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Remembering Mini Disc

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by macsound, Jun 12, 2019 at 5:25 PM.

  1. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    Had a moment on this morning's commute thinking about Minidisc and how it was the beginning of "digital" sound effect playback in live theatre for me. Ended up using them for everything.

    I loved that I could have a whole binder of them, digitally copy from one deck to another, they didn't get scratched, I could rearrange tracks, tracks could be named...

    There was a time when Sony offered an in-dash MD player and I thought that was brilliant considering all of my CDs in the car door pocket ended up scratched overtime.


    Anyone else have any great or terrible memories of Minidisc?
     
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  2. steine

    steine Member

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    Occupation:
    IT-Support at K12 and freelance sound/light design
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    Used MD for sfx for several years, until I finally changed to first DigiCart (part of the Digital Radio station software), and then QLab + a player on my small 7" Android Tablet for quick small gigs. (that one fitted in my thigh pocket on the worktrousers) ;)

    Still have two MD desks and a few discs around, including a few brand new discs.... just in case.
     
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  3. John Scrip

    John Scrip Member

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    Ran it like I stole it until finally switching over to Show Cue Systems (and QLab to a lesser extent). TASCAM made units that we used to use (at a few radio stations) that were replacements for the old cart decks. They sounded good, they were small, I don't think I ever remember a live failure.
     
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  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  5. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @macsound I still own three Sony MDS JE630's with cabled PC keyboards for titling, numbering, remote operation and various shortcuts. Used from the time Sony introduced the model until my mini-stroke forced my retirement from both professional and amateur activities. LOVED Minidiscs; far easier to tote three MD recorder players than two Otari 5050B's and a Teac A3340S; less space in the van, less trouble to carry in and out, quieter in venues; slightly shorter run time than a 10.5" reel of 1 mil running at 15 IPS but overall a much more convenient system for SFX; pre, interval and post production music. Began with Sony discs and progressed to HHB's 80 minute discs. My three are still in transit cases in the basement of my wife's condo. A close friend owns three more including one of the 1RU broadcast models.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  6. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @macsound Several great memories of Minidiscs. Did one production with my JBL three ways and subs under the stage in a stereo configuration plus four EAW UB12S's and one of the little EAW dual 8" subs designed specifically to work with the UB12S's. The four UB12S's were all overhead on catwalks positioned as one on the center line behind the audience, a pair on the sides above the audience and the fourth on the center line above the audience U/S. The dual 8" sub was flown in the centre of the catwalks. The four UB12S's and their sub were driven by four channels and carried the stereo outputs of two MDS JE630's.
    For one specific effect, two MDS JE630's were rolled simultaneously with the left track of one deck slowly fading up in the rear speaker with the sounds of several older propeller fighters from the 1940's / 50's. As the planes grew louder and closer, the second deck expanded the passing planes into stereo as they passed directly overhead; the right track of the first deck then carried the planes off into the distance on the last UB12S on the center line USC.
    I won't try to tell you they ran in frame accurate sync' but I can definitely assure you starting the two decks simultaneously was plenty close enough for the one, four-channel, effect. The planes arriving from behind, blowing through in stereo with the sub, then fading out into the distance for the next twenty or thirty seconds was definitely impressive.
    Ya', I've many fond memories of MiniDiscs.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    It's been nineteen years since I've touched or thought about the MiniDisc. Only used it domestically, never for a show.

    MiniDisc_discman.JPG

    MiniDisc_rack.JPG
     
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  8. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I LOVED the MiniDisc format. I used it for everything before moving to computer based system. I always enjoyed the portable recorder that allowed field recording of sound effects and some concerts. I briefly remember Best Buy having a MD section where you could purchase albums released on Mini..... back when people paid for music.

    ~Dave
     
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  9. rwhealey

    rwhealey Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Denver
    Used minidiscs up until 2008-2009 when we put a computer in the booth. I loved them.

    The movie Strange Days (which is very overlooked sci-fi written by James Cameron and directed by Kathryn Bigelow) used minidiscs for the "illegal drug/memory cards" that is a major plot point in the film. I laugh every time I watch it.
     
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  10. John Palmer

    John Palmer Active Member

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    I had a portable minidisc player that I used for touring dance shows. If I got to the venue, I could plug it in via the headphone jack. If I needed to create a new disc, I had an optical cable that connected to a Sony Discman to digitally copy music. I could edit on the minidisc if I needed to chop a piece. It was fantastic and fit in my carry on luggage.
    John
     
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  11. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    I was the "sound guy" (using that term verrrrry loosely here) for a group called The Groundlings back in 1999. Since the show was highly improv based, and even the written stuff changed from week to week- it made me look insanely good to be able to call up various sound fx and music practically within seconds. It was almost like jamming with a band- cast throws something out, I give them something back, boom! Off we go.
     
