bird calls on minidisk

Subject: bird calls on minidisk
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 22:15:08 +1000
Hello Nevil,

I've recently started using Minidiscs for playback and have found the method ENORMOUSLY convenient (I'm using a Sony MZ-R700). I have most of the calls that I use for playback or have thought about using for playback on a disc and I've hardly taken up any space on the mini disc at all. The 4LP is definitely adequate for playback. You can easily find a particular call as each call can be named. If you only want say a couple of particular calls and they are well spread out on the disc you can just move them to the front of the disc. You can go on to repeat for particular calls which is convenient if you only have a short length of recording for a particular call.

One of the catches is that the MD players don't have speakers. So, you need portable speakers to plug into the headphone jack of the player. This of course raises the question of what you are using playback for. For songbirds I think this is fine. For night-birds I don't think that little speakers are adequate.

The other question is whether they are OK for recording. Others will probably know more about this as I'm new to the recording caper. I believe that the MD method compresses the sound, something like MP3. It cuts out all the frequencies that humans can't hear thus enabling it to get more sound into less space. This is great for music but may have problems for natural history sounds. For example does a bird hear different frequencies in a bird call than we do? At this stage I haven't found this to be a problem so it may only be a problem in a minority of cases. And of course if you want to analyse your calls visually then the cutting out of certain frequencies might affect this.

Dave Stewart- do you have a stand on mini-discs for recording?

I have to admit I'm using a DAT recorder (Digital Audio Tape) for recording and a MD recorder only for playback. One reason for this is that I can't record sound at a high enough volume on the minidisc (partly because my microphone and MD recorder don't match perfectly). Its also fiddly changing the recording volume from automatic to manual. They aren't really made for this sort of recording. Maybe there are models different to mine that are simpler in their recording. I have heard of people using MD for recording so I know that it can be done.

Anyway, for playback I give minidiscs the big thumbs up!


Mick Todd
Griffith, NSW

At 06:30 PM 19/09/01 +1000,  wrote:

There was a thread a while back about bird calls as MP3 files for rapid access,
and allowing most bird calls to be recorded and accessed quickly form a single
disk along with display of the species being played..  I have been exploring
this option and an alternative, putting the calls on minidisk, which would seem to be able to achieve the same and more. The new long play mini disk allows ( as
a lower quality recording) up to 320 minutes i.e. over five hours on one disk.
The mini disk has the advantage of extreme portability and the ability to record as well as play back ( which the MP3 CD players cannot do) They are also cheaper ( and likely to be better supported longer term) than the few reasonable quality
MP3 CD players on the market.  Does anyone have experience of use of mini-disk
for recording calls or just playback/field reference to recordings.  If so was
the 4LP quality good enough for field playback? Is there a limit to the number
of tracks which can be identified on a mini-disk?

I'd be grateful for any comments people may have

Nevil Amos

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