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The CD Turns 25 Today 326

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the getting-old dept.
netbuzz writes "Seems like only yesterday to those of us of a certain age, but the CD turns 25 today. Philips, maker of the first CD on Aug. 17, 1982, estimates that more than 200 billion have been sold since. The younger set might have trouble appreciating the difference in auditory quality that the compact disc represented over vinyl or cassette tapes (some have probably never even seen a record). And all but true trivia buffs will have trouble coming up with the name of the artist on that first disc."
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The CD Turns 25 Today

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  • by Kranfer (620510) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:34AM (#20261761) Homepage Journal
    Happy Birthday Compact Disc! Now wheres my isolinear optical chip I was promised by Star Trek?!?!?!
    • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:36AM (#20261797) Journal
      I'm still waiting for my dilithium crystal powered car.
    • Re:Happy Birthday! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Monkey (795756) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:48AM (#20262031)
      Oh, you mean the USB thumb drive/MP3 player that holds 4gb? Why not just check your order status on line. ;)
    • by Miamicanes (730264) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:26PM (#20262803)
      The most surprising thing I discovered during the mid-90s (before recordable CDs were ubiquitous) was how good metal tape with DBX or Dolby C could sound. The biggest revolution brought about by CDs wasn't at the home side, it was at the production side. Pre-CD, bass was arbitrarily rolled off to reduce the cost of making records and increase the capacity of a typical LP (low bass = wide grooves = reduced LP play time, loud bass = deep grooves = thicker records = increased manufacturing cost). It wasn't COMPLETELY universal (as rap/dance 12" singles showed), but for all intents and purposes, it was just the way mainstream records were mastered. As a result, mainstream home audio systems couldn't handle bass, either (remember the sudden appearance of subs and satellite systems almost overnight circa the mid-80s?) Because they couldn't handle bass, and to reduce mastering costs, cassette tapes had the same eq curve applied, and were bass-free as well.

      I still remember the favorite album of my childhood -- the Star Wars Christmas Album ("Christmas in the Stars", which, ironically, had Jon Bon Jovi (still a teenager) as its lead singer). At the time, I had no idea why it sounded so incredibly good with headphones on my Dad's stereo, but it did. Unlike the rest of my records, it almost felt like you could reach out and touch the music. It was a feeling I never experienced again until almost a decade later, when CDs were a few years old, and DDD mastering became the high-end norm. For Christmas in 1999, my parents bought me a copy of the newly-(re-)released "Christmas in the Stars" CD (my original record was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew... or more precisely, my parents' disinterest in trying to salvage what to them was just an old record that got wet and moldy along with everything else in the living room). Anyway, it was from reading the cover notes that I finally realized *why* the original album sounded so incredibly great: it was digitally-mastered almost a *decade* before most professionals had even *heard* of "digital mastering".
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:35AM (#20261783) Journal

    The artist on that first disc: ABBA.
    Huh, that's funny because I always thought that the first discs were of the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauß [cdman.com]. I read about it yesterday on an actual article that isn't written like a comedian was drunk [physorg.com]. From the article in the summary,

    And lastly -- hey, hey, hey, wait just another second, those video games aren't going anywhere ... And lastly, I want you to know exactly how close the manufacturing of that very first CD came to killing -- and I mean killing deader than Elvis -- the entire music industry.
    Maybe ABBA's "The Visitors" was the first commercially released CD in the United States but even Wikipedia says there were 16 different discs released in Japan [wikipedia.org] first, it wasn't until a year later they came to the United states and all sixteen of them couldn't be ABBA. Furthermore they were popular at the time, how could that kill the music industry? There was only trash on Blu-Ray for a while but that doesn't mean other movies aren't going to come out. Ugh, I hate articles that are written poorly & contain pointless interjections making fun of my age. Of all [google.com] the news [bbc.co.uk] sources you could link to, this one is pure trash.

