Are We Talking CDs And CDPs Out Of Existence?

It seems the more we join the "CD is dying camp," the more likely it is to happen. We talk at listening sessions, at club meetings, at expos, on audiophile forums, we go into our dealers just to get opinions, to hear of the trends. Sure, some of our motive is in seeking reassurance that our CD collections and expensive players are still relevant. We are also agonizing over upgrading or abandoning different pieces of gear, but it's this tone of "the end is near" that seems to be hastening the transition. Yes, you can't stop the progress of technology, but there is also the idea of preserving the essence of a hobby. We say computers and files are so much more convenient and compact--forget about convenience--it's a hobby. If it was about convenience, you'd have speakers in your ceilings and a panel on the wall, a remote in your hand, music in every room at the touch of a button, a voice command--a glorified "Clapper." And you'd have that lousy sound to go with it. This is why you have an entire wall of gear--it's a hobby. If you're brewing beer, you don't go to a liquor store just because it's more convenient. Sell the boat and get the fish from the butcher's case. No, forget cooking it, just go out and eat. What, you don't want to get up and look at your collection, don't want to saunter over and put on a new disc, you want to run the whole thing from your lap? We lost knobs to remotes--now you just want a mouse? You're going to turn over that gorgeous fifty-pound player/turntable for a tin CD-ROM? (You'll have to spend for solid state memory, or the moving parts in your computer will be inferior to those in your high-end player.) Hell, forget the computer......there's a box for that and a DAC for the box. You won't have anything to do, nothing to handle or read. I'll take my old-fashioned player with all the memories of having it upgraded several times, the satisfaction of hearing the new plateaus, the assurance of having isolated it from vibration, of building the AC cables and interconnects--all the tweaks that go with big pieces of gear that comprise this hobby............
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It is good that these computer-based products exist for those who wish to fool around with them, but I agree with you that many people enjoy the act of going over to the media rack, flipping through the various selections, removing it from its case and placing it on the CD turntable. It's part of the experience, IMO.

But I can appreciate the other side as well. I was at an audio shop and saw someone demoing an Aurender server that was linked to an I-pad interface, and I understand how some might connect with that process as well. Plus, it sounded great too. although I didn't get into any actual comparisons.

I guess it's best to say that there's room for everything and the main thing is that companies don't stop making things that produce very good music in the home. I see no sign of that stopping.
CDs And CDPs Out Of Existence?
Not in my world! And I still play LP's too.
Why? For the enjoyment of Music Quality.
To get those hi-rez 24 bit 192Khz and DSD files to sound like music in all it's glory, you still need a very expensive DAC.
I'm not ready to give up my CD's and LP's for computer-controlled headaches.
I bet I'm not the only guy that did this, but when records disappeared, I sold my SOTA Cosmos with an SME 5 arm and Koetsu cartridge for next to nothing. If CD's disappear, this time around I'll be a buyer of a knock your socks off CDP.
Agonizing over? I'll agonize over cancer diagnosis or loss of loved one, but over audio gear or any other consumer good? Nah.
Computer audio is here to stay and will steadily become more user friendly in terms of implementing a home system. Currently people still experience glitches and bugs too often and there's no standardization amongst the many products available. This will be eventually settled. I just don't see Redbook disappearing at all for a long time. CDs are reliable and physical mediums, CD playback is very simple and straightforward, the glitch factor is very low. In a good player CDs sound wonderful and there are "TONS" of musuc available in the Redbook format many can be purchased at very reasonable prices. The two formats can coexist easily and will.
If we are, I condone it wholeheartedly! Let me add to it.

I didn't like CDs, with their jagged, shrill sound and expensive pricing when they came around, and I don't like them today. I recently redid my system and there is no question to me that well-made vinyl outperforms CDs every time. As far as computer audio, when there is not a better vinyl pressing out there or when its convenient or I just don't care then it matches or bests CDs as well.

