The Secret History of Rock

Something for People Who Still Use CDs

Here’s a little information for people who still treasure your CD collection.  You may have noticed a sort of code on older releases—odd abbreviations like AAD or ADD and a few others.  What do they mean? 

They told us the process of how the CD was made. 

The first “A” in “AAD” means that the music was made using analog equipment.  The second “A” means that the mastering was done on analog gear. 

And the final “D” meant that you were holding a digital product.  This was a big deal back in the day because people seemed interested in how old and new technology was used in making that recording. 

Today, we don’t see many CDs with those abbreviations, simply because almost every recording from start to finish is done digitally.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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2 thoughts on “Something for People Who Still Use CDs

  • Ah yes.. the short lived SPARS code. I used to seek out those 'DDD' cds for that "full digital experiencs" back when I worked in the record stores in the 80's/90's. My first DDD titles were Welcome To The Pleasure Dome by FGTH (I think it was DDD) and Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits.

  • As interesting as it was to know the recording process of an early CD the accompanying abbreviations could never really let you know how good or bad a recording sounded. Many "DDD" back in the eighties sounded super aggressive in the extreme frequencies
    and the "AAD or "ADD" were pail/bleached sounding compared to the LP.
    Time has corrected all of this. We now have the knowledge to make fantastic sounding discs no mater what process is selected or utilized.
    "Spin some vinyl today…you'll feel better!"


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