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I fear for CD

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by zoolap, Apr 25, 2002.

  1. zoolap

    zoolap
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    I have a NAD C521 cd player + NAD C340 amp + mission m70s. I realize this is probably pretty c*** by the standards of most people here, but I enjoy listening to my cds on here.

    I have many mp3s on my pc and like the convenience of them, but they can't replace the cd. What I'm getting concerned about is these copy protection methods, especially ones which are embedded in the sound. If I do download mp3s i use them as a preview. If I like a song i'll go out and buy the album/single. Everyone seems to be copying nowadays and so I'm not surprised that copy-protection is taking place, but it annoys me that people like me who supports artists i like by buying their materials are being punished. I've been reading about the dvd players not playing cds as well e.g meridian - these are darn expensive. I doubt most people would buy such kit unless they cared about the music.

    I'm just worried that because of the endless copying, and i have nothing against legitimate copying, e.g. i have made compilations of my own albums and singles for myself, we will get more messed about cds.
     
  2. slingshot

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    Couldn't agree more, never mind the loss of income for the artist, people don't seem to either realise or mind how crap mp3 is.

    A few friends actually copied a track of a CD the other day and converted it to mp3 (OK techincally I'm guilty of copyright infringment, we do this so we can put several songs on an MP3 player and then try and learn them in a band I play in (we actually owned all the music before this).

    I then listened to one of the MP3's (muse - plug-in-baby) which I already knew quite well, and the quality was absolutely terrible (bear in mind this was on a set of 5 quid headphones), we had this big argument about MP3 quality and I was accused of being a snobbish audiophile, so I made everyone compare the mp3 with the original CD and now I've at least convinced 4 other people that mp3's aren't worth the disk space they are saved on.

    I firmly believe that copy protection is a waste of time, whatever the studios implement, will be cracked sooner or later (recently it's always been sooner). Surely they'd be better off spending that money on finding and procecuting guilty parties ?

    Anyway enough rambling, back to work listening to my original CD's and not downloading dodgy MP3's.
     
  3. MarkB

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    Hopefully the record companies will begin to see the merit in releasing SACD and DVD-Audio formats that are (at the moment at least) not copy-able.
    Mark
     
  4. micb3rd

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    I hate to make your conserns greater zoolap but Bill gates has been dealing with DVD manufacturers to put is in a chip for his WMA format of digital music.

    As quality goes the highest rate MP3 and WMA files are fairly hard to tell from the original normal CD source.

    When the bitrate drops down lower levels thats when the quality starts to trade off.

    There is a big market for MP3 and WMA, hence all the new portable "walkman" style players which hold from 32 megabytes to 20 gigabytes.

    It is not really a such a new thing copying music, the public has been able to copy from record to tape, tape to tape and from radio to tape for years.

    Ultimately it will be very hard to stop anyone taking a line level out from ausio hardware and running it into a computer, cd recorder or minidisk.
     
  5. micb3rd

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    I have done comparisons whith my beyerdynamic DTT 231 headphones, My Mission M73 floorstanders, my Alpine, Kicker and infinity speaker in the car.

    MP3 and WMA can be far from crap quality.

    The problem is most file sharing programs have lowish bit rates for most of the files, 128 kbs can be tolerable lowest bitrate but to some people the is a quality loss is to much.

    It would be intersteing to do a double blind test on a samlpe of people in the public to see if they could tell the differences between original CD's and various different bit rate MP3 or WMA music.
     
  6. Desticado

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    The quality of mp3 / WMA is totally dependant on the Bitrate the file is compressed at.

    Many people (without realising) compress their files at 56Kbps and also use a variable bit rate to use even less data where possible. For reasonable quality tracks you should compress at 128Kbps, and for best at 256Kbps.

    There have been several 'blind' studies done and at 128Kbps most 'audiophiles' could tell the difference between a CD and MP3 about 90% of the time. At 256K that figure dropped to about only 5%.

    Read about the scientific test

    At the higher sampling rates though the files start to become bigger (not overly large, but bigger none the less) and for most people the prime factor in favour of MP3 is the small file size along with the portability of the musical nature.

    Slingshot, You might want to have a read about some common MP3 Myths as I suspect you might subscribe to a few of them.

    Regards
     
  7. slingshot

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    All our stuff was done at 128k, and it was pretty awful, I'm prepared to believe that 256k will be better, and you may be able to buy better encoders (not sure what was used but it would've been free).

