[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]
I first saw my first compact disc in March 1983 when the radio station where I was working got its first player and half-dozen discs.
We were so enamoured with the new technology that we launched a Saturday night album feature program when we played a CD in its entirety. It was a useless exercise, really, given that the high-fidelity capabilities of the CD far outstripped those of an FM radio signal.
Still, it was cool to be on the cutting edge of something.
We — and I cannot emphasize this enough — were also DONE with vinyl. It’s no exaggeration to say that the records we were buying in 1983 were far inferior to those purchased in 1969. The quality of the material that went into making vinyl records had plummeted since the oil crisis of the early 1970s. As oil became more expensive, so did petrochemical byproducts. And that meant looking for ways of trimming manufacturing costs for records.
The standard procedure was to use recycled polyvinyl chloride, which introduced impurities into the mix, resulting in clicks and pops right from the pressing plant along with annoying low-frequency rumbles.
Records were thinner, scratched easily, and wore out more quickly. “Cue burn” — that annoying scratchy, crackly sound that you heard when you first dropped the needle on a record — developed sooner. So when CDs came along with the promise of perfect sound forever, music fans were seduced.
I’m not sure when I started falling out of love with CDs.