Between the era of CDs and the final rise and dominance of the streaming music platform, there was a limbo time of random MP3 players mixed with the ubiquitous (and now officially closed) iPod. In some cases, though, the preferred digital music player was MiniDisk, a miniature rewritable CD player with some additional digital features. They had the ability to transfer music to disk via USB, but they did not have the ability to transfer songs back to computer. At least so far, thanks to this impressive hack [asivery].
Although it sounds straightforward, there are many moving parts to this strategy that need to come together just fine. The MiniDisc player uses a proprietary encoding format called ATRAC, so it requires a codec. The minidisk player stores data from the disk in a 40-second buffer while playing, so the code reads data directly from the DRAM in 40-second segments, removes the read head, repeats the process as needed, then sews 40-second segments. Back together It can work on any Sony NetMD portable, if you’re lucky enough to have one.
The project is a great resource for the MiniDisk community, especially since previously the only way to recover data from a MiniDisk player was to use a specific version known as RH-1. As [asivery] Reportedly, the used RH-1 player is going at an incredibly high price, partly because of this feature. Since this new method shows that it can be done with other devices, it is likely to end its reign in the MiniDisk world. For those who are still out of the loop of this mysterious piece of technology, take a look at this MiniDisk Teardown.
Thanks [Maarten] For the tip!