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    MiniDiscs and Linux
    Contributed by techgod on Monday, February 11 @ 07:23:04 GMT

    Ask Debianplanet
    Is there any way to encode data through the soundcard to store it on a MiniDisc player/recorder?

    Read the full story.

    Today I was watching a movie here in Denmark, and noticed that when two computer guys traded data, they exchanged a MiniDisc. I realized, that in The Matrix, they also used a MiniDisc. When I lived in the U.S. MiniDiscs just were not that popular. I remember a brief flirtation with Data MiniDisc drives, but it seemed they were too expensive. Now, I live in Denmark, and Audio MiniDiscs are a little more common place. I chose one because, at the time, it was cheaper than an MP3 player. After, seeing the shows/movies where MDs were used, I'm guessing that some companies are still trying to push the technology. So, I searched the net for MD data drives. It seems that only the old ones are around, and the projects have been shelved by most companies.

    Then I started to think back to my old TI-99-4a days. Back then, you saved your programs to a cassette tape. So, why can't we do this today with MDs? I'm sure the compression might not be there, but as long as it's bigger than a floppy, I would be willing to use it.

    So I ask you guys, are there any projects or other ways to encode data through the soundcard to store it on a minidisc player/recorder?

    DanielS: Sony sells data MD drives in their VAIO desktop line - one of my friends has a data MD drive. They're extremely rare though, and I haven't been able to find one. I assume this is because the ATRAC3 compression is quite lossy, so you probably wouldn't use it for data; I doubt the data MDs have a huge capacity. I'd love to see data MDs supported under Linux; my MZ-R900 is my baby. On the computer connectivity side, one Debian developer is working on Linux support for interfacing with the remote section of the MZ-R900; don't know how far he is.

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  • "MiniDiscs and Linux" | Login/Create Account | 23 comments

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Re: MiniDisc's and Linux (Score: 2, Interesting)
    by jaguar on Monday, February 11 @ 08:09:19 GMT
    (User Info)

    Cassette tapes are (were) analog while minidisk is digital, so it would be a waste to first modulate the data into analog form...

    I've been thinking for some time about coding a generic Linux tool to modulate data so it can be played on a soundcard and stored on any medium capable of storing audio, but I don't know enough about the practical issues of audio processing. Of course it'd be prolly useless for any real purpose, but fun to play with nevertheless. 🙂 It'd be nice to hear if there already is such a project

    [ Reply ]

    Re: MiniDisc's and Linux (Score: 2, Informative)
    by purcell on Monday, February 11 @ 08:25:16 GMT
    (User Info)

    Data MiniDisc has been used as the storage medium for multi-track recorders sold for home studio use. There is an uncompressed (non-ATRAC) format for this purpose.

    For more info see one of Sony's offerings or a comprehensive list at

    [ Reply ]

    Re: MiniDisc's and Linux (Score: 1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous on Monday, February 11 @ 10:06:48 GMT

    There were some MD data drives but as usual unless Sony decides that it is going to happen then no one else can build them with out its permission. The disks were about 110Mb each. But as usual for SONY the drives could not record music and if I rember rightly the disk were not even compatiable. You have to rember that Sony is a very large content provider of music and film.

    As for the recording of data to Auio MD there could be massive problems with the compression as it is designed to drop data from the audio stream! There was a card that backed up to video tape but in this case you knew what sort of data quality you were dealing with. ATRAC is now on version 5 and I would imagine gives diffirent results not only between versions but also between models.

    [ Reply ]

    Why use a minidisk? (Score: 1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous on Monday, February 11 @ 10:35:51 GMT

    In front of me I have a USB Sandisk CF adapter - It appears to my system as a SCSI removable disk, and I can mount/umount + change media like any 'real' drive.

    It cost me about $30cad. I also have a PC Card adapter for it, $20cad. I have 2 cards, a 32mb and a 48mb - I paid $20us for the 48. The bigger brands are now releasing 512mb CF cards. There are even IDE adapters for these things so you can use them as a /dev/hdx device. Hell, IBM even makes a 1gb mini-harddrive that is a CF device.

    Why would I mess around with minidisks when CF mp3 players can be picked up for less that $100usd, and media is so much smaller?

    Plus, there's no moving parts!

    [ Reply ]

    Re: MiniDisc's and Linux (Score: 2, Informative)
    by kyrre on Monday, February 11 @ 10:44:22 GMT
    (User Info)

    Somewhat of topic

    If you want cute small disks you can use mini-cdrs distributed by freecom and others. Capacity of 185mb. Works with most tray cdroms.


    [ Reply ]

    Re: MiniDisc's and Linux (Score: 1)
    by pecka (acmelab(at)volny(dot)cz) on Monday, February 11 @ 11:33:45 GMT
    (User Info)

    well theres something called MD Data 2 used in the Sony Discam. It has capacity of 650MB which is not so bad - but than again it uses ATRAC (in this case it's MPEG2 over ATRAC). I'm sure this won't answer your question but this cam is really worth a look as it also has an Ethernet connection...

    can smell something geeky goin' on 😉

    [ Reply ]

    Re: MiniDisc's and Linux (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, February 11 @ 16:27:05 GMT


    I thought about this some time already. What needs to be done in my opinion is:

    encode the data into sound (44kHz sample rate) but here comes the crucial part - in a way that atrac doesn't mess with it. Atrac is a psychoacoustic based algorithm, which means (I'm just figuring, not knowing) that when to tones in a play are close together (in frequency and in time) and the first one is louder than the second the second gets droppped since you wouldn't hear it anyway. So we have to encode the data in a way that no two generated tones are to close together in frequeny. If you switch the md-recorder then into mono-mode you can record some 140 minutes which would be quite nice 😉

    robos at geekmail dot de

    [ Reply ]

    We Are Forgeting About Optical (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 12 @ 18:54:58 GMT

    Now granted this is making the idea more of a hack but MiniDisc's have an optical in port. Or atleast most do. Now couldn't one grab a phiber optic kit, attach it to a given interface and transfer data as straight digital?

    Now I don't think I know entirely what I am talking about but this seems reasonable no? What are the limitations, advantages or drawbacks of this?

    Attaching the optical converter to serial would be slow as all hell, but maybe it would be possible to do it to firewire, ide something? Like on a secondary ide channel or something similar?

    Where are we at on this idea?

    [ Reply ]

    Re: MiniDiscs and Linux (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Thursday, February 14 @ 12:48:56 GMT

    My Sony MZ-G750 came with an optical cable and a USB adapter. Enable USB in the kernel, and use xmms / Freeamp / player du jour to play MP3s/streams. While they are playing, hit the record button and walk away. When completed, player auto shuts off, and I have the MP3s on (mini)disk.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: MiniDiscs and Linux (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, February 24 @ 12:15:02 GMT


    i think you're wrong with MDs used in films.I think that it weren't MDs but MOs.- Magneto-Optical drives.

    [ Reply ]

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