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Father of the CD, Norio Ohga, Dead At 81

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the rest-in-peace dept.

Japan 180

lightbox32 writes "Norio Ohga, who was Sony's president and chairman from 1982 to 1995, died Saturday at the age of 81. He has been credited with developing CDs, which he insisted be designed at 12 centimeters (4.8 inches) in diameter to hold 75 minutes worth of music — in order to store Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in its entirety."

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Sayonara, Ohga-san (5, Funny)

MrKevvy (85565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923054)

"After a private ceremony, Mr. Ohga will be microwaved."

Missing a moderation option (-1)

ecotax (303198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923068)

-1, tasteless

Re:Missing a moderation option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923170)

Fair enough: too soon.

BTW Iain M. (he deems it important) Banks also said the capacity for suffering was the sign of sentience. Go figure, if he's not insightful he's at least witty.

Re:Missing a moderation option (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923282)

The "significance" of the initial M. is that he writes mainstream fiction as Iain Banks and scifi as Iain M. Banks.

Re:Missing a moderation option (2)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923196)

Double entendre?

Re:Missing a moderation option (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923416)

I get worried when Slashdotters start ranking microwaved geeks by taste. Masterchef this isn't.

Re:Missing a moderation option (5, Funny)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923648)

"After a private ceremony, Mr. Ohga will be microwaved."

-1, tasteless

Try adding soy sauce.

Re:Missing a moderation option (-1)

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Re:Missing a moderation option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924554)

But does it blend?

Re:Missing a moderation option (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924696)

Try adding soy sauce.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-sabi!

Re:Missing a moderation option (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923756)

-1, you're a dumb fuck.

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923172)

Oh god, that was so bad. I couldn't help myself. I had to laugh. ...and I feel horrible for doing so.

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923186)

"After a private ceremony, Mr. Ohga will be microwaved."

I hear the Mythbusters are going to spin him on a modified Rotozip.

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923204)

Mod down, outright disrespectful.

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923794)

All this has him spinning in his grave

52x that is

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923210)

Better than used as a coaster

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923246)

Me play song long time. Sucky sucky? Ten dolla!

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923386)

"After a private ceremony, Mr. Ohga will be microwaved*."

*Really tiny hand waving goodbye.

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923768)

Let's hope the hinges on his coffin lid don't snap off.

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (2)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923884)

He will be buried in a flimsy plastic case that will crack if you look at it wrong.

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924568)

I lol'd for real and startled my poor dog. Glad I'd finished my tea few minutes before.

:D

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (1, Insightful)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924848)

He will be buried in a flimsy plastic case that will crack if you look at it wrong.

No, that's not his worst sin.... not making room for the friggin song titles is!

Seriously: you've got 700MB to play with, and you can't find room for song titles that are less than 1K total?

That's CRIMINALLY stupid... Frankly, I'm glad the guy's dead... this way I won't be tempted to hunt him down and kill him.

Now if only I could use a time machine to go back and kill Benjamin Franklin before he invented Daylight Savings time... stupidest invention ever.

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924382)

We would have also accepted: "He will be cremated and his ashes put into a large clam shell."

Re:Sayonara, Ohga-san (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924536)

Is it a good idea to microwave Mr Ohga? Let's find out! :D

[insert subject here] (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923084)

to store Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in its entirety

It is also the case that they chose that size because it's slightly too large to fit in most pockets, thus discouraging casual sharing.

Re:[insert subject here] (4, Interesting)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923152)

Back in the day, the problem with Beethoven's ninth, and cassettes in particular, was the times of the movements. From one version:

1st Movement: 13'32"
2nd Movement: 13'09"
3rd Movement: 14'21"
4th Movement: 23'22"

There is no way to put these movements on a two sided cassette without having about 17 minutes of unused space, unless the 3rd movement was split between sides.

So what many (if not most) versions on cassette would do to conserve tape is put the 1st, 2nd, and PART of the 3rd movement on side A of the cassette, and the remaining part of the 3rd movement and the 4th movement on side B. It was kind of jarring to have the tape fade out in the middle of the 3rd movement to switch to the other side.