The experience of flipping through CDs is miserable. I can't read the tiny type without glasses anymore, if I ever could. The cases feel cheap, because they are, and break. My wife has no problems with my vinyl collection and when people visit if they know audio, they look to it with admiration (except for the oddballs who are puzzled by it and one friend whose collection is much bigger). Nobody says anything positive about the CDs. I'm going to rip and sell them ASAP.
Currently people still experience glitches and bugs too often
All news is bad news so not aware all sucess stories. I've been using computer audio for 6+ years and it's very stable without bugs or glitches. Same with all my friends ... help we have some computer knowledge.

and there's no standardization amongst the many products available. This will be eventually settled.
It has settled with well defined interfaces but will naturally evolve like any technology IMO.
This topic comes up fairly regularly now. If we check the archives we will find me stating a similar sentiment as the op. That was a few years ago.
At this point though, it's been a while since I stood in front of the wall of cds or listened to a cd. Not something I miss in the least. Much simpler to browse my ipone or ipod touch to find the music on the Mac Mini.
Fifteen years ago or so I sold most of my lps and haven't regretted that move. This time I'll not be selling the cds as I want to keep the music I paid for and have ripped to the computer. Plus, they don't take up as much space as the lps did. I will buy cds as long as they are available as ripping them is a snap. What I probably will never buy is a replacement for my cdp, should it die.
As far as this being a hobby, I agree. But for me the hobby is more about listening than touching a disc. I say enjoy the hobby no matter where it leads.
I've been thinking about this very topic for a while. Like others in this forum, I have been a music lover and collector for a long time. I never ever sell any of my CDs so over the years my collection has grown to over 3000 titles and yes that includes classics like Debbie Gibson, Milli Vanilli, and Tiffany. Because of the size of my collection digitizing my library has made it possible for me to quickly and easily access my music. I've been streaming music for over 10 years but have always kept a cdp for my audiophile system. I think computer based music has caught up to SOTA cdps in terms of sound quality so for me it's a no brainer to switch to completely PC based playback. As Charles1dad mentioned, PC based playback is still too DIY though and thus not readily accessible to the general audiophile community. Regardless I think there will always be a niche for physical playback mediums like vinyl and CDs.

That being said, I am really thinking about keeping my cdp purely for nostalgic reasons. This is why I purchase CDs still. I like the process of opening the jewel case and reading the liner notes. This is why I grind my own coffee beans and wear a mechanical watch. As jafreeman posted, that is we call this a hobby. Long live this whacky, frustrating, expensive hobby!
I will always read hardcover books and never use a Kindle.
For some the transition to CA has been smooth (as with you and your friends) and with others it's a pain in the butt, expriences do vary across the board. This why I said the two formats easily coexist, it need not be a case where battle lines have to be drawn.
Whole heartedly agree with Charles1dad. I have been to the Front of those battle lines. The fighting there is merciless. I just don't get the militant aspect of some pro-
Computer Audio proponents. I don't even see the corporate support for research/ development from major Computer Manufacturers in Music Files. Computer Audio may be the only Audio Format where the "Users" do all of the research/
development. Will everyone eventually be qualified to do this? If not, what will be the alternative Format? This is still the vision of many Computer Audio proponents- a single Audio Downloading Format being the only one available. As if the entire music buying public will magically become "Rocket Scientist" Computer Audio specialists overnight. The alternative is giving total
"X-Active Control" of your Computer over to your favorite Music Server Manufacturer. Maybe having "CONTROL" over the
buying American Publics access to Music is the idea.
Does the N.S.A. get to monitor what Music we download
as well? Haven't we learned how Computers, and personal Electronic Devices, are being used to monitor our personal lives? Is Computer Audio nothing more than another avenue of
monitoring by "Big Brother" Government/Manufacturer? Why does nobody offer any security to protect the privacy of our purchases online- including Computer Audio? Buy one product Online, and you end up with a dozen similar advertising pop-ups! Boy, how did they all magically find out? Security, and privacy, are non-existent with Computers.
Same with portable electronic devices. Isn't Computer Audio only more of the same? Maybe we need to really think this Computer Audio thing thru first before ditching CD/CDP.
My point is when comes to CA, focus is always rough transition and all we hear and read. There will always be individuals with problems in anything, usually shout the loudest but in reality, PROBABLY only a minority.
You're right they could be the minority and very vocal. There have been enought of them though that I dont believe their numbers are insignificant or the complaints without some level of merit. When someone like you is very satisfied with CA that's good news and give much hope. I just don't ignore the others who report on the glitches and problems they've encountered. There are two sides to this story.
Perhaps I am being too pragmatic, but I do not have a strong attachment to any particular media. I am simply looking for the best, most emotive and engaging sound reproduction that I can reasonably afford. Also, I do care for flexibility, accessibility and convenience. I have high hopes for computer audio, over and above the cd, simply because it has the potential of providing excellent sound quality alongside great convenience. While my turntable still remains the sound quality champ in my home, my computer setup is beginning to be good enough that I have the hope it might someday surpass it. Were that to happen, I would not find it difficult to dispense with my turntable and analog collection. I do not have any romantic notions about particular technologies. The turntable is as much a technical apparatus as a computer or a cd player. I place the cd player as the least important component in my audio chain. Admittedly, I do so because it still retains some of the inconveniences that bedevil the analog setup, and I have placed my bet with the most convenient of the digital formats.
I just don't ignore the others who report on the glitches and problems they've encountered. There are two sides to this story.
I don't disagree there will always be individuals with problems in anything.

