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On The Death of Physical Media and the Triumph of Computer Audio


Recently a trending topic on the many Apple web/blog sites has been the fact that few, if any, future Apple computers will come with built in optical drives. Even the iMac desktop home computer, where size and weight are not critical, will require an external optical drive to access disk media. This design decision by Apple is based on the certainly that 99% of data, including music and video will soon be purchased and transmitted over the net and stored in the cloud. CDs and DVDs will join the phonograph record as a legacy storage technology.


Only audiophiles will hold on to physical media and the increasingly expensive equipment necessary to access and process such media.


There is no doubt the Apple’s vision of the near future will come to pass. The implications for the Computer Audiophile are clear in that Computer Audio will reign supreme and source quality will remain uncertain.


As physical media becomes a niche market, the only source for high quality recordings will be the boutique merchants and specialty shops. The selection of new music in high quality formats may become increasingly limited.


The same philistines who gave us the loudness wars will fully control the quality of new recordings while the audiophile is reduced to purchasing yet another exotic format copy of the collected works of Miles Davis. This coupled with the desire of the monopolistic robber barons of the telecommunications sector to charge us for every byte cloud stored or transmitted must give us pause.


It is a brave new world.


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