Theory and Reference
Politics and Legal issues
MD's Market Competition
- In Comparison to Minidisc
- Sony Memory Stick Walkman and MusicClip Player
- The Rio
- Other Solid State Portables
- The Marantz PMD680 professional-level solid-state recorder uses a PCMCIA type III slot for audio recording.
- Teac has a line of PC-card recording units which accept PCMCIA type II ATA standard Flash memory cards.
- Michael Stouffs
notes a review of the Casio WMP-1V wrist watch MP3
- Professional solid state MPEG recorder: Developed jointly by Digigram
and Nagra, the RCX220 allows up to 3.25 hours of MP2 stereo
recording on a 192MB (!) flash card, with USB transfers to
- Recorder: PASS gives brief
coverage of the Denon DN-F20R, a Flash Memory based portable
recorder. Intended for professional use, it includes an uncompressed
- Recorder: Aiwa's photo and Japanese announcement of their MM-FX500 shows the
world's first portable MP3 encoder/player. Aiwa
has English coverage for this unit. With 32MB of memory,
it records music (analog input) at 128kbps/44.1khz or voice memo
(builtin mono mic input) at 8kbps/16khz. Battery life on AA x 1, rec:
5h, play: 10h. Dim: 65 x 90 x 18.5mm, 80g. MSRP: JPY 39,800
- C@MP's portable MP3 player, being sold at Supreme Video, can be inserted into a
regular cassette deck for playback.
- Solid State audio gets coverage in a newspaper clipping of the Solid Audio Player from NTT and Kobe Steel,
due to debut in Japan for $250. (More information on SoliAudio can be found at AudioExplosion.com.)
- Chris Dom spots
Erikson's combined MP3 player and cell phone, no wireless
- Casio announces their MP3 player wristwatch (Japanese product info
page). Due out in April, the unit holds 32MB of audio and can be
loaded via USB port (each 4 minute track taking 70 seconds). Casio
also has an English page for their WMP-1V MP3 wristwatch,
capable of holding as much as 66 minutes of audio (at FM radio
- A Japanese press release and product page describe the Toshiba MM-300 SmartMedia
player. The SDMI compliant JPY29,800 unit plays MP3 as well as Twin-VQ
formats. Specs: 86x52x10mm, 54g, 5.5hr battery life.
- Sharp announces their new headphone-shaped ATRAC3 player. Incorporating an
SDMI compliant 64MB Sony Memory Stick, two hour playing times (at
66kbps) are possible. Battery life: 4 hours, MSRP: JPY48,000.
- eDigital's Internet Music Player handles ATRAC3 coding as well
as MP3, EPAC, Liquid Audio and others.
- Panasonic releases pictures and Japanese info on its SV-SD70 solid state player. Due out in
July for JPY49,800, the AAC (not MP3) based unit uses SD flash memory
cards and plays 4 hours on a single AAA cell. Unequipped with an audio
data input jack, its SD cards are docked to the PC with a USB or
PCMCIA adapter for downloading. Its SDMI compliant software converts
CD and MP3 (but not .WAV) tracks to AAC. Larger capacity cards are due
in 2001 (256MB) and 2003 (1GB).
- Samsung's Yepp, a portable MP3 player with an
optional base unit, allows direct recording from CD and connection to
a HiFi system. More information indicates that one model provides speech
- 8cm CD Players
- Other Moving Media based Equipment
- The ARCHOS Jukebox Recorder 20 MP3-recorder does real-time MP3
recording to a 20GB hard drive from microphone, line-in or digital
sources and is USB 2.0 connectable for drag-and-drop PC file transfer
- The Compro PDS-AV portable MP3 player doubles as a portable digital media storage device with the use of a 3.5" drive slot compatible with both regular floppies and 120MB SuperDisks.
- Zapmedia'sZapStation is a home audio/video unit capable of
playing CDs, DVDs, MP3s and MPEG videos.
- The Nomad Jukebox portable player ($400) by Creative Labs contains a 6GB hard
drive which handles both MP3 and Windows Media format audio.
- RCA's Lyra MP3 portable player will accept CompactFlash or
an IBM 340MB Microdrive.
- The Compaq/HanGo Personal Jukebox, a hard disk based
portable MP3 player with 80 hour music capacity and 10 hour battery
life, is due out in December for about $800. (MP3FactoryDirect has a few
- The Mp3mobile is a little Lunix PC with hard disc that provides
35 hours of MP3 music in
your car and sells for under US$1K.
