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View Full Version : CNet: It's official: Audiophiles are over CDs



jimzak
2008-07-19, 12:46
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-9991658-47.html?tag=nefd.riv

It's a blog with about 70+ folks posting about the way they listen to music now.

TerryC
2008-07-19, 14:23
A better title would be "Audiophiles are over CD players". The cost of an audiophile grade CD transport is pretty hard to justify in comparison to the utility of a computer based player. I'm still buying several CDs a month, but will probably never buy another CD player.

jh901
2008-07-19, 18:08
Yes, indeed. Over cd PLAYERS. Not CDs. They titled it wrong and that could give the impression that the audiophile community is finding quality recordings for download. I still dream of the day when I can buy the finest mastering of any album in FLAC with the click of a mouse.

I think almost everyone is primarily buying CDs and then ripping away.....

JJZolx
2008-07-19, 18:55
What is your primary digital front end?

CD player: 34%
Hi-rez disc player: 11%
iPod: 4%
Music Server (computer-based): 36%
Music Server (dedicated: Sooloos, Sonos, etc.): 10%
Other: 3%

The most relevant part of this Stereophile pole to these forum may be:

> Music Server (computer-based): 36%
> Music Server (dedicated: Sooloos, Sonos, etc.): 10%

That's also very much the impression that I'm getting in different audiphile forums. A few years ago the Squeezebox was something of an eye-opener for many audiophiles and made it simple for them to explore the benefits of a music server. Since then, however, many have abandoned the approach in favor of a much simpler PC based system with pro soundcard or (increasingly) high end USB DAC. And if they're just now getting into it, they're much more likely to start with that type of setup.

Pale Blue Ego
2008-07-19, 19:21
The most amazing thing from the article was this:

"I cannot imagine using a music server anytime soon, and sound quality issues have nothing to do with that. I like picking music from my collection. It's a touchy-feely, organic process. One album leads to the next, or I accidentally find something I haven't listened to in years."

That last statement sounds like he's describing shuffle play from a server, but it's clear he is not. He's using the crudest method possible to "accidentally" discover his own library - rummaging through a pile of discs.

What difference does it make for the process to be "touchy-feely"? The goal is supposed to be MUSIC, not fingerprints. This guy is clueless.

MrSinatra
2008-07-19, 19:45
i have to say that there is something magical about vinyl, but cds? not as much.

still, i want a cd copy even if i never use it.

but honestly, are ipods new? most people who are into music transitioned out of cds as the medium to listen to it regularly for some time.

Pale Blue Ego
2008-07-20, 05:02
More cluelessness from the comments section of that article:

"Abandon the CD? NEVER. I have transcribed my entire reel to reel, eight track, LP, 45 and cassette collection to CD. In the .WAV format too so I get all the music, not some compressed/decompressed equivilent of the real thing."

HA HA - A guy who digitized his cassettes and 8-Tracks but then doesn't realize that "bits are bits". He correctly frees the music by digitizing to uncompressed WAV, then locks it up again on a spinning disc (CD). Somebody tell him that when he had the WAVs on his hard drive, he had a music server.

jh901
2008-07-20, 07:52
LOL. In the 1st few weeks of my transition to "music server", I have discovered more music than anytime in the last few years combined. There is no better way to FREE your music than to be able to scroll through an entire library and add a track here or album there.....

I don't think many folks understand how the tags enable the organization of a library. The functionality of the Duet remote is fantastic. I think they envision searching through folders on a hard drive!!



The most amazing thing from the article was this:

"I cannot imagine using a music server anytime soon, and sound quality issues have nothing to do with that. I like picking music from my collection. It's a touchy-feely, organic process. One album leads to the next, or I accidentally find something I haven't listened to in years."

Howard Passman
2008-07-20, 13:25
LOL. In the 1st few weeks of my transition to "music server", I have discovered more music than anytime in the last few years combined. There is no better way to FREE your music than to be able to scroll through an entire library and add a track here or album there.....



Dispite a 99 degree day and high humidity I spent about 14 hours outside yesterday. I drug my extra SB outside and put all of my Jazz on shuffle. I had no idea of the amount of great stuff I have in my Jazz collection. In 14 hours I not only never repeated a song, but only occassionally heard one I rememebered having.