    He also forgot the part where they re-released a few new or live tracks on a disc just to make the die hard fans buy into another medium. That kind of practice really makes me sick. Of course, we're doomed to see it repeated until the end of time in the name of making another buck.
    • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:42AM (#20261911) Homepage
      Maybe ABBA's "The Visitors" was the first commercially released CD in the United States

      Nope, that was "52nd Street" by Billy Joel. [sony.net]
    • by taupin (1047372) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:48AM (#20262029)
      Billy Joel's 52nd Street was actually the first album released on a CD in Japan.
    • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:58AM (#20262201) Homepage Journal

      Huh, that's funny because I always thought that the first discs were of the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauß. I read about it yesterday on an actual article that isn't written like a comedian was drunk.

      According to Philips [philips.com] the first discs from the assembly line in Langenhangen were ABBA's "The Visitor".

    • The 74-minute story (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) * <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:00PM (#20262235) Homepage Journal
      The story I've heard in reference to the creation of the CD and have always found fascinating is about the 74 minute length. For those who haven't heard it already:

      Apparently (so the story goes), the discs were originally designed to hold 60 minutes of music. But the VP of Sony decided this was unacceptable, since it would not be long enough to allow uninterrupted playing of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony without a disc change -- the piece as usually performed is a little less than 1:15, or about 74 minutes.

      According to Wikipedia, there was probably more than just a love for classical music in here; the demand for 74 minutes as opposed to 60 (which necessitated 120mm discs instead of 115) was strategic. Polygram (one of Sony's major competitors) already had an experimental facility set up to make 115mm discs, Sony didn't, and therefore it was advantageous to force 120mm in order to start the playing field off level.

      Still, I've always gotten a kick out of the idea that the now-standard size of the CD (and DVD, and BluRay/HDDVD) could have been influenced by a piece of music written in 1824.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        According to Wikipedia, there was probably more than just a love for classical music in here; the demand for 74 minutes as opposed to 60 (which necessitated 120mm discs instead of 115) was strategic. Polygram (one of Sony's major competitors) already had an experimental facility set up to make 115mm discs, Sony didn't, and therefore it was advantageous to force 120mm in order to start the playing field off level

        I don't believe the fact that Polygram had a 115mm factory was a major factor in going to 120m

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by hellopolly (53483)
        This is what Dr. Kees A. Schouhamer Immink (one of the actual engineers that invented the CD) says about it:

        "The disk diameter is a very basic parameter, because it relates to playing time. All parameters then have to be traded off to optimise playing time and reliability. The decision was made by the op brass of Philips. 'Compact Cassette was a great success', they said, 'we don't think CD should be much larger'. As it was, we made CD 0.5 cm larger yielding 12 cm. (There were all sorts of stories about it
    • by Bazman (4849) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:02PM (#20262295) Journal
      ABBA (whats the Unicode for a backwards 'B'?) were just first in alphabetical order, because popular beat combo Aaron's Aardvarks hadn't formed yet. And still haven't.

    • They must know by now I'm in here trembling
      In a terror evergrowing
      Crackin' up
      (I have been waiting for these visitors)
      My whole world is falling, going crazy
      There is no escaping now, I'm
      Crackin' up
  • Bruce Springsteen, was it?
  • heheh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grub (11606)

    I remember when they released. I commented something to the effect of "Bah, perhaps for classical music they'll be great but for stuff like Motorhead or Slayer? Why? So I can say 'this is the cleanest distortion around?'

    Boy was I ever wrong. I still miss the large album covers and inserts from the LP days. Other than that vinyl is dead to me.