- New Media
- Sony's OpenMG Light & ATRAC3 to be adopted by
NTT DoCoMo's PHS-Compatible "M-stage music", opening the way for high
quality, copy-prohibited music downloads to mobile phones in Japan.
- Sony's double density CD-ROM/RW is announced in this July 2000 press release.
- HitClips MicroMusic is an inexpensive product for pre-teens that
stores a single minute of audio on a chip.
- A New York Times
article discusses MP3
player developments. The latest trend? Coupling moving mass
storage (40MB Clik, 340MB IBM Microdrive, 500MB Dataplay) with them
to overcome mass market appeal limiting flash-memory costs. A ZDNet article also mentions the DataPlay disc.
- Sensory Science has
announced the Rave:MP2300, an MP3 player that uses Iomega Clik discs. The $10 discs store 40MB on 2"
magnetic media (cf. MD's $3, 160MB, 2.5" MO disc).
- Iomega's HipZip player utilizes PocketZip disks (previously known as Clik! discs). Note: If the comparison table also included Minidisc (e.g. recorder@$300, 20
blanks@$3/each) it would beat the HipZip by $300 and best it in audio
quality as well.
- A Wired article covers the DataPlay Disc, a tiny
500MB write-once medium designed to hold music, books, games and
photos. An ETown article states a DataPlay equipped Rio MP3 player could be on the
market by June 2001. A CNN Sci-tech article discusses DataPlay's problems and possibilities in the portable audio marketplace. An ABC News article observes Dataplay's uphill battle.
- C-3D has announced a technology they have developed that can store 140GB on a CD-size carrier, using multiple storage layers.
- A Sony announcement and a Sharp announcement both outline the development of a
50mm 1GB MO disc (with 2GB and 4GB versions possible) that looks
surprisingly similar to the Sanyo/Olympus/Hitachi 730MB, 50mm mini-MO. Both are slated for use in
- Non-MP3 Encodings
Thinking of making a MiniDisc home page? You might read our Suggestions to MiniDisc Webmasters.
An alternative to creating your own page, MiniDiscussion is looking
for people interested in running MiniDisc message boards that deal with a
topic they're experienced in.
MD related Commerce & Services
- n5md.com is a recording label company that issues recordings in Minidisc format only; two releases so far as of May 2001.
- Björn Blomberg's EE plaza has a good section on Minidisc.
- Steven Goetz has the beginnings of a Minidisc
- MD Central has a clean simplicity to its design.
- James creates a MiniDisc page entitled MDWorld, with links and some MD unit info.
- Keep up with MiniDisc news in Malaysia with MiniDiscNews.com (page is in English).
- Dion Longworth runs a page dedicated to the latest
JVC electronics, including MD equipment.
- Petey has a MiniDisc website that concentrates on pre-recorded MDs and MD label templates.
- Audio Heat features an alternate formatting of the
- Dan Bruner creates
a MiniDisc Graphics page of MD graphics and logos.
- Pareen Gandecha used his MD unit to record several bands live in Manchester (UK), you can listen to his results at the Love Garage website.
- Dan Foley starts
the Canabrism Minidisc Site, with general MD
information, equipment reviews, and links.
- Ryan Graft has
made a page devoted to live MD recording.
- Leon runs DiscArray, an MD website with some reviews, interesting links, and a design outline for a 25 button cellphone-like MD portable.
- Ecoustics has a
good MiniDisc section with links to many equipment
- Paul Robertson has started a UK MD page with a focus on blanks, trading and accessories.
- Fabian has made an MD Fan page.
- Axel Stenberg has a stylish MD page at bounce.to/md.
- Louis has made an enthusiastic MD page with several equipment
- Davin has started MiniDisc Technology Today, featuring MD news and
- The T-Station
gives good coverage of modern MD gear, with the option of adding your
own equipment or merchant review. They also have an extensive MiniDisc blank gallery.
- Thabenksta has started a MiniDisc
page for newcomers to the format.
- Lou Moore has created the MD Trading Post which has extensive information on Sony's new line of 1999 MD deck models.
- Tim Silverman has written a brief intro to MD.
- Jeff Heffernan provides links to MD merchants, with particularly good coverage of
the pre-recorded MD suppliers.
- MiniDisc World describes
itself as a "source for the latest information on Minidisc products and
technology on the Internet."
- Felix creates MDgear.com, a MiniDisc resource with detailed information on the more popular portable units.
- MiniDisc Switzerland http://minidisc.ch now offers free webspace to
anyone wishing to make non-commerical MiniDisc homepages, you can even
choose your own URL (e.g. http://minidisc.ch/yourname).
