help me empty my minidiscs
May 9, 2006 2:16 PM   Subscribe

How do I transfer mini-disc to CD?

I have a whole bunch of recordings on Minidisc, which I would like to transfer to my computer and burn to CD. My equipment: Sony Net-MD Walkman MZ-NF810, Apple iBook G4, and an audio cable (1/8" stereo mini-plug on both ends- someone told me this is what i would need). Now I need to figure out what software to download or whatever the next step is. Can anyone help me? Previous posts talked about transfering CD to MD but not vice versa.
posted by purplefiber to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
If you had a Hi-MD player, Hi-MD discs, and a PC with Windows, you could actually upload. In your case, though, you'll have to record it old school style on your iBook. The iBook doesn't have a line-in, so you'll have to get something like the somewhat crap iMic or better, but more expensive things like an Edirol interface. Once that's set up, you'll have to get something to record into, like Audacity or Garageband. Hit record on the PC, then Play on the MD, and stop when it's done. There's a lot more in between, too, like making sure your levels are correctly set so it's not too quiet but not too loud that it causes clipping.
posted by zsazsa at 2:29 PM on May 9, 2006

I'm not sure about that model of MD, but some just open as a drive when plugged into the computer. Those are the newer ones.

The crappy but probably necessary way will be to plug the MD into the computer, play the disc, and use Audacity (I think... I don't use Macs that often) to record it. You set the inputs to... whatever hole the MD player went into. When I do it on my PC with Total Recorder, it's "mic."

I believe Soundtrack will also record input from MD, but I think Audacity comes with Macs (correct me if I'm wrong).
posted by ruby.aftermath at 2:34 PM on May 9, 2006

Here's my experience over the last few years:

I've got 3 MD units (all SONY): a MZ-R50 portable recorder, a MDS-JE440 home deck, and a MZ-NF520D Net-MD. I haven't sprung for a HiMD yet.

I wish it was as easy as plugging the USB cable in and uploading/downloading like another drive. The RIAA wouldn't much let that happen, though, would they... The included NetMD software and drivers permits fast copying of MP3s and CDs -to- the Net-MD unit, but it won't permit copying of new tracks from the Net-MD to the PC/Mac.

So, as already mentioned the remaining option is to just take the MD's line out to the computer's audio in and do a plain ole realtime transfer. It would go better if you had a line in on the computer, so you might want to beg or borrow another computer (PC or Mac) to do the transfers. The quality will good if you're careful about record levels and the soundcard is decent.

I'm sorry I don't know Mac software but I'm sure there's several simple recording apps you could use.

I was able to modify my MDS-JE440 deck for digital out and I have a higher-end soundcard with digital in, so I am able to at least transfer from the deck to my PC in digital, which means the levels are perfect and possibly a bit less noise in the transfer. The deck's discontinued, though...
posted by Artful Codger at 3:25 PM on May 9, 2006

I doubt you'll like this solution, but you should buy the new Hi-MD unit that comes out soon, the RH-1. It will allow you to upload all your MD's digitally (provided they were not recorded in NetMD mode). It's by far the slickest and easiest solution. Zsazsa has the links. It is, however, expensive, being somewhere between 300 and 400$. I'm going to be buying this new unit and doing exactly what you want to do.
posted by fake at 8:31 PM on May 9, 2006

So, there's no way of digitally transferring older recordings in the MD format (just checked up the HiMD link)?
I have hours of soundscapes I've made on my travels - and I'm really keen to get them off the discs (which tend to fuck out after a while).
posted by strawberryviagra at 10:14 PM on May 9, 2006

If you can obtain a prosumer or professional deck, they sometimes ignore the SCMS copy-protection used by minidiscs (and other older digital audio gear).

There appear to be some other options, such as Using a Minidisc Data Drive

relevant google keywords: minidisc+defeat+scms.
posted by unmake at 2:06 AM on May 10, 2006

Know anyone with access to a radio studio? Any rack-mount professional MD deck will have either S/PDIF or optical/coax digital I/O, which can be cabled to the equivalent connector on your sound card/interface, or your rack-mount CD-recorder, or anything else that handles digital I/0. Yes, your transfer will be in real time, but you won't have to go through a (completely purpose-defeating) analog stage in the transfer. There are fewer choices for such an MD deck these days, but for example the Tascam MD 301 has optical i/o for less than $500. If you have a lot of this to do this might be a worthy solution to invest in. Otherwise, uploadability is around the corner, sort of.

Digital flash recorders have so far surpassed MD at this point that you should switch. Nagra has, unbelievably, an amazing little puppy (the Ares-M) for less than a grand out now, for example. And Edirol, M Audio, and Marantz have several models under $500, including Edirol's new R9, which is damn slick for $400 or less. No contest with anything but pro MD rigs, either for sound, practicality, or ease of integration into a digital workflow. Anyway, it's 90 percent mics with respect to recording quality. So ease of use is paramount. Go flash recorder, if you can.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:06 AM on May 10, 2006

So, there's no way of digitally transferring older recordings in the MD format (just checked up the HiMD link)?

You can absolutely positively 100% certainly do that, *if* you buy the new RH1 from Sony. You can just transfer- quite quickly, I might add- through USB2.

It's by far your best solution, if a little expensive.
posted by fake at 7:07 AM on May 10, 2006

unmake, SCMS will only be an issue if the recordings were made digitally fron an SCMS-protected source such as a CD player. A recording from analog, such as one made with a microphone, will not be SCMS restricted. A cheap old MD deck from eBay with a SPDIF output and any sound card/interface with a matching SPDIF input (like the $80 Edirol UA-1EX) will work fine for real-time digital recording of MDs.

That's great news about the RH-1. Too bad Sony has finally decided to make direct downloading of recordings on all MD formats possible now that they're practically dead.
posted by zsazsa at 9:27 AM on May 10, 2006

The format's alive and well in Japan.
posted by Rash at 9:40 AM on May 10, 2006


I've always been incredibly annoyed by DRM in the case that I can't even access my own recordings.

This is all good news.

Thanks for the info - made my day.
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:28 PM on May 10, 2006

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