CDs on the slide still, LPs Double

rdale

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What is worrying to me is that CD sales are falling off a cliff, record shops are closing and yet pretty much all we've got to replace them are lossy compressed streaming services like Spotify. We don't have HD Tracks or a Hi Res version of iTunes in Europe yet, and so I can't easily buy and download Hi Res tracks in Spain or the UK. I've bought one or two things from QoBuz, but a lot of things I can't buy from Spain. For instance, when Gil-Scott Heron died I tried to buy a few of his albums from QoBuz, but wasn't allowed to because I was living in the wrong country. The record companies seems incapable of getting their act together and agreeing to world-wide agreements about copyright so that an internet site can sell you music no matter where you are physically situated.

But I'm buying more CDs than ever, and then ripping them to hard disk. Fortunately I've been working in the Manchester area recently, and Manchester still has some great record shops. Make hay while the sun shines for now..

 

SergeAuckland

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CD sales falling, but LP sales are still only 1% of the volume of CDs, and CDs are still 60% of the total. What concerns me more than what's happening with physical media, is the absence of mainstream lossless downloads - why can't even iTunes make their downloads lossless? - and the reliance on streaming rather than local storage. Having all this music available online is of no good when there isn't an internet connection available, and even when there is, my experience with Spotify is that it isn't anywhere near reliable enough when compared with playing a CD or streaming one's own rips. When the kids get home from school, Spotify stops working round here.

Still, with so many CDs available at around Fiver, I too am buying more CDs than ever before.

S

 

Tel

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Vinyl sales may have doubled but they are still a very small niche section of the market.

Resident, an excellent independent in Brighton doubled their vinyl space in store, it now accounts for about 5% of the space.

The average price of an LP is still a lot more than the average price of a CD so the unit sales of vinyl will be a considerably lower percentage than the value.

 

SergeAuckland

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Vinyl sales may have doubled but they are still a very small niche section of the market.Resident, an excellent independent in Brighton doubled their vinyl space in store, it now accounts for about 5% of the space.

The average price of an LP is still a lot more than the average price of a CD so the unit sales of vinyl will be a considerably lower percentage than the value.
About 10 years ago, I was buying a fair amount of vinyl as it was a lot cheaper than CDs, an LP was £2-3 in charity shops or at record fairs, with the occasional one as much as £5. I bought a lot of jazz and stuff on spec, as for that sort of price it was worth a punt on something unknown compared with buying the CD. Now it's the other way round, with CDs being a lot cheaper so I haven't bought an LP for months except for a few Quadraphonic LPs, but I'm buying 8-10 CDs a month pretty regularly.

S

 

rdale

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Vinyl sales may have doubled but they are still a very small niche section of the market.Resident, an excellent independent in Brighton doubled their vinyl space in store, it now accounts for about 5% of the space.

The average price of an LP is still a lot more than the average price of a CD so the unit sales of vinyl will be a considerably lower percentage than the value.
I don't mind paying a premium for an LP that sounds at least as good as the equivalent CD, but most don't IMHO. All the hassle and inconvenience of vinyl is worth it for something superb like 'Ella and Duke at The Cote D'Azur' on Mosiac records, but I've bought other LPs new in the past year or two and have been pretty underwhelmed by the sound. They weigh a ton and aren't easily ripped, and so I can't listen to them when I'm working away from home, and neither can I bring them home without greatly exceeding my baggage allowance. I think the long term solution isn't a vinyl revival, but it is mass market for high res downloads.

Speaking of Brighton record shops, I have fond memories and loads of LPs that I bought from the Cottage Records shop when I was a student at Sussex Uni in the 1970s.

 
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browellm

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Hi-res doesn't guarantee that the record has been sympathetically mastered, with good dynamic range. In most cases they're as bad as the CD.

Nearly every LP new release in the DR database has better dynamic range than the CD, usually at least 4dB, and that to me makes all the difference. It certainly trumps the obvious shortcomings of vinyl, most of which can be overcome with a good, well set up deck anyway.

 

Tune

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All new LP's feature at least as much and usually considerably more compression than the equivalent CD. Let's not perpetrate myths .There are a variety of types of compression.

 

browellm

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Such as?

The hard numbers in the DR database say otherwise, and if there are other compression techniques that are employed to a greater extent on LPs, then they aren't deleterious to my ears.

 

guypettigrew

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Vinyl sales may have doubled but they are still a very small niche section of the market.Resident, an excellent independent in Brighton doubled their vinyl space in store, it now accounts for about 5% of the space.

The average price of an LP is still a lot more than the average price of a CD so the unit sales of vinyl will be a considerably lower percentage than the value.
5%, 1/20th? It always looks a lot more when I'm in there.

It's a wonderful place. What they haven't got they'll almost always be able get for you. And they do mail order to anywhere in the world.

