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How do you collect music?

Discussion in 'Music' started by discoprojoe, Mar 29, 2015.
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  1. kcdkjqqr
    I don't live in NYC. I was just visiting there for a week or so, and saw it as a cool opportunity to go to a neat record store. I went to a place called "Other Music", it was awesome, loads of CDs with my taste, and a solid collection of vinyl. I'm not really into classical, it's not that I don't like it, I just don't really listen to it. The closest I'll get is post rock. There is a really great record store where I live though, but they only sell vinyl, no CDs, so I never go there. Only been there with other people when they need to pick up vinyl, I'm too lazy to buy a whole new system just for vinyl honestly.
  2. CanadianMaestro
    whatever spins your wheels, do it. I'm mostly digital, about 65% digital. I hear that a lot, from friends who just "aren't into classical", mosty 'cause they find it too "cerebral". Nonsense. There's so much going on in classical pieces, that's it's absolutely enthralling. Here's an article by an audiophile that I think speaks volumes.
    How I Justify Buying Expensive Stereo Equipment
    By Dennis Prager

    I am not rich, I am not a professional musician, and I do not work in the stereo business. Yet I have spent a good amount of money on stereo equipment. Though I have built this system up over many years, I have still spent plenty.

    Is spending almost the price of a luxury car on a stereo system justifiable?

    The Role of Music in My Life
    Music has been my constant companion from the day that, as a sophomore in high school, I discovered classical music at a one-dollar Handel concert given by Alexander Schneider and his chamber group at Carnegie Hall. Through my life’s happiest and darkest moments, great music has been there to cheer me and console me, to bring me back to earth when I was flying too high, and to lift me when I had sunk too low. In my younger years, Schubert provided expressions of angst, Beethoven gave strength, and Mozart provided serenity; now in middle age, Haydn gives me refuge from life’s stresses, and Bach brings me closer to God.

    Moreover, in the last few years, I have (finally, I admit) come to love other musical expressions, especially jazz (including blues, bluegrass, big band, cool, smooth, Latin, among other styles) and film music. Duke Ellington and others now move me in ways I only thought possible in classical music.

    Given the powerful role music plays in my life, I have always wanted to enjoy it in my home. But there are many ways of enjoying music in one’s home — from a 15-dollar clock radio to a half-million-dollar stereo system. But if a Beethoven symphony or Dave Brubeck can be enjoyed on a 15-dollar radio, why spend large sums of money on stereo equipment?

    I will answer this by first asking a question: If Beethoven can be enjoyed on a radio, why go to the trouble and expense of listening to his music at a concert? The answer is that, in addition to the enjoyment of watching a conductor and orchestra, and in addition to the unique excitement of live music making, live music sounds better. We hear far more at a live concert than through a radio,and hearing is what music is all about.

    The difference between hearing Beethoven on a clock radio or even on an average stereo system and hearing him live is immense. And if one ever has an opportunity to sit in an orchestra, or, as I have, to conduct one, the difference between live music and even great stereo is also dramatic.

    One way of expressing this difference is that the clock radio gives you the melody that Beethoven composed, but not all the music. For example, in his famous Fifth Symphony, Beethoven wrote much more than his da-da-da-dah theme. He interwove themes in the violas, gave soaring lines to trumpets, fascinating moments to the bassoons, angry outbursts to cellos and basses, and so on. Those “inner voices” are what I want to hear. I want, in short, to hear everything a composer wrote, not just the melody. I want to hear the unique sound of every string, wind, brass and percussion instrument.

    This is equally true of other types of music. For example, on jazz singer Norah Jones’ disc “ Come away with me,” the first song “Don’t know why” includes a backup chorus that only on quality equipment is heard as human voices. Hearing that adds an enormous amount to one’s enjoyment.

    An analogy to the graphic arts might help. If you see a book-sized black and white photograph of a Rembrandt painting, you certainly can enjoy the painting, and you can appreciate some of the artist’s greatness. But the truth is that you haven’t really
    seen Rembrandt’s painting.

