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Thread: I still like CDs!

  1. #46
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    I listen mostly to vinyl and cd's on the main rig. I use Spotify to discover new music and Youtube too, a goldmine for historic and live performances, interviews and much more. I normally buy the physical album if I like it a lot, especially operas and complete works ( though just if the edition includes libretti & other goodies).

    Must admit I'm way more picky now -especially due to space on the crowded shelves- and only buy new albums if price's right.

    Regards,

    Vincula

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  3. #47
    Senior Member Taplow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewWeflen View Post
    So while I like to purchase music as downloadable FLAC files at higher than CD resolutions, I would still wager that greater than 80% of my music comes from CD... which I promptly ripped as FLAC onto my digital audio player.
    I still own CDs, I love to have the physical object, with booklet and cover art, and I still do occasionally pull one off the shelf, stick it in the player and sit down to do some concentrated listening. But everything I have is ripped, and that's where I do most of my listening. From the hard drive I can stream the audio to multiple rooms simultaneously and continue my listening experience as I move throughout the house, choosing which speakers to activate in my network. I can't do that with CDs.

    All rips are done as AIFF. The files take up quite a bit of space, but I have a 6TB hard drive, and it's a format that is compatible with most players (iTunes doesn't support FLAC). They also make an excellent backup. If I ever lose a file, or it somehow gets corrupted, I can just re-rip the original CD.

    And as MatthewWeflen has mentioned above, CDs can be found at bargain prices. It's very rare that I would buy a new release. Instead, the bargain bins, second-hand dealers, eBay and Amazon marketplace sellers are my hunting grounds. I much prefer to buy original releases with original cover art rather than the newer, re-packaged budget re-releases that too often come with sparse documentation. Then I have the best of both worlds … the physical CD and lossless audio files.
    Last edited by Taplow; Jan-03-2021 at 10:37.

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  5. #48
    Senior Member Dan Ante's Avatar
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    One thing to remember every time you play a vinyl LP record is that being a mechanical system the needle actually wears the track and itself, and unless you are immaculate in handling the act of touching the playing surface can deposit unwanted stuff from your fingers, eventually over time your LP will develop background hiss crackle and pop, don’t get me wrong I have still got some of my early LPs (50s and 60s) and enjoy the actual performance regardless of background noise and I use a carbon brush before each spin. The CD if treated with care when handling will remain in perfect condition until it starts to disintegrate. Also, to drop the needle at a certain part on a track is a bit hit and miss. The present revival and marketing of vinyl records is just another money making exercise by the recording industry IMHO.
    "Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car.

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  7. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach G View Post
    I started with classical music as a teenager in early 1980s with LPs. By the late 1980s, I had already switched over to CDs, but was still buying LPs because there was a lot that was still not available on CD. In the 2000s I started to download digitally but then later I went back to CDs. I think I get better sound on the stereo system, or maybe it's just my imagination.
    No, it isn't. Had things been otherwise I'd have gone the streaming route myself long ago.

  8. #50
    Member Zauberfloete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    A minor drawback of CDs is that you can't zero in on any part of the music you want, you can only play from the beginning of the sections that have been marked off. At least I don't know of any equipment that will do this.

    Whereas you can place the needle anywhere you want on an LP or the cursor anywhere in an audio file.

    If I remember correctly, the music system I had a while ago had a function that allowed you to "mark" a particular point and return to that as if it were the beginning of a track. I don't think my current music system does that, but it's indeed possible to go forward or back a music track, without necessarily skip to the next or previous.

    Also, since I always listen to music on my headphones anyway, it's very easy to just pop the CD in the external CD-player of my Mac instead of using the music system. On the computer, I can choose any particular point I want to listen to on the track with just a click of the mouse. With the advantage that, unlike LPs, doing so repeatedly doesn't ruin the track in any way.

    Another advantage is that whenever I play a CD on the Mac, it asks me if I want to import it (back it up in digital format), so it ensures that even should my CDs get damaged, I still have a copy of my music.

  9. #51
    Senior Member NoCoPilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Ante View Post
    One thing to remember every time you play a vinyl LP record is that being a mechanical system the needle actually wears the track and itself, and unless you are immaculate in handling the act of touching the playing surface can deposit unwanted stuff from your fingers, eventually over time your LP will develop background hiss crackle and pop, don’t get me wrong I have still got some of my early LPs (50s and 60s) and enjoy the actual performance regardless of background noise and I use a carbon brush before each spin. The CD if treated with care when handling will remain in perfect condition until it starts to disintegrate. Also, to drop the needle at a certain part on a track is a bit hit and miss. The present revival and marketing of vinyl records is just another money making exercise by the recording industry IMHO.
    I had an LP collection for forty years, and I always thought this myth was WAY overstated. LPs don't wear out if properly handled and played with modern equipment.

    But, by the same token, CDs don't much care about handling or equipment at all.

