Minidisc or mp3

Thanks to Pete for contacting me. He’s considering using backing tracks in his act and possibly using Minidisc…

Hello Ken
I am a complete novice at this, but I am a musician and have written my own songs and I need to put them on to disc. I am a dinosaur -I’ve been playing guitar and singing in bands for years but now I am solo use a loop station when gigging. I am thinking of getting backing trax as well. I think for me the minidisc would be a good option. Do you have these in your catalogue? Then I need a minidisc player linked into my PA. Sorry to be rattling on a bit but thats what us old gits do when were over 50! All the best

Hi Pete

You can certainly move from using a loop station to using backing tracks and you’ll probably find a vast difference in your sound too.

Before you decide on going down the Minidisc route though, give it a bit of thought first. You see Minidisc tends to be a little bit old-fashioned now (although plenty of artists are still using this older format). It’s getting harder and harder to find blank minidisc media nowadays and minidisc deck players especially are all but obsolete.

There are still a few minidisc decks around that you can buy but most manufacturers have stopped producing them so as the last remaining minidisc decks get sold, they’re not being replaced – something to think about, especially if you need repairs in the future or ever need a new one…

The reason Minidisc has fallen out of favour with professional singers and entertainers is because of MP3.

You see MP3 players can hold thousands of backing tracks, whereas a single blank Minidisc can only hold about 20 songs.

With Minidisc, if you want to sing a song and the backing track isn’t one of the 20 songs on the disc you currently have in your Minidisc player, you need to eject that disc, load in a different disc, then find the song, then press play.

This may not sound like too much of a problem, but believe me, when your audience are waiting patiently for you to sing the next song and you’re pre-occupied switching minidiscs etc, those few seconds feel like a few minutes(!) and it breaks the whole flow of your professional performance. Many acts get round this problem by using TWO minidisc decks…but as I said earlier, they are getting harder and harder to come by….

MP3 on the other hand gives you instant access to ALL your tracks because they are all on the one hard drive on the MP3 player.

With an MP3 player you can even cue up one song while another is playing.

My personal preferred MP3 player for backing track use is the Apple iPod – it’s easy to use, quick to find tracks, and as long as your eyesight is good enough to navigate the small screen, it’s by far the best performer of all MP3 players.

To hook your MP3 player or Minidisc deck to your PA, simply connect a cable between your player and your PA. MP3 players usually have a headphone/earphone/line-out socket with a minijack connection while Minidisc decks usually have 2 x RCA plug outputs.

You’ll find an article on how to connect an MP3 player to your PA on the website.