not skip, the player gets up to 56 hours per single AA battery and the music is sharp and clear. When I work (be it mowing a yard or sitting in front of a computer) the MiniDisc is there with me.

I received my player a few weeks ago and I have yet to change the battery or complain about a lack of features. I've been telling everyone I know about the advantages to this format and I REALLY hope it takes off in the US (as it should have back in the early 1990's).

I think it's been slower to take off in the US because we aren't people that like to spend money. Everyone has a large CD library, why would they want to buy yet another format to replace those? Almost every car has a CD player, all computers can play CD's, but for MiniDisc, we have to buy a new player, new media and find a way to interface it with our out-dated technology (like CD players). That's my story and my opinion on MiniDiscs. Let me know if it made any sense to you (it is 1:00AM here).”

Nick Proy Corry, PA USA

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“Several months ago I started researching various MP3 players to purchase. I wanted a player that was small, had expandable memory, and that was reasonably priced. The MP3 players with a hard drive cost more than I wanted to pay for a player. The MP3 players with compact flash memory expansion (or similar type memory cards) were small, but the memory cards are pricey.

Than I started reading about Sony Net MD minidisc players and I was intrigued. The minidisc players were reasonably priced and the cost of blank minidiscs was a lot less than compact flash cards. I purchased a Sony MZ-NF610 because it also had the added feature of AM/FM radio tuner. I have been using my minidisc player since May '03 and I love it! The software that came with my player works flawlessly and I have no problems transferring music from my CD collection to the minidisc player.

I believe the reasons that minidisc players aren't more popular in the US are because the MP3 format is more popular in the US; Sony and other makers of minidisc players haven't been promoting the MD players effectively; the MD players use the proprietary ATRAC3 format for music compression. If MD players could record and playback music directly in the MP3 format, the MD players would be much more popular in the US.”

Teresa Wichita, KS

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“My first Sony MD was an MZ-1 purchased from a friend for $200. He bought it new for $700. I used it on my first Album. The sound quality was what I always wanted. It served as a virtual guitar player, and then I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if Sony made a four-track.

I found the MDM-X4 at a music store in NJ, and HAD TO HAVE IT. It was $700. It used the data disks ($10 per) rather than the audio disk, but sound quality was still great. The data disk allowed continuous 4-track recording for 37 minutes, as well as a host of copy/cut/mix/bounce functions.

I sold that to get the MDM-X4 Mark II model, which was much faster. I used that on my second project. I will however go to hard drive studio recording instead. After that unit, I bought the MXD-D3 Component CD/MD player recorder, and recently I picked up the NetMD with Jukebox software. This was to replace the much heralded, and rather missed MZ-1.

Why hasn't it caught on? I don't know. I think they are still experimenting with it, perhaps a dual between MD and mp3 in which one will replace CD.”

Jeff Rochester Hills, MI

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"My 18-year-old son who is an "intelligent dance music" devotee bought a Sony MD-700 with some birthday money. I'd never heard of the technology, but I saw him using it to create incredible personal mixes of his favorite music from radio, MP3s, and CDs. When I listened to some of his tracks, I was impressed with the sound quality.

I'm a pastor who works mainly with children in our church. We use a lot of music to lead our kids in worship. Although it's ideal to have a musician leading worship live, sometimes that isn't practical. And sometimes I want to use songs that a worship leader doesn't know. I invested in a Sony MD so that I could control what songs from CD I wanted to use without having to flip back and forth between different disks.

For example, in our KIDS Church service, if I want to sing four different songs from four different CDs with the kids, I can have them all on one MD and simply play right through the set, without any stopping to change CDs. Plus, if next week I want to rearrange the song list order, or add a new song, it's very easy. The ability to edit is the main reason I prefer MD to CD. MD is the only format I use for recorded sound.

When people see my Sony MD they assume that it's an MP3 player. I explain that I can store MP3s on it, as well as anything from any other recordable source.

I subscribe to a satellite TV company. My satellite company offers about 50 channels of digital music with everything from Americana to Hip-Hop to Contemporary Christian. I really like mainstream jazz. Fortunately, on the back of my satellite box are some stereo outputs. I connect a stereo jack to my MD player, record 320 minutes of jazz music, and then I can listen to it while I walk or ride my bike. Even using the LP4 mode, the sound quality is phenomenal. The only drawback is that I don't always know the artist I'm listening to.

MDs haven't caught on in America because....hmmm....maybe because the type of person who likes to create his or her own musical programming on one disc will usually have the ability to burn a CD from a computer. So they figure why invest in MDs when I can use CDs. But I much prefer handling MDs to CDs because of their size, and reusability."

Bill Henderson Yorba Linda, California USA

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“It has served as an incredible practice tool, because the sound is pretty much verbatim, and hearing yourself recorded is extremely different from how you think you sound when you are playing. I have used it to prepare for auditions, and have used it to prepare demos for gigs.

About 3 months ago, my locker at school was broken into and my MD recorder and microphone were stolen, along with about 20 MDs. After about a week of sobbing, I resolved to save the money again to buy another one. Well, I did, and I’m using it daily again.

...I just wish they sold the stereos here like they do in Japan, that play MDs!”

Max Matzen Jacksonville, FL

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“I am what people refer to as 'THE MAN OF MANY SOUNDS' because I collect everything on these little mini discs. It was y2k before I even realized md's existed. I first saw them in England, then in Denmark where they were used for all radio broadcasts at the student radio.

I didn’t buy one until 2001. I’ve used it everyday for over six hours a day since then. I used it probably 13 hours today because I’ve been sick in bed. I use 2 rechargeable batteries so I never run out of juice. Playback is at least fifty something hours on 1 AA battery... that’s one thing that’s hard to find on portable devices. It’s the absolute best way to capture, edit and play digital media EVER. You can record from anything that has a headphone jack, and adjust the recording volume.

I use my Net MD MZ-N505 with the I-rock wireless adapter and I can play my music through anything that has an FM radio. This is truly the best way to enjoy music. The reason MD's haven’t taken off in America like they have in other countries is because Americans get content with universal ways. We are happy with our CD's and tapes just fine. But people don’t realize that MD's don’t skip , or get scratched at all since they are encased. And, the amount you can record is a remarkable 320 minutes on 1 disc.

I’ve never cleaned or had any malfunctions with this model since I bought it, and like I said I use it almost half the day sometimes, at least a quarter of the day. After 2 years, the only wear is the scratches. I’ve dropped it, stepped on it, and it still works like new.

~Wika D'Wiley 138 Claremont VA

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“I was in the Persian Gulf when I first found out my buddy had a MD Player. I'm in the Navy and was about 18 miles from Iraq when I was introduced to the world of MD. They are great! The only problem is the lack of interest in America, but maybe people will take more notice as word spreads. I got about 3 or 4 of my friends to buy one since I got mine, and they love it too. I'm glad there is a site like this to appreciate MD's. Now, if I can only find one for my car...”

Cory Booth San Diego, CA

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“saw them at an airport kiosk on a 1993 trip to amsterdam. they were expensive. bought a sony rz-37 in 2001 and love it. use it every day and it has been the most bullet proof item that i have ever owned.

why it hasn't caught on in the u.s.: 1) too expensive 2) sony & sharp take forever to improve the product into something that you really have to have. it took them 10 years to add an am/fm radio to a minidisc walkman! 10 years! it will be another 5 before we will have one that can record from it's own radio. it will be 20 years before one will have a short wave tuner or some other minor improvement.”

Greg Swarthout

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My acquaintance with the minidisc started in 1996. I lived in Northern Alberta where the only radio station was CBC (think PBS but with no pictures and not as much class). The gravel roads I traveled were rough so cd's didn't work well and dusty so cassette decks were also a problem. I also liked to record my music. On one of my trips to Edmonton I was introduced to minidiscs. I got a recorder component for my home stereo and a portable player for myself and when I was in the truck. I loved the quality of the sound and the ease of editing. Three years later I did finally get a sony discman but it had to have a digital out to go with my new recording MD walkman with lp4 but that little toslink cable was expensive. I loved showing off my mobile digital recording studio and explaining how I could get four cds on a little square disk.

I was enjoying the format so much I was listening to the recorder in my truck leaving Edmonton. Was stopped by the police for speeding and got a warning for using the headphones as well. I knew it was wrong, but 95% of my driving was in remote areas where the deer, moose and bears didn't care if I could hear them. I bought a new pickup and decided I needed to enhance the stereo so I bought a minidisc head with plans to get a cd changer. I still haven't gotten the changer and don't miss it at all.

While I was still in northern Alberta I convinced a coworker to switch to minidisc instead of an MP3 CD player. He loved the on-the-fly editing ability to change playlist's order and edit songs. Last time I talked to him he upgraded to the NetMD setup and was enjoying it for the most part except for some limitations on the downloads. I almost convinced another classmate to buy a NetMD but he went with a MP3 capable Panasonic CD player since he already had a massive MP3 setup on his computer and was a little concerned about Sony's computer software.

This is why minidisc have not taken off. So many people have invested massive amounts of money on their computers with CDRW's and want to have a cheap way to make the music portable. Using solid state MP3 players or better yet MP3 supported discman's are cheaper than investing in a good quality NetMD recorder. Americans also don't want to have their freedom to copy music impeded (even if they didn't pay for the music). I prefer to pay my money on music I like and use it how I want. This is why I like the new system Apple is starting up allowing a person to download a song for a buck and do whatever he wants with it. When the system goes windows, I will be the first to join. Until then I will be buying the albums I really want and using my $500.00 investment to play quality music the way I want and be able to make changes when I want to.

Scott Clarke Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada

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“I got into the minidisc technology after speaking to my nephew. I was needing a product I could take to the gym, because my portable CD player skipped terribly while I was doing any kind of movement. I considered an MP3 player until my nephew told me about his minidisc player and how much he likes it. After discovering the huge advantages of the minidisc over an MP3 player (A lot more recording time, changing discs when you want to change music, PRICE! and so many others) I decided on the minidisc, and I am very happy I did.

I am also happy I found a web site (yours) that caters to minidisc owners, their needs and such a large selection of products and good prices. I will definitely be back.”

Lorne Currie Vancouver, WA

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“It began with a cassette player.... I once owned one, and dealing with the unwound tapes and snapping made me despise people that had CD players. At the time the Discmans were $80, and my parents were skeptical. I finally got one at my 8th grade graduation ceremony, to where the abuse on the headphones was terrible. Then the player broke, so I exchanged it. Sony revised the design, so I received the newest one made. In a rage, my father destroyed it (I supposedly destroyed the computer), and that was the end. He replaced it with a CD/MP3 player by Sony as well, but still furious, I graciously accepted it, opened it with eagerness, then laughed as I threw it to the ground for what he did to me. He was silent, possibly heartbroken, but did not show it.

A year later, I took my birthday money and picked up an MP3 player. I was proud of it, since the CD player and the CDs were now in a small package. But I did not get the warranty. When it malfunctioned, it was the end, so I scraped up $20 for the wonderfully crap-tacular Classic. Around Christmas, I received another $100, and I used the allowance to purchase another MP3 player. But before I grabbed another model, something caught my eye. It was the MZ-N505. I subscribed to Super Street, and they did an article about it. They exclaimed how Kazaa, the unit, and any device with a headphone jack was the source for any sound. I was sold. I picked it up, got the warranty, and to this day it has not malfunctioned. I purchased a set of headphones from a previous MD owner (he was stunned at my song capacity) and it was the sports vertical in-ear with the short cord and remote. I still use those and the unit to this day. I have placed my CDs on it, used Kazaa, and some quotes from Animal House. John Belushi was never better. The line in has been a blessing, and now I spend time on finding a perfect case.

I have heard people complain about not having popularity. Keep it this way. Popularity has destroyed the import racing culture. Now all cars are muffler-less with graphics.

If kept this way, we are superior. We are better. We are a cult of the elite. Anyone that owns one has become wiser. Convenience? Definitely! Open MG? Easily defied. Download Real One player; it will remove the block. And if Sony outlaws it, then there are connections available that will play the music through an optical line so no presence is necessary. Also, if Neo from ‘The Matrix’ saw MDs as the perfect format to illegally deliver music to clubs, then we are indeed the wise.”

Mike Cogley Elmwood Park, IL

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"I am a musician (jazz pianist) and love to record the people I enjoy, as long as it's OK with them, of course. So, frankly, the minidisc setup is way more compact than using a cassette recorder (which I did do for 25 or 30 years!). Fidelity-wise and feature-wise, MD has it all over cassette - although I am coming to realize that the fidelity I achieve probably has as much, or more, to do with the microphones I use as with the format itself."

George Ziskind New York, NY

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“Two years ago my intentions were to compile my music into a mix that pleased me onto cassette tapes for my vehicles and at home. I have over 580 CD’s 190 albums, several VHS tapes, dozens of cassettes, etc which I intended to record one song at a time in a particular pleasing order from these sources. My only choice, I thought, was good quality cassettes to record onto.

Then, I stumbled onto minidiscs. I have been recording onto them for nearly two years, one song at a time. It takes about 3 hours total time to fill one 80-minute MiniDisc. I've filled 331 of them, and will probably hit the 350 mark unless I purchase more music. My equipment consists or consisted of two JB-510's (both were used and did not mechanically function well, and found a new home in the trash). two car units and three car minidisc changers-one for backup. I use a JB-920 to record onto, and one to play into a Sony hard drive recorder for dupe to a home storage. I have three more JB-920s - two for replacements when I wear out these two out and one more for backup. I guess that would be five of them. I like minidiscs.”