    A typical stereo system is a small black and white photograph of a large color masterpiece.

    You don’t need to be a musical connoisseur to appreciate this. A young man who was into heavy metal and had never actually listened to classical music, heard my stereo system, and said that for the first time in his life, he understood why people like classical music — he heard so much going on, so many beautiful and exciting sounds from so many different instruments, that he couldn’t be bored. I am convinced that, aside from live concerts, one way to get many more people to love classical music is to have them hear it on superb equipment.

    With my extraordinary stereo system, I can enjoy what only a handful of the wealthiest people in history could enjoy — great music played by great musicians in my own home. In terms of the drama of live human presence, no stereo can substitute (thank God) for live musicians, but in terms of sound, it is often quite close to live, and occasionally superior.

    On the other hand, unlike the super rich of yore, I don’t merely have a few musicians at my disposal; I have all of the world’s great orchestras and soloists, and they can play for me at a moment’s notice at any hour of the day or night. At midnight, the Cleveland Orchestra plays for me, and though deceased, Vladimir Horowitz, too, can play for me — and precisely the music I want. And the clarity is such that closing my eyes puts these great musicians right in front of me.

    On Spending Discretionary Income
    Are my love of music and the role it plays in my life sufficient reasons to justify what I spend on stereo equipment? Or is it all merely an elaborate rationalization?

    This brings me to a philosophy of spending.

    I assume that most readers of this essay have more money than they need merely to survive. Such money is known as discretionary money. Many people don’t think hard about how they spend this money. We often spend this money on whim — and therefore on things that don’t bring us the most enduring pleasure.

    Most people have some sort of philosophy of spending with regard to life’s essentials — we know roughly how much we can and want to spend on a home, on food, and on schooling for our children — but not about spending on non-essentials. Yet, this, too, calls for considered reflection.

    I have preferred to spend my pleasure money on listening to Bach in performances and with sound that Bach himself rarely enjoyed — in my home. That’s worth a lot of money to me.

    The Moral Question
    What sum of money can we justify spending on things — especially things whose sole purpose is to provide us with pleasure? In order to answer this, we need to answer other questions:

    First, have we met our financial obligations? Have we paid for our home and family? Have we paid our financial debts to others?

    Second, have we given a decent amount in taxes and to charity? For some people this question is impossible to answer, because they believe that virtually any amount of money spent on oneself beyond basic needs is too much, given the amount of poverty and human suffering.

    Common sense offers answers. If we were to give away virtually all our non-essential money, why would we work as hard we do? There is no question that a significant part of what animates most of us who work hard is the ability to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Moreover, if we all gave our non-essential money away, there would soon be no money to give to anyone. Since no money would be spent on non-essentials, most workers would be laid off work, the economy would come to a standstill, and very little wealth would be produced.

    When people have earned their money honorably (a big “if” for some people), paid their fair share (and more) of taxes, met their debts, provided for their loved ones, and given time and/or money to charitable causes, why shouldn’t they spend their money on things that bring them joy?

    Is such spending “extravagant?” One person’s extravagance is anther’s joy. Who am I, the owner of an elaborate stereo system, to say that a man who meets the above criteria and then buys a Rolls-Royce is too extravagant in his spending? Even if I had many millions of dollars, I would not spend so much money on a car, but I am in no position to condemn his spending. (If he bought the Rolls to impress others rather than because of the joy a great automobile affords him, that would be a psychological and character issue — but there is no way for the rest of us to know motives.)

    Healthy Excitement
    There is another argument on behalf of spending pleasure money after the criteria of responsible spending are met. I take it from a statement made recently by the American television superstar Jay Leno. Much of his pleasure money goes to collecting old cars — a rather expensive hobby, but he certainly has the money to indulge in it. Mr. Leno was quoted by USA Today as saying, “Most men in Hollywood have one car and a lot of women; I have one wife and a lot of cars.” In order to function best in this world, men (and women) need an infusion of some excitement.

