MDLP was refered to in the minidisc node, but I had no idea it is, so I decided to so some research to figure it out -- this is what I've come up with. A large part of my information has come from the MDLP FAQ at and the official Sony MDLP site at

MDLP Stands for MiniDisc Long Play, and it's exactly what the name implies. Depending on which of the two modes that are used, you either get 160 Minutes or 320 minutes of audio on an 80 minute MD. The difference between the formats is LP2 is distinct stereo with each channel being encoded as it's own stream and LP4, where only the differences between each channel are encoded (aka Joint Stereo).

MDLP is just another name for ATRAC 3 on MD. Version 3 differs from the older versions in that it is frame based, not waveform based as in ATRAC 1. ATRAC 2 was adapted into ATRAC 3, so that's why you never hear about it.

Of course, you need a player that can handle MDLP/Atrac 3 to actually hear the audio -- if you play an MDLP Track on a non-MDLP Player, you'll get nothing but silence. This is also another problem. The FAQ says it better than I: "In LP2 and LP4 modes 20 bytes of dummy data per 212 byte soundgroup are used to keep compatibility with SP mode, making them appear as normal ATRAC soundgroups containing silence... You mean that 10% of an MD's capacity is wasted in LP mode due to lack of planning? Yes.

It's bitrate appears to be on par with an average-quality Mp3, with LP2 checking in at about 132kbps and LP4 is 66kbps. LP4 is lower due to, again, the use of 'joint stereo'.

From what I understand, MDLP LP2 is very close in audio quality and artifiacting to CD, while LP4 sounds much like Atrac 1 v4.

Tracks recorded in LP2 and LP4 are still editable on older players that cannot play MDLP, you can still edit track names, split, etc..

The two most touted MDLP player/recorders are the Sharp MD-MT77, and the Sony MZ-R900. Both are quite exceptionally, and like most new minidisc players are just slightly larger than two minidiscs w/ cases stacked on top of each other. The Sharp being the smaller of the two. A well written review of both is available at

MDLP, or MiniDisc Long Play, is a recent addition (it was introduced on the Sony MZ-R900 in 2000) to the MD feature list that increases the amount of music that can be stored on a MiniDisc. MDLP uses the newly-developed ATRAC3 codec at lower bitrates (132kbps and 66kbps for LP2 and LP4 respectively) than normal MD recordings (which uses ATRAC1, a different encoder). Sound quality is said to be comparable to MP3 at equivalent bitrates (I haven't received my Sony MZ-N1 so I can't comment personally).

The list of recorders and players that can read/write MDLP tracks is growing all the time. Here is a list of all the players/recorders that can read/write MDLP tracks in alphabetical order.

CD/MD Deck Recorders:

  • Marantz CM6200
  • Onkyo FR-V77
  • Sony MXD-D40
  • Sony MXD-D5C

Portable Players:

  • Aiwa AM-HX100
  • Aiwa AM-HX150
  • Aiwa AM-HX200
  • Aiwa AM-HX300
  • Aiwa AM-HX400
  • JVC XM-P2000
  • JVC XM-PX50
  • JVC XM-PX501
  • JVC XM-PX601
  • JVC XM-PX70
  • JVC XM-ZX5
  • Kenwood DMC-M55
  • Kenwood DMC-P33
  • Kenwood DMC-P55
  • Panasonic SJ-MJ10
  • Panasonic SJ-MJ50
  • Panasonic SJ-MJ78
  • Panasonic SJ-MJ90
  • Sharp MD-ST70
  • Sharp MD-ST77
  • Sharp MD-ST700
  • Sharp MD-ST770
  • Sharp MD-ST800
  • Sharp MD-ST880
  • Sony MZ-E500
  • Sony MZ-E501
  • Sony MZ-E600
  • Sony MZ-E606W
  • Sony MZ-E700
  • Sony MZ-E707
  • Sony MZ-E900
  • Sony MZ-E909

Portable Recorders:

  • Aiwa AM-F90 (clone of Sony MZ-R900)
  • JVC XM-R700
  • Kenwood DMC-M7R
  • Panasonic SJ-MR200
  • Panasonic SJ-MR220
  • Panasonic SJ-MR250
  • Sharp IM-MT880
  • Sharp MD-MT170
  • Sharp MD-MT180
  • Sharp MD-MT190
  • Sharp MD-MT200
  • Sharp MD-MT77
  • Sharp MD-MT770
  • Sharp MD-MT877
  • Sharp MD-MT88
  • Sharp MD-MT888
  • Sharp MD-MT89
  • Sharp MD-MT90
  • Sony MZ-B100
  • Sony MZ-G750
  • Sony MZ-G755
  • Sony MZ-N505
  • Sony MZ-N707
  • Sony MZ-N1 (first portable recorder with NetMD)
  • Sony MZ-R500
  • Sony MZ-R501
  • Sony MZ-R700
  • Sony MZ-R701
  • Sony MZ-R900 (first portable recorder with MDLP)
  • Sony MZ-R909 (first portable recorder with ATRAC1 Type-R DSP)
  • Sony MZ-R910
  • Sony MZ-S1 (first "Sports" portable recorder)

Deck Recorders:

  • Sony MDS-JA333S
  • Sony MDS-JB940
  • Sony MDS-JE440
  • Sony MDS-JE470
  • Sony MDS-JE480
  • Sony MDS-JE640
  • Sony MDS-JE770
  • Sony MDS-JE780
  • Sony MDS-JB980 (first deck recorder with ATRAC1 Type-S DSP)
  • Sony MDS-LSA1
  • Sony MDS-NT1 (first deck recorder with NetMD)
  • Sony MDS-PC3
  • Sony MDS-S50

Sources: -

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