The end of the line for MiniDisc

MiniDisc: faithful servant whose time has passed

MiniDisc: faithful servant whose time has passed

This September, we are moving to a new office and I’ve started planning the audio studio. That’s led to a stock take of the equipment we use to record podcasts and audio clips.

When I started recording audio for broadcast (12 years ago now), Digital Audio Tape, or DAT, was the standard. There’s a TASCAM reporter’s DAT deck here somewhere, and it served me well.

But within a few years, MiniDisc took over as the format of choice for many radio journalists as well as web producers. The media was cheap and readily available. Consumer-grade, portable MiniDisc recorders gave excellent results, ran off standard AA batteries, and were reasonably reporter proof. Some enterprising companies went as far as to develop adapter kits to run MiniDisc machines with pro microphones, and there was a even a pro-spec unit from HHB.

I do still use the studio MiniDisc as a backup for recording interviews – it performed a great service when a fragmented hard drive took down the computer workstation mid recording. But now that solid-state recorders are cheaper, better and more efficient for field work, the MiniDisc is on its way out.

The studio DAT deck is a better option for backup recording, and a CD is better for archiving. There are also solid-state studio recorders that look attractive, and one of those might go on the shopping list (not least because it will allow recordings in the studio, at the same time as someone else is editing on the computer system).

So the MiniDisc decks will be giving up their rack space when we move. But not before they’ve played out the music compilations at the office moving party.

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About stephenpritchard
Freelance journalist specialising in business and technology, based in London (UK).

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