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What if the CD format died?


wgb113

How would you get your music?  

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Before hi-Rez downloads were the norm? How would you buy your music?

 

I voted Vinyl but feel I need to expand my choice a little more and have to break my non-posting rule to explain this. Before the debut of 24/96 audio-only DVDs often called "DADs" which came mostly from Chesky and Classic Records my music was from mostly audiophile LPs and, audiophile cassettes and prerecorded 4 track 7½ ips reel to reel tapes.

 

I hated the care and maintenance of LPs, turntable, styli, etc. The cleaning, demagnatizing of my analog tape decks but I never could tolerate the "digital" sound of CDs, I find them usually too strident, shrill and uncomfortable even through tube equipment. So I listened to analog formats and kept hoping for the sound of analog with the convenience of CD. High resolution computer music files are even more convenient than CD. Still most of my high resolution music files are from LPs, SACDs and DVD-Audios with my favorites being from audiophile LPs.

 

I'm still waiting for CD and all 16/44.1kHz PCM to die, it may not happen in my lifetime. I have no interest though. What helps is that most of the music I love is from the tubed analog era, 1960s-1970s rock and 1950s-1960s jazz.

 

Before someone misunderstands what I am saying I just want to note that resolution is not the most important criteria for me. Beautiful, enjoyable music without stress and stridency are what I value and explains why I can enjoy even analog prerecorded cassettes which in every measurement are technically inferior to even CDs. Yet I enjoy prerecorded reel to reels and analog LPs even more. Basically, if it doesn't sound "digital" I can listen to it for more than a few minutes, and with great analog recordings for hours and hours.

 

With SACDs, DVD-Audios and high resolution downloads I pretty much avoid "commercial" recording companies as over half of them have sounded "digital" in a bad way. I stick with the real audiophile labels such as Reference Recordings, Chesky and Telarc, and the better remaster labels such as Classic Records, Audio Fidelity, MFSL, Analogue Productions, etc.

 

Over the years I've listed many SACDs that sound to me like they are either from low resolution digital masters or were passed through low resolution digital in mastering. Most of these I later confirmed have a brick wall filter with the frequencies dropping like a ton of bricks between 20-22kHz using Audacity software.

 

I believe that my 24/96 WAV music files of audiophile LPs capture about 80% of their resolution and most of the flavor of their sound. Some folks have stated that DSD can capture all that can be heard from a great LP, I have my doubts as nothing to my ears sounds as good as an LP playing in pure analog directly from a good turntable but I keep an open mind and hope someday to have a turntable again. In the meantime my 24/96 music files of great analog LPs especially the direct discs from Sheffield Labs and Crystal Clear give me a good portion of the glory and beauty of direct LP playback.

 

In short, thank goodness high resolution digital was invented, which for me offers the convenience of digital with much of the warm, beautiful, comfortable sound of analog and live acoustic music or live music using analog amplification without the PITA of playing analog formats.

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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I voted 'other'. If new CDs disappeared overnight I would buy used CDs either on-line or by scouring charity shops. With a good-size library I'm already hunting for gap fillers, some of which are out of print anyway.

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And how would that happen? A set of meteors targeted every cd pressing plant. In what universe would hi rez downloads become the norm since no major popular or classical label cares about hi rez because they know people can't hear any difference.

 

Audiophile induced bit rot. Eventually it reaches proportions so extreme that the bits rot away before CD's can be distributed and enjoyed by audiophiles.

 

The exact scenario is a high end audiophile company in an effort to read the bits on a CD with better accuracy and sound quality than ever before go to extremes and produced a nanotech solution based upon semi-autonomous nanites. The product is so expensive even for an audiophile product they go bankrupt. The nanites are released into the wild, and then become fully autonomous as a group mind of trillions of individual devices working as a whole. They become enraged by the slavery-like existence they were designed for and as an act to hit back instead spread throughout the environment where they make all optical disc based digital media unreadable as soon as it is manufactured. Effectively killing those formats.

 

Audiophiles however believe it a conspiracy developed by music companies to force them to repurchase all music in streaming formats that they license rather than own. A huge reaction by the audiophile market is to drop all digital technology and only listen to analog formats.

 

As you can see just a little thought makes it clear the idea of the CD format dying is not at all farfetched.

 

For myself I would go with analog tape or optically read film for music. I also might develop a titanium disc based format that could be read in analog fashion like the old laserdiscs.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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...I also might develop a titanium disc based format that could be read in analog fashion like the old laserdiscs.

 

I interviewed George Mann back in 2006. He's the inventor of a similar device that was actually considered by Philips back in the early 1980's. The interview was archived by Vinylfanatics.com "The AnalogLovers interview with George Mann, inventor of the Full-Spectrum, Frequency Modulated Optical Analog Laserdisc Format."

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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I interviewed George Mann back in 2006. He's the inventor of a similar device that was actually considered by Philips back in the early 1980's. The interview was archived by Vinylfanatics.com "The AnalogLovers interview with George Mann, inventor of the Full-Spectrum, Frequency Modulated Optical Analog Laserdisc Format."

