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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RE: My opinion....
by ilovebeer on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 05:09 UTC in reply to "My opinion...."
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

- 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 music industry exists simply for the purpose of selling for-profit products. Naturally the entities who participate always have interest in minimizing cost while maximizing return.

The music industry is not about creating the best product possible, it's about having good quarterly reports and staying in business. Period.

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).

As long as only the plastic has been damaged, scratched cds are easily repaired. When vinyl is damaged, that's it. When it comes to wear from play, vinyl is far more susceptible. Vinyl has a far lower tolerance to heat which means you are going to warp vinyl long before you warp a cd. Vinyl performance and durability is directly affected by the quality of the needle you are using on it. Not to mention, every time you play vinyl, you are causing a small amount of surface damage, which, over time adds up. Play both a cd and a vinyl album 100 times and see which one still sounds like it did on the first play. It won't be the vinyl.

- 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.

It's true that many works are mixed and mastered for loudness rather than quality, but the cd isn't directly to blame for this. Several factors played into that shift, and more than anything technology in general is most responsible.

Although you didn't actually make this claim, it's absolutely false that vinyl has better frequency response than cd. A properly mixed and master cd can easily beat out vinyl in terms of quality. Also, those who claim that vinyl gives more "warmth" are stuck in the early days of digital recording. Once upon a time that was true but the more technology & techniques working in the digital domain evolved, the more of a myth that claim became. These days it's just plain silly.

- 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.

You've got this completely backwards. Mobility is largely responsible for the success of cds. People here probably can imagine themselves using a Discman, carrying around a cd case on their person or in their car because most people here probably did exactly that. The cd did not kill itself. What really dealt a death blow to cds was portable mp3 players. It was all downhill once those hit the scene. The cheap price of an mp3 player coupled with the convenience of using digital files you can easily move between different devices. The high compatibility factor.. And the storage capacity.. That's what actually did the real damage to the cd market.

- 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).

Radio is still a driving force in sales today. Radio absolutely did not kill music and it's not responsible for the `loudness` problem. The music that gets sent to radio is not the same product you buy. Radio uses completely different mastering guidelines than retail.

- 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.

Reissues and repressing often come from the same master. Remasters are something entirely different. Labels simply don't spend money going back over and recreating works unless there's huge demand & profit potential -- and by that I'm talking about artists who are in the 100+ million sales club. If you want to compare a reissue or remaster against an original from your run of the mill artist, don't expect a lot of effort spent on improving it.

All that being said, yes certain issues do sound better than others. But, the availability of significant reissues and remasters is mostly reserved for those artists who have a massive following.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: My opinion....
by Jason Bourne on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 16:06 in reply to "RE: My opinion...."
Jason Bourne Member since:
2007-06-02

Right. I actually agree with all your points. But my point have some deal of truth in them as well.

- Record industries can maximize whatever they want, but their business model have an impact on consumers. The day consumers found out they could get everything from the internet, guess who is running out of money. That wouldn't happen if you bred a very loyal consumer base with fair prices and quality products. That's what happens in other markets, and it's no different with music industry.

- You're right when you say I didn't claim you can hear those high frequencies in vinyl - i really didn't and I doubt anyone could hear it. I find arguments like the "warmth" of vinyl quite ridiculous. It's only a matter of current mastering practices that would justify preference for vinyl over CD in 2012 (and only if you own a really good equipment like a Technics kit).

- I think the duration of both media are questionable, you brought more downsides of vinyl which I missed, but I was mostly talking about the materials of vinyl plastic etc and polycarbonate, not audio preservation under normal conditions. I also didn't mention a thing called CD-rot which happens often. When the CD has scratches on the top label, you can forget it too. Scratching deep on surface read is something. Scratching deep on the label side is completely another.

- I think the MP3 Players were created exactly to maximize portability and dismiss the handling of many CDs. The CD did not kill itself but the need for more portability killed it, hence why people are getting more players with flash storage and iPods.

- Radio had its play on loudness race. I often see interviews in which artists are asking why their songs on CD are much quieter than in the radio.

- I didn't confuse remastering with repressing. I know they are different things. In a collection of 480 albums and singles, I do know that there is at least 30% of material available as remastered or repressed and there are subtle differences.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: My opinion....
by ilovebeer on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 23:47 in reply to "RE[2]: My opinion...."
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

- Record industries can maximize whatever they want, but their business model have an impact on consumers. The day consumers found out they could get everything from the internet, guess who is running out of money. That wouldn't happen if you bred a very loyal consumer base with fair prices and quality products. That's what happens in other markets, and it's no different with music industry.

While the music industry has experienced declines in revenue, make no mistake, it's still a multi-billion dollar a year business. Something else that doesn't get reported often is that when the big fall in cd sales was happening, there was a massive boom in digital sales happening. People love to give the impression that piracy has killed/is killing the music industry -- absolutely not! Just 10 years ago the thought of a 360 deal was nearly unheard of. Today, it's common place. The majors are are raking in cash like they always have. The only thing that's really changed is what cookie jars their hands are in, and how many cookies they're grabbing at a time.

- I think the MP3 Players were created exactly to maximize portability and dismiss the handling of many CDs. The CD did not kill itself but the need for more portability killed it, hence why people are getting more players with flash storage and iPods.

The rise of MP3 players was driven by opportunity rather than need/demand. The cd was doing just fine when the MP3 player market was emerging. Once consumers experienced the convenience of MP3 players, they took off. You could get new music without ever leaving your house. That along with the ability to buy single songs (that you like) at a much lower cost instead of only full albums at album price really fueled the shift.

- Radio had its play on loudness race. I often see interviews in which artists are asking why their songs on CD are much quieter than in the radio.

Again, radio has had no impact on retail product. They use completely different mastering profiles and have totally different methods of delivery. When I mentioned technology in general was to blame, I was referring primarily to working in the digital domain, including people without the proper knowledge & experience to do so. Retail loudness is the result of abusing technology either knowingly or due to inexperience. Radio loudness is a whole other can of worms that relates to competition -- that's why you see very similar practices happening in radio and tv both.

- I didn't confuse remastering with repressing. I know they are different things. In a collection of 480 albums and singles, I do know that there is at least 30% of material available as remastered or repressed and there are subtle differences.

That may be, it all depends on what works your collection consist of. But as a whole counting artists who have sold at least one million units, you won't come even remotely close to 30%. The number is only a sliver in the lower single digits at best.

One thing I'm happy about is the shift moving back towards quality. It's going painfully slow but I like to believe it's the little engine that could. The people signing the checks need to start caring and agreeing higher quality if worth more investment, and a lot of education needs to happen with present day & future engineers (of all types) so they actually learn how to get high quality results from the digital domain. Simply being digital is no magic what-so-ever.

Reply Parent Score: 2