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Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it? (Read 1644 times)

Offline ffchopinist

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Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
« on: September 23, 2015, 11:29:28 PM »
Hi fellow pianists and classical music lovers,

So I'm curious:   Do any of you still buy classical CDs?   Why or why not?

(I myself have been trying to figure out whether or not it's worth it to shell out money and buy classical CDs in the increasingly digital age of high quality digital downloads and free streaming ... Is the sound quality really better than a digital download / iTunes' for instance?  If to "support the artist," does the artist really make much per CD, or do they make more for digital purchases....? Any other reasons to?)

What do you guys think, and do you still buy them?

Offline Bob

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #1 on: September 23, 2015, 11:49:08 PM »
Yep.  I want the physical copy.  I can rip it at the highest quality level.  I don't have to be too concerned about losing it as data if a hard drive or computer dies on me.

I have bought a few mp3's but only when I absolutely had to or the price was difference was that great.
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Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 01:34:49 AM »
I've bought a couple, mostly when I go to a concert hall or something and they're being sold & I spot something I like.
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Offline outin

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 02:09:13 AM »
I buy a lot! Both physical CD's and downloaded albums from iTunes. Since I love to explore less known piano music, there's much that you cannot find online. Besides I like to have my music at my disposal anytime, even without internet.

One reason to buy CD's is to be able to listen to them with my hi-fi system instead of the Computer (even though I have a computer connected to the system as well). Of course digitally dowloaded albums can be burned to CD's in iTunes and I don't think there's that much difference in the sound quality.

So I buy from iTunes when I want it right now or it's a lot cheaper and mainly order physical copies of more rare recordings and when the price isn't much higher than the downloads.

Offline kevonthegreatpianist

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #4 on: September 24, 2015, 05:32:42 AM »
my simple answer: no

my Fresh Off the Boat answer: Oh HELL no

I made an account and hadn't used it in a year. Welcome back, kevon.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #5 on: September 24, 2015, 10:46:37 AM »
I find music out of the computer sounds like ****.  So much of youtube etc is recorded with a **** cellphone, ripped of music and performances both.  Soundcloud is not much better.  I don't even know if MP3 is capable of a good recording. I've never heard one.  
And now firefox browser reports adobe shockwave plugin is vulnerable to hacking and should be replaced.  The replacement file from adobe doesn't load up. A new lubuntu operating system from ubuntu would require a new computer, a Pentium 5.  Not in the budget now, and the flea market booths of old computers have disappeared.  I can upload tracks, but not view them. There is a html5 trick that works on direct youtube tracks, but not through websites like pianostreet or organforum.  I've forgotten the trick anyway. Bleah. wearing headphones plugged into the computer is a nuisance anyway.  
CD's will fit in the TV player, even if all the hifi amps are broken.  They will fit in a $5 player I installed in my country trailer. They are portable and durable enough I'm still buying them.  Last classical purchase - Classical Overtures, London Symphony, $.25 from Salvation Army on closeout table.   Update, yesterday bought an organ + trumpet pieces CD from an organist whose concerts I go to - at his concert in honor of the deceased trumpet player.   
I also buy old LP's from the various charity resale shops.  Some are damaged and go in the trash, some, mostly classical, were played by light and compliant enough tone arms to survive.  Mercury Living Presence, London FFRR, RCA dynagroove LP's, aah, the artist in the  mastering booth.  Many CD's are mastered by the marketing department to blow out the windows of riceburners (cars). Compression is vile, who wants it?  

Offline dizzypheasant

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #6 on: September 24, 2015, 12:03:31 PM »
I buy them when I can find them cheap.  At Half-Price Books I found Chopin's etude Op. 10 & 25 for under $5.  Its a lot easier to rip a CD than to hunt all over the internet for some MP3 that might not be good quality if you don't have iTunes or anything like that.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #7 on: September 24, 2015, 12:20:50 PM »

Do any of you still buy classical CDs?   Why or why not?

(I myself have been trying to figure out whether or not it's worth it to shell out money and buy classical CDs in the increasingly digital age of high quality digital downloads and free streaming ... Is the sound quality really better than a digital download / iTunes' for instance?  If to "support the artist," does the artist really make much per CD, or do they make more for digital purchases....? Any other reasons to?)


