Rumours of a CD Revival...

  • 14 February 2022
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... It's already underway with a 25 euro Asus USB dvd player:

 

 


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33 replies

What’s a CD? 

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Something that exists outside the metaverse 😊? 

There's something satisfying in actually handling a concrete object (ahem - not that way either).

 

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I still buy them!  I like to physically own the music, and more money goes to the artists I listen to.

Not being beholden to an Artist suddenly removing their music from a platform, and that you have absolutely no control over, is also worth considering.

 

Then I am rather old now!

 

I used to buy CD’s, rip them and mostly store the discs away ... now I don’t buy any at all - not a single one since subscribing to streaming music services.

I do now have access to far more music than ever before, it certainly costs me far (far) less than what I used to spend on discs/storage and I am resigned to the fact I don’t own any of my later collection.

The quality of todays streaming music is great. So I doubt I will ever buy any further CD’s.

I actually miss vinyl and album covers much more than CD’s and I have quite a collection of those too in the loft, but that’s really mostly nostalgia from my younger days. I remember the thrill of buying an album and the smell of the covers etc; perhaps moreso than the dusty crackle sound from the records themselves - the streaming music services have taken over in this house and as long as prices remain reasonable, I can’t see me switching away from those, but it’s still nice to hang onto my own ‘old’ digital library, as if things do ever get too pricey, I can still choose to opt to go in some other direction. I just don’t see me buying much more physical media to own myself.

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Interesting @Ken_Griffiths .  I have been close to abandoning CD’s but still like to read the, albeit small, CD liner booklet.  

However, and this may be just me, if I have not spent money on an album purchase I found I was much less likely to ever get round to listening to it.

 

I use Computer games by way of an example.  I had a friend who would get me hookey copies of the latest computer games, often by the dozen.  The fact that they were free meant that I rarely got round to playing them.  The same then started with music in the early days of Napster etc.  If there was no value attached to the CD/game then there was little incentive to invest the time into playing it.

Interesting @Ken_Griffiths .  I have been close to abandoning CD’s but still like to read the, albeit small, CD liner booklet.  

However, and this may be just me, if I have not spent money on an album purchase I found I was much less likely to ever get round to listening to it.

 

I use Computer games by way of an example.  I had a friend who would get me hookey copies of the latest computer games, often by the dozen.  The fact that they were free meant that I rarely got round to playing them.  The same then started with music in the early days of Napster etc.  If there was no value attached to the CD/game then there was little incentive to invest the time into playing it.

 

I am with @Ken_Griffiths on this in that the value you get from streaming services far outweighs what you get from buying CDs.  The biggest exception to this though as that the old physical media model encouraged my to listen to all the tracks in the album, rather than just the one song on the radio that prompted me to buy the album (I always felt cheated buying overpriced singles).  Most of the time, there was real gems in there.

Yes, in most cases, I can still listen to the full album, but the encouragement simply isn’t there anymore,  Granted, it’s entirely possible that my age has changed my desire to listen to new music as well.  I find myself satisfied with the decades of music I’ve already heard so many times before rather than current music.  

In fact, I’ve first signed up for a streaming service because of old music, music I liked but never enough to justify buying the album.  It wasn’t that I intended to never buy music again, that just sort of followed naturally afterwards.  As did streaming services replacing FM radio stations.

Side note:  Old music I like, but never enough to buy, was also my justification for pirating music back in the day.

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Just me... But I hate having to wade through reams of rubbish titles, genres, etc. just to reach my music

The Spotify interface on Sonos is a glaring example of this.  Tidal is better in this respect. 

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You find a few things on CD that aren’t on streaming so having the ability to rip one is handy.

You can also have great fun at used music stores and pawnshops digging in the piles of old music and then walk away paying a buck or two per CD.

A number of them also have vinyl if that is your bent. Either played directly or converted to digital.

