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Matt C

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Everything posted by Matt C

  1. That was a sensationalised title, designed to get you to read this post. It has worked. If you are reading this, then you (just like me) are likely to be an avid collector and user of the 'MiniDisc format'. There may be many reasons for this. 'Cost' may be a factor? Perhaps the 'practicality' of sticking with a familiar and reliable format? Perhaps a 'sentimental attachment' connected with your youth? Whatever YOUR personal reason for continuing to use MiniDisc, the fact that it is no longer in production and has been superceeded by technology, indicates that it is an 'obselete consumer product'. Where am I going with this? I'll get to the point... I'm 38 years old, living in the UK, and am a Police Officer currently studying for a degree in Psychology. One of the areas of interest for me is how we as human-beings interact with objects. These objects can range from 'disposable products' to 'high-value consumer items' to obselete but desirable 'antiques'. The reasons we interact differently with these objects, relates to the different 'values' we place upon them. I bought my first MiniDisc recorder in 1995, not long after joining the military. At the time I was on a comparatively poor wage, and 'MiniDisc' as a format was still comparatively expensive. This was a 'high point' in my life, and I placed a lot of 'value' in my desirable, new, item. I freely admit that the 'MiniDisc' items that I buy today far exceed any practical use I may have for them, and has moved into the realms of "the collector". I admit to getting a "buzz" from being able to go out and easily purchase an item that was expensive and massively coveted in my youth. Some Psychologists refer to this as the "Train Set Effect", where middle-aged and retired people indulge a desire to acquire objects from their childhood, be it "Train-Sets","Dolls" or "Teddy Bears". What I would like you to do, is take part in a 'thought provoking exercise'. If you want, give a reply to the question. The more honest you are with yourself, the more accurate the exercise will be. The question is: What is YOUR attraction to the (now technically obselete) format, Minidisc? You may wish to consider the following factors in your answer: 1. How old were you when you first 'bought into' the format? 2. Do you still regularly use your very first player? 3. Do you regularly 'use' your items, or are some purely of interest as a 'collector'? 4. Do you listen to 'new' music on your discs, or prefer to keep the format for music 'of the era'? 5. Do you own more items than you can 'practically use'? 6. Did you 'go away' from MiniDisc', only to return to it at a later date? 7. Do you associate use of your player with 'fond memories', or is it a purely 'practical' consideration? I'll be most appreciative of your answers. There are NO 'right' or 'wrong' motivations! I am massively interested in how different musical formats are received (from cassette-tape, vinyl, CD and MP3) and how they are individually "valued". Something for you to "think about"....... :-)
  2. Back in 1997, long before MP3 was anything more than a concept, I was serving in the Air Force and frequently deployed overseas. Some guys on the squadron introduced me to a strange format for making music portable. MiniDisc. I soon got to learn that those tough little discs survived the rough-and-tumble of life in a kit-bag. We each bought portable players, and would ‘pool’ our discs together to make little music libraries, would trade discs with one another, and would copy CD’s for one another back home. No matter where we were in the world, AA batteries were easy to obtain, and just a handful of batteries would literally last weeks. It was a pocket-sized bit of luxury that we could carry with us, and I loved it. ......then, along came MP3 players and the ubiquitous ‘iPod’. Suddenly we could carry all of our music in a small space, and it seemed that the MiniDisc was dead. Within about 3 years everyone I knew had ditched the format and were literally giving away their discs and players, as were oil-rig workers, fishermen, and other locals who worked away from home for extended periods. I too, confined my MiniDisc collection to a box in the loft, and bought an iPod Classic. Fast-forward to 2005, and I deployed for a 4-month tour to Iraq. My iPod came with me, and I had the small luxury of my music collection to fall back on, OR SO I THOUGHT. By the second week I had the sickening ‘Sync Reset’ display (which of course was impossible without my PC) and in one fell swoop I lost my music. Other guys had problems with the portable power-generators cooking their wall-plug chargers, and soon quite a few of us had lost the use of our players, just when we would have appreciated them the most! Back home, and I was quickly falling out of love with my iPod. It seemed that whenever I updated my collection there would be issues with mixed/missing title-tracks and artwork. Any albums entitled ‘Greatest Hits’ would become an amalgamated mess, and whilst the battery-life seemed to get ever shorter, the demands for a ‘sync reset’ increased. The love was fading. I noticed something else, too. My listening habits were changing. My seemingly endless access to music made me a lazy listener, and I would frequently jump from album to album, track to track, and would often skip mid-way through a track. My days of listening to an album the way that the artist intended, had gone. This wasn’t music enjoyment. ....and so, by 2008 I was back to my MiniDisc, and what I revival it was! Equipment that had previously been prohibitively expensive was now dirt-cheap, and I was living the hobby like a millionaire! I soon had units for every occasion with Sony JA20ES and JA50ES decks for hifi use, numerous portable players, and a Pioneer MEH P9000 head-unit for the car. I could afford to be extravagant with discs, and my well used dozen or so swelled up to over 1,000. That was 10 years ago, and nothing much since then has changed. I still indulge in the childhood enjoyment of putting a ‘mixtape’ together in real-time, copying music from my CD’s and vinyl to Type-R SP to listen to in the car, or out walking the dog. Because space is at a premium my playlists are more carefully considered, and I listen to each track in full. My listening-habits are back to where they should be. In 20 years I can count on one hand the number of corrupted discs I’ve suffered, only ever having to re-copy one album. I keep discs and a spare player at work, in the summerhouse and in the car, and I have a physical, tangible connection with my music collection again. MiniDisc as a commercial format is dead, and I’m OK with that. It continues to live on in my household, and probably will do for years to come, maybe even for another decade or more. I continue to love the ‘forgotten format’, and those robust little discs give me everything I need.
  3. MiniDisc Addiction. Do you have one?

