A Conversation for Minidisc

tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 21

AAlgar

Sorry if I'm butting in where I shouldn't, but I did notice one thing about this debate that didn't come up in great length: the durablity issue. Regardless of sound quality (and I think most of the differences are nitpicking, but I won't get into that at this point smiley - winkeye ), I believe that the MiniDisc beats all the other audio storage formats in this regard. Tapes unwind and wear down. Records and CDs scratch. MP3s... well, okay. You've got me there. But if my understanding of portable MP3 players is correct (and feel free to correct me if not), the players themselves only store a certain amount of data with no removable media. MiniDiscs are "near-CD" (nitpick if you must, it's still damned good) quality, small, removable and, barring unforeseen encounters with a sledgehammer or a car tire, essentially indestructible. They've also come down considerably in price since those first couple of years, when blanks ran about $15 apiece (ouch!). Most of all, though, I feel the need to defend MiniDiscs because it took me about 5 years to transfer about 40 painstakingly-edited mixtapes to a more stable preserved digital format. I can't even begin wondering how long it's going to take me to do it all over again with my new CD-R drive.

smiley - winkeye


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 22

Alon (aka Mr.Cynic)

I totally agree! But now I'm looking into Sony's Memory Sticks. I don't like MP3 as I find the sound quality low and as you said, most players use made-for-permanent memory. But the Memory Sticks use ATRAC 3 and are ejectable - they look great. I think I might consider them if ever needing to replace my MD.


Memory sticks

Post 23

Azimuth

I'd like to know more about the MagicGate protection system that they use - I saw the logo on a memory stick in a hi-fi magazine supplement. I first heard that Sony were using this with the new memory cards for the Playstation2, but don't know what it actually does... does it mean you can only use proprietary Sony memory sticks?

Azimuth


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 24

no soap

aaaaargh! but there's less track data! how can it be a better copy?


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 25

Alon (aka Mr.Cynic)

The sticks have a capacity of 64MB. There are a few recording options - qualitywise. With the highest you fit 60mins of sound and the lowest 120mins, if I remember correctly. I think I'll stick to MD for now smiley - smiley.


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 26

trgz

Like Aalgar I apologise if I'm butting in where I oughtn't, but we shouldn't forget that MiniDisc was created by the same industry that decided that DAT was too good for us, the public, and subsequently brought about the demise of the format for general use. DAT was, if I recall correctly, actually better quality than CD although initially more expensive, however I did come across an old 'Q' music mag that was quoting similarly high prices for MiniDisc. It's a small point but I thought I'd mention it nonetheless.


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 27

no soap

so why, then, in recording studios, do they make recordings on tape (of a sort) instead of digitally?


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 28

trgz

'scuse my ignorance in this field but, aren't they recording 'digitally' onto tape and not analogue. I know there's always been a big debate over analogue v digital as a master source but, regardless of which is the best, doesn't the first letter on the back of CD's (ie AAD,DDD,ADD) represent the way it was recorded ie. Analogue/Digital. Apologies if I'm stating the obvious, and teaching 'granny to suck eggs', didn't DAT stand for 'Digital Audio Tape'?


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 29

Alon (aka Mr.Cynic)

Yes, but MDs would not be a practical solution in a recording studio. CDs wouldn't be practicle either - I can just imagine having a CD burner recording live smiley - winkeye. So some other digital recording medium must be used. Now currectly digital tape is used (I think it's more advanced than DAT, if I'm not mistaken). But I predict that in the future a Random Access medium - such as a HDD - will be used. But just because MD aren't used in the actual studio doesn't mean they shouldn't be used by the consumer. After all, they are a consumer medium.


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 30

Azimuth

Well, hard discs are already used in some cases - a friend of mine had a rather neat Fostex 8-track recorder, and that used a hard disc to record the data. You could plug Zip, Jaz or DAT drives into the back of it as well, to take backups of your compositions. Lovely bit of kit... smiley - winkeye

Azimuth


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 31

james007

Interesting argument above.

I'm just curious to know how many professional sound engineers will broadcast on-air material from minidisc, compared to chrome cassette?

All of Radio 1's singles are played from minidisc, in answer to my own question, and when music is played from tape it's generally played at 15ips (i.e. ten times faster tape speed than cassette) because cassette is so iffy.


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 32

no soap

re. durability: someone mentioned that minidiscs are the most durable medium, but couldn't find fault with MP3. thought i'd add that where the MP3 is a soft copy, i.e. on a hard drive and (i would guess, correct me if i'm wrong) an MP3 memory card, constant loading into memory can cause "artefacts" to emerge in the data, which basically cause blips in the music.

as for the continuing minidisc vs tape debate, when i kicked this off the point i was making was purely theoretical. that an analogue tape is capable of producing a higher definition copy of a signal than a minidisc is. for reasons of durability, random access, practicality and functionality i agree the minidisc wins hands-down, although in some aspects compares less favourably to the MP3.


tapes not as good as minidiscs?

Post 33

james007

I want to nit-pick to the "minidiscs are almost CD quality" argument.

Minidiscs hold 200K of data; CDs hold 650K of data.

It therefore follows that CDs have approximately 3 times the amount of music data on them than minidisc; therefore minidiscs chuck away two-thirds of the music 'signal' (albeit mostly the inaudible bits).

If you've the choice, always master on CDR or DAT; never minidisc.


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tapes not as good as minidiscs?

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