Music: His Master's Digital Voice

Computer records glorify sound by the binary numbers

That poor mutt on the RCA label. For half a century he has been sitting by the victrola, one ear cocked to the horn, checking out the sounds with the same expression on his earnest face, as if he expected the machine to throw him a bone. He has weathered considerable changes: shellac to plastic; hand cranks to separate components; 78 to 45 to 33; mono to stereo and, most recently, a skirmish with quad. There is a revolutionary change coming up, however, that bids fair to...

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