Revisiting “digital audio quality” and minidiscs

March 19th, 2009  |  Tags: , , , , ,  |  Leave a comment

John S. Gray writes, in a comment on one of my all-time favorite posts, to share an endorsement of Sony’s ATRAC3Plus codec for classical music recording. As far as I can tell, Gray is the audio archivist for the Canadian Music Centre, so I’m inclined to accept his perceptions as sound. I also find Gray’s claim that a high-capacity Minidisc beats a slow tape for fidelity on long recordings extremely plausible.

I am rather dismayed that solid-state and hard-disk based recorders seem to have displaced the Minidisc from its former prominence. The media were cheap, the devices were small and convenient — and more than suitable for field (and performance) recording as well as mobile listening. (The ubiquity of iPod-like players that can handle days of music in AAC or lossless formats certainly reduced the utility proposition of MDs for playback.) In fact, the only inconveniences I experienced with my minidisc player over many happy years were political, not technical.

Revisiting this post also reminds me that it has been a long time since I’ve had a friendly argument with Pliable — like the one that led to the “digital audio quality” post in the first place. Perhaps it’s time to write more about music.

RIYL: what Jerry Bruckheimer teaches you about digital signal processing — a pet peeve so well-documented that my close friends form mirth vortexes at the mere mention of “enhance.”