Lin's MiniDisc appreciation page has several interesting sections
including comparisons of MD to cassette, DAT and CD; info
about MPEG Layer 3 on the
net; an MD Techie
He also has a FAQ
sheet on MD
recording and Digital
MD Gallery Page has images of a wide range of MD equipment.
- Martin Borus' MD
homepage covers several MD hacking topics and has a few snapshots from
I-Funk-A ' 97, Berlin, CeBit
'98 and the
Cebit '98 home show.
- Steffen Hung's Swiss MiniDisc Page, www.minidisc.ch,
offers free web space for those wishing to make MD pages.
- Ken Deeter has an attractive MD Page.
- Larry Bell has a page devoted
to recording with the Tascam Portastudio.
Tanone has a brief encomium for the MZ-R30.
- Dostick's MiniDisc
Page contains a fully scanned Sharp MD-MS200 manual.
- Robert B's MD
page includes a discussion bulletin
Riley's MD Page has a audio clip of Sony's
North American MD commercial.
- P. Jalvinger has a succinct MD page.
Tony's French/English MD page has several nice MD equipment
- D. Jonason's MD page has some info on the
- The Eclectic Homepage talks about his new MiniDisc.
- Yumiko has a brief MD page.
British MiniDisc page contains a few nice pictures, including a
diagram of how the ``shock-resistant'' memory system works.
- Roscoe Mittleman's MD page
has an MD
supplier rating page and an MD specific search engine.
- Maarten's DCC
Page has some even handed comments on Digital Compact Cassette
equipment. David Rogers has also begun an ambitious effort to build a
complete DCC page.
- Kyle Schmitt's MiniDisc
- An MD fan has a page that
enthusiastically supports the MD format.
- Luis has
the beginnings of a page devoted to MD advertising.
- Chris Keen has a collection of large images suitable for Wallpaper
on your PC/Mac desktop, including a couple of Minidisc
images. Chris also has a generalised
- Mat Smith has some comments
on the relative merits of Sony and Sharp portables.
- AV Convert offers MD to CD mastering services.
Post will burn a CD for you and mail it to your door.
- The MD Sleeve
Center collects and designs MD album sleeve labels, all available for free download.
- EDL in Britain has a very spiffy MD TOC Editor
for folks with MD data drives and Windows machines. It even allows
control of the SCMS bits.
- Sony Disc
Manufacturing has a good deal of technical information for artists producing MiniDiscs.
performs music media mastering of MDs, CDs, etc. They charge $1.93 an
MD in production runs of 500 pieces.
- Looking to do a little techno or dance music studio work in
Novosibirsk, Russia? DM
Records can help out, they do their mastering with an
- A table
showing the production sales of the optoelectronic industry in Japan
predicts over 100% growth rate for MiniDisc players in 1995.
- Pioneer has announced that they will introduce professional use audio system based
upon a computer Magneto-Optical drive, the unit will allow 16, 20,
and 24 bit recording, at up to 48KHz.
- If you're wondering how Japan is able to manufacture such
technological wonders as MiniDisc, the Japanese Technology Evaluation
Center has written an informative report on Electronic Manufacturing and
Packaging in Japan.
sells a Macintosh DB package for keeping track of MDs, CDs, etc.
(Ireland) offers service and repair of professional Minidisc gear.
- Aiwa posts tech bulletins for servicemen repairing MD gear (archived local copy available).
- You can order any Sony electronics accessory (such as remotes, manuals, etc.) direct from Sony.
- Sharp also allows the online ordering of parts from their Canadian website.
- Sony has a National Direct Response Center at 800-222-7669,
representatives there can help you troubleshoot problems with Sony
- Sharp's World Wide repair centers. Sharp UK states:
Although not officially guaranteed by Sharp UK we do try to honour
"non-uk" warranties where reasonable. Providing the units proof of
purchase is available and verifies that the unit is not older than 6
months and the fault is a genuine one, i.e. not due to incompatability
of use within the UK or accidental damage/misuse, we can offer a
warranty service. The approved contractor is Sharpserv. They can be
contacted on: Tel: 01623 413800, E-mail: [email protected].
- Sharpserv are UK
repair agents for Sharp MD equipment and can supply and repair current
(and some older) models. Tel: 0870 7380000 Fax: 01623 522025
House Service Company does Sony, Denon and Kenwood authorized
warranty and out-of-warranty repairs on audio equipment, including
- MWES in the U.K.
repairs MD equipment.
Communications in Britain repairs and rents pro-use MD equipment.
- Sony UK service centre in West Drayton, near Heathrow, phone: 020
8283 2700. They have been reported to do good work.
