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11/11:We've kept quiet too long -- Sony's Digital Rights Mania finally lands them in court: Slashdot reports that a class action suit against Sony in California alleges that Sony's copy-protected audio CDs violate several California statutes, including the "Consumer Legal Remedies Act" and the "Consumer Protection against Computer Spyware Act," which prohibits -- among other things -- software that takes control over the user's computer or misrepresents the user's ability or right to uninstall the program. Earlier, Mark Russinovich investigated Sony's self-installing CD protection software and found it to be akin to spyware, intentionally hiding itself and providing no means of removal. Sony later released an uninstaller, but Mark has has looked at it and finds "Without exaggeration I can say I've analyzed virulent forms of spyware/adware that provide more straightforward means of uninstall".
Attention Sony Electronics -- would anything bad actually happen if you just jettisoned Sony Entertainment? (Discuss...)
10/26:Inqoo posts good photos of the Onkyo FR-N9 bookshelf system. The ¥88,000 ($800) HiMD/std-MD compatible unit has digital optical I/O (but sadly no USB port). Onkyo's FR-N9 Japanese page and mech. trans.
10/22:Jake Hazelip points out a site selling refurbished Sony MZ-NE410s (with some cheeky commentary) for $45 w/shipping.
10/20:It's Fall, new gear season: Peter Ravn discovers Sony's 40GB HD based NAS-M7HD "NetJuke" (mech. trans) CD/std-MD/MemoryStick/MP3/AM/FM/USB bookshelf HiFi system. The unit can record to HD from a variety of sources, including CD (8x) and MD (realtime, analog). // Christopher Clark points out further NetJuke info at Engadget (in English). The write: ``Sony seems intent on trying our patience recently with gadgets that offer cool hardware but are hopelessly hamstrung by DRM and own-brand lockins. Latest of the bunch is the NAS-A1 NetJuke stereo it's launching as part of the Any Music joint venture ....
10/13:Several readers point out coverage of Sony's MZ-EH70 MZ-EH50 Hi-MD players (mech. trans). The ¥19,000 and ¥17,000 (resp.) units feature a maximum battery life (AA+NiMH) exceeding 80 hours and incorporate PCM and ATRAC/ATRAC3/ATRAC3plus codecs, but lack support for MP3 playback. Further coverage at AkihabaraNews and AVWatch (mech. trans). (Discuss...)
10/12:Sony announces the pro-use PCM-D1 solid-state recorder at AES. The handsome unit features built-in microphones, analog (!) meters, 4 hour battery life on 4AA cells and 96KHz/24bit recording to 4GB internal memory (with a memory stick slot as well). Available in December for $2000. (Courtesy Boris Bengin) // Also from AES, a respected journalist in the audio field reports: I was told [by Sony's pro-audio division] that new Hi-MD models are being developed and that Sony had no intention of killing the format. ... They kept assuring everyone that Hi-MD in the pro market will continue.
9/25:A CanadaEast News article reports on Sony's announced restructuring, stating "Sony also fell behind Apple Computer Inc.'s IPod in what should have been its forte - portable music players - clinging to CD and minidisc formats and its own proprietary but unpopular format for digital music files. The IPod models are a big hit in Japan, where Apple began its ITunes store in August to rave reviews."
9/23:Strap points out a C|NET article laying out the Tough choices ahead for Sony. From the article: Stephen Baker, an analyst at The NPD Group, suggested Sony should cut out some of the low-visibility categories, including non-MP3 portable music players, clock radios and car stereos. "These midtier categories, ones where Sony has a history and where they may have a large but not a dominant share, are the logical ones to cut." // Todd Snyder contributes detailed plans for adding optical output to an MDS-JE480 MD deck. Todd notes that the MDS-JE480 is still available from Crutchfield and is the only MD deck currently available on the US market. // Minidisc Access is selling new blue 1GB Hi-MD blanks for $6.50 each until Oct 1.
9/22:The Washington Post reports that Sony will cut 10,000 jobs in a restructuring operation to "catch up with rivals such as ... Apple Computer and its popular iPod player in the portable music industry". What's in store for Minidisc?
9/18:Mark Bausch points out an informative LA Times article covering Sony's attempts to get its electronics and entertainment divisions pulling in the same direction. From the article:
Through the late 1980s and 1990s, Sony's electronics and entertainment divisions coexisted in an uneasy peace. [...] The electronics units agreed to hobble new devices with technologies that limited copying and deterred piracy, but the entertainment divisions gave lukewarm support at best to the new formats Sony's engineers developed. The whole was clearly less than the sum of its parts.
Recommended reading for those trying to fathom why Sony would intentionally cripple its Minidisc.
9/16:Minidisco donating 5% to Hurricane Katrina relief Minidisco will donate 5% of every order placed between now and Sept. 20th directly to the American Red Cross to support the Katrina Relief efforts.
9/11:Sonic Stage R.I.P. Sony announces "Connect Player", a drag and drop oriented audio management tool. (Discuss...)
8/24:Dale Greer nicely covers Hi-MD Minidisc to Macintosh transfers, finding them quick and easy. (Discuss...) // Daijobu puts together a Standalone Sonic Stage 3.2 installer enabling installation to be done without a connection to the Internet. // Speaking of Macintosh support, Minidisco is now carrying the Sony MZ-M100 ($400) and MZ-M10 ($300) portable Hi-MD recorders.
8/12:Sony won't play on iTunes? Strap points out a Business week article mentioning that despite Sony's non-participation in iTunes Japan, some Sony artists have definately put their tracks there anyway. Strap's comments: The article is talking about how the iTunes launch in Japan is a raging success and how Sony musicians are trying to get their music onto iTunes even though Sony hasn't reached an agreement with Apple. It's certainly food for thought, all of us minidisc junkies have seen how Sony's recording business has influenced the way that they design their players/recorders. Now they don't want to feed the iPod monster because they want a bigger piece of the pie for their own personal audio solutions but they don't want to hurt their recording business by not letting their artists sell music on the hottest thing going either. A house divided against itself cannot stand and Sony, in spite of it's new management's declared policy of breaking down the barriers between divisions, is one divided house right now for sure. I hope that they sort it out. I wouldn't mind seeing them dump their music and movie studios and get back to doing what they used to do better than anyone, making the most innovative electronic equipment in the world. (Discuss...) // Kurisu points out several nice reviews from the forums: A black MZ-DH10P pictorial, an MZ-RH10 review and MZ-RH10 vs. MZ-NH900 pictorial, from Christian Klukas (WinNMD creator) review on a silver MZ-DH10P with supplemental pics, and a DH710 review + pictorial.
8/8:kcSteve kindly points out a CNet article on the best sounding MP3 players. They have rated Sony's NW-HD5 hard disk audio player "the cream of the crop".
8/6:Sony offers free MZ-RH10 titling repair. As anyone who has hand titled on an MZ-RH10 unit knows, the characters K, L, M, X, Y, Z, k, l, m, x, y, and z are missing from the input screen. Sony has agreed to pay for the repair as well as round-trip shipping charges. (Discuss...)
8/5: Kurisu offers a review roundup! Ishiyoshi has gracefully constructed a plethora of Minidisc equipment pictorials: Blue Sony MZ-RH10, Black Sharp MD-DS70, Blue Sony MZ-E900, Gold Sony MZ-E10, Silver Sony MZ-E710, Red Sony MZ-R900, and finally Blue Sony MZ-N910. Mikami has made a Sony DS-HMD1 Pictorial/Review. Check out the many other topics in our Product Reviews/Pictorials section that were not mentioned here, and you can add to the growing list - Register for free to participate in the #1 discussion board for Minidisc! Free registration includes access to our growing gallery, downloads, and user-submitted live recording archive!
8/1:Armando Ortiz points out a discussion on Engadget about the "Worst gadget flops of all time". Several posts mentioned Minidisc in passing, but many more came to the format's defense.
7/28:Sony (finally!) comes to their senses, allowing unlimited uploads of your own recordings from Minidisc to PC in Sonic Stage 3.2. Remember NetMD with its silly 3-download limit? How far they have come! (Discuss...)
7/14:Sony adds Macintosh Hi-MD uploading support! Kurisu finds Sony Business Products pages for the MZ-M100 (MZ-RH10 clone) and MZ-M10 (MZ-RH910 clone) portable Hi-MD recorders. They appear identical in every way to their RH brethren but also support upload of PCM linear recordings (only) to a Mac using Sony's Hi-MD WAV Importer software. (Discuss...)
6/16:Christian Klukas has re-released WinNMD, a Windows software package for realtime, unattended uploading of MD recordings to a PC using any NetMD capable Minidisc device. The €14 utility will record each MD track to its own, titled, MP3 file on the PC and can directly burn audio CDs from audio uploaded from MDs.
6/14:Tired of waiting for Sony to introduce Neige Hi-MD blanks? Mr. Dirtweed has decided to make his own from some std-MD blanks and a bit of scotch tape. Next project? Hello Kitty meets Hi-MD.
6/2:Amid Choueiri points out a thoughtful article on Sony's Hi-MD technology at DigitalMediaThoughts. // has the Sony MZ-DH10P in stock but they note some incorrect details on Sony's site: Unit has no Mic input, no Line input, no AC input on the unit - AC adapter plugs into the charging cradle only, no external AA battery case - can be used only with the removable LiIon rechargeable battery, the AC adapter is 6V not 3V.
6/1:MinidiscAccess extends their Memorial Day special until June 10th: $5 off on the Zen-48 MD organizer.
5/7: Minidisco has secured Sony's remaining new stock of its MZ-NHF800. This is Sony's only Hi-MD with a built in tuner.
4/30:Cracking the euro-MZ-RH10 restrictions: After some experimentation, forum members crack the european model MZ-RH10 restriction codes, allowing it to run at full headphone power (5mw+5mw) and restoring the custom equalizer settings. // MiniDisc Canada is offering 3 free std-MD blanks with orders that include a donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
4/23:Planet Minidisc is offering the Sony MZ-RH10 Hi-MD recorder for US$260 plus shipping.
4/21:Chris MacManus brings this month's Forum Focus: The big news for registered Forums users is the addition of an active Gallery for sharing equipment photos and live recording samples with the world, as well as a fully functional Downloads area for all of your Hi-MD and NetMD needs. As for keen threads, check out the nice selection of Sony 2nd Generation Hi-MD reviews and pictorials composed by our forum members and others. On the news front, one surprise is that Hi-MD isn't doing too well in Australia - Sony 2nd generation units may not arrive there till 2006. And finally, check out our newly created Trading Forum; hook up with others in the community and trade discs! There's plenty of other interesting threads as well, so please drop by! [click here to register -- it's free and takes under a minute]
4/20:Peter Ravn spots a Japanese press release for the Sony CMT-AH10 Hi-MD bookshelf system (mech. trans). Due the end of May, the ¥53,000 unit offers high speed CD->MD dubbing (Hi-LP=8X, Hi-SP=6X, PCM=4X, std-MD=2X), USB uploading, and can be used as a PC data drive as well. Akin to last year's Hi-MD portables, the unit records in Hi-MD and std-MD modes (SP, LP2, LP4) but does not support MP3 directly. Further coverage at AV-Watch (Japan) including a larger photo.
4/15:Emma Stratton's Minidisc essay in The Morning News captures the aura and optimism of Minidisc's early days. (Courtesy Joel Dueck) (Discuss...)
4/14:Sony announces a Hi-MD based data drive. The USB-powered DS-HDM1 (mech. trans.) offers peak write speeds of 9.8 Mbps (1GB media) and 4.4Mbps (reformatted 305MB std-MD media), that's 7X and 3X (respectively) the CD data rate. AV-Watch has further photos and coverage. (Discuss...) // Ed Barlow points out a ZDNet (UK) article on avoiding obsolete storage hell. The author recommends staying away from many companies and their proprietary media, including "the Minidisc music format that seems designed by lawyers"
4/13:Hi-MD Macintosh support? Several readers point out Japanese news of the Buffalo MD-HUSB portable downloader (further coverage at Gizmodo and AV-Watch (mech. trans.)). The unit is a near clone of the Sony MZ-NH600D except that it supports native MP3 playback (as do the 2005 Sony Hi-MD units) and uses the BeatJam software package for audio transfer -- a package that would appear to have a Macintosh incarnation. Buffalo Buffalo, Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo? (Discuss...)
4/12:MP3 storage format reverse-engineered on Sony NW-S23 Network Walkman: Waider has figured out the MP3 file obfuscation algorithm on Sony's NW-S23 Network Walkman sufficiently that he can read and write files from the device. Is there similar hope for MP3 files on Hi-MD media? (Discuss...)
4/7:Sony 2005 Hi-MD portables in stock! Minidisco has the MZ-RH10 and MZ-RH910 in stock. The MZ-DH10P is due late May, the MZ-DH710 late April.
4/6:Ishii has made a nice translation of the interview with Sony's MZ-DH10P developers. Did you know the camera was originally slated to be 3 megapixels, but was scaled back to reduce the unit's overall size? (Discuss...) // Minidisco is accepting 2005 Hi-MD pre-orders, for delivery in mid to late April. They've also updated their Minidisc comparison chart.
4/1:This year's April Fools Joke is that there isn't one. But since today's Hi-MD Minidisc portables with USB storage functions and native MP3 recording follow logically from MP3 ideas of past spoofs, perhaps Sony's 2005 Hi-MD units that have all the ingredients to be great MP3 players yet are still encumbered by a silly DRM scheme will qualify. // Ed Barlow points out signs of a possible truce between the Blu-Ray and HD DVD camps. The article discusses the impetus for settling this war before sales commence and mentions Minidisc as one of Sony's "technically-superior products that failed in the marketplace." // posts the first picture of the Sony MZ-RH10 with its Euro/NA remote (scroll to bottom of page). Small and pretty, but no LCD. // MiniDiscAccess has empty MD flip cases back in stock for US$10 a 20-pack. They've also got some cool leather pouches, armbands and cases.
3/28:Marck of points out a Japanese Sony MZ-DH10P review (mech. trans.). The review is quite detailed and includes photos taken with the unit. Their opinions: Pro: It's cool, it sounds great. Con: Short battery life in photo mode, low image resolution, long cycle time between shots (6 seconds). // Minidisco is having a week long Hi-MD blank sale, offering them for $4.95 each in any quanitity.
3/24:Minidisc Canada is taking orders for the Sony MZ-RH10 (CAN$350, US$276) and will begin shipping them on April 14th.
3/17:Kurisu spots c|net video (Flash) coverage of the Sony MZ-RH910 and MZ-DH10P portable MD units. They're touting the native MP3 capabilities and it is nice to see the units in action. (Discuss...)
3/14:Bryce Ly points out a New York Times article stating Samsung is now what Sony once was. Relevant quote: When Sony was caught flat-footed with a late introduction of an Internet version of its 25-year-old Walkman, its profits from world audio sales fell a cataclysmic 48 percent in the final quarter of last year. Once again, Sony had coasted on an old technology, while competitors invested in new ones.
3/12:AV Land (UK) has high-res photos of Sony's MZ-DH10P MD downloader/camera. Shades of Blade Runner: The shiny buttons in the 5.6megapixel photo reveal the photographer's apparatus. // Minidisc Canada has plenty of 2004 Hi-MD gear still in stock, including the Sony MZ-NH700 for US$209 w/shipping. The MZ-NH700 is a Hi-MD recorder available in Canada and Europe that is essentially an MZ-NHF800 without the AM/FM/TV radio. // Minidisc Access is offering the industry's first 48-Minidisc organizer binder for US$29 plus shipping.
3/6:Big Shakeup at Sony: Various news sources report that CEO Nobuyuki Idei will likely be replaced by Howard Stringer. A Wall Street Journal piece adds this Minidisc related commentary: The Walkman group has suffered from a split between those who believe Sony should make its gadgets compatible with a wide range of popular services and technologies -- like the MP3 music-encoding system -- and those who push Sony's proprietary technology -- such as Minidiscs and the Atrac music-encoding system. (Discuss...) // The Sound Professionals is offering their standard binaural microphones for $30, 67% off their normal price.
3/2:Forums administrator Kurisu finds a plethora of Sony Hi-MD equipment pictures and specifications, including Sony's Hi-MD Photo page, MZ-DH10 and MZ-RH10 battery life specs, and photos of the MZ-EH930 Hi-MD player.
