Following its release in the early 1980s, the audio compact disc was widely embraced by consumers and record companies in the United States and around the world. But within the audiophile community, many reacted negatively to both the sound of the new medium, and its technical inaccessibility compared with vinyl record turntables. In this article, I trace responses to the CD in the audiophile community through interviews, reviews, and editorials published in enthusiast magazines. I argue that the CD represented both aesthetic and cultural challenges to audiophiles, and that critiques of the medium inspired a variety of technical innovations from small high-end audio firms that both improved the sound from CDs, and enabled better integration with the small-scale system building practices that lay at their core of the audiophile hobby.


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pp. 305-331
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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