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Thursday, 12 September 2019


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About 30 years on and still loving my ‘toy’ SOTA Sapphire with Cosmos arm board and (Wheaton) Tri-Planar tonearm personally installed by Herb Papier, near Wheaton, Maryland. But I have replaced the cartridge.

[I got to meet and speak to Herb Papier once. A courtly, quiet, reserved gentleman. --Mike]

My life long tinnitus has saved me from Audio Lust 8-) If I can't hear the difference ...

Speaking of format change Barron's wrote: Apple Is Becoming a Camera Company. It’s Smarter Than Everyone Thought.. https://www.barrons.com/articles/apple-pivots-with-new-iphones-as-powerful-cameras-51568153865?mod=hp_DAY_4 BTW I read this article on my iPhone eXcesS, while waiting for my lunch to arrive. I'm always amazed at how long it takes the MSM to get-a-clue.

Fascinating. Virtually spans my entire life. I do believe 8-track was mainly a North American format. My family had a player and a few cartridges due to a period in Canada around ‘74 but outside of that small stash, I never saw one in anywhere.

The Fandango was incredible. Boccherini always takes me to the Aubrey/Maturin Books by Patrick O'Brian. The Captain and the Doctor often played Boccherini and Corelli in the evenings, after dinner.

Yes Mike I listen to CDs, mostly jazz, when my kids let me. Hopefully I can find a car with CD player whenever the time comes to get a new car!

Probably because of my age, I have no interest in streaming music. I want to *own* what I pay for and I want to hear *albums*, not random songs. I started getting into music in the 90s, so everything I own is on CD. I don't want to buy new players every time new technology comes along and I don't want to invest the time figuring out the best quality of new technologies. I listen to mostly 70s and 80s punk/post-punk/alternative, so there are lots of used CDs around if I don't own something. Also, CDs are easy to save as lossless and create a spare CD in case one gets scratched. I just may need to invest in a digital to analog converter if my CD players bite it.

Cars do force new music technology on you, but my car is from 2002 and so it plays CDs...and cassettes! Back in 2002 even a cassette deck was rare (and probably pointless). The chart appears to have the 2001-2002 cassette markets as under 4%, so who at Acura thought they should provide a cassette deck on a 2002 model? I've heard the *coolest* hipsters now are trying to bring back cassettes since vinyl is too mainstream again (eyeroll). But I've read that you can't restore most old cassette players since the rubber belts in them deteriorate and the belt sizes were never standardized.

I'm a bit of a retro person so one day I may have a turntable and tube amp. On the other hand, newly pressed vinyl is expensive so I may just keep on rocking the CDs.

Boccherini always brings the fun.

I took a screenshot of the year I graduated from high school (Vinyl-67%, 8-Track-23%, Cassette-10%) and was reminded how much I hated 8-Tracks back in the day. I never owned an 8-Track player but my buddies did. I couldn’t bring myself to buy something that changed tracks in the middle of a song and changed the song order of the album. I opted for the cheapo Radio Shack cassette deck that bolted up under the dash and tapped into the fuse box for power. It transformed my rusty, unreliable jalopies into something cool…in my mind anyway.

CD's will make a come back. As you mention, the quite parts are perfect and the German recordings are very hard to beat.

Like software, I have an ingrained hatred of renting so a permanent (or semi) copy is great and therefor streaming is anathema for me.

Interesting article and graph, but ... "Does anyone listen to CDs anymore?" Are you kidding? I have more than 1,000 CDs, admittedly ripped as WAV files to hard drives, and I listen to them daily (no, not all of them, Horace).

I was an LP user from around 1967 and had a peak collection of about 500 with Thorens, SME, Ortofon etc to play them, but I hated them for the surface noise, inner groove distortion and throttled dynamic range. When CDs arrived, I was in heaven at last. Yes, they weren't great at the beginning, but from the early 90s they became beautiful recordings and I replaced a great many of my LPs with the CD versions, then gave the LPs away.

I haven't really tried downloaded music but I have internet radio and listen to UK classical stations, but there are glitches and interruptions at times. I'll sample music from Amazon or others and buy the CD if I like it. I'm very happy with CDs, thank you.

By the way, I don't think 8-track was ever a thing in Australia at all. And they didn't include MiniDisc! I have three MiniDisc recorder/players and about 100 (indestructible) discs and they'll outlast me.

Mike, this punter certainly still listens to CDs (having c.2000 of the little buggers). The idea of trusting several hundred hours of burning toil to a vulnerable hard-drive (and then garage-selling the hardware) is unthinkable to me, while the tactility of the process of playing a CD satisfies the anachrophile in me (I don't need the extra hassle/commitment that vinyl necessarily imposes). Also, I can't wrap my head around paying for something I don't then own - to me, streaming is just a radio-show whose playlist the listener controls.