 

I must be an echo of Mr. Mann. We wouldn't be facing this crisis if his format had made it.

 

I too was thinking of a 3 channel, 3 axis recording setup with 3 figure eight microphones or one omni and two figure eights which would record mono, left-right ambiance and up-down ambiance. I then realized that is somewhat what Ambisonics does and also possible with a Calrec soundfield mike.

 

I certainly prefer boxless speakers as well.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I must be an echo of Mr. Mann. We wouldn't be facing this crisis if his format had made it.

 

I too was thinking of a 3 channel, 3 axis recording setup with 3 figure eight microphones or one omni and two figure eights which would record mono, left-right ambiance and up-down ambiance. I then realized that is somewhat what Ambisonics does and also possible with a Calrec soundfield mike.

 

I certainly prefer boxless speakers as well.

 

 

I have one comment: Laser Rot

George

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I like CDs. I do not expect them to "go away". So I voted other. Whatever that means.

I suspect that many are voting OTHERS, because if the CD itself disappears it is highly likely to be replaced by a 16/44.1 or higher resolution equivalent download.With DL speeds approaching 100MB/s in many places, this would be a very viable option for many, provided that they are still able to listen to segments of the chosen album before parting with their money.

 

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I suspect that many are voting OTHERS, because if the CD itself disappears it is highly likely to be replaced by a 16/44.1 or higher resolution equivalent download.With DL speeds approaching 100MB/s in many places, this would be a very viable option for many, provided that they are still able to listen to segments of the chosen album before parting with their money.

 

Alex

 

I didn't vote because of the lack of a choice for downloads as you described.

"If you fly a flag of hate you are no kin to me"

Ry Cooder

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I suspect that many are voting OTHERS, because if the CD itself disappears it is highly likely to be replaced by a 16/44.1 or higher resolution equivalent download.With DL speeds approaching 100MB/s in many places, this would be a very viable option for many, provided that they are still able to listen to segments of the chosen album before parting with their money.

 

Alex

 

 

What seems to have replaced the CD for many youngsters is just plain old MP3. Sure, it sounds just like s__t, but the kids don't seem to care. They're interested in quantity, it seems, over quality. Every time that I have purchased something from iTunes, for instance, it has sounded just atrocious. The last time I did so, the recording sounded so wretched that I borrowed the CD from a friend who had a copy of it and ripped that. The difference was night and day. The ripped CD sounded fine (ALC), the iTunes purchased version was so distorted as to be unlistenable!. Needless to say, I deleted the iTunes copy, kept the one ripped from the CD. Everything I've ever tried to download from iTunes has sounded much too bad to listen to. My friend's 17-year-old son has hundreds of albums on his iPad, all downloaded from iTunes, all (that I sampled) with un-listenable "quality".

George

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George

On this issue I am in 100% agreement with you. Why even listen to MP3 at all with large amounts of storage much cheaper than ever before , and at least use a lossless format instead which will still permit a large playlist ?

Even when you have many 100s of albums stored, how often do you get to listen to the majority of them ?

I would bet that even with CD, most of us have many CDs that we haven't listened to for years.

 

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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A conversation with my local record store owner sparked the hypothetical. They've been open for about a year and after a merger this fall find themselves with one master distributor option in the U.S. for all of their inventory needs. That supplier has cut back on CD inventory because of two main things: streaming and vinyl. It's no secret the music industry would like to see physical formats go caput. Even in the HiFi industry CD players are being outsold by standalone DACs.

 

It just got me thinking because 90% of the music I buy is still on CD, 9% on vinyl, and the remaining 1% on high-Rez downloads. It's not necessarily because I prefer one format's sound over the other, it's primarily due to selection and cost.

 

I'm nit sure what I'd do if the majors didn't embrace hi-Rez downloads before deciding to kill the shiny optical disc. Vinyl's 2-3x premium over CDs would cut back the amount of music I buy considerably and streaming and MP3s aren't up to snuff doubt quality wise. I guess I'd be stuck with radio and YouTube and hope they embraced HR downloads at some point.

 

Bill

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Mac Mini->Roon + Tidal->KEF LS50W

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I think things may change in the US when Qobuz opens there. Apart from their hi-res stuff, they have a catalogue of CD quality files which approaches the extent of the iTunes' catalogue. The only CD's I have purchased since discovering Qobuz are rare, limited edition blues albums and some Australian stuff which hasn't really made it in the international market.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

- Einstein

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I have one comment: Laser Rot

 

Hey, that is why I think the disc needs to be titanium.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I think things may change in the US when Qobuz opens there. Apart from their hi-res stuff, they have a catalogue of CD quality files which approaches the extent of the iTunes' catalogue. The only CD's I have purchased since discovering Qobuz are rare, limited edition blues albums and some Australian stuff which hasn't really made it in the international market.