Ken Runyan Moreno Valley, CA

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“I bought my first mini-disc player in 2000 while stationed in Korea (I'm in the US Army). They are available at the military exchanges over there (they're nowhere to be found in stateside exchanges). Anyway, a few of my friends had them and the idea of having 5 cds on one disc with good sound quality was too good to pass up.

I have since become very attached to my portable, and I also have 2 full-size MD decks at home. I have the MZ-N505 with the software installed to burn CDs from my PC. I love this feature, but I've also discovered that I can run an 1/8" line from any headphone jack--stereo, PC, MY FRIEND'S MP3 PLAYER!--to the line in and the recording quality is still very good. I use the headphone out on my computer to make reference recordings of my own music that I record on my PC. I can then take the tracks with me and listen back to my stuff whenever I feel like it. I don't even have to convert to .WAV files first--out of the headphone jack, into the MD player.

As for why they don't sell in the States, well, have you ever seen an advertisement for MD players on TV or in a magazine? Sony doesn't market the format, so nobody really knows about it. If they really wanted to compete with MP3 players, I'm sure they would be successful.

Curtis Brady Hampton, VA

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“And for my story on how I fell in love with mini-disc. I've always loved downloading rare, unreleased, songs off the Internet recorded from live concerts. After my friend bought a minidisc recorder I read up on it. Then I found out you can use lp2, lp4 mode to make long mixes that wont skip and that wont scratch unlike cd/mp3 players. And you can't record concerts on a regular mp3 player. So I bought a Sharp minidisc player off line.

I didn't really trust the sharp name (opposed to Sony) But that's what everyone told me to buy because you can adjust recording levels on the fly. So after I returned my sharp I was kinda reluctant about getting a Sony. But then Sony came out with the MZ-N707 which allows on the fly recording level changes. So I bought it and it's now my favorite toy in the world.

As why they haven't taken off in they US as well as in Europe. I have no clue. Well, we are technically one of the dumbest countries so maybe that has something to do with it. I don't know why anyone would buy a CD Walkman or mp3 player as opposed to a minidisc player. It just makes no sense to me.”

Mike Mattison Oak Lawn, IL age 20

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“Two of my co-workers were lucky enough to travel around the world for previous employers. From Asia, to Europe, etc. Both of them discovered the format at that time (and purchased units). When I discussed my thoughts on portable MP3 players, they suggested it as an alternative. I run about 20-25 miles a week and my MP3 player's size is perfect for that. But at the gym, I felt the Sony Sport MiniDisc would be a great option and add a little variety to my workouts.”

John Justice Houston, TX

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“I never really thought of Mini-Discs as a medium for my music listening. CD's were fine for me considering I have about 500 along with another 500 Mp3's on my computer. That was until I planned a trip to Southeast Asia. I had traveled using my CD Walkman before and I thought it was too bulky, too big and it skipped all the time. That and I had to carry a lot of CD's to get some variety. So I went looking for a Hard Drive MP3 player. I tooled around the Internet looking for likely prospects. Looking around on Amazon, I was reading some reviews on the 20 GB Archos Jukebox. All the reviews weren't promising.... Slow download times, non-intuitive software, short battery time. In one of the reviews, a gentleman mentioned one of the Sony MD's so I checked it out.

Once I started researching MD's, I was more and more impressed with the headway MD's have been making over the past few years. You see, my best friend owned a Sony MD player about 5 years ago and he (and I) was not impressed with it at all. Slow download times, short battery life. So I bought a Sony MZ-707. Talk about a difference:

Now with the NetMD software, download times are super fast. Battery life is insane (I cycle through a rechargeable after 9 or 10 hours). And its super small and hasn't skipped yet (after 2 months of use). Not bad for under 200 dollars.”

Vinh Anaheim, CA

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“This is just great! This is how e business should be!, select your product(s), make a payment and receive it in 2 days!, and the note on the bill gives a personal touch that reminds you that your doing business with people who care. Nice work, no doubt I'm gonna keep buying from you.

Thank you!”

Héctor Escárcega Duarte Calexico, CA

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"How I became acquainted with the MiniDisc format-

I'll start from the beginning. It was in the Fall of 1999, the weather was warm and the leaves were falling from the trees. In Arkansas, the maple trees are just turning a scarlet color; it’s a breathtaking scene.

I heard a rap on my door and I went to take a look-see. To my surprise, I was greeted with a big bright smile and a generous hug. I noticed she had bought a new sporty camera and she turned and said you got to listen to the sound in my car! So, right away we took a ride and I must say that it was awesome! The car, the sound, it all came together.

As she drove, she stated that she actually bought the car because of the sound, the small disc, and much more. So from that day I was hooked and she definitely wins without a doubt. I'm so glad she came to my door that day because my friend and me sat on my porch and we talk about so many things. I was so happy that day and so was she.

Why did the mini Disc not take off as well overseas, as opposed to the USA?

I believe the Japanese are great thinkers and very smart! They tend to like the smaller gadgets with less bulk. I think the Japanese and their surrounding countries are willing to spend the extra fee for the quality sound. Japanese people are great at working on small things. I believe that people would pay an extra fee if there were more selections and more titles made available. I'm not trying to say this the answer, but it couldn’t hurt us to stop and look it over. Quality sound is key!”

Larry J Nix Des Arc, Arkansas

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“I started using minidisc, like so many square dance callers are doing, because of quality of reproduction and ease of use. We don't have to haul our 45-RPM records around, which eliminated a lot of hassle and our records never wear out. Minidisc has become a standard for square dance callers.”

Wil Eades Vista, CA

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“We use minidiscs for background music in our concerts (Southern Gospel Music). I was needing some accessories....went to a search on AOL...and you were the first to appear. Glad you WERE (the first) !!”

Tom Cabaniss Owner Peach State Quartet Atlanta, GA

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"I've been interested in the MiniDisc format for a long time, but price and lack of wide spread acceptance kept me from jumping in. My son received a unit from his "gal" for Christmas and I had a chance to play around with it a bit first hand (something you cannot do in retail stores). I loved the size and sound and was looking to get another 'sport' unit. Once you've held the Sport MiniDisc in hand for a bit, a 'normal' size unit really seems huge.

So my wife 'gifted' me with the Sony Sports MiniDisc for Christmas as well. Though there are issues if you are using different computers for music storage, overall, I'm very pleased. Now I'm in the process of bringing all of my CD backup files into a single place and machine so they will better interface with this great little unit."

Daryl Sheffield Hilliard, Ohio

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"I was introduced to Mini Disc from my family and friends a year back and i thought it was interesting, i hadn't even heard about its features and only about it being a new type of cd.

This last X-mas my cousin got 1 but i also wanted one but did not receive it. I was not very disappointed until the next 2 days after x-mas my cousin brought his to my family's business and then I heard it. I wondered how a small device like this Sony net md mz-n505 could produce such a wondrous sound. It was better than a cd, much much better.

About a week later my stepfather decided to order one for me and when it got to my house i was so excited i couldn't believe it and i started recording music to it the next night.

I think md is better than everything else so far because of the quality of sound it produces and the small size. I have a mp3 player and it also sounds good, but I couldn't download music to it because it would crash. MD software works much faster and it doesn't crash at all.

The md player probably hasn't caught on in the U.S. as other places because everyone has already gotten into cds and are afraid to get out of it. I think Sony and other md mfgs should spend more money in ads because i don't think I've seen any."

Josh P. Nevada

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"I started using the MD format because I like to work out while listening to music, it sort of puts me in the zone so to speak. Regular CD walkmans are to bulky and annoying, and I wouldnt want to listen to radio because who knows what they will play. With an MD walkman, I get a light convenient system with high quality music that I love to listen to, whether I burn directly from a CD or mp3. The fact that I can squeeze anywhere from 2 hours to 8 hours of music on one disc is great. This is how I got started with MD products and coupled with the service your site provides, I see no reason to use anything else."

Daniel Podolsky Encino, CA

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"I study Japanese @ school and in my 10th grade year, I persuaded my parents to take in a Japanese exchange student. Her name was Aya and like most Japanese teenagers, owns an MD. I fell in love with it. It was great. (And all that Japanese music!!)

After she left, she sent all of her MDs to me (Why?...I don't know. I didn't have a player...) and it wasn't long until I started looking for a player online. Long story short, I mentioned this to her and her Mommy (God bless her!) decided 'Oh, That nice American girl doesn't have a player? We'll get her one!' and with that a brand new MJ10 player was shipped to me, from Japan. I cried. And I've been in love with them since.

They are so convenient and they save on batteries. And, My boyfriend got into it too and brought a nice recordable MD, so he makes them all for me, as well as Aya (exchange student) sends me some every few months, updating me w/ the latest Japanese music ^_^.

So I really started using MDA to buy blank MD and accessories (really for my boyfriend's birthday) but the great thing is he buys things from you for me, Thus the whole MDA circle is complete, never mind the fact that all the blank MD will be used to make gifts for me ^_^.

So that's my complete MD story. Did you enjoy? I hope so ^_^ Well I look forward to doing further business with you. See you soon!"

Maureen Hawlik Davie, FL

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"I retired a little over two years ago and planned on traveling as much as possible while still physically able to do so. I got the regular MD for use on long flights. Then along came the MDLP which is even better as two disks will last until one gets to Europe. I have a Sony MDX-D40 deck which makes it easier to record both MDLP & regular MDs. Also, I have the Sony MZ-G750 which has an excellent AM&FM tuner in the hand control. This comes in handy during long airport waits.

My original unit is the Sony MZ-R70 which is still great with 80 minute disks. MDs can be re-recorded in whole or in part which regular CDRs cannot. Prerecorded MDs can be found in record stores in Europe but I have only found them in the US at the Sony Store in NYC."

(Name withheld at customer's request) Hollywood, FL

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"i have hundreds of audio tapes that have been given to me over the years by various DJ friends. these are tapes that i played constantly in my walkman. over time, the quality of the sound on the tapes was starting to diminish -- something of great concern to me because, while i have back up copies of a few dozen of my favorites, the copies themselves were also audio tapes and subject to the same problem.

I remembered that a friend purchased an MD player when they first came out. I looked into the format and was impressed by the recent advances, the portability, and most of all, the quality of the sound output. to make a long story short: I purchased my first MD last Christmas and have been thoroughly enjoying the process of converting all of my wonderful music to a more permanent and longer lasting format. i have so many more tapes to go, but i'm in no particular hurry. i've also started converting some of my CDs."

Kelvin Fincher San Francisco, CA

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"I first heard of minidisc back when it first came out. I remember it being the time when DAT and DCC came out and also Laserdisc and its many different formats (CAV, for example). I wasn't too impressed with the minidisc because of it's compression and the fact that the disc was inside a case which looked like a floppy disk. I preferred the shiny CD. You see, I was always into recording and listening to music (records and tapes) and I loved the idea of being able to touch the device, see is spin, etc. Strange, I know :)

So, I ignored the new formats and entered the world of the CD. I thought the minidisc was long gone until this past June when I was touring Italy. The tour guide played music in the tourbus on her minidisc player. I snickered to myself wondering how on earth she still used such an outdated piece of technology. Boy did I eat my words (with some espresso)!

When I came back from my vacation, I did some research to figure out whatever happened to the minidisc. I found out that it never did go away and, fortunately, I learned of it's benefits. I have a cartoon website and I always had trouble with recording voices and getting sound effects. I was using a microcassette recorder (the sound was awful) and I couldn't find a stereo recorder that used regular cassettes. Minidisc seemed to be the answer. Coincidentally, I was also sick and tired of searching for the right sound effects.

Then, I thought I could make them myself with a minidisc recorder. I read through many websites and forums on the minidisc and so many people wrote how they achieved such great results.

Now, I'm a proud owner of a Sharp recorder and to my surprise, I'm even trying to collect blanks! Yes, I'm now an MD blank collector. I also use the minidisc to archive my vinyl records and tapes. When I was younger, I always taped me and my cousins. I'm glad how the minidisc keeps the 'warm' sound of records and tapes and also preserves the actual hobby of tape recording! Light, tiny, and clear sound! Plus, it' s non-linear editing. That's why it's the best recording medium. I can overlook the compression because I don't really care to record in LP2 or LP4 and my ears aren't that of a dog ;)

I also use my recorder to record pirate radio stations I pick up on my shortwave radio :)

In my opinion, the minidisc hasn't taken off well in North America because Sony needs a better marketing department. I think it will be harder to market it today as everyone on this continent loves the idea of downloading mp3s for free and high speed access is available to many. And CD writers are cheap. Plus, car CD players are replacing car tape decks so Sony will have to market the idea of re-recording discs which Cd-r and CD-rw can't do efficiently.

I'm still keeping my CD/mP3 walkman though :)"

Danny Rossi Toronto, Canada

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"The reason I got into MD for is for the compact size and ease of use. I have an old discman I was looking into replacing. I was originally looking at MP3 players because they were small and they held more music than a CD could. As I was looking on the net one night I happened to run across the Sony MZ-N1. As I read all the specs on it, I was extremely impressed with what it could do. I didn't even know you could record MP3's on MD. When I found out you could get up to 5 hours of music on it and it had a rechargeable battery that lasted much longer than alkalines, I was sold. So a few weeks later I bought one and I couldn't be happier with the performance and features of it. If you are going to go portable, MD is the only way to go!!"

Andrew Q Burris Fort Bragg, NC

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"Minidisc Choice - Well I've been teetering between minidisc and MP3 player for some time now. I like the idea of solid state but was very impressed with the anti-skip on the minidisc player I purchased (Sony). I like 128 kbps MP3 so an MP3 player simply didn't cut it for memory and I liked the versatility of just changing discs rather than uploading another song set. It makes it easier for my computer barely literate wife to use."

