CD's versus Download

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by John Brooks, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I received an email a few days ago from someone involved in audio and he made the comment that CD's are gone! Maybe not quite but it appears that we're quickly heading in that direction. I purchased and downloaded two recordings yesterday from iTunes that are not going to be made available in CD format. The mp3 quality is OK for my less than perfect hearing but I had to spend a lot of time trying to find information about the performers on the various tracks; also the composers and arrangers. Is that information not important and should the CD Booklet not be included with the purchase (it is in some cases, notably WoB but mostly not)? Since we're apparently going there anyway (downloads that is) I thought I would ask for the opinions of anyone on tMP who might be interested and/or concerned.
  2. Fettler

    Fettler Member

    Streaming is generally more compressed or at a lower quality than cds. I'm sure someone more tech save than me will be along to explain.
    I regularly stream to my (good quality) hifi from my phone and computer via a Bluetooth gizmo. It's fine for background music, but if I actually want to listen properly the cds are noticeably better. I have tested this with direct a/b comparison of streamed recordings that I own on cd.
  3. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    It depends...

    If I want all the tracks on a CD, I'd buy the disc every single time.
    If I only want one or two and it's cheaper, I might just pay to download what I want.

    I've not noticed any difference in quality between an mp3 download and s CD track, but I've hardly been putting it through exceptional hifi equipment...
    Then again, if you download something in FLAC, the quality would be significantly higher than a CD track
  4. Fettler

    Fettler Member

    In fairness it might be my crappy Bluetooth gizmo, or my settings on googleplay/Spotify that cause the difference.
  5. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I prefer to have a physical cd in front of me, with the booklet etc to hand. Occasionally the booklet information is available online, but I find that inconvenient.

    I do fear for the future of the cd, not least because of the seeming lack of desire for retailers to import recordings from overseas. Previously, for example, SP&S used to carry a large range of recordings by overseas bands, in particular the staff sections. In recent years, several have not been imported, and the cost of shipping can add considerably to the outlay involved. This is clearly not an issue where downloads are concerned.
  6. julian

    julian Active Member

    I too prefer the disc Peter. Perhaps it's a bit old fashioned, but I like to have something tangible in my hand for my money! - I'm always afraid that downloads will get lost in into cyberspace and I'll be left with nothing! Plus downloads are good in our main car, but I cant play them in our old 2 seater roadster.
  7. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Definitely know the feeling... Especially if you've ever had a harddrive corrupt on you and not kept backups of the important stuff
  8. julian

    julian Active Member

    Ouch! I'm not very technically savvy when it comes to computers. I would be afraid I would loose my entire collection at the push of a button.

    Just as an aside. Why is it that when all of us of a certain age gave away our L.P.'s and turntables that vinyl is making a huge comeback? !!
  9. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I appreciate the comments. I too much prefer to have a CD in hand. Peter, I know all too well the cost of importing as I've spent a ton of money buying LP's and then replacing some of them with CD's; then had to pay customs duty and's been an enjoyable but very expensive interest over the years. I also experienced the loss of some downloaded files; for example iTunes doesn't appear to allow subsequent downloads of previously purchased music as WoB does. I'm really surprised that LP's are making a bit of a comeback; I don't miss the pops and ticks at all.
  10. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    There are various things that change with MP3 compression, and the amount they change / become apparent is variable alongside the bit rate of the MP3 file. You don't need to put it through good equipment, really, just something where you can hear what's going on....the places where it's more noticeable is on higher frequency material - with brass band recordings that generally means things like cymbals, snares and various other bits of percussion, although you can hear it on the actual brass as well...

    Initially MP3s were offered for download at anything between 128kbps (where the effects can be obvious!) and 192kbps (which is ok for noisy a push) they're more commonly available at 320kbps because of the availability of higher speed internet and because storage media is relatively cheap.

    FLAC files - especially those offering 'mastering grade audio' or some such - may or may not be worth it depending on the source. There's been a trend offering 96kHz (or even higher sample rates) / 24 bit files for download. Quite often the need for these - especially 24 bit files - is moot as the extra dynamic range that's offered over 16 bit (which is what is 'standard' on a CD) is quite often squashed out in the mastering process and / or lost in the noise floor of the recording (aka in order to make the most of such file formats, everything about the recording including the venue and all the kit has to align with the stars....the presence of the 96/24 doesn't make stuff automatically 'better').

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