    Finally, there is something good about the human pursuit of excellence. When I buy something I particularly admire, such as one of my stereo components, I usually call or write the manufacturers to tell them how much joy their product has given me. At least in the relatively small world of high-end stereo, these communications are usually received with gratitude; indeed, I often end up having long conversations with people whose lives are dedicated to making beautiful music as accessible as possible. So, in some way, we may actually be contributing to a noble pursuit when we sustain people who devote their lives to making better amplifiers.

    So, once you’ve met your obligations go and enjoy your hard and honestly earned money. Just make sure you spend it on that which brings you the most enduring pleasure.
    caml likes this.
  3. kcdkjqqr
    Like I said, I do enjoy classical, I just have yet to buy any CDs. I've bought a few post rock CDs though. These have elements of classical. It'll have classical instruments with a drum kit and electric guitars. All instrumental, a blend of classical and modern instruments. I'm going to have to pick up some classical sometime soon.
    As for vinyl, That would require a turntable and new (more expensive) records. I currently only really have the money for CDs and such so I'll have to put off vinyl for later.
  4. CanadianMaestro

    No worries about classical. It's an acquired taste. [​IMG]
  5. CanadianMaestro
    I think this has been discussed forever on other forums, but I can't resist asking here - anybody hear any diff between Flac and Wav files, at the same bit depth (16 or 24 bits)?
    I don't, and that's a good thing, as Wav takes up way more memory than Flac, from CD originals.
  6. kcdkjqqr
    First off, wrong thread. If you want to talk about this, go to an appropriate thread. But since I can't resist answering this question, you'll have your answer.
    No... Definitely no. First of all, one can't hear the dfference between 16 bit FLAC and 24 Bit FLAC, it's out of the human hearing range. Even if it wasn't it is literally impossible to hear the difference between a .wav and the same file in FLAC. They're both lossless formats, therefore they contain the same information. FLAC is simply compressed. For example, if you have thirty seconds of silence, one in wav, one in flac, the wav would take up space, the flac wouldn't, because wav is lossless uncompressed, but FLAC is lossless compressed.
  7. DiscoProJoe
    This past Monday (Feb. 20, 2017) was a big milestone for me: my music collection finally surpassed 10,000 songs! I just finished Phase 1 of my Music Addition Project of 2017. It included 394 songs -- 391 of which were newly-added, and 27 new albums and singles.
    This is my first time in almost 2 1/2 years to add a large amount of music to my collection, so it's great to finally enjoy some new stuff.
    My collection now stands at 10,215 songs, and 731 albums and singles. 5 digits, baby!  [​IMG]
    I started working on this project a little bit in mid-January, and had been my main focus since the end of last month. Approximately 18 days (or so) of my spare time was spent on this.
    Phase 1 of this project was focused mostly on various-artist albums with pop and dance music from the Western world. It's been more than 4 1/2 years since acquiring a lot of that, so it's awesome  to catch up on it. Even though I got a small amount of Western-world pop and dance songs in 2013 and 2014 during other music addition projects (and in between), I've mostly been in the dark about Western dance-pop since mid-2012.
    It's important to do some "catching up" every now and then. I don't want to be an old geezer when I'm in my 60s (in 2040), who's stuck in 2010!   [​IMG]  [​IMG]  [​IMG]