Howard

peter
2008-07-21, 00:14
JJZolx wrote:
> Since then, however, many have
> abandoned the approach in favor of a much simpler PC based system with
> pro soundcard or (increasingly) high end USB DAC. And if they're just
> now getting into it, they're much more likely to start with that type
> of setup.
>

Somehow I find the word audiophile and the sound of a PC's fans and hard
disks hard to reconcile.

Regards,
Peter

tyler_durden
2008-07-22, 14:40
Look at the digital forum at DIYAudio.com. You'll rarely see SB, Sonos, or other server based systems mentioned, but there's tons of stuff about USB DACs, sound cards, etc., that people are trying to use to make a system that will ultimately have 1/2 the performance of an SB and none of it's convenience. Audiophiles are often unable to let go of obsolete technology and for some reason don't mind spending huge amounts of time, effort, and money reinventing the wheel. It takes all kinds...

TD

gungrog
2008-07-22, 16:04
Look at the digital forum at DIYAudio.com. You'll rarely see SB, Sonos, or other server based systems mentioned, but there's tons of stuff about USB DACs, sound cards, etc., that people are trying to use to make a system that will ultimately have 1/2 the performance of an SB and none of it's convenience. Audiophiles are often unable to let go of obsolete technology and for some reason don't mind spending huge amounts of time, effort, and money reinventing the wheel. It takes all kinds...

TD

Sadly, that's so true.
I'm still in my 'honeymoon' period with my SB, but I was turned onto it by a friend who has worked in the 'audiophile' world for decades as a designer of electronics. He says that his own SB -> DAC set-up beats all the cd players he's ever heard, and he's heard plenty. Admittedly he's no doubt been tweaking away, but my stock SB certainly out-performs my 15 year old 'audiophile' cd transport, which now lives in a dusty cupboard....

corbey
2008-07-23, 12:47
Look at the digital forum at DIYAudio.com. You'll rarely see SB, Sonos, or other server based systems mentioned, but there's tons of stuff about USB DACs, sound cards, etc., that people are trying to use to make a system that will ultimately have 1/2 the performance of an SB and none of it's convenience. Audiophiles are often unable to let go of obsolete technology and for some reason don't mind spending huge amounts of time, effort, and money reinventing the wheel. It takes all kinds...

TD

Just like anyone else, audiophiles come in all flavors. To some, building their own gear is half the fun. It's a hobby, after all, so do what you enjoy.

Others just want to buy the latest high-tech shiny doo-dad off the shelf. I guess that's why there are so many choices available in the audiophile world, from flea-power SET amps to the Sooloos music server.

jharo
2008-07-24, 19:49
What people dont seem to get is that all physical media is dead. CD, DVD,and yes even Blue Ray. Why use physical atoms to move digital bits? Plastic is dead... Negroponte said as much 13 years ago in his book 'Being Digital'. Despite the fact that (for some reason) i still have a wall of shelves with plastic CD's that i never touch, I have purchased very few CD's since Amazon started selling DRM free 256k MP3 files at great prices. Its increasingly rare that i cant find, even obscure music, somewhere for purchase digitally.

This year, I'm embarking on the official migration off of plastic DVD's. I have a LOT of those things sitting on shelves too...

j

Pale Blue Ego
2008-07-24, 21:05
his year, I'm embarking on the official migration off of plastic DVD's. I have a LOT of those things sitting on shelves too...

Ha ha, I just got done migrating my VHS tapes to DVD. I think I'll stick with plastic discs for a while, at least for movies. Very glad to get rid of the VCR and shelf full of tapes, though.

MrSinatra
2008-07-25, 05:31
i think cd/dvd is a fantastic long term backup solution. sure, eventually we'll all have terrabyte raid storage in our homes standard, but i have peace of mind knowing i own the album, (or whatever), and i frequently enjoy the booklets info in them.

Nonreality
2008-07-25, 06:06
i think cd/dvd is a fantastic long term backup solution. sure, eventually we'll all have terrabyte raid storage in our homes standard, but i have peace of mind knowing i own the album, (or whatever), and i frequently enjoy the booklets info in them.I don't miss my CD's at all. I like having them as a backup in boxes but don't miss them. I'm glad to get rid of cheap plastic cases that fall apart, artwork you can hardly see and print that is even worse. I now realize I hardly ever even looked at them and cussed them quite a bit.

moley6knipe
2008-07-25, 06:16
Good thread. I still buy CDs, and will continue to do so until the stuff I like is available as a lossless DRM free download. So for me that's loads of Americana (for want of a better word) - Bon Iver, Silver Jews; stuff like that.

