Audio Format Wars
By: Sheldon Khan
Before buying a new car, getting married, or adopting a new audio format it is wise to ask a few questions, peer under the hood, and ask the advice of someone you trust. Will the new format satisfy your needs not only now but, also in the future? Will it look (and sound) as good on all the mornings after you first met?
The analogue cassette is an old and trusted versatile friend that went with you on those morning jogs and cruised in the car with you on Friday nights. However, the powers that be, have declared our trusted friend to be in the last phase of the life cycle. It's successor must sound better, work better, and have new features such as a digital display for song titles. There are currently two formats competing to be the consumers next choice for sound on the go.
They are Philips' Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) and Sony's Mini Disc (MD).
What exactly is digital recording? The definition is, 'An electronic format that is designed to duplicate sound, while affording extremely accurate control over any changes you might wish to make in the recording' (Mclan & Wichman,1988). In simple terms it means that the digital circuitry samples the signal and then reproduces what it has seen. The quality of the recording depends on the sampling rate of the machine. The sampled signal is then encoded to the tape or disc in 1's and 0's, just like a computer disk drive would encode information. However, the biggest advantage of digital recording is the fact that it eliminates tape 'hiss' that is usually found present in analogue recordings.
In the Eighties, a Philips invention captured the limelight. The Compact Disc introduced us to a new era of digital...