AES New York 2009
Special Event

Sunday, October 11, 1:00 pm — 2:00 pm

Lunchtime Keynote: Kees Immink - CD

Kees Immink, Turing Machines Inc. - Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Beethoven, Shannon, and the Compact Disc

In twenty-five years time, digital electronics has replaced essentially all analog consumer electronics products, and the word "digital" has become synonymous with quality. Digital has penetrated all realms of human activities and has profoundly enriched everyday lives around the world. The invention of the CD with their superior sound quality and scratch-free durability marked the beginning of the shift from analog to digital music technology, the "digital revolution."

An audio compact disc (CD) holds up to 74 minutes, 33 seconds of sound, just enough for a complete mono recording of Ludwig von Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Alle Menschen werden Brüder) at probably the slowest pace it has ever been played, during the Bayreuther Festspiele in 1951 conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler.

Each second of music requires about 1.5 million bits, which are represented as tiny pits and lands ranging from 0.9 to 3.3 micrometers in length. More than 19 billion channel bits are recorded as a spiral track of alternating pits and lands over a distance of 5.38 kilometers (3.34 miles), which are scanned at walking speed, 4.27 km per hour.

We will discuss the various crucial technical decisions made that would determine the technical success or failure of the new medium.

Kees Immink is president and founder of Turing Machines Inc. and an adjunct professor at the Institute for Experimental Mathematics, Essen, Germany. Immink, a native of Rotterdam, who obtained his Ph.D. degree from the Eindhoven University of Technology, has progressed the digital audio revolution from its very beginning. Over the course of his career, Immink has contributed to the development of a wealth of digital recording products, including the Compact Disc, DAT, DCC, DVD, and the Blu-Ray disc. Immink’s work is documented in over 150 technical papers and over 1000 U.S. and foreign patents. Immink, a former AES president, received widespread applause for his contributions to digital audio; he is recipient of the AES Gold Medal, IEEE Edison Medal, and SMPTE Progress Medal.