ThankYou (Again)Sony
Sony Minidisc Finally Plays MP3s!
After years of wishing and waiting, Sony's 2005 MZ-DH10, MZ-RH10, MZ-RH910 and MZ-RH710 Hi-MD portables will finally play back MP3s directly. The MZ-DH10 is unique -- it includes a 1.3MP camera and color LCD built into the unit. (Discuss...)
2/27:Daryl Kobayashi points out MD gear on clearance at Crutchfield, including an MZ-NH1 for $300.
2/ has moved to a new server. We think you'll find the site a bit faster now.
2/16:Sony headed for AAC support on Connect? Ed Barlow points out an interesting Register article (UK) indicating that an upcoming Sony Ericsson mobile handset will be able to carry 6 to 10 CDs worth of MP3 or AAC format audio, and that tracks can be purchased for it from Sony's Connect music store.
2/15:Christopher McManus presents this month's Forum Focus: The second edition of Minidisc Community Forum Focus shall begin with a zinger for you European Sony Hi-MD folk; a user by the name of himdman has figured how to lift the volume limitation enforced by French litigation - which allows all models [except NH1, which isn't 'capped] to enjoy a full 5mW output! Further analysis of this experiment is also found within a very informative thread by moderator dex Otaku. Changing subject, please feel free to visit our newly created Software Support/FAQ's forum for all of your Sonicstage woes, and also check out the latest version of Simple Burner 2 with PCM support. Live recording enthusiasts, we need you! Delve into our live recording forum to find out the current tricks of the trade. And lastly, read an interesting interview with the developers of ATRAC3plus. With 6,000 registered users and 100 users on at mostly any time, be sure to join us for insightful MD discussion.
2/ posts good photos of Hi-MD blanks. Their jacket seems a bit like a small pre-recorded case.
2/5:Capturing Toddler's Speech on Minidisc: John Guest points out a method for recording children's speech on that uses a Sony MZ-N10 recorder, lapel microphone, and a toddler harness.
1/30:Sony Online Music Store, Take II? A reader spots a brief BrandRepublic article (London) indicating that Sony will start a music download service targeted towards the PlayStation Portable.
1/28:Hi-MD spreads beyond Sony's bounds: Marck points out Onkyo's announcement (mech. trans.) of their MD-133 Hi-MD deck. AV-Watch has further coverage (mech. trans.) Oddly, the unit appears to be lacking both USB and digital output connections. (Discuss...) // Christopher MacManus finds a Sharp technical paper (in Japanese with English abstract) describing their work to produce an integrated optical pickup that handles both Hi-MD and Std-MD media (full paper)
1/21:A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds: Mark Bausch points out stories in the Chicago Tribune (cached) and Forbes in which Sony finally admits that its near-religious adherence to ATRAC and an overly proprietary atitiude about music and entertainment content has been a mistake that has cost them sales. They do vow to finally "grow up" however. And MacWorld has the same story from a slightly different perspective. // For Dutch readers, is having a contest offering Sony MCMD-R1 Hi-MD cardreaders. The first contest ends shortly, the second begins on January 24.
1/12:Kohn Liu of Minidisc T-Station gets honorable mention in a New York Times article covering his shop AudioCubes (Courtesy Ed Barlow).
1/9:Paul Riismandel posts an in-depth Sony MZ-NH1 review at that nicely situates Hi-MD in its historical context.
1/6:ForumMaster Kurisu transitions the MDCP Forums to an Invision Power Board.
1/5:Hi-MD blanks finally rolling out: Minidisco reports they are stocking 3000 Hi-MD blanks in prices ranging from $6 to $7.
1/3:Sony's Connect/SonicStage disaster finally gets upper management attention: Mazli points out an IDG article reporting Sony's decision to create a "Virtual Company" within itself to focus on the digital media market. Improving SonicStage will be a priority, and to that end it will get assistance from a San Jose based software group.
1/1:Happy New Year!
12/18: Minidisc Community Forums administrator Christopher MacManus introduces the first edition of Forum Focus: This column intends to highlight active and interesting topics and bring's readership into closer contact with the forums. For openers, are you interested in something with more sparkle than the stock backgrounds in Sonicstage 2.x? We've made some new ones and have links to instructions for making your own. In our increasingly popular Live Recording forum there is an insightful discussion about an MZ-NH900 concert recording with a fantastic result that could help many with their first recording experiences. The Hi-MD forum has an informative discussion contemplating the usefulness of a 128kbps ATRAC3plus bitrate for Hi-MD . And lastly, if it's been a while since you've employed Marcnet's Hi-MD Renderer program [allowing you convert those recordings made by Hi-MD to *.wav], he's up to version 0.31 and it includes some fantastic updates. By the way, Sonicstage 1.5, 2.1, and 2.2 users can upgrade to Sonicstage 2.3 . Do join us for daily discussion of all and sundry Minidisc topics, registration is quick and easy!
12/16:Minidisc gear for Christmas? Barlow and point out a Lawrence Journal-World article (Kansas) on Christmas shopping for audio equipment that covers Minidisc gear (and mentions us).
12/10:Marck finds a positive MZ-NH1 piece in Australian IT, stating that in terms of sound quality at least, Sony's Hi-MD portables are indeed iPod-killers. // And an AudioGoGo article asks does the iPod have a future? They write however "I have to smile when I see Sony mentioned as a possible usurper of the iPod. This is the company that has limited the power of the MiniDisc format to protect its music businesses. Sony designers serve too many masters to come up with a product so much greater than the iPod to change the cultural currents. And lets face it the "Walkman" brand is years stale, compared to the iPod."
12/9:Barlow finds an interesting Forbes piece on Sony's NW-HD1 "the digital audio player we all love to hate".
12/2:Ipod Studio reports that Meier Audio has given them a limited number of Porta Coard MkII headphone amplifiers to sell at ~half-price (90€/US$120).
12/1:IDG News and The Register cover Sony's MP3 conversion -- apparently Sony will allow NW-HD1/2 owners to upgrade their firmware to play MP3s directly.
11/30:Sony's conversion to the MP3 religion: Peter Ravn points out Sony's Japanese page for their NW-HD3 and NW-E99 fully ATRAC3plus/MP3 compatible 20GB HD and 1GB Flash walkmans (mech. trans). A new version of Sonic Stage (v2.3) ships with the units. Could an MP3 blessed Hi-MD unit be in the works? // The NW-HD3 (above) comes none too soon. As TrustedReviews NW-HD1 review points out, the earlier unit's inability to play MP3 files, coupled with Sonic Stage (download manager) buggyness conspire to create an unfriendly (and unSony-like) user experience.
11/13:Barlow finds articles in The Miami New Times and The Harvard Crimson about the band Animal Collective that mention their use of Minidisc for collecting field recordings.
11/2:Sony (finally!) garners their Hi-MD customers' votes: Clay reports that Sony has released their Wav Conversion Tool that converts uploaded Hi-MD recordings into Windows ".wav" format audio files. From there they may be easily converted to MP3 or burned to CD. (Discuss...)
10/26:Ganesh and de Pablos point out the new Panasonic SJ-MR50 MDLP recorder, a sleek unit with a built-in microphone and speaker as well as a wealth of good old front-panel buttons. (Additional coverage at Gizmodo).
10/25:Peter le Roux points out a story reporting that Sony has launched two native MP3-playing Network Walkmans in Europe. A US version is due in November. // David Robinson finds Hi-MD blanks in stock at for £9 each. // Jonathan Saltzman points out the ADS Tech "Instant Music", a US$60 USB soundcard with analog and digital I/Os. // Minidisc plays a role in an ethical breach at (search "minidisc").
10/23: The Dutch MD Center has a competition for a Sony MZ-NH700. Simply verify 13 statements about Hi-MD before 3 Nov to be in with a chance. // also has some pictures of the MCMD-R1 card reader for Hi-MD recorders.
10/22: Kent, Daryl, Robert & Jonathan all spot Sony's Japanese announcement for their MCMD-R1 Hi-MD memory card reader. Don't get too excited - this US$100 device attaches to your exisiting Hi-MD portable recorded and simply allows image files on a solid-state memory card to be transfered to the Hi-MD disc in the recorder. A low-cost dump for image files from your camera. See also US SonyStyle page, Gizmodo's page and Mobile2Day's German announcement. // Ed Barlow, via News Target spots a PC World Staff Writer's Blog discussing Sony's rumoured move to native MP3 support. (Discuss...)
10/19: Warning to SonicStage users: A Windows 2000 Hotfix (KB840987) conflicts with Omgjbox.exe - if you are experiencing problems and do not need the functionality of the Hotfix, rollback the fix.
10/15: Minidisco have just received large stock of MZ-NH1 and MZ-NH900 HiMD machines. // Last week the International Bluegrass Music Association's Instrumental Album of The Year Award was given to Tom Adams & Mike Cleveland for a live banjo recording captured entirely on a Sharp MiniDisc recorder. "Live at the Ragged Edge" is published by Rounder Records.
10/3: UK consumer group Which? surveyed online vs. high-street prices for its Best Buys and found the largest savings to be made with Minidisc players - typical prices being 33% lower on the web. // Marck at the Dutch MD Center points out that TMPGEnc (see 10/3), in common with all DirectShow based importers/converters, is limited to 1 minute of audio output (the rest is silence). The Hi-MD Renderer (see 10/2) circumvents this limitation.
10/3:Assistant Editor Nick Perry takes the reins for 3 weeks. //Further Hi-MD WAV exporting John Gordon points out TmpGenc (free 30 day trial), an audio/video conversion program that will convert OMA files that are shorter than 60 seconds, to .WAV. (Instructions: open program, browse to OMA file, select "linear PCM" output, click "ok"). // Luis Villanueva-Rivera has made a Digital Froglogger from a microcontroller and Minidisc recorder that he uses for capturing frog choruses.
10/2:Homemade Hi-MD wave convertor beats Sony to the punch: Hi-MD users tired of waiting for Sony's "wave-convertor" to export their Hi-MD recordings to WAV can try Marcnet's Hi-MD Renderer (local Although still in beta, and requiring SonicStage 2.2, users are reporting success with it.
10/1:Ultimate Uploader? Boris and Qukza point out the lovely Edirol R-1, a handheld solid-state recorder. The US$440 unit (street price) includes two electret mics, a 64MB Compact Flash card, an optical-output jack, and 9 recording modes from 64kbps MP3 to 24-bit linear WAV. Harmony Central finds it can transfer a max-resolution 60 minute recording (908MB) to a PC over USB 2 in 3 minutes. (Available in late November, US$550 list). (Discuss...)
9/22:Sony moving to support MP3!? Lee, Ferreira, and Patel point out a CNET article stating that Sony is contemplating native MP3 support for their portable music players. Engadget has further coverage. Please include Minidisc in your enlightenment Sony! (Discuss...)
9/17:Kenwood's conversion to domestic MD production bouys profits: An Asahi Shimbun article relates that Kenwood's 18-month old experiment in moving Minidisc equipment production from Malaysia to Yamagata Japan has indeed been profitable. Courtesy Ed Barlow. // Bryan Adams tripped up by old Sony End-Search botch? The Age reports that Bryan Adams had once lost two years of work on Minidisc by hitting the wrong buttons. (Search for "minidisc")
9/14:Oliver Richter has made one of the most impressive MD blank galleries on the web.
9/11:Sound Professionals offers the SP-ECM-MS907 self-powered Stereo Microphone, a $100 alternative to the (you guessed it) Sony ECM-MS907. // Hi-MD Rebates in Canada: David Ing points out Sony rebates from $20 to $50 (until Sep. 30) for Hi-MD purchases from Sony Canada authorized retailers.
9/8:New std-MD gear: Sharp's battery powered SD-FX20 MD Boombox (mech. trans.) features 4X CD->MD copying, 1-bit digital amp, and a world-band FM tuner. Sony's MZ-E630 and MZ-E730 portable MD players (mech. trans.) sport (E630): digital-amp, white stick-controller remote (E730): HD digital-amp, VPT acoustic engine and (both): 6-band equalizer, digital pitch control. (Discuss...) (Courtesy Ravn and de Pablos)
9/4:iTunes for Minidisc? Ed Barlow points out an ITWorld article inidicating that Steve Jobs offered Sony chairman Idei the opportunity to have Sony gear interoperate with iTunes. (Discuss...)
9/3:Peter Ravn updates our FAQ: Inserting a Hi-MD formatted blank in a std-MD machine causes it to display "Hi-MD Disc" (but it's unplayable of course).
8/28:Weekend special at Sound Professionals: the Sony MZ-NHF800 and MZ-NH700 for $20 off including a free stereo microphone.
8/27:Canadians can join a Sony/MuchMusic contest to win an MZ-NH1 Hi-MD recorder, a Sony VAIO PCGK23, or 500 Connect downloads. (Courtesy David West)
8/24:Peter Ravn makes a photo review of the Sony MZ-NHF800 Hi-MD recorder.
8/23:Christopher MacManus points out the Sony MZ-NH900 and MZ-NH700 Japanese Export editions, equipped with the MZ-NH1's 3-line remote. (Discuss...). // Forget the endless iPod vs. MD arguments, a friend points out a comparison of iPod vs. Cassette. // Chris finds another interesting item: an FCC Public Notice indicating that Sony intends to use Hi-MD for Video recording.
8/14:Sound Professionals has the Sony MZ-NH700 and MZ-NHF800 available. // Minidisco is giving away a gold Sony MZ-NH1 on Sept. 3rd (all you have to do is join their mailing list). // Peter Ravn's Hi-MD space calculator has been updated for all remaining bitrates (132,105,66 and 48kbps).
8/12:More USA Hi-MD units appear: Minidisco has the AM/FM/Hi-MD MZ-NHF800 with line and mic inputs and has the MZ-NH900 in stock (a reader called them to verify it).
8/10:First dedicated Hi-MD walkman peripheral: Spanish MD page Quesabesde points out the Sony MCMD-R1 (mech. trans.), a Hi-MD recorder peripheral for transferring digital camera memory contents to Hi-MD media. The unit accepts Memory Stick (normal, PRO, duo, PRO duo), XD, Compact Flash, Smart Media, SD, mini SD and Multimedia memories and connects via USB to any recording Hi-MD walkman. Running on 4 AAA cells it will power (but not charge) the Hi-MD unit to which it is attached. (Price appears to be under €100)
8/9:Sony MZ-NH900 available in UK: AVLand posts zoomable MZ-NH900 snapshots but states "It isn't as solidly built as Sony's previous 9xx series machines. Its bottom half is plastic and the bulkiness makes it rather more like the 7xx series."
8/3:Hi-MD Blanks in stock at Crutchfield: Brian Rost told us (and we called and checked), Crutchfield has 13 Hi-MD blanks in stock for $7/each with a lifetime warranty. Minidiscs again rare and expensive -- just like the old days! // A Wall Street Journal review of the Sony NW-HD1 hard-disk player does not speak well of Sony's challenge to the iPod. Their verdict: While the new Sony is smaller than the iPod and has much better battery life, it is markedly inferior overall. It has a confusing, complex user interface that makes it hard to use; weak software for the PC; an oddball music format that makes loading it with songs tedious; and a companion music download service that offers less than Apple's. The iPod wins this round, and remains champion. A long Sony discussion thread on Slashdot mentions Minidisc and is similarly negative (sample post: "I think the MiniDisc format had great potential, but Sony's insistence on idiotic copyright meaures just make it way too inconvenient to gain wide acceptance. I use it mainly because (A) I already invested in it and (B) it's easy to cart around, but the format is so needlessly crippled as to be sad.")
7/30:Sony MZ-NHF800 and MZ-NH700 beginning to appear: Ken Welsh points out the J&R MZ-NHF800 page, indicating it "usually ships in 1-2 days", and AV-Land (UK) has the Sony MZ-NH700 in stock. Finally, Olaf van Ginkel spots the MZ-NH600D and MZ-NH700 at MediaMarkt in Amsterdam.
7/25:David West finds a Toronto Star article on the 25th anniversary of the Sony Walkman.
