Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 00:05 UTC
Multimedia, AV "On October 1 1982, Joel's sixth studio album, 52nd Street, was the first commercially released CD album... Which means CDs are 30-years-old today. It's worth noting here that 52nd Street wasn't a new album - it was launched initially in 1978, but it was selected for relaunch on the new digital audio disc, rolling out alongside the first CD player - the Sony CDP-101 - in Japan. But of course, the CD didn't spring up overnight - the road to launch started long before 1982." I'm still 100% CD when it comes to music. The act of physically holding a new album in your hands for the first time and gently placing the disk in the tray can't be matched by pressing a download button behind a computer.
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My opinion....
by Jason Bourne on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 21:09 UTC
Jason Bourne
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I agree with Tom, it's nicer to have a physical copy of your favorite albums. However, the music industry always played tricks on us, and on top of that there are some considerations to be made on Compact Disc:

- Record companies, through the ongoing album vs. singles market, always played tricks on us, splitting good songs accross singles, so that the collector needs to own dozens of formats with multiple redundancies. Just notice any Mute Records catalogue to see what I am talking about. Closer look on Depeche Mode discography will reveal many golden b-sides only available on some obscure single. Last DM batch of studio tracks had 5 of them included specifically on a 4-disc boxset that costs an eye and an arm. Although this practice from recording companies is kinda smartie, it will have consumer revenge when they get the option to choose.

- The compact disc is much more fragile than LP. Although LPs are technically inferior to CD, you can easily render a CD unusable if you scratch it or if it undergoes some heavy usage. I had bought a CD from The Verve (Urban Hymns) in 1999 and I recollect that the whole CD fell apart in 2003. It didn't survive some normal usage, small scratches, etc. On the other side, I still have almost mint condition vinyls acquired around 1988. I don't play the vinyls but they are pretty much the same - they may have balancing issues by now but in terms of *MATERIAL*, the LP lasts longer than a CD. If only CD was more robust, it would be more worth to spend your precious money on it and the paranoia about ripping it to preserve it would be nil. One reason that people just stopped getting them is their short lifetime. (I know it can last 100 years but normal usage has proven that it will never reach that without some damage to the surface).

- Loudness race has been applied to CDs as a mandatory rule. CDs helped to diminish the quality of sound since you could compress the dynamic range to full scale, so in a way, it's not wise to say "CD all the way for me" these days. Since this technique can't be applied to the maximum levels on vinyl, there are still people who are acquiring vinyls because it sounds better than CD for that reason (not for any other particular reason such as "vinyl is just better because you can hear more frequencies"). Check Metallica's versions of Load on CD and on LP. LP will be much quieter and better. But if the CD was still mastered like in the 90's it would certainly be better than vinyl by all means. Today the ideal is to have best sounding media - AS IN MASTERING - as the media itself, CD is enough.

- Mobility killed the CD. Can you imagine yourself or anyone using a Discman? Swapping discs every 40 minutes? What about if I need to make a 6 hour trip, how many CD's do I have to carry and manage to swap in order to keep listening? And what about if I want to listen songs randomly? I will only have the skip option with 1 CD at a time. The need for portability and mobility was necessity since day 0. It was just a matter of time to become true.

- Nothing is going to replace that beloved ceremony of getting a new CD and laying comfortably on your couch and turn on your stereo to enjoy it. Reading the covers, lyrics, the art. There's some magic in it and digital files kinda stolen that. Today it's much of an industrial behavior, collect hundreds of Gigs to the point you don't know which song you start off with. Everyone is its own radio station. (Radio stations helped killing music too, e.g. loudness rate, charts, etc).

- What I am managing right now is not to "own" a particular CD but to own a "pressing", digital, vinyl or CD. The pressing became the important thing to consider because in many cases you may have 8 issues of a particular album and just 2 of them sound good and mastered according to acceptable audiophile demands. Example: Tears For Fears - Songs from the big Chair - How many pressings of this record are out there? Do you know which pressing is particularly the best? Is it worth getting reissues or "remastered" butchered jobs? For SFTBC I'd say there is just one pressing I like which is the one from "PBTHAL vinyl rip" on the net. Metallica's Black Album is much better in the LP remastered form from Warner 2008 (511.830-1) pressing.

When I finish my second graduation, I will be able to tinker my sound room the way I like. Then I will have CD shelves and a nice sound system, because I know what Tom is talking about. Nothing can really replace that feeling we used to have when we used to go out and buy records.

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