Sony MiniDisc: The (Not) Forgotten Audio Format That (Never) Failed

By the early 1990s, the humble compact cassette was starting to show its age. Electronics giant Sony developed what it believed to be the best successor to tape -- but so did a former business partner.

Special thanks to: Viewer Asaf for loaning several MiniDisc portables and accessories; V-Sync Co. Ltd. for providing archival photos; and to fellow DElevelrs LGR, Geek Therapy Radio and Computer Clan for video clips.

Due to DElevel video description character limits, I've posted the complete list of media credits, sources, and additional research material on my Patreon page -- it's freely available for all to access:


Please consider supporting my work on Patreon:

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram! @thisdoesnotcomp


Music by
Birocratic ( ), Epidemic Sound ( ), Lakey Inspired ( ) and Dan Mason ( ).
Intro music by BoxCat Games ( ).


  • Moutton Noir
    Moutton NoirVor 6 Stunden

    I still own 2 portable mini disc players and play them now and again. I liked the format, it was certainly a better portable solution than CD walkman! I also loved the convenience of being able to record at double speed- for the first time we had moved away from real time recording which was a real time consuming chore.

  • alexs87
    alexs87Vor 10 Stunden

    i used MD to record my livesets at the club. Best way to do it

  • con fuzz
    con fuzzVor 12 Stunden

    dcc was such a error ridden format , if you wanted to play standard cassettes on it your error rate on the digital readout (same read head) would go skyhigh , md on the other hand was much tougher

  • TheLostBoy1974
    TheLostBoy1974Vor Tag

    I loved the simple but useful editing function on MD.

  • Mark Rutter
    Mark RutterVor 2 Tage

    If only they had not crippled mp3 playback with proprietary MD format. It was the extra bit of greed that held this back from mass adoption, fair prices and a longer product life.

  • One Hitter Quitter
    One Hitter QuitterVor 2 Tage

    I'm an 80s baby an miss a lot of this. My parents had cassette tapes an went to cd. Never saw anything else.

  • Arend van Campen
    Arend van CampenVor 2 Tage

    Thanks, this gives a die hard md user hope.

  • David Lees
    David LeesVor 2 Tage

    I love my Sony mini disc player and all my MD album's I bought it new in 1996 and it's got a remote and a leather pouch and I've got a nice pear of senhizer headphones whot I use with it nomatter wot I play wether it's rock classical trance reggae eneything the sound is stunning

  • David Lees
    David LeesVor 2 Tage

    In fact it was Philips that bought out the first laserdisc player in I think it wos about 1996 but the format diddent larst long and was took over by dvds in 2002 the laser disc was just to big so that maid it smaller hence the dvd was borne dispite the size of the laserdisc it could onley hold the same stuff wot the smaller dvd could hold so that's why thay maid it smaller

  • David Lees
    David LeesVor 2 Tage

    It was Phillips that bought out the first home cd player in 1982 and it was a top loader meaning like the front loading players you could not stak ather equipment on top of it the first front loading players I think was about 1988

  • David Lees
    David LeesVor 2 Tage

    How remembers the lasor disc from pioneer

  • David Lees
    David LeesVor 2 Tage

    I've still got my Sony mini disc wolkman in amakulat condition I've also got a lot of MD album's I use mini senhizer headphones when ime out and the sound quality is stunning

    YONG CHEN SENGVor 3 Tage

    now no more lol

    ZONAVELHAVor 3 Tage

    still got it still good

  • Quest 321
    Quest 321Vor 3 Tage

    Best thing to take to a rave back in 99. All the DJ's wanted me to bring it cause it was a simple plug in to the PA system and boom. Got your set in CD quality. Miss my MD Recorder.

  • Buster Smith
    Buster SmithVor 3 Tage

    Eh I was really interested in this topic but this person presented it in a really boring way. Stopping 6mins in yo find a different video on this topic

  • Brian Korsedal
    Brian KorsedalVor 4 Tage

    I loved mini-disc!

  • pastoo25
    pastoo25Vor 4 Tage

    Bringing back the memories.... Here, have an upvote.