Re:[insert subject here] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923356)

Maybe it should be shorter? If you're gonna have it, you gotta make it fit so they cut it down to 3:05 is the quote that fits the bill here. It seems Symphonies and all were created in those halcyon days of "live performances" and weren't designed for certain types of media whether it be radio (not enough advertisements fit) or tape (you explained that issue well). I guess CD was a boon for these types of recordings. I sure wouldn't know; my daughter plays violin in an orchestra (high school) and I just loathe going to the performances because I hate the music.

Re:[insert subject here] (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923554)

It seems Symphonies and all were created in those halcyon days of "live performances"

Don't be silly. I'm sure Beethoven had an ipod.

Re:[insert subject here] (0)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923602)

Or alteast a tablet (say iPad).

Re:[insert subject here] (3, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924142)

It seems Symphonies and all were created in those halcyon days of "live performances"

Don't be silly. I'm sure Beethoven had an ipod.

That would explain why he went deaf.

Re:[insert subject here] (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923682)

Isn't it "if you're gonna have a hit..."

Re:[insert subject here] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923482)

This is total rubbish - not just your comment but the entire idea that he made the CD to fit Beethoven's 9th. In what world does Beethoven's 9th have a set length? I could happily conduct it to make it last for 85 minutes, or to make it last for 65. If I could easily enough get a variance of 20 minutes in the whole thing, timing it to the nearest second for individual movements is a farce. There aren't set lengths for orchestral music, you know.

Of course, he might have done it so a particular recorded performance of Beethoven's 9th fitted. But I do find the idea of a set radius for the disc a hell of a lot more convincing than some "this symphony will fit on the disc assuming that you pick this particular performance of it".

Re:[insert subject here] (1)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923698)

> In what world does Beethoven's 9th have a set length? I could happily conduct it to make it last for 85 minutes, or to make it last for 65.

Well, that's swell. But maybe Ohga wanted one of Toscanini's version of the 9th (which are the times above), and not Anonymous Coward's sped up and slowed down version.

> There aren't set lengths for orchestral music, you know.

I know. That's why I said the times are "From one version"

Re:[insert subject here] (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923770)

This is total rubbish - not just your comment but the entire idea that he made the CD to fit Beethoven's 9th. In what world does Beethoven's 9th have a set length?

Facts: The prototype was 60 minutes. The final product was 74 minutes. Surely they argued what would fit in 74 minutes but not in 60 minutes. Like you say, there's no set length but pretty much all agree Beethoven's ninth takes more than 60 minutes. Most recordings do in fact fit within 74 minutes, including the one most consider the "reference recording".

That's really where the facts end and the speculation begins. Most likely Beethoven's 9th was mentioned as an example of what wouldn't fit a 60 minute disc. There's no credible source to say it HAD to fit. The whole mythos seem to assume everyone else agreed on 11.5 cm, but one man insisted on 12 cm. There's really no proof of that, there was a prototype and they agreed to tweak it a little making it half a cm bigger. When people asked why, Beethoven's 9th was probably a convenient example to use. So after turning a feather into five hens this became this huge mysterious legend.

Re:[insert subject here] (2)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924158)

Pink Floyd also did this with some (maybe not all) cassette versions of the album Animals. The song "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" would be split half on one side, half on the other. There was a trick to hitting the auto-reverse button at just the right moment, so the song wouldn't be interrupted by the leader tape.

As far as I know, the album was never presented this way on the LP vinyl version, because it's less important that a record be the same length on both sides of the vinyl. You don't end up with dead air on one side of a record just because the other side is longer.

Re:[insert subject here] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924780)

Oddly enough, for that exact same album, they had a problem with the eight-track tape version (four equal time slices, with a loud and awkward 'kerchunk' changing between them), and put in "Pigs on the Wing" part III - The only place that was ever released.

It's also only a two-minute guitar solo, so you're not missing much.

Re:[insert subject here] (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924374)

'There is no way to put these movements on a two sided cassette without having about 17 minutes of unused space, unless the 3rd movement was split between sides.'

