I'm cleaning out one of the drawers in my room and I notice something glinting back at me from under the years of accumulated detritus. Its my old minidisc player. A Sony MZ-R70. Its actually the first peice of Hifi I bought after starting in the industry almost ten years ago.

So for those of you who don't know what the hell a minidisc player heres a quick run-down. Its a disc based music format, dreamt up by the team at Sonys 'soon to be discontinued format' department. It looks like a smaller floppy disc with a CD inside it. It could hold the same amount of audio as a CD, although it used a compression system called A.TR.A.C., which was better than mp3 but not as good as CD. My portable has an optical in, and you hooked it up to a CD player to transfer music to it. It didn't interface with a PC, and it recorded in real time. Discs were about 5 bucks from memory.

I never sold these. I bought it from the Sony store across the road. I sold a lot for them though, as when people would ask us about portables, I would produce my little music box and tell people all about them. I used to get into lots of discussions about MP3 players. An MP3 player in those days was a 32Mb flash player. It would hold around ten songs at a time. These are the kind of things that now get given away in cereal boxes and with crappy set top boxes. I would tout the superiority of minidisc as I could carry a half dozen albums in my bag, changing as I went. MP3 players might be OK if they got up to 128Mb, but that would never happen right?

Minidisc is another format that didn't quite make it. We add it to the pile. Beta. HD-DVD. Digital-8 (I own one of those too by the way...). Micro MV. DCC. The list goes on. Its another victim of poor support from an industry that loves new formats, as long as they can earn a royalty from them.

I'm listening to it now, and it hold up pretty well actually. Its reasonably dynamic, and has a good output stage. Plus, its a portable recorder too, which I used quite a bit in my radio student days... But its not as good my iPod with a lossless track.

I used to build a play list on the PC, burn it to CD and then play it back via the optical out of my DVD player onto this thing, a process that would take several hours... So what was I listening to when I last put a disc together:

DJ Shadow, The Postal Service (and the Dream of Evan and Chan!) The White Stripes, Radiohead, lots of home recordings...

Ah. nostalgia.