  • Coach Alps
    Coach AlpsVor 4 Tage

    I bought my first Minidisc back in 2001. It was a Net MD MZ N707. 20 years on, and I'm still using it to this day to record and play music. Despite the ease of copying/playing songs in an iPod (and eventually smartphones), nothing can replace the feeling of having a physical media that you can record and pop into a deck or player. Just a sight of my MD collection in front of my work desk brings nostalgia and simple joy. Choosing just a few of your favorite songs, transferring them into MD, then popping the disc into my Net MD at work or my MD stereo deck at home is something I'll never get tired of. Despite its limitations, it's the perfect format for my listening pleasure, second only to vinyl.

  • LondonUnderground186
    LondonUnderground186Vor 4 Tage

    I still have both models MDS-101 and MDS-JE480 at home. I'll never get rid of those. I'm not the one converting myself to the all-exclusive digital era and tools. Yes, they're handy, but when the technology fails, you lose everything if you only store online or on clouds. The analog technology never fails.

  • Sure Thing
    Sure ThingVor 4 Tage


  • VetteD SiN
    VetteD SiNVor 6 Tage

    i miss my sony md.

  • Fernando Martinez
    Fernando MartinezVor 7 Tage

    I always wanted a MD, but it were way too expensive in Latin America. In 1996 I ended getting a CD recording (external SCSI one). My copies were 1:1 from original. So it was *NO* point getting a MD anymore.

  • TS
    TSVor 7 Tage

    I had an MD car stereo hehe.

  • Delassa
    DelassaVor 7 Tage

    Man I would have loved those kiosks to be available. Loved my MD player and would have used the hell out of that.

  • Tiberiu Nicolae
    Tiberiu NicolaeVor 7 Tage

    Flash memory killed all the cool stuff. It was inevitable and for the better... But not as cool for sure

  • DezFoto
    DezFotoVor 8 Tage

    I still have a home component version kicking around here somewhere. I loved the MD, but just like the narrative in the video, I completely dropped it once the iPod came out.

  • Sam Sharpe
    Sam SharpeVor 8 Tage

    Yeah its an mp3 we know this man

  • Nicolas Martin
    Nicolas MartinVor 9 Tage

    I spent far too much time and money on this bridge format. It's well forgotten. I think Sharp made superior devices. When I switched to CDs for recording music, about 90 percent of the discs, then expensive, went in the trash due largely to crap software. I never saw a DCC recording unit or pre--recorded product in a store.

  • ImDino
    ImDinoVor 9 Tage

    Man I miss MD, I had several units throughout the years

  • Rambo431
    Rambo431Vor 9 Tage

    Can I put it in my psp?

  • A Todaso
    A TodasoVor 9 Tage

    I remember when my friend got one in high school, it was pretty cool until the ipod came out.

  • Mark Allen
    Mark AllenVor 9 Tage

    24Bit/96k is what we want today. Where is that format? I would love to see that on a buyable disk. But, I remember Sony buying out the American music, that's when I decided that I would never buy a Sony product again, this is a big part of Sony's failure.

  • masterscott555
    masterscott555Vor 9 Tage

    Great video! I got one in the past and I was really happy with it. Sometimes I'm thinking "why don't we use them anymore?". The split second I forgot about streaming and MP3 for a moment.....

  • ixnine
    ixnineVor 9 Tage

    I had the Sony MZ-E40 and damn did I love that thing! I wish I still had it, can’t say for the life of me what happened to it and my discs.

  • Fredrik Mårtensson
    Fredrik MårtenssonVor 10 Tage

    I'm a bit late to the party - Bought my 1st MD-player 5 yo, it´s now 4 portable players (2 of which are recorders), and 100-110 MD's. I really love the format, mostly because of the size, but also the retroside of it all. Yeah and it's also kinda neat that many have never seen one ^^

  • Master_Misanthrope
    Master_MisanthropeVor 10 Tage

    We've lost something in the last 20 years... technology used to have soul... now everything is a souless, attention sucking, plain slab with a screen... I hate 2021, can we go back?

  • BIGWillie Wilson
    BIGWillie WilsonVor 10 Tage

    The best digital format ever....I used to have a collection of about 14 Sony portable MD Players...I'm still using a Sony MZ-E32 as my walkman when most are using their mobile phones...