    It’s February 2018, and I just spent last weekend converting my car to take an 18 year old Pioneer MiniDisc head-unit. I still make up ‘mixtape’ discs on my hifi to listen to when out driving, or walking the dog. Ive lost count, but I’ve got something like 1000+ discs, several hifi separates and over a dozen portable units. I record all my music in Type-R SP so that it is compatible across the range. MiniDisc never ‘crashes’, mixes up my tracks or loses the album artwork. It never requires ‘sync resets’ to a PC, and can go on endlessly on AA batteries which can be easily swapped out. It is dirt-cheap to buy second-hand, requires no ‘updates’ and if the worst happens, you only lose one single disc. I have absolutely no intention of ‘upgrading’ to anything else in the near future.
  4. MiniDisc? You are living in the past!

    Hi folks, I just want to thank you all for your replies. it all makes for very interesting reading. Your replies have been invaluable, as they have afforded a very different perspective to what i experienced 'growing up'. The 'assignment' (such as it was) was to examine our relationship with material objects. My personal experience was that I placed a huge 'value' on my music collection, and as such, placed a huge value on my MiniDisc collection. Over the years, I feel I have attained greater 'value' from MiniDisc as the price has fallen over the years. My 'golden years' of using MiniDisc are those when i had the 'disposable income' to spend on the format. Now that I have various other commitments, it is reassuring that I can still afford to invest in the format (especially after having invested in MP3 and having it 'fail me' to a huge cost!) It will be a year to the day (today) that Sony have abandoned the format. I think it is a shame, but I also recognise that it has been deemed obselete by 'superior' formats. For me it will always hold a 'special place' in my affections. From the replies I have received, it looks like I am not alone.
  5. I'm a huge fan of the Sony MZ G750. Uses an AA battery via an internal compartment. Has an FM radio. Can record as well as have playback. I pick them up off ebay around £20 per time. What is there not to like???
  6. MiniDisc? You are living in the past!