7/24:Allon Bar points out a surprisingly detailed Sony NW-HD1 brochure (pdf) for their "World's smallest, thinnest lightest" 20GB HD player with 30 hour battery life. The unit has a unique zero-g detector that retracts the heads during free-fall (will it play music in space?). If only it handled native MP3 playback. // Sergio de Pablos (of Quesabesde) points out two items from JVC: (1) The RC-G1MD MD/CD boombox (mech. trans) featuring 4X CD->MD recording and a fancy front panel illumination scheme and (2) The SP-A200 Pouch Speaker (mech. trans). It's designed to both carry an MD player and be connected to it as a speaker. // Nicolas Roughol has kindly scanned several French magazine Minidisc reviews from the late 90's. They include a review of the Sony MDS-JA20ES (the first ATRAC Type-R deck) stating that it finally gives to the Minidisc its letters of nobility.
7/22:Skytherx posts a full featured MZ-NH3D review (an upmarket downloader available in Japan), with photos.
7/21:Joe Edwards notes that Duke University is giving away iPods to their students.
7/20:One step forward one step back: Bangraman posts a comprehensive comparison of the Sony MZ-NH1 vs the iPod Mini. Though the review points up the pros and cons of both machines, it reveals a debilitating limitation of Sony's SonicStage based Hi-MD upload function: audio upload is only possible into DRM-locked files or ATRAC3 CDs!. Fortunately Sony has stated that a standalone Wave Converter application will be available in autumn that will allow Hi-MD mic and line input recordings to be uploaded and exported to open .wav files, as they promised. (Read further...) // Richard Prinsloo finds a good Sony manuals website stocked with a surprising collection of manuals (and from whence we found, e.g. the Sony MZ-R910 user manual). // Did you know Alpine has an iPod compatible car stereo due this fall? (Courtesy Dale Greer)
7/11:More of Sony's 2004 Hi-MD line-up begins to appear: Japan-Direct (Osaka) now stocks Sony's MZ-NH1 recorder and MZ-EH1 player. Hi-MD media are reportedly still hard to find though. // John Brady finds the MZ-NH1, MZ-NH900, MZ-NHF800, as well as the MZ-NH600D are all available at Update: all except the MZ-NH600 are still "pre-order" only. Sony contacts report the MZ-NH800 due in two weeks, the MZ-NH900 closer to August and the MZ-NH1 in August.
7/5:The won't-be iPod killer: Mark Bausch points out Forbes coverage of Sony's NW-HD1, which they find underwhelming, stating (of its MP3 incompatability): "This is similar to other Sony players that use Sony-only technologies like the Minidisc and the Memory Stick. This strategy is, we think, doomed." Even Sony execs don't seem to know which end is up when it comes to portable audio gear. See further coverage at, Gizmodo, c|net and Engadget -- the user commentary is damning, nearly all agreeing that lack of MP3 playback is a fatal blunder. (Discuss...) // Hi-MD operation manuals appear: Duane Galensky and Jeff point out manuals for Sony's MZ-NH1, MZ-NH900, MZ-NHF800, MZ-NH700 and MZ-NH600D Hi-MD portables on Sony's documentation site. Sony has a special note there concerning recording power consumption when using Hi-MD media. (Discuss...) // Duane makes some observations on battery life for folks doing Hi-MD field recording. // Cassette House owner Art Munson has several dozen pre-recorded MDs on close-out sale for under $10 with shipping.
7/1:Ravn and Mcarthy point out the Sony NW-HD1 20GB hard disk based ATRAC3 player (English coverage at The Register and EuroraPress). Due for August release in Europe (and holiday shopping season in the US), the sleek unit incorporates a 1.8" hard drive and sports a 30 hour max. battery life. (Prices not yet available)
6/25:Matthew Lomax finds an interesting Hi-MD feature page that includes a section entitled Why go Hi-MD and not HDD?. At, of all places. What fun to hear them tout Hi-MD's ability to share songs with your friends -- all that check-in/check-out nonsense conveniently forgotten! (Discuss...)
6/24:First Hi-MD user manual! David O'Heare kindly sends along the Sony MZ-NH600D user manual (3.5MB pdf). The documentation also covers the unit's PC download/upload software and includes this unusual comment: "We do not ensure trouble-free operation on all computers that satisfy the system requirements." (Discuss...)
6/22:First Hi-MD review! Ed Barlow points out a Sony MZ-NH600 review by Australian IT. They cover the Euro edition that has line and optical inputs -- unlike the MZ-NH600D which does not. // A Liverpool Daily Post article says that a reporter's MD kit was broken by Jennifer Ellison's boyfriend. Police are investigating.
6/17:A New York Times article (cached) discusses Minidisc and the upcoming Hi-MD (and quotes us kvetching about Sony botching it as usual).
6/16:Gadgets Online HK (old MD comrade) is offering the Rio Riot 20GB HDD player for $150 w/shipping and the Rio 600 64MB mp3 player for $44 w/shipping. Though not MD, the prices are compelling.
6/15:Outward Sound has the Sharp MD-DR77 portable recorder in stock for $320. Is the MD-DR77 the first portable with a recording-start function on the remote? (Discuss...)
6/10:Reactive Sounds introduces their Auris series microphones (pdf brochure) that feature internal shock mounting so that handling noise is reduced. They're available in mono ($60) and stereo ($120) configurations.
6/8:Sony didn't really invent the Walkman? Kurisu finds word that ``Sony is paying several million Euros to Andreas Pavel, a German inventor who in 1977 patented and prototyped a wearable stereo called the "Stereobelt."''
6/7:Hi-MD entrée: Sony's MZ-NH600D Hi-MD portable is now available from Minidisco, Minidisc-Canada, Yahoo's shops, and OneCall (among others). This is the North American model, lacking line, optical, and microphone inputs.
6/6:Digital amplifier low-down: Kurisu (MDCP forums admin) has posted a commentary on digital amplifiers found in Minidisc units. // The online music service only a mother could love? Ed Barlow points out yet another lackluster review of Sony's Connect.
6/2:RIAA planning to limit CD burning: Slashdot points out a C|Net article discussing Recording Industry plans to restrict the number of times CDs can be copied. Sadly, details are sketchy. // New std-MD bookshelf systems: Spanish MD site Quesabesde points out the JVC UX-Q1 CD/MD bookshelf system (trans) sporting 5X CD->MD copying, as well as the Denon D-AZ03 CD/MD bookshelf system (trans), with bright colors. Both feature world-band FM tuners.
5/29:It's finally in the open -- Sony itself says that executive paranoia over music piracy is hobbling innovation: Clay Schneider points out a revealing Bloomberg News article on Sony's missteps in the digital age that have cost them $100 billion in market value. Howard Stringer (head of Sony's US divisions) is quoted as saying "Executives were so concerned about music piracy that they couldn't agree with designers on the kind of player to create. We didn't get there, and by that time, Steve Jobs was there." (Discuss...) // With a dash of schizophrenia then? PC World has further coverage of Sony's HMP-A1, the 20GB hard-disk audio player announced this week that supports native-MP3 audio but neither Sony's Connect online music store nor the ATRAC3/plus audio format. This unit is not to be confused with the 20GB Sony VGF-AP1 hard-disk player introduced last week that does support ATRAC3/plus and Connect, but not MP3-audio playback. // A few pieces we missed: A Tech Japan article on Sony's MZ-NH1 & etc. product page (mech. trans.) points out that the MZ-NH1 and MZ-NH600D cradle is no longer slated to provide USB connectivity, and that the units will be available in additional colors. (Courtesy
5/27:Sony introduces a hard-disk based MP3 player that does not support ATRAC3 and ATRAC3plus: Peter Ravn finds Sony Japan's HMP-A1 press release (mech. trans., English coverage at The Register). The 250 gram, ¥63,000 ($560) unit sports a 20GB hard drive and will play MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 video files as well as native MP3 audio (with a battery life of 4, 6 and 8 hrs respectively). The unit is slated to ship with MusicMatch Jukebox. (Discuss...)
5/26:Peter Ravn points out Sony Japan's MZ-NH1/NH3D/EH1 & LAM-Z1 page (mech. trans.). Apparently the units will ship with SonicStage2.1 and provide better battery life than originally indicated. Did you know that SonicStage 2.1 is stated to allow Linear PCM downloads, and that the LAM-Z1 will do CD->MD transfers at up to 6X realtime? (Discuss...) // Due August 11: Erik Pinter finds the MZ-NH1 at PixMania for €291 (£190).
5/24: ATRAC3 slammed in blind listening tests: Aaron Ximm finds that in subjective listening tests against Vorbis, LAME MP3, iTunes AAC, etc., ATRAC3/132kbps almost always came in last. (ATRAC3plus was not tested)
5/23: Richard Prinsloo discovers Information Technology courses at Zhongxing University in Taiwan on physics and optical storage. The latter includes a well detailed, 41 page technical chapter on Minidisc (pdf) (cached). // Hi-MD for sale at SonyStyle US: Bob Scott finds the MZ-NH600D for $200.
5/22: UK MZ-NH1 slated for August!? Lee Sainsbury finds the Hi-MD page at Amazon UK (search "hi-md") showing its arrival on August 5, 2004.
5/20:Hi-MD media to intro at US$3.30: Jason Howlin discovers that his local Wal-Mart (Endicott, MD) will sell Hi-MD blanks for $10 a 3-pack. We called and confirmed it.
5/18:Hi-MD recorders -- now you can go out and buy one: Kurisu points out good Hi-MD snapshots taken by Ryzer, who bought a Sony MZ-NH600D at Target.
5/16: Sony Canada's (so-far scanty) Hi-MD lineup: Neo Anderson spots Sony Canada's MZ-NH600D page showing an arrival date of May 27. // Nineteen hundred dollars and not Hi-MD!? Dave finds hi-res images of Sony's Qualia 017. Granted, the remote looks cool.
5/14: Sony's official SonicStage 2.0 upgrade is available for download from their restyled Digital Network Audio support-page. (Courtesy // Reuters reports Sony has inked a deal with Wippit to distribute music online in Europe.
5/13: Sony apparently not connecting with the critics: A USA Today article finds Connect "a shockingly un-slick maiden voyage into the music downloading business by a company with the track record and resources to expect better". // More factory installed in-dash Minidisc gear: David West discovers Jaguar offers a Minidisc player as an option in their new XJ sedan (see p. 4).
5/11: Sony's Connect still sagging: A TechNews article finds the service underwhelming and "an embarrassment to the company that gave the world the Walkman". // That $1900 std-MD player: Time magazine briefly mentions the Sony Qualia Minidisc player. Did you know the case is carved from solid brass? // Factory in-dash Minidisc players: You can find them in Honda's F Aero Premium 660cc 4-seater and the Mazda RX-8. // A Christian Science Monitor article discusses A Break in the Road, a flash site that teaches audio production basics, giving the author a simulated Minidisc recorder to capture street sounds with.
5/10: Sony introduces portable hard-disk player in Japan: A MacWorld article covers Sony's Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1 (mech. trans.). Scheduled for release in Japan in June, the USB2.0, 20GB unit plays ATRAC3 and ATRAC3plus encoded audio for 20 hours on a single charge and uses SonicStage 2.0 for loading its audio. The unit also comes with "Music Move" software that apparently converts MP3, Wav and WMA files to ATRAC3 or ATRAC3plus on the fly during transfer to the device. (Might this be made available for Minidisc equipment as well?) Courtesy (Discuss...)
5/8: High-end Hi-MD gear slated for high-summer: Sony advises its retailers: "As you may be aware, we just started shipping our first HiMD model, the MZNH600D. We were planning on shipping initial quantities of the MZNH800 very shortly, and unfortunately have been advised by the factory that these units have been delayed until mid to late July. In addition, the MZNH900 and MZNH1, which we intended to have available in June, are now also going to be delayed until the end of July." (Discuss...) // Hi-MD media to be in short supply? A Sony bulletin concerning Hi-MD media sales states "A limited supply of single Hi-MD discs will be available during the launch of Hi-MD to support an on-line sales strategy through key retailer web sites and" (However a Hi-MD blank will be included with every Hi-MD portable) // Finally, someone singing Connect's praises: Rebecca Reich points out an informative (and favorable) C|NET review of Sony's Connect and the coming Hi-MD equipment. // Continuing the Connect Critique: A Tech News World article discusses Sony's entry into the crowded field of pay-per-tune services and mentions the "messy state" of today's multiple DRM formats, quoting Rio marketing manager Bullwinkle to say "People are stealing music because that's the easy way. If I get something from Morpheus or Kazaa or one of those places, it will work anywhere. And that's what consumers expect." // What's Russian for Connect? The Sydney Morning Herald, The Register, and Museekster cover, a unique Russian online music retailer offering a wide selection of mainstream music at a penny a megabyte (in user selectable encodings and bitrates). It's allegedly legal, through a loophole in Russian copyright law. (Slashdot discussion)
5/6:Sony's Connect: An interesting c|net article reports on Connect and the coming clash of Sony and Apple in the portable audio realm. // A New York Times article (free reg. req.) does not report very favorably on Connect: "Unless you have a Sony player, ATRAC may as well be 8-track". // A PC World article covering Connect quotes a doubtful industry analyst: "I give this store very little chance of being successful, given Sony's poor history in this space, the proprietary nature of store's technology and the entrenched competition it will face." // Our take on all this? How long before Sony comes to grips with the fact that portable MD gear will need to support MP3 playback just like every other portable audio player on the market? (Discuss...)
5/4:From Slashdot: Sony launches Connect, a music download service intended for Sony's ATRAC based music players. Sadly, it's currently Windows-only, and a USA Today article isn't particularly bullish on its prospects given the already crowded field. There are more details at The Register and The Age. (Discuss...)
5/2: The ipod studio (don't let the name fool you) is a new site dedicated to the seemingly impossible - achieving audiophile quality from portable equipment - including MD. // Sony's SonicStage v2.0 is available to coincide with the launch of Hi-MD.
4/28: MiniDisc:UK are discontinuing their MiniDisc Titler PC-based hardware/software combo. They have a few copies of v2.0 for sale while stocks last (GB£21.50/US$45.00) // reports the average consumer requirement for a portable music device is 1000 songs. (Courtesy Ed Barlow) // reviews 'The Girl in the Other Room' by Diana Krall. The music on this CD was composed on the road and recorded to MiniDisc. (registration required)... // ... also the same story as told by Ice magazine (courtesy David West)
4/26: The Quad-Cities Times reviews a stand-up act, who used a home-built minidisc system for on-demand sound-effects and noises. (Courtesy Ed Barlow).
4/22: The new Sony Qualia brand is fleshed-out via global and US websites. Qualia is Sony's 'premium' brand and includes a range of existing electronic products re-dsigned for the top-end of the consumer market. // A US Press Release explains the brand less obtusely and puts a US$1900 (yes, that's four digits) price tag on the Qualia 017 MD player mentioned yesterday. // Eric Cameron wonders if the new 'Sony digital Walkman' that Sheryl Crow will launch on 4 May, along with the Sony Connect music download site, is the anticipated Hi-MD units? See the last para of this MSN article.
4/21: Herlad Tribune reports on Sony's forthcoming Connect Online music store, pitching it as a serious challenge to Apple's iTunes Music Store. // PC Magazine reviews the Sony MZ-NF610 Net-MD and highlights its quirks. (Courtesy Aaron Ximm) // A number of our regular readers spot the new Sony Qualia 017 - a sleek, slim variant of the MZ-E10.
4/19: NY Times quotes Steve Jobs: "[minidisc] might work in Japan but not here". The full article requires registration. (Courtesy of Mark Bausch) // Peter Ravn notes an Optical Data Storage conference in San Carlos today.
4/17: BBC Radio Four broadcast a programme celebrating the humble Walkman, in this, the 25th year since Sony introduced the first Walkman in 1979: Walking With Headphones (Real Audio). // Our principal sponsor, Minidisco now has all the forthcoming Hi-MD (and new NetMD) units on its site and is accepting pre-orders. Stock is expectied mid May (US). // One user from our forums points out some detailed pics of the new MZ-NH1 Hi-MD. The same site contains over 200 pics of new Sony devices apparently taken yesterday, at a Japanese exibition.
4/16: Reuters reports Sony collaboration on an optical disk made of paper! (courtesy Ed Barlow.)
4/15: Ed Barlow notes a new release of Wave Corrector, a US$45 application for "repairing" digitized vinyl and tape recordings. // Rodrigo Relleria notices some sensible reorganization of Sony's ATRAC info plus some, apparently new info at the Sony Global ATRAC site. // Sergi spots another new unit: this time a multiformat (DVD/CD/MD) bookshelf/mini in the shape of the Panasonic PM900DVD. (Discuss...)