You also mention the early enthusiasm of classical fans for CD. It wasn't just the silent deeps; the advent of a 70-minute plus format resulted in an explosion of recorded classical repertory - repertory that would never have found its way into the public conscience had vinyl continued to dominate.

And, to go back to the question of who plays what still - which is more likely to last longer, an-already ten year old, respectfully-treated CD or an expensive 180 gram pressing that's bought today?

I seem to recall that fans of piano based classical were the biggest fans of CD due to something about pitch. Yes I have some DVD-A's and SACDs they were good better than CD but by the time CD was good enough for most. A good record player was always more involving than CD to put on the music and many were sculptural wonders ie Gyrodek or the Delphi. I still buy CD's but rip them to the Flac but buying them supports the small struggling bands I love so.

Funny this came up...8 track is everywhere! I was talking with a journalist buddy of mine that used to run a 'Zine review publication back in the day, and he mentioned he was down at Quimby's in Chicago looking at the vast amount of paper 'zines still around, and one of them was an 8-Track 'zine that was still going after many, many years! Goes to show you something...

I also remember my brother having a Sharp 8-track recorder, of all things....

Streaming remains a mess for classical music, as the metadata formats just aren't designed for it, and the lazy record companies don't even do it right before uploading to the streaming companies. I'd like to listen to all four movements of the same symphony, in order, from the same performance...

[Yes, even iTunes makes a mess of it. --Mike]

Once again, the comments enhance the post!
I am resisting getting a newer car as my present Lexus has both a tape player and 6-CD autochanger.
My cassettes are a treasure to me. In the 70's I spent a lot of money always buying the best recorder I could get. I would buy an LP and record it for the car player. But when I had a quiet weekend at home I would pick the best tracks from different albums for a C90 compilation.
In MOST cases Pre-recorded tapes were just not up to it.
Rock on, TOP!

I still sometimes listen to CDs. Although most of mine are now packed in boxes in various closets, I still have a massive number stacked on shelves around the sound system. I've always been an accumulator of things--LPs, CDs, books. Finally tossed out the boxes of old cassette tapes I had for decades. Sorry, I know the Walkman anniversary is kinda retro trendy but cassettes simply sucked for sound quality. But they played well in cars before the CD came along.

For the life of me I cannot understand why the SACD never took off for audiophiles. At one time I wouldn't buy a standard classical CD because SACDs sounded so much better. Love those RCA Living Stereo and several of the Mercury Living Presence SACDs. I still have two Sony SACD players I've been babying along for years. Today, the discs and players are dinosaurs but I still love the sound.

But like most folks these days, I generally listen to music on my iPhone through earbuds or with Bluetooth in my car. Convenience wins every time.

I occasionally listen to CDs, as I have a collection that includes some SACD titles. I never tried DVD-A, so I don't know which of SACD & DVD-A is "superior". But I prefer DSD/SACD to most Red Book CDs.

For "real" listening, it's vinyl, so I am thrilled that vinyl has made a comeback. And aside from having new releases (and re-releases) available, vinyl resurgence has supported the used market. I can pick up some really nice finds at thrift stores for as little as $1.07 (99 cents + tax in New York State) ... if I buy a bummer, so what? I've discovered new-to-me music and artists that I really enjoy. And the cover art and liner notes are sometimes worth the price of the entire album!

I was web surfing this same topic recently and saved this quote that resonated with my opinion:

"My takeaways: for my purposes used cds ripped to a lossless format are the enjoyment per dollar leader..."

-Kurt Hertel, https://darko.audio/2016/06/the-provenance-issue-that-plagues-hi-res-audio-hra

I get the feeling that streaming is really the new radio - the only difference is direct subscription, which radio can't achieve. Certainly, that's the way we use it (when we do). That would make the chart a little unfair - although I don't know what the sales volumes look like.
Like many other commenters, I still buy my music on CD & rip to a server. Having had 3 personal server crashes, seen online services come & go, I'm still going to put my cash into a physical artefact.

You would almost certainly enjoy the Techmoan channel on YouTube. Start here: https://youtu.be/jVoSQP2yUYA

Keep in mind that most of the new vinyl pressings are heavier weight Lp's and are not low priced by any standard. Too many are limited editions at high prices. I have been actively buying some ancient LP's, 45's, and 78 singles, mostly from Italy. Just got in a scarce jazz 10" LP by Nino Impallomeni. The shipping is ghastly. I took an interest in the Fonit releases by English pianist Alberto Semprini. It is nice to get them digitized and cleaned up for a better listing experience. Especially a treat when the 78's don't get broken in shipping. And yes I do still buy CD's of film scores, especially by Thomas Newman. I have over 3000 CD's but most are in storage after a move. I miss the European electronic music by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. All of this music is like all the photos you take, but rarely seem them due to the quantity. So many passions other than photography.

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