  • Alister Voltaire
    Alister VoltaireVor 10 Tage

    If Sony had let the computer be used to it's maximum extent they could have turned the minidisc into the same standard as the floppy disc but they didn't. It was great in the car, as you didn't need to worry about the discs getting damaged.

  • Blue Azure
    Blue AzureVor 10 Tage

    When I was a kid, I thought that I could play psp games on my gamecube by removing the plastic case :'l

  • RomanceR • 19 years •
    RomanceR • 19 years •Vor 10 Tage

    i had a Sony portable mini-disc recorder back then. My dad got it from his credit card points, he said it cost 1000 points equivalent to $1000 and it couldn't be bought anywhere in America. There was also an equipment distribution and retailing problem with mini-disc. At the time the big electronics retailers like circuit city and radioshack didn't even stock equipment or blank media until a year after since my dad gifted me the recorder and player I was 15 y/o back then all my friends were impressed and asked its price and where they could get one. Mini-disc failed in America in awarness, price and distribution.

  • lois gages
    lois gagesVor 10 Tage

    fuck sake this was boring... still watched it tho

  • This Does Not Compute

    This Does Not Compute

    Vor 10 Tage

    yeah I probably should have thrown a few random explosions in there just to spice it up

  • Johan Bunde Kondrup
    Johan Bunde KondrupVor 10 Tage

    Early 90's? Wasnt it more like early-mid 00's

  • MattIsLoling
    MattIsLolingVor 10 Tage

    gamecube was on that gangster shit

  • Trevor Madsen
    Trevor MadsenVor 10 Tage

    I am happy that MD couldn`t be dominant at the time in US and Europe instead CD. Rewritable medium could be dangerous for music market, and CD was not.

  • Styreta X
    Styreta XVor 10 Tage

    My dad is a gadget freak and had this in his car. I loved playing with the little cassettes while driving. Growing up I dont think ive ever heard of anyone else using the format though, such a shame.

  • misterclownface
    misterclownfaceVor 10 Tage

    Wow, i didn't know MiniDisc's lasted through 2011-2013. I thought it died around early 2000s.

  • HalfBreedMix
    HalfBreedMixVor 11 Tage

    14:20 " Type-R ", so we all know this unit could play faster :-)

  • Curry Chips
    Curry ChipsVor 11 Tage

    Still better than CDs.

  • Andy
    AndyVor 11 Tage

    One of the kids in my Scout troop had a MD player in the 90s, when most of us still had tape players. When we saw what it could do (sound quality, song skipping, small size, etc), we all wanted it! While MD might not have become the dominant format, it definitely helped to set expectations for what the next generation of music players had to be.

  • Carlos G
    Carlos GVor 11 Tage

    Was the Sony psp UMD an offshoot of this?

  • Baptiste
    BaptisteVor 11 Tage

    Back then, I was SO angry on the iPod for shading the capacities of MD: the quality was bad, and it was absolutely impossible to record anything on the go like it was possible with the MD. I could ABSOLUTELY NOT understand why people would prefer the iPod…

  • Marc Browne
    Marc BrowneVor 11 Tage

    I always wanted a Minidisc player. The rich kids at my school all had them. I think their flaw was not embracing the storage potential earlier on. I remember thinking how much better they were than floppy disks in the early 90s, but Sony failed to make them the go-to replacement, then Zip came along and stole their chance. Also, they could hold a lot of music in MP3 format, they should have supported that format much earlier on.

  • Richard Fear
    Richard FearVor 11 Tage

    I still have my MD recorder component and a 6 disc MD changer for car audio, though it's not hooked up. Loved the format, shame it never went anywhere.

  • David Gann
    David GannVor 11 Tage

    I loved fact that you could get 40 hours of listening off of one AA battery!!! It was great for me in the military. I even jumped it a couple of times. Loved the format, hated the Sony software that it used.

  • Rob Higham
    Rob HighamVor 11 Tage

    A minidisc player is still part of my audio setup

  • Thomas Madman
    Thomas MadmanVor 11 Tage

    Around 20:00 minutes in, this guy waffles so much

  • str1xt


    Vor 11 Tage

    No, you have zero patience. Probably a gen x or whatever you snowflakes are called.