Yes, I do. I like having the physical sleevenotes and the cover. It's actually a peculiar phenomenon that as the technical accessibility of recordings has increased, people are increasingly willing to listen to them in a sonically poorer format (e.g. Youtube). Nevertheless, I doubt many people, even audiophiles with top quality equipment, will hear significant difference between what you hear on a CD and a digital download (assuming high bitrate: iTunes is 256kbps; CD-equivalent quality is sometimes considered to be 320kbps, tbh by this stage I'd suggest the quality of the speakers is the true defining factor). Artists don't make a lot per CD, there are so many expenses within the chain, but they make next to nothing for Spotify etc streams, we're talking small fractions of cents per stream. Generally speaking I'd say the artist revenue is fairly similar for a CD sale and a downloaded purchase of the CD tracks.

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #8 on: September 24, 2015, 01:53:56 PM »
Yes.  Partly to support the artists, but mostly for the quality of the reproduction.  My hearing is slowly going, but it hasn't gone yet and only the very best downloads can approach the quality -- and only approach it -- and my sound system is quite capable of reproducing everything that is on a top end CD, and more (this consideration is particularly important with classical organ and piano -- both instruments are notoriously hard to record, never mind reproduce).

I also still buy vinyl, same reasons.

I will and do download quite a few things too; sometimes where the quality isn't that important (don't laugh -- I like celtic folk and country and western, but the highest of fi just isn't required there!) and sometimes where there is a specific performance I want, for the interpretation, but it isn't available on either CD or vinyl.
Ian

Offline visitor

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #9 on: September 24, 2015, 02:22:41 PM »
i buy them used, hardly ever new except where it's the only way to get a rare or newly released set of previously never recorded works.

even then , usually it's second to my buying vintage domestic and international/rare recordings of vinyl lp records. i love the old sound and some works can only be heard via lp, and there are super great non converted performances as well that can only be accessed this way, and I work to rip rare lps to digital mp3 for my archiving. same for some rare cd's.


Offline Bob

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #10 on: September 26, 2015, 04:20:46 AM »
I have a slow internet connection.  Not 100% confident in my hardware for saving the data.  And I don't want to store my data is any "cloud."

Then there's work involved getting the audio onto an mp3 player.  Sometimes that doesn't work right, so it's extra work.  One time at least, I've discovered a track or two didn't copy in with the rest of them so I had been listening to a CD thinking I was listening to the whole thing, but didn't get the few tracks.  I should actually double check all the tracks are present, but I never have.  That's the edge of the amount of work I want to put into it.

And ditto on the stereo.  I can just pop a CD in a listen.  Very easy, better audio quality.  I could plug an mp3 player into the stereo, but then it's using its batteries doing that.... If I want cleaner audio I should crank the source (mp3 player) up to 100% volume....  Too much work.

I should burn some CDs of any mp3's I've bought and downloaded, at least as extra backup.  The disadvantage to that and even professional CDs is that they'll probably decay eventually.  CDRs, yes.  But even professional ones can decay after years or a decade.  That's one advantage to audio files, but you have to keep the data available, backed up, hopefully it doesn't get corrupted, and hopefully you've always got hardware, the operating system, and software that can get to the audio file and play it.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline outin

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #11 on: September 26, 2015, 04:32:14 AM »
I have a slow internet connection.  Not 100% confident in my hardware for saving the data.  And I don't want to store my data is any "cloud."

I wouldn't do that either...I save all my music on hard disk...several actually, since I am paranoid about losing any :)

Offline ted

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #12 on: September 26, 2015, 04:44:02 AM »
Yes, I still buy CDs, but I also avail myself of recent technology. I am not primarily interested in classical music any more but the music I am interested in cannot usually be purchased in shops. Therefore most CD purchases lately have been on the internet, sometimes directly from the composers and players themselves. I have not had any bought CDs deteriorate yet, and many of them are twenty years old. On the other hand, two of my CD players have had it.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline outin

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #13 on: September 26, 2015, 05:10:27 AM »
I have not had any bought CDs deteriorate yet, and many of them are twenty years old. On the other hand, two of my CD players have had it.
I have CD's from the 80's and they work fine. As does one of my CD players bought in the early 90's ;)

Offline mjames

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #14 on: September 26, 2015, 07:52:04 AM »
Only vinyl records are worth it.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #15 on: September 26, 2015, 11:15:43 AM »
I have CD's from the 80's and they work fine. As does one of my CD players bought in the early 90's ;)
Factory made CD's seem to last well.  Computer "burned" CD's have a reputation of deteriorating after a while.  They are different base stock and technology of the burn cycle. 

