CD: 25 Years Old Today

And still the purests' format of choice.

It was 17 August 1982 when the Compact Disc first went on sale around the world – that’s 25 years ago exactly!

So today is a small story to say thank you to a format which is older than half our readership and yet still remains the audiophile’s medium of choice.

Holding up to 700MB on a standard disc, the CD ultimately proved a revelation. It works using a 780 nm wavelength semiconductor laser that reads off a disc which stores data using 16-bit PCM coding at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. This all sounds simple enough nowadays, but early – and even not so early – hardware was beset with technical difficulties and sales were crippled by sky-high prices.

Despite this, the format slowly took off thanks to the wildly superior audio quality it offered over cassette tape and vinyl (”yes it does, vinyl die-hards!”) and the elimination of fast-forwarding and rewinding. From here it spawned a raft of blank media and started its own format war between + and – discs which was only solved when multi-format readers/recorders became popular (sound familiar?).

In fact, it has only been the eventual emergence of online downloads which have began to eat away at the CDs dominance and even now it is only in the last few months that higher bit rate encoded tracks have become (legally) available which come anywhere near to challenging its sound quality.

That said, after quarter of a century the CD is still going strong and it looks like many years yet before the format disappears completely from shop shelves. When it does expect the mourning to be fierce.

Happy 25th Birthday Compact Disc

From the TrustedReviews Team

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