    To be honest I don't really care about the facts and figures, to me (and 4 other friends, who are staunch digital music supporters), there was a world of difference on the songs we compared.

    Fine 128k was acceptable on a pair of 5 quid headphones, but I really can't see it working on a home hifi.
     
  8. Desticado

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  9. Sh4rk

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    I find that cds sound far better whatever bit rate of mp3/wma i listen to. I have up to about 700kbps in some cases. I am using it with an Audigy 2, Nad c370 and B&W 602S3s. Even when using a cheap cd player Sony CDXPE 530, the difference is definately noticable. Is everyone listening to their mp3s with thousand pound sound cards because I definately can tell the difference between cd and mp3?
     
  10. Knightshade

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    Here's something to think about, particularly about the original title of this thread.
    LINN are no longer making the CD12. It has been withdrawn and there is no replacement. LINN say that they will wait till the market settles before investing heavily in research for a similar quality player in another format.
    When a company like LINN decide to do this the end for the CD can't be far away.....
     
  11. probedb

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    i've ripped my entire music collection to mp3 using EAC and LAME with very high quality VBR settings. i also use the MAD MP3 input plugin for winamp as well as an ASIO output plugin for winamp (no kmixer resampling everything to 48khz) and have it going over a digital connection to my amp. To be honest in my modest setup (Denon AV amp, KEF Coda 9s (the originals) and a Sony DVD player - actually highly rated by What Hi-Fi? at the time) I cannot tell the difference.

    But....I refuse to pay for music from places like iTunes. If I want an MP3 I want to encode it how I see fit. 128kbps CBR is simply not good enough for a lot of music, you end up with splashy treble and not nice bass if there's a lot going on.

    I think the problem is a lot of people don't care about the quality :(
     
  12. tom_nieto

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    If I were to buy a nice DAC I think my WMA collection would be able to compete with my CD collection. My Denon 3802 does a nice job, but you've got the problem that the computer can skip every so often and things go ping in the background, my CD player never crashes either. I find the analog outputs on PC sound cards are bad unless you invest a lot more money... which begs the question why not just buy a CD player and be done with it? If you're spending £120 on a soundcard presumably you've got the amp and speakers with phono connections to connect it to.

    mp3 encoders vary hugely in quality, and files can vary hugely in quality at the same or very similar bitrates. I've got some 64kbps WMAs (back in the day where HDD space was really limited) that sound better than 128kbps mp3s.

    I do have a large amount of WMA. The RIAA is coming, the horror... Frankly I spend almost all my disposable income on CDs and gigs (gigs support the artist much more than CDs do anyway). A huge downloaded mp3 collection just doesn't come close in coolness to a huge row of shiny CDs. You can't get bands to sign mp3s either :D My CD player is better than most computers will ever be at playing CDs. Digital music is great for random playlists, but if I'm enjoying a certain song and I've left the player on random it's irritating when it changes to a completely different artist. I use my computerised music mostly to transfer stuff to my net MD and to listen to new music that friends bring round. I've got a lot of singles on my computer that I wish I owned, but I just can't afford to buy every new single that comes out as well as the albums. I could probably spend £1000 on albums alone if someone gave me it in HMV... perhaps I should have doubled my CD collection instead of buying a decent hi-fi to play it on... hmm.
     
  13. nikyzf

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    :eek:

    That's a shock, but I guess the market wants something future proof, like the Unidisk.
     
  14. micb3rd

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    Woah, this thread is a blast from the past I posted to this originaly well over two years ago.

    I am very glad over zealous CD protection has not become prolific in the last two years.
     
  15. gavan

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    I'm using 160-224kbps VBR with LAME encoder, all options set to highest quality and really there is no detectable difference between CDs and the resulting tracks converted to mp3. This is when played through the digital output of my H140 on my hifi/home cinema setup. If I were to use OGG or WMA I'm sure I could achieve the same quality at even lower bitrates.

    Really, use a decent bit rate, VBR and a good encoder and mp3 is more than acceptable for everyday use.


    Gav
     
  16. zoolap

    zoolap
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    How do you think it is for me :D

    I'm gonna stick with cds for now until we get to a point where they stop selling them. My money is being saved towards potential upgrade from crt tv to projector (though it's a bit of a minefield picking the right one :D )
     
  17. Laurel&Hardy

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    Blast from the past.