    Anyway, these various-artist albums in Phase 1 are all from Europe, and I only added the specific songs I like. I probably sampled at least 1,200 songs and added 391. These songs are mostly in English, but include a lot of tunes in other languages as well. Some of the songs are American hits, but most aren't.
    Since I was 17 (in the mid '90s), I've always known that Europeans have had a lot better tastes in pop and dance music than most Americans have had since the '80s -- and especially since the '90s. So, these European various-artist albums get first priority with me when adding a bunch of Western dance-pop music.
    The 538 Dance Smash album series is from the Netherlands, the Absolute Dance series is from Sweden, Bravo Hits is from Germany, and NRJ Hits is from France. I primarily used the sites Melodishop.com and MP3Va.com for the material. One of the challenges was having to get quite a few "replacement" MP3s from the artists' original albums on those two sites, or from Google Search, when a song from those various-artist albums had bad sound quality.
    And, of course, it was really time consuming to fix up the filenames, wipe out the metadata, and convert the MP3s to WAV files, then back to MP3s at a lower bitrate (192 kbps) that I prefer. Had to make sure they converted properly and still sounded OK. At the end of the project phase, I ran a program (that I've had for many years) on my PC, called "ID3 Renamer," to automatically generate the proper ID3 tags for all 394 of the MP3s, so that last part was easy.
    One crazy aspect of this project...was that there probably were about 10 songs sampled that I liked, but yet, didn't pass muster for adding to my music collection. Why? Because of the silly "loudness wars," some songs were recorded and mastered so horribly with such terrible sound quality (including a song from the rock group Imagine Dragons) that I couldn't stand to listen to them. Ugh!  [​IMG]
    Well, sometime in March I'll do Phase 2 of this project. It'll be mostly Chinese pop and dance music from various-artist CDs that I'll get from a local store. I'll bring them home, convert 'em to MP3, and add 'em to my collection.
    Then, I can go to the KTV Karaoke clubs here in Chongqing with my friends and sing new Chinese pop songs! The last time I got a lot of Chinese music was in 2013, so it's time to catch up a little.
    Finally, Phase 3 will start in April or May, and will be open-ended. It'll primarily include individual artist material, mostly from the Western world. I'll add stuff to my music collection as I go during this phase, so there won't be a big completion day, as with Phases 1 and 2. Throughout the last few years, I've been compiling a list called "Artists to Check Out," so in a couple more months, I'll finally get around to sampling their stuff and adding what I like.
    Well, that's the latest from me. You should find a screenshot of the finished Phase 1 below. (Click on it for a larger view.)
  8. DiscoProJoe
    Two days ago I noticed that the various-artist album Bravo Hits 96 (from Germany) had just been released, and was available on both Melodishop and MP3Va. (I got it at this link. The number 96 means “Volume 96,” not 1996.)  I’d been anxiously awaiting the release of a good various-artist album from the Western world that came out in 2017. Wanted to have some nice Western dance-pop hits from 2017 in my collection!  [​IMG]
    This album is really good, and I got 29 of the 45 songs from it, plus one other good song I discovered elsewhere. Had to get “replacement” MP3s for 9 of those 29 songs from that album, due to lackluster sound quality. Anyway, I spent several hours on Tuesday doing all the busy work adding this, and it was quite a bit of work. My collection now stands at 10,245 songs, though!

