Using MiniDisc

I want to collect MiniDiscs - how do I get started?

Start by watching some of the videos on the Resources page for a primer. Then you can begin searching for your first player / recorder. Depending on your location, eBay shipping prices may be higher than a local classified site such as Craigslist, Kijiji, or FB Marketplace. Because eBay has many more listings than local ads will, it may be worth the cost to have your first buy be a lot (recorder and discs) with a known description and condition.

Should I get a portable recorder, or a deck?

Start with a portable. Decks are less common and cost more to ship, while the format was primarily mobile. All portables have 3.5mm (aux) outputs and many have optical audio out as well. The vast majority can record.

How is the audio quality?

Audio quality of MiniDiscs is good to excellent. Especially on later models with ATRAC 4.5 or Type-R encoding, the quality is equivalent to modern streaming services or high-bitrate MP3s.

Of course, there are various factors that will affect audio quality, including source quality and the ADC / DACs in the hardware.

How do I store my discs?

As with most electronics, discs should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Because of the caddy all discs have, they are somewhat resistant to basic wear-and-tear, but should still be placed in a protective case when not in use. Luckily, most (all?) new blanks came with a basic case for the disc to be stored in.

How do I copy content to a disc?

There are 4 main ways to get audio onto a MiniDisc:

  • analog audio input (line or microphone in via RCA, 3.5mm, or balanced cables)
  • digital audio input (via coaxial or optical (TOSLINK) cable)
  • USB to a computer (for NetMD recorders)
  • integrated devices (a built in mic, multi-track recorder, or CD/MD combo deck)

Of these, NetMD is the most convenient once set up. Otherwise, digital audio would be recommended. Full guides on dubbing and recording to MDs is coming soon.

How do I copy content from a disc?

There are 3 ways to get audio off of a disc onto another format:

  • analog audio output (from the player's line-out or headphone jack)
  • digital audio output (from the player's coaxial or optical jack)
  • USB from a MZ-RH1 (if you can find one)

Of these, digital audio out will provide the best quality, although analog audio recording is far more common.

  • faq/using-md
  • Last modified: 2 months ago
  • by specialk