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #16 on: September 27, 2015, 02:07:37 AM »
Only vinyl records are worth it.

I miss records... :)  Albums with pictures and cool stuff...  maybe they will come back now that cd's are obsolete too.

Offline daniloperusina

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #17 on: October 04, 2015, 06:40:15 PM »
Basically, the better your playback equipment is, the clearer the difference will be.
I don't own any esoteric stuff. What I do have is better-than-avarage amplifier/CD-player/loudspeakers/headphones. They are HarmanKardon 80's amp, B&W speakers, AKG headphones etc.
To take a CD I have as an example: Claudio Arrau's 1970's recording of Beethoven's sonata op 101. It was originally recorded to tape, then transferred to CD much later. In the second movement, at exactly 4:18-4:26, there are some extremely subtle qualities in his playing of the bass line. The sound and effect of what he does there is so inspiring that that's what I want to approach when I play that sonata.

Now. listening to the same recording streamed or downloaded on the internet, usually in MP3-format, the magic is lost! What exactly has gone missing? I assume it's so-called "inaudible" ambience (i.e sound reflected on walls, floor etc, much subdued to the direct sound) as well as over-tones (i.e tones inherent on every string of the piano, but less audible than the main pitch).

Of course, as a pianist myself, I am very much aware of how one uses one's ears while performing at any given piano/venue to try to catch the interplay of all these factors - quite besides the actual direct sound of the piano itself - to create the sound one is after at any particular moment. In short, the pianist uses the piano as well as the acoustics of the room.

CD, DVD and other such formats are much too large to be practical for the internet. Therefore, compressed formats are used. They use clever ways of deleting large portions of the original information contained in the original sources. If your playback equipment is sub-par, you'll not really notice the difference. Move up a notch or two, and you'll start to hear it.

Having said all the above, it is of course true that a recording which is not so great originally will not be "better" on CD, or any other original loss-less format!:)

Here's a quote from wikipedia, and observe the "1/11th of the original size"!:

The use of lossy compression is designed to greatly reduce the amount of data required to represent the audio recording and still sound like a faithful reproduction of the original uncompressed audio for most listeners. An MP3 file that is created using the setting of 128 kbit/s will result in a file that is about 1/11 the size of the CD file created from the original audio source (44,100 samples per second 16 bits per sample  2 channels = 1,411,200 bit/s;[7] MP3 compressed at 128 kbit/s: 128,000 bit/s [1 k = 1,000, not 1024, because it is a bit rate]. Ratio: 1,411,200/128,000 = 11.025). An MP3 file can also be constructed at higher or lower bit rates, with higher or lower resulting quality.

The compression works by reducing the accuracy of certain parts of a sound that are considered to be beyond the auditory resolution ability of most people. This method is commonly referred to as perceptual coding.[8] It uses psychoacoustic models to discard or reduce precision of components less audible to human hearing, and then records the remaining information in an efficient manner.

Offline richard black

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #18 on: October 27, 2015, 10:57:25 PM »
Yes, I buy CDs. I am highly computer-savvy and have a well equipped audio-oriented PC (I edit recordings for part of my living). But computer audio irritates me, not least because so much of it is disappointing quality (all MP3 is suspect, a lot of it simply bad, and other formats are not necessarily a whole lot better). Also I find I'm more likely to listen to a whole work off a CD or LP.
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Offline toughbo

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Re: Do you still buy CDs? Are they "worth" it?
«Reply #19 on: October 29, 2015, 08:06:59 PM »
No, I don't have a CD player and most CDs are studio recordings which I mostly don't like + I don't really have issues with quality in the same sense that some do. I spend my money on concerts instead, which should make up for my amount of streaming, wish I could read sleeve notes though.