Digital Signal Processing
- Using a Apple/Macintosh computer
- MusicMatch for Macintosh has support for MD track marking, as seen in this screenshot.
- iTunes is a
free program for Mac users to manage their MP3's (including the
burning of MP3's to CD), created by Apple. Ken Tidwell has written an iTunes guide covering the software's use with recording to MD.
Multimedia Player is a freeware program for recording MP3 (and most other audio formats)
to MD on a Macintosh, offering user-settable inter-track delay and cross-fade times.
- Macintosh MP3 to MD digital transfers (and back)
are covered in a page by Dale Greer.
- MP3 to MD recording on the Macintosh from the N2MP3 encoder documentation.
- Adding pauses for trackmarking
- PlayQT is an AppleScript controller for QuickTime
Player that automatically adds pauses between songs to facilitate
- Doug Adams' free Insert
Blanks AppleScript for SoundJam can insert a blank MP3
between each track in a playlist.
- A MacNN article with reader followup covers Sony's
apparent lack of interest of Macintosh support for the MZ-R70DPC [USB
to Digital audio link] (note however that the unit will be
"unofficially supported" through 3rd party drivers).
- WinAmp Utilities
- A German MD user's page describes his efforts to create automatic track marks with Winamp (and a little Visual-C programming) when recording digitally from a computer. (Click on the "MD" link on the left margin.)
- MiniDisc Winamp Skins that make the player look like
a Sony MZ-R30 or Pioneer unit. (MiniDisc Switzerland)
- WinCue, a Winamp plugin that automatically adds a
pause between MP3 songs to ease track marking.
- Pause Between Songs, another Winamp plug-in that will automate pauses between songs to help people record their MP3's to MD.
- Shorten audio
format plugin for Winamp
- RockSteady, a Winamp normalization plug-in useful for adjusting levels when recording from your computer to MD.
- Sharp's Internet Recording Kit
- A comprehensive evaluation of software MP3 decoders can be found at David Robinson's webpage.
- Earjam.com is a Voquette like device that helps you
locate and play a variety of web audio content.
- Frontx sells an inexpensive way to cleanly get multimedia inputs and
outputs to the front of your computer using a FrontX port.
Non-English MD Coverage
- PC Soundcards with digital I/O
- See also the Accessories Table section on Sound Cards.
- The Gamesurround Fortissimo II (see also this close-up picture) offers TOSLink optical I/O for around $49. Note: Several users have mentioned that this card does not make track marks with recordings.
- The Leadtek WinFast 4X soundcard, a $30 digital I/O sound
card that comes with a TOSlink optical I/O daughtercard, TOSlink
cable and optical mini-plug adapter.
- The Chaintech MD Mate sound card includes an optical input/output module, available for USD $49.
- optiComp sells several TOSlink-related products, including sound card add-ons and a cable distance extender.
- The AOpen AW744 Pro sound card with optical output is available for under $30 from several online dealers. Charles Snider writes a review.
- The Midiman DiO 2448 sound card offers full optical and coax I/O for about $150 (available from Zzounds.com for $110).
- The Delta DIO 24/96 is a digital I/O (coax/optical) PCI sound
card that is PC and Macintosh compatible.
- The $35 Korean SoundTrack Digital NX sound card has Coax and TOSlink output.
- The Aureal Superquad, a $50 sound card with optical output (search
on "aureal optical" at Pricewatch.com); only the OEM version
has optical output, their retail version does not.
- Opcode's SONICport Optical allows a USB to TOSlink I/O interface. Note! Before ordering an Opcode Sonicport, you may want to read about Opcode's financial status.
- The Czerny 744XG,
a Korean soundcard with optical and coaxial digital audio I/O.
- The Hoontech SoundTrack Yamaha Digital-XG soundcard
(US$69.00, optical and coax S/PDIF), the also offer the SB DBII and SB DBIIIdaugther cards for SoundBlaster
Live/Value that adds digital optical and coax I/O capability.
- The Xitel
Storm Platinum soundcard (US$79.00, TOSlink outputs).
- The Yamaha WF192D soundcard (optical S/PDIF out)
- The Hoontech 4DWAVE-NX soundcard (US$46 with coax/optical S/PDIF outputs)
- The Creative Digital I/O Card for the SB Live (incl. Value) soundcard
- The Sound Card
Performance Benchmarks Site has reviews of many digital audio i/o cards.
PCAVTech has many PC sound card performance
- A site called Digital Experience has a comprehensive table comparing digital sound cards. (Note: Some information is inaccurate and out of date.)
