There is still a good deal of confusion over digital sound.
Many recent record albums have "digital" emblazoned on their jackets. The term as used in this context means only that the master tape, from which the records were cut, was a digital tape. The disc itself is still analogue. The process at the studio involves using a digital-to-analogue converter in order to cut the master disc. And before that, the live sound itself, picked up by microphones and more than likely processed through mixers and equalizers, had to go through analogue-to-digital conversion in order to be applied to the digital tape machine.
So, in the last analysis, what is popularly termed "digital" sound today (i.e., those records) started with analogue transducers and electronics, ends up as an analogue stereo equipment and loudspeakers.
That is not to deny that such records cannot sound very good, and often better than records processed from conventional (analogue) tape recorders. But the use of the digital tape stage itself does not automatically bestow on the final product any special eclat. Basically, any tape is at the mercy of the record cutter (the machine and the operator), and it is a fine question as to whether the digital tape as such, or the "tender loving care" bestowed during the record-cutting and the subsequent pressing operations, is more responsible for the good sound of those albums.
To avoid further confusion about this type of record, I propose calling it the "digilog disc" (meaning it is actually an analogue disc but made from a digital tape), and I herewith offer the terms gratis to both the recording and audio equipment industries.
As for fully digital discs, they are some years away by all current estimates, although prototypes of the new kind of record player that will be needed to handle such discs have been shown to the trade by Sony and by Philips. These players are completely unlike today's models -- the disc, for instance, is tracked from the inside to the outer edge; speed is much faster; and a laser beam is used rather than a conventional pickup and stylus. Once the signal is picked off it can be converted to analogue form and then fed into the same kind of amplifier and speakers we use now. So in this sense, at least, digital and analogue are expected to be "compatible."
If you can't wait for that development, and yearn to make your own digital recordings right now, you can do so on tape -- at considerable expense. dYou need a video cassette recorder plus a digital processor. The processor converts ordinary audio signals to digital form and feeds them into the VCR which then makes a digital tape. For playback, the process is reversed. Besides the cost of the VCR, the processor itself (known as a pulse-code modulator and offered so far by Sony and by Toshiba) costs about $5,000. Feedback
Q. I am using a 18-gauge zip-cord to connect my speakers which are about 30 feet from the amplifier. A friend urges me to change to something called Monster Cable. Do you agree?
A. Monster Cable is very thick stranded wire with characteristics found to be similar to those of 12-gauge stranded wire, but costing considerably more than 12-gauge. It may improve the sound. Whether Monster Cable would make more of an improvement than any thicker gauge of common stranded wire is debatable. Try it and see.