    • Re:heheh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:43AM (#20261925) Journal
      Actually the distortion used by Slayer, etc. is incredibly nuanced from an audio point of view. If you start dropping the higher harmonics, the distortion gets progressively more "dull" sounding and eventually just ends up sounding like you're clipping your speakers. Marshall amps have been legendary partly because their brand of distortion is highly distinctive. CDs allow you to retain some of the higher harmonics dropped by an audio cassette, so IMO the difference between Slayer on CD and tape is more immediately obvious than the difference between a classical track on CD and tape.
      • IMO the difference between Slayer on CD and tape is more immediately obvious than the difference between a classical track on CD and tape
        For me, the difference is immediately obvious on classical tracks due to the noise floor being so low. When the music gets quiet, or there's a solo part, you can hear all of it, instead of missing parts of it because of tape hiss.

        Of course, it's likely there's more distortion on a Slayer track than quiet parts on a classical track...;)
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by nolife (233813)
        IMO the difference between Slayer on CD and tape is more immediately obvious than the difference between a classical track on CD and tape.

        For me, the biggest difference was the dynamic range and IMO, that stands out a lot more on a classical piece compared to Slayer (yes, I have them both on LP, cassette, and CD). Unless you were using a Nakamichi Dragon deck or some of the upper tier models, the dynamic range of a cassette was horrible because it was a combination of the noise or hiss and the limits of th
  • RIP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:37AM (#20261823)
    Judging by the lack of Philip's logo on most (if not all) music media sold today (due to the inclusion of DRM efforts violating the standards), I'm not altogether sure CD-DA has lived long enough to reach 25.
  • by bbernard (930130) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:38AM (#20261833)
    I can't believe the artist that was first recorded on CD. What, were the Bee Gees unavailable? And now I've got one of their damn songs going through my head. Damn you first CD trivia!
    • The funny part is, after reading the first half dozen posts in this article, I realized* that the song playing through my headphones is ABBA - Take a Chance on Me. I have four weeks of continuous music on shuffle so I never hear the same thing twice in a month, and I pulled that up today...

      * I don't listen to the music most of the time; it just tunes out my neighbors. I couldn't tell you what the last five songs before this were.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by abbamouse (469716)
      You go to hell! You go to hell and die! How dare thee besmirch the names of Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn, and Anni-Frid!

      So sayeth the ABBA mouse. So shall it be done.
  • i wonder what percentage of cds released 20-25 years ago actually work nowdays :)
    • by Greg01851 (720452) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:44AM (#20261953)
      I have quite a few CD's purchased in the 80's that work just fine. It's the CD-R versions that degrade over just a few years, the commercially pressed ones last quite awhile. reference: http://computerworld.com/hardwaretopics/storage/st ory/0,10801,107607,00.html [computerworld.com]
    • Uh, all of them? I have dozens to hundreds from that era and there hasn't been any problem with any of them, aside from the occasional scratch (that can be polished out). None, repeat, none, are unplayable.

            Bear in mind I am talking about commercially-produced audio CDs. "Do-it-yourself" CD-Rs are constructed differently.

              Brett
    • 100%, Every single music CD that I've ever bought still works. Even the ones that I got in 1985.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chiph (523845)
      I bought a Sony CDP-101 (first commercial CD player) in 1983 for $650 (a lot of money back then.) Still have it in a closet somewhere (sounds horrible compared to modern gear, but it's built like a rock!)

      All the discs I bought back then still play -- Eurythmics, Deutsche Grammophon von Karajan, The Kinks, Star Wars soundtrack.

      The ones that have problems are the mass-market CDs of recent vintage -- the pressing company seems to have let their quality standards slip in favor of shipping more product. What l
  • WTF? I thought CDs stimulated the olfactory sense.
    Man, it never made any sense that people could get off on shoving CDs up their nose. I've been doing it wrong all these years!
  • I always thought of CDs as new and cool when I was growing up, I didn't realize that they're only slightly younger than I am (I was born in Feb of 82). It's kind of ironic though that in the last 5 years I've bought way more vinyl records than I have CDs.
  • (some have probably never even seen a record)

    As cool as you may like to think you are because you were born when records came out. Nobody else cares. Nearly everyone has seen a record.
    • by ArcherB (796902) *
      As cool as you may like to think you are because you were born when records came out.