  9. DiscoProJoe
    Well, well,...my multi-part Music Addition Project of 2017 took an unexpected turn during the last two weeks. On the two main music sites I use (Melodishop and MP3Va), I discovered a huge amount of songs I didn't already have from my favorite, very-specific type of music: '80s (and '80s-style) Italo Disco!
    I first discovered this specific sub-genre back in 1997 when I was 19, and it's been my favorite since. I added a huge amount of it to my music collection initially that year from European import CDs, plus a lot more additional material the following year (in 1998). And in 2009, I got a large amount of undiscovered Italo Disco from the former website GoMusicNow. I also continued getting small but significant amounts of Italo Disco songs in 1999, 2000, 2012, and 2014.
    And then, 2017 came along,...and totally caught me by surprise with a large quantity of undiscovered, previously-unreleased, and/or "New Generation" (but '80s-style) Italo Disco once again!  [​IMG]
    Since 1997, I've had a little homemade poster hanging on my wall everywhere I've lived, which says, "'80s Euro-Disco: JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH!!!"
    And so,...the longer I live, the more and more those stellar words ring true.  [​IMG]
    On this unprecedented "Italo Disco Phase" of my Music Addition Project of 2017, I added 153 songs after sampling 800-to-1,000 tracks. It includes a personal homemade compilation (Joe Goodson's Big Italo-Disco Stash Vol. 2), which boasts a whopping 98 songs, plus 6 other albums (with selected songs only).
    In this large homemade compilation of mine, the songs were specifically chosen -- mostly from the I Love ZYX Italo Disco Collection album series (from Germany), plus the I Love Disco Diamonds series (from Spain), along with a few other sources. In 2009 on the now-defunct website GoMusicNow, I obtained a lot of great tunes from the I Love Disco Diamonds series. But that site only had some particular volumes of that series available. This time around, though, Melodishop / MP3Va had a lot more volumes from that album series to explore, luckily.
    Anyway, I spent 11 days working on this phase of the project whenever I had time, and finished it three days ago. My music collection now has 10,403 songs, and 740 albums and singles. Thus far in 2017, I've already added 579 new songs, and 36 new albums & singles.
    In a couple weeks I'll start on the "Chinese Music Phase" of the project, as described in one of my posts above. Then, eventually, I'll tackle the "Open-Ended Phase" off and on as I have time.
    That's the latest from me. Below is a screenshot of the finished Italo Disco Phase (click on it for a larger view), and beneath it are some album covers from some of the source material for this phase.
  10. Mike Foley
    Interesting thread. I buy most of my music in physical formats, LP and CD, and only download if it's not available on a physical format. I like to collect things. I do have a NAS/DAC combo, and have a growing digital library, which I enjoy, but it's not the same as having the album. Must be my age! :slight_smile:
  11. serman005
    1) CD's
    2) LP's
    3) Downloaded music in various formats
    4) DVD's
    I guess I am old fashioned, but I like something I can pick up and hold in my hands. I guess growing up in the seventies and eighties rubbed off on me.   ---)
  12. Rearwing
    First I collected vinyl, trekking for miles to get albums by obscure to chart topping bands, and in the case of favourite bands everything they ever recorded and everything by anyone that had guested on their albums. It took a trip to Texas to find an album by the brass player Jim Price ( a stalwart of the Rolling Stones brass section). Then with a growing family I transferred all my 5000+ albums to minidisc, believing it to be the future!! before selling my vinyl to a very happy music collector.
    I am now trying to replace everything on CD and it is taking an absolute age! So if anyone in Fort Worth has a Jim Price CD please let me know.
    Whatever you collect and listen to, enjoy and thank you for reading this.
    Mike Foley likes this.
  13. DiscoProJoe
    It was five days ago when I finished the Chinese Music Phase of my Music Addition Project of 2017 after six focused days of hard work. As previously planned during the last several months, I finally went to a small, local CD shop in early April here in Chongqing, and got four various-artist CD albums: two recent pop-song albums, and two disco.
    (Each album has three CDs apiece, and anywhere from 36 to 54 songs total for that album. This was my first time since the summer of 2013 to get much Chinese music.)
    I took them home, ripped them to my PC, converted 'em to MP3 at 192 kbps, and then entered the pinyin (Western-alphabetical spellings) for the Chinese characters into the MP3 filenames -- for the artist names and song titles. I usually just entered the particular Chinese characters I already recognized into Baidu Search, and the full artist name and song title would come up in search results. Then, I copied and pasted those characters into Google Translate or Baidu Translate, and got the pinyin spellings to enter into the MP3s.
    On rare occasions, I had to look up a character using a radical chart, which can be a real pain. But luckily for me, this was the exception, and not the rule.