Dave Lynch Toowoomba, Queensland Australia

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"It was a dark and stormy night back in the summer of '98 in the small German village of Heinsberg. At the suggestion of a friend (who knew I was sort of a home-recording enthusiast/musician), I had met up with an acquaintance of his who (according to my friend) had "tons of cool musical equipment." Well, he did at that, and after we hooked up and jammed for a while, the new acquaintance wanted to play some old live music he'd done with a previous band. Much to my surprise, he pulled out a little gray diskette, that at first looked a bit like a floppy disk, and said "Have you ever seen one of these? It's a minidisc." At first I was a bit incredulous. I'd read about Sony's production and marketing of the MD three or four years prior, had noted that it was WAY expensive, and it used some "lousy" compression scheme that allowed it to squeeze so much sound on it. The new acquaintance (further referred to as 'Ted') had lived in Japan and discovered the spiffy technology there, and had purchased a gross of minidiscs, and several different players. He swore by them and told me if I was doing home-recording, there was no better current technology available for doing so.

Well, after getting together 2 or 3 more times to jam, Ted let me borrow a small portable MD player to record some songs onto cassette at my house that we'd been working on playing. Given this opportunity to experiment with the player a bit, I was able to hear that even the "lousy" compression used for MDs wasn't that "lousy" at all, and the advantages over a cassette were incredible... and so I finally decided to buy one!

Well, I happily discovered that MD equipment wasn't as expensive as a few years prior, and my first purchase ended up being one of the Sony combo packages (they coupled the JE510 and a portable player... which on a sadder note, my JE510 died earlier this year after losing an extended bout with the "clicking, phantom-turn on" problem. Tried to fix it following a web-site suggestion, but to no avail. I reluctantly laid her to rest several months ago). And then the following year I bought an Aiwa CD/MD mini-system... and then I bought a larger Aiwa 3CD/5CD mini-system. And then I bought another Aiwa CD/MD system for my bathroom. And then I bought another portable player/recorder. And then I bought a JVC portable one for my wife... and lo and behold, I just bought a Sony MZ-R700 yesterday to replace a JVC portable that bit the dust only recently while I was jogging.

What do I use MDs for? EVERYTHING... I record news programs from the internet (to listen to German and Dutch at my leisure), I mix down my own home recordings from a Korg D16 to MD. I make 'mix-MDs' for the car (where my old portable that came with the JE510 now sits). I bounce my own music recordings back to CD (for friends who don't have an MD-playing capability)... I used them as coasters for glasses so I don't leave little stain rings on my expensive oak furniture.... I use them as chew toys for my dogs (helps clean that tartar build-up)... I put one under my chair in the kitchen to keep in from rocking back and forth... uh... okay... I didn't really use them for the last three things, BUT that's not to say they WOULDN'T work in those instances...

Why did they take off in Europe and Japan and not the states? Hard to say. I had plenty of German and Dutch friends who hadn't actually seen an MD when they noticed me using my portable player for jogging. So though their market penetration might be better overseas, they're far from ubiquitous. Just wish they could have replaced the cassette as intended. Can't comprehend why someone would want a cassette over a MD. Can't even find mini-systems with MD players on them nowadays (unless you're scouring ebay for used stuff), as I discovered while recently looking for a system for my office at work. I currently live in Denver, Colorado, and outside of the internet, MD-anything is getting harder and harder to find...

But... I'll happily play my MDs until my last player dies. Let's hope that happens AFTER they've developed a better alternative to the cassette."

D. Maxwell Denver, Colorado

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"I have known about minidiscs since they arrived on the scene. I had been doing a great deal of 'field recording' with cassette and looked at the MD only to feel the dreaded sticker shock. Now fast forward to today. All my cassette decks are retired and I haven't done a field recording in years. I buy tickets to a concert of a fave CCM band and realize I must have an archive of the show. I went to eBay checked what was there did some research and found a Sony MS-R55. I had a Sony one-point stereo mic (the model number has been rubbed clean from years of use or I would tell you which one!) that had done well in the past and married the two with stunning results. Minidiscs capture the sound from a venue with remarkable accuracy. I am sold and have been quick to tell all about the amazing results I have experienced. With this new(old) technology I have refined my field recording 'rig' and have taken it to the next stealth level given the compact size of the MZ-R55. I am again hooked and can't wait for my next field recording.

If you love live music and feel that a personal aural archive is in order, MD is the answer."

Craig Houck

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"I first got turned on to minidiscs when my father was complaining about his walkman always skipping at work when it would get bumped. And he would have to carry around so many CD's with him. Then the CD player in my Jeep Wrangler started to get old and skipped often when I would play copied CD's (I don't like to carry around the real CD's in a convertible, don't want them stolen). So I needed something durable for my Jeep because the suspension is soooo stiff but I wanted great sound, so my brother told me to look into a MD player. So now I have a deck in my Jeep with an auxiliary input in the front that I connect my MD to and I bought one for my father too when I realized how much music I can fit on one MD. He is so happy now that he doesn't have to lug around a bunch of CD's. 2 discs and he's set for the whole work day plus some. And it hasn't skipped once. They're great."

Minerva Gonzales Newark, CA

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"Well being a starving college student doesnt allow for much money to be spent on things such as high-class electrical products, I first learned about Mini-disc's in Highschool and i was immediately hooked, I thought and still think that the idea of carrying around a smaller more compact disc that is re-recordable was an incredible invention, I bought my first mini-disc player half-way through my sophomore year of college, A Sony model, with some features, I fell in love and am proud to use my mini-disc player in front of my entire wrestling team. :) I just recently bought a brand new Sony unit (MZ-N707) and am so excited to use it, i can barely wait till i get back to school to set it up, I do so much downloading from MP3 sources and it is the easiest way to transport them onto a portable device, I am proud to be one of the few who uses mini-discs as their main form of portable music.

Thats my story"

Jason Bell Alexandria VA

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"Hi, I cannot remember when I first found out about MiniDiscs, but I knew I wanted one just to check it out. I liked CDRs very much but felt limited in many ways. And CDs are awkward to carry in busses and trains compared to MiniDiscs. So, I was already pretty hooked by 1998. But it wasn't until April 1999 that I bought one, because my CD player still was working rather fine and I wanted an MD to record onto, and that was more expensive.

I bought a Sharp 702 while on holiday in England. I was on my way home to Denmark, I was stuck at Heathrow airport for two extra hours and had seen the Dixon on the Strand in London for the Sharp at a reduced price, but felt it was too much. Those two hours were more than it took to change that. Dixon was lucky to place a shop right next to the resting section I was in. I resisted for about 30 minutes, then went over and bought the thing. At home I made an adapter out of 2 paperclips and placed the adapter itself in an empty CDR cardboard box. Now I was in heaven. Two years later on my 8th visit to London in 2001, I bought a proper converter at a street dealer on Rubert Street.

Since then I have bought a cheap player only for commuting. And when the battery went short-lived on the Sharp, I went shopping for one with better titling and connection abilities. I finally settled on a Sony MDS-PC3 in May 2001. I had hoped to rebuild the casing for batteries for mobile operation but it is simply too clumsy, so in late 2001, I bought a Sony MZ-501. This gave me the ability to play LP2-4 recordings on the bus and trains, which I had experimented with on the MDS-PC3 but could not play on the other older players.

I am probably not going for any Netversion or USB version of a MiniDisc. With the tighter control of what you can do with your recordings I do not want one until there are either devices with more freedom or good easy hacks for the devices at hand.

Well.... there you have it my MD story in a nutshell."

Mikkel Breiler Denmark

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"I bought My first minidisk player about two weeks ago. I bought the MZ-N505 and the color 8pk of 80min Sony Minidisks.

I got the package in the mail. Here is what I looked like. 00 ! \/

Hooked it up to my computer and loaded about 80 or so songs on 1 disk (thanks to LP4) Started listening and wow it sounded amazing. I thought that it might not sound so good because of the LP!

But sounds the same as a stereo recording. Minidisks put out the best sounding music by far. And I do mean far ---------------------!. I love my minidisk player I think everyone should have one. The are great and I don't even use my CDs anymore. I am putting them all an MDs.

That is my story."

I am Chris An MD fanatic

Woot Woot

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"I think it was back around 1998 when I first started to see MD players. I saw mostly Sony products but did also notice a few other brand names. I was totally in awe of the format, it's compact size and abilities blew away everything else out there at the time. I had to have one. When I was able to put together enough money, I purchased the Sharp 701 model. I thought it was by far the coolest looking and I really dug the MD insertion slot. I purchased some pre-recorded discs and some blanks and had my fun. Unfortunately, only Sony Music was putting out pre-recorded disc's and I only like a small amount of what they put out (they didn't have any heavy metal, classic rock, and had very little hard rock). So I was forced to record my own. That was fine because my 701 could do that with ease. The only problem was that I didn't have a great source to record from. Thus, 'garbage in, garbage out'. My player sat for a long time. I didn't like my recorded stuff and the pre-recorded stuff was over-played. Again, my player sat for a long time. Then about a year ago, I discovered Xitel and their MD-Port DG2. I was back in business. My computer became the digital source I had long desired. My 701 got a new battery and good times were happenin'. Now while my 701 was still in virtually new condition, I decided to upgrade to the Sony MD Recorder MZ-M707. That came with a couple of programs for my computer that has made recording even easier. As I'm sure you know, I can even record the MP3's I've downloaded in mass amounts. The MDLP function is without a doubt the best! For example, I was able to put Metallica's first five albums, in their entirety, on one 80 min. disc, with perfect digital quality. If that's not cool, I don't know what is. I don't want to sound like a Sony ad, but you wanted to hear about my MD experience and there it is. Oh, and my trusty 701 went to a good home (you don't just give quality stuff like that to anyone). The icing on it all is that I've found you guy's and your service, which I'm sure will continue to satisfy me. Well that's all for now. Bye!"

Angelo Morales Arcadia,CA

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"I only got my first minidisk player last Saturday, in fact, after I ordered the belt for it from you. I have been looking at minidisks for a little while because it seemed that it would be the best format to listen to music when I am working out at the gym. CD players jog and MP3 just wasn't as convenient. The minidisk has proved perfect, whether on the treadmill, rowing machine or resistance machines.

Another reason for choosing the minidisk format is so I can create playlists on my PC and download them to minidisk."

Sharon Gebhard Luton, Befordshire UK

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"I was looking for a portable recording format that I could use to record my favorite radio show, Howard Stern while on the road. When I heard about MDLP which made it possible to record over 5 hours on a tiny disc, it caused me to seriously consider the MiniDisc format. The fact that my little Sony MZ-N707 fits very neatly in my carry-on luggage is a HUGE plus. I can carry plenty of blank discs in a small space too! So I record the Howard Stern show from my portable radio while I'm doing business. When I'm back at my hotel room, I can relax and listen to my favorite show.

The sound quality is OUT OF THIS WORLD! They say that the LP4 mode is not as good as the regular recording mode, but I swear I can?t tell the difference. These discs and players are ten times better than the cassette format ever was or will be. Dare I say it: I like minidiscs even more than CDs. There I said it. They're far more convenient and portable anyway.

I love how easy it is to mark tracks and erase them. a quick way to get rid of large blocks of commercials.

In short MINIDISC RULES!"

Paul Racicot Dallas, TX

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"I just recently became involved in the MD world, and I am an admitted MD "newbie," but I'm certainly not a novice in the digital audio world. My overall objective is to record nature sounds and outdoor concerts (I will be going to the Montreal Jazz Fest soon, been there many times, it's a fantastic event reco'd to all!) and also to create custom recordings from my music collection so that I can take the music with me wherever I go. I started by purchasing a Sony NetMD MZ-N1 to integrate music with my desktop PC, then next a Sony MZ-B100 MD portable professional recorder (very hard to find, I bought the Japanese model from Minidisco.com,) and most recently a Sony MXD-D5C deck. I purchased several years ago and have used Syntrillium S/W's Cool Edit Pro (CEP) to make and edit various recordings. I just recently upgraded it to the latest V2.0 (and bought all the relevant books, essential in my view.) In my humble opinion CEP is the best PC audio editing pgm on the market today, but it is definitely not reco'd for the technically uninformed or inexperienced users, it's a truly "heavyweight" app., I can definitely use my control systems engineering background to take advantage of its many features. By the way, concerning my background, I am of late an "early, early retiree." I was last working in a controls systems engineering capacity as a Technology Manager for Control Systems Human Machine Interface for a large, global industrial gases and chemicals co. So now I have some hard earned and much needed time to get into the MD and digital audio world, and like most things I've done in life, I'm getting into it in a big way!

I am experimenting with various equipment that I've purchased to record nature sounds, principally the Sony MZ-B100 MD portable professional recorder. So far the results are unacceptable to me, and I am still evaluating whether the Sony MZ-B100 can function as a true portable pro-level MD recorder. For example, I have just found last night by analyzing recorded nature sounds using CEP that there appears to be what I would refer to as "multiple spectral banding" that may be caused by Sony's ATRAC conversion process (no compression was used, i.e. stereo ATRAC native normal speed mode was employed in my tests); or some other Sony equipment design defect, inherent MD limitation, or other problem that I've not yet isolated. Also, a major disappointment has been that the PC I/F S/W provided with the Sony NetMD MZ-N1 (OpenMG Jukebox V2.2) will not allow one to import any MD recordings that were made on any MD recorder to the PC digitally--one must painfully use the headphone out analog port and redigitize the recordings using a pgm like CEP. This of course degrades the quality of the recording by imposing another time-consuming and totally redundant and unnecessary D/A & A/D conversion process. What an unpleasant shock and nasty surprise! I found out by reading entries posted by users in the Sony Musiclub NetMD Forum website (http://www.musiclub.sonystyle.com/community/forum.jsp?forum=4) that this limitation is strictly due to Sony's paranoia regarding copyright protection. In my view the users should give much negative feedback to Sony so that they will consider lifting this absurd restriction; but my view also is that Sony is worse than Microsoft in this regard, i.e. they really don't much care what users think and feed back to them, since they are the clear market leader in MD technology and believe that they control the entire MD industry (and perhaps they do)

If my evaluation of the Sony MZ-B100 MD portable professional recorder indicates it cannot be used for my purposes (and it's not looking too good now,) then regrettably I will probably turn to Marantz, but I'm not ready at this time to spend some truly serious big bucks for their equipment! I've already spent about $2K of my hard earned retirement funds in Sony MD technology, only to find out that it appears that this equipment cannot do what I need it to do, due to artificial usage restrictions plus perhaps some real design errors on Sony's part.