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I have to admit I have thought about hooking up my CD Player or turntable (both of which are in storage) to my Sonos Port just for kicks.  But I doubt I will ever purchase any more records that way again.  Digital has surpassed them both in quality and convenience now so  the only reason I’d do this is for a little fun.

Keep in mind that cassettes have already begun a comeback too.  I grew up making mix tapes but again have no desire to go back to that format either.  If you are Gen Z or a Millennial and never seen them the first time around, I’m sure the novelty of old physical formats is fun.  But I can’t imagine any of this is going to last.  I think I realized when urban Outfitters and Whole Foods started selling vinyl at select locations that this was less a format resurgence than a lifestyle trend.

I still buy them! 

Same here, although the limited capacity of the Sonos kit causes me problems these days.

We have an occasional trawl through the local charity shops, where I can often find CDs of interest for 10p each. I rarely buy a CD at full price, preferring to wait until it comes down quite a bit.

Having said that, I find many ‘pop’ CDs only have one or two tracks of interest, so occasionally buy single tracks on MP3.

I have to admit I have thought about hooking up my CD Player or turntable (both of which are in storage) to my Sonos Port just for kicks.

Mine is still attached, but mainly to play CDs which friends bring round.

Digital has surpassed them both in quality…

???

 

I remember a BBC article claiming that a large majority of those buying vinyl today do not have or have any plans to get a turntable. 

I have about a thousand CDs ripped that are boxed and have no takers even for free. I suspect I shall soon have to pay for them to be taken away.

Any upticks probably are just blips by way of a temporary aberration, especially where CD players are concerned.

I remember a BBC article claiming that a large majority of those buying vinyl today do not have or have any plans to get a turntable. 

Purchased simply for decorative purposes then? Or to offer a firm level surface for rolling … er … cigarettes?

I hang on to my old vinyl, without owning a player,  in the off chance that they may be worth something some day.  I am still bitter that mama sold my star wars toys at a garage sale.

If I ran across some free or dirt cheap vinyl, then I might pick it up just to add to retirement investment portfolio.

 

As far as CDs vs streaming services, I will say that I am annoyed that Amazon, not sure who else, seems to drop tracks, possibly even record labels, for artists I like.  It most certainly doesn’t cover all of the different music and have/had with my old CDs.  That doesn’t mean I’ll start buying CDs, but I have considering buying digital music instead of, or in addition to just using a streaming service. 

There also is the chance that future tech could allow for independent artist to have a viable avenue to bring digital music to consumers without going through a streaming service, or even physical media...no middle man between artist and consumer.   That would solve distribution, but do nothing for marketing however, so couldn’t be an entire solution.

Thanks for the laugh, ratty. Although I will admit that there’s something more appealing regarding the size of the album cover art on Vinyl than there is on any CD sized release.

There always seems to be a report of an “older” format resurging, not sure that there’s a lot to those reports, I think there’s always a certain level of interest in those formats for some people, and a concurrent debate as to whether one format it “better” than the other.

The one I’ve not really seen in the reel to reel format resurging. I have fond memories of my father’s AKAI reel to reel system, and the quality of the music, mostly classical, that he maintained. There was something about the physical action of hooking up a tape to be listened to that was magical. 

Thanks for the laugh, ratty. Although I will admit that there’s something more appealing regarding the size of the album cover art on Vinyl than there is on any CD sized release.

 

 

It’s not just the size, but I think the cardboard material.   Additionally, when actually playing, you can see the vinyl and make manual adjustments.  CDs...you just slide into a black box….literally and figuratively

 

There always seems to be a report of an “older” format resurging, not sure that there’s a lot to those reports, I think there’s always a certain level of interest in those formats for some people, and a concurrent debate as to whether one format it “better” than the other.

The one I’ve not really seen in the reel to reel format resurging. I have fond memories of my father’s AKAI reel to reel system, and the quality of the music, mostly classical, that he maintained. There was something about the physical action of hooking up a tape to be listened to that was magical. 

 

I dated a girl a while back, that had a reel to reel system.  It sounded good, but she was crazy.  

