My fiancee found two hi-fi magazines from 1984 at her parents' house and gave them to me this morning. They make for a very interesting read. One is the October 1984 issue of High Fidelity and the other is the October 1984 issue of Stereo Review. Not surprisingly, both magazines devoted a lot of space to CD players and CD software, as the technology was relatively new. Note the following write-up in the "Audio/Video Currents" section of the issue of High Fidelity: Compact Discs Today: Going for Mass Appeal * CD Prices Start to Tumble If you've been holding off buying a Compact Disc player because of the high cost of software, we have good news for you: CD manufacturers are slashing their wholesale prices. The Warner-Elektra-Atlantic family started the ball rolling by announcing an across-the-board wholesale price of $9.81 per disc, down from $11.64. Polygram responded quickly, lowering its prices to $10 for pop and jazz recordings and $11 for classical releases on the Deutsche Grammophon, Philips, and London labels. CBS is down to $10 per disc, which RCA is matching for its pop titles. (RCA's Red Seal releases are slightly higher at $10.75). And Denon is marching in step with the majors, dropping its dealer price to $10. What will this mean on the retail level? J&R Music World, a major discount record chain in New York City, has already lowered its price to $12.99 for most pop and classical titles. According to Allan Peller, J&R's record manager, the downward spiral has just begun. "As soon as record companies get behind simulataneous release of new recordings on LP and CD, the format will start to generate the kind of numbers that will make it possible for prices to come down even more." * Gearing Up While the giant Japanese and West German companies have been busy expanding their Compact Disc production capacities to keep up with growing demand, little Nimbus Records in England has been quietly footing the bill for the construction of its own digital mastering and pressing plant. By the time you read this, Nimbus should have its Monmouth factory up and running, with an expected production capacity of 80,000 discs per month by the end of the year. That figures palls, however, in comparison to Polygram's. A recent report pegs its Hanover, West Germany, plant at a daily total of 80,000 discs, making it the largest CD manufacturing site in the world. (For the record, Polygram claims to have pressed more than ten million discs to date.) With such a huge output, has quality suffered? Not in the least, says Polygram. It expected an average defect rate of 0.3 percent, but says that only one-third that many flawed discs (one per thousand) actually are leaving the plant. Curiously, CBS/Sony has been rather mum about the expected completion date of its domestic CD production plant. The Terre Haute, Indiana, facility was scheduled to go on-line in August, a deadline that has come and gone. According to an unofficial comment by a Sony spokesman, unexpected delays in the delivery of mastering and pressing equipment have caused the postponement. * The Digital Truth Though the Compact Disc is a digital medium, savvy music lovers have been quick to realize that not all CDs are created equal. Those discs that have been converted to digital from analog recordings can be accurate copies, but the word "digital" on the CD packaging does not mean that you're getting all the potential benefits of a fully digital product. To clarify the situation, Polygram has devised a three-letter code that will appear on the back of its CD packages and has recommended that other manufacturers adopt it as well. The first letter of the code tells whether the original recording was done with a digital (D) or analog (A) recorder. The second D or A denotes the kind of mixing console used, and the last specifies digital or analog mastering, presumably meaning the process used to create the two-track stereo master tape. I love the history in these three passages! It reminds me of the growing pains we always discuss with SACD and DVD-Audio, though today's growing pains are complicated by the fact that there are two competing digital formats. Note in the last passage how there is a tone of superiority that is to be expected from all-digital recordings (DDD). Anyway, I hope you found this information entertaining. The two 1984 hi-fi magazines are great. I am enjoying the articles on old CD players and ads for VCRs, Betamax machines, and cassette decks. These two magazines are definite keepers!