Audio Music Recording Media and Technologies Timeline

At HHH Records we pride ourselves on the preservation and collection of all music and audio formats. We buy and sell all music media and devices and make it a point to donate very rare items to appropriate museums for generations to come. Enjoy Life! Enjoy Music! Enjoy History!

Also See: Vinyl Record GlossaryTerminology HistoryAbbreviations Guide

Audio Recordings Media and Technologies By Year, Physical format and Content format
1877: Phonograph cylinder Analog; “hill-and-dale” grooves, vertical stylus
1895: Gramophone record Analog; lateral grooves, horizontal stylus
1898: 78 rpm or 78s disc first produced around 1898; popular from 1910 to the 1950s; by 1910 actual speed ranged from about 78 to 80 rpm; size was 10 or 12 inches.
1930’s: Wire recording Analog.
1940’s:  Reel-to-Reel tape, Magnetic tape Analog.
1948: Vinyl record Analog; lateral grooves, horizontal stylus also known as LP or long-playing records.
1957: Stereophonic vinyl record Analog; lateral/vertical stylus (each channel encoded 45 degrees to vertical).
1964: 8-track tape Analog; 1/4 in. tape width; 3 3/4 inch per second in an endless loop cartridge.
1965: Audio cassette Analog; 1/8 in. tape width; 1 7/8 inch per second popular in the US through the 1990’s.
1969: Microcassette Analog.
1970: Dolby noise reduction introduced (cassettes).
1975: Betamax digital audio “Dolby Stereo” cinema surround sound
1982: CD or Compact disc Digital; usually 4 3/4 in. diameter first available in Japan in October 1982, in Europe and US by March 1983.
1985: CD-ROM
1987: Digital audio tape (DAT) cassette version of the CD; used in the recording industry until 2000; DAT players ceased production in 2005
1991: MiniDisc, Sony’s MiniDisc was one of two rival digital systems, both introduced in 1992, that were targeted as replacements for the Philips Compact Cassette audio tape system.
1992: WAVEform or more commonly known as (WAV) is a Microsoft and IBM audio file format standard for storing an audio bitstream on PCs.
Also 1992 Dolby digital surround cinema sound was introduced as well as Digital compact cassettes
1993: Dolby theatre system (DTS), Sony dynamic digital sound (SDDS)
1995: MP3; MP3 stands for MPEG Audio Layer III and it is a standard for audio compression that makes any music file smaller with little or no loss of sound quality.
1996: DVD (an abbreviation of “digital video disc” or “digital versatile disc”) is a digital optical disc storage format that can store any kind of digital data. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than compact discs while having the same dimensions.
1999: Streaming audio
1999: Super audio CD (SACD) Windows media audio (WMA) (higher sampling rate, spatial sound capability)
2000: DVD-Audio
2004: DualDisc CD on one side, DVD on the other
2005: Playaway; A solid-state prerecorded audio player introduced in 2005 and redesigned in 2016.

Also See: Vinyl Record GlossaryTerminology HistoryAbbreviations Guide