Oh dear. I had a 7” AKAI reel-to-reel back in my university days. Only a twin-head, mind. Along with a Thorens turntable of course. 

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@amun 

Streams come in higher than CD quality now *Amazon “Ultra HD”, Tidal “High Res” and Apple “High Res Lossless” so the quality argument for CDs being the utmost in digital music quality doesn’t really exist anymore.  Plus CD’s are based on tech that was available 40 years ago.  Codecs and digital audio files/streaming has come a long way since then.

Frankly, Ive done A/B tests of high res music with my Port hooked up to a nice set of speakers and an amp and neither I nor anyone I play them for can tell the difference.  But the high res streams are still there is you want them.

None of this means that hooking up a turntable or CD player to a Sonos system can’t be fun.  But quality isn’t one of the reasons I would choose to do it.

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@ratty my first turntable was Thorens (belt drive).  I bought it second hand from a record store that was closing in 79 or 80.  i always lived in places with bouncy wood floors so skipping was a nightmare with it.  I eventually upgraded to direct drive (which was probably a downgrade in actuality).  But I wish I had kept the Thorens.

Hooking up a reel to reel to a Sonos system would be totally badass :-P

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Just got an ad from Crutchfield.com for their “Record Store Day” celebration and it was a good reminder of all the “fun” vinyl used to be.

https://www.crutchfield.com/m_358450/Turntables-Accessories.html

Many folks looking at vinyl have no clue about properly setting up a turntable or maintaining their albums, this isn’t the worst place to start looking. These two or similar at least.

 

Alignment: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_252ALINDS2/Pro-Ject-Align-it-DS2.html?tp=71638

Stylus Weight: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_252MSRITE/Pro-Ject-Measure-it-E.html?tp=71638

 

Purchased simply for decorative purposes then? Or to offer a firm level surface for rolling … er … cigarettes?

Wall art for a retro themed place, I imagine. I can think of better things to use to do the other stuff:-)

Vinyl, as already mentioned here, does however offer more engagement with the listening to it, with all the visible engineering to use and see. CDPs do not, and hence there is little chance of them coming back to the extent turntables have. And since they are just a medium for playing digital music, there isn't even an arguable case for better sound quality of the same files played via a NAS/wireless play.

Reel to reel tape - I remember lusting for an elaborate Sony deck in the early seventies! When 7.5 inches per second was the analogy of today’s lossless to the “lossy” obtained from 3.75 inches. I don’t remember any double blind tests that established audible superiority at home from the faster running tape. Of course, with no Google, it wasn't easy to get hold of any writing on the subject.

 

The Spotify interface on Sonos is a glaring example of this.  Tidal is better in this respect. 

Why do you not use the native Spotify app instead? Very convenient to use on both Echo and Sonos via target speaker/group selection.

@amun 

Streams come in higher than CD quality now *Amazon “Ultra HD”, Tidal “High Res” and Apple “High Res Lossless” so the quality argument for CDs being the utmost in digital music quality doesn’t really exist anymore.  Plus CD’s are based on tech that was available 40 years ago.  Codecs and digital audio files/streaming has come a long way since then.

Frankly, Ive done A/B tests of high res music with my Port hooked up to a nice set of speakers and an amp and neither I nor anyone I play them for can tell the difference.

If you, or anyone else, can’t tell the difference then all it shows it that ‘hi-res’ formats are snake oil, surely…. and that the tech from 40 years ago already outperforms human hearing...

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@amun 

It shows that most people will never hear the difference.  I mean maybe you will hear something if you spend tens of thousands on audiophile equipment and have extraordinary hearing.  But how many of those people are out there really? Most mortals spend at most a thousand or two on an audio setup so for 99.9% of the people its really a distinction without a difference. 

 I mean maybe you will hear something if you spend tens of thousands on audiophile equipment and have extraordinary hearing. 

I qualify even the above by adding: in a listening room that is quieter than almost any found in a typical home even late at night because these differences will not rise above the ambient noise floor in a domestic environment.