A New Spin

Digital recorders finally give music lovers a way to make bit-perfect copies of their favorite CDs. A guide to the three leading formats

As music consumers, we're accustomed to living with some sour notes. Enticed by a hit single, we buy a compact disc only to find the rest of the album filled with moody self-indulgence. We have millions of vinyl records and eight-track tapes taking up space in our closets because electronics makers sold us on a digital future with no way to bring our analog past along for the ride. And speaking of rides, can't those gadget wizards replace our waning (in some climates, melting) cassette tapes with truly portable CDs that won't skip when we jog?

Happily, we may soon have...

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