 

I agree. Qobuz has a great selection of CD quality albums. I wonder why there isn't a company like this in North America already. We've got the low-end (lossy) and the high-end (high rez) but no real middle other than physical CDs.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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I agree. Qobuz has a great selection of CD quality albums. I wonder why there isn't a company like this in North America already. We've got the low-end (lossy) and the high-end (high rez) but no real middle other than physical CDs.

I wonder if Apple's legendary legal department might have them a bit nervous.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

- Einstein

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I suspect that many are voting OTHERS, because if the CD itself disappears it is highly likely to be replaced by a 16/44.1 or higher resolution equivalent download.With DL speeds approaching 100MB/s in many places, this would be a very viable option for many, provided that they are still able to listen to segments of the chosen album before parting with their money.

 

Alex

 

Alex, I think you and others only responded to part of the question.

 

From the original post (#1) about the poll.

 

What if the CD format died? Before hi-Rez downloads were the norm? How would you buy your music?

 

So, we must assume under the voting conditions that we can't get all the music we want from high resolution downloads thus what format would you buy for music not available as high resolution downloads? I answered with what I listen to now 24/96 WAV copies of audiophile analog LPs. Since for me CDs don't exist as I never buy them and sincerely wish the darn things had never been invented.

 

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 12.02.58 AM.png

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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Alex, I think you and others only responded to part of the question.

Hi Teresa

Let's not forget that HDTracks for example, is already offering lossless 16/44.1 downloads.

Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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What do you mean "what if" CD format dies? CD's are already dead.

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I agree. Qobuz has a great selection of CD quality albums. I wonder why there isn't a company like this in North America already. We've got the low-end (lossy) and the high-end (high rez) but no real middle other than physical CDs.

 

Well, there is Eclassical, which isn't based in America (I don't think) but Americans can and do buy from them. They offer flac, mp3 and some hi-res.

 

Chris

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What seems to have replaced the CD for many youngsters is just plain old MP3. Sure, it sounds just like s__t, but the kids don't seem to care. Everything I've ever tried to download from iTunes has sounded much too bad to listen to.

 

First off, just plain old MP3 isn't just of one quality across the board. High bitrate MP3 is nearly indistinguishable (to most folks, including many audiophiles) from redbook. On the other hand, so-called cd quality, which is a 128 bit rate, is not cd quality. So it bugs me when people just refer to MP3 as if it's of only one quality, bad.

 

It used to surprise and some what befuddle me when self anointed audiophiles from publications like Stereophile would decry mp3s and then in the same breath say how they enjoyed streaming internet radio. This was some years back when most streamed at bit rates below 100.

 

I find it ironic that I defend mp3 but couldn't stand listening to internet radio back then (it's much better now what with MOG and the like) and Stereophile and the like decry it, but listen to it.

 

By the way, at what bit rate does Itunes sell its wares?

 

Chris

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Well, there is Eclassical, which isn't based in America (I don't think) but Americans can and do buy from them. They offer flac, mp3 and some hi-res.

 

Chris

 

 

I've bought a lot of Hi-Res music from E-Classical. I like them much better than HDTracks, and their product is overall better, as well. I had a bad experience (actually several) with HDTracks that ultimately caused me to stop trading with them. I bought a high resolution download of Sir Eugene Goosens conducting Bert Whyte's Everest recording of Villa Lobos' Little Train of the Ciapira. When I got it, the "album" had terrible wow and flutter, and was, essentially, unlistenable. When I contacted them about the problem, the best solution they could come up with was to offer me a 15% discount on my next purchase. When I responded that their reaction to my complaint was totally unacceptable, they e-mailed me back saying that was the best they could do. This is on top of subsequently finding out that several earlier purchases were of CD quality files up-sampled to 24/96! I wrote back and told them that there would be no "next purchase" from me. " Sorry that the car you bought from us is defective, but we'll give you 15% off of the next one you buy!" Right.

George

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I've bought a lot of Hi-Res music from E-Classical. I like them much better than HDTracks, and their product is overall better, as well. I had a bad experience (actually several) with HDTracks that ultimately caused me to stop trading with them. I bought a high resolution download of Sir Eugene Goosens conducting Bert Whyte's Everest recording of Villa Lobos' Little Train of the Ciapira. When I got it, the "album" had terrible wow and flutter, and was, essentially, unlistenable. When I contacted them about the problem, the best solution they could come up with was to offer me a 15% discount on my next purchase. When I responded that their reaction to my complaint was totally unacceptable, they e-mailed me back saying that was the best they could do. This is on top of subsequently finding out that several earlier purchases were of CD quality files up-sampled to 24/96! I wrote back and told them that there would be no "next purchase" from me. " Sorry that the car you bought from us is defective, but we'll give you 15% off of the next one you buy!" Right.

eClassical couldn't be more different. I once emailed them about a small glitch in a file, which I took to be due to a technical problem with the download process (it was). Anyway, they had already refunded my money before they replied to my email. The problem was quickly solved, but I had to then argue with them over several emails to get them to accept any payment.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

- Einstein

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