It doesn't take too much arm twisting for me to try something. If there are reported successes, I will give it a go ... glass half full instead of half empty. I guess we just have different attitudes which is perfectly OK.
I am the last person my friends would ever think of for help in anything computer related. I am ignorant at best around computers compared to my kids and many others.

That said, computer based audio is glitch free for this dummy and quite a breeze to be honest. I think it has progressed to the point that all of us can be comfortable with. I both spin CD's and use CA. Both are equally glitch free and easy for me my system. CA gets the nod as I don't have to spend 15 minutes looking for the CD I want anymore.
When I listen to computer audio I am prone to skip songs, change artists, genres, etc. When I put on a CD in my listening room, I actually sit back and enjoy the album. For whatever reason, listening to CDs is more enjoyable for me right now. I think I am a bit overwhelmed by the music server and dac options available too, and their prices.
Convenience is heavily driven by listening preferences - those who listen to entire albums vs those who prefer select songs within albums. I can see myself abandoning all LPs, tapes and CDs along with their associated gear if I did not want to listen to entire albums. But I do, and the fact that these mediums sound better than the current technology, makes listening and this hobby even more enjoyable.
Hi Grannyring,
I like your approach. When I find that CA is clearly sonically superior I'll happily make the transition(sound means much more to me than convenience). I've heard some very good sounding CA systems but they weren't better than a high quality CD set up. I could live with either but right now there's no compelling reason to change what I currently have.
Frankly, I don't give a rats a$$ what the medium is. I just want it to be good and convenient. Audio is not a hobby for me at all. It just happens to be the only way I can get superior sounding music. If someone invented an inexpensive and convenient way to get great music, I'd dump every piece of equipment that I own in a heartbeat and never look back. Playing a vinyl LP holds no romance for me...and I own two turntables and 3,000 LP's. I own a thousand cd's and an excellent cd player..I can't wait to put together a great sounding computer audio set-up to get away from the time consuming ritual of searching for cd's..and putting them away. To be able to simply go to an iPhone or iPad and choose my music is a dream come true. I will still never sell any of my cd's or LP's...I'm crazy like that. But, I do want great sound and convenience. The nostalgia of holding an LP or a cd doesn't mean squat to me...I only care about the music. The more convenient the better. If it's more convenient, it means I can listen to more of it.
Hi Mitch4t,
I'd say CA is an ideal solution for you, go for it and best of luck.
Charles, .
The better question is has the CD format(software/hardware) reached it's peak potential? I don't know! I do know that serious CA has only about 5 years under it's belt. It might take another 10 years for CA to near it's potential. IMO if you currently expect near SOTA sound in computer audio your "Jumping The Shark"!