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  11. #52
    Senior Member eljr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrosseFugue View Post
    Despite all the options -- streaming, downloads, YouTube, etc. -- I still like to listen to CDs. There's something about putting a disc in the player that promotes close listening, gives me that old timey feeling of dropping a needle on the album. You made the effort, now you make the time. Plus you get to hold a booklet.

    The welter of digital options seem to almost promote ADD-style listening. I've even shuffled tracks of Beethoven's late string quartets (yes, I know, sacrilegious!) on my phone. There are like tens of thousands (more?) of albums available to me via Primephonic (great site, btw), but sometimes it can feel like being in a library and trying to skim through every book vs. just taking one home with you. I realize it's a state of mind. But wondered if other listeners still liked their CDs (or LPs). In fact, I think part of why LPs are popular again is the pleasure of holding and using a big tangible item (plus you get all the cool artwork, etc).
    I find the ritual around LP'S far exceeds the stylistic romance of the CD.

    That said, I prefer the CD.

    Still, the convenience of streaming is very seductive.

    So in the end, I love them all for who they are.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
    Voltaire

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  13. #53
    Senior Member thejewk's Avatar
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    I like physical media, but I am getting to the point now where I only buy it if it is either cheaper than a download (true more often than not) or has something else that makes it worth while, like an accompanying book. Almost all my listening to my music from a CD is from a lossless rip to my computer using my headphone rig or attached speakers. I have a CD player and turntable set up with my main speakers, but very rarely play an actual CD, and I use the turntable for things that never made it to CD in most cases.

  14. #54
    Senior Member WildThing's Avatar
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    Like others I still have a majority of my cds, mostly for the librettos and sung texts in the accompanying booklets, but I don't actually take them out and play them on my stereo anymore. Now that I have my entire collection ripped and uploaded to cloud storage where I can access anything I want to in an instant and have it streaming via bluetooth to my stereo, the convenience just can't be beat. And let me tell you, I don't miss having to get up to change a cd in the middle of an opera or a long symphony that spands multiple discs.

  15. #55
    Senior Member Handelian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoPilot View Post
    I had an LP collection for forty years, and I always thought this myth was WAY overstated. LPs don't wear out if properly handled and played with modern equipment.

    But, by the same token, CDs don't much care about handling or equipment at all.
    I must confess it was a relief for me to switch to CDs as LPs always appeared so fragile. You would put them away in seemingly perfect condition and when you got them out again there was a pop on them.

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  17. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handelian View Post
    I must confess it was a relief for me to switch to CDs as LPs always appeared so fragile. You would put them away in seemingly perfect condition and when you got them out again there was a pop on them.
    All part of the "romance" of vinyl

  18. #57
    Senior Member SONNET CLV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Ante View Post
    One thing to remember every time you play a vinyl LP record is that being a mechanical system the needle actually wears the track and itself, and unless you are immaculate in handling the act of touching the playing surface can deposit unwanted stuff from your fingers, eventually over time your LP will develop background hiss crackle and pop, don’t get me wrong I have still got some of my early LPs (50s and 60s) and enjoy the actual performance regardless of background noise and I use a carbon brush before each spin. The CD if treated with care when handling will remain in perfect condition until it starts to disintegrate. Also, to drop the needle at a certain part on a track is a bit hit and miss. The present revival and marketing of vinyl records is just another money making exercise by the recording industry IMHO.
    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoPilot View Post
    I had an LP collection for forty years, and I always thought this myth was WAY overstated. LPs don't wear out if properly handled and played with modern equipment.

    But, by the same token, CDs don't much care about handling or equipment at all.

    Until that "Wow" factor hits you ....

    I currently hold a collection of vinyl in the thousands and CDs in the thousands. I've been listening to music via hard disc for well over half a century now, and I've even heard a few things over my headphones by way of plugging into my lap top, though I don't currently belong to any official "streaming" service.

    One thing I can assure: in my listening experience, the only times I ever experienced truly revelatory moments of "Wow" from listening to recorded music, was by way of vinyl on a turntable.

    I'll contend that having "good" playback equipment proves essential in experiencing great sound, but I would argue that my CD playback rig is pretty good (centered at the front end on a SONY XA5400ES disc player) and that my headphones (Sennheiser model HD 600) more than adequately captures the nuances of what I listen to on-line, especially when my WAVES MaxxAudioPro is activated and tweaked. Still, I've never quite said "Wow" aloud while listening to any media except vinyl. And with vinyl it has happened a number of times.

