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Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs

BobL 02 Aug 18 - 03:41 AM
Nick 02 Aug 18 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,nickp (cookielss) 02 Aug 18 - 06:47 AM
Nick 02 Aug 18 - 07:08 AM
Nick 02 Aug 18 - 08:12 AM
punkfolkrocker 02 Aug 18 - 09:23 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Aug 18 - 09:49 AM
BobL 02 Aug 18 - 06:35 PM
punkfolkrocker 02 Aug 18 - 07:43 PM
Steve Shaw 02 Aug 18 - 08:41 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Aug 18 - 09:52 PM
Bonzo3legs 03 Aug 18 - 01:14 AM
Bonzo3legs 03 Aug 18 - 01:26 AM
Bonzo3legs 03 Aug 18 - 01:51 AM
Snuffy 03 Aug 18 - 09:29 AM
Bonzo3legs 03 Aug 18 - 06:55 PM
Nick 03 Aug 18 - 07:34 PM
Stanron 03 Aug 18 - 11:42 PM
GUEST,bernieandred 04 Aug 18 - 12:06 AM
Bonzo3legs 04 Aug 18 - 02:41 AM
Nick 04 Aug 18 - 02:45 AM
Bonzo3legs 04 Aug 18 - 03:32 AM
Bonzo3legs 04 Aug 18 - 07:01 AM
Bonzo3legs 04 Aug 18 - 07:32 AM
Bonzo3legs 04 Aug 18 - 07:56 AM
Bonzo3legs 04 Aug 18 - 07:57 AM
Nick 04 Aug 18 - 08:47 AM
Nick 04 Aug 18 - 08:48 AM
Jack Campin 04 Aug 18 - 08:56 AM
DaveRo 04 Aug 18 - 10:37 AM
Bonzo3legs 04 Aug 18 - 01:28 PM
punkfolkrocker 04 Aug 18 - 01:44 PM
Bonzo3legs 04 Aug 18 - 05:25 PM
Bonzo3legs 05 Aug 18 - 03:51 AM
Richard Mellish 05 Aug 18 - 04:49 AM
DaveRo 05 Aug 18 - 04:57 AM
Bonzo3legs 05 Aug 18 - 06:41 AM
DaveRo 05 Aug 18 - 10:29 AM
Bonzo3legs 05 Aug 18 - 10:34 AM
punkfolkrocker 05 Aug 18 - 10:54 AM
Steve Jones 05 Aug 18 - 12:02 PM
Bonzo3legs 05 Aug 18 - 12:04 PM
BobL 08 Aug 18 - 04:26 AM
punkfolkrocker 08 Aug 18 - 08:02 AM
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Subject: Tech: Transferring data from MD
From: BobL
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 03:41 AM

For various historic reasons, I have a lot of music on Minidiscs, which I am slowly copying to computer. For this I use a Walkman MZ-RH1 (not fully functional although still working on USB) and SonicStage software (no longer supported or downloadable) running under Windows XP (enough said!).

If any of these elements pack up, I shall be scuppered. Has anyone any suggestions as to what I might be able to use in their place?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from MD
From: Nick
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 06:40 AM

The only bit I don't know anything about is the minidisc player which strikes me as the weak link. But you can replace them for £10 on ebay easily. All it needs is a line out option

You could use Audacity (free download) on XP easily. So many options.

If you want to have more sophisticated post-copying tools there are many. Reaper (which I use) springs to mind and works happily on XP.

I wouldn't have the slightest concern

If I can help more do ask.

It's exactly the same principle as if I want to copy cassettes to digital.
Cassette player --> line out --> double phono lead to small jack plug --> line in on computer.

Then carry on

Or LPs from an old turntable


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from MD
From: GUEST,nickp (cookielss)
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 06:47 AM

I agree. With the possible exception of the LP's. It'll depend on the cartridge. I need to run my turntable through a pre-amp before the computer. As it happens I use an old hi-fi amp and connect LP and cassette/MD to their respective inputs and it does that bit for me.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from MD
From: Nick
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 07:08 AM

nickp - I also agree. As it wasn't about LPs I thought I wouldn't overmuddy the waters. If (and there is no real point) I wanted to do an album I would do it turntable --> preamp --> computer etc

But I have yet to NOT find a piece of vinyl that I wanted to hear that wasn't on spotify. And for good or bad I pay my monthly subscription to it and can run it through any stereo system (how quaint?) in the house either in each room at the same time or specify. Enough for me

The only album that I really like is Richie Havens "The Great Blind Degree" which I don't think is on there and I might record it one day.

