The core research question of this thesis is whether the concept of fidelity of sound reproduction changes whenever a new sound reproduction technology becomes commercially available and is diffused in society. Through the study of specific artifacts we will attempt to deconstruct the deterministic approach of linear evolutionary trajectories towards evermore perfected sounds, and to highlight the societal and historical features that have been enrolled in these artifacts constructing the concept of fidelity. Furthermore we will put emphasis on three artifacts of crucial importance for the history of sound reproduction: phonograph, electrodynamic loudspeakers and compact discs. These artifacts represent three distinct technological areas: mechanical, analog and digital electronics technology.
Through this thesis a synthesis over an intertemporal perspective will be attempted, in order to compose the variant meanings of sound fidelity, and to highlight the process of co-production of technology and society. At the same time, by analyzing the technological base and dialectic relationship between mechanical, analog and digital electronic reproduction of sound, we aim at contributing to contemporary discourses regarding the digitization of sound archives.