    One's vinyl playback rig is important, too, I suspect, in capturing what producers and engineers placed in the record grooves. A quality turntable reaches levels of performance one won't find with a "cheap" record player. (I'm not necessarily talking big bucks here, but rather quality build, though the better tables generally do run a bit pricey. Quite a few folks are unaware of just how high priced a turntable and phono cartridge can run, but modest costs can secure one a quality system if one shops wisely.) My VPI Scoutmaster II Signature model with JMW Memorial Tonearm more than adequately plays everything I spin on it. And it has an eerie quality of being able to throw most record disc noise (swish, clicks, pops) off to the distant sides of the sound stage where they literally disappear, a feature of better tables. Another feature of better tables is that they allow for good quality sound from even less expensive cartridges. Phono cartridges, too, can be found for high prices, in the thousands of dollars, that may shock some who haven't shopped for them specifically. I'll admit to utilizing fairly decent cartridges, alternating between my trusty Soundsmith SMMC2 (which I have factory retipped every so often, at a fraction of the original cost) and my favored Clearaudio Maestro Wood MM006W, also retipped (by the folks at Soundsmith) every now and then. And you'll likely need a phono amp between your table and amplifier, which makes a difference. (I use a tubed JoLida preamp.)

    Good sound will cost you a few bucks. But if good sound is important, the cost is justified. (And one can always spend much much more than necessary; so wise shopping proves critical) But what I'm suggesting here is that there remains a quality of sound that thus far neither CD nor on-line streaming (which remains largely digital) can match with that possible with vinyl. Of course, not every vinyl record sounds better than a CD, and there are some well engineered CDs that will rock a system. I'm just saying that I've never experienced what I call "the Wow factor" from any media except vinyl record. And when it strikes it is awesome!

    One has to care for one's discs, vinyl or CD. I've found that some of the earliest CDs I have in my collection deteriorated from the spongy stuff they used to pack inside jewel cases. Some years back I purged all the spongy stuff from my discs, but not before a few of them had been permanently marred by the stuck-on deterioration. I also wipe CDs clean of finger prints and their residual oils, sometimes using Gruv-Glide (a spray cleaner / static remover designed largely for vinyl), which I find actually enriches the sound of some compact discs Other than that, the only problems I've had with CD is that of "loading" -- some discs just don't play right out of the factory jewel case. Or they don't play on one disc player while they will play on another. But generally, with over 5000 CDs I've had very few (maybe a handful) of loading problems, so I'd judge the medium fairly reliable.

    I clean my vinyl discs generally prior to each play. Older discs and yard-sale acquisitions I generally give a rigorous Record Doctor treatment, but generally I keep discs clean and they need only a record brush swipe prior to play. I have 60 year old records that play stunningly. Record collectors know that the 1950s and 1960s were prime times for good sounding vinyl pressings, and that after rock music made the vinyl record ubiquitous the quality dropped off in the pressing plants, as vinyl got thinner and noisier. Some of the 1980s vinyl in my collection is among the worst sounding on my shelves. It seems that was a good reason for folks to turn to the quieter and "forever-lasting" CD in the 1990s. Fortunately, the vinyl revival has generally provided good quality. I've purchased a few hundred discs in this new generation with mostly pleasing results.

    I can't talk about streaming, but I'm hopeful that this medium will continue to improve and perhaps reach a level where someday it will produce the "Wow" factor. Listeners deserve as much.

    But please don't disparage vinyl until you've had an opportunity to actually hear what is possible out of those grooves. Allow for clean vinyl, allow for quality playback equipment, and you'll likely enjoy your listening experience, as I so often do.
    Last edited by SONNET CLV; Jan-03-2021 at 21:05.

  19. #58
    Senior Member NoCoPilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SONNET CLV View Post
    But please don't disparage vinyl until you've had an opportunity to actually hear what is possible out of those grooves. Allow for clean vinyl, allow for quality playback equipment, and you'll likely enjoy your listening experience, as I so often do.
    I know EXACTLY what's possible out of vinyl. Pure sound, smooth frequency response, wide dynamic range, 3-dimensional imaging. That's what I get out of them when I transfer them to CD-R, after I clean up the scritches and pops, and the out-of-phase scraping noise from dragging a diamond down a long vinyl canyon. I fade in & out between tracks so the music becomes the focus. I adjust the dynamic range to try to counter the 60dB limitation of vinyl, and try to equalize the low end to recover some signal below 50Hz that Sculley lathes remove.

    In the end I can create a very pleasurable listening experience.

    Of course, CDs don't have those limitations. But LPs can be made very pleasurable.

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  21. #59
    Senior Member NoCoPilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach G
    In the 2000s I started to download digitally but then later I went back to CDs. I think I get better sound on the stereo system, or maybe it's just my imagination.
    There are downloads, and then there are downloads.

    Lossless hi-res downloads are indistinguishable from CDs or SACDs. Some downloads are lower fidelity though, and for ear buds while riding an exercise bike, that's fine.

  22. #60
    Senior Member Dan Ante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoPilot View Post
    I had an LP collection for forty years, and I always thought this myth was WAY overstated. LPs don't wear out if properly handled and played with modern equipment.

    But, by the same token, CDs don't much care about handling or equipment at all.
    Sorry, with any mechanical system wear occurs. The more you play it the more wear
    CDs are susceptible to careless handling the slightest horizontal scratch will cause skipping as will any dirt on their surface, and when you clean it is essential to go from the centre to the edge.
    "Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car.

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