Tips and tricks for getting the
best recording quality when
recording MP3 to Minidisc
Do you have a selection of mp3 backing tracks on your computers
hard disk and would like to put them on to a minidisc? Then
this guide will help you do just that!
For best results, the mp3 on your computer will always sound
better if you "decode" it back to it's original un-compressed
wav format before recording it on to minidisc. But if you don't
have a decoding program or are not too technically minded, don't
worry. An mp3 can also be recorded directly to minidisc without
having to go through the decoding process.
To record MP3's to a MiniDisc you need a MiniDisc
recorder, a writable MiniDisc, and a cable to connect your
computers sound card to your MiniDisc.
MiniDiscs record either digitally or using analogue recording.
Digital recording requires a digital optical port which many
PCs don't have although some MiniDisc recorders have connections
for standard SPDIF data transfers.
As most of today's computers do not have any sort of digital
out port we will concentrate on "analogue recording".
your computer to the minidisc
For this type of recording you need a standard 3.5mm to RCA (phono)
stereo audio cable to connect your sound card to your MiniDisc.
You should be able to get this in any type of audio shop and it
is not expensive. Connect the cable between the Line-out port
at the back of your PC and the Line-In of your MiniDisc.
Be particularly careful if you also see a Speaker-out port on
your computer as this port sometimes sends out an amplified signal
which could damage your minidisc machine if you're not careful.
If you are uncertain, do not attempt to use the Speaker-out port
- use only the Line-out port.
the volume levels
Click the little speaker icon at the bottom right hand corner
and set your sound card to just below maximum volume (Wave and
"Volume Control"). This is assuming that you have a
standard Windows 9x/XP/Vista setup - the exact procedure may vary
Now do a test in order to set the levels by playing the MP3 that
you want to record and set the recording volume level on your
MiniDisc to just below maximum. Look at the little meter on your
MD that displays the volume of the sound currently being played.
If the sound is too loud then it will end up in the area marked
"OVER" or something similar. If that happens, then reduce
the recording volume, as it will distort and severely reduce the
quality of your recording.
It is not necessary to keep the volume all that close to the max,
but if it is very low then the recording will have to be boosted
on your MD when you play it and that too will reduce audio quality
Having set the levels and if everything has worked out, press
the appropriate button on your MiniDisc to start recording and
start playing the MP3 you want to record from the beginning.
Try not to disturb your computer by doing anything else while
recording, as it will be very annoying if your player skips or
you're recording is spoiled by Windows emitting "bleeps"
and "dings" halfway through the recording process!
Also avoid connecting to the internet, especially via a modem,
while you're recording, as this is a sure source for skips.
Be careful if there are some very quiet or silent parts in your
songs, as the MiniDisc may pause until the next "loud"
sound and not record the silent parts, or it may even treat silent
parts as a space between songs - it's not unknown for minidisc
recorders to split one song into 5 or 6 individual songs! Read
the accompanying manual that came with your minidisk if you find
yourself in trouble.
The sound card you have on your computer and the
mp3 software player you use on your computer are crucial to achieving
good quality recordings.
Even though all MP3 Backing Trax songs are recorded at the very
highest quality, they will inevitably sound inferior if played
on an inferior player or played through an inferior soundcard.
I recommend that you use the highest quality soundcard and the
highest quality mp3 software player available to you because there
is, without doubt, a difference in the sound quality of different
soundcards and MP3 software players.
For example, iTunes and Windows Media player are free mp3 players
and will produce a reasonable quality of sound, but just remember
you get what you pay for.
As well as this, if your soundcard is hissy or noisy, then no
matter how good the mp3 playing software you use, your Minidisc
recording will still sound inferior.
Fortunately the built-in soundcards and mp3 playing software in
most good computers are usually good enough quality, especially
if you're only using your backing tracks for live on stage performing
and not recording an album.
It's also worth noting that desktop PC's usually have better quality
soundcards than laptops (especially budget laptops)...
luck and happy recording!
Article Written by Kenny Campbell
(This article cannot be reproduced without express
(all rights reserved)