*do* you still actually buy CD's?

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RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

BazzaRiley wrote:

Petra01 wrote:

And what's up with Amazon's "Variable rate" by the way? Anyone here have any thoughts about that?

Variable rate stinks. Avoid.

It is important to understand several things about mp3s. Firstly the mp3 compression process does not follow some kind of agreed algorithm and so different software will use slightly different models to decide what to do and produce slightly different results. Some of these are better than others and e.g. Lame (perhaps the most highly regarded) is continuously being tweaked and developed as the developers find musical examples that don't quite reproduce correctly. Most of their recent work has been on the variable bit rate model which comes in various quality settings.  I assume that Amazon use either the best or next to best of these. The best vbr are probably as good as they need to be.  

Secondly most people don't seem to understand when looking for differences in mp3 versus CDs that any audible issues in high quality mp3 are not there continuously. High bit rate mp3s will not have things like poor bass or tinny sound or noticeably compressed frequency range or other issues that are there continuously. The kinds of problems that occur are on things like occasional, unusual fast transient sounds that don't reproduce correctly with the model being used. These are the kind of thing that the developers are continuously trying to find examples of and use to tweak their compression model. One example I have mentioned before in another thread is castanets - Lame didn't handle these well until perhaps 4 or 5 years ago!

So a priori you cannot rule out that even a very high bit rate mp3 will not contain somewhere an audible difference to the CD, but it unlikely that anyone can detect any differences in long stretches of fairly conventional sounding music. 

Ted

RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

Maybe true, but the rules of the game are changing. There is a wealth of high quality live recordings online (high in performance and recording standards), and the moral "why" of buying new CD's (the majors serve the "models", the minors minor music, to put it a bit blunt :-) fades away to the background. I think that artists and record companies should be aware of this. Used to feel very guilty *not* to buy anything anymore, but as I said, that feeling fades away... 

R.

RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

re SACD's. I'm biased but since when could a RBCD have the brass choirs of Berlioz's Requiem (for example) coming at you from all sides? Answer: never.

Any fool can hear on the most cheap of SACD systems how flat stereo sounds compared to MCH & it most certainly is not dying.

I can well believe you have that impression from Gramophone because few (if any) of their reviewers even seem to own a machine much less, a MCH set up which is so much more true-to-life than any stereo system.

"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - S. Rachmaninov

RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

See comments below.

RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

I agree with Polly_Nomial. There was a time when Gramophone reviews were performed on the very best of the latest equipement and always carried an informed comment about the sound quality.

I don't have to have that good equipment to notice the difference between SACD, CD, MP3 and FLAC. All you have to do is suspend your prejudices and listen.

I have tried all kinds of downloads from MP3 to FLAC 24/192 and found  the high resolution FLAC downloads the only ones to be remotely comparable to CD and SACD.

What I really fail to understand is why someone, who listens regularly to classical music on what one would assume to be good equipement, insists that MP3, or even AAC, is a viable alternative to CD. To me CD superiority is a no brainer. I leave MP3 and AAC for the car!

Maybe folks have been listening too much to iTunes?!

RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

TedR wrote:

BazzaRiley wrote:

Petra01 wrote:

And what's up with Amazon's "Variable rate" by the way? Anyone here have any thoughts about that?

Variable rate stinks. Avoid.

It is important to understand several things about mp3s. Firstly the mp3 compression process does not follow some kind of agreed algorithm and so different software will use slightly different models to decide what to do and produce slightly different results. Some of these are better than others and e.g. Lame (perhaps the most highly regarded) is continuously being tweaked and developed as the developers find musical examples that don't quite reproduce correctly. Most of their recent work has been on the variable bit rate model which comes in various quality settings.  I assume that Amazon use either the best or next to best of these. The best vbr are probably as good as they need to be.  

Secondly most people don't seem to understand when looking for differences in mp3 versus CDs that any audible issues in high quality mp3 are not there continuously. High bit rate mp3s will not have things like poor bass or tinny sound or noticeably compressed frequency range or other issues that are there continuously. The kinds of problems that occur are on things like occasional, unusual fast transient sounds that don't reproduce correctly with the model being used. These are the kind of thing that the developers are continuously trying to find examples of and use to tweak their compression model. One example I have mentioned before in another thread is castanets - Lame didn't handle these well until perhaps 4 or 5 years ago!

So a priori you cannot rule out that even a very high bit rate mp3 will not contain somewhere an audible difference to the CD, but it unlikely that anyone can detect any differences in long stretches of fairly conventional sounding music. 

Ted

Thanks Ted for your further comments. I didn't know a lot of this and found it to be quite interesting and informative!

Must admit (for me anyway), if given the option to get the music uncompressed, that's the one that I will opt for (assuming also that the recording isn't quite old that is).

Best wishes,

Petra

 

RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

It's availability and acessability vs sound quality. Years ago Andrew Everard already noted that SACD lost it from the first two. And *legal!* live recordings from radio stations and the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day make me go for the "real thing" in the concert hall (I actually go more to live performances, maybe because I save money not buying CD's anymore :-) and at home I listen to this:

 

http://content50c2a.omroep.nl/76c61577fc5c39feda77c9040d04f1ff/50ffcfc4/s01/avro/klassiek/zoc/zoc_download_56.mp3

 

(Pires and Jaap van Zweeden, live Concertgebouw 2009)

Rolf

 

RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

"Live" performances are a different product than the CD. In "Live" performances, you have a specific, predetermined program of a specific nature and character from the "best" available artists. The CD (or SACD) offers all the "other" options plus the additional time of a program prepared by the listener.

In any case, when I was in cities that offer viable "live" performances, I just could opt between them and listening to more and new releases, but not to choose one to the detriment of the other. However, whenever I had to find myself in places that "live" performances could be even an unthinkable wishful thinking, then, my collection along with the new releases were the only option of the best music available, in the best possible form (and format).

Parla

RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

Interesting to hear about other people's approaches.

Personally I can easily tell the difference between a CD and a CDR from 320 mp3.

What I hate about mp3s is managing them. My approach now is streaming (Spotify) plus selected CDs for the stereo. That said, the main thing for me is live performance.

Audiophile discussion always tends to compare reproductive systems, but the real benchmark is actual live sound, which to me can't be closely reproduced, to say nothing of atmosphere and environment.

It is also my observation that recording quality on many CDs from even up to a few years ago and on any remaster from analogue I have heard is often murky - CD was not good at all though it has belatedly improve in some cases. Don't take me to task on remastering - I basically ignore reissues after too many bad experiences and I am not coming back.

So I've answered another question - do you still buy downloads? The answer is no.

 

 

RE: *do* you still actually buy CD's?

otterhouse wrote:

It's availability and acessability vs sound quality. Years ago Andrew Everard already noted that SACD lost it from the first two. And *legal!* live recordings from radio stations and the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day make me go for the "real thing" in the concert hall (I actually go more to live performances, maybe because I save money not buying CD's anymore :-) and at home I listen to this:

 

http://content50c2a.omroep.nl/76c61577fc5c39feda77c9040d04f1ff/50ffcfc4/s01/avro/klassiek/zoc/zoc_download_56.mp3

 

(Pires and Jaap van Zweeden, live Concertgebouw 2009)

Rolf

 

 

Thanks for the link, Otterhouse.

Much more is to be found on the server: http://download.omroep.nl/avro/klassiek/zoc/

60 mp3's in total, excellent quality (320 kbps). Been looking for a list of content of some sort, but the descriptions appear to be spread all over the site, in news items. Doesn't matter much since you can download them all easily and check the mp3's properties to see what it is. Or just stream anything that you find interesting.

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