- PCAVTech has Sound
Card performance results for a wide variety of cards.
- The Zefiro
Acoustics ZA2 card provides digital i/o as well as sample rate
conversion and MPEG encoding/decoding.
- The Terratec
Soundcard provides analog and digital audio I/O.
- The Adb Multi!Wav Digital
- The Guillemot
Home Studio sound card provides full digital i/o.
- Creative Labs offers the Soundblaster Live!
card which has digital I/O
- The Xitel Storm Platinum is an
inexpensive soundcard with TOSlink output.
- The SEK'D Prodif
96 is a soundcard with optical and electrical S/PDIF and AES/EBU
input and output.
- USB and PCMCIA to Digital I/O Devices
- LifeView CatchSound, a USB to TOSlink audio adapter.
- The Canopus MD-Port is a USB to mini-optical I/O adapter
(input side includes sampling rate conversion to 44.1khz), MSRP:
- The Xitel MDPORT-DG1 USB to TOSLink audio adapter sells for $100 (available from Minidisco). 3D Audio Immersion gives a review of the MD-Port DG1. Tony Toghia finds this solution to get the DG1 to work with Sharp MD recorders: "By using MP3 Turbo Injector to combine a short, 3-second MP3 of total silence with the MP3 song I am recording, this gives the Sharp MD recorder ample time to lock onto the digital signal and start recording exactly when the song starts."
- The Swissonic USB Studio, a USB to Digital Audio I/O
interface, is reported to be PC and Mac compatible. (Price: US$850)
- The Egosys
U24 is a full duplex USB to TOSlink/coax/line adapter, with Windows
and Mac drivers (not yet available?).
- Thunderwire promises a
complete iMac-to-MD digital solution by "Spring
2000", a Windows version is to follow.
- The VXpocket is a high quality analog/digital I/O PCMCIA
card for PC or Mac laptops (MSRP $730).
- The Yamaha
RP-U100 (MSRP $500) is a USB port equipped HiFi receiver with
TOSlink in and out. The USB connection allows the unit to bypass the
computer's sound card and get a direct digital signal. Both Stereo
Review and ZDnet
comment on the unit.
- The Xitel MD-Port
AN1 is a USB to MD (analog) adapter for the Windows platform. Thomas James contributes a tidy review. You can purchase this adapter from Electronics E-Mall. Gregory Chan reports it also works fine on Macs with third party USB cards after downloading Apple's USB 1.4.6a1 DDK and installing the included drivers (It works on Macs with OS 9.0.4 and built-in USB ports fine as is and doesn't need the drivers).
- Other Digital Audio I/O
- Analog Devices discusses the details of
sampling rate conversion and their new ``SamplePort'' chips.
- Shawn Hunt has a nice page with construction plans for
a sampling rate converter that will operate in professional mode
- Taeyong Shim's MDWorld MiniDisc page, covers a variety of MD topics.
- MD Planet keeps a well-maintained website covering the latest MD unit releases and news.
- An ITPower article on ATRAC (in Chinese) compares different ATRAC versions (and "borrows" several tables of information from our site!).
- 51digi.com keeps up to date with all the latest electronics news, including MiniDisc info.
- Minidiscque.com compares the MD format to several other digital audio formats.
- Sebastien Bogaert's
MD page en Français is quite complete, including good technical
information on MDs.
- A Canoe.ca article gives a favorable review of the MD audio format.
- Christian Abegg maintains a French MiniDisc site with a comparison database on the latest
MD recorders (available in both French and English), an MP3-to-MD guide, MD-to-MP3/CD transferring, and a full
French translation of the MDLP FAQ (originally in English).
- An "Exposition of the
MiniDisc" is put together by Oliver Blanc, including the technology
behind it, unit test modes, and ATRAC details.
The French documentation and associated test software is also
available in download format.
- Christian Abegg's Tout sur le MiniDisc has lots of useful MD information, including a full French translation of our MDLP FAQ.
- Jean-Francois Vincent has made MD-21, a French Minidisc page.
- A French MD
Page covers many MD basics and has a Sony MD
commercial in GIF animation (the text of which says It's
- A few very nice French pages cover MiniDisc Data
Drives (English) and the MiniDisc
manufacturing process (English), as well as Sharp's
MD data activities (English).
- Robier Pieters has a modern (ca. 2002)
Dutch Minidisc page.
- Marck Evers runs MDcenter.nl, a Dutch website with information on MD recorders on the Dutch market, MD technical information, and PC-to-MD recording instructions.
- Teun van Hoesel has a nice MiniDisc
Page in Dutch.