The other fun bit about spotify is that everything that lives on computers can also be played through spotify.

I know it doesn't pay people very well but I probably now spend more on music a year than I routinely did on CDs in a year. Increasingly that has been at live gigs where I feel I ought to :)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from MD
From: Nick
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 08:12 AM

I have all sorts of bits and pieces sitting around the room that could help if I wanted them to but have never tried. Old bits of hi-fi from 20+ years ago; direct boxes; m-audio m-track

I used to record into a computer through an akai cassette deck so I think all you need is

1 A THING THAT OUTPUTS NOISE VIA SOME SORT OF OUTPUT
2 A LEAD OF SOME SORT THAT TAKES IT INTO A COMPUTER
3 A PIECE OF SOFTWARE THAT HAS A RECORD FUNCTION AND CAN SEE DEVICES


And perhaps you might need something to balance levels between 1 and 3


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from MD
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 09:23 AM

Industry support for minidisc was long ago ruthlessly abandoned
with no consideration or provision whatsoever for all us suckers who purchased into the format.
It's as brutally simple as that.

..and it was a deliberately functionality hobbled user-unfriendly format right from the outset.

We are on our own to cope as best we can...

I'd guess in hindsight, only a minority purchased the limited number of more expensive USB audio output,
or computer data MD payers...???
So now nearly all of us are in the same boat,
having to rely on transferring audio from the Digital-Analog converter line outs
of whatever still functioning players we can find...

I never did [well.. I have now...] think to find out if Mini Discs were prone to suffer
gradual deterioration and failure same as so many faulty CDs afflicted by CD rot...???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from MD
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 09:49 AM

I used to use mini disc for my backing trax. One good thing about them being made obsolete - you can buy the expensive models for sod all on ebay.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from MD
From: BobL
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 06:35 PM

The point about MDs is that they are already digitised, so importing the data doesn't entail any loss of sound quality (other than what's inherent in ATRAC of course).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 07:43 PM

What I remember from previous threads years ago about minidiscs,
is that a small number of mudcatters owned the latter players
which could transfer digital audio via USB to a computer..
Though I vaguely recall that was not without problems...?????

Sony still didn't make life easy...???

..or it could have been something I read on an entirely different forum...?????


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 08:41 PM

Sony shot themselves in the foot big time with minidisc. The sad thing is that, for its time, it was a great format, or, at least, had the potential to be...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Aug 18 - 09:52 PM

for a short while, it was industry standard. although DAT always sounded better to me.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 01:14 AM

Watch this space, I may have a trick for USB transfer from your RH1.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 01:26 AM

http://forums.sonyinsider.com/topic/391-jsymphonic-an-alternative-to-sonicstage/

Yes, the software is called jsymphonic, now abandoned according to SourceForge, but I should still have the .exe file somewhere, which I will search out over the weekend.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 01:51 AM

I can't get back to sleep - it's 6.38am in the UK! The point of this software is that it will read Hi-MD. I will need to find it anyway for my PC running Win 10.

There was an update to SonicStage which I sourced from the the SonyInsider group written to enable use with Windows 7, which I still use successfully, but I don't think it works in Windows 10.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Snuffy
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 09:29 AM

There are comprehensive PDF instructions (and illustrations) on transferring mini-disc recordings to Audacity at the website of the Bat Conservation Trust.

Using the search key "mini disc" allows you to choose from four different versions of Audacity:- 2009, 2011, 2012, or 2013.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 06:55 PM

Forget jsymphony, I could not get it to work. I managed to find my SonicStage 4.3 Ultimate which installed in Windows 10, albeit slowly, and reads both Hi-MD and standard MD for USB lossless transfer. I will upload to dropbox tomorrow for all who want it.