4/14: A couple of readers who preregistered for Sony Connect SonicStage 2 Beta program have received notification to say the program has started. // Lee Sainsbury's local UK Sony Centre have given him a Jun 04 Hi-MD release date. // Sergi of the Spanish Minidisc Page spots a new Sharp MD-DR77 (Japanese site). (Discuss...)
4/11:Edward Barlow points out PlayFair, an open-source project which alleges to remove the DRM (Digital Rights Management) features from Apple's FairPlay audio files, potentially allowing files from Apple's iTunes Music Store to be downloaded to non iTunes/iPod devices - in contravention of the licence terms, of course. Discuss...
4/6:Zachary Hemmelgarn spots Hi-MD portables at J& available for pre-order. No shipping date in sight though, and they seem a bit confused about the MZ-NH900, incorrectly stating it includes an AM/FM remote. Discuss...
4/5:The end of battery drugery? Ed Barlow points out a Bloomberg News article (search "mini") stating: "NEC Corp [...] has come up with a rechargeable battery that can operate a mini disc player for 80 hours after just 30 seconds of charging." NEC Press Release Discuss... // Public participation requested for ATRAC3plus listening tests: David Pieron is organizing listening tests (in French) to help acertain the relative standing of ATRAC3plus and other audio encoders (Discuss). // Pascal Charbonneau reports that the US$450 Rode NT4 condensor mic (Aus) is getting rave reviews and works well with Minidisc. // The folks at (Singapore) have a few Sharp MD portable specials: IM-DR80 @US$300, IM-DR420 @US$215, MD-MT270 @US$140 plus a Sony ECM-MS907 mic @US$67. Shipping is about $25 to the US. // David Maguire finds the Sony MZ-NF610 at uBid for ~$75, and Joe Gallagher spots the Sony MZ-NE410 at Sam's Club for under $70.
4/3:Minidisc Online (HK) is now Gadgets Online and they're offering a Sharp MD-ST770 player for US$124, including shipping to the US or Australia. // Ron points out new hi-res Hi-MD photos at // German Hi-MD brochure:'s forum has 1 2 pages of Sony's Hi-MD brochure from CeBit. (Courtesy Kouby)
4/2: New heights in battery life complexity: With help from, we have a Sony Hi-MD portable spec chart.
3/30:Hi-MD battery life figures emerge: From's specs table we update the MZ-NH1, MZ-NH900, MZ-NHF800, and MZ-NH700 battery life info. // French website has posted the Hi-MD FAQ en Français.
3/28:Japanese Minidisc clones? A reader points out the Muji MD Player, which might be a Sharp MD-ST700 variant. And Peter Ravn finds the minimalist +/-0 design house offering an MD deck and portable MD player.
3/26:Sergi de Pablos points out a Sanyo Hi-MD laser driver chip slated for 500K unit/mo production in 2004Q3 (PDF mech trans). This IC provides DC or pulsed solid state laser drive power, the latter a requirement for Hi-MD's DWDD laser strobe magnetic field modulation.
3/24:Would you like a song with that? The Chicago Tribune reports on a Sony/McDonalds music pact wherein McDonalds plans to give customers free songs from Sony's Connect online music service when they buy certain menu items. // MacDailyNews has their own spin on the Sony/McDonalds partnership of course, and some commentators think chances are slim that Sony's Connect will make a splash since it offers music only in ATRAC3 format.
3/23:First Hi-MD hands-on: visits Sony Netherlands to try out a pre-release MZ-NH1 and returns with answers to many Hi-MD questions. Discuss... // Outward Sound is offering a Sony MZ-N10 MD with ECM-DS70P microphone bundle for $300.
3/22:Ed Barlow points out further coverage of Sony's CeBit Hi-MD showings from ZDNet Australia. // Sony's Connect online music service will reportedly offer more than 300,000 songs. You can view a Flash-demo of the interface on Sony Europe's Connect website. // An interesting article discusses the music and portable players (including Minidisc) favored by dog team mushers. // A SonicStage2 build is available for experimenters that is reported to work properly with existing NetMD devices. // A article (UK) puts into perspective their previous article stating that the UK Office of National Statistics has dropped Minidisc players during their annual update of its consumer "shopping basket". (Courtesy Ed Barlow)
3/17:Sony-Europe Hi-MD blitz: Roughol and Evans point out Sony Europe's Hi-MD site, offering Hi-MD coverage from Norway to Spain. // posts the Hi-MD snapshots they made during a Sony NL dealer show.
3/15:Upscale downloading: John Rappold finds Sony's MZ-NF520D portable downloader, a $150 std-NetMD unit sporting a backlit AM/FM tuner remote. // Peter Ravn spots a Sonic Studio press release announcing their n-code ATRAC3plus encoding tool. This US$2000 production-oriented application runs on Mac OSX and Windows XP platforms and provides batch encoding (with DRM support) to ATRAC3plus files for use by online music vending sites. The software's included hardware dongle prevents use on more than one PC at a time. // Peter Ravn updates his Hi-MD space planning calculator to work with a user specified capacity (either in MB, or time in a particular recording mode).
3/14: James Bloom finds Sony UK's entries for the MZ-NH1, MZ-NH900, MZ-NHF800, MZ-NH700, and MZ-NH600 Hi-MD portables. Only a single figure is being given for battery life(!?) MZ-NH1: 17hr, MZ-NH900: 37hr, MZ-NH800/NH700/NH600: 27hr. // CDDB via i-Mode cellphone, 6X CD->MD dubbing: Sergi de Pablos (Spanish MD site Quesabesde host) points out Panasonic's Japanese pages for their PM700MD bookshelf 5CD/MD system. This interesting device copies CDs to LP4 mode Minidiscs at up to 6X realtime; a single button press will compile 5 one hour CDs into a single MD in under an hour. A new group is made for each CD, with titling information taken from the unit's CD title memory. Furthermore, CD titling information can be downloaded into the unit using an infrared link to a cellphone with iApli (iMode-based) access to a CDDB-like track name database. (Java-based iApli program download cost: ¥200) // Sergi also spots the JVC KD-M525 in-dash MDLP receiver. // Yves Le Page hears "June 10th" from Sony Belgium for the MZ-NH1 Hi-MD portable. // Timothy Stockman finds refurbed Sony MZ-NE410 portable MD downloaders at eCost for $60 plus shipping.
3/9:Made in Japan (again): Ed Barlow points out a Straits Times article (Singapore) describing how Kenwood, citing lower costs and higher efficiencies, has moved MD player production from Malaysia back to Yamagata Japan. // A friend sends along 1 2 3 pages of Hi-MD equipment from Sony Europe's dealer catalog. All their Hi-MD gear is slated for June arrival (and we've heard rumors to that effect even for the US). Discuss...
3/6:Sony's 4.7GB Minidiscs: Research teams from Sony and Sony/Canon have demonstrated recording at 15 Gbit/in2 on Minidiscs using DWDD coupled with DVD-like optical systems (cf DVD at 3.5 Gbit/in2) Discuss... // Martin Mueller finds a T-Board posting pointing out the Sharp IM-DR580 manual on the Sharp UK website. // Ed Barlow spots a review of the AudioBug FM-Transmitter, useful for playing your walkman through an FM radio.
3/5: has a special offer for Dutch and Belgian customers through March 16th: Europe's lowest MD prices plus 5 Sony blanks. // Guitar-driven pop rock with polished harmonies: MiniDisc (in partnership with BMG Records) is giving away a Vertical Horizon sampler CD with every purchase.
3/3:Sony showing Hi-MD by appointment in Germany: Peter Ravn points out a Sony CeBIT application form (German) with which up to 10 visitors an hour will be given personal tours of Sony's CeBIT booth. We'd be happy to receive photos and first impressions of Hi-MD gear, should you attend.
3/2:David Ing finds a page describing Chris Lydon's recording equipment and his use of Minidisc gear.
3/1: Ed Barlow finds that Sony COO Ando will present the keynote speech at CeBIT, where Sony's Hi-MD units will be introduced. // MP3 format to get DRM-enhancements: Slashdot mentions a c|net article reporting that Thomson/Fraunhofer (MP3 license-holders) are promulgating a DRM standard for MP3 files so they can be used in secure (read: copy-prohibited) online music retailing. // Not Psyc-ed in Canada? Dyson and MacManus point out Sony Canada's MZ-N420D page, the unit is styled quite differently than the US edition.
2/28:New Hi-MD portable recorder? posts fresh Sony Hi-MD equipment photos showing that in lieu of the US model MZ-NH600D, Europe apparently receives the MZ-NH600 -- a proper recorder with a remote and audio inputs. Discuss...
2/27:Sony's 2004 mystery NetMD downloader appears: Brian Masters finds Sony's Psyc line MZ-N420D announcement and photos. Due in April, the sub-$100 portable's packaging was originally spotted at CES by Minidisc-Canada.
2/26:A look at Sony's High Capacity Minidisc research: Christopher MacManus points out a 2001 Sony DWDD-MD research paper (cached) in the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics (free registration required) that used MD-DATA2 optics to store 2GB on a Minidisc. Apparently an experimental forerunner of the upcoming Hi-MD system Discuss... // Ravn and de Pablos spot Sharp's photos and Japanese info for their MD-ST500 portable player (page 2, mech. trans). Due in March, the unit sports backlit remote, 155 hr battery life (NiMH+AA) and a new "+/- power supply audio circuit". // We open a Research Desk of collected Minidisc technical papers.
2/25:Brian Rost spots the Sony MDX-F5800 at Crutchfield. This $380, 52Wx4 in-dash MDLP receiver is due at the end of March. // Looming Hi-MD arrival causing std-MD blowout? Crutchfield has lowered their MD portable prices: MZ-NE410 $100->$80, MZ-S1 $150->$130, MZ-NF610 $180->$150 and MZ-NF810CK $280->$250.
2/24: Ed Barlow points out a Wired article on a radio show called Walkman Busting that investigates what the man-in-the-street is listening to. They get their music-bites by jacking an MD recorder into the headphone output of citizens' personal audio players.
2/22: Christopher Hoult has written a technical paper comparing Minidisc's ATRAC (SP) and MPEG-1 Layer 3. Minidisc fares well in the comparison. // Knight International has an article about Radio Training in South Africa (pdf) that mentions the introduction of Minidisc as a reporting tool. // Bryan Mo points out a Best Buy Canada sale page that shows a sandwich (the kind with lettuce) made from a Sony NetMD player. // Speaking of Best Buy, Gilberto Zambrano reports that the one in Toronto (and perhaps all in Canada) are selling the Sony CMT-M333NT bookshelf NetMD system for CAN$350.
2/19: Ed Barlow points out a interview with Hideki Komiyama (head of US-based Sony Electronics) discussing the challenges Sony faces in the consumer electronics market. He mentions the good prospects for Hi-MD and portable hard disk based audio players. // We welcome Christopher MacManus, joining us as the MDCP Forum-Master. // posts news of the upcoming [std-MD] Sony MDX-F5800 in-dash MDLP player. Unfortunately Sony's crack styling team has lost the volume control knob.
2/16: Quesabesde has coverage of the Hi-MD format and equipment in Spanish. // James Nolan discovers that the US$70 Mironics PC titling system for Sony portable recorders now supports recording of Winamp 5 playlists and silence detection based track marking for PC uploading.
2/14:The Plano 3730 storage box is available again the UK. This fishing tackle box is perfect storage for 150+ bare Minidiscs, or about 75 in cases. They're the best way to store and carry Minidiscs while travelling, DJing, etc. About 8 quid, with delivery. -Sam Gibbard
2/13:Peter Ravn points out an interesting Stereophile article on the DarkNoise/ SunnComm Q-Spoiler system, a copy protection technique that purports to plug the Analog Hole. They reportedly add an inaudible signal that becomes audible once the file is compressed. // Matthew Fremont finds Xitel's MD-Port tips page that references several useful free software packages: MP3Trim, a simple MP3 editor that prevents quality loss by editing directly in the MP3 domain; Mp32Minidisc, a conversion tool that adds silence to tracks, allows you to remove pauses, and includes a timing calculator for staying within an LP2 or LP4 disc's capacity; and MP3 TrackMaker, for splitting MP3s into multiple tracks, or combining many tracks into a single one. // Speaking of timing calculators, Peter Ravn updates his Hi-MD space planning calculator with all the available Hi-MD bitrates. Now all we need are Hi-MD discs to do some planning with.
2/11:Hit me with music! A reader sends along word of an MP3 player built into an AK-47 ammo clip. The AK-MP3 Jukebox website (PG13 advisory) has further info on the 20GB, US$350 player. // Did you know that Sony as a NetMD bundle in Australia that includes a NetMD Backpack? (Courtesy Scott Hoffman).
2/9:Peter Ravn finds Sony's Hi-MD site in English.
2/8:Sony's CES booth one item short? A Hi-MD blank appeared on ebay for a Buy It Now price of US$400. Seems an absurd price for an item that will become commonplace in a few months and is otherwise useless until then! // Christopher has made photo galleries of the Sony MZ-E7W (ca. 2000 MD player with wireless remote), Sharp MD-DS8 (modern MD player) and TDK bit club blanks (which we must admit do look cool). // MinidiscAccess has put together a $300 recording bundle based upon the Sharp MD-DR480. // Pre-recordeds: not quite dead! Gary Cantwell points out UK supplier's pre-recorded Minidiscs. But fifteen quid each!? // Minidisc-Canada to the rescue: their remaining pre-recorded MDs are on closeout for US$12 each. (They also stock the previously mentioned Axia Happy Color blanks) // Robert reports that the German consumer electronics retailers and have closed.
2/4:A friend sends along Sony's preliminary Minidisc walkman specs for 2004 (pdf). Of note: SonicStage 2.0 allows unlimited checkouts, only the MZ-NH1 has a date-time stamp function, and battery life figures are curiously still absent. Discuss...
1/30:New non-Hi-MD portables: Wang and Ravn point out Sony's Japanese pages for their MZ-E520 (AVWatch photos) and MZ-N920 (AVWatch) units.
1/29:Seamus Dunphy spots a New Scientist article (UK -- free registration required [cached]) covering Sony's Hi-MD DWDD technology.
1/ went to CES and got a photo of the MZ-NH900 in its packaging. // Sergi de Pablos points out Axia's "Happy Colors" MD blanks.
1/26:Sony seeking "Connect" Beta testers: Jason Howlin spots a Beta Registration form on, the Sony Online Music site slated to open this Spring. Those selected will receive a free copy of SonicStage2.
1/23:Hi-MD Back-compatability Bummer: Sony sources have confirmed that Hi-MD equipment will not upload analog-source recordings made with existing Minidisc recorders. Is it time for another petition? Discuss...
1/20:Want to listen to ATRAC3plus @256kbps before Hi-MD arrives? Peter Ravn points out Japanese info for Sony's D-NE10 CD/MP3/ATRAC3plus player (and Audiocubes imports the D-NE10 and its brethren, the D-NE900 and D-NE800). All of these can handle ATRAC3plus encoded audio @256kbps.
1/17:The Guardian (UK) has a thoughtful article reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Betamax decision. (From Slashdot)
1/15:Calle Soderberg spots a new MZ-NH900 photo at News Online (Sweden). The unit has an iPod (or is it Sharp MD-MS722?)-inspired jog-dial on the front face, and the hi-res photo shows all the LCD elements. // Aiwa (aka Sony) has released a set of USB-audio portables that include a nicely styled 2GB HDD mp3 player that is business card-sized. // Peter Ravn has created a Hi-MD planning calculator.
1/10:We have the beginnings of a Hi-MD FAQ. // Now there are eight! AVLand (UK) has photos of Sony's MZ-NH700 Hi-MD recorder. // Word from CES: Sony booth staffers state that Hi-MD microphone and line-input recordings are eligible for high-speed uploading to PC. // offers Sony's Hi-MD announcement en Français.
1/9: Did you know the Sony LAM-X1 Hi-MD bookshelf system will do high-speed CD->MD copying in all Hi-MD (PCM, Hi-SP, Hi-LP) and original MD (SP, LP2, LP4) modes? // Curious about Hi-MD's Domain Wall Displacement Detection Technology? Canon has a clear DWDD explanation with Flash animation that shows how the technology reads-out magnetic domains smaller than the laser spot. // has Hi-MD information in Dutch.