    I also figured out good English names for the Chinese album titles, and named them accordingly.
    Some of you may be asking, "Joe, why did you go out and buy CD albums, instead of just downloading songs from Chinese websites?"
    Well, the main reason is for sound quality. Songs on Chinese websites often have lackluster...or downright terrible...sound quality. With locally-bought CDs, on the other hand, I usually get better sound.
    Another reason for purchasing various-artist CDs is that I can get a good compilation of songs, and won't have to go searching willy-nilly all over the Chinese web, looking for good content with good sound quality. Each of these albums is around 7 U.S. dollars, averaging 45 songs per album, so it's pretty cheap, anyway.
    In total, 165 songs were added in this phase. On one specific album, I didn't like about 1/3rd of the songs, so that particular album became "selected songs only."
    There were two songs on the disco albums where I made my own extended versions, using an old program on my PC, called Cool Edit. In these homemade extended versions, I repeat the good parts of the song (and omit boring parts) in a way that sounds good and flows well. I then give the song a version name, such as JG's..........Mix. (JG is my initials. If the song is a Chinese-language one, then I often name my version JG's...........Yanshen. "Yanshen" (延伸)means extension.)
    I've done more than 100 of these kinds of extended versions for songs since the year 2000.
    Well, at this point, I've now added 744 songs to my music collection since the start of this year!  My collection currently stands at 10,568 songs and 744 albums. And with this latest addition, the size just surpassed 60 GB.
    As I get more familiar with these new Chinese pop songs, I'll be able to go to local KTV Karaoke clubs here with my friends and sing some of these new songs, and it'll be lots of fun.  [​IMG]
    So...within the next month, I'll finally begin the "Open-Ended Phase" of this project. It'll mostly be material from individual music artists (especially from the Western world), which I'll check out and add what I like when I have time. I'll add stuff as I go, and there won't be any big completion dates, as there were with the first three phases.
    Anyway, beneath this post you'll find a screenshot of the completed Chinese Music Phase, photos of the front and back covers of the CD albums, the back cover of one particular album, and then its corresponding screenshot with all the pinyin artist names and song titles for the MP3s. Click on each item for a larger view, and enjoy.  [​IMG]
  14. DiscoProJoe
    Well, it's quite a nice coincidence how...during the interval between my latest "Music Addition Project" post (from last night) and the previous one (from late March), I actually went to a local CD store and got some CDs as planned, and during this same interval, there were three postings here about getting music in physical formats. Wow!  [​IMG]
    But for me, though, I don't actually listen to the CDs; I get 'em for other reasons as explained in my last post.
    Speaking of age (I'm 39), what I don't understand about a lot of younger music fans today...is how so many of them don't collect music at all, and just stream music from online.
    So on one end of the spectrum, there's LPs and CDs, and on the other extreme, there's streaming only without collecting.
    For me, personally, I absolutely must be able to fully control my music entirely from my own device in-person, without ever requiring access to the Internet or wi-fi, and should never expire. Paying monthly for a streaming service just sounds really silly to me, as well.
    I mean, what if the streaming service you're using goes out of business, and none of the other services have the same content? What if there's an Internet outage in your area? What if you can't get a wi-fi signal somewhere? And finally, umm,...what if there's World War 3 and all that stuff goes down for years?  [​IMG]
    Anyway, I also keep my music collection (and everything else on my PC) backed up on three separate USB hard drives. I keep one at my apartment and back up stuff on my PC every few weeks. The second USB hard drive I keep in my bank safe at my local bank, and every 3-to-6 months, I go there and swap out the hard drives. The third one...I keep at my dad's house in the U.S., and update the content on it every time I go visit him (or he brings it here when he visits me).
    So...my beloved music collection is very hard to kill.  [​IMG]
    As for cloud services, I don't upload my collection to any of that, because the transfer speed is just too slow. At 60 GB, the collection can be transferred, instead, to and from a USB hard drive in a little over an hour. To and from my Rockboxed iPod Classic: an hour-and-a-half or so. But to and from an online cloud service? Probably several days needed with a constant connection. So,...nope.
    Well, do any of you fellow Head-Fi'ers back up your music collection, or have it "self-insured"? If so, how?
    Mike Foley likes this.
  15. Mike Foley
    I too know people who only listen via streaming services. It just doesn't do it for me. I like to collect things, although I do have Spotify as a 'try before you buy' service. It's handy to have.

    As for backing up the music on my NAS drive......I haven't. Bad me! :slight_smile:
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