In what way is your RH1 not functioning properly BobL?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Nick
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 07:34 PM

So - stupid question perhaps

If you attach a minidisc to a computer can you not just copy the files?

My simplistic mind says that that should be easy - and quicker

Or can a computer not see them?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Stanron
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 11:42 PM

It will depend upon how you attach the minidisc to the computer. If the connection is between 'line out' to 'line in' then the computer will only see a file if it is played on the minidisc and the computer is recording in something like Audacity. Can a computer see files if it is connected via USB? I don't know. My minidiscs only do line out.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: GUEST,bernieandred
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 12:06 AM

I used SonicStage for Windows 7 & it was great. Everything could be edited/transferred via USB. But then I went to Windows 10 & couldn't find Sonic Stage that worked. Would be very interested in getting the version for Windows 10. I'll keep watching this space.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 02:41 AM

Just woken up by neighbours who cannot sleep!!

SonicStage 4.3 Ultimate allows USB transfer, it is a "file manager" which can read Sony's own Hi-MD PCM lossless format, so there is no need to record tracks from the line out which can only be done in real time. I think SonicStage USB transfer cuts time by about 2/3 - that's a guess.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Nick
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 02:45 AM

Install a Virtual machine on your Windows 10 machine - for example Oracle VM and run whatever you like. I run a few VERY old pieces of software on it. Opens in seconds and you can copy files backwards and forwards via a shared drive


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 03:32 AM

Thanks, I'll read up on that, sounds interesting.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 07:01 AM

ffmpeg will not read Sony attrac files, which is a great shame. Sony are sutch bastards!!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 07:32 AM

It seems to be possible to transfer from Sony RH1 using ffmpeg + other bits & pieces! , but very complicated!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 07:56 AM

Here is link to SonicStage 4.3 Ultimate !

Let it install where it suggests, I tried Program Files and it failed. It is a slow install so be patient.

What else - Make sure that you close SonicStage before closing the Hi-MD USB connection, otherwise it may not be read properly on next use.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 07:57 AM

There was an update but I can't find it - may be on line somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Nick
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 08:47 AM

On a Windows 10 machine running version 1803 (build 17134.165) - (we all know but go to a run command and type winver just in case) - SonicStage 4.3 installs absolutely fine and runs


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Nick
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 08:48 AM

Took about a minute to download and a minute to install


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 08:56 AM

MD format is not a conventional file system and you can't convert it digitally.

The strong point is media durability. No other audio recording medium gets within 100 years of the expected life of a minidisc. Problem is there won't be anything around to read it by then.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: DaveRo
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 10:37 AM

Bonzo3legs wrote: ffmpeg will not read Sony attrac files
ffmpeg can decode ATRAC1/3/3+ decoder since about 2014. Ref.

The linux-minidisc project you linked to suggests you need a development build of ffmpeg, but I think that's out of date.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 01:28 PM

Ah you know about these things infinitely more than I do DaveRo, so is there a special command - I can't make this work:

ffmpeg i ATDATA06.HMA -acodec copy MD.wav


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 01:44 PM

Out of curiosity, I had a look on ebay for RH1...

The prices are..welllll.. interesting....

But there's a seller in Australia flogging a 'document' on why no one should ever buy a RH1,
for all sorts of faults and issues that will only be revealed if you buy his electronic pamphlet...???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 Aug 18 - 05:25 PM

Well the only problem I ever had with mine was the jog lever not making good contact, which I solved with a spray of electrical contact cleaner. But perhaps he had his reasons. Biggest downside I suppose is a maximum 94 minutes recording on PCM setting, but for its time it was a superb machine.

I managed to get QHiMDTransfer working - here is link to the exe file:

Here is link to exe file


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 03:51 AM

The hi-md files show up as 1,2,3 etc which threw me!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 04:49 AM

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned using a minidisc player with S/PDIF output. That's what I have, along with hardware for transferring audio from various other formats to computer. You do of course also need a sound card with S/PDIF input.

