My Sony MZ-E75 was part of my everyday carry back in 2000/2001 - then sometime in 2002/2003 I packed light and headed for LA and my MiniDisc decks landed in a box in the closet of my parents house in Boston.
Fast-forward to a few months ago, my Mom sold the house and told me to come and get any of my stuff that I didn’t want to end up in a dumpster.
I pulled out this deck, hit the eject button a few times while still getting a thrill from this simple but well-designed mechanism and decided I was not ready to part with any of it just yet. Into the box it went, and a few weeks later, I had all my MiniDisc gear back at my home base in Los Angeles.
I thought, maybe I could listen to some of the tracks I recorded 20 years ago for an easy dose of nostalgia, but little did I realize that there is a vibrant community of MiniDisc enthusiasts to this day.
All it took was some time off from work between Christmas and New Year’s for me to go fully down the rabbit hole. Bummed out that all of my gear was pre-NetMD, I found a Sony MZ-N510 for sale and started prepping labels and FLAC files for transfer.
I always wanted to get into vinyl, but never did, despite at least one or two solid attempts. I have audiophile tendencies, but I also really love the idea of listening to music with intention – putting in an album and playing it through. The way I see it, MiniDisc, a format I’ve always loved, can fill this role in 2023 with a dash of cyberpunk on top (which is the only way I would have it).
On a rainy afternoon right before Christmas, my NetMD deck came in the mail and I stayed up almost all night the next few days until all of my blank media was converted to a stack of full-length albums.
Included in the die-hard community of MD supporters are some talented developers that have built compatible apps (no WinXP emulation required) to aid in this digital transfer process – I started with (and prefer) Platinum MD, although it is a bit buggy. Web MiniDisc Pro seems a bit more solid to use, although I wish it was packaged as a native app.
With tired and bloodshot eyes, I now had a full stack of MiniDiscs - the next step was to label them. The subreddit and wiki are full of resources for every facet of MiniDisc, including some very nicely designed labels. Using u/mikojank’s template as the base, I made a slightly modified version for printing on 8.5” x 11” sheets.
For best results, print at 100% on Sticky 8.5” x 11” High Glossy Photo Paper and cut out using an exacto knife and a ruler (scissors will be tough at this size, trust me!).
After an initial run of 27 discs, my original supply was exhausted - with just a bit of scouring and some late-night internal debate, I went ahead and created an account on amazon.co.jp and ordered the last 2 10-packs of the Sony color multipacks I could find.
Those 20 discs that are hopefully on the way (+ one awesome 30th anniversary disc from NeedleJuice records) might be the last MiniDiscs that I ever buy, but I’m so happy I stumbled back into this format and saved my closet-imprisoned gear.