To return to what I think is the intent of your forum and Q, I do love the MD format and think it's just great due to small size and innate capabilities, and as a CD player replacement it's far more flexible, portable, and convenient; and of course allows the user to make customized recordings. It's just that Sony in my opinion has lead consumers astray to some degree and has taken advantage of their clear market lead in this technology to dominate it and "do it their way or no way," at the consumer's expense."

David Leach Harleysville, PA

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"Howdy Phil, My involvement with the MiniDisc format was kind of a long time in the making. For a long time I thought about a long-playing format to record the bible and misc. scripture verses. Also for a long time I have wanted to record all my favorite songs from my large collection of record albums and cassette tape albums. I was fed up with the inefficiency of cassette tapes (sound quality degrading and tapes jamming and other problems) and cassette players and recorders have these problems, (tape heads wear out, etc.).

I figured there was not so much to wear out in a CD and I saw some CD recorders in a Crutchfield catalog and considered that format. Then I saw a MiniDisc recording deck in the catalog and considered that too. The more I thought about it the more I decided on the MiniDisc, so I got it. Now I'm enjoying hi-fidelity and I don't have to worry about tapes jamming, and I like their small size."

Randy Burnett Chelan, WA

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"I have always been a huge music fan, with a wide range of interests. No matter if I'm at home, work, or in the car, great sounding music is must. For years I had a portable CD player that I had in my car that seemed to work out just fine, until...

I brought a Jeep Wrangler, and needless to say, the suspension and ride is a bit rough even on the highways. The CD player would constantly skip even with all of the latest shock tables. I considered buying a factory CD player, so I went out and test drove a Jeep that had one. There was no difference at all. Even slight bumps in the road would cause skips.

I ended up at United Audio (now Tweeter) and told the salesman about my problems. He showed me a Sony MZ-R50 and I was willing to try anything. I was hooked immediately!

With over 550 CDs in my collection, it was no time before I had many MDs recorded with compilations from my favorite bands.

I rollerblade about 20-30 miles a day (rain or shine) and the MD portable is always with me. Even with a nasty fall where I broke three ribs, the MD never skipped.

As for the Jeep, I had the portable on the dash while off-roading. During a crazy patch of the path, the MD portable slid off the dash, bounced off the passenger window and hit the floor...never missing a beat!

Years have gone by and I now have optical ports on my PC so I can record MP3s from the Internet onto MD, a Sony MDX-C8500 in the dash of my car, a Denon DMD-1300 MD deck hooked up to my stereo, a Sony DHC-MDX10 shelf system in the bedroom, and of course the portable is still rocking, rolling, bouncing, and dropping without missing a beat!"

Jason Chicago, IL

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"I had seen and had minimal knowledge of MP3s and even wanted one, but wasn't sure how it all worked much less if I would use it. A short while later I took up Figure Skating. When I was faced with the idea of my first competition, I wanted a small lightweight player to play my music to which I would skate. The actual skate program is only a fraction of a whole song, so I needed something I could record this piece of a song on and play it while I skated for practice.

When I first went looking, I went to a large electronic retailer (Frys). They had a small selection of MP3 players and I wasn't impressed with anything I saw. I later went to another store and saw the Sony MD MZ-N707. They had two versions of the Sony MD player, but I bought this one because I could also record with it. It gave me a variety of ways to input music.

After buying it and learning to use it, I love this MD player even more. I don't think I'll ever be using my CD player again.

Thanks again,"

Patricia Jessica Haller Garden Grove, CA

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"Several months ago I was searching for a jukebox or recording device that would be capable of recording from multiple sources, provide several hours of quality sound without having to constantly change the media while inline skating, hiking, etc. and still be durable. I had used a quality portable CD player for 5 years and can attest that sweat takes it's toll plus macadam scarred CD's don't repair over time like road rash on body parts. The preliminary result of my extensive search indicated a 10GB Jukebox was my best bet, although I wasn't totally convinced of it's overall flexibility and durability.

OK, I was ready to buy and just happened to be traveling in an area that had a Best Buy store (closest about 100+ miles) and stopped to see the selected Jukebox (wasn't impressed enough to buy it) thus decided to checkout the other cool stuff (toys as my wife calls them). In the portable audio section I found a single Sony MD recorder hidden among all the CD, MP3, cassette players, etc., honestly I had no clue what an MD recorder was or could do (maybe it uses a little CD that fits in the inner circle of the CDROM, never use it anyway). Upon my return home I decided to do an Internet search for Minidisc and entered a somewhat overwhelming site (MinidiscT) which would quickly become one of my favorites. Immediately I began the learning and total confusion processes associated with a Newbie (interesting label for a person in the top half of the baby-boomer generation who is into hard/alternative rock). After several visits I went to an auction site and bought an inexpensive refurbished Sony MZR37 to experiment with, 2 weeks later I bought a sport NetMD model (Simple Burner (WOW)) and have since bought a smaller mic compatible model for my wife to do voice recording associated with her continuing education and of course, to record/play music.

The experience I had somewhat explains why MD has not made an impact in the U.S., many of us in the baby-boomer generation are both fascinated and overwhelmed by changing technologies. Most of the things we buy are influenced by advertising, reviews in magazines associated with computer and digital technologies and our children/grandchildren. I have never seen any advertising associated with MDs in the U.S. and the children/grandchildren I know are into CD players or small portable, simple to use MP3 storage devices. I hope Sony and the other manufacturers get with the program and start promoting MD's, the major retail chains will only promote and display items they know the consumer is coming in to buy. Yet another phase of the music evolution in my life; from portable turntables, reel-to-reel, 8 track, cassette, CD and now MD."

Les Newville, PA

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"I love my minidiscs - I have a tiny MZ-R90 portable and a big Sony 'separates' one, and I churn out digital-to-digital copies for anyone who'll listen.

Things you cannot do on any other format:

1. SOUND MUCH BETTER THAN YOU REALLY ARE I am a DJ, and I am often asked to compile demo sets for promoters and clubs. The old fashioned way to do this was always on crappy C90's. Many a time I have ruined a lovely set with a crappy beatmix towards the end of a tape, and the only way to fix it was to start from the beginning. However, using Minidisc 'trim' function, you can re-record from the place you f*cked up and seamlessly rejoin the tracks. All my mix tapes now sound like they have been blessed by Grandmaster Flash.

2. STOP SUFFERING OTHER PEOPLE'S CRAP TASTE IN MUSIC The end of shite compilations - I love to hear other people's music, but taste is subjective, and should anybody slip a Nelly Furtado in between my Stooges and my Strokes I love the fact that I can vanish her in seconds.

3. SOUND COOL AT SIXTY-EIGHT Those CD-R's are really crappy. I like my music to last - I have visions of boring my grand-kids to tears with 'Ambient Techno circa 1992' and "this is what bangin' house sounded like before your mother was born". Any CD-R I ever owned has turned into a worthless shiny coaster after a couple of years. The only one's that don't are the ones that never get played, and I do not want my musical legacy to consist entirely of Right Said Fred and a 'Famous Jazz Saxes' LP.

P.S. Does anybody have a real idea of how long my minidiscs will last, provided I keep them out of coffee puddles and I try not to tread on them? What is the oldest they get without jiggering? Do they spontaneously combust after 15 years? Answers on a postcard. A Nelly Furtado keyring to the longest recorded shelf-life.

4. BIG BULGING POCKETS My portable MD is tiny. Portable CD players are generally the size of lunchboxes. I like to have room for my own lunchbox, so I'll be sticking with my minidisc."

Sam, Leeds, UK

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Basically, I first got involved with minidisc when I was rehearsing for a flute concert (I'm a flautist - or flutist as you Americans say! :o) ), and a friend of mine was recording our flute quintet with a personal minidisc player. That gave me the idea to go out and buy one too, so that I can hear any mistakes in my playing, which I'm unaware of when I'm practicing. And that's pretty much the full story..."

Katie Carmarthenshire, UK

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I was only 12 at the time, but i had started to take a big interest in music and in particular, The Prodigy. I had bought a lot of their CDs and was using a tape walkman to listen to the recordings. I really hated tape for its lack of RAM and poor quality so i went in search for something better. CD writers were only 1 speed and were around ?500 so that was out of the question.

I then saw the advert by sony where a skateboarder rides over a minidisc, picks it up and then starts playing it. I was curious about these smart little discs and so i went in search for a minisisc player. After looking around the internet, i discovered that the USA had a much bigger and better range of Minidisc Players and Recorders on offer and so i got a friend who was going on holiday to get me the Sony MZ-EP11 player. I managed to get it for ?130, which was terrific value for a minidisc player at that time and the best thing was its asthetics and slimline design. I still believe it has the best toploading method of any player ever made and i cant see why sony decided to change the loading method.

After a while i wanted to do some live recordings and so purchased the MZR-55 which was very pleasing at first but, shortly after, i discovered a few downfalls to the product. One being the deteriorating battery life and another being the random stopping of a live microphone recording. I put up with the player for a few good years, but then decided to sell it.

Shortly after selling it, i had a craving for the minidisc again, so i went in search for the latest invention which happenend to the sony MZ-N1. I've had this portable for a week now and i am pleased with it though i think that the quality of audio from mp3 to atrac3 is a bit poor though it does save time. I've managed to fit around 40 favorite tracks onto a minidisc in bearable quality and so i'm happy.... for now."

Waseem Ismail Aged 18 England UK

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Here's my 'How I learned to stop worrying and love the MD" story.' I started in MD format because I wanted a media that I could record with the stray songs from my computer and my old cassettes too. Plus, they are smaller than CDs, hold up to 4x as much music, and no 'buffer underruns', which means they're not dependent upon software and plug and pray. They are as easy to record as cassettes, but smaller and easier to manipulate. I can delete, rename or move a song with a couple of pushes of a button. In the States, it's virtually impossible to fnd pre-recorded MDs, but Amazon UK has them by the boatload, for a few bucks more in shipping. To me it's an all-around better deal than an MP3/CD player, and an MD will take any kind of sound file, including my voice in dictation."

Janine Beaulieu Center Line, MI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I first became aware of the format when I was in college in L.A. in 1995. I wandered into a Blockbuster Music and saw these strange little cases that were too thin for cassette, but completely the wrong shape for CD. I asked the person at the counter, who told me those were minidiscs, and that it was a new format from Sony. I kinda gave a "huh" and left, being that I was a poor college student and didn't have the time or money to investigate much further.

Fast forward to early 2000, when a good friend of mine from the east coast picks an MD recorder up on ebay, touting it as one of the greatest audio advancements in the past 20 years. I listend to him tell me of the re-recordability, amazing sound, live recording capabilities, editing possibilties, etc...and though it all sounds terrific, I'm starting to prepare for a wedding at the time and again don't have the finances to investigate much further.

So here we are in the age of mp3, and like many, I've been craving skip-free digital playback, especially with my workouts and long commutes on mass transit. So I've shopped around for over a year, comparing MD to MP3, and I finally decided that for the audio quality, media cost, and ability to record live sound (being that I'm a musician), MD is the obvious choice. So in late 2001 I picked a used Aiwa AM-C80 on E-bay, and aside from some time in the shop (for little cost), it has been a wonder of wonders. Now I'm outfitting it with accessories (next stop: mic-ville) and using it to port mp3s from my computer.

All in all, I'm a recent but zealous convert."

Jed Gilchrist Beaverton, OR

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"My brother bought a Sony minidisc player/recorder in '98. It was the MZ-R50 to be exact. At first I didn't really care. After a year of borrowing it from him on and off, I bought one myself. It was the MZ-R55, and I loved it to death. I sold it to a co-worker and he now is hooked on the minidisc format. I sold it to get Sony's new MZ-R900DPC. I couldn't believe it!! MDLP, of all things and the new found concept of ripping music off the Net. I ended up using one minidisc to record 4 CD's.

I have just recently sold that model to a college aquaintance and he is also hooked on it. He plans to get a minidisc player for his car. As for me, I pre-ordered the MZ-N1 and am currently without a beloved minidisc. I hope it comes in soon because I'm dying just to have an old friend back."

A poor 24 yr. old Texas Tech student Lubbock, Tx.