On two occasions when I needed to change my computer I also needed to change the sound card, and the second time it did take me a while to track down one (this time an external box) with S/PDIF input. Some that do have S/PDIF input only send the signal to the analogue outputs, not through USB to the compjuter. But I eventually found this one. It also includes an RIAA pre-amp for LPs.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: DaveRo
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 04:57 AM

Bonzo3legs wrote: ffmpeg i ATDATA06.HMA -acodec copy MD.wav
Use -acodec copy when you don't want to decode the audio, e.g. if you want to change its container (e.g. .ts to .mp4, .ts to .aac) or filter it (e.g. with -ss and -to). If you want wav output you need to transcode it. ffmpeg i ATDATA06.HMA MD.wav ought to work if it recognises the input format and has a decoder.

I've never used an MD device. I have read that they can hold a few different formats, both 'tracks' and a filesystem - so just like CDs - and that encoding varied as newer ATRAC versions were developed.

ffprobe ATDATA06.HMA should tell you whether ffmpeg recognises the format.

You can use ffmpeg -codecs to list the codecs available. On this machine (using codecs from packman):

ffmpeg -codecs |grep atrac
...
 D.A.L. atrac1               ATRAC1 (Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding)
 D.A.L. atrac3               ATRAC3 (Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding 3)
 D.A..S atrac3al             ATRAC3 AL (Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding 3 Advanced Lossless)
 D.A.L. atrac3p              ATRAC3+ (Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding 3+) (decoders: atrac3plus )
 D.A..S atrac3pal            ATRAC3+ AL (Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding 3+ Advanced Lossless) (decoders: atrac3plusal )


Note the lack of the E=encoding flag


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 06:41 AM

Thanks DaveRo, one for later, we see our dentist this afternoon for a checkup then have a late lunch in quaint Dulwich Village - if I can still eat after all the torture!

Richard Mellish - my MD deck will not read Hi-MD, do any I wonder? But yes, I forgot the S/PDIF option although still real time copying.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: DaveRo
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 10:29 AM

I wondered whether ATRAC3+ files would play in VLC so I found some sample files to try. Yes, they do.

If you google .HMA files it seems that they are not ATRAC audio files at all. I'm not sure what they are - some sort of index to 'files' still on the minidisc? If so you have to copy those off the disc - does sonicstage do that? Or use netmdpython, which looks straightforward - but not on Windows.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 10:34 AM

Qhimdtransfer contains a conversion tool because the hi-md files appear as wav on my pc.

At the moment, my mouth is full of Ozone jollup which will apparently reverse holes in my teeth!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 10:54 AM

I've been trying to remember details of a HiFi Rack unit MD recorder I fancied way back.

It might have been Yamaha...???

If it had Spdif outputs - that'd be the reason I was so interested...
It was probably too expensive...???

There was also a short lived MD multitrack portastudio - again, possibly Yamaha.
Which cost too high a retail price just as Hard Drive portable multitracks were becoming more popular
and costing less.

I can't remember if either of these products could record and transfer lossless audio...???

I probably decided at the time that spdif wasn't worth the extra outlay,
as it still needed to transfer in real playing time, same as analog outputs.
And the perceivable difference in audio quality from lossy atrac would be negligable...???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Steve Jones
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 12:02 PM

@punkfolkrocker

Plenty of equipment listed at minidisc.org. Click "Equipment browser" and scroll down to "Professional". The first one I looked at had SPDIF output.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Aug 18 - 12:04 PM

I resigned from the "emperor's new clothes club" quite a while ago!!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: BobL
Date: 08 Aug 18 - 04:26 AM

Thanks to all who responded - I downloaded the later version of SonicStage: unfortunately I can't find any drivers for W7 or W10, but I successfully installed it on an older laptop running XP, so it's another string to my admittedly alopecic bow.

I'd forgotten about SPDIF sound cards, in fact I was looking at them before I settled on the USB route instead: they could still be a fallback as I have a couple of MD decks with optical output.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Transferring data from minidiscs
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Aug 18 - 08:02 AM

You can find reasonable priced, well maybe just less than a couple of hundred quid, portable USB audio interfaces
that also have digital spdif in/outputs...

... and midi...

I got one that covers the lot.. a proper swiss army knife...


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