  • Dr Rhomboid Goatcabin
    Dr Rhomboid GoatcabinVor 11 Tage

    Loved my mini disc players. Being able to make a big mix “tape” on a skip free small (for the time) device was just awesome.

  • John Thornhill
    John ThornhillVor 11 Tage

    I owned 4 different minidisc players and something like 500 disks. I loved these little things and miss them now.

  • frank doster
    frank dosterVor 12 Tage

    My sony md player was great. Loved the format

  • The Wandering Albatross
    The Wandering AlbatrossVor 12 Tage

    I had a MD player back in 96, 97. Never heard of DCC. I remember having a limited selection of new albums being sold at Best Buy on MD.

  • Leo carvalho
    Leo carvalhoVor 12 Tage

    I honestly expected nothing then I saw my dude put in a hitomitoi cd and I was just not expecting it

  • MC Save
    MC SaveVor 12 Tage

    Blu-ray або HD DVD?!?

  • Giovanni van Haaren
    Giovanni van HaarenVor 12 Tage

    This is awesome. If you own disc's that don't work anymore; bypass the sensor that stops the minidiscplayer when opening the disc compartment. Take of the metal plate of a working minidisc with 74min of sound on it. Put it in, let it read the index of the disc and than quickly change it for the broken minidisc. Voila, enjoy lost music.

  • simon harrison
    simon harrisonVor 12 Tage

    Man, I had about 200 MD's. All laboriously named using the remote on my Sony recorder. Nearly broke my heart when I eventually emptied them into the a skip at the local dump.

  • Kevin Olson
    Kevin OlsonVor 12 Tage

    I had a minidisc recorder and portable player. Ultimately I gave up on it. Great video!

  • Patrick Bailey
    Patrick BaileyVor 12 Tage

    Omg, had a Sony auto reverse walkman, then an anti-shock CD walkman and fell in love with the MD walkman and later on the NetMD walkman... But the ipod vídeo was a no brainer.

  • Fabio Zuluaga
    Fabio ZuluagaVor 12 Tage

    This is so nostalgic

  • Tim Monta
    Tim MontaVor 12 Tage

    I had mini disk and was very nice. Never ever heard about the dcc.

  • RetroLux
    RetroLuxVor 12 Tage

    I installed a Sony minidisc deck in my 1988 Toyota Hilux Surf (aka 4Runner) in 1998. I still have both the vehicle and the MD player however a few weeks ago my MD deck stopped powering on. I love it so much that I found the exact same MD model with a different fault on eBay and it's currently being shipped from Germany all the way to me in New Zealand. When it gets here I'll hopefully make one fully operating deck out of the two. My local car stereo business think I'm mad, but after more than 20 years, any other stereo in my truck would just be wrong.

  • Paul Barker
    Paul BarkerVor 12 Tage

    I loved my mini disc player

  • John Brown
    John BrownVor 12 Tage

    If they made it a 24bit audio player I think would taken off better

  • Valcor
    ValcorVor 13 Tage

    32:10 poor Sony just when it was finally looking good in comes the ipod 😂😂 Makes sense why I never hear of MD devices

  • Valcor
    ValcorVor 13 Tage

    30:00 literally my childhood downloading songs from limewire

  • Valcor
    ValcorVor 13 Tage

    11:35 I mean the labels had a point 😂😂 Everyone had a cd burner music basically became free

  • Youtube Emperor of Mankind
    Youtube Emperor of MankindVor 13 Tage

    I loved the MD. My old player was stolen by a drug addict.. for years I always thought of my awesome MD player that I loved so much because of its awesome quality.. even the MP3 players simply werent as awesome. And 2 months ago I got a used MD player (Sony (Walkman(but its a MD player))MODEL: MZ-R500) that uses only 1 normal AA battery (rare, they usually use those weird flat square rechargeable batteries). The quality is amazeballs. Even better than I remember. But the best part by far is that I only had to pay 40€ and 3 discs included. AMAZING. So happy!