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"I first discovered the MD format at work ... I ride a motorcycle and I was discussing the shock proof characteristics of the MP-3 players with some engineers, one mentioned the skip resistance as well as the flexibility of the MD format. I looked into it a bit and the wisdom of making a killer mix disk and being able to listen to it, put it away for a month, and bring it out again... seemed like a great idea. I purchased a Sony R500 for my son two Christmas's ago as he is very into his mix c.d.'s. I thought he would get a headstart on making killer disk's that I could later copy. I was unaware of the huge minidisk subculture at the time. My Son embraced the technology and format and soon he was recording our band's (Odd Enough Celtic Music) live performances direct form the board to digital and coming up with killer mix disks from his huge collection of Celtic and eclectic stuff. I finally ran into a very good deal on a Sony MZ-700R for myself this xmas season and was delighted to discover that the LP2 & 4 modes giving me upwards of 320 minutes of music on one disk ! I use the MD at home, in the Jeep, on the bike and at work ... We are now working out the bugs in a live to MD recording we will hopefully offer from our website sometime in the near future." www.oddenough.com

Ed Spilker Royal Oak, MI

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"This is crazy. I live in Aberdeen,Scotland and I have just read in a national newspaper today(18th Feb 2002) that the Mini Disc player could be on the way out in the United Kingdom. I am totally shocked and dismayed.Surely this is simply the best audio recording format for 40 years. It was supposed to replace the antiquated audio cassette, and it does, with an incredible technological leap that has totally convinced me, but for some strange reason the public don't want to know ! What is going on?

Sony (the inventor of Mini Disc),surely do not want a repeat of their otherm marketing blunder when, in the 1980's their vastly superior Betamax home video system was overwhelmed by V.H.S. The public must be told. The Mini Disc puts the audio cassette into the dark ages!!

So, come on you Sony marketing executives in U.S.A. and U.K., do your bit and show the world what the're missing."

John Manley, Aberdeen, Scotland.

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"MD came into my life a long time ago and never appealed to me much. My best friend had to move to Japan with his family because his father received a promotion with his company. When he came back to visit every summer he always had the coolest Japanese gizmos to play with ranging from cd players to a little md player the mz-r2.

I did not know what to make of it at first and when he told me the price I immediately cast it into the back of my mind (about $400.00 then). He was always ranting about how awesome it was to go jogging with it and the incredible mixes he made, still not worth my money. I recently came to College in the Fall of 2001 and found my cd player to be way too bulky even with the cd burner i have and the mp3 capabilities of my cd player mixes were endless, but bulkiness was too.

I was browsing online and came across ebay and under the portable music section was minidisc. I thought to myself "WOW those things still exist?" I browsed around for a while and soon enough i was convinced that this was the audio means for me. I purchased a brand new mz-r70 and went wild with mixes!!!!!

I soon learned of the capabilities of the newer recorders with mdlp. I could not resist this option and soon found myself buying a 909. Hands down the best investment I ever made. I guess I am a sucker for gadgets like my best friend. I went home recently and showed him my new 70 and 909 and he was amazed at how far they have come in technology.

Minidisc works perfectly for me and is great for when I go to class, pop in a mix on the way and pop in a blank to record lectures when I get there. It is so small yet so versatile. Md has made audio incredible, it is just a shame that it has not caught on here in the states. Hopefully Sony's new Net MD will open up some eyes and show those memory stick suckas what is up!!!!!!!!"

Tim Troxell Harrisburg, PA

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"For years I had been working with my not-so-trusty old four track cassette recorder. I guess I was alot like other portable home studio users around that time. Hours upon hours spent perfecting a quality sounding demo, only to have the end mix sabotaged by inevitable tape flubs and audio drop outs so common to the four track cassette medium. I think I made myself prematurely bald from pulling my hair out in frustration over this outmoded form of capturing song ideas!

But where was an affordable alternative to be found? Sure, alot of the digital hard disc recorders just coming onto the market offered an escape from magnetic tape purgatory. But the downside to them for me was where to store my finished mixes once the internal hard drive was full. DAT machines were (and for the most part, still are) prohibitively expensive. And, what if I wanted to go back and remix an older song? Out of the question if your last mix to DAT is all you've got saved. CD Burner? Same problems with even less versitility.

I didn't have the patience (nor the dough) to take the MIDI project studio plunge. And even if I could've afforded to, there was something so "hands-off" about computer based multitracking on a purely tactile level for me. I'd just rather actually touch a fader than click a mouse on a "virtual" mixing board. I know MIDI has its advantages, but I'm a musician, not a programmer!

Just before nearly taking the foolish plunge on ANOTHER cassette multitracker to replace my first one, I came across a Sony MDM-X4 digital minidisc multitracker. THIS WAS IT! A machine that I could record four live tracks onto, then bounce them all down to two tracks with next to no signal degeneration. Make pristine digital copies of my work, do seamless punch-ins, mix and edit till the cows come home, with each pass sounding as good as the last. All for a total cost of about seven hundred fifty bucks? Sold!

And the sound quality? Put it to you this way: I've taken finished projects I've done in large studios with tens of thousands of dollars worth of recording equipment, ran the finished mix through my minidisc multitracker, edited out drumstick clicks, smoothed out fades and tightened up spaces between songs and even brightened up a dull sounding mix with ease! Now, I'm sure recording studio "professionals" would argue about "inadequete sampling rates" blah ,blah, etc. But, I only know what my ear tells me. And I've improved work I've done in actual recording studios with my MDM-X4.

I think the only disturbing thing I've noticed lately is that minidisc based multitrackers seem to be less prevalant as they once were. (now that I think about it, even the model I bought four years ago was being discontinued that year!) I was having an increasingly difficult time finding the MD Data discs my multitracker uses at music stores that once carried them. Which led me to a search on the web and ultimately, to Minidisc Access!

I know the constant march of technology leaves many useless gadgets that were once considered "state-of-the-art" in its wake. But I would be truly saddened if minidisc players and MD multitrackers become filed next to Betamaxes and Laserdiscs as ideas that never caught fire with a fickle public. Because truthfully, I can't think of a more versatile, user friendly, portable and fun way to document my song ideas.

Ben Brower Philadelphia, PA

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"I was interested in MiniDisc when it first came out in the early 90s, but didnt have the cash to get one. I received a Rio 500 mp3 player for Christmas 1999, which I used for about 2 months. What a pain! All that ripping, and loading. Then I would listen to the player for a while, get sick of the music and have to do it all over again.

The unit was stolen from me at work, and my wonderful partner bought me a Sharp 722 portable MD player/recorder. I fell in love with it at first sight. Almost as small as the mp3 player but I could record as many CDs as I wanted and just change them when I got tired of the music. If I wanted to do compilations, it was simple. If I wanted to take a song out and put in another, it was easy. Soon I bought a home deck and a car deck and have completely replaced my Nakamichi tape deck.

I don't really worry about the MD format fading away, either. I have made it a personal mission to sell this format to anyone who would like to look at it and listen to it. Turns out that this is just about everyone. I have made several converts, since this format seems to sell itself. I think that it is time for Sony and the other hardware manufacturers to do a big new push, emphasizing the mp3 angle. I think that MiniDisc is poised for take-off. Look for pre-recorded MDs at http://www.sonymusic.com/store Click on "The Store", and then go to the "format" selection. Many Sony and Columbia titles are available on MD there.

Make sure that you share your MiniDisc excitement with all your friends and family!"

Jeff

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"First off I am a Recording Engineer so audio is my life....I am the ultimate gadget freak, any new technology that comes down the pike I have to play with and or own. When SONY first mentioned that they were developing a new audio format in a miniature form, it peaked my interest. So, as soon as it was availible, I was there. I even had (the key word is had), a DCC cassette recorder at the same time; but, soon realized how inferior it was to the Minidisc format. Needless to say, I sold it off on e-bay and never looked back.

I first got involved mith the Minidisc format the first day SONY released it to the public. I had the first indash 4 Minidisc changer in my Van when I traveled cross country in 1996. I have 2 walkman-style units and 2 home units besides the one in my vehicle.

It took almost 10 years for the format to catch on here in the USA and you still can't find any prerecorded discs (not that it matters). The first generation ATRAC compression scheme had some bugs that SONY needed to work out, but with each successive upgrade the sound got better and better. I use a Pro Minidisc recorder in my studio for backups and for a replacement for the old the style broadcast carts.

Believe it or not, I have a friend who was chief audio engineer at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and he used the Minidisc format for playback on the show "FX" in their main theatre. If people don't know that they are listening to the minidisc format they think its compact disc or some other source of playback. Which is a testament to the technology.

I think the next step is the new Dataplay optical discs. When they are released I will most likely have one of those also. Maybe you will get involved with that format . They won't take up too much space on your warehouse shelves."

Dominick Catania Glen Cove, NY

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"I tried the MD format because I purchased a MP3 player I wasn't impressed with sound quality nor the difficulity to actually getting the music on the multimedia card. I figured there had to be a better system and an easier way to enjoy the music I wanted. I primarily listen to the music while I'm exercising because it helps me zone out while trying to improve my health."

Pat Banks Plainwell, MI

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"I lived in France for two years and minidiscs are extremely popular over there. They seem to be picking up in the US (now that people seem to finally have realized you can copy MP3's from your computer to a minidisc (and that PC-Links have been created) which make minidiscs obviously superior to MP3 players. Anyway, that's the orginal reason why I bought my minidisc player about a year ago: to record my MP3's to a portable player. Also to make mixes from songs from my CD's to listen to when I go walking or hiking. Minidiscs are cheap, small and they don't skip. They put portable CD players to shame."

Jeremy Munns Provo, UT

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"My first experience with the wonderful recording format known as Minidisc was about three years ago while working for a friend of mine at a local second hand CD/DVD store. He had purchased a bundle unit from Sony and about six months later decided to purchase a lap top with a CD burner. So, I jumped at the chance and bought the unit from him. With working at a second hand CD store, I was able to take home any CD in the store and copy them. No more buying music. I would get inquires from the customers wanting to know where they could buy the compilation CD playing in the store. With a smirk, I told them they couldn't because it was a self made one on minidisc.

I later purchased a car deck from a customer who worked at a car audio store. This only heightened my love for the format. All of my friends are CDR people, this I cannot understand. I then purchased a Sony MZ-R70. A great portable unit. Recently, I have upgraded my home deck to a Sony MDS-JB940. This unit is incredible. With the keyboard jack, two digital inputs and a digital output this deck is for the true MD fanatic. The digital output enables me to make copies of my favorite compilations or create new ones from the ones I have already made.

I just don't understand why anyone would chose CDR or MP3. these formats have too may limitations. I guess because CD have been the dominate prerecorded format for so many years that everyone seemed CDRs were the easiest transition. If they only knew the error they are making. And because of their error, it has become impossible to find any MD recorders in my area of the USA. I had to purchase my new deck from Crutchfield.com. None of the major or locally owned stores in my city are carrying them anymore. Go figure!!!

For all those MD fanatics, talk it up! I would really hate for this format to die out in the states. I also feel the problem was how MD was originally marketed. The prerecorded MDs were what the manufacturing companies were trying to push. If they marketed the recording applications to the general public more I believe it would be the dominating recording format. Keep the MD fever going!!"

Todd McDaniel Louisville, KY

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"MD became the format for me when I saw a demo of it on TV in 1997. Using a modified player, a Sony spokesman showed how it was possible to remove the disc mid playback and replace it without interupting the music! Of course the fact its such a versatile format and so much better than tape also won me over.

I went to buy a Sony MZ R35- but at $300 it seemed alot, so I went for a Sharp 701 in limited edition Blue at $150- to this day I would say that was one of the best I ever had, and still worth that today.

Since then a Sony MZ EP11, Sony MZ R55, Sony MZ E70, Sony MZ R90 and (yesterday)a Sony MZ R900 have passed through my hands- and that new MZ R909 looks good...looks like im addicted..."

Mike Davison England

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"I live in a typical place that has only top 40 radio stations, country, rock or anything. I needed music to listen to at work and being in and out of a darkroom, it had to be portable. MP3 proved to be of such low quality, I kept looking.

I came across a Sony MD recorder at Walmart and did a little Internet research before buying. I've showed my brother and he now has a MD mixing board in his recording studio. We both like the quality of sound and the ease added to editing."

Tom McGuire Columbus, GA

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"As for my MD story: I am a DJ. Back before the CDR thing became popular, I had many mixes on cassette tape. Many times, after awhile, cassette tapes become old and the quality of sound diminishes. I needed a way to preserve my mixes.

That's when I found the MD. I bought one of those big old bundle packs. (Like the first bundle there ever was.)I started recording everything on to MD. It was great. Now I am on a constant mission to convert people from CD to MD.

Let's face it, MD beats out CD hands down. The EDITING is unbeatable. Can't do all that on a CDR. The sound is the same, The recordable length is 4x more than a CD, and it's so much smaller.

Is there any reason why you shouldn't have one? I love it."

Henry Mullaev Brooklyn, NY

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"Eastern Enlightenment...

Well, add me to the growing legions who were turned on to MD while touring in Japan... some of my fellow musician pals over there hipped me to this crazy audio format they had been running around with. Before I knew it, they marched me right down to an electronics store in downtown Tokyo and negotiated me right into an Aiwa AM F70! Once back in the States, I turned another friend onto it and we've been trading compilations like crazy. My bag is collecting old jazz and western swing records and listen, you can sure jam a lot of 78 rpm sides onto on a MD in the "mono" mode (Stereo? Whazzat?)...I'm planning to jump into the MDLP waters soon, which'll be even better for my other love, old-time radio drama... Hey, there's nothing like using brand-new gadget technology to further enjoy 70 year old media!

It's easy to see why the format isn't catching on over here -- the retail side just hasn't gotten behind this thing... often, I find that even clerks in the big chains around Los Angeles (you know who they are) look at you like you've got two heads when you ask where the MD players are... luckily the European market seems strong enough to carry the format until the mp3 rage wanes over here (and I think that's begun). All it would take would be for one Best Buy or Circuit City-type chain to really put some muscle behind it.

Well, here's hoping!"

