Breakthrough in CD playback
Posted by glennw (A) on April 01, 2004 at 08:08:51 on Audio Asylum Announced April 1, 2004 in a press release from Phillips, Eindhoven, Netherlands: Phillips researchers have invented a new technique for dramatically enhancing CD playback quality. "The new system avoids many of the distortions and 'digital grunge' that has plagued redbook CD, and also avoids the downsides of 'noise shaping' in SACD," says Phillips engineer Edo de Waart. Mr. de Waart goes on to describe the process. "What we do is to add a new element to the transport mechanism: a rigid, non-vibrating tapered tube in a gimbal housing at one end. At the other end is mounted a special pointed diamond pickup that digs into the polycarbonate as the CD spins, following the pits and lands of the pressed CD and converting them to an analog signal." Phillips claims that the new element, which they are calling a "tonearm," does a better job reading the disc than the traditional laser. "You have to adjust the tonearm in 6 different physical parameters for optimal performance, but we don't see that as a problem for dedicated audiophiles," says marketing VP Bernard Haitink. "The sound is worth it. Plus, because the diamond stylus ruins the CD during playback, consumers will have to buy a new CD every time they want to hear that particular album. This will go a long way to rejuvenating the ailing recording industry." Phillips has not yet named the new device, but Mr. de Waart has cast his vote. "I think we should name it the 'table-turn,'" he says with a wink.