  • Tavpanda
    TavpandaVor 13 Tage

    Had one of these in middle school before the zune came out lol and then apple took over

  • Ten0chtl1
    Ten0chtl1Vor 13 Tage

    Concerned for copyright infringement Napster: Hold my beer.

  • Jung K
    Jung KVor 13 Tage

    Wokemans were awesome

  • GobiCanuck
    GobiCanuckVor 13 Tage

    I loved my mini disc. I backpacked across China for two years with it.

  • g metz
    g metzVor 13 Tage

    I missed this Walkman

  • Channel customization
    Channel customizationVor 13 Tage

    I dream about Sony MZ-M200!

  • Isma Linkin
    Isma LinkinVor 13 Tage

    I still use my old solid state Walkman and convert every song to atrac3 plus, the quality is amazing

  • NorMac384 / Cam Magee
    NorMac384 / Cam MageeVor 13 Tage

    I still have mine!

  • Lubomir Vatchkov
    Lubomir VatchkovVor 13 Tage

    Very nice watch! 👍

  • R E
    R EVor 13 Tage

    I was such a hipster in high school when ipods first came out that me and a few friends got mini discs players instead of ipods 😂

  • Jeff B
    Jeff BVor 13 Tage

    It really was horrible sounding...

  • Jeff B
    Jeff BVor 13 Tage

    Never failed to sound like crap

  • Arthur K
    Arthur KVor 13 Tage

    I loved my minidisc. I used it for a few years in the early 2000s. It was way better at the time than portable cd players. Better shock absorption. Easier to record. Smaller. In fact I would have probably used it even longer if it hadn't developed a glitch in recording, it added jumps in the audio once or twice in every song, and that really disappointed me and made me look elsewhere. If that didn't happen, I would have probably used it for a few more years. The next portable audio player I remember buying was the sandisc sansa clip. That was probably 8 years after I bought the minidisc. So for me - the minidisc held up for 7-8 years. Great product and awesome video!

  • antj29
    antj29Vor 13 Tage

    I loved minidisc, only changed once iPod came along, I even had a standard fit minidisc head unit in my Mini Cooper s , bmw offered a standard fit head unit

  • Shion0Hibiki
    Shion0HibikiVor 13 Tage

    I remmember having brought 2 sony MD player and loved it so much, i have it with me where every i go. The only downside was the optic read and write head. It doesn't last long. I brought a korean made IRiver hand held MP3 player that use something like SSD later on. now mobile phone can do the trick.

  • Henk Spierings
    Henk SpieringsVor 13 Tage

    I had one of these. I created my own music discs, and would edit on the go as well. It’s all been replaced by my phone, but I thought this was the greatest invention ever.

  • Jahman Borneo
    Jahman BorneoVor 13 Tage

    Loved mine. Easiest way to put mixed music together.

  • Daijoubu
    DaijoubuVor 14 Tage

    Dozen hours?! That's recording, I remember getting like 50 hours out of a single alkaline AA cell when playing back

  • LinkIsBig
    LinkIsBigVor 14 Tage

    Got high went down a rabbit hole and now we here.

  • San Ansa
    San AnsaVor 14 Tage

    I really like the Minidisc player. I needed a small audio player that I could use to do swimming laps since I found it boring. I first bought a waterproof FM radio but the signal was so bad I couldn't pickup any radio stations. So I made a water proof case for the Minidisc player, it took me quite a few tries to make a waterproof case for it and also find the proper waterproof earbud headphones (I added an additional silicone layer to seal it properly). And a clip to the waterproof case, so I could clip the player on to the strap of my swimming googles (i bought a pair of snorkel swim goggles that had ear covers to prevent water in the ears). It works great. But then Oregon Scientific came out with a waterproof MP3 Player.

  • Haggard Pillock
    Haggard PillockVor 14 Tage

    I was initially enthusiastic about this format, but the cost, lag, the propriety audio format, and the annoying interface to get your songs transferred to MD meant it was doomed to fail. And I speak as someone who bought several MD players in my school years. MP3 and later, music streaming just makes more sense.

    ARYA STARKVor 14 Tage

    still have 1 in working condition :-)

  • Spidericemidas iOS Music Producer
    Spidericemidas iOS Music ProducerVor 14 Tage

    I love my MD deck and still use it a lot.