1/8:Sony hits a grand slam! Announcing Hi-MD (spec) a new Minidisc format based upon a 1GB MD medium and existing MD media reformatted to 300MB. Hi-MD equipment features uploading to PC for analog-input recordings (yay!), and built-in linear PCM (16bit/44.1khz) and ATRAC3plus recording (at 256 and 64kbps). Hi-MD recorders also function as USB data drives. Available in April, recording equipment prices will be $200 (MZ-NH600D), $250 (MZ-NHF800), $300 (MZ-NH900) and $400 (MZ-NH1) with Hi-MD blanks costing about $7. Discuss... // More Hi-MD Gear! Peter Ravn points out Sony's Japanese announcement for their MZ-NH1, MZ-NH3D, MZ-EH1 portables and LAM-X1 bookshelf system. // Sony's Japanese Hi-MD website has plenty of Flash animation and clarifies that the native recording modes for Hi-MD portables are Linear PCM, Hi-SP (ATRAC3plus@256kbps), and Hi-LP (ATRAC3plus@64kbps). ATRAC3 is available only through PC downloading, and there is no mention of the original ATRAC recording mode. // Peter Ravn finds further Japanese Hi-MD info at AV Watch (they have equipment photos that include a "Concept" Hi-MD Camera).
1/7:A reader points out a Sydney Morning Herald article confirming Sony's Hi-MD release (they reference a Nikkei Shimbun article [English soup] that is innacurate because it mentions a 30x capacity increase). Sony's full announcement is scheduled for tomorrow.
1/5: Sony introduces Hi-MD Audio Minidisc format; new media holds 1GB, storing nearly 8 hours of SP mode audio on a single disk. Discuss... // Barney Kahn points out Sony digital images for new Hi-MD portables: MZ-NH1 (top of the line) MZ-NH600D (downloader) MZ-NH900 (upscale, w/o remote) MZ-NHF800 (AM/FM unit). // Did you know Sony has a Luella Bartley Runway gallery where she totes around NetMD items as fashion accessories?
1/1:Happy New Year! (And only one more week until Winter CES 2004!)
12/31:G. Zambrano points out Ken Tidwell's excellent Macintosh/Minidisc page, which has been updated to cover using iTunes to record to Minidisc.
12/29:Martin Mueller scans in the English section of the Sharp IM-DR80 user manual.
12/28:Jason Howlin finds that Sound Forge 7.0a (a recent Sony acquisition) now supports export to NetMD. Jason reports that the function works well, but can only create LP2 tracks. // Connects2 (UK) offers car audio adapters that allow e.g. using existing steering column stalk remotes with new in-dash equipment, or adding MD/CD or MP3 changers to existing factory head units. Courtesy Brice Mallard // MinidiscAccess has a limited quantity of 80' collector blanks from Japan.
12/25:Merry Christmas!
12/23:Brian Briggs has a review of digital music stores at
12/18:Christopher posts a good Kenwood DMC-S55 review to the Minidisc T-Station. // has the silver Sharp IM-DR580 in stock for €350 and is taking orders for the red and black units. // Zambrano finds a Minidisc among Matrix themed icons at
12/13:Boulianne and Barlow point out a Globe and Mail article covering the Copyright Board of Canada's decision to freeze media levies. Although the 77 cent tax on Minidiscs won't change, the board did add new levies on hard disk digital audio players and recorders -- those with capacities above 10GB will receive a C$25 levy. The Canadian music industry had requested a tax hike that would have subjected 20GB hard drive based players to a $125 tax! // Barlow finds an interesting SFGate article about a US college student taking a Minidisc recorder into Afghanistan. // UK readers can enter to win an MZ-N510 Minidisc recorder at Megastar. // Minidisc is being suggested as a holiday gift, from Anchorage to Oregon.
12/7:Catching up with Kohn's, we add entries for the Kenwood DMC-S9Net, Aiwa AM-PX3, JVC XM-S5 & XM-C3 (with nearly two weeks battery life!), Denon DMD-201SA, Marantz MD110, Sony MDS-SE9 & LAM-Z03 and Sharp SD-CX9. // Cassette House is offering Samsung 74' blanks for US$4.45/5 pack plus shipping. // Audiocubes has Minidisc imports for sale: The Kenwood DMC-S9Net recorder, DMC-S77 player, Panasonic SJ-MJ18 player, and Sony CMT-SE7 bookshelf system.
12/6:Narliest uploading portable recorder ever? Steve Jess spots the Aaton Cantar-X (brochure), a rugged 6 track HDD field recorder with a firewire interface, digital and analog inputs (to 24bit/96khz), and a 15 hour battery life. Not cool enough? It can be remote controlled from a Bluetooth PDA and will also burn CDs and DVDs (price est. $15,000!) Wherefore art thou Sony? // Did you know there is a Russian Minidisc FAQ translation? // The Minidisc Zone (fan page) is back in action, featuring pages on recent Sony portable recorders.
12/3:Prerecorded Minidiscs no longer being made! Rob points out information from n5MD (the music group that released albums only on Minidisc) stating that Sony DADC has told them they "don't make Minidisc anymore." Given the Minidisc's wonderfully versatile recording capabilities, prerecorded MDs always seemed a bit of an oddity. Discuss...
11/30:GrepLaw has an interview with Jim Griffin on the Future of Music. Mr. Griffin makes a good case for a system of free content sharing, with artist's royalties recovered through a broad-based network-usage tax or fee. // Ed Barlow finds a Wired article discussing the Golden Age of Gadgets. In it, this wonderful quote: "Why didn't consumer electronics firms compromise on standards for interoperability? Because they're jerks." // Francisco Gaytan opens a Minidisc discussion forum En Español.
11/27:Happy Thanksgiving! // XiaoQuan finds the new AM-PX3 MD player from Aiwa. The unit features a unique remote into which the headphone cord retracts. // Peter Ravn points out two Sony MD decks: The MDS-DAV1, a Minidisc unit intended to accompany Sony's DAV-S880/S550 DVD/SACD systems, and the NetMD MDS-S500, both with optical I/O. The MDS-DAV1 blurb indicates that ATRAC DSP Type-S lowers ATRAC3 playback noise 6dB, depending upon material. It is the first hard spec we have seen for its improvement over the Type-R chip. // has freshened up their shopping pages to show shipping rates and options. They are also offering the Sharp MD-DR420 for US$230 and the Sharp MD-MT200 for US$170. Finally, for customers willing to pay the slightly higher shipping fees, TeamDigital will provide Sony's exclusive WalkMan Tote-bags with the purchase of NetMD units.
11/21:Alex Tan writes a handsome review of the Sharp MD-DS70 Minidisc player.
11/17:Did you know that Tori Amos sends Minidisc messages to Robert Plant!? // Ed Barlow points out an IHT article with a brief rundown on audio codec names. Their historical ordering is incorrect however, ATRAC predates MPEG 1 Layer 3.
11/12:User manual festival: Jonathan Saltzman and Dave Walker kindly send in scanned PDF manuals for the Sony MDS-JB980 (English and French) and Panasonic SC-PM37MD units.
11/11: Kevin points out a scathing Forbes article detailing Sony's recent financial stumble. // Dave discovers a very helpful Sony user manual site, from whence we have added an additional 56 manuals (we're still missing 74 however). Now if only the other manufacturers would follow suit. And we have someone named Pam to thank for the vintage MDS-101 manual!
11/10:Barlow notes a CP article reporting that a coalition of retailers and technology companies has made a submission to the Commons committee on Canadian heritage asserting that the levy on recordable storage media is unfair and obsolete. The Canadian model of taxing storage media to compensate for (and permit) free music downloading is one promising possibility for ending the Recording Industry's Copy-prohibition nonsense. It is interesting that the coalition (which includes Apple and Sony) states that the levy "is a disincentive to the music industry from adopting innovative technologies to protect and manage their content". Yes, that's precisely the point! // Speaking of copy protection: Mark Bausch finds a New York Times article (cached) stating that Sony is starting trials in Germany of CDs that prevent users from copying songs to file-sharing sites but allows them to make copies for personal use on Sony music players. It appears the CDs will include a second copy of each track in ATRAC3 format.
11/8:Deputy Barlow points out a Guardian (UK) article on current portable music offerings that places Minidisc favorably among the pack, despite the author's confusion about MP3s being stored on Minidisc in the LP modes.
11/6:Ed Barlow finds a Christian Science Monitor article on the Telling Lives project of the American History Workshop which is recording people's stories for posterity. For those unable to come in the project will offer StoryKits for recording personal histories that include a minidisc recorder, microphone, headphones, and instructions. // Paul has written an extensive review of the Sharp SD-NX10.
11/5: Mark Bausch points out a Reuters article reporting that Sony will indeed release an iPod competitor in the form of a portable game machine next year. The Register has photos of the concept-design. // Ben Timberlake spots an uploader we missed: the Sonifex Courier is a professional, $2500, PCMCIA-harddisk recorder with selectable bit-rates and USB uploading to PC. Radio Magazine has a review of the device. // Ed Barlow finds a Guardian article discussing the virtues and nostalgia of cassettes and homemade mix-tapes, with passing mention of Minidisc.
10/30: AustralianIT reviews the Sony CD Walkman with ATRAC support. // Eugeni Bobrov spots Gemini - a combination SMCS "Copybit" killer and Toslink/Coax switch from Individual Computers of Germany (they have international distributors too).
10/28: The BBC reports that Sony plans to cut 20 000 jobs worldwide. // John Schmidt points out that Sonic Foundry's (recently purchased by Sony Pictures Digital) Sound Forge 7.0a, a high-end digital audio editing package, now supports export to NetMD - NB that's still DOWNLOAD only! // Edward Barlow notes a snippet from Telecom.paper on a joint Sharp/Sony/Kenwood/Pioneer venture for non-computer based music download to MD or other digital audio devices.
10/24: Apple finally releases an update for Dockable iPods which officially adds the ability to record mono "voice notes" in mono. // T-Board users note a new portable player from Panasonic. The SJ-MR97 lays claim to be the 'smallest' (though not thinnest), lightest player on the market.
10/15: Tim has a some modification and technical tips for a few Sony models on his Technical MD website. REMEMBER - hardware mods should only be attempted if you know what you are doing! // Art notes the Sharp SD-SG11 bookshelf mentioned last week, is on offer at $110 at
10/9: The folks at MiniDisc Access have some of those natty 'tape cassette' style flip cases for MDs. // Matt notes that Sharp have a new bookshelf with high-speed CD to MD dubbing - SD-SG11
10/6: Minidisc Australia post more pictures of the Sharp IM-DR80. // Roland points out discussion of the Sony MZ-E720 on T-station which suggests the new model is not just the E620 with "Virtual Phone Technology". It appears to lack ATRAC Type-S.
10/2: Several readers point out iRivers new iHP-100 series hard-disc MP3 recorders with live recording and music upload capabilities. Though one readers' experiences of the iHP-100, at least (inability to deal with some file types, lack of recording level control, hard disk noise pickup) suggest there are some design wrinkles to iron out.
9/30: Onyx Audio of The Netherlands announces a new pro ENG/reporter MD unit: RepoDisc priced at €695 (ex VAT).
9/25: put a couple of Aiwa NetMD manuals on their site: AM-NX1 and AM-NX9 (both English PDF). // Jeff Hatch notes a link on the gadget weblog to a PC Magazine review of Sony's new MZ-N510CK NetMD
9/23: Outward Sound reckon they're among the first to stock Sharp's new NetMD, the IM-DR80, in the US at a cent under $350. // Remember if you have any news let us know at webmaster(a)
9/20:Associate Editor Nick Perry takes the MDCP reins for 6 weeks.
9/18:A Summer Bumper Crop of MD Players: Edzo, Wang and T-Station's Tiger5 point out eight new machines: Kenwood's DMC-S77/S55, DMC-S33 and DMC-Q35; Sharp's MD-DS70 and MD-DS30; and Sony's MZ-E620 and MZ-E720. The top Kenwoods have a mind-blowing 230 hour max battery life. To bench test such performance in all 3 modes and battery combinations with a single machine would take 44 days of continuous running! Discuss... // A Toronto Globe and Mail article discusses the RIAA's folly vis-a-vis Canadian law; it seems Canadians already pay a media tax to offset losses to copying, thereby weakening the case against it. // Ed Barlow points out an Australian IT article discussing CD's future and making some comments about MD along the way (they get the LP4 compression factor wrong however -- 8x?). // Sony has SonicStage Updates available for download (versions 1.5.50 and 1.5.53 -- you'll need both). They improve startup time and fix several bugs. // SoundProfessionals now offers a $70 preamplified microphone (ideal for line input-only hard disk recorders) and $100 stealth binocular microphone. // En Español: points out Sony's Spanish manuals for NetMD portables.
9/14:Michael Conner shows a high speed path for getting audio from Rhapsody to a NetMD machine (cached) using the $12 TotalRecorder program.
9/11:Ed Barlow points out a Telegraph (UK) article on an unusual stage performance born of Minidisc recordings (cached). // Mark Bausch finds interesting Slate coverage of the RIAA suits.
9/9:Dadgum It! The RIAA sues its clientele, but offers amnesty to those not yet in their maw. (Thanks to Keith Bauer )
9/7:We sadly misreport: The upcoming Sharp IM-DR80/DR580 will not feature digital output. Mis-info from Sharp Europe IFA staffer?
9/5:The my-minidisc folks launch (auf Deutsche), a shop devoted to all manner of mp3 players, even the hard drive-based units. // Nihongo ga dekiru hito: Howard Chu finds Sony Minidisc research papers in Japanese.
9/2:Sharp shows some spunk! sends news of the Sharp IM-DR580 portable NetMD recorder shown in prototype form at IFA Berlin; it's due in January and sports a nifty docking cradle with optical output! (finally!). Sharp's IM-DR410 and DR420 NetMD recorders will appear shortly and feature 50x downloading plus manual and auto recording level control (yay!). Discuss...
9/1: MZ-N710 Hacking: French hacker Globox shows how to add MZ-N10/N910 features to an MZ-N710. Discuss...
8/30:Fresh manuals: Prinsloo and SharkyMark find Sony MZ-N910 (English) and Sharp MD-MT877 (updated) user manuals.
8/29:Anderson and Thomas alert us to Sony's Summer of Fun TV ad campaign. The Athens Beach commercial aired during the MTV Video Music Awards. Given the cost of such TV airtime, Sony is showing some faith in Minidisc's future.
8/27:Watch your flank Sony! The sleek, $400 iRiver iHP-100 portable hard disk recorder's optical I/O, PCM/MP3 support, and PC/Mac uploading capabilities are sure to engender wistful longing among Minidisc users. Its limitations? No microphone jack or on-the-fly recording level control. Discuss...
8/25:Remember the Burton Analog Clone snowboarding suit with built-in MD player? Ed Barlow points out a NYT article (cached) on the company's founder, Jake Burton.
8/24:Keeping up with Kohn's: World's fastest: Panasonic's RX-MDX81 boombox can copy CD->MD at 6X realtime, but it lacks the MP3-CD support found on the RX-MDX61, its predecessor. World's fanciest: Panasonic's SJ-MJ18 player comes in 30 different faceplates. // Panasonic's SJ-MR200 service manual makes the scene. Its block diagrams (p. 3) indicates their [ca. 2000] ATRAC chip uses an external shock-proof memory. // Minidisc T-Station reports new JVC blank designs.
8/22:Back to ``World's Thinnest, Smallest, Lightest!'' but this time for HDD players: John Pariseu points out photos and Japanese info for the MSRP ¥50,000 (US$425) Toshiba Gigabeat G20 MP3 player (English coverage from The Register). The MD player-shaped unit sports a 20GB 1.8" hard drive, backlit main LCD display, and a playing time of 11 hours on its LiIon cell. (See bigger photos at AV-Watch Japan). Discuss... // The ever cheaper Sharp SD-NX10: DYao finds the unit at DarrinsDealDepot for $180 (free shipping).
8/20:Stop the presses: Paul points out cheaper Sharp SD-NX10s at (and a $10 off coupon for new customers). Total: $180 (w/free shipping). // More Sharp SD-NX10's: Bob points out another 11 Sharp MDLP bookshelf systems on eBay. Shipping fees have increased, bringing the total to $230 w/shipping & insurance.
8/19:Minidisc T-Station hosts a solid MD-DR7 review by Koen Lageveen.