For the moment the best quality I can get is ripping it myself. As soon as there's a good download solution for all my tastes CDs are gone from my life. TBH things the quality of the Amazon service would be fine for my amp/speakers, but at least I know I've made my rips as future-proof as possible doing them bit-perfect lossless.

Agree with the comment about finding it easier to find things on a server based system - I love being able to put all 15,000 of my tracks on random, I love all of the internet radio I can get for free with my SB3, I'm very excited about MIP / LastFM radio & scrobbling which are my next things to play with! Can't do that on a CD player.

I did a big move round on the PC t'other day. SB3 was off for a couple of hours while I shuttled files around. My wife desired music. She used the CD player, and I realised that was the first time it had been switched on in about 4 years, since I got my first box, an MP101 (I know, I didn't know any better...)

As for putting the movie collection on the server, AppleTV is a fantastic solution. I don't want to wait 2 minutes while the DVD menu loads. I don't (personally) want all of the extras/menus. I want the film, which is where AppleTV wins out for me. iTMS is great when used with AppleTV for movies and TV shows. Same DRM restrictions as for music, of course, which may or may not be a problem depending on what else you'll use your films for. For me, it's great. TBH if you're ripping your DVDs you could always rip them to MPEG and have a dupe library of MPEG-4 / your format of choice.

1TB drives are down to about 90 in the UK now, so the server approach, at least for me, is the way to go for everything I listen to or watch.

autopilot
2008-07-25, 06:23
I personally really hate CD's and im now at a stage where i have not touched one in about 2 years (ipods in the cars, SB's around the house and sometimes my mobile). Its not just the convenience, i actually really hate CD's - they are horrible to hold, horrible look at, scratch horribly and are a royal pain to store and manage. Tape and Vinyl had a certain charm, but I dont understand why people are so attached to ugly old tacky plastic CD's.

relen
2008-07-25, 08:16
I've never understood why some people still go so fuzzy about vinyl. During my original studio career I was trained as a cutting engineer - definitely in the Dark Arts Department - and I never liked what I heard back from my discs or anyone else's if I had the original master tape to refer to. I think vinyl lovers tend to be people who've never heard what the music really sounded like in the studio. (Exception: if you record/mix/etc specifically intending to use the "sound" of vinyl as part of the effect/experience, then it probably DOES sound like what your production team intended.)

I still like CDs (I'm not an audiophile). I tend to buy the discs and rip 'em, cos then I have control over the rip quality. iTunes downloads, for example, tend not to be as good as your own rips, even if the data specs are the same - goodness knows why: carelessness?

Once ripped, though, the CDs go into storage boxes under the bed. I do buy lossless downloads, eg FLAC files from Magnatune.com or Jonathan Coulton's site, say; and sometimes lossy ones if I have no option. Ultimately I imagine everyone will offer lossless downloads and I will happily leave CDs behind. The software used by content providers to upload material to iTunes already includes lossless capability.

Technically, I find the very, very best CD players (so far out of my range I can't imagine) are still, right now, better than the best file playback I've heard. For example, in my view a Meridian* 808.2 trumps a Transporter (it's several times the price so it ought to). But that won't be true forever.

The basic deal with audiophiles generally seems to be that they like the LAST great technology not the current one. So for them to like something it has to have been superseded.

--Richard E

*I work for them so I'm biased, be warned.

exile
2008-07-25, 09:07
What people dont seem to get is that all physical media is dead. CD, DVD,and yes even Blue Ray.
j

Amen to that. Right now we're in a period in which some folks still feel a need to possess cds to have perfect lossless versions of their music. But I would guess in a short time the small barrier of acquiring lossless downloads will be removed and cds will disappear from the marketplace just like vhs tape.

Same goes for video. itunes, amazon and netflix type video download services are going to make blue ray obsolete before it's even had a chance to be a mainstream option.

relen
2008-07-25, 12:16
I certainly think packaged media for audio are on the way out. Hi-def video discs will take a bit longer to be superseded - assuming that's what people actually want. Most people are happy with DVD - a resolution which is eminently downloadable. But if you want the content of a BRD, you will be waiting a while at current net speeds.

