Having acquired not one but two MiniDisc players (the first one I bought turned out not to be a recorder – probably why it was so cheap) and a bunch of MiniDiscs, the next job was to work out how to actually get some music onto the ruddy things.
I had assumed that my Denon HiFi would have a S/PDIF optical out, and that I would be able to record MiniDiscs from there like one did back in the day. I assumed wrong. They’re both optical ins, it can’t output digitally.
I could record from an analogue signal, but I really wanted to keep it digital rather than lose quality by going through multiple conversions.
So I turned to my PC. Now, normally I get audio out of my PC using this glorious little USB DAC, which sounds wonderful and which I highly recommend for a real upgrade over built-in PC audio, but – by its very nature – it outputs analogue audio. No dice.
After a bit of research, I happened upon the Behringer UCA222 USB audio interface, which (amongst quite a few other things) can output direct to S/PDIF via toslink.
I’ve had to muck about with the recording levels on my MiniDisc recorder a fair bit (digital distortion is not a nice sound) but this seems to be a good solution: I can play a CD or a FLAC playlist on my PC, tell the playback software to output to the Behringer, and then hook the Behringer up to the optical in on my MiniDisc recorder. Hit record, hit play, wait a while. The Behringer allows you to use headphones to monitor, and you can switch between monitoring input and output so you can check levels etc.
So, yeah. I can now listen to music on a thoroughly obsolete technology. Because reasons.