Minidisc recorders

Jack Stephens jstephens62 at
Tue Mar 5 08:25:10 PST 2002

I have owned a minidisc recorder for the past couple of years, and have used
it occasionally in the field. As outlined in the article in Birding, the
advantages over tapes are several:

1) The most important in my opinion is the ability to rapidly find a
particular species' song. There is no fast forward-rewind hunting as with
tapes. I have 50 species on my Washington birds disc, and I can find any one
of them in about a minute.
2) Minidisc player can repeat the same track indefinitely. With tape, once
you play to the end of a track you have to rewind and hope to get to the
3) Minidisc tend to be smaller than tape players. I can fit the player and
speaker into a 6 1/2" x 5" x 3" travel box.

I don't have any experience with MP3 players, and they may have many of
these same attributes. One problem I can see however has to do with ease of
recording. With Jerry Blinn's Avisong program, I can
record individual songs as separate tracks quite easily. With MP3, you could
"rip" CD tracks as MP3 files, but each file would contain several species'
songs. I don't know how hard it would be to edit the track to extract the
birds you want, but it would be one more step that isn't a problem for

Despite all these advantages, I have only used it in the field three or four
times, simply because I don't "tape" birds that often. Lastly, for you
gadget freaks out there, minidiscs are cool. They work great for work-out
music, which might be enough of an excuse to talk your spouse into letting
you buy one.

Good birding!

Jack Stephens
Edmonds, WA
jstephens62 at
Use FRS 11/22 when birding the Pacific Northwest

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