    Hi Arr-Nine-Hundred, I'm not conducting any form of 'structural research', I am just genuinely interested in how we interact with objects and the values (and reasons for those values) that we place on objects. The reason I decided to concentrate on 'MiniDisc' is purely because it is one that motivates me personally, so I can relate to many of the answers that have been given. The more formal part of my study focuses on the way we interact with 'technology', so I was interested to see WHY you all stick with (or have moved onto) MiniDisc. Regards, Matt
  7. MiniDisc? You are living in the past!

    Thank you for your reply Damnspynovels, Yes, there is definitely something in the extra 'investment' in time and effort, compared to the convenience of 'drag and drop' MP3. For me, I find the LACK of choice when out with my portable MiniDisc Player an asset. With the iPod, I became a "lazy listener" and would skip from track to track, album to album without much consideration OR concentration. With MiniDisc, I would select two or three carefully considered discs (usually albums) and listen to each track, in full, and in the sequence which the artist intended. The fact that the audio-quality is better, is another bonus!
  8. MiniDisc? You are living in the past!

    Hi there Tapps,
  9. MiniDisc? You are living in the past!

    Thank you for all of your replies, folks! It's looks like the majority of you own more MD equipment than you can practically use, although the motivation (again, like me!) is to 'stockpile' usable items whilst it can still be sourced. A couple of interesting comments about 'interaction'. From a consumer perspective, convenience is usually considered desirable. However, people seem to enjoy the investment in time and effort making-up discs. A bit like vinyl, they like the feeling of something tangible, unique, substantial. People prefer the object, the artwork, the liner-notes, in preference to the convenience of a 'file'? Interesting that some of you enjoy MD because it DOESN'T involve 'computer use'! (I wonder what 'Apple' would make of that?) I'm surprised how many people say they stay with the format for 'practical' reasons, yet who are comparatively new (or returning to) the format. (I wasn't expecting that. I thought those who had been with the format for many years and amassed a music collection would cite 'practicality' over 'nostalgia', and that 'nostalgia' would be cited as the reason for returning to the format!)
  10. Machines that were sold as broken..but worked fine

    A JA555ES for free? Seriously? How did you manage that?
  11. New Member - Kinda New to Minidisc