Happy New Year Resident--may you long continue.

Guy

 

Pete the Feet

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It looks like many are showing sense. Since using Spotify my cd purchases have gone through the roof. Stupid really as the sound quality on Spotify is adequate and there is plenty on there to satisfy 90% of many peoples needs. Conscious effort now required to stop squandering my limited funds on things I don't really need.

 

reformed audiophile

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About 10 years ago, I was buying a fair amount of vinyl as it was a lot cheaper than CDs, an LP was £2-3 in charity shops or at record fairs, with the occasional one as much as £5. I bought a lot of jazz and stuff on spec, as for that sort of price it was worth a punt on something unknown compared with buying the CD. Now it's the other way round, with CDs being a lot cheaper so I haven't bought an LP for months except for a few Quadraphonic LPs, but I'm buying 8-10 CDs a month pretty regularly.
You're not the only one Serge. I expanded my vinyl collection quite significantly when CD was first introduced because LPs were so much cheaper (and better) new and used. But now I find it hard to justify paying current new prices just for a vinyl version of an album when a CD copy is significantly cheaper. Even used LPs are no longer the bargains they were.

 

JANDL100

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There are so many interesting cheap CDs these days on Amazon Market Place and also some choice finds in charity shops - I've stopped buying LPs altogether and buy dozens of used CDs a month and I have substantially downsized my LP collection. Come to think of it the tt isn't even connected up at the moment!

 

Clubsport911

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I'm streaming and downloading like mad right now on Soundcloud. 320k mp3 sounds fine for the dance music but easily detected on my Hifi. Buying more CDs than ever and about 1-2 lps per month and I'm loving the richness of variety we have access to. Perhaps this is the golden era ?

My only concern about PC based music is the reliability of the HDD and the OS. Time and again, I hear of people writing:- "I woke up this morning and I cannot get my PC to read my HDD" etc... Of course memory is supposedly cheap so it's not uncommon for people to have back ups but even these fail from time to time.

I've never yet had the case where I put my record / cd on and it didn't work.

So for me, I'm planning to make hay whilst the sun shines. In any case, have you see the amount of 2nd hand record stores in the uk lately ? I'm close to 3 and they are all selling reasonably prices vinyl in good condition. I also hunt pear boot sales and always find something.

Whats not to like ?

 

The Strat

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Given up buying new vinyl - quality ime is at best indifferent and quite often crap but buying CDs all the time.

 

Tune

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Such as?The hard numbers in the DR database say otherwise, and if there are other compression techniques that are employed to a greater extent on LPs, then they aren't deleterious to my ears.
The "hard numbers" on the DR database as simply a bit of fun - they really tell you very little about how good anything will sound. The mastering engineer would be able to do that.

If you think about it, all tracks on the multi track master are effectively recorded as hot as is possible. It's then the engineers responsibility to create a believable and intelligable mix from the tracks by combining them and playing with their amplitude and phase - compressing each one to varying degrees.

Finally the mastering and cutting engineers get to play. At this point, the vinyl cutting engineer has to reduce the overall level substantially further in order to get it onto a 33rpm LP. He does this by compressing everything again. Once that's done, he's then got to apply additional compression at the frequency extremes in order to prevent mistracking on replay.

So you are left with headroom which might then contain some midrange dynamic peaks that the engineers have removed from the CD master. Meanwhile that CD master will have the full unfettered energy and information in the bass as well as further up the frequency range. It will only be a percentage of pop music releases where the ability to normalise will have sometimes been abused to the detriment of the recording.

If you look at the data base you refer to you would buy Daft Punk on vinyl rather than from QoBuz. That would be a mistake IME. The download sounds better. So there is a lot more to compression and modification that the database suggests and that some "audiophiles" seem to think.

 

browellm

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On what basis are the numbers "a bit of fun"? Lol, you're going to have to back that up with some contradictory evidence. Are you saying that the Foobar plugin is somehow giving erroneous results.

Regarding mastering, are you suggesting that LPs are cut from the CD track? Incorrect.

The original studio 24bit master acts as the parent, then the post production team mix it for the medium it's going on. So CDs are typically pushed to 6dB or worse. Because of the limitations of the LP cutting process, the levels are backed off and you usually get 10dB minimum.

If you think LP masters are just the CD master played around with, you'd be dead wrong. You only need to look at the comparative waveforms from the same ripped LP and CD titles to see that.

And ironically a lot (but not all) of the 'hi-res' titles being championed are merely upsampled from the 16-bit recording, again as shown by the waveforms. HD Tracks were famously taken to task over this - a high proportion of their library contained them.

I have the Daft Punk album on vinyl. It sounds amazing. It's certainly superior to the CD version, but I haven't compared it to the QoBuz hi-res option.

 

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