Well, there was the approach taken by DG's excellent value 'Walkman Classics' series, which was just to stuff something else on the tape until it came close to 90 minutes:

http://www.talkclassical.com/7444-performers-old-dg-walkman.html [talkclassical.com]

(Note to younger readers: the 'Walkman' was one of the technologies that bridged the gap between wax cylinders and your grandfather's hard disk based iPod).

With their Beethoven symphony series DG generally filled up the space with overtures at the end, so the first 3 movements of the 9th were on side A with no break. The downside was that (unless you had some sort of super snazzy programmable player that detected tracks by the gaps between them) you had to stop the tape manually as soon as the last movement of the 9th ended on side B (as having Leonore #3 starting up randomly at that point just sounded wrong).

Re:[insert subject here] (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923432)

Never had any problems fitting CD cases in jacket pockets. Mind you, I don't wear American jackets, so maybe you should check to see if the RIAA owns the fashion industry that side of the pond.

Re:[insert subject here] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923656)

Actually, they chose this size because Philips already had a production facility for 10cm discs up and running. Sticking with the original design would have given Sony an immediate disadvantage on the market. The "Ninth symphony excuse" was an interesting argument, but it wasn't the real reason.

No, I don't have a link for that.

Re:[insert subject here] (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924980)

The CD single failed in the marketplace.

Good thing he wasn't a Wagner fan! (4, Funny)

Atmanman (1651259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923086)

Good thing he wasn't a Wagner fan!

Re:Good thing he wasn't a Wagner fan! (2)

kc8jhs (746030) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923122)

Or Ramones. No track would be allowed to be longer than 2 minutes.

Re:Good thing he wasn't a Wagner fan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923672)

Well, the Ring would have been easy in terms of label design.... just as big as a Laserdisc!

Re:Good thing he wasn't a Wagner fan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924222)

Good thing he wasn't a Wagner fan!

They nuked all of them in 1945.

Beethoven as an Empiral Measurement of mastery. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923100)

So he created a technology that was based on empirical measurements of his tastes..."in order to store Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in its entirety."

Oh God I can only dream of the worse replacements. What was with the German and Japanese infatuations with one-another's culture? I only read "master race" meaning "original from ancestor" so maybe I'm not seeing the importance of comparing my Incestors as not being original/mastered enough, but that must be the IDE-ego of my Slave mentality. Maybe is why Beta never caught on, because the buyers were too beta like me.

Re:Beethoven as an Empiral Measurement of mastery. (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923110)

What?

Re:Beethoven as an Empiral Measurement of mastery. (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923116)

Beats using the "Minute Waltz" as an empirical measurement.

Re:Beethoven as an Empiral Measurement of mastery. (1)

magnusrex1280 (1075361) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923318)

Someone's off his rocker.

Re:Beethoven as an Empiral Measurement of mastery. (1)

sirdude (578412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923398)

You covered a lot in that brief rant. Snopes [snopes.com] provides a little more information.

Re:Beethoven as an Empiral Measurement of mastery. (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923536)

This Wired article is a bit more detailed [wired.com] .

Ironically, the mastering techniques of the day limited CD recordings to 72 minutes. The unusually long Furtwängler "Ninth" was not released until 1997.

I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923140)

Lets say I have a 8 GB microSDHC card full of mp3s. That nail-size is too large, so let me burn the music to a digital audio COMPACT disc. Uh oh, I would need about 100 of these 12-cm discs.

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923160)

Compare it to a full record and you will see ..

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923200)

Lets say I have a 8 GB microSDHC card full of mp3s

Let's say you had that in 1980. Oh, that's right, you didn't.

8 GB microSDHC card full of mp3s ... would need about 100 of these 12-cm discs.

What are you going to do with the 88 leftover discs?

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923206)

CDs were far smaller than the vinyl phonograph records of the day.

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (3, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923270)

Don't forget LaserDiscs. Unlike DVDs, they didn't compress the audio or video. If you want to watch the Star Wars trilogy (before George Lucas butchered it), LD (or an LD rip) is the only option.