      Given that Edison created the first phonograph [wikipedia.org] in November of 1878, that would make him about 128 years old. Considering that the oldest person in history died at 122 years old, that makes your statement impossible.

      Yes, I'm being a smart ass. However, I thought it was important to point out that "records" were not the latest thing when the CD came out.
  • Stupid CDs (Score:4, Informative)

    by eln (21727) * on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:41AM (#20261891) Homepage
    I had to laugh at this part of the press release:

    The invention of the CD ushered in a technological revolution in the music industry as CDs -- with their superior sound quality and scratch free durability -- marked the beginning of the shift from analog to digital music technology.
    I think that initially CDs were intended to come in plastic cartridges that would protect the actual playing surface from scratches, but those were eliminated very early on. The CD as released is very fragile and prone to scratching. In the old days of cassette tapes, I could throw all my tapes in a big pile and still be fairly confident they would play (unless I left them out in the sun or something). If you try and throw your CDs into a big pile, you're going to get a big pile of scratched up coasters.

    Maybe CDs are more scratch resistant than LPs (which isn't saying much), but they're still ridiculously fragile. Maybe music piracy wouldn't be so prevalent if CDs were more durable. I know that I hesitate to buy CDs because I don't want to spend 15-20 bucks on something that could end up being worthless in 6 months if I don't treat it with extreme care.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by melt away (1126703)
      They are MUCH more scratch-resistant than vinyl, though - which I think was the point at the time. But yeah, they are far less indestructible than first advertised.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      Sorry but I have hundreds of CDs And maybe one or two have any problems. I am not neat freak or anything but you must abuse the daylights out of your CDs.
      AS to cassettes tapes all I can say is what???? I have had more of them wear out and or get eaten by a tape deck than any amount of CD failures.
      • by Neoprofin (871029)
        Agreed. Throwing them directly at walls or leaving them on the floor of my car to be stepped on sometimes causes problems, but just putting them in a piles had never left me with an unreadable disc.
      • by zakezuke (229119)

        Sorry but I have hundreds of CDs And maybe one or two have any problems. I am not neat freak or anything but you must abuse the daylights out of your CDs.
        AS to cassettes tapes all I can say is what???? I have had more of them wear out and or get eaten by a tape deck than any amount of CD failures.

        I can say in all honesty I've had more luck with cassette tapes than CDs when they fall of the seat and get crunched by passengers, fall out a window at street speeds, or fall in a couch. Not to speak of the fact that in a car or jogging tape is far more ideal.

        Being eaten was something I didn't experience often. If you bought a cheaper deck, then yes it was very much an issue.

        CDs however take the cake as far as playability with low maintenance. A good tape deck would have run you well over $100, a good

    • by EMeta (860558)
      CD's are actually rather amazingly durable. The information is written at almost the very top of the disk, so any scratches that don't develop into cracks can be polished (or ground then polished) out.now if you step on it on an uneven floor, you're out of luck. But short of that, it's not so easy to break a CD in most settings.
      • by TeknoHog (164938)

        CD's are actually rather amazingly durable. The information is written at almost the very top of the disk,

        .. so scratches on the top side make the information die horribly. How on earth is this durable?

    • Re:Stupid CDs (Score:4, Informative)

      by TeknoHog (164938) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:54AM (#20262147) Homepage Journal

      IMHO, the worst problem with scratches is that the data surface is just below the label side, with the bulk of the plastic in CDs being part of the optical path. You can usually polish off scratches on the optical side, but any significant scratches on the label side will destroy the data. DVDs are much better in this sense, as the data layer is exactly in the middle of the disc.

