Mini CDs are compact discs with a smaller form
Amongst the various formats are
CD single, an
80 mm disc. The format is mainly used for audio CD singles in certain
regions (singles are sold on normal 120 mm CDs in many countries), much
like the old vinyl single. An 80 mm disc can hold 21 minutes of music, or
180 MB of data. They are often referred to as Maxi CDs in
o The low density version holds 18 minutes, or 155
o An enhanced density version
of the 80 mm disc holds 34 minutes, or 300 MB.
Business card CD, a truncated 80 mm disc with a
storage capacity from 30MB to
o The long
axis is 80 mm while the short axis (from flat side to flat side) is
generally between 58 and 68
o The disc may be rectangular with wings
added on, to square off the rounded 80 mm disc.
60 mm disc, a round version of the business
card, with the same capacity (50 MB)
When Mini CDs were first
introduced in the United States, they were initially marketed as CD3, in
reference to their approximate size in inches; larger CDs were called CD5,
despite the fact that both CD specifications are defined solely in terms
of metric units. These names failed to gain wide
Most tray-loading CD devices
have 2 'wells'; one sized for a normal CD, and a smaller, deeper well for
MiniCDs to fit into.
Devices that feature an opening
lid have no problem with MiniCDs, as the disc can simply be placed onto
the spindle as with a normal CD.
Some vertically aligned
tray-loading devices, such as the PlayStation 2 when placed vertically,
require an adaptor for use with 80 mm CDs.
Slot-loading CD drives are
generally incompatible, (the iMac of 1999 is an exception), but adapters
are available that one can snap an 80 mm round miniCD into to extend the
width to match that of a 120 mm CD, and thus work in many slot-loading
devices. There are no adapters for business-card sized
As of 2005, many manufacturers
are offering 80 mm CD-R and CD-RW discs for sale in retail electronics and
office supply stores. These are sometimes marketed as 'Pocket CD-R/CD-RW'
(Memorex) or 'Mini CD-R' (TDK). Most of the blank discs available in
retail hold either 185MB (21 minutes) or 210MB (24 minutes) of
Business card CD-R media is
available, usually in bulk quantities, through many Internet media
warehouses. This media typically holds 50MB (6 minutes) of data or
While not technically 'mini' CD
media, some CD manufacturing plants offer die-cut CD media. Most of these
CD-R die-cut media styles actually have an 'embedded' mini CD recording
surface, with the same capacity of that of a mini CD or business card
Devices that use
While almost any spindle-based
or tray-based CD device can utilize mini CD media, some devices have been
designed expressly to use the smaller format, usually for portability
The first shirt-pocket CD player
was the Sony D-88 (ca. 1990). It only played standard PCM audio (Red Book)
CDs. It could play 120 mm discs if a guard was moved to allow the disc to
protrude from the unit.
Memorex Mini CD MP3
Later, Memorex offered a
portable CD player that matched the formfactor for the 80 mm CD. The
player was marketed as an MP3 device, and the user was encouraged to burn
MP3 music files to a mini CD, and then play them in the player, which was
noticeably smaller than a standard portable CD player. The player could
also play Red Book audio content burned onto mini CD's. It can play both
CD-R and CD-RW media, as well as pressed mini CD's.
Sony's Mavica line of digital
cameras also offered some cameras that record directly to mini CD media.
There were two models, the CD350 and the CD500, which offered 3.2
megapixels and 5.0 megapixels, respectively. These cameras could also
record MPEG video directly to the Mini CD - a sort of precursor to mini
DVD camcorders. Interestingly, the media size for these devices was quoted
at 156MB, rather than 185MB. It is possible that these devices used a
packet writing format which took away some available disk space for use by
The Imation RipGo! was a
portable CD-R burner that was a similar form factor to that of the Memorex
Mini CD player. Again, it was marketed as an MP3 device, and it could play
MP3 and WMA files burned onto Mini CD media. It was powered by an internal
lithium ion battery that could power the unit for five hours of playback.
The device suffered some setbacks, most notably a slow CD initialize time
(the time during which the drive analyzes the contents of an MP3 CD),
maximum of 4X burning speed (due to the device using USB 1.1 to connect to
its host computer), and no support for CD-RW media. Some people have also
reported issues using the device with 24 minute (210MB) mini CD media; the
device was shipped with 21 minute (185MB) media and seemed unreliable when
burning on the slightly higher density media.
Sony also manufactured a mini CD
burning device, designed to be 'PC-free.' The device allowed the user to
directly burn images from a Memory Stick or a USB flash drive or camera to
a mini CD. It was a precursor to modern 'media vaults' such as the iPod
photo adapters and various other hard disk based photo storage
Wikipedia information about
Mini CD. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License . It uses material
from the Wikipedia article 'Mini CD'
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