My first personal music player

Behold, my first personal music player, which I laid down $800 for in 1996. The trusty Sony MZ-R30 Minidisc! Why Minidisc didn’t take over and rule the world is still a mystery to me.

Sony MZ-R30. The R stood for "Recording"

To copy an album, you’d link your MD recorder up your CD player using a cable. I used a digital TOSlink cable I payed $80 for, essentially a short fibre optic cable to carry the digital out signal from the CD to the MD. ¬†And just like cassettes of old you’d press play on the CD while pressing record on the MD. Mine was super cool because I didn’t have to go back and add the track breaks later! And I had the fun of using the cool jog wheel to title the album and each of the tracks!

Back then, new music albums cost $25-$30. I figured I could buy blank MDs for about $2.50 each from Japan in bulk (blanks retailed for around $8-10 locally in Perth) and hire music from the old CD Library in Wellington St. I was friendly with the staff there and they’d let me hire 15-20 discs at a time instead of the usual 5. Anyone remember the CD Library? I think they had a branch in Fremantle too.

Looking back it would have been a total mindscrew to know that in 10-15 years Minidisc would be dead, and dedicated MP3 players would largely be a thing of the past as playing music is now an ancillary mobile phone function. But that’s the nature of consumer tech.