8/18:A friend sends in Panasonic service manuals with block diagrams for the SJ-MR220 and SJ-MJ50 portables.
8/16:Raji finds a detailed Sony MZ-E10 review at // Sold out: B. Chapman points out 12 Sharp SD-NX10 bookshelf systems with one day to go on ebay for $222 new (w/shipping). Standard manufacturer's warranty.
8/13:Zach Zaletel spots the JVC MX-WMD90 bookshelf system new for $250 at (with 17 in stock, reportedly). This unusual pre-MDLP machine (ca. early 2000) has a 3CD and 3MD changer, plus a second MD drive, allowing MD to MD copies. No warranty apparently, although Overstock has a 30 day return policy (and 15% restocking fee)
8/12:Jack Nouws finds the M-Audio transit, a $100 bidirection analog/digital USB audio adapter that will run at up to 24bit/96khz into PCs or Macs.
8/11:So Minidisc was a flop? Mercer Management Consulting's Economics' Gift to Marketing (full paper) describes a scientific method for predicting product popularity. They consider Minidisc, Iridium satellite phones, and the Apple Newton to be exemplary failures. Discuss... // Ed Barlow leads us to HHB, which is developing the PortaDrive, an 8 channel, 24-bit/96kHz portable hard drive recorder. Price is apparently still top-secret. // Team Digital (Singapore) has the Sharp MD-MT190 ($160), MD-DR480 ($245) and Sony MZ-N910 ($285) in stock. All come with additional blanks (and the Sharps with USB PC-Link kits for realtime audio downloads).
8/7:A functioning toy Minidisc player? For five dollars!? Zac Travis finds a Kid's Mini Disc Player Set from ABC Distributing that comes with 4 discs of tunes such as "Polly Wolly Doodle" and "Old MacDonald". We called the retailer and found out that it is indeed a toy and won't play real Minidiscs. Discuss...
8/6:Sony has been distributing a cute, flash-based MD label creator (1.7MB zip) on a business card-size CD-ROM.
8/5:The Sony MDS-B5 service manual appears. This pro-use MD deck (ca. 1997) is unusual in that it has two (2) ATRAC chips (see p. 51).
8/3:A friend sends in service manuals for the Panasonic SJ-MJ55, SJ-MJ75, SJ-MJ88 and SJ-MR230 units. Sadly, Panasonic manuals lack the elaborate schematic and logic diagrams of Sony's service documentation.
8/2:Michael Horvath kindly updates the Sony portable MD recorder chart to include the MZ-N1/N707/N505/R910 and R909 machines.
8/1:ATRAC3plus details from Sony: Peter Ravn discovers Sony's updated ATRAC3 site. Did you know ATRAC3plus uses a giant 92ms transform window and splits the input signal into 16 equal frequency bands before doing the FFT? (FAQ entry)
7/31:Richard Prinsloo points out the Sharp MD-DR470 user manual. The manual mentions no charging cradle, does the MD-DR470 differ from the MD-DR7 in this respect? Discuss... // Gary Bingner responds to Stephen Williams' explanation of his views on the Sony MZ-E10.
7/29:Stephen Williams claims he has no Sony MZ-E10 attitude problem (search "minidisc"). Courtesy Ed Barlow
7/28:Ed Barlow finds an interesting NewObserver article covering concert tapers, the trading scene and their recording equipment (including Minidisc -- which the hardcore crowd still shuns!). Discuss...
7/25:Jeremy Fraser points out photos and Japanese info for the Sharp SD-VH9/90/CX9 (mech. trans), featuring MD/DVD/CD/SACD playback and 4X CD->MD dubbing. // Upon Chris Benson's suggestion we incorporate Rio17's updates that allow adding MZ-N1 features to Sony MZ-N707 and N505 units. // Matt Charman's fine tutorial on MP3<->Minidisc transfers is fished from the Wayback Machine (what a wonderful invention, eh?).
7/24:Christian Catchpole describes his simultaneous use of MD recorders to achieve multi-track recording. Discuss... // Ravn sends in an IEEE trans. on Consumer Electronics paper from the University of Genoa detailing their implementation of Minidisc's ACIRC error correction (a variation on the CD's CIRC ["Cross-Interleave Reed-Solomon Code"]).
7/23:Hebert and Ravn spot news of Iomega's DCT platform, a 1.5GB read/write magnetic disc in a 30mm stainless steel cartridge, intended for camcorders and portable video players (The Register is skeptical of how well yet another medium will be embraced). // Daniel Stearman notices refurbed Sony MZ-R500PCs for $67 from eCost (free shipping, 90 day parts and labor warranty, includes Xitel MDPort-AN1).
7/22:Charles Alcocer finds a Tech-TV review of the Sony MZ-NF610. They incorrectly state that it can record from a microphone however.
7/15:Deputy Barlow points out an Australian IT article that still finds virtue (read: low costs) in cassette recorders for mobile recording. Has anyone else heard of the Minidisc overheating problem mentioned for cheaper units? Discuss... // Dave scans in the user manual for the Sony MXD-D400 CD/MD deck. This unit will record MP3-CDs to MD, but only via an analog, realtime link.
7/14:Ed Barlow snoops out some Minidisc tidbits: An article in (AU) talks about the coming age of hard disk and broadband audio and the corresponding drop in portable MD and CD units to be caused by MP3 players. But MD portables already compete quite well with MP3 players! // A BBC news article by Stuart Hughes (who was maimed by a landmine in Iraq) discusses the trials of being a war journalist. His audio equipment (Minidisc included) was a trivially small package compared to all the requisite protective gear. // Only seven-thousand prerecordeds sold since January!? An interesting Reuters article details the sorry state of the music industry (year-to-date sales are down 8% over last year). At the end of the article it mentions that only 7,000 pre-recorded MDs have been sold so far this year. // Ben Garland points out Memorex 80' blanks for US$13 a 10 pack at Circuit City (free shipping). This works out to 65 cents an album (in LP2 mode), which may explain what has happened to the pre-recorded market!
7/12:Ed Barlow finds an article on the Digitalization of Tri-State Radio, describing how their reporters make interviews to Minidisc and subsequently transfer them to the station's digital equipment. (They don't mention how much they enjoy being saddled with realtime-only transfers however)
7/5: With Cosmopolitans and veggie spring rolls: Ed Barlow points out a Newsday article unhappy with the Sony MZ-E10 because it doesn't record. // Ed also spots the Xitel press release for their MD-Port I/O, a USB audio adapter with analog input and analog and digital output. // Minidisc contest for Dutchmen and Belgians: is holding a contest with a Sony MZ-N10 as grand prize. // John Rappold finds the Sony MZ-NF810 at Circuit City for US$280.
7/4:Sony HK posts a breakdance themed NetMD commercial (local copy) on their MD page as noted by Minidisc T-Station. The advertisement takes a few liberties with NetMD download alacrity in the name of artistic license. The narrator finishes with "64X high-speed transferring" in Chinese (courtesy Wai Hung Fung) // Bengin and Chan point out Detour, a US$10 Macintosh program for selectively redirecting audio output to a USB audio adapter, enabling e.g. flawless recording of iTunes to Minidisc while random sounds and alerts play through the Mac's built-in speakers. Is there a PC program to do the same thing? Windows users can at least set their machines to shut-up. // James Nolan notes that Mironics (makers of PC parallel-port based controller hardware and software for Sony MDs) has improved their analog uploading feature to automatically adjust recording levels and cut uploaded audio into separate files based upon silent gaps of user-settable level and duration. He also reports that promotion code MDSMDT03 is still valid for purchases on the site.
6/29:New ATRAC Type-R details in Sony's AV-Catalog allow us to take an educated guess about what differentiates it from previous versions. Discuss... // Thomas Rådén sends in the Sony MZ-N10 service manual.
6/28: Patrick Sinco finds a detailed article on nature sound recording in the April Electronic Musician magazine that surveys current recording gear, including Minidisc. // Edward Barlow spots an interesting Newsday piece on Praveen Chaudhari the new Brookhaven National Lab director. It reports that he did seminal work in amorphous magnetic materials, which were subsequently employed in Sony's Minidisc system. (search "minidisc"). // 80' blanks under $1: Cassette House is offering sleeveless 80' SAVIT blanks for ~$5 a 5-pack (through July 5, while supplies last). // Clay Schneider points out iRiver's English page for the previously mentioned iHP-100 10GB MP3 recorder. The unit is due in July sporting USB 2.0 and S/PDIF optical I/O. // Paul Czajka notes that Apple's recently announced G5 system offers S/PDIF optical I/Os // The page top session-counter has been restored and now runs locally. (Anyone remember the value before it was summarily deleted by
6/27:Last of the battery powered MD boomboxes: David Fincher points out several Yahoo retailers still carrying the [non-MDLP] Casio ZD-1 boombox, some for as little as US$85. (At EverythingOnline you can use coupon code "Fourth" until July 7 for 10% off. Shipping is ~US$10.) // We've always agreed Sony made tasteful Minidisc gear, now Sony Belgium claims that MD portables are tasty as well. (Courtesy Jon Deutsch)
6/26: Minidisc Australia has made a lovely MZ-N910 photo gallery. // Apple disses Sony's disc: Several readers point out Apple Japan's Hello iPod. Goodbye, MD campaign running in Japan. A related Apple press release touts the 5 million tracks and 1 million iPods they've sold to date. // Inflatable speakers? Ed Barlow finds the Ellula HotAirSubwoofer and speakers that are inflatable and well-suited for use with portable MD and MP3 players (search "minidisc"). // Bob Megling notes that the US$250 Behringer Ultramatch Pro will do sample rate conversion, DAC and ADC duties, and casually set SCMS flags to your liking. // Danny Lopez spots a cute Sony MD armband case; the $20 accessory is available at B&H Photo (NYC) and, he reports, at Best Buy.
6/25:Sony refreshes their CD/MD deck: Dave points out Sony's MXD-D400 5CD/MDLP unit; similar in function to the 3 year old MXD-D5C. // Cubic Alkaline cells arriving: Dave Edney finds further mention of Duracell LP1 cells, sized to fit portables accepting NiMH "gumpack" batteries.
6/20:Sony media blitz? Articles in the New York Times, Mercury News and Australian IT tout the virtues of the Minidisc format, one calling it the "Wave of the present". (Courtesy Barlow, Sinco, Hutton and Wang). // OutwardSound appears to be the first US retailer importing the Sony MZ-NE810 portable downloader/player. // Brian Rost finds Sony blanks at Radio Shack, they apparently no long carry the "Emtec" brand.
6/17:A reader finds an interesting Transom Tools article discussing Minidisc use in radio journalism (a reporter's Sony MZ-B100 made into combat in Iraq and continues to function). Included are recommendations on the pro's and con's of Sony vs. Sharp units. // George Kwok points out Japanese coverage of Sharp's MD-F350 CD/MDLP boombox : 4X CD->MD recording, cell-phone style titling, 3 timer modes, and Karaoke mic mixing jack compete for surprise-factor on this handsomely styled unit. // USB digital I/O adapter: Doyle and Wahl discover Creative's SoundBlaster MP3+ USB audio adapter; the US$60 unit sports S/PDIF optical as well as analog I/O jacks (including microphone and headphones).
6/13: OutwardSound opens shop, providing equipment for portable audio recording to Minidisc and beyond. // Richard Prinsloo points out Sound Professional's tips for Sony recorders lacking a microphone sensitivity switch. // Youthful enthusiasm: Paul Pival finds a DesignTechnica Talkback column extolling the virtues of Minidisc. It garnered a considerable message board response. // Tor Skude spots new Bit-Club blank designs from TDK. // Christopher shoots a set of Sony MZ-E505 snapshots. // Doug Graham discovers decent prices for Sony in-dash gear at Refurb Depot (search "minidisc"): the MDX-CA680X MDLP receiver for $240 and the MDX-66XLP 6-MD changer for $286. (90-day warranty only, caveat emptor)
6/12: High quality audio uploading from portables: Minidisc Access and Minidisco now offer the Xitel MD-Port I/O. This ~$70 USB peripheral will make high quality [albeit realtime] uploads from a portable MD to a PC. Included software simplifies the process by automating the recording-level step. (Macintosh users already have the Griffen iMic, which serves similar purposes.)
6/9: Perestroika's promise? Dariusza finds Sony Poland's Minidisc Site. // The Minidiscussion remix project is now looking for moderators. Are you interested?
6/8: The Minidiscussion poll is now in the final round. The 2 choices: clean it up, or shut it down. Your vote counts! // Theodore Shusterman discovers the user operation manual (15MB) for the Sony MDM-X4, their 1996 four-track MD recorder based around the MD-Data disk. // Ed Barlow finds Minidisc mention in a Washington Post article covering performing arts in the DC region. The Japanese pop-punk band Byokie uses Minidisc for backing tracks on stage (search "minidisc").
6/7: Heavy Armor in High Fidelity: Ed Barlow finds a Napa News article on the continuing Psy-Ops work in Iraq. Soldiers are reportedly using Sony Minidisc portables with "custom mix" discs that include commands in Arabic as well as helicopter and tank sounds. // A New York Times editorial delivers a riposte to the Recording Industry (cached) on their inept response to online music.
6/6:Remember the Minidiscussion boards? Board member Andrew has contacted Eric Whitney (its original webmaster) and started a user poll to determine its fate. // Minidisc Access reports price cuts on all their MD storage systems. // Minidisco has a Minidisc waist-belt ($20) and powered Sony travel speakers ($50) in their Father's Day flyer. // Wayne Starick finds TDK's nifty I'm-a-speaker. The $30 unit is an audio carrying case with built-in AA-cell powered speakers that is intended for use with portable audio gear. // Solving the dusty deck problem: Michael Croaker makes a lovely scan of his Sony MDS-302 MD deck manual (2.7MB).
6/5: Gerald Tomyn (Audio Computer/Minidisc website editor) sends in a lovely Minidisc Timeline from Sony Hong Kong. // Ed Barlow finds µ the inquirer coverage of Sony UK's announcement of the CMT-M333NT and CMT-C7NT NetMD systems. // Ed also spots favorable mention of the Sony MZ-B100 portable "business" recorder at The Age (Aus.). // Susan La Rose notes good prices (~$1.50 ea.) on Fuji 80' blanks (sans sleeves) at Best Buy in San Bernardino, Ca.
6/4:Bob finds the Tascam MD-350 Pro MD Deck for $470 at //Ed Barlow spots the Sony MZ-NE410 mentioned as a gadget-season item in the San Jose Mercury News. // Tiny Hard Drives -- Take 2 Fabian LaMaestra points out a c|net article on 1.5GB hard drives from Cornice; similar in form-factor to the 1-inch IBM Microdrive, the unit spares parts (RAM, etc) to enable use in low cost embedded devices such as an upcoming portable video camera from Samsung.
6/2:John Jerabek points out Sony Czech's portable and in-dash Minidisc units. // Core-Sound's PDAudio (a 24-bit/192KHz DAT replacement) gets a lengthly review in Electronic Design News. // Speaking of EDN, technical editor Brian Dipert has written an article on lossy audio compression (pdf) that goes into considerable detail.
6/1:No mic input for Mexico? A reader points out Sony Mexico's NetMD page where only the MZ-N510 and MZ-NE410 portables are available (the latter also in "CK" [car kit] garb however). The site does show Sony Mexico's NetMD TV commercial, a variant of the original Sony Australia version. // Minidisc Access is offering an MD rack called "The Globe"; it holds MDs in place with a crystal ball and a bit of gravity. // Rinaldi Wibowo finds Subaru has an in-dash MDLP unit available for the Legacy (mech. trans). // Ed Barlow spots a Seattle Post-Intelligencer colunm indicating RealAudio is starting an $0.80/track download service called Rhapsody (from their partnership with And Michael Conner finds a Wired article on the topic. // Ed also discovers a QRS Music press release for one of the oddist audio setups ever: One can use a QRS Psalmist and its specially designed "electronic fingers" to mechanically play a Hammond B3 organ. The odd part is that the fingering control codes can be stored on one audio channel of a CD or MD, leaving the second channel free for storing pre-recorded music (e.g. vocal material).
