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  Reply # 1225030 29-Jan-2015 23:51
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kiwitrc: How much are CDs these days? Say for a new release.


From JB-HiFi generally cheaper than iTunes, and the resulting file when you rip it is of better fidelity.  I haven't looked in other places as JB seem to be the best when swapping faulty CDs and DVDs.

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  Reply # 1225051 30-Jan-2015 00:45
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Glassboy:
kiwitrc: How much are CDs these days? Say for a new release.


From JB-HiFi generally cheaper than iTunes, and the resulting file when you rip it is of better fidelity.  I haven't looked in other places as JB seem to be the best when swapping faulty CDs and DVDs.


Yep, my experience also as a general rule.

I have to say I have no regrets about maintaining a music collection based in CDs (even if I never actually play the actual CDs), I made the decision to go with CDs about 8 years ago envisioning a time when I would abandon mp3 and re-rip them to FLAC, and now I've done it and have the NAS I'm pretty happy with where things are sitting music-wise where fidelity and convenience are concerned.




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  Reply # 1225056 30-Jan-2015 02:34
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kiwitrc: Anyone using it yet? I assume you would need to get around the GeoBlocks to do so.

Android App https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aspiro.tidal

Also available on apple

W
ebsite  http://getlossless.com/




I was imagining lossless as in compressed but still lossless like FLAC or WAVPACK etc... but the bitrate on the home page says 1411kbps. That's 16-bit 44,100Hz 2 channel linear PCM's bitrate.

That's not even what I would call lossless terminology. That's just a straight PCM file. Even better!

As a former sound engineer and working in broadcast radio, I'm very happy to see the slow push to lossless distribution full stop.

Cheers,
Gavin.


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  Reply # 1225104 30-Jan-2015 09:04
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I've also gone for the option of buying cheapish CDs and ripping into lossless (ALAC) files, then streaming to the stereos around the house.  Then I mostly use Spotfiy for exploring new stuff and 'try before you buy'. I also transcode these larger files to smaller lossey files when syncing onto portable devices like phones and iPods - where storage is more scarce and I'll just be listening through ear buds anyway.  iTunes etc do this 'out of the box'.

Also worth noting though now that you can just buy HD downloads directly.  This cuts out the CD delivery time and ripping process.  The sites I use are hdtracks.com and acousticsounds.com.  Note, both need geo-unblocking to buy from.  The downside on these (at the moment) is that prices are still fairly high.  e.g. $18 USD for an album. 

The difference with the music from these HD download sites is that not only are they lossless, but in most cases they are higher resolution again than CD.  1.e. 24 bit/96 kHz or 192 kHz.  I personally don't think there is an audible difference with this extra resoluation - but that's another very extensive debate raging all over the place.  However, they are at least as good as CD and if the price is competitive with CD, then the extra resolution isn't gonna hurt, given how cheap hard drive capacity is these days.  

If you are interesting in music quality, in my opinion, often the remastering of albums has a much more significant effect on sound qulaity than just increasing the resolution. As I understand it, a lot of older albums were quite quickly whacked onto CD back in the early nineties and the mastering of those often wasn't great.  Now, in a lot of cases, they are being carefully remastered and re-released.  The HD download sites seem to have a lot of those and in these cases are often competitive with the price of the associated CD.

Some people may say that remastering, "deluxe versions" etc are all just cynical record company marketing.  In a lot of cases that's probably true, but I have listened to remastered versions side by side with older versions and can hear the improved clarity etc - which I can't hear with just increasing the resolution above CD quality.  Good examples are the new remastered versions of all the Beatles albums done 2009 at Abbey Road under George Martin's supervision.  You can buy those on CDs or get the whole lot on one USB key in lossless.



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  Reply # 1225272 30-Jan-2015 12:17
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Totally agree that quality remastering makes vastly more difference than 24-bit etc (I also fall on the side that believes there really isn't audible difference between lossless 16-bit and higher resolutions). As you say, the quality of said remasters varies greatly. Some are superb, and others are just victims of the loudness wars. When I'm back to desktop I'll dig up a link to a site that rates remasters on things like decreased dynamic range and so forth.




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  Reply # 1225412 30-Jan-2015 14:41
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Earbanean: 

The difference with the music from these HD download sites is that not only are they lossless, but in most cases they are higher resolution again than CD.  1.e. 24 bit/96 kHz or 192 kHz.  I personally don't think there is an audible difference with this extra resoluation - but that's another very extensive debate raging all over the place.  However, they are at least as good as CD and if the price is competitive with CD, then the extra resolution isn't gonna hurt, given how cheap hard drive capacity is these days.  



I find the step change is definitely audible playing from my Pono to pretty much everything (including my car head unit), that's using testing using tracks from Linn.  On my iPod classic I can hear the difference between CDs ripped to ALAC and MP3s and MP4s.  I can't here the difference between a normal MP4 and a mastered for iTunes.  The difference in the Mp4s is audible when played on the Pono.

