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Audio Format Wars Essay

1336 words - 5 pages

Audio Format WarsBy: Sheldon KhanBefore 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 sound, or 'perfect sound.' In the nineties another Philips invention has taken centre-stage, the Digital Compact Cassette (DCC). DCC is the marriage of the analogue cassette to Digital Audio. Together they form a union that combines perfect sound, high convince and greater versatility. ' DCC is a medium on which audio information is digitally encoded and which reproduces CD quality sound' (Philips Electronics, Sound & Vision, 1995). A number of features have been incorporated into DCC tapes and decks to achieve CD like sound and convince. DCC decks can locate a chosen track on either side of the tape because track and time codes are recorded on the tape. This combined with autoreverse, which is standard on all DCC decks, makes track access effortless but, not as fast as a CD. Another attractive feature of DCC is the text mode. Text mode allows the deck to display support information about the recordings on the tape such as the album title, a complete list of track titles, names of the artists on each track, and lyrics (displayed in sync with the music). Television screens or remote control units can also be connected to the deck to display more extensive information. The tapes have recording and playback times of 60, 90, and 100 minutes. 'The well known durability...

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