My expectation is that BRD will be a lukewarm success, not because of the death of packed media, but because people just don't think they need it. Stick a good scaler on the end of a good (not $50) DVD player and you can't tell the difference really.

I think most people will get their hi-def from other sources - downloads ultimately, but in the meantime from satellite, cable and digital terrestrial.

--R

autopilot
2008-07-25, 14:38
What people dont seem to get is that all physical media is dead. CD, DVD,and yes even Blue Ray.


I'm going to [mostly] disagree here :) While i agree that one day all physical media will of course be completely obsolete in favour of downloading and streaming, unlike music, DVD/BR being dead is still a relatively long way off.

Some people seem to think DVD and Blue Ray are on their way out much sooner than they are because they are just looking at it from a technological point of view and missing the differences between the markets. It's partly due to technical limitations like net speeds etc, but its also a generation thing. Music technology trends tend to be driven by the young - at least most people that listen to music on the move are young. But thats not the case with movies, its a much broader generational thing. And i know many people of the age of 50ish who are still just getting into DVD, let alone Blue Ray etc. Of course i'm generalising a lot here, but it mostly true. But more than anything its the portable market thats driven download sales, and that portable market just is not there for movies. Its also the the fact that most people watch maybe 1 or 2 DVD's a week, when music tends to be much more frequent. Plus the fact that people dont care grabbing a DVD once a week, when its obviously a really pain carrying CD's. I would say at least another 5 years before we see a truly significant reduction in optical media for movies (at least enough to qualify as dead) and a mass mainstream move to streaming. Of course it will be dead one day, everything is, but declaring DVD/BR dead now is massively jumping the gun IMO.

jharo
2008-07-29, 22:11
I would say at least another 5 years before we see a truly significant reduction in optical media for movies (at least enough to qualify as dead) and a mass mainstream move to streaming. Of course it will be dead one day, everything is, but declaring DVD/BR dead now is massively jumping the gun IMO.

I'm picking up what your laying down autopilot. But in the grand scheme of things 5 years is like... tomorrow. Let me put it this way... would you start to replace your treasured DVD collection with BRD at $20 a pop if you really believed that it was going to be phased out in 5 years?

Granted... TODAY there is really no single (DRM free) solution to digital movie purchases to hang your hat on. Until then I'm going to keep ripping the DVD's i have and renting HD via Apple TV, or just using the HD-TIVO to get my fix.

Maybe i should just read more (since i have a gadget for that too - KINDLE :)

x94blair3
2008-07-30, 13:44
My expectation is that BRD will be a lukewarm success, not because of the death of packed media, but because people just don't think they need it. Stick a good scaler on the end of a good (not $50) DVD player and you can't tell the difference really.

I don't agree with a few comments in this thread - I don't think physical media will 'die', I don't think MP3's sound almost as good as full media. Why anyone would want to pay almost the same price for technically inferior data I have no idea.

But in regards to this comment, I especially don't agree. A good source encoded in 1080p, on a calibrated 1080p display will look better than an upscaled DVD...period. The whole idea that you can fudge digital data back in to audio or video makes no sense to me. It's just not logical.

Unfortunately, the reality is that like MP3 players - poorly calibrated or crummy '1080p' displays can and will hide the differences. I know it was much closer before I had my DLP calibrated.

I realize this raises the argument that perception is reality. And I can't really argue with that. But for someone willing to buy less electronics, more selectively...there IS a difference. It bothers me to hear otherwise because it gives the music and entertainment industry an excuse to cut corners in the initial recordings because "it'll never be seen/heard at it's best anyway". There are articles that discuss the way audio is recorded now with the idea it'll never be heard by anything better than MP3 format anyway. That's sad.

For example "HD" streaming movie content rarely (ever?) includes HD audio sound. In reality, that's one of the most impressive aspects of my blu-ray entertainment experience. The surround affects are amazing. Digital delivery effectively eliminates that.

And yes, I realize I'm ranting.