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923826)

Actually, this is no longer the case. You can get combo DVDs that have both the theatrical and the "special" versions. Here [amazon.com] . Unfortunately, the theatrical is only in Dolby 2.0 and the video hasn't been remastered like the re-release, but it's certainly better than VHS.

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923450)

Phonograph? [youtube.com]

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923218)

Lets say I have a 8 GB microSDHC card full of mp3s. That nail-size is too large, so let me burn the music to a digital audio COMPACT disc. Uh oh, I would need about 100 of these 12-cm discs.

You are missing an important variable, here.

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923368)

I'm having difficulty determining whether you're a troll or just incredibly stupid.

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923466)

+ 1 stupid

Re:I don't see what's "compact" about those discs (2)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923372)

Or, to use another media contemporary with the CD, around 6666 Double Sided, Double Density 8" floppy disks.

may he go back to the source (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923198)

his invention of the cd has given me endless joy. thank you Mr Ohga.

The CD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923316)

Yet another Sony format that never caught on. When will they learn?

it was a great invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923370)

Too bad the record industry spoiled it with lousy packaging. Flimsy plastic jewel boxes covered with shrink wrap and security tape that is really a pain (occasionally, literally) to remove.

Re:it was a great invention (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923468)

The plastic boxes weren't nearly as much of a problem as the cardboard insets they used to use - the sulphur content would literally dissolve sections of the CD.

Terrible packaging from unresponsive oligopolists (3, Interesting)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923712)

Yes, the packaging sucked! The tabbed hinges on the case cover are fragile and break when dropped from any height. The only thing holding the product together was the shrink wrap, which was impenetrable. But the music industry cartel was so powerful, the packaging experience persisted unchanged for a quarter of a century! And then the industry died.

Re:it was a great invention (1)

qubezz (520511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923988)

Too bad the record industry spoiled it with lousy packaging. Flimsy plastic jewel boxes covered with shrink wrap and security tape that is really a pain (occasionally, literally) to remove.

You weren't around to remember how CDs were originally packaged? The jewel case was put in a 12" long cardboard box [yormeister.be] up until 1993 [latimes.com] , quite wasteful since you would immediately throw out that big box. It was probably designed so that record shops could use their old record bins for holding the box (and to visually justify the 50% more expensive product that cost less to produce.)

What is unfortunate is that is that for an equal amount of plastic as the jewel box, the design could have included putting the disc into a caddy, floppy disk style; the end product could have had real art printed right on it, and would have been less susceptible to scratches and dust.

I remember not being able to figure out how to get my first cd out of the jewel box.

Re:it was a great invention (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924236)

You weren't around to remember how CDs were originally packaged? The jewel case was put in a 12" long cardboard box [yormeister.be] up until 1993 [latimes.com]

Eh? Is that true?! I live in the UK and bought CDs from the late-1980s onwards, and I don't recall *ever* having seen one inside one of those stupid longbox designs.

The article implies that this was a US-only thing ("[switch to jewel boxes] as is already done in virtually every other country?"), but I'd expect to have at least heard of it anyway. I thought they'd only use packaging like that for stupid, contrived, multi-disc box sets.

Re:it was a great invention (1)

Demolition (713476) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924406)

We also had CD "longboxes" in Canada from the mid-'80s to the early '90s. Most of them displayed the expanded version of the jewel case cover art and some had slightly larger booklets and extras (such as posters). Nowadays, I hear that these things are collectible because of the expanded artwork and bonus inserts.

As for why the longboxes were developed in the first place, qubezz already mentioned one reason (i.e. re-using the old LP bins to hold two longboxes side by side). The other reason was that unpackaged CDs were easy to shoplift. The 12" longboxes made it just that much harder to stuff in a jacket pocket or down one's pants.

rumor hinted; origins of hymenology uncorked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923444)

just an unproven note from all of the unproven deities indicating that if they wanted us to have them (hymens), then monkeys would almost certainly have them too, so, it may remain an indefinable historically unlocatable possibly divinerable 'mystery', although almost inextricably attached to the current never ending chosen ones' .5 billion population 'finish line' crusadiacal holycost? stay tuned for melodious monday.

