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The mini disc-a cheap option
Introduction to the Minidisc
By Russell Kibbee
(more articles from this author)
2000-10-25
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A few years before the MP3 revolution, another portable digital device was released with little fanfare here in the United States. It provided pure digital music in a small package. The Digital Mini disc was (and still is) quite popular in Japan. Now, with the backing of Sharp Electronics, it is available at most retailers here in the US. Upon closer inspection, you will find a compelling portable digital music player.

Step 1: What is the Minidisc?
The Minidisc is a portable device that blends the digital quality of CD with the recording ability of cassette in one unit. Sharp Electronics is the main distributor of the product in the United States.

Step 2: How does it record?
Instead of putting the digital music onto flash memory, the Minidisc uses a digital disc that stores the music for quick retrieval. All the functions you see on portable MP3 players such as fast forward and next track are offered on the players.

Step 3: Are the files MP3 format?
No, the Minidisc uses the ATRAC III, which is another digital music format. You can buy converters that will translate MP3 to ATRAC III. You can also buy all in one CD players that allow you to record directly from CD to ATRAC III.

Step 4: How much music can I have?
You can fit 74 minutes of music onto 1 Minidisc. The blank discs are only 3 dollars, thus making them much cheaper than memory cards required for portable MP3 players. You can erase the discs as many times as you want.


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