20050403
Old school tech and music... (minidisc)
A jog down minidisc memory lane...

The other day, a coworker pulled out his MD player to share his music with the office by connecting to the office receiver. Seeing his MD player brought back memories of high school days when we would try to one up each other by getting the smallest and latest MD player. Each time a friend or relative went back to Hong Kong, he would no doubt be badgered by everyone else's shopping lists.

My first minidisc replayer was both a recorder and player. The famous Sony MZ-R50, "considered by many to be the pinnacle of Sony's Minidisc development in terms of ruggedness and usability". At the time, it's main competitor from what I remember was a thick square model by Sharp with a slot load mechanism, the 701. Slot-in's are a bit higher on the 'cool' factor but I happen to like going through the motion of popping open a cover and sliding a disc in/out. The Sony felt like it was more reliable and rugged than one with a slot-in feature. However others disagree and believe that a slot-in loading mechanism allows for fewer things to break like the hinges, cover or lock. Anyway, later on you'll see why I think clamshell designs are more reliable.

After a year or so, I decided to shave off a few millimeters and grams and opted to purchase a player only. Since I would still be able to use the Sony MZ-R50 to record, there was no need for me to purchase another MD player with recording features. Opting for the Onkyo MD-P30, this player remains one of my favorite gadgets I ever had the pleasure of owning. Even today, this tiny player still stacks up well against contemporary portable audio players on the market. Again, like the Sony, this player had a clamshell design.

The last major piece of MD equipment I bought was a compact JVC bookshelf system. The FS-MD9000. The JVC system was mainly used to ease the pain of recording MD's from CD's. With the Sony, I always had to borrow my brother's Sony CD-player with optical out. By using this baby I no longer had to go through the trouble of connecting two systems. Eventually I stopped recording from CD's and ended up connecting my Sony recorder to my computer's Creative Live Drive and recorded through the optical out from there.

So that brings me back to present day. I've decided to once again dust off my Onkyo and start listening to music on the go again. But lo and behold, the damn JVC system can't seem to read the MD's. And without the ability to read MD's that means I can't record to them from the CD player. My brother's CD-player with optical out is long gone which left me with one option. Recording from my computer again.

After several false starts (couldn't get the recorder to insert T-Marks automatically) I finally got it recording correctly. I downloaded a plug-in that inserted 3 second pauses in between each song in Winamp, and set the Sony recorder to synchro. The first MD recorded? Europe's 1986 album followed by some Postal Service, and the one song I like from Jet's Get Born album.

What should be on the playlist for my next MD?