If you haven't figured it out by now, I am way into gadgets of all kinds. If this site had existed 3 1/2 years ago, I undoubtedly would have sung the praises of the Minidisc player and that entire format. And, even though competing technologies have since been introduced, my Minidisc player has continued to serve me well. The Minidisc, coupled with a good stereo lapel mic, was all I needed to capture all of my rough song ideas. Because the format was digital, there was just no comparison to cassette tapes.
When I first got a laptop computer in '01, I figured the Minidisc would go away. Nope - the microphone on my iBook was great for dictation, but distorted if a guitar was introduced. So, for a couple of years, I waited. Yes, I tried other things - the external microphone with the iBook was a thought, but I never found a good microphone, nor could I find a program simple enough to handle the recording process. And I couldn't plug the Minidisc into the computer without a third party interface. And as much as I love the iPod, it hasn't quite made the leap into recording mode yet. At least not the kind of recording I do.
Are you bored yet? Well, let's fast forward to last week. I went to record an idea to the Minidisc, when I realized that my microphone was broken. Before I had time to despair, I had a thought. I have a Powerbook now, equipped with a better microphone than the iBook. And now there's Garageband, an extremely simple way to record song ideas. Could I? Dare I? The answer is yes.
So the Minidisc player that I touted a mere couple of years ago is now officially retired. (Well, not totally. It may accidentally remain in my pocket at a rock concert and accidentally be left in record mode...)
And there's a new gadget on the horizon. My wife gave me a Palm for my birthday. More on that later.
One last thing. To be fair, I still would highly recommend a Minidisc as a fine digital alternative if you don't own a computer, or if your computer doesn't have a good built-in mic. In fact, I wrote with a guy the other day who used one.