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  12. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @What Rigger? Do you remember when one of the late night show hosts used to do his opening monologue in front of a large, glass-less, window frame; he'd be standing there with a bunch of books or plaques, read the first one, throw it over his shoulder, the sound guy'd play a clip of glass breaking and the host would read his next item. If he got a laugh, he'd occasionally put it back on the bottom of his stack to read again; anything that didn't get a laugh got heaved over his shoulder. Sometimes items would sail through the frame, sometimes they'd fall short, occasionally they'd sail past the frame totally missing it; nearly every item he tossed got the shattering glass effect. If the sound dude was sharp, and if the item missed the frame, the host would wonder why the glass didn't shatter then look around, see he'd missed the frame and either ignore it or retrieve the item and give it a second heave.
    For three or four consecutive years a week long God botherers' convention played our city's largest soft-seater. The first year the house crew worked the gig, one day of set up and rehearsal followed by six days of 8:00 a.m. 'til 11:30 p.m. or midnight. The days were long, tedious and boring. The God botherers blew through coffee breaks, lunches and dinners bringing in tasty boxed meals for their attendees and bringing the crew cold coffee and donuts, if we were lucky.
    The first year the house crew worked the gig, all succeeding years none of the house crew made themselves available. Several other crew members would take turns sitting in the enclosed lighting booth trying to stay awake and collect their overtime. Too many years I ended up sitting in the centre of orchestra level initially baby-sitting the Neve progressing to a Yamaha PM3000-40 by the last year I worked there. Every morning at 8:00 a.m. began with a host / MC speaking for 15 or 20 minutes listing the events of the day; some events were mandatory while others were more geared to girls, or guys, or intense bible study, or, or, or. Every morning's monologue featured a bag of goodies included as gifts for all attendees and the MC of the day would pick items from the bag and extol their virtues, usually placing them back into his bag or piling them on the stage next to him. One morning a new MC materialized, plucked items from his bag, sung their praises, then tossed them over his shoulder in the manner of the national night show host. At home I owned the "Hollywood Edge" effect library on CD's. My library contained the exact clip of shattering glass as was used on the late show with Letterman or whoever the host was. The next morning I brought a player loaded with several clips of the very same shattering glass hoping the same MC would materialize again. This year the God botherers had assigned a teen age sound geek to live next to me in the tight confines of my booth in case I fell asleep or otherwise was unable to carry out my duties. The morning after the semi-comedic MC, I dragged myself in 30 minutes earlier than anyone else, made a space for my player on a box next to my knees below sight lines, picked an input. blew the effect a few times, adjusted EQ and set a level all before anyone else rolled in. A couple of minutes prior to 8:00 a.m. my student baby-sitter rolled in and immediately asked what the new piece of gear did. I fed him some baffle-gab and prayed for the easy going host to appear. A couple of long days dragged by without the easy going host appearing. One morning my favorite host rolled in and he stacked his first few items on the floor; finally he plucked out a book, expounded upon it, then heaved it over his shoulder. I seized the moment and cued the shattering glass effect at an attention commanding level, go BIG or go home. The kid next to me dang near shat himself. The host was initially startled, then fell right into it, giving his spiel and heaving his books. Again and again I nailed the effect. Again and again the kid next to me shat himself. The MC began playing it up, doing his spiel, then trying to fake me out by feigning a toss but hanging onto the item and faking another two or three tosses before finally letting it fly. I played along with him and matched him toss for toss; we were never closer than 50 feet but we developed a rapport. A few days later he appeared for another morning and we picked it up right where we'd left off. The kid next to me died a dozen deaths; it was the only year I enjoyed their annual visit. One more happy memory of MiniDiscs.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  13. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Occupation:
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    THIS! Is! Gloorrrrrrrrrrrious!
     
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  14. spiwak2005

    spiwak2005 Active Member

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    I have similar fond memories of my MD years. Started out using them in radio for recording phone calls. Still bust out my portable one to listen to the dozens of "bootleg" recordings I made...

    Recently found this in one of the venues on campus (Hartwick College). Still operational although I don't know when it was last used.

    IMG_5444.JPG IMG_5443.JPG
     
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