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Matt C

It’s 2018, but it may as well be 1997 all over again!

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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.

 

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Still use my minidisc deck to record sports events that i watch in the flesh.

When i get home i listen to what the commentors made of the game.

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I wonder how many original ipods with the mini hard discs in them are  still working?

 

 I have  too many portables  about 3 sharps ones and quite a few  Sony - I hunted around Argos when they were selling them cheap: I was thinking at the time  maybe they last  3 years each so thats me set up for 9 years or so. Well I am still on the first Sharp - it looks very scrappy now with the metal  finish rubbed  off in places and the buttons  once  metalised now  showing the  plastic underneath, but it still works as well as it did  goodness knows how many years ago. Any one want to buy a nos  Sharp recorder? no only kidding.

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Great post Matt C.  I still do the mix 'tapes' and then the artwork and my kids look at me with incredulity. I explain everyone needs their little piece of escapism and md is mine. Long may it continue

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Our DIY job, recording then creating beautiful labels. What creativity or personnality is there in a MP3 player ?

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I haven't visited this forum in years, but driving home today I felt a sense of yearning for years gone by. I got home, popped in a frozen pizza and dug out my Sony MZ-NF610. I dug through an electronics drawer and found the RM-MC37LT remote that came with it, popped in Pink Floyd Animals and MARVELED....ABSOLUTELY MARVELED at the experience. What sound quality, I didn't even have to look at the buttons on the remote, they were intuitive like shifting a 5 speed. I swapped through headphones, first the efficient Koss and Grado RS-2, then the Senn 650's. Not quite enough power from the Sony to run the Senn's so I dug out another relic...a CMOY Penguin Amp made by Robert Gehrke in Germany. What a great experience tonight! I would not sell my gear for anything! A night to cherish really.

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Sitting at my desk eating lunch and reading this made me smile. 

 

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That was a lovely read Matt, it's also a testament to "less is more".

I really understand what you meant by indulging in the "mixtape" thing - this is exactly why I return to the format and continue to use it. You just don't get the same satisfaction from pointing and clicking to create a digital playlist on a screen.

These days I enjoy compiling my own albums from recording from YouTube. It's real-time recording but I avoid a lot of faff otherwise in messing with YouTube downloaders and the like. The sound quality is also acceptable.

I was curious to know how you are listening to MD in your car? My car is a 2007 Honda Civic and has a mp3 CD only. My current solution is this: https://photos.app.goo.gl/jKhOaqzHblekth3I3 which sadly not stereo or that punchy but does a fair job.

Thanks again! :)

 

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On 4/9/2018 at 6:21 AM, Arr-Nine-Hundred said:

That was a lovely read Matt, it's also a testament to "less is more".

I really understand what you meant by indulging in the "mixtape" thing - this is exactly why I return to the format and continue to use it. You just don't get the same satisfaction from pointing and clicking to create a digital playlist on a screen.

These days I enjoy compiling my own albums from recording from YouTube. It's real-time recording but I avoid a lot of faff otherwise in messing with YouTube downloaders and the like. The sound quality is also acceptable.

I was curious to know how you are listening to MD in your car? My car is a 2007 Honda Civic and has a mp3 CD only. My current solution is this: https://photos.app.goo.gl/jKhOaqzHblekth3I3 which sadly not stereo or that punchy but does a fair job.

Thanks again! :)

 

Arr-Nine-Hundred,

You can try this product: https://www.amazon.com/Doosl-Universal-Wireless-Transmitter-Adapter/product-reviews/B018QN4INM/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_hist_5?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=five_star&reviewerType=all_reviews#reviews-filter-bar

Great reviews too!

2018-04-10_8-44-24.jpg

2018-04-10_8-43-37.jpg

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Some people are not happy with it if they are too far from the antenna in the car or too close to an area where there are too much FM stations.

At least FM will dissapear one day from the sky, so that problem at least will allow to renew the uitlity of that little accessory !

For the first problem.. change the car :mellow:

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On 10/04/2018 at 2:45 PM, Hmmm Music Lover said:

Thanks man, I have ordered one based on reviews and your recommendation :)

The good thing about it is that I can then control volume from my steering wheel. Too bad I can't skip tracks from the wheel like I can do with my mp3 CD.

Truth be told, I've tried one of these about 10 years back and was not impressed. Hopefully they have improved in the intervening years. I'll let you know when it arrives on Friday! If performance is not good I can return it.

Onereview mentions the fake FCC label on the back so maybe they have boosted the power above the FCC guidelines?

Philippe - my car is 10 years old and has done 176,000 miles - it's a reliable workhorse and I'm keeping her :)

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8 hours ago, Arr-Nine-Hundred said:

Philippe - my car is 10 years old and has done 176,000 miles - it's a reliable workhorse and I'm keeping her :)

Aaaah l'amour ,>)

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18 hours ago, Arr-Nine-Hundred said:

Thanks man, I have ordered one based on reviews and your recommendation :)

The good thing about it is that I can then control volume from my steering wheel. Too bad I can't skip tracks from the wheel like I can do with my mp3 CD.

Truth be told, I've tried one of these about 10 years back and was not impressed. Hopefully they have improved in the intervening years. I'll let you know when it arrives on Friday! If performance is not good I can return it.

Onereview mentions the fake FCC label on the back so maybe they have boosted the power above the FCC guidelines?

