CD availability

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Scott W. Roby

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Jul 14, 1985, 8:40:15 PM7/14/85
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I recently bought a CD player, and have been having trouble finding discs. The
local record stores carry a very limited supply. I am mainly interested in pop/
rock, and am wondering whether the shortage is due to nationwide shortages, or
whether the local stores are underestimating the demand. I have a feeling that
the stores continue to carry classical, jazz and "oldies" as their primary stock
because of the mistaken belief that the typical CD owner is older, upscale, with
more conservative tastes. This may have been true two years ago, but can no
longer be taken as gospel with the advent of players under 200 dollars. Also,
I've noticed that all my discs are made either in Germany or Japan. Are there
no US plants manufacturing CDs? Could this be the cause of the generally high
(and unacceptable) price of discs here in the US?
One last question: Digital recording technology has been with us for some years
now. Why are the vast majority of records still being recorded with analog
equipment? I can understand a little known artist using cheaper equipment, but
most "major" artists are still using analog. Why is this?
Scott Roby (swr@ngp)
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Douglas A. Hamilton

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Jul 15, 1985, 6:52:06 PM7/15/85
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> I recently bought a CD player, and have been having trouble finding discs.
> Local record stores carry a very limited supply. mainly interested in pop/
> rock, and am wondering whether the shortage is due to nationwide shortages.
> Stores continue to carry classical, jazz and "oldies" as their primary stock
> because of mistaken belief that the typical CD owner is older, upscale, with
> more conservative tastes.

> I've noticed that all my discs are made either in Germany or Japan.
> No US plants manufacturing CDs? Cause of the generally high

> (and unacceptable) price of discs here in the US?
> Why are the vast majority of records still being recorded with analog
> equipment?
> Scott Roby (swr@ngp)

It's true that more of the CD's currently on the market are classical
rather than pop/rock; the sudden explosion of the CD market has very
much surprised the record manufacturers who had been thinking (until
recently) of the typical CD owner as just as you've described. The NY
Times reported that in the first three months of this year, CD's shifted
from roughly 10% to roughly 30% of the record volume. This was just too
much too fast for the suppliers.

There are now something like 3,300 titles available, however, so you should
be able to find a few you like (-:. Last Sunday's NY Times gave a couple
phone numbers you could call to get a free catalog of all the available
CD's: 355-0011 (New York) or 800-872-5565 (anywhere else.)

Currently, there is only one CD factory in the US: CBS's plant in Terre
Haute, Indiana, which is still not up to full capacity and having yield
problems. Denon plans to build a plant in the Southeast, but that won't
be for a while. Presumably, other record manufacturers have plans...

For now, there are six plants world-wide, including the CBS plant. There
are two plants in West Germany and three in Japan. No doubt this is a
factor in the high price, but I suspect the real problem you're facing is
lack of retail competition. The street price for CD's is down to $11.99
in NYC; where I live (outside Boston), $12.99 is pretty achievable at
sales, which are now routine.

As to many records being still analog, I draw your attention to the fact
that most of what you're listening to is popular. Classical albums have
been routinely recorded digitally for the better labels for a good 5 to 10
years. My own guess is that because popular music is so much less
demanding (few quiet passages, less dynamic range), record companies
have simply not felt the improvement in sound quality for pop would
justify the cost of the scarce digital equipment.

Final comment about pop vs. classical: I can certainly understand your
preference - until I bought a CD, I had perhaps a half-dozen classical
albums compared to several hundred pop/rock/CW/etc. What I've found,
however, is that a CD makes all the difference. The hiss, etc., that
to my ears made classical unlistenable on vinyl is totally absent on
CD. I recommend you at least try out some classical (e.g., Mozart's
Eine Kline Nachtmusik) even if only to reconfirm your preferences.

Regards.
--
Douglas Hamilton Prime Computer,Inc.
617-626-1700 x3956 Video Products Group
492 Old Connecticut Path
Framingham, MA 10701

{seismo,ihnp4,allegra,ut-sally}!harvard!prime!doug

da...@rocksvax.uucp

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Jul 16, 1985, 11:41:00 AM7/16/85
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Make that 7 - My new OMD 'Crush' CD is made in England.

Dave

arpa: Sewhu...@Xerox.ARPA
uucp: {allegra,ihnp4,rochester,amd,sunybcs}!rocksvax!dave

Bennett Broder

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Jul 18, 1985, 2:21:19 AM7/18/85
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>As to many records being still analog, I draw your attention to the fact
>that most of what you're listening to is popular. Classical albums have
>been routinely recorded digitally for the better labels for a good 5 to 10
>years. My own guess is that because popular music is so much less
>demanding (few quiet passages, less dynamic range), record companies
>have simply not felt the improvement in sound quality for pop would
>justify the cost of the scarce digital equipment.

What you say is true, however I don't think it is the primary reason
that classical artists have been the first to record digitally. I
believe it is primarily due to the way the two styles of music are
recorded. In a classical recording session, the microphones are set
up, the recorder is turned on, then the work is performed. There is
minimal editing, and the work can be recorded in two track stereo.
On a pop album, first a rhythm track is laid down. Then other
instruments are added. The performer might then decide to sing
harmonies with himself. By the time the recording is finished, there
are some 24 tracks to be mixed down to the two track stereo needed to
cut the master. Time on a digital console capable of doing the
mixdown is very expensive, and engineers used to analog are reluctant
to relearn their craft to suit the new technology.

Ben Broder
..vax135!petsd!moncol!ben
..ihnp4!princeton!moncol!ben

Jon Allingham

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Jul 22, 1985, 12:07:30 PM7/22/85
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> >... My own guess is that because popular music is so much less

> >demanding (few quiet passages, less dynamic range), record companies
> >have simply not felt the improvement in sound quality for pop would
> >justify the cost of the scarce digital equipment.
>
> What you say is true, however I don't think it is the primary reason
> that classical artists have been the first to record digitally. I
> believe it is primarily due to the way the two styles of music are
> recorded. In a classical recording session, the microphones are set
> up, the recorder is turned on, then the work is performed. There is
> minimal editing, and the work can be recorded in two track stereo.
> On a pop album, first a rhythm track is laid down. Then other
> instruments are added. The performer might then decide to sing
> harmonies with himself. By the time the recording is finished, there
> are some 24 tracks to be mixed down to the two track stereo needed to
> cut the master. Time on a digital console capable of doing the
> mixdown is very expensive, and engineers used to analog are reluctant
> to relearn their craft to suit the new technology.
>
> Ben Broder

Expensive & different yes, but from what I hear, the things you
can do with a digital editing machine are just amazing and
a whole lot easier.

I haven't actually seen one of these machines, but I sure would
like to.
--
Jon M. Allingham (201)386-3466 AT&T Bell Laboratories-WH

"Beam me up Scotty, no intelligent life down here!"

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