      Another stupidity about the audio CD standard is that you've got this nice digital storage space, yet all the metadata is stored on liner notes only. Surely it wouldn't have hurt to add some kind of metadata into the spec, even if most early players hadn't been able to use it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        The most irritating thing about CDs is that, like DVDs after them, they use a spiral data track, rather than a set of concentric circular tracks. This makes it marginally cheaper to create players, since linear reads are easy and you don't need to buffer for a few KB on a track change, but it makes random reads significantly more expensive, since you can't easily calculate an exact lateral jump, you need to jump a little in and then follow the spiral around.
    • Re:Stupid CDs (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcmonkey (96054) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:09PM (#20262419) Homepage

      Maybe CDs are more scratch resistant than LPs (which isn't saying much), but they're still ridiculously fragile.

      Who are you, The Hulk? CDs aren't indestuctible, but I would say they are far from "ridiculously fragile." I often pile nekkid CDs or transport them stacked in spindles and have never had an issue with scratches.

      But what I really want to respond to is:

      Maybe music piracy wouldn't be so prevalent if CDs were more durable. I know that I hesitate to buy CDs because I don't want to spend 15-20 bucks on something that could end up being worthless in 6 months if I don't treat it with extreme care.

      That's just stupid. You can justify breaking DRM to rip and copy CDs because of concerns from handling disks, but piracy? I don't want to be troll-ish, but that is just stupid. Do you justify kidnapping? Would you want to carry in your body for nine months something which will end up being worthless if you don't treat it with extreme care?

      Of course, this post misses an actual good point--not that a CD might be worthless in six months because Hulk smash, but that a CD will be worthless years later because they just aren't stable for long term storage. Again, not to justify piracy, but certainly to justify breaking DRM to make back-ups.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)
      Maybe CD's were/are fragile to someone who just 'throws stuff into a pile', but I was raised to take care of my things. (Didn't have a lot of money, so stuff that got broke might not get replaced.) I never find putting vinyl/tapes/CDs back into their cases to be much of a burden.
    • by Schnapple (262314)
      I don't know if the original from-day-one intention was to be in the cartridges, but I do remember hearing early on how you could "run a razor blade across the surface of a CD and it would still play perfectly". Well, I let someone borrow one of my CD's once and they put it in a Discman but didn't push it all the way down so when the spindle started spinning, it got tossed around and scratched. It never played a couple of songs right again. And these weren't deep scratches, either. I think it has something
      • by nuzak (959558)
        Discman players were notoriously finicky. These days, you can practically sandpaper the bottom of a CD and it will play flawlessly. Still, a circular scratch along a track will cause problems, since it'll refract the laser over a longer path than a perpendicular scratch that might cause just a one-bit error. And if you scratch the label you're pretty screwed.

        I just recently had to download a pirate (arr!) copy of a game that I had on CD because it caught in the tray (damn you lite-on, fix that mechanism!
      • by chihowa (366380)
        I believe that a lot of the issue with scratches deals with the nature of the scratches themselves. A razor scratch may be easier to cope with than a wide rough scrape. Also, the scratch issue is just getting worse. IIRC, most of the copy protection schemes work by messing around with the CD's error correction data. So "protected" discs may actually be more fragile and sensitive to scratches than Red Book CDs.
  • I still don't see these newfangled CD Devices going anywhere. As long as I can still get my Fame Soundtrack and Toto songs on cassette, I'll be happy.
    • by mcmonkey (96054)
      You kids and your cassettes. I'll stick to my Iron Butteryfly and Blue Cheer on 8 track.

      Now get off my lawn!
  • I'm 25 today too. And before anyone says it, yes I know this is off topic.
  • Hazy Memory (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brit_in_the_USA (936704) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:43AM (#20261939)
    I may be a bit wrong on this but I remember UK show tomorrows world covering the CD before it was launched, they showed how you could scratch the surface with metal pads and it still played. IIRC they had a Dire Straits album on display next to it (though not necessarily the first CD). It took me a while to get my first CD player (my parents had had one for a few years), I think it was around 1994 - which happened to be a 2x SCSI CD-ROM drive for some PC work I was doing. The CD needed inserting into a cartridge first before you could put it in the drive. I remember friends with HI-FI CD players were amazed at the track seek time I had (practically instant) - I had to remind them that this was optimized for read access, 4-5 seconds they were experiencing would kill it for PC applications. I also experimented with ripping, but soon stopped as my hard drive space was an order of magnitude smaller than the CD, and compression consisted of re sampling at 12Khz 8bit if I wanted to play about with loops and do silly things off the hard drive, no MP3 (that I knew of or had software to process) for me in those days. It was only a year or two later that as a student I could afford a CD HI-Fi sperate unit (and amp, and speakers) of my own. Within another 2 years I had a 2x CD burner - then the fun really started. :-)
    • by polar red (215081)

