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Throwback Thursday: MiniDiscs

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 6:46PM EST

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re going to dive into the audio realm with the technology that was MiniDiscs. Remember back when exercising with a portable CD player was out of the question? First, you had to have the stamina to carry the hefty device around while shaking your bon-bon (click on link to get Ricky-rolled). Second, anything you were listening to on your CD Walkman was bound to end up sounding like a bad remix after the anti-skip protection (typically 10, 20, 45, or 60 seconds) ran out. Then, in 1992, in came the MiniDisc.

Reminiscent of CD-ROM cartridges found on the Apple Performa series of computers, the MiniDisc promised CD-quality audio, with skipping under only the most extreme conditions, in a compact package. MiniDisc players were smaller, sleeker, and definitely more attractive than the CD and cassette-based Walkman units available at the time. At its inception MiniDiscs could accommodate 74 or 80 minutes of music. In 2000, Sony added a technology to its devices dubbed MiniDisc Long Play (MDLP) which allowed the throttling of audio quality and storage of up to 320 minutes of audio on one 80 minute MiniDisc. The MiniDisc’s Achilles heel came in the fact that the format only supported minute-based, CD-style audio recordings. Support for MP3 storage and playback was not added until the mid-2000’s; by then the era of the hard drive and flash-based MP3 player had begun.

Unfortunately, this was a technology we invested in and we owned several portable MiniDisc players (even a MiniDisc deck). We are also conjuring up faint memories of high school friends bragging about bootlegging Dave Matthews Band concerts with portable MiniDisc recorders and high-quality microphones. How about you? Any MiniDisc memories, or did you manage to avoid the fad?

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.