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WPI Technical Theatre Handbook: Mini-Disc (MD)
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Mini-Disc (MD)

Another fairly recent advance in digital recording and playback technology is the mini-disc. An MD is an encased 2.5 inch disc, similar in appearance to a computer floppy disk. A scheme called magneto-optical encoding is used, whereby a laser is used to heat the disc and a magnet is used to alter its structure. Digital data is encoded on the disc using this scheme.

In order to fit a relatively large amount of data on a mini-disc, a compression scheme is used. This scheme squeezes the digital audio data down so that they take up less space on the disc. The compression scheme used on mini-discs is a lossy scheme -- that is to say, some audio quality is lost in the compression process. The proponents of mini-disc claim that the loss in quality is very small, and that most people won't notice it.

Mini-disc offers many of the same features as CD with regards to track indexing and cueing. A major advantage of MD is that audio can be recorded using a portable or home machine. Consumer MD players and recorders have been available for some time, and are quite affordable. Mini-discs are reasonably robust, and are erasable. All of these traits make MD an ideal candidate for playback of sound effects in a theatre production.

next up previous contents index
Next: Digital Samplers Up: Input Previous: Compact Disc (CD)   Contents   Index
Steve Richardson 2000-07-06

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