-Nick

exile
2008-07-30, 14:33
A good source encoded in 1080p, on a calibrated 1080p display will look better than an upscaled DVD...period.
-Nick

You'll get no argument from anyone on that point ( i think). I'm a tv editor and so professionally I work with pristine HD imagery every day but in my home environment I find no need to replicate what I see at work because I primarily watch programs through my hd cable box and that as you probably know is highly compressed 720.

I'm all for the improvement of picture quality. I can't begin to tell you how happy tv professionals are to finally be rid of standard def imagery. But enjoy the blu ray while it's still around cause I think it's lifespan will be quite short.

convenience always seems to trump over quality. the beta vs vhs battle of the 80's is a great example. My cable box (and downloads/streaming in the future) is/will be more convenient than physical discs. and I think the same could be said of mp3's vs cd's.

morberg
2008-07-31, 00:35
HA HA - A guy who digitized his cassettes and 8-Tracks but then doesn't realize that "bits are bits". He correctly frees the music by digitizing to uncompressed WAV, then locks it up again on a spinning disc (CD).


Ha ha, I just got done migrating my VHS tapes to DVD. I think I'll stick with plastic discs for a while, at least for movies. Very glad to get rid of the VCR and shelf full of tapes, though.

So tell me again why you lock up your movie bits on spinning discs but not your music bits ;) (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Seriously though, getting a PC hooked up to my TV and putting all my DVD:s on hard disk has been a great solution for me (although I wouldn't recommend it to anybody not comfortable dealing with computer problems). Not as big a revelation as when I got my SqueezeBox for music, but pretty close.

For the interested I have a couple of entries on my blog: in August last year I tried out playing ripped DVD:s (http://niklasmorberg.blogspot.com/2007/08/playing-ripped-dvds-in-vista-media.html) and in January this year moved on to stop playing DVD:s (http://niklasmorberg.blogspot.com/2008/01/time-to-stop-using-dvds.html). Of course, it's never that easy (http://niklasmorberg.blogspot.com/2008/02/problem-with-external-usb-drive-and.html).

trotsky10
2008-07-31, 04:43
I also do not use my DVD/BR player anymore.

Since I purchased a Network Media Tank device I ripped all my DVDs and BR films and home movies etc onto the xTb hard disk (could stream but only have wireless G at the moment (but I am sure that will change) and that is not good enough for the HD films.

So now my music is via the Squeezebox and movies (with cover art menus) is via my NMT.

For me the disc players are dead at least.

Pale Blue Ego
2008-07-31, 07:09
So tell me again why you lock up your movie bits on spinning discs but not your music bits ;) (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Mostly because even if I really like a movie I won't watch it more than a few times. So, spinning discs are fine for that. Music is different. There are songs I've heard 500 times that I still love to hear.

Also, shuffle play with music tracks makes a lot of sense. Shuffle play with chapters from different movies makes no sense at all.

I do keep some video on my file server, but it's mostly stuff I've created myself. It also tends to be be short material typically 1-3 minutes.

I digitized VHS tapes because tapes are bulky, of marginal quality, and they deteriorate over time. I haven't had a VCR in my home theater for years. I did have one in my computer room to digitize any tapes I really wanted to watch. Now that everything worth keeping is digitized, the VCR was given away, and more than 150 tapes went in the trash.

Most of the stuff I wanted to keep wasn't even movies. It was mostly sporting events I've attended and a couple of appearances on network shows.

Pale Blue Ego
2008-07-31, 07:12
For example "HD" streaming movie content rarely (ever?) includes HD audio sound. In reality, that's one of the most impressive aspects of my blu-ray entertainment experience. The surround affects are amazing. Digital delivery effectively eliminates that.

And yes, I realize I'm ranting.

-Nick

No, you're right on the money. Blu-Ray is all about high-quality sound and vodeo. Streaming video is about delivering a quasi-watchable product in the least number of bits.

trotsky10
2008-07-31, 07:38
No, you're right on the money. Blu-Ray is all about high-quality sound and vodeo. Streaming video is about delivering a quasi-watchable product in the least number of bits.

Not sure I agree completely with this. I can stream HD 1080p BD rips fine connected via an ethernet cable. So the visual watching is the same but at the moment only Dolby digital surround sound can be used and DTS is apparently coming in a firmware release both are passed through optical cable to the receiver. New units of vaarious media players are coming out in the next 1-6 months which can cover HD audio. So I get the impression this area is moving fast.