MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Sony MZ-NH900 Hi-MD Minidisc Recorder

Tool photo.

MD isnt dead -- at least not at my house. Last year's release of Sony's Hi-MD portables has made this flexible format even more useful for hobbyists interested in more than just ripping their CD collection (although it's pretty good at that, too). With the native storage capacity of the physical media at 1GB per disc, and enhanced compression and storage formats, the user can now pick from a broad array of recording modes, smoothly trading capacity for fidelity, while remaining backward compatible with older recordings and media.

MD is tough to beat for live recordings of music or other events. The new Hi-MD portables also act as data drives, showing up as removable media when connected to a computer with an included USB cable. You can carry a mix of data and music on one MD, potentially eliminating another gadget from your kit.

Finally, the simple, two-wire, resistance based remote control scheme used by Sony for these devices makes them potentially very hacker friendly. Working up a micro-controller based interface would be straightforward and allow you to use the Hi-MD for a variety of interesting custom applications.