      also experimented with ripping, but soon stopped as my hard drive space was an order of magnitude smaller than the CD,
      I think we are at 3 orders of magnitude in favor of the HD now :)
  • War on standards (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:45AM (#20261983) Journal
    It was the time of the war between Betamax and VHS. Surprised CD side too was not racked by similar warfare.

    Now a days people are so confused by so many warring, deliberately incompatible media. CD-R, CD-RW was one schism, that looks trivially comprehensible compared to the acronym soup of DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-ROM, etc. Then the HD/Bluray war.

    People eschewed Betamax, the memory stick, the mini-DVD all Sony offerings. One would think people really understand the need for open standards, supported by multiple vendors, all fighting to get your business and thus delivering all the glorious things free markets and competition are supposed to deliver. But when Microsoft deliberately muddies the waters by confusing the "choice among vendors and products" with "choice in standards" people don't reject it summarily.

    May be because hardware is tangible and people get a feel and they have demanded and obtained complete interoperability in brake fluids, car tires, radios and garden hoses, they expect the same in electronics. It would take a while before the consumer understands the similar need for fully open standards for software too. Till then MSFT will continue to rake in , wait a minute. When did I go so off topic?

    • Re:War on standards (Score:4, Informative)

      by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:03PM (#20262309)

      CD-R, CD-RW was one schism ...
      No, it wasn't. CD-R is a write-once medium. CD-RW is a re-writable medium that is significantly more expensive and less compatible. The two have never been in direct competition, because they are not in the same market niche.

      DVD-R[W] vs. DVD+R[W] vs. DVD-RAM was a true format war, but it has been completely resolved. (ie. -RAM is completely dead and almost all burners on the market support +/-R.) The only active format war right now is HD vs. Blu-ray, and while it far from over, there are drives that support both.
      • by TeknoHog (164938)

        DVD-R[W] vs. DVD+R[W] vs. DVD-RAM was a true format war, but it has been completely resolved. (ie. -RAM is completely dead and almost all burners on the market support +/-R.)

        Many DVD video recorders use -RAM as the preferred format, since it's the only one of these with true random read/write access. You need either -RAM or a hard drive to start watching a video while it's being recorded.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvd-ram#Advantages_of _DVD-RAM [wikipedia.org]

    • by multipartmixed (163409) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:05PM (#20262353) Homepage
      > CD-R, CD-RW was one schism, that looks trivially comprehensible compared to
      > the acronym soup of DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-ROM, etc. Then the HD/Bluray war.

      You said, it brother.

      I once witnessed the following discussion between a sales droid and a customer in a major department store:

      C: (looking at blank media) What's the difference between the DVD minus R and the DVD plus R?
      SD: The DVD plus R, you can read and write to it. The minus R is, well, you can only write to it, you can't read from it

      *jesus fucking christ*
    • Surprised CD side too was not racked by similar warfare.

      Sony and Philips collaborated on the development of CD audio creating a standard known as "Red Book" and of CDROM known as "Yellow Book". Thanks to the joint effort, it was assured there would be only one standard for audio and one standard for data. Interestingly the joint task force started in 1979 and published the first version in 1980. This was sometime after the creation of Betamax. Maybe Sony learned from Betamax but I think it was more l

  • sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:47AM (#20262027) Homepage
    The CD is 25 years old, yet my parents still refer to every recording (audio, video, digital or not) as a "tape." They also refer to all acts of recording as "taping."