Re:rumor hinted; origins of hymenology uncorked (4, Funny)

magnusrex1280 (1075361) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923532)

I've found it to be incredibly difficult to locate LSD in the last few years. I'm glad to see someone is having better luck than I.

he died? so in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923538)

He's now a coaster?

yet another defective "standard" that caught on (2, Informative)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923834)

Too bad they couldn't have used even a $0.10 (back then) codec to get the bit density up, though. Even four more bits per sample (each for left and right), or, better, eight, and, 56,000 samples/second, would have made the CDs actually sound pretty good, and would not have changed the cost of production of the CDs, themselves.

Sure, they were more difficult to scratch than vinyl, and repeated plays on low-cost equipment didn't do damage, but the dynamic range is way down (12-18 dB, depending on the vinyl preamp quality) and the lower sample rate led to audible filter artifacts that particularly affect imaging, most noticeably on orchestral pieces.

All-in-all, I'd really rather he had waited to do it better, or not bothered.

Re:yet another defective "standard" that caught on (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923852)

Fuck you.

Re:yet another defective "standard" that caught on (4, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924274)

You seem to forget that the equipment required to decode and handle even uncompressed CD audio would have been very complicated by early-1980s standards. And for any very primitive compression techniques that they could have come up with, you could have used the "wait a bit longer" argument because something better would have come along soon, all the way up to the early-1990s when the compressed MiniDisc media came out.

Oh, except the compression on that is crude by modern standards, so you could argue that they should have waited a bit longer... and a bit longer....

Yes, it would have been an *excellent* idea for them to have postponed the CD by 20 years! *cough*

Re:yet another defective "standard" that caught on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924770)

Any worthwhile codec would've been subject to litigation for the next 30 years, with patent trolls large and small coming out of the woodwork to demand stop-shipment and/or billions in royalties. No matter that some of the claims would seem to have post-dated the invention of the CD, that's part of the wonders of the patent system.

Re:yet another defective "standard" that caught on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924888)

uhh, just so you know, the effective dynamic range of a normal 16bit CD is about 90 dB.

Re:yet another defective "standard" that caught on (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924962)

Actually, the last bit is subject to quantization noise, so it's really 84. Compared to top-quality preamps with 96-+ dB signal to noise, it's down by 12, at least.

Good riddance (0)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923866)

Fact: the CD sucks. [youtube.com]

Isn't it contradictory how a supposed fanatic for sound quality settled for a poorer format? But the CD was "good enough" for most people, as well as convenient, not too expensive, and consistent. You need a good, well-maintained turntable to surpass even the cheapest CD player. But when you surpass, boy, you do surpass. Like monitors: an LCD is always so-so, which is much better than a low-end CRT, but when you get a good CRT, the limitations of LCDs become obvious.

So, technically superior music formats like SACD or DVD-A had no chance of going mainstream. I wonder if anything ever will: not only we had a generation raised on the CD, but worse: now we have kids for whom low-bitrate MP3 files and even Youtube videos are acceptable!

Also, Ohga was the one who pushed Sony into becoming a media company, rather than a pure technology company. That makes me dislike the guy even more.

Re:Good riddance (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924160)

What are you talking about ? LPs are terrible, and they were even worse when the CD was invented. All that compression and EQ necessary to get music to fit on an LP - all that scratching, dust, static ?

I'd say most people, including people who call themselves audiophiles, would have a great deal of difficulty distinguishing between the CD and the musician's final master tape in a double-blind test (the only kind of test which really makes sense).

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924250)

technically superior music formats like SACD or DVD-A had no chance of going mainstream

Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio were DRM delivery mechanisms that offered marginal improvements in sound quality, relative to human hearing. The surround sound aspects weren't that important, and the record companies were never interested in using them for delivering lots more music on one disc.

Perhaps DRM-free versions would have caught on. But as conceived, these formats deserved to lose to CD.

Re:Good riddance (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924276)

but worse: now we have kids for whom low-bitrate MP3 files and even Youtube videos are acceptable!

320kbps = low-bitrate?
Besides, you could try judging music by how good it is, instead of what medium it was published on.

