RUN DON'T WALK from used Rega lasers.
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Robr45, alot of people say physical media is dead, and that is an interesting issue. Many people think physical media will never die, because of the pyschology of wanting to own something. People will still want to own copies of their favorite recordings, books, what have you. This is still true of many of the younger generation as well. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.
Learsfool has a point. I know audiophiles who prefer CDs and vinyl just because of the media aspect - handing the case/cover, seeing the cover art, the liner notes, etc. I am not one of these types of folks. We have two diametrically opposite opinions in this thread, I wonder if anyone else will come in and clarify one side or another.
I doubt I will purchase a single-CD player, my listening habits just don't support the single-disc thing.
FWIW, a friend of mine from school who used to be an executive for a couple of different record labels is definitely of the opinion that physical media will never die, and he says that this is the prevailing opinion by far in the industry. The psychology of it is the main reason for him too, but there are also the myriad complications of digital rights issues, which are not even close to being solved satisfactorily yet, and those will obviously have to be solved before any kind of huge change happens. That has been and will continue to be a very long process, no matter how quickly technology advances.
Physical media is dying- I don't think there is any question. And I argue the point that the younger generation still wants something they can hold. I am fairly young and I don't even see hints of this! Next step is local storage in my opinion. The idea that you have to store content on one device and it isn't available everywhere is already antiquated. You will simply stream everything from a cloud to any device you own.
The above can be argued- but even so I just can't see going out and buying a single cd player for big money in this day and age. Especially considering how unbelievably good 24 bit material sounds on a pc/mac.
Really? An ex record exec said that discs will never die? Imagine that. ;-)
Look at your VHS movie collection. Look at Netflix plans (and actions).
There's no denying that the future is in file-based media...it's only a question of where you want to be in the adoption curve. For some of us it's now; for others it's never. YMMV.
And x2 the observation that if you're a changer kind of guy, file-based music is a neverending party.
It will be interesting to see in the future whether file-based media really will take over in the music world. You guys could be right that eventually physical media for music will die as well. As I said, though, this will not happen much more than it already has until rights issues are worked out. This has been a long process, and will continue to be - there is no easy solution in sight. And even though some of the technology is there now, some of it isn't. There will have to be much better encryption than currently exists, for starters. And then there are many audiophiles who believe that digital will never rival a moderately good vinyl set-up, and this is not likely to change in the near future, either. Vinyl sales in fact are the only music sales that are climbing over the last few years, especially on the classical side. This includes downloads, which are also down across the board over the past year according to the latest figures I saw.
Learsfool- I agree with you but one point that I would mention is that what audiophiles believe is meaningless. We represent a tiny fraction of people who have 180 degree goals versus 99.9% of consumers. Audiophiles themselves cannot support a phyiscal media type on their own. If that was not the case DVDA and SACD would be thriving. The fact that vinyl sales are up is certainly encouraging- I listen myself but the overall number of LPs sold is still tiny.
The number of downloads versus CD purchased is exponentially rising from everything I read. One thing to realize- it is more than just how one wants to acquire the music. CD buyers have to buy the entire CD while people downloading buy the indidual tracks they want. That is a enormous fundamental shift in how music is purchased.
OK - so...back to the OP - which system do you think would sound better? We have one vote for and one against the Rega...
And regarding the fate of physical media - until a good solution for lossless downloads is implemented, for a broad range of genres, I will continue buying CDs, ripping them to WAV/AIFF/ALC, and letting the CD gather dust in storage. I expect the record companies would fight lossless downloads tooth and nail, if they knew what was good for them.
My litmus test for purchasing the CD vs. purchasing 256 .mp3 on iTunes is - if I like 2 or more tracks on the CD. If that is the case, I figure I might grow to like some of the other tracks, this has been the case in the past.
My litmus test is exactly the same. Ill be honest- I cant hear any meaningful difference between 256k AAC and lossless but I do rip to ALAC because who knows what playback technology might offer better resolution in the future. However, my reservations on buying 256k aac from iTunes are very few these days. I love the 24bit stuff and find it far superior to anything 16 bit but the catalog just isn't there yet.
In regards to a drive failing- I think it is easier to implement a disaster recovery solution that keep all the CDs around. A second hard drive or even RAID setup with some inexpensive software is easily had. Keep a 3rd HD that is updated occaisonally at a friends place if you really want to get crazy.
I think that PC audio is the best thing to happen to audiophiles in a long while- maybe even ever.
think catastrophic flood or lightning storm that sends electrical surge spikes thru anything and everything plugged into a wall. Its happened to my sister and a friend of mine (separate occasions). I think having the CD is the ultimate back-up, but I still do have a ton of download-based 128 and 256 .mp3's files in my library. I wish I could get them upgraded, but its not possible. I can definitely tell the diff between 128, 256, and lossless, when played in sequence, but picking them out in a blind test - haven't tried yet.
I have everything at 320 mp3, chose mp3 because most newer cd changers can read it. dunno if they can read 320 kbps tho! I don't think as many changers can read .m4a (.aac), have you burned your .aac files to a disk and played it in a player? Doesn't matter for me until I get something new, my Yami changer is from 1993, so I am iPod based until I figure something out.