Pono (corp) have said that most of the tracks they have source are still 16/44100Khz because that's what the studios can give them.  Still that's much better than lossy MP3s, even at 320Kbps.
 

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  Reply # 1225427 30-Jan-2015 15:01
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Pono (corp) have said that most of the tracks they have source are still 16/44100Khz because that's what the studios can give them.  Still that's much better than lossy MP3s, even at 320Kbps.
 


16/44100Khz is the resolution Tidal is delivering.  So for (say) $20 month you can stream unlimited music (subject to bandwidth) from Tidal.  That wouldn't even buy one 16/44100Khz album on Pono.

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  Reply # 1225468 30-Jan-2015 16:22
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16/44100Khz is the resolution Tidal is delivering.  So for (say) $20 month you can stream unlimited music (subject to bandwidth) from Tidal.  That wouldn't even buy one 16/44100Khz album on Pono.


True, but slightly unfair comaprison, because once you've bought an album from Pono (or whereever), you can then listen to it at no further cost for the rest of your life.  Whereas with streaming through Tidal, you have to keep paying the $20 per month.

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  Reply # 1225475 30-Jan-2015 16:39
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Earbanean:
16/44100Khz is the resolution Tidal is delivering.  So for (say) $20 month you can stream unlimited music (subject to bandwidth) from Tidal.  That wouldn't even buy one 16/44100Khz album on Pono.


True, but slightly unfair comaprison, because once you've bought an album from Pono (or whereever), you can then listen to it at no further cost for the rest of your life.  Whereas with streaming through Tidal, you have to keep paying the $20 per month.


Agree with that.

For my part, in recent times I have had to think long and hard about the economics of my music collecting habit.  What is a music CD?  It is a 16/44100Khz audio file burned to a plastic disc, together with a small booklet of notes and artwork, and a cheap plastic case.  If I subscribe to Tidal or a similar service (and maintain that subscription long term), which I suspect I will, then the only additional value I get from a CD purchase is the plastic case and small booklet of notes and artwork.  Put like that, my CD collecting hobby starts to look like hoarding.

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  Reply # 1225696 30-Jan-2015 22:25
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automaton: 
Agree with that.

For my part, in recent times I have had to think long and hard about the economics of my music collecting habit.  What is a music CD?  It is a 16/44100Khz audio file burned to a plastic disc, together with a small booklet of notes and artwork, and a cheap plastic case.  If I subscribe to Tidal or a similar service (and maintain that subscription long term), which I suspect I will, then the only additional value I get from a CD purchase is the plastic case and small booklet of notes and artwork.  Put like that, my CD collecting hobby starts to look like hoarding.


I have found there are some notable things missing from all online streaming that I can still buy fairly cheaply on CD.  Or maybe not so cheaply (e.g. "Peel Slowly and See" the complete VU collection).  I'm not at a point where I'm happy to let a particular service's distribution agreement shape my music listening.

My CDs are going to shortly be all boxed and stashed in the garage roof.  There are a few CDs that still need the attention from PonoWorld (JRiver) secure rip.

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  Reply # 1225698 30-Jan-2015 22:33
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There is also the risk that an artist will do a taylor swift and pull their back catalog off the service because they think they are worth more than people are prepared to pay.




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 1225739 31-Jan-2015 06:23
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Yes, there are a few advantages CD has over streaming.  However there are very few albums I have looked for, and haven't found, on Spotify (and I have fairly obscure taste).  There is also the risk that in the passage of time these services will prove to be uneconomic, so it will be back to CDs (unlikely in my view).  I like box sets too, and digital files could never replace those.

Another big advantage of CDs is that if you are fussy about sound quality (like me) it is easier to hunt down a particular remaster on CD.  

Also regarding masters - Spotify seems to have hundreds of dodgy looking albums with crappy covers that look like they were put together with Microsoft Paint - this only seems to be for very old music that it probably out of copyright.  I am not sure where these come from, but it is annoying, and you sometimes have to sift through a lot of those ugly releases to find a reliable version of the same recording (again, only with very old music).



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  Reply # 1225826 31-Jan-2015 12:21
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Yeah, always getting the "2012 remaster" version of tracks on spotify is annoying. But I dont want the hassle of plastic circles cluttering the place up so tend to use what for my other requests.




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 1225847 31-Jan-2015 13:03
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automaton: Yes, there are a few advantages CD has over streaming.  However there are very few albums I have looked for, and haven't found, on Spotify (and I have fairly obscure taste).  There is also the risk that in the passage of time these services will prove to be uneconomic, so it will be back to CDs (unlikely in my view).  I like box sets too, and digital files could never replace those.


Try finding something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz2Z26QOvrk with Spotify search :-)

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  Reply # 1225882 31-Jan-2015 13:54
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richms: Yeah, always getting the "2012 remaster" version of tracks on spotify is annoying. But I dont want the hassle of plastic circles cluttering the place up so tend to use what for my other requests.


After ripping mine all relocate to a box in our storage space.

In relation to CDs, I also like that I will be able to pass on my music too, when I shuffle off this mortal coil.




Twitter: @nztechfreak
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