Paul McGowan writes:
The transition from one format to another, say vinyl to CD, CD to streaming audio, PCM to DSD, embodies the future directions music reproduction is taking. Inevitably the first transition period has both major benefits and drawbacks as well. We should not judge a format at the time of its transition.
The first time I ever had a chance to hear a CD was right at the transition between tried-and-true vinyl and “perfect sound forever” (a marketing phrase used by Sony – one I’ll bet they regret using – as its been used to ridicule them ever since). This happened in the early 1980′s at the very height of the vinyl movement. Records were king. Everyone that listened to music had big libraries, tweaked out systems of turntables, preamplifiers, speakers that worked with the technology of the day. Then along comes this new kid on the block boasting better everything – when actually the truth was it had the POTENTIAL for better everything.
The first CD’s and players were simply dreadful. My fist listen was through a Magnavox player, made by Phillips. At the time the general consensus was the Phillips players sounded better than the Sony’s – they both sounded awful (little did we know it was also the early CD’s themselves). But despite the poor sound we could see that technically, this WAS better, it could be a lot better it just wasn’t. So we set out to find the problems. The first was the output stages of these early CD players. It looked like they were added as an afterthought. My guess is that’s accurate. We replaced them, started the idea of a high-end modified version that was better. Truth was it still sucked relative to the tried and true standard of the day: vinyl.
Many folks made their choices about digital audio there and then. Never to return. How unfortunate for them.
Technologies need time to mature. To settle in. Breathing room to do their work until the market’s ready to appreciate their benefits.
The benefit to taking your time to forming an opinion is a very broad playing field of enjoyment.