    Technology progresses quickly, but humans aren't quite as fast, it seems :-(
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560)
      Haha!! I remember in the 1980s older relatives giving me "Pac Man tapes" for my Atari. (No matter what game it was, they still called it a "Pac Man tape," as in "Here's the Pac Man tape of 'Pitfall' you wanted!" Later I would collect "Nintendo tapes" for my NES.

      Nowadays my mom still calls DVDs "CDs." Baby steps..
    • Re:sad (Score:4, Informative)

      by Vellmont (569020) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:17PM (#20262557)

      Technology progresses quickly, but humans aren't quite as fast, it seems :-(

      No, people just don't really care about the original meaning of words, nor should they. Do you get bent out of shape every time someone talking about "dialing" a telephone, even though 99% of telephones no longer have a dial? There's hundreds of examples like this where the original etymology of the word was forgotten and the words takes on a modified meaning of the original. That's just how language works.
    • "Technology Changes, people don't"
    • by krog (25663)
      I say "mixtape" a lot even though I haven't made one on tape in ten years... "Mix CD" and "playlist" just sound retarded.
  • But CDs didn't sound any better than records... at least the first time you played an LP.

    I got into CDs because they still sounded as good on subsequent listenings without going through a High Holy Ritual of cleansing and handling whenever you wanted to hear something. Even then, the LPs eventually degraded. You also couldn't play records in the car, though I have a half-memory of some harebrained device that let you do that. Good luck leaving LPs in a hot car, though.

    • by geekoid (135745)
      ".. at least the first time you played an LP."
      and assuming it was dust free..and you had a 100+ dollar needle that was also new.

      Yes, there was a device that let you play LPs in the car.....but it didn't catch on for 1000 of obvious reasons.

      The there was an enclosed record player that you could hang from a wall and play LPs. That device had potential to take the LP into the Car...but the CD came out the same year.

      I was in the military, and someone had just come back from Germany with a CD and player. Not ava
  • First CD's (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CheapEngineer (604473) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:56AM (#20262179)
    I was working at a Lazarus department store that fall in '82, in the stereo/camera department (remember when there was a Camera Department?) when we go our first CD player.

    It was included in a new Fisher 100watt component stereo system right across the aisle from me. I remember the only CD's the salesman had to sell, or demo, were classical music.

    I also remember watching the salesman carefully take one our of the jewel case, by the edges, show it to all of us carefully - then drop it on the floor and STOMP on it.

    My boss nearly Shat himself. It played fine.

    OT: That same Fisher 100watt system - we took the audio output line off the back of an Atari 800 (we sold 'em then for $699, I believe) and ran it into the stereo in an AUX input.

    Fire up Star Raiders, and crank up the bass. Kids would come running in from the mall *downstairs* to watch and play.

    I sold a *lot* of Atari computers that winter...

    Cheap "Old Bastard" Engineer
  • Auditory Quality? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:58AM (#20262205) Homepage Journal

    The younger set might have trouble appreciating the difference in auditory quality that the compact disc represented over vinyl or cassette tapes (some have probably never even seen a record).
    Auditory Quality? Maybe CDs sound better than cassette tapes, and technically, they probably sound better than vinyl, but I still prefer the sound of vinyl records to anything else. I grew up listening to my dad's music who has something like 10,000 45s and LPs. I love the sound of the needle touching down on the record and the opening scratchiness. Maybe it's just me, but I think we're missing something... analog.
    • Maybe it's just me, but I think we're missing something... analog.

      010101110110100001100001011101000010000001100011 01101111011101010110110001100100001000000111000001 10111101110011011100110110100101100010011011000111 10010010000001100010011001010010000001101101011010 01011100110111001101101001011011100110011100100000 01101001011011100010000001110100011010000110010100 10000001100100011010010110011101101001011101000110 00010110110000100000011101110110111101110010011011 000110010000111111
      Yes, there's a message there.

