The Past, Present, and Future of Digital

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The Past, Present, and Future of Digital

May 31 - The 25th anniversary of the Compact Disc is approaching and The Absolute Sound is commemorating this milestone with a special issue focused on digital.

The September issue of TAS includes reviews of eight disc players, many of them universal machines that play all disc formats; a retrospective on the CD format; a think-piece on high-resolution digital; and a look into the future of high-res including a report on downloading high-res files.

The disc players under review range in price from $229 to $7k. But without software, a piece of audio hardware is an expensive door-stop. To steer you to the creme de la creme in digital software, seven TAS writers each share their four top CDs, SACDs, and DVD-As. These are the very best-sounding titles available, and all are musically worthy. I know I'll be expanding my library after reading this feature.

The retrospective on the CD format looks at the genesis of the CD in Philips' laboratories in the mid-1970s, explains why Philips turned to Sony as a partner, looks at why the CD's parameters are what they are (why 44.1kHz?), and reveals some fascinating sales statistics and insider trivia (samples: Only 35,000 players were sold the first year and 230,000 the second year; The first U.S.-made CD was Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA, in September, 1984).

Everyone talks about the "format war" in between SACD and DVD-Audio, but the availability of multi-format players many of them affordably priced renders moot the concept of formats competing with each other. You simply buy a universal player and choose any music title you like without worrying about the format. Insert the disc, press PLAY, and enjoy the music.

Subscribe now to receive the next issue celebrating the anniversary of the CD.