As long as it's new remastering done with care and precision, I prefer high-resolution downloads. I
miss the physical artifact, but most of the time I'm replacing an atrocious-sounding CD and can keep
the booklet if I need liner notes. The problem with HD downloads is that some sound really good (to
my ears, the new Blue Notes done by Bernie Grundman sound _much_ better than the
toothpaste-compressed "RVG Edition" CDs or the whimpy-sounding early-era CDs, to cite one example),
but others are just the 96/24 versions of ill-conceived recent-era remasters. Another problem I hear
in some old favorites is that the master tapes are clearly deteriorated, with audible dropouts, bad
splices and high frequency loss in spots. It's too bad that now when there's technology to make
really nice-sounding digital remasters, the old tapes are falling apart.
After high-rez, I usually prefer CD. There have been a few really good LP reissues in recent times.
Depending on your hearing aesthetic, you might prefer Chad Kassem's (Analogue Production) all-analog
LP reissues of RCA Living Stereo albums, or you may prefer the SACD or high-rez download versions.
Both are superior, to my ears, to the original LPs and the earlier-era BMG CD reissues. I've been
intrigued with the recent emergence of some younger LP cutting aces. It's nice to see some guys a
good bit younger than me learning the difficult craft and turning out consistently nice work.
One other thing about CDs. People still using 1980s or 1990s consumer CD players are missing a lot
of quality contained on the shiny 5" spinners. Get yourself a modern DAC and, assuming your old
transport still works properly (not always the case, belts wear out and lubricant gel becomes pastey
over time), hook it up via SPDIF coax or optical cable. If the DAC has good jitter rejection. You
might be amazed how much better your CDs sound. Many early players simply could not deal with
jitter, and many early built-in DACs did not do a good job with the Nyquist rolloff/filtering. Much
progress has been made, and some modern DACs with excellent jitter rejection and good sound quality
retail well south of a grand.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Cham" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] another "coming demise of the compact disc" commentary
> Not as much of an antique as I am. I still buy LPs when I can find them. CDs are second in line
> and I've never bought a download of music.
> I do use an internet radio, because I have no radio reception here in the hills of Virginia. It
> doesn't sound a lot worse than badly processed FM for news and weather.
> WTJU is almost acceptable at 192K, MP3 , and CBC usiong AAC at 128K, but for music I listen to my
> LP and CD collection.
> Bob Cham
>>I still think the demise will be slow in genres like jazz and classical, where buyers still want
>>to read liner notes. However, I do think the day will come in my lifetime when the compact disc is
>>a submerged medium. Also DVD/SACD/Bluray and all other 5" plastic shiny discs read by lasers. I
>>don't think they'll be fully submerged, they'll pop up here and there in specialized applications
>>and may well make a "comeback" among hipster music fans like the current cassette fad.
>>For what it's worth, I still buy CDs and I occasionally buy high-resolution downloads. In the
>>entire time since the launch of iTunes, I have paid less than $100 all told for lossy downloads.
>>They are a last-ditch thing, I'll only buy them if I can't find the music in any better-sounding
>>format at a halfway reasonable price. I know, I'm a walking antique!
>>-- Tom Fine