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The future of music media.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to see some opinions on the future of music media. Is it going to be all downloaded mp3 files. Some people seem to think the days of a physical cd are over. What about higher rez music. Again all downloaded high sample rate lossless files? Is the PC going to replace the cd player? I just got a sacd player and I love the sound but there is no point in investing a significant amount of money in something that is going away shortly. I was looking and it seems no one is producing hdcd's any longer, even though some players still include the decoder for that format. I am wondering if sacd is going to go the same way. Everybody will be streaming Pandora over their iphone and listening to pretty poor audio,  thinking it is great because that is all they have ever heard.

post #2 of 8

I'm buying as many CD's as I can since I see nothing wrong at all with the format.  You can often find specials on brand new CD's really cheap, FAR cheaper than their vinyl counterparts, and IMO from the standpoint of absolute sonics CD is actually a better bet.

post #3 of 8

It would be amazing if record labels would recognize the market demand for accessible lossless downloads. Whether that means working with Apple/Amazon/Google to give us true CD+ quality downloads, or doing it on their own, it would be really nice.


I buy the vast majority of my music on CD still for the quality, then rip it to a digital copy right away. I do use HDtracks when possible and if worth it to get the higher quality. But it can be frustrating, especially tracking down a specific CD etc... even with Amazon, et al, I still prefer buying in person when possible.


Given the technology we have at our disposal and the fairly easy path to setting these things up, it is frustrating it hasn't happened yet, from recording and mixing at a better level to distribution of hi-fi quality versions.

post #4 of 8

SACDs are a product for a niche market that I personally don't see going away for awhile. If you look around the internet there are people asking this same question for the last 10 years. MFSL and Audio Fidelity have started putting all the new releases on SACD instead of gold CD. This could be due to the price of gold more than anything though.  As long as audiophiles are dropping $25-30 on new SACDs companies like MFSL, Audio Fidelity and Analogue Productions will keep making them.


Physically buying music is part of the fun. I love going to a store and walking out with a rare SACD, gold CD or early pressing that I thought I would never own for less than $15.

Edited by Radioking59 - 10/28/13 at 7:00pm
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Personally I feel the same way, I love a physical device. If you can hold it in your hand, you own it. Hard to put into words but I hope you know what I mean. I have even considered getting back into real vinyl records again, but the equipment investment, not to mention trying to find decent records has put me off doing that.

  I need to get a better dac before I can really start getting into the real high-def downloads but for music I really like, I will download a 24/192 copy of it rather than get a cd. Not to start yet another debate but I recently found a site that let you download several identical tracks both at regular redbook and 24/96. I will admit the difference is subtle, but I do think the higher sample rate did sound slightly better, yet still nowhere near sacd quality.

 I am also one of those people that love looking at the liner notes and photo's, especially if they include the lyrics. You don't get that with a download.

post #6 of 8

If the record companies would make a concentrated effort to get as much back catalog as possible into an all you can eat streaming format, I'd be all over it. But I wouldn't be interested if it was just obvious stuff like you hear on XM radio. It would have to include things that never made it to LP, much less CD.

post #7 of 8

It's the debate over quality vs quantity. 


marketing is a powerful tool. What do you want? You want more for the same dollars, that's how progress works. That's why iTunes works, because you can buy more 'hits' with the same amount of dollars, you don't need all the filler tracks on the CD. You can buy more for the same dollars again by choosing a smaller audio file. As long as that's what people want, that's what they'll get. And you can plug your audio files into everything now. At work, at home, even in the car. 


I'm like the guys above, I buy used CD's (often for $5 or less) rip them as a FLAC, and keep three copies on three separate 1TB drives. 


Is that the future? No, it's not going to survive unless people keep buying new CD's so I can buy used CD's. And people aren't going to buy new CDs unless they can be perceived as being more valuable than a intangible audio file. 


I think the CD market will continue to be there, but growing smaller as a % of the total market. Given the smaller market, the price of CD's will stay about the same over time. Eventually, they'll be gone, much the same way as all the other mediums over history. There will always be a market for quality audio files though, even if it's at a premium price. 

post #8 of 8

I guess vinyl won't die, because it provides more than just music. It is something more physically appealing than CD and much more exclusive. It's not only about music IMHO. Of course it also provides quite different way of music reproduction.

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