5/28:A reader comes across the Japanese page for the iRiver iHP-100 (mech trans), a 10GB Hard Disk based MP3 recorder/player with USB 2.0 connectivity, line and optical S/PDIF audio I/O, and an FM tuner to boot. // While on the topic of audio equipment unstifled by corporate agenda: Paul Cook points out the US$300 Fostex MR-8, a battery powered, non-compressing solid-state 8-track recorder (sadly USB 1.0 however). The included 128MB CF card will store a 3 minute song in 8-track format. Half-rate sampling and larger cards allow longer takes (capacities of up to 1GB being available).
5/26: Team Digital (Singapore) offers the following [world model] portable MD recorders: the Sony MZ-N910 (US$285), the MZ-NF810 (US$270) and the Sharp MD-MT190 (US$160). The Sonys include 10 free blanks, the Sharp includes a Sharp AD-USB1 analog USB->MD link and a few 80' blanks (all require~$20 shipping to the US). // Brian Rost finds the MDS-JE480 deck for $150 at (search for "je480"). // MD Humor? Eric Brown spots Minidisc mention on a website [desperately] trying to make the most of airline safety placards. // Brian also notes that Crutchfield has Sony 80' blanks for under $1.70 each (in packs of 15) and 74' blanks singly for $1.50.
5/22:Edward Barlow points out NZ press coverage of the war between the Labels and equipment makers. // Edward also spots an SFB Guardian article on Nate Denver's Neck, mentioning that he uses Minidisc as a drum machine and sampler during performances.
5/19:Minidisc Access is stocking several 12 and 24 MD organizer cases as well as an unusual 3-ring zipper pouch for carrying a portable and several MDs in a looseleaf notebook.
5/16:Xitel USB input device headed to USA: Xitel reports that their MD-Port I/O will be available from Minidisco, Planet Minidisc and XitelDirect sometime this month for about US$70. The brochure states that it will come with recording software that automatically sets levels and uses silence to record tracks into multiple files. Coupling this with Win NMD [further info] may yield interesting possibilities. // Arthur Aiguzhinov points out 1 2 photos of Sony's UMD ("Universal Media Device") that is slated for introduction late next year with their Playstation portable. (Maybe it's a read-only medium?)
5/15:Art department working overtime at Panasonic: Delarue and Pan point out Panasonic's SJ-MJ17 & SJ-MJ18 portable MD players, featuring 23 front panel variations in all. // Sound Professionals (microphone makers and equipment suppliers) has opened a Discussion Forum to help folks looking for gear.
5/14:Next Generation Minidisc? Joey Lie points out IGN coverage of Sony's Playstation Portable (PSP), scheduled for Q4 2004 release. The impressive gaming machine will sport a Universal Media Device (UMD) that holds 1.8GB on a 60mm optical disk (cf. Minidisc's 64mm diameter) and uses ATRAC encoding for music. (CNNMoney coverage) Discuss... // NetMD contest en Español: Rafael Teran points out a contest giving away 2 NetMD portables at Atomix (Mexico).
5/ writes a nice introduction to Minidisc for gaijin overwhelmed by their ubiquity in Japan. // Did you know Xitel makes a USB device that handles realtime audio input? Minidisc Australia now carries the Xitel MD-Port I/O, a AU$130 device that provides analog and digital output and analog input (i.e. MD->PC transfers). // Prerecorded MDs on the wane: Zambrano and others report that HMV, CDPlus, Borders, and CDNow have dropped their titles in Minidisc format.
5/11: Sony introduces the MZ-NE810 portable, their second NetMD downloader after the MZ-NE410. Due June 10th, the unit is the first with a "Download" button; pressing it initiates CD-ripping, CDDB labelling and NetMD downloading without further ado. (Courtesy Rainier Siows) Discuss... // Christian Steffen notices a Sony MZ-R70 in a photo of Clay Aiken being interviewed in Washington (he's an American Idol contestant).
5/9:Sony's corny Minidisc wrappers: Carlson and Barlow spot an AP article on bio-degradable corn products that mentions Sony's use of the material in Minidisc packaging. // Christophe Delarue points out further car audio gear from Japan: Sony's WX-5900MD double-DIN CD/MDLP receiver and MDX-66XLPRF; the latter a standalone 6-MD changer that couples through the existing stereo's antenna lead.
5/7:The Apple iPod joins the uploader club! Several readers report the discovery of hardware recording capability in the new iPods. (Courtesy // Jan Sundström points out Pioneer Europe's MJ-L11 MD deck; it appears to be an MDLP version of the MJ-L77. // Mike Jovanovic discovers that The Wiggles use Minidisc for backing audio during their concerts. // Paul Perry spots a Sonic Foundry press release indicating that Sony Pictures will buy Sound Forge. Could a native ATRAC editor be in the cards?
5/5:Minidisc car-audio heaven happening in Japan: Christophe Delarue points out recent Pioneer in-dash MD gear, the single DIN MEH-P005, MEH-P007, MEH-P515, MEH-P717 and MEH-P919 units, plus the 2-DIN FH-P005 that handles MDs and MP3-CDs in the same unit. // Our favorite, for its offbeat, retro, cool-factor however is the Panasonic CQ-VX5500D; this in-dash unit has analog VU meters and is reminiscent of old Crown and Marantz gear styling.
5/4: Hunter Wright describes how he modified a Sony MDS-JE470 to give it a digital optical output jack. // Eric Campbell spots the Sony MZ-NF610 for US$178 at OnlineMinistore (including shipping).
5/3:Nagaldinn and Pham point out a reasonably detailed Sony MZ-E10 review with good photos at (Singapore). // Minidisco is offering Sharp's MD-F230 CD/MDLP table boombox (with world-band FM) for $300. // The ninety-cent blank: Cassette House is selling Samsung blanks for $4.50 a five pack (shipping not included). The sale ends 5/10.
5/1:Minidisc Australia posts a gallery of Sharp MD-DR480 photos.
4/30:When 4 gig barely lasts an hour: Core Sound adds news about their PDAudioCF digital input card. The $200 unit is a CF form-factor S/PDIF input adapter (optical or coax) handling audio sampled at up to 192KHz/24bits, thus allowing PDAs (e.g. iPAQs) to be used as raw PCM digital recorders (but have a high capacity CompactFlash storage card and external A/D handy!). // Or maybe just skip the A/D: Peter Rice points out a National semiconductor overview and technical sheet for their digital microphone. It's a normal electret microphone with an IC in the capsule that outputs a digital bitstream. Format conversion to S/PDIF would still be needed. // Sam Gibbard finds suppliers for the Plano 3730 tackle box; ideal for storing up to 150 MDs, and only US$6. // New Sony portables spotted on US retail shelves: MZ-NF610 @ $200 (Target) MZ-N510 @ $170 (WalMart) MZ-NE410 @ $130 (Circuit City). Courtesy Brian Rost
4/29: Apple announces an online music distribution service, selling song downloads for a dollar. They're also offering a new iPod to go with it -- up to 30GB of storage in a new, sleeker package. // Geoffrey Heffernan discovers that his Sony WX-7700MDX in-dash MD unit and XT-XM1 satellite radio work splendidly together, even displaying the satellite radio track names on the head unit via its Unilink inputs.
4/28: German vendors now have stock of the blue Sony MZ-N910 (€335) as first reported on 16 March.
4/23: Clint Mers updates his SimplerMD application for simplyfying the Nero/SimpleBurner method of creating NetMDs. It should now work with the latest version of Sony's SimpleBurner. // The Sound Professionals have a couple of new single-point omnidirectional stereo mics. The SPSM-12 and SPSM-13.
4/21: Gary Bingner tells us the MD clearance offers at Target (first reported on 9th) extend to St. Louis Park, Minnesota where the Sony MZ-R505 in gold is $90 and MZ-R707 in blue is $139.
4/18:And others are not inhibited by Minidisc: Ed Barlow finds a Guardian (UK) article mentioning a Funk & Kozak album made from Minidisc recordings of their romps in the bedroom.
4/ (Germany) posts hi-res shots of Sony's MZ-B10, MZ-R410 (blue), MZ-N510 and MZ-E310 (blue). // Joseph Jupin finds nicely made Minidisc Icons at
4/15:Rockbox, the group of hackers that reverse-engineered the Archos Jukebox and authored an open-source version of the firmware, has just released Version 2.0. It is so far ahead of what Archos offers in terms of feature-set, speed, stability, and support that there is simply no reason not to run it.
4/14:Yet another group of musicians fettered by Sony's Minidisc: Mr. Hadwahnos points out Outlet, a band with a cool recording setup involving a Yamaha MD-8 multitracker that they quite like, but "since the technology is based on Minidisc, we have to transfer it to CD with a CD burner". // George Kwok spots the Sony CMT-M33NT NetMD bookshelf system. The ~¥30,000 unit's attractive and understated styling hides a significant set of features (alas, a world-band FM tuner is not among them). // Minidisc T-Station partner Audio Cubes is having an anniversary sale on the Sharp MD-DR7 ($240), a 10-pack of Sony Neige blanks ($10), and the Sony RM-MC11ELS remote ($40) (sans shipping).
4/12:George Kwok points out Sharp's Japanese page for their MD-ST660 MDLP player (mech. trans. [details]). The unit sports a simplified design, acrylic fiber top surface, and 155 hour (max.) battery life.
4/10:(Just when the topic was poised to scroll away:) Philips readies their 15GB HDD100 MP3 recorder, touting the 167 gram unit as the world's smallest recording jukebox (cf. MZ-R55 @190g w/batt). They are also running a contest to become a beta tester. Discuss... // PDA users can now sync-up a daily dose of Minidisc Community news from MobileMDNews.html. (Thanks to Andrew Thomas for the suggestion)
4/9:Jean-Pierre Chartrand describes how to create Minidisc based Audio Cue Cards as a study aid. // Phil Porteus suggests using Minidisc for listening to Audio Books. // Yuriy Borokhov points out Japanese info for the Panasonic CQ-DMR993D, a ¥120,000 (~US$1200) single-DIN in-dash CD/CD-MP3/MDLP/DVD player with flip-up, HDD aspect-ratio viewing screen (you will likely need an FM-band convertor to use it outside of Japan). // Ed Porras reports that his Gainesville, FL Target store had Sony MZ-N505s for $90 and MZ-N707s for $135, on clearance. Further sightings appreciated.
4/8:Clint Mers develops SimplerMD, a Windows program that scripts together Sony's SimpleBurner and Nero to provide one-shot downloading of a full MD's worth of MP3 audio. Discussion/Support
4/7:Michael Hall finds the entry level Sony MZ-R501 (non-NetMD) portable MD recorder for CDN$150 at SonyStyle Canada until April 21. // When you've got the hang of Hangul: MDMan (Korea) points out Yewon, Korea's hottest Minidisc repair shop.
4/6:Back to Baghdad (and Minidisc): Scott Lynch finds an AP Photo of a Minidisc Iraqi fighters claim to have taken from a U.S. tank. // Trevor Bommersbach points out an Impress Watch (Japan) page covering Kenwood MDU-PC NetMD drives (mech. trans.) found in Japanese electronics surplus shops. Suitable for mounting in 5" drive bays, the units are being sold with no accompanying driver softare for ¥5800 (~US$50). // Minidisc T-Station is having a graphic design contest entitled "Ride the Waves with Minidisc" (discussion thread). // The uploaders find their home at the bottom of the accessories browser.
4/5:Into the Abyss: We add equipment browser entries for portable, uploadable, recording devices. We'd appreciate help finding ones we've missed. Discuss...
4/4:Minidisc UK has freshened their website and now offers Minidisc Titler v2.0. The US$40 adapter (reviewed in HiFi World) connects a portable Sony MD recorder (models MZ-R90 through MZ-R900) to a parallel port for PC based titling and control functions. // (Singapore) offers Sharp's MD-MT190 for US$160 and MD-DR480 (aka DR7) for US$245 plus several other MD goodies (shipping: US$20). // Sony US 2003 MD portables: Kham finds 2003 model Sony portables (MZ-NE410, MZ-N510, MZ-NF610, MZ-NF810) in stock at (search for "minidisc"). // John Shumate spots Sony's latest at Crutchfield (MZ-NE410, MZ-NF610, MZ-NF810CK, MZ-N10) and Circuit City (MZ-NF610) // Edward Barlow notes that a band called The Fight has used MD in their promotion (serach for "minidisc" within the article). // Dariusza in Gdansk points out Polish BestMedia MD blanks (follow links: produkty -> Minidisc). // More blanks: Bruce Yarbor finds 10 packs of Memorex 80m blanks for $15 at his local Best Buy (Oklahoma City).
4/2:Thomas Reed points out plans for a low cost microphone preamp, useful for low end MD and hard disk recorders with only LINE level inputs. // Archos (of all places!) sells a preamplified microphone for US$50, specifically for their recorders with LINE level input. This would likely work with Minidisc portables such as the MZ-R500 and MZ-N505 that have LINE inputs but no microphone jacks.
4/1:We give up on Minidisc!; give site over to support of Hard Disk based audio devices. Discuss... (Sorry folks -- April Fools!) // An Audiophile article discusses the benefits of upgrading the stock Archos hard drive with the latest from IBM.
3/30: End of the external battery case? Ed Barlow points out Duracell's announcement of Alkaline batteries in a "gumpack" form factor (photo, Duracell page, cf. Duracell AA cell specs) . They apparently have 80% the volume of AA cells and correspondingly less capacity, but their 1500mAh rating tops the 1400mAh of NiMH cells. // Ed also finds an article on Elson Trinidad, a musician who uses Minidisc for sampling exotic sounds (search for "minidisc").
3/29:From the Breakfast table to the Battlefield: Dane Miller finds a Sony NetMD offer on the back of his cereal box, and an article in The Guardian (UK) tells how the military is using Minidisc on the ground to blast out messages in Arabic over PA speakers. Do you reckon they've titled the tracks with notes such as "Surrender!", "Lay down your arms!", etc. ? Discuss... // John Yockachonis points out TOC cloning instructions for Sharp MD-MT15 class machines. Wherefore TOC cloning?
3/28:Minidisc over Iraq: John Salomone spots an MD recorder in an MSNBC TV segment on the US Air Force plane flying over Iraq that is broadcasting in Arabic on local civilian radio bands exhorting the Iraqi army not to fight (aka psy-ops). The footage distinctly shows a close-up of the playback source on the plane: a blue Sony MZ-N707. // Craig Bennett finds a CNET news article discussing the problems Flash memory will be facing ca. 2005. // Francesco points out AVWatch (Japan) photos of the Aiwa AM-NX1 NetMD downloader (mech. trans).
3/25: Andy finds Sony user manuals at for the MZ-NE410, MZ-N510CK, MZ-NF610, MZ-NF810CK, and MZ-N10 portables. // Cassette House is having a sale on Samsung blanks; they're $5.75 a 5-pack with another 20% off before March 31 (use coupon code "samc24").
3/23:Babylon Minidisc: Edward Barlow points out a Sunday Herald article (Scotland) mentioning a Royal Scots Guard Lt. Colonel in the war who received a Minidisc of Verdi's Nabucco (an opera based upon the story of the 5th century BC Babylonian King). Search for "minidisc". // Minidisc Australia posts a detailed gallery of MZ-N510 photos. // Planet Minidisc has the entire line of Sony US 2003 portables on their site, with the MZ-NE410 and MZ-N510CK in stock. // Hannes Sehestedt finds the Sony US model MZ-N10 at Crutchfield.
3/17:Message to the Whitehouse: It's not yet too late! But first, load this (hi-band) onto the staff's Minidisc players (lo-band, text). // MDCenter (NL) has clear photos (but as yet little else) for the Aiwa AM-NX9 NetMD Recorders (scroll down the page). // Minidisc Australia assembles a good gallery of MZ-N710 photos. // Jeremy Fraser finds a Kenwood Japanese press release for the Avino SL-3MD bookshelf system. The unit features a digital equalizer with presets, MDLP, and group mode support.
3/16:Peter Rice finds word in a New Scientist article of Sony's D-NE510 ATRAC3/MP3/CD player (the unit will be available in mid-April). The article also mentions a portable DVD MP3 player from Philips. // Suzanne Woodbury finds the Sony MZ-B10 available for $300 from Sony Style USA.
3/13:Vishal Patel finds the Sony MZ-NE410 for $75 at (in an auction lot of 700 new units ending 8:30PM EST).
3/10:Read manufacturer's instructions before immersing any electronic item! Gary Bingner spots a Shape magazine photo of a Sony MZ-S1 in extreme conditions (fullsize). // George Kwok finds a photo and Japanese info for Sharp's MD-ST600 player. The unit sports an acrylic fiber front face and max 155 hr battery life (AA + NiMH).
