Retro futuristic, that's how I'd describe the feeling of using a MiniDisc player.
To many people, including myself, for the longest time I thought MiniDisc was the format that never made it. But I think that's really fuelled by my own lack of experience using and seeing the format in the world.
Although it's success in the West was not on par with formats such as CDs, in it's home market of Japan it was incredibly successful. Largely due to the ability for people being able to borrow music from rental shops for the sole purpose of making copies onto MiniDisc.
I decided to finally experience the format and bought myself a MiniDisc player for my birthday this year.
In a nutshell, a NetMD MiniDisc recorder allows you to connect it to a PC over USB to copy audio.
If you purchase an earlier model it essentially functions like a cassette recorder, in that you record in realtime by feeding in audio over a microphone or line in port.
Later models introduced the Hi-MD format which provided 1GB of storage over the 140MB the originals had. However these players are quite rare and expensive, so I'm very happy with my choice of NetMD as the sweet spot.
The model I purchased is also powered by a single AA battery, rather than a rechargable battery pack. That's a real boon, as of course rechargable battery from 20 or so years ago tend not to work very well (if at all) in 2024.
Originally a piece of Sony provided software called Sonic Stage was used to copy audio files to your NetMD device.
Thankfully these days you can copy audio using a Chrome based application available at https://stefano.brilli.me/webminidisc/
It's a fantastic piece of software that lets you wipe discs, convert from other audio formats and perform various other edits and tweak to your MiniDiscs
Overall I'm really glad I made the jump into the world of MiniDisc whilst also being pleased I did the research up front to ensure I bought a NetMD model. It feels like it hits the right balance of convenience, with just enough old skool complications to push the right buttons.