    • by geekoid (135745)
      Now someone has it right.
      The music on vinyl is not of higher quality and it is not better. The experience is something people grew up with that is missing from CD.

      I like it as well. It's like there is a moment of amplified anticipation between the sound of the needle touching, and the first note.

      I wonder if the could fill the time between song on an iPod with the scratchy needle sound?

  • I think Klaus Schulze's "Dig It" deserves an honorable mention as the first *truly* digital CD: performed on digital synthesizers, recorded and mastered on digital tape. Nothing analogue until you popped in your player! Nifty. (Cool CD, too.)
  • by shogarth (668598) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:19PM (#20262597)
    Anyone care to guess how many of these wre AOL coasters?
  • I was working for an outdoor supplies store after my freshman year of college in 2002. I worked in the marine accessories department where we sold boat radios and stereos. One day this guy came in with his kid who was maybe in the 6-8year old range and was checking out the lower end stereos that mostly came with cassette decks. His kid asks "what is that hole for" to which the father responded "that is for cassette tapes". To which the kid responds "what's a tape"? I had never thought about it before,
  • by howlingfrog (211151) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `2002noynekmja'> on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:24PM (#20265189) Homepage Journal

    the difference in auditory quality that the compact disc represented over vinyl or cassette tapes

    There has been much argument about whether CDs or vinyl sound better. Here's some actual facts.

    • Vinyl stores more information than CDs do. Quite a bit more.
    • CDs are digital. When you convert from digital to analog or vice versa, you lose information. So any recording made on analog equipment (pretty much any recording more than 15 years old) then put on CD is hemorrhaging data when you put it on the disc and again when you listen to it.
    • Vinyl is analog. When you make an analog copy of an analog master, you lose information. So any recording made on analog equipment leaks data every time one piece of equipment transfers the recording to another piece of equipment. Instead of the two big wounds of a-d-a, there's a bunch of tiny ones with a-a-a-a-a-a-a.
    • When you start out with digital equipment, every time one digital device conveys the recording to another, the copy is literally perfect. Any and all degredation can be caught by checksums--and even if you don't do error-checking, a bit-flip or two will make far less difference in audio than other kinds of digital data. With digital recording equipment, a CD loses information only once--when you listen to it.
    • The quality of the equipment you play it on matters. Today's vinyl fanatics talk about how "warm" the sound is, but that's a feature of the player, not the media. There is no market for low-end record players today. Nearly every single record player manufactured and sold today is audiophile-quality. The best hi-fi systems with the best CD players and the best DACs (digital to analog converters) and the best speakers will sound just as much warmer than a $25 boom box from Walmart as an audiophile record player will. One of the biggest wins for any digital format over any analog format is that there's much less room for the player to screw things up. The cheapest CD players are easily ten times as good at conveying the information from the media to the amp as cheap record players were, when there were cheap record players. It's not even mathematically possible to make a digital audio player that sounds as bad as the record players that were mainstream in 1982. In fact, one of the reasons compressed audio has become such a big deal is that even the worst CD players provide better sound quality than low-end amps and speakers can reproduce.
    • CDs are not degraded by normal use. Vinyl records are.
    • With basic read-ahead for skip protection, CD players are more or less impervious to being shaken or bounced. Bouncing a record player will not only wreak havoc with playback, but probably even damage the media.

    Essentially, the vinyl fanatics are correct that a vinyl record will sound better under ideal circumstances than a CD. But making (and keeping) circumstances ideal takes time, effort, and money. In circumstances any more than marginally below ideal, a CD will sound better. Unless you're in the most extreme two or three percent of audiophiles, you're better off with CDs. That's why CDs won, and that's why they deserved to win. I'll keep my record player and my vinyl collection, and I'll tell you how much better vinyl can be than CDs, but CDs are indisputably the right choice for most usage.

"A mind is a terrible thing to have leaking out your ears." -- The League of Sadistic Telepaths

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