Standard Play (SP), Long Play (LP2 and LP4) and Hi-MD (Hi-SP and Hi-LP) MiniDiscs
4 square plastic slim cassettes, top row: transparent and grey and transluscent amber, revealing shiny discs inside which resemble mini CDs. Bottom row both opaque, left: grey, labelled 140MB re-writable MD Data, and right: Hi-MD 1GB

4 examples of MiniDisc / Hi-MD for audio / data storage

introduction to minidisc transfer

MiniDisc is a magneto-optical, disc-based data storage format, developed by Sony in the 1990s. The disc is permanently housed in a small, flat plastic cartridge (68×72×5mm) with a sliding door, similar to the casing of a 3.5" floppy disk.

At Greatbear we cater for stereo or mono Standard Play (SP), Long Play (LP2 and LP4) and Hi-MD (Hi-SP and Hi-LP) MiniDisc recordings, all of which we can transfer digitally, avoiding digital-to-analogue and analogue-to-digital conversion artifacts.

We offer a range of delivery formats for our audio transfers. We use the International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects, delivering 24-bit/96kHz Broadcast WAV files, together with mp3 audio file or audio CD listening versions. We're happy to create any other digital audio files, according to your needs.

We can provide the appropriately-sized usb media for your files, or use media supplied by you, or deliver your files online. Files delivered on hard drive can be for any operating system MacOS, Windows or GNU/Linux and filesystems (HFS+, NTFS or EXT3).

Due to variation in media duration and physical degradation, it’s not always appropriate to create fixed prices for our services. We’ve found that assessing media prior to confirming costs is a more accurate and fair method.

We offer free assessments please contact us to discuss your project.

minidisc machines

  • Denon DN-990R Broadcast Minidisk Recorder
  • Tascam 350 MiniDisk Recorder

minidisc format variation

Stereo / mono MiniDisc recordings in Standard Play (SP), Long Play (LP2 and LP4) and Hi-MD (Hi-SP and Hi-LP) formats.

light bouncing off highly reflective surface (disc) behind window created by movement of aluminium metal guard plate

MiniDisc shell with guard open, showing magneto-optical disc inside

2 identical sleek black machines with with multiple buttons, dials and amber-coloured LED-lit meters

Tascam MD-350 machines

4 minidiscs with rulers indicating individual width by height: 7.2 x 6.8 cm

MiniDisc shell dimensions: 7.2 x 6.8 x 0.5 cm, the disc inside is 6.4 cm diameter

minidisc risks & vulnerabilities

minidisc recording history

MiniDisc (MD) was initially intended for the storage of digitised audio, with the later development of Hi-MD capable of storing both audio and data on the same disc. It was a flexible and robust format for its time - often used by reporters and sound recordists as the portable recorders were light, small and much cheaper than comparable DAT recorders launched in the late '80s.

Despite its popularity with musicians and audio enthusiasts, MiniDisc met with only limited commercial success outside Japan, particularly as recordable CDs, flash memory and HDD-based digital audio players became available. Both MD and Hi-MD recording and playback devices have been discontinued by Sony, although blank discs are still available.