Started conversation Nov 21, 2002
I'd say a serious limitation of the minidisc is that it is controlled very strictly by sony, meaning that the development of applications for it have been stunted. Only recently have pc > md transfer products emerged, the net md (which may i add is quality), and even this is restricted to using a shocking jukebox program. Sony's control also means that no compression formats can be used other than their atrac format.
Posted Nov 21, 2002
I would say that the ATRAC format is not really so much of a limitation as the Jukebox (OpenMG) and the plugins for other Jukeboxes are the true villains. ATRAC has very good quality, so I wouldn't point to that as the problem.
The silly belief by SONY that they can prevent pirated music from being placed on their format is stupid. Their intentional move to prevent Digital uploads from the units to PC's or other digital recording mediums makes this would be greatest devices in music, only nice, fun, and "O.K." at best.
I purchased a NetMD (707) a few months ago, and have found that the quality of my music (compressed by ATRAC) in LP2 (105 kbps) is very good. I have made various mixes using mp3 music downloaded from the Net (WinMX) and from my own CDs. I can't complain about the unit once the files are on a disc. It's the transfer that stinks.
First, all music must be converted from Mp3 or .wav to ATRAC3. That takes time, so 32x transfers are real, just don't include the file coversion into the equation. It's more like 8x real time after you account for the conversion. You can always have all you music converted to ATRAC and saved this way, and speed up your transfers. But you are more likely to come into conflict with SONY's stupid move to limit each song to a 3 copy limit. So if you like to make mixes or such, you will only be able to include your favorite song 3 times before OpenMG will stop you (you can often avoid this by using RealONE player with plugin) until you "check-in" the songs from your MiniDiscs back into the PC.
Second, the fact that you can't upload onto your computer from you MD is silly and limiting. If you use your MD to record your favorite band at the local club, you can't take it home and plug in your NetMD to your computer and upload! It isn't supported. There is no digital way to transfer out of the SONY MDs unless you buy a professional home deck, then you can do a digital out (TOSLINK) real time recording to a digital recorder or PC. But SONY stopped selling pro decks in the United States that have digital out. You can always make an analogue copy by playing it out of the MD player through the headphones plug and into your recorder/PC. The quality will be very good, but not a digital (exact) copy.
Posted Nov 22, 2002
yeah i know all about OpenMG, i have a MZ-N1 player aswell. The problem is Sony get a large chunk of their profits from record sales as a publisher, and do not want to jeopardise that market with their elecrronics 'arm', so they make it 'SDMI' compliant. However for me i do not really need upload and the 3 song limiting attempt just doesn't work if u don't store your music in atrac.
I do agree that atrac is a very good decoder but the mere fact that it is the only compression format that can be used with minidiscs limits the development of the medium.
Had they merely held onto the rights to the minidisc and allowed it to develop freely i believe it could have become as universal a medium as floppy discs (except a capacity of about 150 mb). Just imagine how useful they would be if they were a fully digital storage disc.