David Stuckey Los Angeles, CA

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"I got started with minidisc through my tango dance partner, Mike. He had spent a month in Japan in 1998 and came back with a very cool portable system, which we used in rehearsals. He moved a couple of years ago and at that point I knew I needed my own equipment. I use it mostly for theater and dance as well as personal use. I have a mini-system, a portable recorder and a car deck. :-) I also got my husband into it and he now has a car deck as well. :-) I think it's the best audio media in existence!"

Kerry Jones Seattle, WA

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"My "It all started..." story is not very exciting. I was headed off to a week of guitar playing in Santa Cruz and needed a recorder fast. My teenage son, who picked up his MD player in Japan (about a year before they were introduced in the USA) said, "Here dad, take this." I didn't have a mic but found an extra among fellow guitar players. I have been hooked on the MD player/recorder ever since. No other format (yet) is as convenient and sounds as good."

Steve Osborn Monmouth, Oregon

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"As for how I/we started with MD's, a guy I dated last year told me about them, and the way he explained them, it made sense to me that it was a great alternative to a big CD player. I love having music with me all the time, whether it be on the beach or car or wherever..............and this size just seemed like such a great bonus. I kept thinking about it and have been out of work recently, so have been surfing more than average, and checking out the auctions alot (don't tell hubby.......lol). I found a good deal on a sharp refurb, and figured this was a good time to try it out, as I go to a park or the beach alot to make the best of my "downtime". When I ever heard the quality of the music, I was astounded. That combined with the ease in recording and especially editing (I always miss the next song starting.........oh well), it was a great deal.

So now I have to let my husband listen and he is astounded and HAS to have one too! So out on the net I went and found him the same model I bought, figuring everything would be totally interchangeable. He is thrilled and we have been recording up a storm since! We are looking at boats and this will be a great thing to take on the boat. I even purchased two of the Y connectors, and TWO new headsets (hehehehe...now you know why) so that we can each have the option of sharing when we only have one of the MD's with us!"

Judy Robinson Manchester, CT

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"It all started...when I read a Sony advertisement for a free MD album from their collection back in 1993. They had one of my favorite artists "SADE" as one of the free MD's offered so of course I bought into it. I received the MD and curiously tried to figure out how it all worked. That same day I went to go see how much these MD players/recorders cost and I was greatly discouraged ($600 plus). That MD sat in my music crates for years with the intent that one day I would be able to afford this new format and proceed to replace my cassettes with this MD format.

That day came in 1997 and I finally got a chance to listen to that SADE MD. Beautiful!!! Sound quality was superior to cassette and I especially love the "no wow and flutter".

Now I have a home deck, the long tested and durable portable recordable, and I am looking to get that car MD deck that has the AM/FM with MD recorder. Until then, I have already wired both my vehicles car stereos with outputs to a mini-phone jack so I can record from AM/FM radio while I'm on the road.

Do you realize how many times before this that I would hear a great song but with the regret of probably never hearing it again. No longer, I now have a great collection of music from my car, the internet (great for recording live internet streams), and for general voice recordings. The MINI DISC is a great invention and the MP3 revolution should keep it alive with the mainstream for a long time to come. It is the best overall economic, ease of use, plus size advantage audio item you can get. Thanks for helping the MD community to keep in touch with each other."

jqdeep@yahoo.com

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"Well, for me minidisc is the best consumer level audio format in existence...POINT BLANK. My father is a gadget junky and got into minidisc in 1993 with an MZ-R1. I was young and thought it was really cool , however I knew I could never get one. I played around with his deck and learned all the cool features and was hooked.

Three years later my brother my father and me went to Brandsmart and my brother asked my father for an MZ-R50 for his birthday. Not only did my brother get it but my dad gave me one too...ITS ALL HISTORY from there. All my friends in South America have minidisc, all my friends in the US have minidisc, the whole world should have minidisc.

Being in the military now I travel alot and I record all my buddies CD collections, they are all amazed at the Minidisc and I ENLIGHTEN them on it. So far I have turned on about 50-60 people to minidisc, I feel like a minidisc conossieur!!! I have recently upgraded my equipment: MZ-R900, MDX-D5C, and for the car an MDX-CA680X. MDLP is awesome.

One day the US will learn that MD is the BEST recording media out there: Size, portability, cost, quality far outweigh any other media. The rest of the world knows about Minidisc and uses the metric system, why does the US have to be alone and use CD-Rs and yards rather than meters? The world may never know!"

Fernando Tampa, FL

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"here is my minidisc story.

I became familiar with Minidisc in 1993. At first I was skeptical about the format would it be better than cd's? I have destroyed my fair share of cd's scratches etc. So I began researching what minidisc was all about. I found it to be a useful tool for recording music. I saw the word "compression" I thought no way.

At this point I really wanted a DAT machine because I knew the format pretty well & it didn't use compression. I was dead set on getting a DAT when I had the money. While in Dallas TX in Sept of '95 I stopped by the Incredible Universe and being the audiophile I am went straight to the stereo section to see what's new. The salesman showed me the recent minidisc units, gave me a demonstration...I was HOOKED I saw with my own eyes and ears on what I could really do with the format. My mind went ticking!! although I used open reel & cassette. I was blown away. The sound quality was really "good". So I told the salesman I was in to buy a DAT machine but thankfully I walked out with a Sony MDS 302 at the tune of $599.00. So I got back home in Midland hooked it up and went to town! To this day I NEVER regret my purchase.

What's really cool is going in to Circuit City popped in a disc in their demo unit they too were amazed. The salesman said he wasn't familiar with it. I showed him what it would do he too was hooked.

I have completed transferring the best songs off my 1,500 plus Vinyl collection using my Linn Axis turntable.

Sad to say my MDS 302 went to minidisc heaven after faithfully recording over 300 md's!! I did the same with my cd collection also. I no longer have my cd's they took up space! So now that I have a Philips CDR 760. I am making killer compilations for playback in the car & office.

I still have my Sony "heavy" portable MZ E3. I accidentaly dropped it out of the car and haven't had the chance to have this "classic" repaired. I did replace my MDS 302 with the MDS JE530 all I have to say is thank god for digital outputs. Nowadays Sony has not put one on the "newer hifi units" unless you get the MDS JE940 or equivalent. Why Sony did this we'll never know. I use it to make digital copies to my CDR.

So I guess this wraps up my adventure with the minidisc format! If you're curious, I did get a DAT machine 2 years ago."

Max Floyd Midland, TX

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Hi ... liked your website... wanted to throw my story out there as well.

My first foray into digital recording was in early 1999 with the Philips CD-R audio deck. I hated it! It wasn't very intuitive, the CDs were expensive (this was before the proliferation of Napster and MP3s which let you burn cheapy data CD-Rs on your computer), and if you made one little error, you had nothing but a really nice, shiny $7 coaster. So I returned the $500 deck and gravitated towards the Sony MD deck. I saw other brands, so I hoped Sony had learned from its Betamax debacle (where they wouldn't license the technology, and even though it was superior to VHS, it flopped) and I bought the MDS-JE320. I also bought a Sony MD deck for my Jeep since most of my music listening goes on there.

For the next few months, I went on a frenzy, recording all kinds of compilations and marvelling at the overwhelming superiority of the MiniDisc format. I had a wreck in my Jeep though, which totalled it, so I removed the MD deck and put it in my next car, but the sound system was not nearly as impressive as the Infinity system in the Grand Cherokee and I wound up removing and selling the deck. Since I didn't often just listen to music at home, many of my MDs sat collecting dust... until recently.

In something of a MiniDisc renaissance for me, I have gotten back into the MD ways even stronger. I wound up buying another Grand Cherokee, but eventually moved to replace the stock stereo with a more powerful Sony CD player. I hated it, so I returned it, and while browsing online, came across the incredible JVC KD-MX3000 car deck which plays both CDs and MDs in a single-DIN unit. I couldn't believe it, so I found a refurbished one through an electronics dealer for a measly $299 (sold originally for around $800 when it was in production). I absolutely love it... playing both formats in one unit, with no changers needed... it's amazing.

Further, I picked up a Sharp MD-301 portable MD player on EBay for about $50 which makes a great companion on airplanes and vacation. Then, to round things out, my original Sony home MD deck developed a problem with the eject mechanism, so I found one of their MXD-D3 CD/MD decks which can dub CDs at 4X the speed for $110 (also on EBay... gotta love it). So I am totally back with the MiniDisc format.

I think MDs are far, far superior to CDs and personally, I think if MDs in their current incarnation (ATRAC 4.5) had been the digital format originally introduced back in the early 80s, rather than Compact Discs, EVERYONE would be familiar with "MD" rather than "CD" -- it's just better, hands down. I'm very glad it's so radically more popular in Europe and Japan than in the U.S. -- that will at least ensure the availability of the media until consumers in this country wake up. Until then, it's like being part of an elite club, whose members have access to superior audio technology and convenience!"

Sincerely, Chad Merchant Denver, Colorado

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"I originally got started transfering from Cd plyrs to MD when my girlfriend got one(Sony) and I was amazed at the sound quality and size of the component....flexibility(in recording) and now that the LP's are about to come out...it's even more exciting.....the ability to download/transfer MP3's....these all took into consideration when I purchased my Sony MZR700... digital optical outs for superb recording....plus to be able to record also and later mixdown into my software(like SoundForge/Wavelab)...all played a big factor in the investment....I know that Sony is coming out with the MZR900....but I can wait.

..whenever I pull the MD out...person(s) will inquire what is that an MP3 plyr?....where can I get it(after hearing it).....Once you get hooked that's it....CD plyrs are gone for me... except to transfer material(and basically I use my stereo with the digital optical outs)..."

David Tamura NY, NY

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"In the mid 90's, I bagan reading something about mini discs in a Sony magazine. I really liked a 1-minute-or-so Sony commercial (in TV) about how cool was MD and how impractical was to depend on tapes (fast forwarding to get to the next song, progressive degrading of tape contents, re-recording with lower and lower quality, tape-mess, etc).

However, the ultra-very low number of places that sold mini disc equipment in Mexico, had very expensive prices (not affordable for 99 % of the people, I think).

It was up to 1999 that I bought an MD home deck, and I just loved the format. Now I have MD at home and car.

As MD is still quite unpopular in Mexico, I am promoting the format among friends, and those who have tried it, they are all convinced of the very good editing features, quality, coolness and extremely nice look of mini discs."

Francisco Alessio Saltillo, Mexico

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"...Thought I'd also let you know that, although I just got my MZ-E90, I've been a minidisc guy probably even before you were. I bought the original minidisc player (forget what it was called) must have been in 1993 or so. Wasn't small enough to be portable (like a hand held) but was much smaller than an average size component. Yet, it wasn't sized to match a bookshelf system either. Strange bird.

Anyway, I then switched to the MZ-R2 (I guess the original might have been the MZ-R1) when it first came out. I was doing my recording on that til I got my home regular-sized player about 3 years ago. I also then got a deck for my car. All Sony stuff.

My friends all know that I preach about it. Very glad to see that the medium has caught on in Japan, or I'm sure it would've died out completely by now and there would be no new products or innovations.

If Sony had originally positioned it as the digital answer to cassette tapes (used to be vinyl albums and tapes, now its CDs and MDs), I'm sure they would've done much better than their original "Replace your CDs with MDs" message. Oh well.

I also just got a CD recorder to make CDs of my MDs, to have more flexibility. There is absolutely no competition between recording MDs and CDs. In fact, its silly.

We'll see how it all plays out over time."

Barry Wolfenson Ann Arbor, MI

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"My name is Bill Turner in Houston, Texas. I work as the General Manager of a radio station. In the very recent past, radio stations used carts (looks like an 8 track tape) for commercials, sweepers, liners and the like. Many radio stations even recorded their music on cart. About 9 years ago I heard about mini disc from a friend in the radio business. I was immediately intrigued. A few weeks later I saw a couple of articles talking about how great the mini disc was for news gathering. I recalled thinking the mini disc might be able to replace those expensive cart machines.

A year after moving to the radio station in Houston, I showed the owner how we had spent almost $3,000 on maintaining 6 cart machines and rewinding carts when the tape got too tight (remember how 8 tracks wouldn't hold up too long?). I said we needed to try the mini disc. The two Sony MDS 501 Mini Disc Recorder/Players we purchased were $1,000 each. Mini Disc blanks were about $18.00 for a 74 minute.

After about 4 hours of learning the machine, we converted all our commercials, liners, sweepers and other carts to ONE SINGLE mini disc. A wall full of carts and 6 big cart machines went into storage.

Since the old decks used to have the A SPACE/A PAUSE function on the remote, we found playing a sweeper on the air between two songs was even easier than grabbing the cart and slapping it into the machine. With the editing features, we learned we could edit so closely that when we programmed a commercial break, it would sound like the commercials almost overlapped. With carts we had to type a label showing the last 4 or 5 words said on the commercial but the mini disc let us watch the time remaining. A typed "playlist" was updated as new commercials were added and others deleted. The mini disc continued to work flawlessly.

Now, 7 years later, we still use mini disc. We don't buy the broadcast versions that are $3,600 but buy the consumer decks.

In the meantime, I have taken my 1500 or so albums, hundreds of CDs, hundreds of cassettes and even a good 100 or so big reels of tape (companies that provided music fomats such as "Hot Hits", etc., sent music on 10.5 inch metal reel to reel tapes) onto mini disc. It is a project that has taken 3 years and I must admit all the song sheets have yet to be typed into the notebooks listing every song by type, artist, title as well as a listing in order by mini disc. Now with a studio at home, I have well over 2,200 hours of music and three mini disc units plus a portable for 'on location' recordings.

I'm a believer in mini disc. I'm now ready for the manufacturers to market the mini disc correctly. The public, once educated, I believe will prefer mini disc over CDs if they knew about mini disc and found mini disc, players, recorders and supplies available at ALL audio retail outlets."

