Minidisc Not Dead Yet

Like many long-standing minidisc users, I’ve been wondering when Sony will finally kill off this format. I do not live in a fantasy world, so I do realize that the tag-team of iPods, cheap MP3 players and an increasing number of high-quality portable digital audio recorders that use flash memory will spell the eventual end for this venerable magneto-optical disc format.

Yet, Sony has been known to stick with a format much longer than other manufacturers when it has a large installed user base. For instance, Sony sold new Beta VCRs in the US until the early 90s, and manufactured them for Japan and other markets until 2002.

So I was both surprised and glad to read pretty sound rumors from that Sony plans at least one more new minidisc recorder that also happens to be chock-full of features aimed at concert recorders and independent media makers.

The second bit of good minidisc news is that Sony released an upgrade of its SonicStage software–which provides the PC interface for minidisc recorders–that actually contains useful upgrades. Chief amongst them is that Sony has loosened the restrictions on uploading sound from Hi-MDs by allowing users to import to their PCs audio recorded through the optical digital input. Previously, you could only import audio recorded from the analog input, presumably to keep you from recording a CD (in real time) and then copying it with your PC. I’m glad to see that Sony realized that minidisc recorders are not a useful piracy tool compared to what you can do with just a PC and a CD-R drive.

The new version of SonicStage also allows users to upload audio from a Hi-MD to a PC that was originally recorded from a different PC.

Don’t know what happened to Sony, but maybe they learned a lesson about overarching DRM restrictions that don’t actually do anything to prevent real piracy.

So, while I don’t recommend any newbies jump into minidisc right now–unless you can buy some used recorders really cheap–it looks like there’s still life left in the format for folks who have been using them for high-quality recording tasks.



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5 responses to “Minidisc Not Dead Yet”

  1. George Avatar

    The problem isn’t whether or not Sony continues to make or support it. The problem is that retail has already made its decision, and won’t stock it. A few months ago, I went to dozens of stores, chains and mom & pop, and no one had a minidisc recorder…at any price. They’ve moved on to flash drive recorders.

  2. […] has confirmation on the new minidisc recorder, MZ-RH1, that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. The new unit is remarkable both because it’s a sign that Sony isn’t ready to kill minidisc just yet. But also, this model does away with several bothersome limitations. […]

  3. Chad Wichterman Avatar
    Chad Wichterman

    Alot of people are ignorant not allowing or promoting the product to help it thrive. Alot of people like me have to go to Ebay or to get my blanks. I love this format and will never stop using it. When i get my settlement, i’m going to buy two of the new MD deck models that Tascam came out with and alot of blank Sony Neige 80 min. MDs at

  4. Chad Wichterman Avatar
    Chad Wichterman

    The deck models are not the same, one is just a MD recorder deck and the other is a CD to MD recoder deck.

    I forgot to mention this above, wanted to clearify.

  5. Rose Uyeda Avatar

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

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