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How Audio Products Work

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How Audio Products Work

There are several standard music distribution formats. The MP3 and the

compact disc (CD) are the two most common at the moment, but cassette

tapes are still around. The Sony Minidisk is another format that Sony

has been trying to popularize for many years. A Minidisk looks a lot

like a floppy disk but is slightly smaller (7 cm, 2.75 inches square).

CDs store 74 minutes of music in a nearly indestructible form and have

the advantage of being a digital format, but until fairly recently you

could not record on a CD. The Minidisk's main claim to fame is that it

is (and always has been) recordable.

One easy way to think about a Minidisk is like a floppy disk -- you

can record and erase files on a Minidisk just as easily as you can on

a floppy disk. The big difference between the a Minidisk and a floppy

disk is that a Minidisk can hold about 100 times more data.

Minidisks come in two forms:

1 Pre-recorded

2 Blank and recordable

A pre-recorded Minidisk is exactly like a CD, except smaller. A CD

holds about five times more data (650 megabytes in data mode and 740

megabytes in audio mode) than a Minidisk. However, both CDs and

Minidisks can store the same amount of music (75 minutes or so). The

difference is that a Minidisk uses a digital compression technique

called ATRAC (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding) when storing music.

A recordable Minidisk is a magneto-optical device capable of storing

140 megabytes of information. Music can be scattered all over the disk

and the player can "put it together" correctly when playing the disk.

This means that you can erase and re-record songs on a Minidisk

without having to worry about how they fit together. This is

tremendously convenient compared to a cassette tape, where you have to

basically re-record the entire tape if you want to change any of the

songs on it. There are also 4-track Minidisk recorders for musicians,
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