Tricks & Tips

Back Some obvious (and not so obvious) information

CD Loop

MDT-515: The CD Loop button can be used to good effect to loop small portions of the CD currently playing. The loop can be initialised by pressing the button, but by holding it down and rotating the left hand jog dial the length of the loop can be changed.

Best results are gained by fine tuning the length of the loop to the speed of the music. Short loops are best with fast songs, and long loops with slow songs. Experimentation is the key. Dance music, or remixes, work best as they are repetitive in nature anyway.

Character Entry

The order of characters is as follows, notice how punctuation commonly used as separators appears more often.

MZ-R50: (Japanese) [',/: ] A-Z [',/: ] a-z [',/: ] 0-9 [!"#$%&()*.;<=>?@_`+-',/: ]

MDT-515: (Japanese) A-Z a-z 0-9 !"#$%&'()*+,-./:;<=>?@_` [Space]

MZ-R50: To save wear and tear on the Vertical Jog Dial, you can access each group of characters not in [Brackets] by pressing the Play button. If you are currently editing, say, a lower case m and you press Play, the character will change to a zero. Subsequent presses of the Play button will produce a Japanese character and an upper case M. This saves you having to scroll through most of the character set.

Tip: I enter the whole song title in lower case and then go back and capitalise any specific characters.

MDT-515: Is similar in operation to the above, but uses the Display button instead. It only goes to the start of each section of characters and you cannot insert characters. It also requires you to finish naming a track before the end of the track. See Q&A: Firmware.

Cheap Storage

The cases of Ferrero Rocher chocolates make quite a good Mini Disc holder. You can squeeze different numbers in depending on if you store them with or without cases. One Mini Disc user has found that the wooden box use to package Knockando Scotch Whisky is an excellent storage case accommodating a whopping 36 MDs.

Also, some blank Mini Disc bundles now come with storage cases.

Fast or Faster?

To rewind or fast forward at a faster rate than normal, you can press the Rewind or Fast forward buttons whilst in Pause mode. You won't be able to listen, but it comes in handy when searching for a particular time.

MDT-515: Whilst in Pause mode you can use single presses of the left and right Cursor buttons to move through the track in (roughly) half second steps.


The Group Function was introduced with the second generation of MD-LP units, allowing tracks to be grouped together easily. This is great if you make use of LP recording or put albums and b-sides on the same MD, as it means you can group albums or artists together to save time and make a disc easier to search through.

The great thing is that these groups can be created on recorders that do not specifically support the function by editing the title of the disc in a certain way. Of course, they can only be made use of in a unit that supports the Group function natively.

0;Soul, Funk & Disco//1-9;Stevie Wonder//10-18;Linda Clifford//19-30;Curtis Mayfield//34-40;Michael Jackson//
____________________  ___ _____________  _____ ______________  _____ _______________  _____ _______________
          A            B        C          B          C           B         C           B          C

A = Disc name
B = Track numbers
C = Group name
// = Main separator
; = Sub separator

This would result in four Groups:

  1. Stevie Wonder (1-9)
  2. Linda Clifford (10-18)
  3. Curtis Mayfield (19-30)
  4. Michael Jackson (34-40)
It's worth taking a short while to look over this example and noting a few important caveats:


Use your imagination to record on Mini Disc. There is no need to limit yourself to recording from CD, think of new and exciting things to put on Mini Disc. The possibilities are endless, for example:
  • Record music from the Internet
  • Record from Radio/TV/Video via your Hi Fi
  • Use your Mini Disc as a dictaphone
I have used the headphone jack on the back of an Apple Macintosh to record Real Audio from a number of sites on the 'net. I also have my PlayStation and TV hooked up to my Hi Fi, so I have record them onto Mini Disc.


Depending on what brand of Mini Discs you get, you get different types of labels. With my first Mini Discs (Axia), I got a variety of labels for each, along with a section of sticky clear plastic. If your like me and don't keep the same songs for long, then use this trick:
  1. Stick on a blank label
  2. Stick on the clear plastic
  3. Write using a water soluble white board marker
  4. Rub off and repeat as necessary
Tip: If your brand doesn't come with a piece of clear plastic, you can use the sticky backed plastic sheets that are meant for backing books.


MZ-R50: If you just want to see how you sound on Mini Disc, just use the ear buds that come with the unit as a rudimentary Mic. The quality really isn't that bad at all!

MD Divide

MDT-515: It's easier to divide a track if you pause it at, or near, the time you want the divide to be at. More precision can be achieved by using the Multi Jog dial to change the divide point in frame increments (1 frame = 1/86th of a second = 11.6 ms). You can then make the most of the rehearsal mode.

Optional AV Component

MDT-515: You can connect an auxiliary component to the two free Video/Game phono jacks. Make sure you select the correct mode (Video/Game) for the appropriate amplification. It does make a difference, due to the different ratings of the equipments.


MZ-R50: Don't waste valuable time when charging the battery of your Mini Disc unit. My unit can still be used to play or record when on charge, in fact it is recommended that the power adapter is attached when making long recordings. Check to see if your unit can do this.

Record Timing

MZ-R50: You don't have to wait until the R50 recognises that a newly inserted Mini Disc is present to be able to record, you can start recording while the unit is still recognising the disc.

It's also possible to avoid unnecessary gaps at the start of each track when using analogue recording by using Record-Pause mode. Hold down Pause as you slide the Record switch, then press it again just before sound starts.

Recording Methods

MZ-R50: I have recorded via a simple stereo (double 3½mm mini jack) cable connected to the headphone socket of the CD-ROM drive on my PC. Although this means the data goes through an analogue conversion, it's not that bad at all. I can't tell the difference between this and digital recording!

If you can use phono jacks instead of mini jacks, then do so, as they usually output at a standard preset volume level, meaning that you just have to set the MZ-R50 to mid-volume, peaking levels, and press record.


MZ-R50: Refer to The Mini Disc Community pages for details of how to override SCMS. This uses a single 24k resistor to put the unit into one of two test modes. This only works with early units and is to be used at your own risk!

What Time is it?

MDT-515: When the system is in Clock display mode, the upper dot of the separating colon flashes for the first half of a minute (0 to 29 secs) and the bottom one for the last half a minute (30 to 59 secs). Handy! Most time displays made by Sony have this feature.

Vertical Jog Dial

MZ-R50: As well as turning the dial, you can press it to:
  1. Play the selected track
  2. Advance to the next letter during titling of a track
Remember that you don't always have to rotate it the same way, quicker access to characters is achieved by rotating it both ways or using the trick. See Character Entry.


Any feedback welcome.