Will the ipod be the death of the CD?

Tonight on NBC News a segment on the final days of "Towers Records" closing. Record retailers are going out of busines because of the ipod and digital downloading of music from the internet.

There are some who say the CD will be gone in less than 5 years.

What the heck is ipod?

How is the sound quality?

Can I connect it to my 2ch audio system?

The errors associated with trying to read a disk whether its LP, CD or DVD is a real problem.

Flash memeory and other types like it have no need for error correction or missed data, pops and clicks, no vibration no nothing...BEAuTIFUL! source
I know there is a digital music system called ipod. But I have not, as yet, heard music from one of them.

As for downloading music from the net, I can honestly say I have not, as yet, done that either. Does the downloaded music sound as good as the original CD?

I don't know about the rest of you, I enjoy going to a record shop and browsing and picking out Cds to buy.

Call me old fashion.....
To begin with one can not download music from internet in full CD/WAVE format but only in MP3, so untill that will be avalable I don't think it really any competition. And I don't belive those record companies will ever allowed that to happened.
P.S. After reading this coment about alleged "out of business" sale I checked up my wish to buy list whith Tower Records and as a antisipated NONE out of about 20 items are on sale. Probably just anohter B.S. sale of junk items.
BTW i love my Ipod when working out in GYM or riding trains but always burning all music from my CDs in full WAVE format. Nut no way you can substitude good CD transport with Ipod.
Good question.

Very long answer, but I won't go there.

CD = digital music = music broken down into binary code or zeros and ones. You can store those same zeros and ones on any kind of hard-drive or medium that is capable of digital storage.

Greater resolution of a passage of time/music = more zeros and ones and more space required to store them.

Less resolution = less space required = more distortion = not so great sound for the discriminating person.

MP3 or various forms of low-resolution music = less space = less resolution = more distortion = not so great sound.

WAV file or Apple Lossless file (other, much larger digital files) = CD quality sound = verbatim resolution to the original CD.

iPod = a miniature hard drive with an audio interface to attach headphones or a line output. iPods have a built-in DAC to convert the zeros and ones to an analog signal that sounds kind of like music. It is mostly used for headphone listening and occasionally hooked up to stereo systems or various boom-box-like iPod playback systems. The sound is OK, but because you are limited to amplifying the analog signal produced by the less than desirable DAC in the iPod, it is certainly not high-end audio. It really depends on how discriminating you are, and what you enjoy. It is an impressive piece of technology.

I don't think the 5-year prediction is going to be so, but it is certainly not a long stretch.

Downloaded music is low-resolution (compressed) music and does not sound good IMO. Digital music can sound pretty darn good, and you can load high-resolution WAV files onto an iPod and have an enjoyable experience if you like headphones to get you through a workout, or some tedious work, for privacy, etc. For now, an iPod does not sound as good as it gets through a stereo. Far from it.

I like going to record shops too. I own an iPod and listen to it on average about 3-5 days a week while working if no other music is available. I never hook it to my system. I have tried it and it doesn't sound very good compared to other means at hand.

OK, that was pretty long, but one could go on in greater depth. Hope that helps. See you at the record stores, as long as they're around.

You ask what an iPod is, you can learn all about it,

No, I don't believe an iPod sounds as good as CD (even with un- compressed transfers) and I don't think downloaded MP3's are equal to CD.

I own a black 30GB iPod video, bought at Ebay for $151.00 with all accessories. For that amount of money it's worth having to avoid the bad music at my gym and the noise during long flights.

Other than that, I can't say I'm very fond of it's performance, even with my hot $300.00 headphones. Then again, my good system won't travel in my pocket.
Marco (Jax2) describes the issue well. I guess I am one of those convinced that CDs will probably but unfortunately be replaced by internet download services. Why unfortunately? I too like bricks & mortar browsing. My real fear is that when this happens, resolution which is as "high" as CD resolution gets ignored. However, I expect we'll be OK as there are enough of us who would complain. After all, what is the purpose of making ever higher-resolution digital recording technology if playback is restricted to 128k.

I will third the commentary about the the iPod itself not being an optimal solution. But for what it does, it's OK.

Albert, if you wanted significantly better performance from your iPod on flights (not the gym), you could try something like a battery-powered Headroom Desktop series amp with a DAC built-in. I think it would work off the digital output (cable out the bottom to USB port on DAC) thereby avoiding both the DAC and the op-amps in the iPod. Disclaimer: I have not tried them but several friends have the mobile and micro series Headroom amps (without DAC) for their iPods/headphones and think the world of them.
Yeah Albert, those Megaline's would take both pockets, and leave no room for the turntable!
CD users of tomorrow are like vinyl users of today. History may well continue to repeat itself.

One thing it occured to me now to add to my previous post; as long as iPod playback is limited to the use of it's internal DAC to make the conversion to an analog signal, iPods will be a compromise in terms of any expectations of being an effective front-end to a high-end system. Apple did recently announce a digital/USB protocol that is supposed to be implemented which would enable getting a digital output from an iPod (perhaps). If that actually happens it would have very promising potential in terms of getting much better sound by using the iPod as a digital front-end source through a system.

Alternatively you can build a PC-based front end by ripping digital files to your computer at full or lossless resolution, using an external DAC. That method can certainly provide a very rewarding front-end and will give most CD players a run for their money. That method would certainly sound better than iPod playback.