3/9:Rob Spalding spots the [non-MDLP] JVC MX-WMD90 available from Electronics eMall for $250. This double-MD unit will dub MDs (in realtime, over an analog link).
3/6:Peter Ravn finds a Sony Deutschland page with hi-res photos of the 2003 recorders.
3/3:Michael Robbins spots Sony's two-page Minidisc spread in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (full size). // Gary Morgan finds an interesting article by John Dawson, chairman of Arcam Audio (UK). In it he discusses the problems CD protection is creating for equipment manufacturers.
2/28:Anton & Odinecs find a brief CNET sheet covering Sony USA's 2003 MD portable lineup. // A quick MZ-NE410 search in Google reveals that the unit is widely available now (even CompUSA has them in their stores).
2/26:NetMD recording for well under $100: Cornelis de Groot finds the Sony MZ-N505 NetMD recorder for under $82 at the Ubid Superstore, shipping included (this is Ubid's "Buy it now" store, not their auction site).
2/24:Back to 1998: Florian Haller points out one we missed: the Sony DPA-300, a digital video still recorder based on MD-Data. It's still available from places like Telcor for as little as US$225. We've also gathered a few more details on Sony's earlier, high-end DKR-700 digital still recorder.
2/22:Like an Edsel!? A reader points out a bit of Minidisc market ignorance in the first paragraph of an ESPN sports story. // Joe Chellman restores Morton's external mic-input level control plans (we also keep a copy). // And you can appreciate their superior sound after a spliff: Minidisc T-Station posts photos of Maxell's glow-in-the-dark blanks (Japanese press release). // Convert your portable MD unit into a boombox: MiniDisc Access carries the US$25 Boom-Boom Multi-box: a set of speakers and an AA cell powered 2W+2W amp in a water-resistant case that has room for an MD portable. // Barry Choi reminds us that (Canada) stocks some 564 pre-recorded Minidisc titles (click "Minidisc" under "Specialty Items" in the left hand column).
2/20: Core Sound is developing PDAudio-CF, an S/PDIF adapter in a Compact Flash form factor that, when coupled with an A/D and a PC or PDA, will allow 24 bit recording at up to 192kHz. Price is slated to be under $1000 for a complete, portable, hi-resolution audio recording system. A portable, 24bit, 96kHz mic preamp/A-to-D will be introduced with it. Third party development is encouraged and the Linux/Windows drivers will be open-source. // Yves Le Page adds photos to his auto-track-mark timer circuit construction project for Sony MD decks (en Français).
2/18: Reg Smith points out the MSRP¥50,000 Sanyo CDF-MS11 and MSRP¥60,000 CDF-MC2 in-dash CD/MDLP units. They employ the JVC KD-MX2900 technique of using a single slot for both CD and MD playback. The 'MS11 is 1DIN, the 'MC2 is 2DIN and handles cassette as well. Both are Japanese FM band only, so you'll need a car radio frequency converter to use one abroad. How to get the Sanyo? Japan-Direct and Melting-Pot will generally purchase and ship any Japanese gear you're shopping for. // François Demont adds comparisons with a Sony ECM-MS907 microphone to his Sony microphone evaluations (en Français). Surprisingly he prefers the cheaper, ECM-MS717.
2/13: (Ger) offers the Sharp MD-DR470 (Euro MD-DR7 [high-res]) for 280€; they also stock the Sharp MD-MT270 and are taking preorders for its big brother, the MD-MT290, equipped with non-LCD remote and microphone input jack. // Do you notice yourself thinking about microphone enlargement? Sound Professionals is offering a Rode NT4 Stereo XY condenser microphone in a package with the Sharp MD-MT190 for $100; total cost: $550. // Richard Prinsloo sent along images from a Sony Minidisc 10th Anniversary CD-ROM to update our Sony portable equipment entries (did you know Sony made a special Boss Coffee MZ-E7W model for a Suntory canned drink campaign?). Minidisc images from the CD provide a gallery of Sony blanks ca. 1992-2002 (notice this 74' beauty from 1993; MSRP $17!). // NetMD Titling under Linux/Unix: Pete Ryland's gnetmd is a freeware source package (in development) that runs as a GNOME 2.0 desktop app and can be used for titling on NetMD equipment (see its screenshot).
2/11: Listening to 3 Sony microphones: François Demont shows what interesting work can be done with some careful technique and a few expensive reference microphones. His calibrated recordings through 3 Sony microphones (en Français) show clear differences in audio quality. If you only have a moment, listen to this short pair of recordings contrasting the self-noise of a $100 Sony ECM-TS125 and an $1800 Schoeps microphone. Other interesting tidbits are a pair of recordings made with and without the Sharp MD-MT888 microphone preamp. Needless to say, listening to all these through headphones is practically de rigueur. // offers the Goldies MDS-12 Traveler for $17; the padded pouch holds 12 MDs and a portable and is modeled after the discontinued CaseLogic MDC-12. // Minidisco has Sharp MD-MT190s in stock for $200. // NetMD for $100: Ara Hagopian finds a $30 mail-in rebate at Circuit City, bringing the final price of a Sony MZ-N505 to $100. // Brian Donovan spots the [non-MDLP] Blaupunkt New Orleans in-dash MD receiver for $200 at Crutchfield. // James Nakashima notes a Sony Canada offer for an extra, upgraded set of headphones with their MZ-N10, MZ-NE410 and MZ-N510 units. // Would you like a Minidisc with that? Bonnie Nicholas finds a contest at Popeyes chicken and biscuits to win a Sony MZ-S1 portable MD recorder.
Histogram 1992-2003
And it's only February: Sony has introduced as many portable MD recorders in the first month of 2003 as in any year since the format's launch: Discuss... // The rise of the NetMD player: First the Sony MZ-NE410, now the Aiwa AM-NX1; can you really call them recorders? Neither of these units will take input from anything but a PC (though the AM-NX1 does it at 64X!). // Did you know Sony's MZ-E810SP portable MD player can drive its charging stand speakers with 450+450mW of power when coupled to an AC adapter? // Wishing we could read Hangul: Oh Jongsup has an amazing Korean MD site ( with a clever visual analogy of ATRAC degradation (scroll down to the picture of the girl). // Brian Phillips points out a Minidisc reference on BBC's Radio Comedy "No Commitments".
2/6:Prerecordeds make a retreat: is leaving the market and having a 50% off sale on all Prerecorded MDs. Use the coupon code "MD50off" at checkout. // AVLand (UK) takes a high-res snapshot of the Blue MZ-N510. // has Sony's MZ-E10 player in stock, along with a good high-res shot of it.
2/5:Madsen and Vicco point out Japanese pages for Sharp's MD-DS5 MD player (press release). The second player (after the MD-DS8) in their "Auvi" one-bit amp line, it offers a stunning 200 hour maximum battery life.
2/2:Seven Spacemen fall to Earth ... // In other news: Nicolas Vicco finds Japanese info on Sony's MZ-E810, MZ-E610, and MZ-B10 portables (the latter is their latest "business" recorder). // Minidisc obsolete? Randy Wong finds a Slate/MSN article by Brendan Koerner that doubts recordable DVD will last long, though perhaps not as briefly as MD. Don't look now Brendan, but Minidisc just crested 10 years and is showing no signs of slowing. // And yet ... John Peters points out the US$400 Neuros MP3 recorder/player (specs). Due out Feb. 10, the unit sports a backpackable 20GB hard drive, realtime MP3 encoding of LINE level inputs, and wireless playback though any FM radio. Most interestingly, the manufacturer offers it as an open music platform, and encourages software development for the unit. Lossless recording and Ogg Vorbis support are reportedly in the works. Now if they could only add a microphone input jack ...
1/31:AVLand (UK) posts details on Sony's MZ-E310, MZ-E510, and MZ-E10 portable players, including a good side-by-side photo of the MZ-E10 and MZ-2P (Sony's first portable MD player). // (Ger) has information on the Sony MDX-CA790X in-dash MD unit, including a hi-res shot of its faceplate. // Sas-Seb updates his French Sharp MD-DS8 review with photos of the accessories (look for animated "New" icon).
1/29:AVLand (UK) and (Ger) supply high-res photos and specs to help sort out Sony's hailstorm of new portables. These are natural pairings: MZ-N10/N910 (battery and knob differences), MZ-NF810/N710 (w/tuner and w/o), MZ-NF610/N510 (likewise, but lacking mic input and NiMH cell as well). The MZ-R410 is nearly a non-NetMD N510.
1/28: Kindly re-revolutionize it one more time. Sony has a explanatory NetMD video on their SonyStyle site wherein they surprisingly state: "Sony is re-revolutionizing digital music one more time with the NetMD, a technology that allows you to take music with you, create your playlists, and store it directly on your computer". Even Sony seems a little confused about the direction NetMD audio travels! // Mike Lastucka finds the Sony MZ-R510CK available for pre-order at SonyStyle Canada.
1/25: François has made a lovely Sharp MD-MT888 review (en Français) with many good clear photos. // More Minidisc Tricks and Tips: Unattended radio recording, Copying audio lectures, Recording study material, Digital CD recording from a Playstation 2, and as a Lie detector. // Einars Odinecs has a Tripod page full of MZ-N505 photos.
1/24:Why Sony Cannot Upload: Andrew Madsen points out Wired's coverage of the Civil War Inside Sony that details why the consumer electronics giant can no longer bow to their customers. Discuss... // John Jerabek finds a Sony CD/NetMD gear brochure (pdf).
1/22:Good for quiet listening: AVLand (UK) has the Sony MZ-R410, MZ-N510, and MZ-N710 in stock. The Euro edition of the last two have reduced power, 2.5mW and 1.2mW(!) headphone amplifiers.
1/21:Sharp's turn: Andrew Madsen points out the Sharp UK's MD-MT270 portable recorder (large). AVLand (UK) has coverage of the the unit and the MD-MT290, its remote equipped big brother.
1/20:Uncle! Sony introduces another new portable recorder: AVLand (UK) has preliminary information on the Sony MZ-R410.
1/19:Japan-Direct posts a Sony MZ-E10 photo gallery.
1/18:Sony adds two more NetMD recorders and two new players: Olaf Bodecker points out the MZ-N910 and MZ-N710, preorderable at, where they also list the MZ-E510 and MZ-E310 players. It does quite look like the year of the Minidisc!
1/17:Minidisc front and center: Doc Lloyd finds an MZ-N707 NetMD portable prominently displayed at // A friend points out AV Watch (Japan) coverage of Sony's new desktop Vaio (mech. trans, Sony product page). The unit sports a built-in NetMD drive.
1/15:Andy finds the Sony MZ-N707 at for US$143 w/shipping. // The ninety-two cent MD blank: Cassette House is having a sale on Samsung 74' blanks, they're $5.75 a 5 pack, with 20% off if you enter "sama15" in the coupon code (ground shipping: $7.70). // Phish K. finds electronics equipment owners manuals for sale from RMS (either via download or CD-ROM).
1/12:Roland points out a Sony Music Store (on eBay!) featuring over four hundred prerecorded Minidisc titles from $7 to $27. // NetMD hacking update: Marcus Brinkmann's FreeMD software has not yet been released, but his NetMD protocol documentation gives the gory details of many NetMD USB transactions. Cracking the cryptography of audio downloading remains elusive however. // AVWatch (Japan) points out the JVC NS-X77WMD (mech. trans) double MD boombox. The ¥43,000 unit features 2X MD->MD copying and psychedelic display illumination (36 light patterns in all). // Looking at Sony's publicity photos, will the US model MZ-N10 remote have a single line of text instead of the 2 line display on the Japanese model?
1/10:Sony introduces 4 portable recorders: the MZ-NE410, MZ-N510, MZ-NF610 and MZ-NF810. Discuss... // USB connectable and — fully read/write? Sony introduces GigaVault, a $300 40GB portable hard drive (photo). Any bets on whether its audio contents appears as a normal desktop volume (à la Archos) when PC-connected?. Discuss... // Howard Stanbury points out Sony's announcement of MP3 and ATRAC3plus playing CD players.
1/9:Flurry of new Minidisc gear at CES: Kean and Flia point out AV Watch (Japan) mention of Aiwa's new logo and NetMD units (mech. trans) as well as Sony's MZ-N510 and MZ-NF810 NetMD recorders (mech. trans) (the latter includes an AM/FM radio). Sony's English press release for the units gives further details.
1/8:Under the RIAA's radar — for now: Ciaran Lalor reopens; currently with 320 MD-sized CD covers.
1/5:Arnþór Helgason reports on a visually impaired journalist's use of Minidisc. Discuss... // steps out of the Precambrian age, employing our first bit of Javascript: Equipment table entries (e.g. the MZ-R90's) now contain dynamically generated links to reviews cataloged at (they're always the final entries in the Reviews section). Let us know if this causes you any trouble!
1/4:Leon made a Sharp MD-DS8 photo review back in October. Sas-Seb has an MD-DS8 review en Français, with several good photos of the unit. // DocNetForYou offers printed and bound PDFs from for 10 cents per page, plus $6 per book (any number of PDFs can be put in a book) plus $9.50 overnight shipping. Bear in mind that retail copy services often accept email with PDFs for printing (e.g. in the US Kinkos charges 9 cents a page plus $4-$5 a book, depending upon the binding). // John notes a uInquirer article mentioning a Dolby Virtual Speaker chip from Analog Devices slated for use in Minidisc systems. // Tor Skude finds further TDK Bit Club blank designs at Audio Cubes.
1/2:Doctor Seven Day: Tina and Okinawa Joe post a favorable photo-review of the Sharp MD-DR7 portable MD recorder. Mike Sloan has photos of the Blue MD-DR7. And Minidisco offers it for US$290 plus shipping. Discuss... // Tina and Joe also have a closer look at Sony's MZ-S1 sports MD portable recorder. // Howard Chu finds a Sony press release announcing an alliance with Nichia for production of blue-violet laser diodes. Such LEDs are intended for the upcoming 120mm Blu-ray disc, whose 27GB capacity in Minidisc's 64mm formfactor would yield a 5.8GB storage medium (i.e. 45 hours of SP mode audio). Discuss... // (prerecorded MD candy-shop) now carries MD portables and blanks. // Did you know Minidisco has made a text-only translation of the Sony MZ-N10 manual? // Mario Jaramillo points out Yahoo MD retailer 123 Digital. // Tor Skude spots new TDK Bit Club blank designs in 74' and 80' capacities.

Past News: Recent, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996.

What's Coming?

Dec 99: Someone sends in a spy shot of a Sony 5 MD changer home deck, shown in mockup form at IFA in August.
What was coming.

What's Cool?

June 00:Sony fights back the tide of budget priced discs with their JPY2800 ``Flagship'' Dual-layer MD2000 discs (machine translation to English). has Chinese coverage of the discs.
Feb 00: Sony Austria has a short explanation of their Aroma-round CD packaging technology. No plans yet for a MiniDisc au Marmalade.
Dec 99:Detailed English information is found covering the Digicube MD Kiosk trial, set to debut at 40 locations in Japan. Update 23 April 2000: Music Press On Demand, another MD vending machine, will begins service in Japan. (Don't miss the MPOD FAQ, available on their top page)
Mar 99: The Music Press On Demand is an MD Kiosk that allows a person to create custom MDs in Japanese music shops.
Mar 99:As announced, Sony, Axia, and TDK have released 80-minute MD blanks. (David Jansen has several shots of a range of 80-minute blanks.)
Jan 99: Eighty minute MD blanks are to be made by Sony, TDK, and Maxell. There were created by reducing track pitch to 1.5um (the standard's minimum).
14 Feb 97:EDL in Britain makes a MiniDisc Audio Transfer system that decompresses ATRAC and stores it on a PC hard drive at 5 times realtime.
What was cool.

What's Broken?

29 Mar 97: Sony doesn't offer extended warranty coverage on MiniDisc units. News Flash: They do now offer it in the U.K. on MD decks, it's called the ``Sony Extend Ultimate Cover Scheme''. In Canada any and all Sony products can have extended warranties (up to 3 years).
16 Mar 97: Many Sony D-265, D-365, and D-465 portable CD players do not emit track marks on their digital outputs. News Flash: D-465 units manufactured after March 1997 have been reported to work properly.

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