Philippe - my car is 10 years old and has done 176,000 miles - it's a reliable workhorse and I'm keeping her :)

You can add this accessory as well for your MD use in your car.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-Genuine-Sony-RM-MC25C-Remote-Control/292293029406?epid=1308016704&hash=item440e05ae1e:g:rrkAAOSw~hBZ4aBe:sc:USPSFirstClass!66223!US!-1

RM-MC25C -- The MC25C is a non-LCD rotary car remote commander with basic playback functions; should be compatible with all known MD units.

Keep us posted. :)

 

Sony RM-MC25C Remote Control.jpg

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/Doosl-Transmitter-Wireless-Radio-Adapter/dp/B01M9G48WW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1523565587&sr=8-3&keywords=Doosl+Universal+Wireless+FM+Transmitter+Audio+Adapter+Car+Kit

$13 v £60+ horror

 

 expensive in the uk some one is trying to make a killing. just as well the US seller wil deliver to the UK and post is cheap

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But this is so expensive ! If you have a line in, this is much cheaper to use a minijack cable ! A  loudspeaker like the Sony one (or maybe a bigger one as the sound could be dreadful in a noisy car) is at a similar price. 

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On 12/04/2018 at 5:55 AM, Hmmm Music Lover said:

Keep us posted. :)

I got the FM transmitter, got all excited to try it and...

...nothing. I could not get it to catch the station I set on the unit. I tried several FM frequencies, I tried putting the unit near the boot (my car has the FM aerial built into the rear window I think).

I tried it with a FM radio to confirm it works at all and it does work... but the sound quality is really not acceptable. I returned it for a refund. I thank you for your suggestion though :)

I have toyed with the idea of a aux-in mod but in my Car 2007 Honda Civic, it entails removing half the dashboard. There are some car audio shops that will do it but I'll be probably looking at £150. Only from model year 2009 did Honda introduce an aux in to this model - argh!!

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On 4/20/2018 at 3:39 PM, Arr-Nine-Hundred said:

I got the FM transmitter, got all excited to try it and...

...nothing. I could not get it to catch the station I set on the unit. I tried several FM frequencies, I tried putting the unit near the boot (my car has the FM aerial built into the rear window I think).

I tried it with a FM radio to confirm it works at all and it does work... but the sound quality is really not acceptable. I returned it for a refund. I thank you for your suggestion though :)

I have toyed with the idea of a aux-in mod but in my Car 2007 Honda Civic, it entails removing half the dashboard. There are some car audio shops that will do it but I'll be probably looking at £150. Only from model year 2009 did Honda introduce an aux in to this model - argh!!

Happy to help! :)

If you use an FM transmitter, the signal is going to be like an FM transmission so you are not going to get the same quality as when you are listening directly to an MD player.  You need to make a physical connection to your car's existing sound system and your MD unit to hear quality sound thru an Audio IN or Optical IN. Otherwise, cannot expect much when it comes to the quality of the sound.

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On 4/20/2018 at 1:39 PM, Arr-Nine-Hundred said:

I got the FM transmitter, got all excited to try it and...

...nothing. I could not get it to catch the station I set on the unit. I tried several FM frequencies, I tried putting the unit near the boot (my car has the FM aerial built into the rear window I think).

I tried it with a FM radio to confirm it works at all and it does work... but the sound quality is really not acceptable. I returned it for a refund. I thank you for your suggestion though :)

I have toyed with the idea of a aux-in mod but in my Car 2007 Honda Civic, it entails removing half the dashboard. There are some car audio shops that will do it but I'll be probably looking at £150. Only from model year 2009 did Honda introduce an aux in to this model - argh!!

Hang about..... is your car old enough to have a cassette in the radio? Then I have a trivial solution.....

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11 hours ago, sfbp said:

Hang about..... is your car old enough to have a cassette in the radio? Then I have a trivial solution....

It's too new to have a cassette and too old to have aux-in or USB.

It's like the "app gap" generation in human beings!

Otherwise the tape adapter thingy would be a really good solution.

I was looking at a more beefy portable speaker inside the car but to be honest I think within a few years I'll probably change the car. The poor thing is starting to suffer some age related issues.

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I recall I went through the stage of trying the FM- transmitting MDX-66XLP(RF) into my factory-installed cassette radio (Chrysler). The result was terrible. It wasn't the transmitter's fault.

Is it possible you (and I) had bad results because the spacing of the transmission (and hence the audio bandwidth) is aimed at the North American market, or the Japanese market, where broadcast frequencies are different, see here? Sony's rather clever implementation of car audio (both the Unilink control cable and the decently large analog RCA signals) beat that arrangement by a mile.

Of course modern units with Bluetooth are the most convenient of all, but the difference is that BT has enough bandwidth (I'm going by results, not specifications) that my ATRAC tracks play without actually even needing the MD. That's perfect for car rentals in distant places as all brand new cars seem to have BT available in the radio.

The only head unit with an MD (as opposed to the 66XLP which still runs in my aging minivan into a Sony head unit) which I ever get to listen to now is the second-hand MDX-CA790X in wife's car. It's a beaut.

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On 22/04/2018 at 1:13 PM, sfbp said:

The only head unit with an MD (as opposed to the 66XLP which still runs in my aging minivan into a Sony head unit) which I ever get to listen to now is the second-hand MDX-CA790X in wife's car. It's a beaut.

Nice!

Back when I got my first sportscar, a 1997 BMW 323 couple, I removed the headunit and fitted a Kenwood KMD-671R myself, I really miss those days :(

 

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