Monday, May 23, 2005

Music. non-stop.

When you use your car for business purposes (or you´re stuck on your usual two-hour commute, you poor bastard), one thing that helps to stay alive is, you guessed it, music. That´s why I like my car with a CD-changer.

Now, these boxes help a lot, but they also have a couple of drawbacks:
  • the CD as a medium is not quite up-to-date anymore
  • most are prone to skipping on bad roads (doing the autobahn at 200 kph does it for me)
  • few support MP3 or self-composed CDs
  • they aren´t cheap. In fact, they are hideously expensive.
So, when I put my new car together, I looked for alternatives. I found that Volvo (in fact, so did BMW) offers an MD unit.Apart from the fact that I knew about the existence of minidiscs, I had not really understood the uses of the concept.

Let me take the floor for a short summary:

  • minidisc is a media format developed by Sony. These are the guys that brought us the 3,5in microfloppy and Sony walkmen.
  • It´s magnetic and, being fully inclosed, rather rugged.
  • It has been around for some time, so an abundance of devices exist.
  • It can hold up to 4.8 hrs of digitized music. I managed to squeeze up to 72 titles or 4 to 6 albums on a single medium.
  • It´s relatively cheap to own, in the case of the Volvo, it costs a quarter of the 6-disc CD-changer.
  • current devices support USB uplinks to a host PC, speeding up media preparation (if you have previously digitized your albums (which is what I been doing for some months, anyway)
Even with the added price of the recorder, I only spent half the money than I would have had spent on a CD changer. Sounds like a winner, eh?

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