Digital Video Articles, Tutorials, Guides & Q & A Since 2007

Audio, Buying Guide, Disc, History

Hi-MD Disc Format Explained : Player Models and Disc Features

Hi-MD disc format

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:17 am

The Hi-MD disc format was introduced by Sony in April 2004. Hi-MD stands for Hi MiniDisc, an improved version of the MiniDisc format introduced in 1992.

The original MiniDisc audio format limited the data storage size to 140MB.

With the Hi-MD format, storage space was increased to 1GB for blank discs. This allows you to store up to 600 songs, depending on the file format you use.

The existing pre-recorded MiniDisc media storage capacity was increased to 305MB.

With 1GB of space available, up to 45 hours of audio can be recorded using Sony’s ATRAC3plus codec.

The codec will work with a process called domain wall displacement detection (DWDD).

The combination of the codec and DWDD will allow music to be burned to a Hi-MD disc.

Hi-MD also allows for the recording and playback of music on regular MiniDiscs.

Audio content recorded on Hi-MD can be transferred to and from a computer.

Content Supported

Hi-MD not only allows for the storage of audio files. Video files, documents and photos are supported as well.

CD-Quality Audio

With the regular MiniDisc, audio quality was lower than that of an audio CD.

However, with Hi-MD’s larger storage space, CD-quality audio can be recorded employing linear uncompressed PCM.

That would be audio recorded at 16bits/44.1khz.

When the MiniDisc was first introduced the ATRAC codec was used to compress audio to fit the storage of the disc.

With the Hi-MD Sony’s improved ATRACplus codec can be used. This would allow audio to be encoded in Hi-SP mode at 256kbps. Encoding in Hi-LP mode at 64kbps is also available.

Sony Hi-MD MiniDisc Recorder Improvements

The first improvement Sony introduced for its Hi-MD device is support for MP3 in 2005.

In the same year, the Hi-MD Photo format was introduced. This came in the form of the Sony MZ-DH10P Walkman.

Sony MZ-DH10P Walkman

A 1.3MP (megapixel) camera was included in the unit. The photos you snap can be burned to MiniDisc.

Sony MZ-DH10P Walkman

The camera’s digital zoom (4x) allows you to get closer to your subject when it’s physically not possible to do so.

You can review, move and delete photos using the unit’s 1.5-inch TFT LCD screen.

Check out the Sony MZ-DH10P Walkman.

MZ-RH1 Hi-MD Walkman

A year later in 2006, the MZ-RH1 Hi-MD Walkman model was introduced.

MZ-RH1 Hi-MD Walkman

With this unit, real-time transfers of files from MiniDisc to computers were sped up, back in the day.

Transfer time was reduced up to double the duration taken by the previous models.

The Sony MZ-RH1 S Hi-MD Walkman supports MP3.

Sony MZ-RH1 S Hi-MD Walkman

Hi-MD Discontinued

The Hi-MD disc format, despite its versatility, didn’t last long.

Sony discontinued the Hi-MD player recorder in 2011. Blank Hi-MD disc production ceased in 2012.

That was the end of the road for the Hi-MD disc format.

Hi-MD Player Recorders for Sale

A limited number of Hi-MD players are still available for sale online. They are mostly used units in good working condition.

But then you may not be amused with their price tags.

Hi-MD Disc for Sale

Sony Hi-MD discs are still available for sale online.

The model below has a storage space of 1GB. It supports a write speed of up to 16x. That would allow you to record up to 45 hours of audio, if recorded at 48 kbps.

You may also use the Hi-MD to back up images, documents and other computer files.

Check out the Sony 1GB Hi-MD.’

Free Video Workshop