    Funny but when the majors decided that they weren't going to release LP's anymore I had exactly those fears about LP. Strangely enough, over the last 2 years I've been able to get more LP's than I could have possibly have dreamed of. Somehow, I don't think CD's will have the same renaissance. If they get the format right, it should absolutley blow CD out of the water for sound quality, and this is part of CD's problem. The debate about CD V's LP was decided by the major labels, not by joe public who simply weren't buying these silver discs in any great volume until they were finding that LP's were deliberately not released or stocked, or worse still were afficted by some terrible pressing quality issues that had been banished for years, not to mention the doctoring of the sound to ensure that CD did sound better. That is not an exaggeration either - I have several examples of it. In essence CD was not the clear winner and for me, a person who owns so few CD's I will wait and see what new formats emerge as the contenders for primary music media. MP3 is secondary (copied and compressed) media, I am not interested in this.

    I still think LP is superior to CD and even against quality players like Naim, Musical Fidelity and Meridian I still find there is an immediacy and sense of timing with LP that is absent even with these well respected players. Don't get me wrong, the sound quality of all these players is very good and on their own you would have difficulty criticising them. It's just that I have been spoilt by having a family that has always bought top notch Hi Fi gear and even they admit that the old vinyl LP still has the ultimate edge when you get down and really listen to music. But they were eventually swung because CD's sound is still very good, but it is also convenient, and lets face it LP's are anything but convenient!

    So for me, I'm going to stick with LP's and see how all this pans out :)
     
  18. CJROSS

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    Laurel, I actually like both formats ie LP & CD in equal measures, they both have differing presentations to my mind and both have weaknesses/strengths the other posesses. I guess I am lucky in that respect, I think one area with vinyl that comes over as “sonic superiority” in peoples views of it how it sounds, have nothing to do with superiority per se as a format but simple as a personal preference of how people like their musical preferences conveyed. For me vinyl has a smooth fluidity that rarely is harsh but lacks the incisiveness that CD offers. There is both pos/neg vibes of both IMHO.

    Its very easy to stick with both IMHO, FWIW Ive heard plenty of DVD-V via a decent digital system (2 channel DAC) actually gets quite close to the fuidity of vinyl IMHO. Anyway does not stop me liking/enjoying CD, in fact Im enjoying Tom Baxters : Feather & Stone right now, is this available on Vinyl ? There is still a huge gap of what is actually available on vinyl comprae to new CD releases.
     
  19. overkill

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    Ditto! ;) :clap: My ol' Xerxes gives me excellent timing, first class sound staging and imaging and the incisiveness that some LP players lack. Personally though, I have all the current mediums. I did that with video (had a V2000, Beta, and VHS!) so why not music? Then you can dump the loser(s?) when the machine wears out............. These days though we're spoilt by having good quality multi format players, so it's not really a problem.

    Unfortunately, sound quality, or quality period, is not usually the deciding factor in a mediums survival. Vinyl was killed off because it's more expensive to produce than CD, with higher overall costs and low profit margins. So, when CD comes along with its low (very low) production and packaging costs, and massive profit margins it's not really a surprise that the producers bulk deleted vinyl and opted to push CD. This has become a problem in itself as CD is still very highly priced, yet the costs are now miniscule. Consumer awareness of this factor has led to hostility, and aggressive defense of the "golden goose" by the likes of the RIAA has actually pushed people into illegal downloading, and damaged CD sales. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot!

    Add to this the fact that the vast majority of Music users are not interested in quality reproduction (sales of midi and micro massively outweigh proper hi-fi), and you can see why music downloads (legal ones) to HDD mp3 players may well become the norm in future. DVD-A and SACD will probably become (espically at those prices!!) specialist mediums, with a larger (much!) market share than vinyl but nowhere near CD's past glories.


    As a final warning note Music medium shops are closing down all over the place, with Virgin for example, drasticaly cutting back their retail outlets. This is reflective of a general decline in music sales over the past decade and competition from the net. For example Kingston upon Thames had six music retailers in 1994, now it has one!
     
  20. dysfunction

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    I totally agree. I have an RCA mp3-cd player with Sony noise-cancelling headphones and record VBR mp3 at 192 kbps average. The sound quality is indistinguishable from WAV, even on my dad's Klipsch stereo (back when they were still designed by Klipsch himsefl and made by hand) with Phillips cd turntable. Now, if I play vinyls on it there is a very noticeable difference, as records in perfect condition have much preferable sound to digital formats.
     
  21. mjn

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    Most music companies will swap a copy-protected album for a non-copy protected album free of charge. I know its a pain, but no copy protection!
     

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