Re:Good riddance (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924400)

Not all MP3 files are 320kbps. 128 and even 64kbps are common among my 12 year old brother's friends. Of course, they listen to it on a cellphone speaker, so higher bitrates wouldn't necessarily improve the sound quality.

Re:Good riddance (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924414)

320 kbps is not bad, but I once downloaded music in 96kbps. It sounded like absolute shit, of course, but the person who encoded it didn't realize he was doing it seriously wrong. And I bet that, if you pointed it to him, he would call you a nitpicker. After I saw my sister listening to music on her cell phone -- and I mean without earbuds, really using the phone's tiny, crappy built-in speaker -- I realized that people are used to absolute crap sound.

Re:Good riddance (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924846)

When you realize that the 320kbit MP3 you've downloaded is actually ripped from a 192kbit CD, however...

MP3 is a lossy codec, though. A trained ear can hear the difference between a CD and an MP3 quite easily, and once somebody's pointed it out to you, you'll notice a big difference between an analog source and a digital source. You do need high end hi fi equipment to hear the difference, but when you're in that range, you won't ever want to go back to digital.

The problem is, it's precious difficult to find actual analog sources these days. There's no point in getting an analog pressing of something that was recorded in a digital studio, because the loss is happening at the source. Remember in the early days when CD's used to have a mark on the jewel case indicating AAD, ADD, or DDD, to indicate how it was recorded, how it was mastered, and how it was distributed? They stopped doing that when everybody went digital, and since then there's really no point in seeking out an analog media. But when I compare the CD version of my Deutsche Grammophon recording of Beethoven's 9th against the Vinyl version (which I also have), the Vinyl version comes out way ahead, even though they're based off the same master tapes, and the records are 30 years older than the CD. Ironically, of course, short of inviting you into my home to hear it in person, there is no way for me to prove it to you, because the moment I record it to a digital medium, or put it on Youtube, you'll lose the very information I'm complaining about losing in the CD. :)

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924778)

Yes, I love pop, scratch, rumble, hiss and click. That shit makes my day. And I really love the RIAA curve that is applied to records and how that demphasis distorts the quality of the sound belched out by even the best LP systems, even the crazy ones that shoot lasers from their tonearms. The best is the improvement on that curve which cuts out anything under 20 Hz. That's hot. I never wanted to be able to feel my music.

Puhleeez. Unless you are a pregnant teenager, you cannot hear anything higher than what a CD can perfectly reproduce. Even so, it's questionable if the average turntable that people could afford (say, at a price UNDER $300) would be able to accurately and precisely reproduce a sound above 22 kHz.

16-bits is extremely high fidelity and you will be hard pressed (although it will not be impossible) to find anyone of any age who can tell the difference between that and live (live being played via headphones to the listener, live without headphones is completely different, of course).

The superior formats had no chance of being mainstream because they were wholly unnecessary to anyone with a total investment under $5,000 in audio equipment.

nope, he wasn't part of Philips (5, Informative)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923914)

Gregg invented in the laserdisc in 1958 (!), selling patent to MCA who developed commercially with Philips. Sony contributed some work on error correction to the Red Book standard, but the hard work of hardware design and modulation technique came from Philips, building on their laserdisc work.

What Sony did, and has ever done since, was see a market to exploit.

Re:nope, he wasn't part of Philips (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924094)

Right, because Laserdisc and CD are nearly the same.

Re:nope, he wasn't part of Philips (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924208)

They're certainly more similar than the CD is to the DVD (except, obviously, for diameter). I thought it was widely accepted that Philips and Sony collaborated to produce the compact disc, based on the earlier laserdisc work.

Re:nope, he wasn't part of Philips (2)

nwf (25607) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924482)

They're certainly more similar than the CD is to the DVD (except, obviously, for diameter). I thought it was widely accepted that Philips and Sony collaborated to produce the compact disc, based on the earlier laserdisc work.

I disagree. Laserdiscs were analog, whereas CDs and DVDs are all digital. CDs and DVDs are just bit buckets where you can put whatever digital data you'd like. They had video CDs for a time. There are standards as to how to encode stuff to be playable, but they are still much more similar than an analog format.

