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September 12, 1988 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

0

In Concert
In House

Talk about the next best thing to be
ing there! Listening to your favor-
ite music on a compact disc may
convince you that you are in the
front row of an auditorium.
Gone is the snap-crackle-pop
of black vinyl records - and
in its place is a sonic ex-
perience of once-unimag-
inable clarity, purity, and
sheer dynamic punch.
Such is the impact of the
digital sound revolution,
which has penetrated our
lives with the speed of a
laser beam.
Viewed in any light, the
disc holds sparkling appeal.
Besides producing superior
sound, compact discs (CDs) of-
fer several other benefits:
" There is literally no wear on the
disc, no matter how often it's played.
" The disc's encoded data-a series of
microscopic pits and flat spaces
"read" by a laser beam-are pro-
tected by a thin layer of clear vinyl.
Your treasured Stravinsky, Spring-
steen, or Sting lies beyond all danger
of careless fingers, dirt, dust, debris,
and magnetism.
" Error-correcting systems present in
all CD players will ignore minor flaws,
and even fill in missing musical
"links."
" Compact discs hold up to 74 minutes
of music, long enough even to contain
Beethoven's 9th Symphony - one of
the goals of the CD's original design
engineers. And the music is uninter-
rupted because CDs are recorded on
one side only.
A digital CD is capable of handling
the sonic tidal wave of large-group
performances; for in a sense, the digi-
tal method doesn't record sound, but
samples it at the astounding rate of
44,100 times per second, then trans-
mutes these sonic glimpses into binary
numbers. Those numbers are what are
PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL NATKIN/PHOTO RESERVE

recorded on tape. They are then trans-
ferred from tape to disc, decoded back
into musical information by your
CD player, and amplified through
your sound system as Bach, the
Beatles, or Basie.
CD players are a snap to use.
Just pop a disc into the sliding
drawer (which closes at the
touch of a-button) and push
the Play switch. You have
the next-best-thing-to-
being-there sound. No mat-
ter how modest a system
you start with, CDs will
make a head-spinning dif-
ference.
CDs for PCs
Compact discs are becoming a
valuable adjunct for users of per-
sonal computers too. Currently, one
CD can hold up to approximately
250,000 pages of text, compared to
about 160 pages on a floppy diskette.
One CD on the market contains
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations,
Roget's Thesaurus, the World
Almanac, and the U.S. Zip Code
Directory.
To use computer CDs, you have to
buy a special CD drive and connect it
to a serial port on your PC's system
unit. The CD is inserted into the drive,
from there all the information stored
on it becomes available for you to see
on your PC monitor.
Today's computer CDs are "read-
only" -information is engraved on
them at the factory, and it cannot be
erased or changed in any way outside
of the factory. At present, this limits
their use to library-like applications:
archived data that are used for
reference purposes only.
What next? The future of digital
electronics seems to be limited only by
the imaginations of those involved in
it. Q

COMPACT DISCS
Are Your Ticket
to Great Sound -
and a Symphony
of Knowledge

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