Mini Disc

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Related to Mini Disc: compact disc

Mini Disc

(storage, music)
A music medium designed by Sony as a portable replacement for music Compact Discs. In 1994 Sony announced a data version which can hold 140 MB or about 100 MB using error correction. These will be competitive with 128 MB magneto-optical disks. Mini Discs may be either a re-writable or mass-produced read-only type. Sony have also announced a standard data format.

The transfer rate is similar to CD-ROM which is slow compared to the current magneto-optical drives (which are similar to an old hard disk, with writing noticeably slower than reading). Pre-recorded read-only Mini Discs can be mass manufactured on a modified CD press - this and the standard format mean it could take off as a software distribution medium.

An article in the December 1994 PCW quotes access times of about 300 ms and data transfer rate of about 150 kb/s (i.e. about single spin CD rate).
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mini CD

A CD disc that is 80mm (3 1/8") in diameter. Mini CDs hold 20 minutes of CD-DA audio compared to 75 minutes for the full-size 120mm (4 3/4") disc, or 180MB of data compared to 700MB. The mini CD fits in the inner well of the CD tray or snaps onto the spindle of a laptop drive (see below).

Mini DVDs Are the Same Size
Using the same platter size as the mini CD, mini DVDs hold 1.4GB of video compared to 4.7GB for the regular 120mm DVD. See DVD.

Beware Slot Loading Drives
Before inserting a mini CD or mini DVD into the slot of a "feed drive," read the manual. Many feed drives do not accept the smaller platters and can be damaged. However, the small disc can be snapped into an 80-120mm adapter and then inserted. See business card CD and feed drive.

Full and Mini
The 80mm mini discs are considerably smaller than their 120mm full-size counterpart.

How Drives Hold the Small Discs
The top example shows a laptop optical drive onto which discs both large and small are snapped down onto the spindle (notice the springs). Desktop drives (arrow at bottom) have a well in the middle of the tray for the smaller size.

How Drives Hold the Small Discs
The top example shows a laptop optical drive onto which discs both large and small are snapped down onto the spindle (notice the springs). Desktop drives (arrow at bottom) have a well in the middle of the tray for the smaller size.


(1) See mini CD.

(2) An earlier 2.5" digital audio disc from Sony that was available in a rewritable magneto-optic (MO) version or as read-only like a music CD. The disc also stored track titles, and although its 140MB capacity was much smaller than a CD, it held 80 minutes of music due to Sony's Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding compression (see ATRAC3).

Introduced in 1992, the MiniDisc Walkman was popular in Japan, but not in the U.S. The MiniDisc MD DATA drive came out a year later for computer storage but never caught on. There were few pre-recorded albums compared to audio tape cassettes, and CD usage was growing exponentially. Walkman production ceased in 2011. See Walkman and magneto-optic disk.

MiniDisc Cartridge
Somewhat popular in Japan, the MiniDisc attracted very few followers in the U.S.
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