Bill Turner Houston, TX

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"...so while touring with tvt artist nothingface and century media artist stuck mojo, i decided to go to minidisc. what a great move. it allowed me to put together sound check jams which became songs for each groups new lp's. i also use it for gathering samples in my travels around the world.

my little sharp 702 has been a workhorse since i got it. it's been dropped a few times and keeps on kickin'.it's also been great on my corporate shows when i need small intros etc. to be assembled from cd's and other formats.

i cannot wait to go toa pro version to take advantage of syncing to DV etc. i'm always looking for cases for my recorded media and cool additions and u guys have it.

thanks and keep kicking."

e.l. copeland rock this house audio

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"hey,

Well it all started when.....no just joking. About 2 years ago my cousin and i were online and we found a site that was selling electronics, my cousin saw a sharp player. I was skeptical, so he bought his and i waited, then all i heard was how great it was and so about 6 months later, i went back to that site and bought the Sharp MD MS-722, its a tight player and recorder.

Well that's the story. I'll see it on the site."

Arjun Dabir Reston, Virginia

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"...the summer of 2000. I had watched the electronics stores for an MD player/recorder to drop below $200. I wanted to move to MD as my primary portable format, replacing cassette for my personal DJ mixes and CD for pre-recorded stuff. I was just getting into MP3's as well, and having owned an MP3 player briefly, knew that was ultimately more trouble than it was worth. My first unit was a Sharp MS-722, purchased for a trip I was taking to Minnesota. I recorded a bunch of my favorite CDs to MD and appreciated the extended battery life, more compact size, and cool form factor. I also took up recording my DJ mixes to it, and found it versatile and much more stable for those purposes.

A few months ago I bought a Sony MDS-JE440 (also once it dropped below $200) for my home DJ rig, which freed up the portable to be just a player. I'm looking forward to buying a player-only unit in the next few months at a nearby Sony Outlet store - word has it you can catch some deals for under $100!

Last month, I happened to catch a Tower Records closing for a remodel and picked up two dozen TDK 60's for a buck apiece. They're great for recording older, pre-CD record albums (remember when a record was 47 minutes - tops?) This is a format that's taken forever to take off, and I'm still encountering people that aren't familiar with it. I tell them owning an MD player is sorta like joining a club -- I've never known of a consumer electronics product that developed such a community of followers. I love the titling options, the prospect of longer recording time with MDLP, and the wide variety of colors the media comes in.

The big confusion I encounter with consumers has to do with the hype surrounding MP3 players. It's true, MP3 is pretty revolutionary, but as long as MP3 players remain expensive - with the media being a memory chip, and not as "physical" as an MD -MD's price is a bargain. A keen shopper can find good prices on blank media, and those disks last forever. I am so glad DCC never took off, because we would have had to tolerate another linear format no better than the tape in your VHS.

I burn a fair amount of my own CD-Rs as well, but that's just because the MP3 to MD conversion process is such a pain. I also need CDs for my car's disc changer. I'm looking forward to the death of cassettes, because then we can get more in-dash MD players.

You can bet I'll be using my MD stuff for years to come."

Matt Bryant Alameda, CA

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"I was looking into a new media that featured great portability and for storing MP3s. I didn't like CD-ROM because it still isn't portable enough (try taking a dozen cd's on an airplane sometime) and most of the CD players I've seen are still too bulky to stuff into a pocket when I go for a walk. I also didn't want to dump a ton of cash on a decent CD burner for my MP3s.

I looked into portable MP3 players and media, but found that the most I could carry was about an hour's worth of music- and the cost of the removable media made it prohibitive.

Then I discovered Minidisc: 74 minutes of music on each disc for pennies a song! I can just swap the recorded discs in and out of my "tiny" Sony player which slips very nicely into a jacket pocket or shirt pocket withou weighing me down. I get hours of play out of a single AA battery! Not only can I take my MP3s with me now, but I can also copy my own cd collection direct to Minidisc on my Sony Minidisc recorder without having to rip them to MP3 first!

Also, I can buy prerecorded music on Minidisc! I already own some Bruce Springsteen, Chris Whitley, Pearl Jam, and more!

To me, Minidisc IS the ultimate portable music solution for ALL my needs!"

Bobby Foster

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"LIKE EVERY AMERICAN, I'VE BOUGHT THOUSANDS OF CDS OF MY FAVORITE MUSIC ONLY TO HAVE THEM CRACK AND SCRATCH. CDS ARE EXPENSIVE TO REPLACE AND SOMETIMES HARD TO FIND.

ONE DAY I WENT INTO A LOCAL BEST BUY TO REPLACE A CD THAT CRACKED AND TO BUY A BETTER CD PLAYER. AS I LOOKED AT THE CD PLAYERS WITH A SALES REP, I CAME ACROSS AN MD PLAYER/RECORDER. THE SALES PERSON WAS HAPPY TO GIVE ME INFORMATION ON HOW IT WORKS. I WAS AMAZED AT HOW COMPACT AND GOOD IT SOUNDED AND THE MOST IMPORTANT, MY CDS ON MDS DO NOT SCRATCH, UNLESS THEY WERE RECORDED SCRATCHED.

FROM THAT MOMENT ON, I WAS HOOKED. I HAVEN'T HAD TO REPLACE ANY MORE OF MY MDS AT ALL, SO NOT ONLY IS IT COMPACT, IT SAVES MONEY, AS WELL AS SPACE. NEEDLESS TO SAY, IT IS A WONDERFUL INVESTMENT.

I'M GLAD I HAVE A MINIDISC PLAYER. I WON'T TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD."

MAMAHNITA

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"It's a good format over cd. It's in a case and can't be touched by hands. It records with no problems. Its mini size is good and the price for a player or recorder is low. I have LP's and tapes to record. Think minidisc!"

Phil Sparrow

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"Hi all,

It all started...when I first saw the Sony MZ-1. I was unable to afford it at the time, but later had the money to purchase it. By today's minidiscs standards, it was big and expensive, but worth every hard-earned penny. I still have the MZ-1 and will probably never part with it. It's kind of a 'collectible' item. It still works great, has digital-out, and sounds good to me!

Being an aficionado for all things digital and having a long term interest in the audio world, it was natural that I take an avid interest in the minidisc. I have no regrets for doing so, and have never looked back.

Since then(1993) I have owned 4 different minidisc units - both portable and desktop. I love the pure sound of the minidisc and the ATRAC sound has never bothered me in quality - or in some circles - lack there of! For most of my listening needs and venues it sounds great.

Having an avid interest in computers(it's both my vocation and hobby), marrying the mindisc and the computer was the next area to explore. Last Christmas I got myself a new Sony MDS-PC3 unit and it's great for recording MP3's, WAV's, or any other digital audio format available on the computer. Of course, being able to control it with the computer is way cool too. It works as advertised and I am very happy it. Just wish I had more time to make more recording!

That's how I got started..."

Cheers, R. E. Downs Albany, NY redowns@nycap.rr.com

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"We found about mini disc from a song director doing a rivival at our church. He plugged it directly into the microphone jacks with a adaptor ( can obtain at Radio Shack). This worked great with my Son who sings specials at different churches and events. We have at our disposal most of his songs on mini disc. Very little space is required and it is easily hooked up to most sound systems.

Our choir uses the mini disc for practicing the cantata's. It's features make it easy to go from one song to another without a lot of time wasted on rewinds or finding the song needed."

Edward D. Bain

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"I've hated the tape format all of my life. I couldn't understand why you had to listen to all the tape and couldn't go directly to the song that you wanted to hear.

Then the CD appeared. But, it was too delicate. You have to treat them very carefully to not damage them.

Finally, came MINIDISC, the perfect solution for me. It has all the good stuff from tapes and all the good stuff from CD's. Plus, you can label the tracks.

In June of 1998, I heard the word Minidisc for the first time. You have to understand that at that time in Chile, only a few people knew about minidisc or dvd.

In September 1998, I went to a Ruby Tour in the UK, and it was there I bought my first Minidisc, the MZ-R35. It was all that I expected and more.

Now, I have the MZ-R70, which is even better and smaller.

And that is my true story. If you have Minidisc, I know that you must think like me, and if you don't have Minidisc, I don't now why you're still waiting to get one. MD is the future.

Thank God For Minidisc!!!!"

Paparazzi Paparazzi@yupimail.com Santiago Chile

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"this is my story about how i got into minidiscs.

Well it all started when i was in year 3, i got my first cd and i liked it, so i stared to get in to music, i liked it so much i bought another 1 the next day, as the years more and more cd's untill one day.

Then I heard about the "MINIDISC", i thought it was so C00L and i wanted to buy it but my parents didn't let me get it because it was so expensive so i worked hard trying to get enugh money so i could buy it. When i was in year 6 my rich uncle was coming all the way from London and he asked me if i wanted anything so i asked him if he could buy me a portable minidisc recorded and he said that he might.

He arrived at our house, with stuff. After dinner he called me to come to hime, he said that he had a surprise, then he gave it to me, The thing that i wanted for such a long time, a minidisc player, i was so happy.

Ever since i have been using my minidisc player heaps."

Ben Varley Sydney, Australia

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"I was actually feeling some post-purchase anxiety, until I started reading other testimonials on your site. I had known about Minidisc since they first came out, but always wanted to wait until they took over as the leading music medium. When this never happened, I was skeptical. A couple of my friends got into Minidisc a few years ago, but still I did not think that it was a sound investment.

When I finally decided to buy an MD player (Sony MZ-R70) in January of 2001, I did it for several reasons. First, the allure of being able to record MP3s from my computer... Next, because MDs don't scratch or skip (By the way, I hate CDs now, even though I own over 500!!).

Finally (and most importantly), I am a recording musician and a music-quality obsessive, and I needed an easy and highly portable music recorder to transfer songs from the recording studio to my car to my computer to my home stereo...etc. I was really thinking that I should have gone with an MP3 player until I looked at your website. I must say, THANK YOU!! I would have been throwing away my money, and my taste for high quality sound."

-Wesley Camp Nashville, TN

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"When it was time to put my old portable CD player out to pasture, I decided to take a step up and had to look at my "portable audio options." There were three for me: a portable CD player capable of reading MP3s, a stand-alone MP3 player, and a MiniDisc player.

I took account of the features I was looking for and made my decision based on the following: Size: MP3 reading CD players are nice since one can put hours & hours on one MP3 encoded CD but one still has to port around that box which fits only in the largest of pockets. Rule the CD player out, now it's down to MP3 or MD. Capacity: MP3 is definitely the loser here -- memory is expensive, and a standard memory card doesn't hold that much (not when you're like me and listen to music all day while working). Who wants to spend time loading music into memory, only to have to listen to the same hour or two of music ALL DAY? MP3 players are out, and the MD player wins after considering only two factors! The MD player is small and highly portable, offers long run times on batteries, uses relatively cheap media, and provides excellent quality sound.

The bonus for MD players is their ability to record using microphones. I've used mine to record live concerts as well as to produce audio journals. While my friends are trying to figure out where to carry their bulky MP3-capable CD players, how to scrounge up more money for MP3 memory cards, and spending extra time loading new songs into their MP3 players, I'm in MD bliss. GO MD, AND GO TO MINIDISC ACCESS!"

C Chin Baltimore, MD

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"...Since I'm on the subject, my interest in mini discs came as a result of riding motorcycles. I ride a motorcycle and used to use a cassette player for my music source while touring this great and beautiful country of ours. Well I wanted to record my own songs and my son told me about mini discs. They are compact, easy to use and the player is smaller. I mounted mine on the handlebars so the controls are easy to reach and use, even with my gloves on. I like the mini disc format because I can record my own songs on the disc and they are much easier to store on the motorcycle. In addition I use the mini disc when I fly, for many of the same reasons. They are compact, easy to store in my bag and much easier to use than cassettes or CD's."

John Baller Taholah, WA

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"Actually, I have to say that I am quite excited having only recently discovered mini disc. I was looking at purchasing an MP3 player and then I discovered mini disc. I had always seen the players in Best Buy and thought it wasn't catching on, but now I think it's set for a bit of a re-birth given the popularity of MP3.

I researched the whole thing and bought a red Sony MZ R900 from Hyperjack in Japan. Having had it a couple of weeks, I have to say that it's the coolest thing. Not only can I record digitally from my home stereo and then edit the tracks, I can do the same from my computer (analog at the moment).

The unit is tiny which is great for when I travel (I was getting fed up of carrying about 10 CDs for long-haul flights!) and best of all the media is recordable and equally small. So I'm definitely a convert! I now cannot see any point in having an MP3 Player.

John Creak Indianapolis, IN

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"It all started....back in 1963....1963?!?!?..... but there wasn't any "Minidisc" back in '63!!!! Just give me a chance and I'll explain..... A long time ago in a galaxy far away.......known as Nashville, I tried to make it in "Show Biz...." but I didn't. Oh, I made some pretty good records back then, but no "big hits". Many years later, one of these old records becomes a collector's item. It's now worth $35 to $50, if you can find one in good condition. The record was called "I GOT A ROCKET IN MY POCKET" (Petal records #1012). Because of this record, I was recently inducted into the "ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME" (www.rockabillyhall.com) With new interest in my music, I started putting together a new CD with some of my old records and some newer recordings I had been working on. Enter minidisc.....I had been using minidisc for personal use for 3 or 4 years, but now I'm getting serious about recording. I used D'Art Pro 32 to digitally restore and remaster "Rocket" and some other of my old records. Then made a Master recording from my computer hard drive to minidisc. They really don't sound too bad, if I do say so myself. I have a Sony MDS-JE500 deck, a Sharp MD-MT20(S) portable, and now, the pride of the fleet, a Yamaha MD8, eight track minidisc recorder. I have used the MD8 to record some other songs as well as transferring, overdubbing, and remixing some old 4 track tapes I did back in the 80's. The Yamaha uses a special kind of minidisc called a Data-Disc. The regular disc will play on the MD8 but DataDiscs won't play on a regular machine. (go figure....) I'm still working on trying to get everything mixed (to minidisc of course) and looking for distribution for the new CD. It's really weird that, after almost 40 years, someone has taken an interest in an "Old Hippie" like me and wants to hear something I've done. I hope you understand, I'm not trying to brag or anything like that. I'm just pleased and surprised by all the attention. Minidisc is my favorite format and now it's becoming a (part-time) profession for me. If you'd like to visit my web site, please go to: www.rockabillycat.com. There's more info there. (and don't forget to sign the guestbook!)"