Re:nope, he wasn't part of Philips (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924874)

Laserdiscs were analog, whereas CDs and DVDs are all digital. CDs and DVDs are just bit buckets where you can put whatever digital data you'd like.

No, this isn't really true. Red Book audio CDs can't store anything but audio, and the data is played back at a consistent rate of speed, in a kind of "mock analog." Laserdiscs also supported digital audio tracts that were encoded in the same way as CD audio, though you are right in that some laserdiscs were pure analog. Still, the CD-ROM format came later, and was more of a "bit bucket," but there was no way for commercial CD players to play back audio from CD-ROMs until the invention of CD players that supported MP3 (or other audio file formats).

Re:nope, he wasn't part of Philips (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924916)

I disagree. Laserdiscs were analog, whereas CDs and DVDs are all digital. CDs and DVDs are just bit buckets where you can put whatever digital data you'd like. They had video CDs for a time. There are standards as to how to encode stuff to be playable, but they are still much more similar than an analog format.

From your post I can tell that you live in softwareland.

The difference between decoding a laserdisc and a CD is pretty much a firmware issue. The difference is that for CD's you will have to check the sampled value against a treshold to decide if it should be encoded as a 0 or a 1 whereas for laserdic you will input the analog value to the video decoding code.
DVDs require different electronics.

The development work to turn a CD-player into a laserdic player vs the work to turn a CD-player into a DVD-player would roughly be about 1:10

Re:nope, he wasn't part of Philips (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924972)

Well, early Laserdiscs were totally analogue, but digital audio eventually dominated. And the CD didn't start digital audio recording - PCM was discovered in the 1930s and we've had recorders since around 1970. Worthwhile historical overview. [aes.org]

Whether CD is more like laserdisc or more like DVD depends on how you weight the differences (purpose, physical structure, manufacturing technique, modulation, encoding / error correction, data structure, etc.), of course. And LD too 's just pits and lands [access-one.com] .

Re:nope, he wasn't part of Philips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35925050)

Video part of laserdisc was analog, but the laserdisc had a digital audio track. It also had 2 analogue FM audio track. Even the FM analogue audio track was digital it cold be demodulated and you would gt 5.1 dolby digital audio.
Once MCA got rid of the discovision business all they did was collect royalties from the patents. DVD's cds all of those optical media things had to give monies to discovision.

Re:nope, he wasn't part of Philips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924544)

LD is analog. CD and DVD are digital.

Size included, in what way does the CD have more in common with the LD than the DVD?

Re:nope, he wasn't part of Philips (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924792)

LD is analog. CD and DVD are digital.

This isn't strictly true. Laserdiscs could have either analog or digital audio, and few discs still used analog by the end. When I was a kid (80s and 90s), most laserdisc players could also play audio CDs. And unlike DVDs, neither CDs nor laserdiscs used a filesystem.

How about the inner diameter? (2)

henkvanderlaak (965214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923994)

FYI, the inner diameter was chosen by Philips to match the Dutch 10 cent coin at the time.

Re:How about the inner diameter? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35924420)

That's pure speculation until you check the diameter of ohga's willy.

RIP... (1)

ExKoopaTroopa (671002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924454)

burning done

Get some perspective and show some respect. (4, Insightful)

jensend (71114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35924786)

Lots of people grumbling about how they think CDs are inferior etc. I don't get why.

Sony plucked this guy from an operatic career, and his passion for sound quality made a big difference. The CD standard is pretty darn nice, especially compared to cassettes, and this guy was responsible for a lot of the push to make it a market reality. He also provided a lot of good leadership for Sony in other ways (getting them into gaming, for instance) and was an important supporter of the arts.

After his retirement Sony has had a lot more trouble both avoiding being evil (rootkit saga!) and finding vision. Furthermore, while Philips and Sony designed the CD standard around engineering constraints and human perception, media formats since that time have instead been designed around marketing (OMG this says 192 kHz! it must be 4 1/3 times as good as CDs!) and content protection/DRM. I certainly wish more companies would find executives like Mr. Ohga.

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