Fidelity (Part 2)

This is Part Two of a post on the journey of my music listening from high-fidelity to mobile phone earbuds and back again.  You should probably go back and read Part 1.  Or not.

CDThe early 1980s brought a revolution in the form of the Compact Disc, popularly known as the CD.   According to Wikipedia, a CD is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings but was later adapted for storage of data.  Suffice it to say that digital meant the music was stored at exactly the value recorded in the studio and that optical meant the music was read with light … no needle to scratch the surface or gradually degrade the fidelity.   CDs were smaller than vinyl records and durable, too, making them suitable for cars and portableindex players.   When recordable versions appeared, CDs quickly supplanted cassettes and gradually displaced vinyl, too, a music companies delivered more music on CDs only.   CD players appeared in cars and in portable units.  Not everyone was happy … some audiophiles lamented that music from records sounded warmer or more realistic.  But the tide had turned digital even though some hardcore audiophiles insist vinyl sounds better.  Older Eyes added a five disc CD changer to his music system. and his CD collection grew.

playerOnce music recording became digital, it was probably inevitable that music would move from individual storage devices like CDs to the mass memory of computers and small computing devices.   When the CD was introduced, it could hold more data than the average home computer but technical advances in the size and cost of computer memory, as well as methods for compressing music files to use less memory made small, self-contained music players possible.  These days, most music is sold directly or streamed from in digital files in the MP3 format.  I can carry nearly my entire music collection in a micro-SD card in my mobile phone while my CD collection languishes unplayed (except to occasionally rip the contents of a CD to my phone).

index1Have I mentioned that Older Eyes loves music?  Jazz?   Classical?  Classic rock?  And that he likes it LOUD?  Portable music is perfect for me because Mrs. Eyes doesn’t care for jazz, thinks classical music is for background and doesn’t like any music LOUD.  Playing my music in the car at window rattling volume or through a pair of earbuds while I’m in the park lets me enjoy my favorites without annoying others (and my very special other).   What’s not to love?

Well, there’s the fidelity of that MP3 format, which we’ll talk about in Part 3, along with some philosophy on what we are giving up in the name of technology and convenience.


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2 Comments on “Fidelity (Part 2)”

  1. […] Reflections from an Older Perspective « Fidelity (Part 2) […]

  2. […] to mobile phone earbuds and back again.  You should probably go back and read Part 1 , Part 2, and Part 3. Or not.  If you’ve stuck with me through four parts, thank you.  I hope you […]

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