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Digital's revolting

Article from International Musician & Recording World, February 1985

The hot poop from the Pop world

Is CD's extra potential fully realised?

The digital revolution continues at a pace and in an effort to ensure that we're all revolting in a similar direction, or at least in a reasonably coordinated manner, towards the end of last year the APRS (Association of Professional Recording Engineers) and Music Week (Music Week) launched the second of their annual digital seminars. This year it was held in the BAFTA (British Association of Film and Television Awards) viewing theatre wherein many famous movie personalities have on occasion viewed. Why, the very seat in which I sat had been personally endowed by Mel Brooks; I guess that's different from being endowed with Mel Brooks.

This year was greatly concerned with the compact disc (CD) as the new consumer format. There was actually little of any new news to be had that would be of any interest to the average punter, the main message being the need for greater control over each step of the production process to ensure that the extra potential of this format could be fully realised.

Just as with other new industries, such as domestic video, one of the great problems is the lack of standardisation between different digital recording systems. Reference was made to DASH (Digital Audio Stationary Head), a recent standard for stationary head digital machines drawn up mainly by Studer and Sony in an attempt to avoid future confusion. Whilst several major companies have agreed to conform there are others, such as Mitsubishi, who are adamant about waging the format war. Most unfortunate.

Two exciting new possibilities mentioned - firstly the Compusonics system for storing music in a compacted digital form directly onto standard 5-1/4" floppy discs. Thus an album could be 'cut' in the same way that a computer dumps its data onto a floppy. Secondly, a new form of CD called DRAW — Digital Read After Write. The first models will allow you only one shot at recording whatever you like onto your CD, but the second generation of machines, called Eraseable DRAW, will allow repeated recordings to be made, just as with a normal cassette. The possibilities for pirating with such a system are frightening.

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Publisher: International Musician & Recording World - Cover Publications Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

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International Musician - Feb 1985

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