This week, with more enthusiasm than expected, I relaunched my
Component Archive on
egrabow.com. Beyond merely putting it back up and watching site traffic
increase, I've begun adding data to it too: a two-week long push to add
recent car audio models (which
should get the best traffic). I began with the CD head units, getting
up to 2001 before going back to focus on the cassette models (not so
numerous today as in 1995!). Listed with the cassette models were
listed Sony's Minidisc head units. I felt nostalgic and went to check
up on the old MD format... and I received a pointed reminder of why I
created the AVCA in the first place.
began building my home stereo just as Minidisc was coming down into my
price range. The format caught my interest and I got a Sony MDS-JE530
as a Christmas present, making me the only person I knew to own his own
MD recorder... a distinction I never lost. Every radio station I worked
at had Minidisc, though, and it became my format of choice when I did
my own show in college. I still have the deck next to my computer, used
mostly for my personal music collection.
What I discovered today was that, when I wasn't looking,
Minidisc went from an obscure format to a dead one. After a decade of
lowering prices and better availability, the format being picked up by
brands other than Sony, the weaker MD lost market to the same MP3's
that are killing the CD format. Sony offered a single music-and-data
model until recently, and now there isn't even that. Am I surprised?
No. Am I disappointed? Not really. I guess I'm more excited in a
When I brought the AVCA back this week, I decided to limit
development to the 1978-2009 model years. This range accomodates the
rise and fall of the Betamax, VHS, LaserDisc, the experiments with DCC,
DAT, and countless other formats, the rise of DVD, the war between
HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, and the decline of the CD as more equipment
embraced MP3 technology. The MiniDisc now fits neatly into this scheme,
as it wasn't introduced until 1992, around where my best data sources
kick in, and had sunset by 2009. I'm optimistic that I can chronicle
the entire history of the format without having to guess things and put
??? marks everywhere.
I'll record a moment of zero-bit silence for Minidisc. The
recorder I have still works and I'll still find uses for it, but in the
age it was destined to become pushed out of a shrinking market... we're
all listening to MP3's now anyway.