Stan Beaver Cleveland, Tennessee www.rockabillycat.com email: stan@rockabillycat.com

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"I am a true minidisc oldtimer. I bought my first MZ-1 the day it was released in Minneapolis on Dec. 1, 1992. It cost me $699.99. It weighed a ton. The :60 minute discs were selling for $15.99 A PIECE. The department store I was in was NOT moving a lot of these lunkers.

I first saw an MD prototype six months earlier at a local electronic show. I knew I had to have it. CD's had taught me to loathe cassettes. Rewinding and fast forwarding were just so...so...ANALOG! And besides, cassette hiss BLOWS big time.

There are a number of reasons MD hasn't caught on as quickly in the US as opposed to Japan and Europe. Marketing for the product has been sporadic and haphazard, it was introduced poorly and at precisely the same time as the doomed DCC, the price tag on the product until recently has been prohibitive for many, and probably most importantly, the USA is a big ship. And big ships don't change directions as quickly...especially when that ship is already packed to the gills with cassette Walkmans and boomboxes.

Frankly, I think the MD HAS been a bigger success in the US than it's been given credit for. For one thing, it's been around for 8 years now with no sign of letting up (despite earlier reports of its demise!), it's become affordable to more people--and it works great with MP3's!, and it has been embraced by people in radio and some professional audio engineers--the same fine folks who saved the DAT format from extinction.

In conclusion, I think it's just an awesome format. It's small, it sounds great, the battery life on some of these new players is phenomenal, and frankly, I think all the different MD blank designs are really cool (like how 'bout that new Happy Cyclops from TDK?!)

Bottom line, to quote another great thinker, MINIDISC ROCKS!"

Gary Bingner Minneapolis, MN

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"I bought my first minidisc player in September of 1993. I had never heard of minidiscs before. I was in the army and happened to see one at the local PX. I paid over $600 for it and at that time they were not selling the digital adaptors with that model. I recorded some of my CD's analog from a cheap boom box. I remember being absolutely amazed at the quality of the recording. At the time, I was out to replace all of my CD's with minidiscs but soon realized that this was not the purpose of minidiscs. They are more for replacing tapes than anything. Since that time, I have a Sony portable minidisc player which I use for live recordings. It works great. I also have a Denon minidisc shelf unit. I use minidiscs for editing purposes all the time now. People don't realize how much more editing you can do than with CD's. I've put some old tapes of performances onto minidisc and edited them, then burned them onto CD for friends who have basically never heard of minidiscs. The bottom line is that minidiscs rule and the products and technology keep getting better!!!"

Nathan E. Potts Grand Rapids, MI http://www.nathanepotts.com

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"Here's my minidisc story. I was employed at Circuit City when I first saw the portables, but no discs. A Sony rep came buy and handed out some blanks to record demo stuff on. Man,now I've seen everything! Being a huge music fan with over 1000 tapes (most recorded on Thats tapes), I saw the potential of the minidisc.I did not purchase a recorder until a few years after I left C.C..

I now have almost 100 discs and have one Beach Boy prerecorded disc. Now if I can only find out who carries other prerecorded discs I'd be happy. Is it me or do I not remember Mr. Spock "viewing" a minidisc on a few "Star Treks"?

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I Love My Minidisc

"Purchased my first minidisc (Aiwa AM C80) player/recorder about three months ago and think it's the best thing since sliced bread. For all you budding DVD freaks, buy a DVD player with an optical out - the digital stream makes for a far superior/clearer/louder sound when recorded to your MD. Had my MD shipped from California(Minidisco) to little old New Zealand without a hitch and have thrashed it ever since. One purchase you'll never regret."

Nigel New Zealand

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"I've known about mini disc's for a number of years, but they always seemed too pricey for the average joe. Well recently I decided I wanted to get myself a portable digital music player, so I went out and bought one of the latest mp3 players. What a hassle!!! Thing thing kept skipping and it only held about 20 mins of good quality music. Plus if I wanted to change the music in the thing, I had to go back to my PC and transfer more songs. I kept that up for about a week then I returned the Rio and bought the MZ-R70 with the PC addon. I'm very impressed with mini-disc's in general now. The portability, the sound quality and the convenience. I can record CD's or play MP3's on my computer and transfer them to the MD through the USB interface. I'm hooked now!!!!!"

Travis Cottrell

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"I first heard about minidisc in 1994 or 1995, when Sony introduced the R2. Back then, minidisc was very new and expensive, but I went ahead and bought it, thinking that it was going to be the next big thing. I bought the Sony R2 from Circuit City and at the time it really looked like it had caught on with the public since Circuit City had many prerecorded minidisc on the shelves. Well, after about 2 years, I never really heard much about minidisc anymore. But I was still using the minidisc recorder and was ordering the blanks from Sony since Circuit City had given up on minidisc. I had a friend that was the president of the audio department in Circuit City and asked him if he knew anything about minidisc. He told me that Circuit City had brought it back in the time that I had learned that they didn't carry the format anymore and that the prices had dropped severely. So, I decided to go check out what he was talking about and went over to Circuit City to see what I could find. What I found and bought was the Sony Bundle of the MD deck MDSJE320 and MZ-E40 portable player. When I got home I hooked up the deck to my CD player and recorded a song or 2 and I realized that the recording process had become a whole lot easer and now I really started to love the format. Three years after that purchase I have bought 4 more recorders that include the Sharp 702 and Panasonic SJ-MR100 Portable recorders and Sony JB930 and the Sony JA20ES. I really think that minidisc is a no brainer when it comes to recording digital or analog music. It's durable, rewritable, and a heck of a lot better than CD burners. I can't stand using CD's and DVD since they scratch and take up so much room. I just can't wait till they get about 3 gigs into a minidisc, then I will put my movies on there."

Mindisc fan, Robert Gilliam

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"Well, a couple of years ago I was excited to read about a new format for audio---the minidisc. I was tired of schlepping around my portable cd player and cds, and this new format sounded very nice. But, I couldn't find a store that had any equipment. The local Best Buy kept advertising equipment, but never seemed to have anything when I went in.

I work for the US Army as a Librarian. In '98 I was transferred to Italy. On a run to our big Post Exchange store, 3 hours away, I found a cache of Aiwa FM5's (an early model) on discount. I couldn't resist the purchase, and have never regretted the decision. My favorite CD's have been transferred to MD, and I take the recorder everywhere! I use it to record meetings, random thoughts, notes, and so on. And, of course, I listen to music! My only problem is deciding what MDs to carry with me for the day. It's so much easier to slip the recorder, discs, and extra batteries in my purse for the day than carrying the 'portable' CD player! Folks have gotten used to me having to hit 'pause' on the remote before I can talk to them. I'm still using my original recorder. I keep looking at the latest and greatest models, but my old FM5 just keeps on going strong, and can't see replacing it while it still works great. Count me as a happy convert. I'm working on transferring my cassette collection to MD---just gotta get the right audio editor to take out the tape hiss and other audio artifacts. Then, on to the vinyl!"

Holly Hill hkhill@iol.it

Knowledge is power. Power corrupts. Study hard. Be evil.

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"Ok, my MD story, it's a bit of a longy. I started collecting records in '76, when at 10 years old I discovered the Beatles, and within 12 months I had all their albums (+ some Wings much to my eternal shame).

In '85 I went to college, and had to record my then huge punk collection onto tape, around 80 of the little blighters. This took it's time, in fact all summer, a feat I repeated in '87 when I travelled to Australia. I returned to London in '90, and by now I had over 500 records and 300 tapes.

When I returned to Australia in '92, my now huge Indie/punk/ska collection of edited tapes had grown to over 100. Travelling with a backpack, I scrimped on clothing and other essentials, as the music was more important. I returned to the UK in '95, and finally admitted defeat, as the quality in vinyl had diminished (we still sell LP's over here), so I purchased a CD.

Here I am 5 years later, and preparing for my hopefully final emigration to The Land Down Under. I have 600 lp's, 250 CD's and 350 tapes (usually plagiarised from mates cd's or lp's), and I needed to make a definitive collection of all my favourite tunes. So in January I bought an MD recorder. I almost bought the CD writer, but size and editing persauded me otherwise. In a 5 week spurt I recorded 90 MD's and finished off the LP's and 1/2 the tapes, though I'm only approximately 1/2 way through the job.

It can be great fun listening to stuff I forgot I had. I certainly have enjoyed my Ska collection, but the 90's UK dance stuff might prove tricky, I mean, with no lyrics how can I tell what's what.

I do love MD's I hope they stay around, since MP3's need far too much hardware. Believe it or not, I can be a bit of a technophobe, so I'm usually the last to get into new technology (when it becomes cheap).

Flood the world with MD's, that's my motto!"

Steve Pulvernis London, England

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"I first heard about Minidisc by reading Billboard magazine in early 1993. I was immediately intrigued by the concept and was soon gazing at Tower Records budding collection of pre-recorded discs, wondering if I'd ever get the opportunity to own one. I was only 20 years old at the time, and was still living at home with no steady employment, so this seemed a world away.

Anyway, I waited for it to totally catch fire and after a year or two when I heard less and less I wondered why it hadn't. Then, in late 1995, I saw an ad in VIBE magazine for the first MD bundle with an MSRP of $550.00 I was steadily employed by then and in March of 96 was all set to purchase it, but was $40 short by the time they added sales tax. Disappointed, I went home and realized I could do a lot more with that money.

Anyway, I watched the price steadily lower peripherally, and when I came across a circular advertising the bundle for $299 in Spring of 99, I again began to obsess about adding this to my audio collection. Minidisc ads were appearing all over our local radio stations as well, emphasizing the powerful editing features of the format that allowed you to re-record discs infinitely and rearrange tracks instantly. Finally, in July of 99 I was able to purchase the MJ320 bundle, which by then had been updated to include the redesigned portable MZ11.

I was immediately pleased with the sound quality, but the standout features to me were the text capability and editing. No more re-recording whole cassettes because you realized a song was out of sync--my new minidisc allowed me to rearrange tracks at the touch of a button, as many times as I wanted, with no change in audio quality.

And the blank discs were pure eye candy. I purchased Sony's 8-pack multi-colored at the same time as the bundle and by the weekend was purchasing another.

However, I soon began to realize the limitations of the MJ320 bundle and understood why it's price had been cut. They were trying to get rid of it because they realized they omitted key features. The most glaring of which was the lack of a remote control for the home unit. I mean, come on. I was so shocked not to find one, I called the retailer I purchased it from, thinking it had been swiped from the box or something. But this was soon remedied by purchasing a universal remote. And then I realized that there was no track programming, repeat, or random function, which I began to find extremely frustrating. The lack of this feature was puzzling and it's usefulness a no-brainer.

Anyway, last month I celebrated a year with my Mindisc and I still use it regularly. Both units are functioning well; however, there is an unusually long shock protection with the portable unit. I'm talking 40 seconds or more sometime, and at the smallest jolts. But that's better than skipping and I just have no patience for any prehistoric cassettes with all their rewinding and what-not.

I think the format has a great future if manufacturers will continue marketing it as a replacement for cassettes as opposed to cd's. I envision a day when all boom boxes are equipped with mindisc recorders for reproduction purposes and the walkman cassette player is replaced by the walkman minidisc player/recorder."

Dave Nisbett New York City

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"Hello! I am a professional musician , who does demo work in the form of four-track recording, After having success in having a big name Nashville artist record one of my ballads, "ONLY TRUE LOVE GROWS' KMA RECORDS 1999, it became clear that just four tracks of "recording" wasn't enough! Simple fact in reasoning why this is evident became apparent when trying to "stack" four tracks of harmonies, there would always be that horrible "HISSSS" at the start of the playback, this ruined all of my incentive when using all four tracks.

The first time I used an M/D was on a demo tape that I was making for a producer who was auditioning the who did and the who did nots from the stack of "acts" who wanted to showcase themselves, just like myself. I look at it this way, now-a-days; the real competition is GREAT AND nine times out of ten already signed to a Label for more than one album or two.

So, to trust my performances to "sound right", the only way to go is DIGITAL...This way, YOU CAN stack tracks of music - without the intolerable HISSSS of a turned up standard four-track recording that was made on ANY TAPE APPLICATION that I've ever tried.

So, if you want to do your recordings justice...go digital, go MD."

Sincerely,

Stephen Edward Monday-songwriter Axxemanno1@aol.com

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"I bought my first minidisc in the year 2000. It's great because now I don't have to even buy anymore CD's. Just copy them. Plus, you can erase the tracks you don't want or erase the whole minidisc and record a new CD or mix. Also, a disc runs at least $1.90 compared to a CD which will at least cost you up to $15.00. I first found out about minidisc when my brother bought one. The sound was awesome. Buying my minidisc was one of the best decisions I've ever made."

Tim Rischling Age 14 Alliance, Nebraska