I think that streaming will become what most people use. You will be able to buy downloads if you want, but why buy a download if you can always stream the same album with the same quality?
Bandwidth for streaming and storage capacity keeps increasing for the streaming sources while cost continues to go down. My internet provider allows me over a terabyte of data a month now.
They have the thorny problem of sorting out who gets paid what while keeping the service at a cost that listeners will pay, though. Musicians will have to get paid fairly for their work or they’ll quit recording music.
Digital sound quality will keep improving for a long time to come. No need to get into a digital vs analog discussion.
I think that artists will still want to make albums and people will still want to listen to them. There will always be a market for singles as well. The future of digital audio looks good to me.
On the contrary, the faster advancing digital technology enables computer audio. Physical media will be phased out. Audiophile nowadays are very lucky with streaming media. Like digital camera and film camera, digital audio will be the only survivor. No one is shoot film camera now. Audiophile equipment company will have to adopt the new technology. The so called cloud computing translates into music streaming.
Before albums you had 78’s. Albums became possible because of RIAA compression and electrical amplification and the 33 speed meant you could get close to an hour of music on two sides of vinyl.
Currently the CD is the physical media that determines an album (just over an hour or enough to fit Beethoven’s 5th)
Once physical media disappears then the concept of an album will likely whither and we go back to individual tracks like 78’s or complete performances of a work or live show in a digital package.
i just bought Otis Redding Live at the Whiskey in 96KHz 24 bit as one complete digital package with 65 tracks.... it is already happening.
I think computer audio is here to stay and will even grow once the availability of CD’s becomes limited. Too many people have made the investment of time and money to ditch their hardware and music collections. And music files will survive due to iPods, tablets, and other portable devices.
Streaming is the future, but will coexist with computer audio. The younger generation will stay with streaming since many of them have never owned a CD. Many have never even paid for music since they share files with their friends and online associates.
And I’m afraid albums won’t matter anymore to the listener, even though I think record labels and bands will still present their music in an album form for download or streaming. Or as stated above, music will be available in some kind of digital package.
There are a lot of people like myself who will not commit exclusively to streaming due to the fact that you don’t own any of the music. If you stop paying the music service, you lose your playlists.
The reason I have kept my collection of vinyl and CD’s is that I like to own these recordings and their various packaging; it’s something tangible. I also like to have a music collection on my computer. With streaming, it’s paying a monthly fee to lease the music.
ps: It was Beethoven’s 9th that needed to fit on a CD; 76 minutes. But this story may only be folklore.
All interesting and insightful comments to be sure. I understand many people will not steam, since they like the idea of owning music files, to include CDs or albums. I myself do, on occasion, buy and rip CDs into my Itunes library. Therefore if I listen to something I like on Spotify, I will try to find it on CD to buy and rip. Still have a computer for this, still have a hdd for digital music files. Also I understand the album or analog Iuv, even though I have had a few turntables and don't like to fuss to extract the great sound, ie cartridge match, tonearm selection, cleaning record albums.
It seems the cost of quality digital streaming is really coming down. In a separate post I ask about the Bluesound products, with a Node 2 at a very attractive $500 price point. Really good turntables and computers as a comparison go well over that price!
Network players have already replaced computer audio for the most part, at least in terms of performance and value; that goes for both streaming content and privately owned libraries stored on NAS devices.
For those of us with sizable collections of non-released material (e.g. live concert recordings) NAS drives & network players won't be replaced by streaming services, but they surely make some sense for the future of commercial releases. My skepticism about the long term health of these companies is a problem not yet overcome. Cheers,
Wireless streaming is the way to go for best chance at best sound with low noise and distortion. Wifi or Bluetooth. Source can be any commercial computer capable of running the software needed if connections to streamers are wireless because there is no inherently noisy electrical connection to the devices actually making the sound.
Any newer device with good quality USB support will likely do quite well also especially if the DAC its connected to is newer as well and does most of the work involved to make the sound like reclocking, etc.
There is no reason to not give whatever you can a try and see how it goes. Chances are you will be pleasantly surprised. Plex software can dliver top notch sound quality and can be installed and used for free with most home computers. Apps that run on phones tablets or other wireless devices are only $5.
@mapman I respectfully beg to differ. IMHE, and generally agreed upon by wide consensus of many computeraudio-obsessed on CA forums, bluetooth audio isn't a serious competitor and barely deserves consideration in a high fidelity system. Wifi is far better than bluetooth, but although the electrical noise is reduced with wifi, wifi is not immune to wireless interference and it's sound quality rarely equals that of the same routers/NAS etc, when connected via a good quality CAT6 or CAT6A ethernet cable (e.g. Bluejean Cable). I've had a number here who tested this with me and none of us preferred the SQ via wifi vs. ethernet.
