The Rise of the CD
While the 60s is an oft recognized archetypal decade, few time periods have shaped our modern world as powerfully as the 1980s, especially the early part.
As the economic malaise, oil shortages, and disco music of the 1970s faded, a new social global energy emerged. Joining that energy was a digital audio technology that rocketed from the lab into the mainstream.
Fewer Pops and a Pop Revival
This new playback technology, co-developed by Philips (then parent of Marantz) and Sony, was introduced with a compact recording of Chopin Waltzes by Claudio Arrau. While a few of the old audio guards felt CD sound was harsh, the vast majority celebrated this technology for its low noise floor, gapless playback, lack of scratches, and the popping they create.
On October 1st, 1982, the first wide release "digital audio disc" or CD hit the Japanese market. This digitizing of music was essentially the precursor to our current streaming age.
A month later, a one-gloved artist known as "The King of Pop" introduced a horror-themed album and mini-movie that would change the future of pop and reenergize the entire music industry.
Mass CD Player Production Begins
It didn’t take long for the CD to take hold of the global music market. Popular titles included releases from New Jersey’s favorite Boss and a British supergroup that wasn’t afraid to explore the darker sides of the moon. In fact, this lunar masterwork proved so popular that rumors have it an entire factory was converted to press the CD to meet demand.
Around the same time as the "thrilling" album was released and the above-mentioned titles flooded the shelves, electronic companies around the globe began manufacturing CD players en masse.
But as with all things, a leader would emerge.
The Iconic Marantz Model CD-63 Arrives
Released in the fall of 1982, the original Marantz Model CD-63 was one of the first mass-adopted CD players in the marketplace — and its details and craftmanship are cherished and reverberate throughout audio equipment to this day. According to historian and aficionado @MarantzHistory, "the CD-63 screams the 1980s."
With its top-loading design and signature champagne color, the CD-63 immediately stood out for its refined appearance and unmatched performance. Features of the CD-63 are engraved on the player, including a paragraph on the advantages of digital sound. Its display includes 15 LED lights, one per track on most CDs. If the CD had more tracks, skipping was impossible.
Using elements from the Philips CD-100, Magnavox FD 100, and Grundig CD-30, the CD-63 shows how Marantz engineers and Sound Masters can use standard product building blocks and maximize their performance. This re-engineering includes the player's "oversampling," an advanced digital technology that results in less analog filtering and a cleaner, richer sound.
Initially offered at £250 (around $325), the original CD-63 is rare and highly valued by collectors. That value comes from its combination of high-performance sound, beautiful sci-fi looks, and near bullet-proof durability.
Building on the CD’s Immense Legacy
Nearly 40 years on, the revolutionary CD format has not only survived. It has redefined how music is made, created, sold, and collected. Today, CDs have found a new path to relevance. The format's resurgence came about not necessarily for its sound quality in which it still prevails but for its physicality. While streaming brings convenience, audiophiles still enjoy something concrete that portrays who they are, something they can hold onto and contemplate, something that lasts.
Building on this legacy of advancement, Marantz continues to engineer the world's finest CD players. Our latest, the SACD 30n, gives CD enthusiasts superior playback from their most cherished format. Marantz remains committed to the CD and those who collect them, innovating products for years to come. Continuing to uphold fine-tuned audio engineering from our Sound Master that delivers the warmest, smoothest audio reproduction.
Who knows? As audio formats continue to evolve, this new generation of high-performance Marantz CD players could become even more collectable.