Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Mar 2017 00:02 UTC
Multimedia, AV

In this video you'll see the first machine and the last machine as well as some in-between. There's talk about MD-LP, Net-MD and HiMD. It's a personal retrospective of a format that was loved by many people around the world but one that is all too often is judged purely on its lack of performance in the US market.

Great video by a great channel.

I'm one of those MiniDisc people. MiniDisc was fairly successful in The Netherlands, and quite a few people around me were MiniDisc users as well. I've had countless machines over the years, and I was still using HiMD well into the smartphone era - and carried both a smartphone and my HiMD player for quite a while. Even though the world had long ago moved on to MP3 players and then smartphones, I was still using MD.

I've long wondered why, and this video finally made it dawn on me: rituals. Since prerecorded MiniDiscs were rare and incredibly expensive, you copied CDs onto MiniDiscs instead. Especially before the advent of NetMD and later HiMD, you did this without the help of a computer. You'd get a new album, listen to it, enjoy it - and then, to make sure you could listen to it on the go, you plugged one end of an optical cable into your CD player, the other end into your portable MD recorder, and copy the CD in real time. Once it was done, neat freaks like me would even enter all the track information using the little dial on the recorder, track by track, letter by letter. Painstaking doesn't even begin to describe it.

Even listening to your MiniDiscs - they were satisfying to hold, the loading and unloading was deeply mechanical, the spring-loading trays were a delight. It was just an endless array of rituals that, while pointless and cumbersome to others, were deeply enriching and soothing to me. I guess it must be similar to people still using vinyl today.

To me, MiniDisc was one of the greatest formats - not because it was better or more advanced (even though during the 90s and early 2000s, it actually was), but because it was full of little delights and rituals. Just one of those irrational things that only few of us will ever fully understand.

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Comment by daedalus
by daedalus on Tue 21st Mar 2017 09:09 UTC
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I still have mine, still working perfectly. It's a Sony MD-750 or something along those lines, had an FM radio in the remote (something else missing from most phones these days...), an incredible battery live, and despite being mechanical, was incredibly resilient, having survived more than one trip bouncing down a metal escalator as I ran for trains.

For me the feel was a big thing too, but the editability was so important as well - it was the spiritual successor of the cassette tape, with the ability to rearrange and delete tracks as you went, easily swap albums with friends etc. (They were fairly popular in Ireland too).

My wife had a very serious one - still portable, but very high end which she used mainly as a recording device as part of her singing career. The quality was pretty excellent and it served her well until she got an Edirol SD-card-based recorder.

I must dig my player out and play with it again...

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