Also when you recommend "any commercial computer capable of running the software needed" that advice is broad brush and might help a novice who hasn't tried most of the digital concepts regularly discussed here. However, it isn't really going to help a more experienced audio enthusiast take his digital to near the highest levels available today.
Unless you are talking about HQ Player doing 8x DSD conversion etc., it is rare that any windows or mac o/s computer will be part of a top tier digital rig. I've tried most and other approaches discussed in many other threads take the digital game to as Keegan Michael Key would say "a whole 'nuther level". Cheers,
sbank yes its hard to generalize but my point is I’ve found its easy to get ones foot in the door with good quality digital sound these days, probably better than most have ever had in the past.
Of course its always possible to tweak and improve once you’re in the game.
I use wifi in my main system with no reservations. Have dabbled with newer higher quality bluetooth and see promise there but have not put that to the aid test yet. Soon...
RE: the original post
I just purchased the Bluesound Node 2 and I am very impressed
- neddless to say - my iMac will never be used for music again!
Computers are fraught with software and hardware compatibility issues. Every time a new upgrade or OS version is release the vendors of the playback software are left having to upgrade or re-write.
I lived with the iMac for a few years, but with the Bluesound is in the system - even my wife can use it without fear of crashes or glitches.
I’m a long time computer user, but the Bluesound has made me a convert.
It’s not quite as flexible as the computer, but its easy to use and I can live with the few things it does not do.
Looks like the Bluesound Node 2 is a game changer at such an affordable price.
Being network capable, you can play directly from your hard drive. Can you then save those files to the Bluesound?
The Bluesound Vault has a hard drive. not sure how easy it is to save songs to.
The Node 2 is just a streamer
Turns out I can get the Bluesound 2 connected to my home network and play Spotify. Sounds great so far but...
Cannot get Bluesound Node 2 to recognize AIFF files or folders created by Itunes on my Iomega extrenal HDD . Tried sharing over network from HDD and tried using BLUOS app on desktop with attached HDD. BluOs app on Iphone and desktop BluOs app will not see shared files.
Anyone know where to start?
I want to play my AIFF files over Bluesound app and player."
Is there a way to re-rip files in another format with another software program beside Itunes? Is there a way I can change the AIFF files or folders themselves?
Also, will I need to change some kind of tags to keep albums or playlists intact?
I don’t want to send the Node 2 back if I can get it to play my Itunes created AIFF files.
2psyop, I think you need to talk to support at Bluesound. If you can't find your answer on the forums send them an email and they will get back to you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, contact Bluesound.
from the website...
"Access your downloads and your entire iTunes library – or any other USB NAS drive connected – all without ever turning on a computer. Imagine – Your Music. Your way."
from online review...
"Bluesound is compatible with virtually all digital music formats — including high-resolution files up to 24-bit/192kHz. Access the music stored on your computer or a networked hard drive."
If your having any trouble/frustration at all contact Bluesound support As tomcy6 and lowrider57 have suggested.
They are fantastic; they respond quickly and will have you up and running in no time.
I wanted a great sounding well thought out streaming solution with great support; that’s why I went with Bluesound. It was a bit of a tough decision because there are some other fine streamers out there that by all accounts are excellent as well; but I have been very happy with my decision.
Like you, when I connected my Node 2 I was streaming and had music playing immediately but it wasn’t recognizing/playing my AIFF iTunes files. I couldn’t figure it out.
I sent a support request from the BluOS AP and within a few hours I had a response. I set up a phone call and remote access and in a few minutes was up and running.
Turned out to be a file sharing issue on my iMac. Once the parameters were activated I was set. Something that I could have handled if I was a little more computer savvy; but that’s exactly the kind of support I was looking for.
Anyways, just wanted share my experience with Bluesound support. They really are outstanding
2psyop - a couple points...
1. did you create an index?
- I think you might have to do this before you can play songs (my memory is going)
2. once you index you may see duplicate tracks
- e.g. I have MP3 and AIFF versions of some songs/albums - so I get two tracks on those albums.
- it’s a bit of a pain but forces you to clean up your library.
3. Creating playlists is not as simple/friendly as other library management software (no drag and drop as yet)
As the others have stated - call Bluesound support, they are very good (unlike Apple)
Great advice by everyone. I have contacted Bluesound support. Once they get back to me and I have a fix I will update for all to see.
I know there will be some work on my part, I don't mind. Just don't know exactly what needs to be done.