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Chapter 3. Digital Audio Formats > Introduction to Digital Audio

3.1. Introduction to Digital Audio

The era of modern digital audio began in the early 1980s. A new, small, shiny format called the audio compact disc, developed by Sony and Philips, began to appear in music stores alongside albums on tapes and vinyl records. Unlike analog tapes and LPs, audio CDs stored music in digital form, and produced a bright, clean sound with pristine clarity. (Some audiophiles still prefer the "warmer" sound of vinyl, not to mention the expansive canvas that records provided for detailed album artwork, but many have accepted the CD.)

1985 was a pivotal year for the CD. The format's popularity got a huge boost from its first big seller, Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, and a variation on the audio CD technology called CD-ROM (Compact Disc, Read-Only Memory) edged into the computer market as a way to play multimedia files and interactive programs.


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