    Hi there! I guess it is "horses for courses" on how you choose to use the MD format. For "mobile/foot" use, I have acquired three Sony MZ G750 players. They were laughably cheap off a 'certain auction website', have the facility to play FM radio whilst I'm out walking or hillwalking, and use a traditional AA battery, making power a 'non-issue' when away from home for extended periods. As far as reliability is concerned, In 2005 I used one for 6 months when I was serving in the military out in Iraq. It got bumped, knocked, sand-blasted and squashed, and it never missed a beat! It also ran forever on one battery! You can pick these up now in immaculate condition for as little as £20 to £30, and there are plenty about. Well worth a look! For "driving" use in my [unfortunately now sold] campervan, I used a front-loading Sony MDX head-unit, with a 6-minidisc autochanger in the glovebox and control-stalk on the steering column. Again, purchased at a ridiculously cheap price from 'e***'. I kept a collection of about 50 to 100 'gash' minidiscs in the camper, and part of the fun before going on a tour was to produce fresh 'mix-tapes' for the holiday! For "home" use, I have a few decks (MDSJA50ES and three MDSJB940's). This is where MiniDisc comes into its own for me, and where I have a specific use for it. I have a dedicated custom-built hi-fi in the lounge, the centre-piece of which consists of a two-stage valve amplifier and turntable. The reason is that, over time, I have built up thousands of pounds worth of collectable vinyl. Around every 6 months or so, I connect up one of my decks and using brand-new minidiscs, will copy each new purchased LP onto one disc using the phono-stage in 'real time' on the lowest compression setting. I also back up any CD or HDCD's that I have bought. I do not use 'Soundstage' or have any computer-input to my recordings. The only 'computer' use I have is to use Microsoft Office 2010 to print album artwork onto glossy photo-labels for each completed disc (I'm a bit of a perfectionist that way!). The decline of MiniDisc as a format is our gain! I have purchased literally hundreds of brand new minidiscs, which sit patiently in packs of 10 in my loft, just waiting for their turn. Equipment is plentiful, cheap, reliable, and usually has clocked up very little 'running time'. It provides me with the opportunity to listen to some of my most treasured music 'on the go' with near-CD quality, and is still hugely underrated. So.......Why did I not move to 'ipod'? Well, actually, I did. In order to copy my entire music collection in lossless format, it took TWO 160gb ipods (so theres £360 right there!). They are fragile, and have no radio (I know they have an add-on option, but I cannot use that for a reason I'll explain in a bit). They also have an internal-battery, and comparitively low running time. I found that the ipod has (I consider) a comparitively poor headphone amplifier (I run AKG HD720's when in the house, and Klipsch X-1 earphones when our walking/running) so in order to compensate for this I bought a 'Fanboy' in-line amplifier which (you guessed it!) plugs in at the base-port, preventing the use of a radio loop! The addition meant that it also just got bulkier, and needs yet another internal power source. Difficult to charge when on the move. Meant the carriage of TWO additional chargers. Suddenly, not quite as 'compact' as a first thought! Then came the problem of 'syncing'. Not always possible if you are thousands of miles from home! When I did 'sync', I would have problems with missing titles and album-artwork, altered playlists, and duplication over both ipods. They permitted me to carry my entire collection, but RARELY was it reliable and without fault. So, it was back to "what I know" and more importantly, "what I ENJOY". One last "musing" about the Minidisc. Because I have to spend so much more time and effort copying each disc, preparing and printing the artwork, and afterwards having a much more limited capacity for music "on the go", I found that I became much less of a 'lazy listener'. I no longer just skip from track-to-track, album-to-album. I listen to each track, in the correct order, on each album, IN FULL, the way the artist intended. I 'appreciate' the music more. The format itself is tactile, tangible. It 'exists'. You can hold it in your hand. A quality which it shares with vinyl (although admittedly to a lesser extent). Anyway, bit of a convoluted rant, but that is MY reason for returning to the format, and the way in which I use it. I'm very 'picky' about music-quality and I can honestly say that even though the technology is dated and quality no longer up to hi-fi use, absolutely NOTHING comes close to minidisc in the "smiles for pennies" catagory! I'll be using it for many years yet!
  12. MD archeology

    I'm going to guess that he received the "Blondie" original MD as a 'freebie' when he purchased his MD player. I also think her bought a bunch of blank Sony discs and immediately set to copying his favourite albums first (handwriting style and ink match on several discs of the same brand). The lack of 'personal mixes' suggests that he was looking just to duplicate his albums. I agree with sescoscuba that it appears that the discs have perhaps only been recorded on once (ink instead of pencil, original labels). The fact that they are mostly still in their original cases suggests that he did not use a 'storage wallet', which means he is less likely to have regularly used them with a portable or car head-unit. In fact, given the lack of scratches on the cases, and the single use of original labels, I think that perhaps his MD player saw very little use. Perhaps purchased as a 'fad' or 'gift', it doesn't look like he particularly made much use of it (Again, not much in the way of 'mix tapes') Perhaps the 'cooking' MD suggests a brief interlude where he has tried to find another 'use' for the format?
  13. Machines that were sold as broken..but worked fine

    Bought a Sony MZ G-750 which was 'for parts' (I bought it for the FM radio cable) but when it arrived it powered-up and worked perfectly. No issues at all! Only paid £15 for it, including postage and packaging, and it is in immaculate condition! My BEST EVER, was a Sony MDS JA50ES (a real monster of a thing!) which I bought "on a whim" for £20 plus £20 p&P with a fault, where it was described as "working, but no display". Got it home, fired it up, had a good play and found that the 'Display' button on the front was gunky and jammed-in. Gave it a careful clean with contact-cleaner, and now the whole thing works great!
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