MiniDisc Memories

I really enjoyed this comprehensive mini-doc from the YouTube channel This Does Not Compute.

I had three portable MiniDisc recorder/players growing up in high school & college, and I still have the latter two. The format wasn’t the coolest but for the age where music was being downloaded from some… back alley websites it was a great way to copy it on the go and modify playlists without having to re-record an entire tape.

I was able to listen to whatever I really wanted while on bus rides, or even record music from someone else’s CD player or cassette player.

When I was dabbling in music and writing it on my computer I wanted to share it as I heard it on my computer. Although MIDI is a standard file format for recording/playing music, the engine and sound samples are not. A program I wrote them in called MusicTime had a more robust sound catalog and so I was able to output these to MiniDisc and play them on the sound system in the band room at school. When playing them after school a classmate exclaimed “You wrote that?”

I did not know that there were kiosks in Japan similar to the Famicom Disk System where you could download music. Another shared history between Nintendo & Sony.

My last memories of MiniDisc were in college working at the WMSR radio station. Most of our prerecorded audio was done on MiniDiscs. There was a recorder and player in the production studio as well as in the main studio. The systems were tied to the soundboard so when you tapped a button to go live with a source the music would play and only play that track. However, by that time, MP3 DATA CD players were also in use and easily made and that’s what I used to bring music or prerecorded audio from my computer to the station. I also was rocking out my first iPod by that time and loved it.

I should break out my MiniDiscs and see what I still have recorded on those bad boys. I would imagine they are just as susceptible to disc rot as other optical media.

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