As an addendum to T_Bone's recommendation of an additional head-amp for improved iPod listening; I've read a few reviews that put the Meier Audio $200 unit from Germany at the top of the heap for compact amplification. No experience myself with any of those units, but it may be a future investment as I do use my iPod frequently for similar purposes as Albert does. Vinnie, over at Red Wine Audio does do a modification to the iPod's line-out circuit that is supposedly an improvement over the stock circuit. I believe it's received some favorable press but I have no experience with it.

You could very well see the dumping of CDs as we did with vinyl. I for one have found great bargains not only with my vinyl addiction but also with used CDs in thrift and believe it or not pawn shops. Many Telarc and reference recording have been found, along with other's for about two dollars or less.
Forget about IPOD replacing CD, it's ruining the audiophile hobby as we know it! Think I'm over-reacting? I predict that each succeeding generation will have less and less inclination to sit in front of a properly set up system and just plain listen. Wish I was wrong but I believe this to be true!:(
Unfortunately most people are not that aware or are indifferent to the difference in sound quality. This might put high end sound behind the eight ball again some day. Honestly, there is a lot of music recorded to CD now that has lousy production and a lot of compression. This hobby is still a pretty small one considering how many people listen to music witheout thinking too awful much about the sound. We are to a large extend at the mercy of the industry already.
I agree with Chazro with his assessment about many young people sitting and listening to music and truly reflecting and trying their best to understand what a composer is saying. What with the short attention span in many and with the lost art of what constitutes good music. I believe convenience will win out the day.
Marco, isn't the iPod digital in/out (the recharging and music loading in/out at the bottom of the iPod box) capable of producing a signal output? It does seem to have a USB out so one should be able to run it right into a USB-capable DAC. Thanks for the RedWineAudio idea - very interesting way to get dock functionality in a good quality package.
Marco, isn't the iPod digital in/out (the recharging and music loading in/out at the bottom of the iPod box) capable of producing a signal output?

Currently it is only capable of producting a line-output, which is marginally a better signal than the one through the headphone jack which goes through the internal op-amp. Digital output is not yet possible through any of the current iPods. this thread addresses that very subject directly. There are a few others as well. But that one dispells some false advertising on the part of either Monitor Audio or Audio Advisor that had suggested the contrary in their claims about the iDock.

Thanks much Marco. All of which means the way to go in terms of sound quality might be the RedWine mod + an outboard amp...

Anyone ever tried the Red Wine Audio mod for iPod?
I think that it is misleading to make a blanket statement about downloaded music not sounding as good as music from a CD. I know that compressed music (e.g., music downloaded from iTunes) is compromised in ways that audiophiles find objectionable. However, in listening tests (playing music from my MacBook Pro into a DAC via Toslink) I played songs imported from CD's via Apple Lossless and included a song downloaded from iTunes in with these CD songs, and have yet to have listeners correctly identify the downloaded song. These listeners have plenty of experience listening to highend gear, so that doesn't explain this finding, and my system (see virtual system description) is reasonably revealing, so that doesn't explain it. Could it be that the music I've used for this test is all in a limited frequency range (i.e., male or female jazz, folk, or Blues singers mostly)that doesn't display the limitations of compression? I don't know the answer to my question, I really would like to hear what you people think might explain this phenomenon.
T-Bone - haven't tried the Red Wine mod, but have tried drinking red wine while listening to music (but not on my iPod). I recommend a nice Zin or Chateau Neuf de Pap. Seriously, I haven't tried Vinnie's mods but I believe they've received some good press at 6moons. Vinnie is very responsive to emails as well. Knowledgeable fellow.

Bruce_1 - If you like the Parkay, have at it. I DO believe it's not butter though. Whatever works for you. Why are you concerned about these "listeners" you've enlisted to discern one from the other? What about YOU? Have you had someone try the same test on you. Take just one song that you're really familiar with and have someone play it back in both formats. Do it blind if you like. Listen through the entire song both times. If you can't tell the difference you've saved yourself a whole bunch of hard disk space, although that commodity is awful cheap these days. More to the point, try ripping a WAV file and a MP3 file of the same song and listen to it on your iPod with headphones. I'll bet you can tell the difference. If not, enjoy the music..whatever format it's in.

Jax2: Good suggestion (comparing a song from CD to same song downloaded). I'll definitely give it a try. The particular downloaded songs that I, and the other listeners, have thought sounded as good as ripped CD's might be "special cases" that would sound better than the average CD if imported like the other songs (I have only done this test for only a few really well recorded songs). But here's the thing: Something must be going on with some of the compressed songs that keep us from being able to know which is "obviously" the downloaded song, don't you think? I'd love to do the demo for you to see if you could identify the downloaded song. I think you might be as suprised as we have been for SOME of the downloaded songs. My thought is that maybe downloads aren't quite as bad as we tend to think if we can be fooled at least on occasion. At least that's one hypothesis. All of the 4300 songs I've ripped from CD's are in Apple Lossless because I could tell a big difference in that and the AAC settings when I originally compared the two. I personally can hear a significant difference between playing a song through my system via the iPod vs through the MacBook Pro, so I can hear the quality distinctions others do in these cases. I'm only perplexed by this occasional download phenomenon.