CD’s get upgraded

Sony, Philips unveil disc for connoisseurs

TOKYO — Sony Corp. and Philips Electronics NV have developed a magnetic audio disc they hope will be the foundation of a new generation of audio technology that will complement existing audio CDs, a Sony spokesman said Wednesday.

The new disc is called the Super Audio CD. It’s a hybrid disc that has two layers. The first layer is the regular CD audio recording. The second layer has a new high-resolution, digital encoding system that allows music recording of unprecedented quality, which is known as Direct Stream Digital technology, the spokesman said.

The second layer allows for six channel recordings while offering backward and forward compatibility with conventional CDs. The new technology is aimed at those who feel CD recordings are too limiting, and most titles for the new audio product will be for jazz, opera and classical music.

Sony said it hopes to have Super CD Audio players on the market by spring 1999.

The company said most people are more than happy with conventional CDs, and it developed the new hybrid format so that it does not require any alternation of equipment for the 500 million CD players that have been purchased around the world.

In other words, a regular CD can be played in a Super Audio CD player and a Super Audio CD can be played in a conventional CD player.

Sony said it has not yet released a retail disc price for Super Audio CDs.

“Just offering a high-quality disc is not enough for the next germination audio format,” the Sony spokesman said.

“Hybrid discs will cover all consumer playback needs by not only playing in future Super Audio CD players, but also on existing hi-fi, portable and car players as well,” said Wally Heijnemans, a Phillips director.

The new discs were demonstrated at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York in September and at the Japan Audio Fair in mid-November in Tokyo.

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