Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Digital Compact Cassette

Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) was a short-lived audio format created by Philips in the early 1990s. Pitched as a competitor to Minidisc (MD), it never caught on with the general public. It shared its form factor with standard analogue cassettess, and players were designed to accept either type of tape. The idea was to provide this backward compatibility so users could adopt digital recording without having to make their tape collections obsolete. In practice it has been shown that consumers are often ready to adopt new technology without such backward compatibility.

Unlike DAT, fixed heads are used, not a helical rotating drum type head. This makes the player much simpler and more robust. However, fixed heads are not capable of achieving the same bandwidth as rotary heads, and so for digital recording, a compression scheme called PASC was used, which is a 4:1 scheme similar to MPEG-1. Many believe this gives better quality audio than MD, but not as good as DAT.

DCC was discontinued in 1996 after Philips admitted it had achieved only poor sales. In hindsight it is clear that linear tape formats are not as versatile or robust as disc type formats, and the advent of recordable CD discs makes the use of tape obsolete for consumer applications. Professional recording studios still use DAT machines for their higher sample rate (48 KHz), and frequently for their portability. ADAT machines are also still in widespread use in the recording industry.