Why people prefer physical CD, over high-rez digital version of same release

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Turnaround, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. jimmydean

    jimmydean Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    i also prefer books to e-books...
     
  2. Jon-A

    Jon-A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    I've lately come to have the same collector's pride in some of my downloads as with tangible CDs and vinyl. The quality of the music and how difficult it was to track down are factors. For example: I've got several treasured downloads of various editions of Are You Experienced, and it pleases me no end to look at them listed on the computer screen. The only tangible version I have is a Japanese CD that doesn't compare sonically, but has a nice mini-lp sleeve, so I keep it. And that's another thing - I appreciate vinyl album covers, CD mini album covers & box sets - but jewel case CDs do absolutely nothing for me. An aesthetically challenged plastic box that makes everything just a little more visually homogenous. At the height of my CD buying I'd often transfer the disc and booklet to plastic sleeves and toss the boxes. I lost a few bucks in resale, but it made me happier.
     
    Jagger69 likes this.
  3. coolsound

    coolsound Forum Resident

    For simple reasons :
    1/ most of the hi-rez proposed by websites are inferior in audio qualities and have bad equalizations compared to the original CDs. It is not because it's 24/96Khz that it is better than a 16/44Khz that it's not brickwalled !
    2/ you have to own a very High ending system to make a real difference between hi-rez and CD (above $10K ).
    3/ choosing a CD in a CD library is easy: you see it, you pick it. You have to look at through all your digital library to remember what you have.
    4/ digital material don't take any value in time and can't be sold back.

    For me the only reasons to buy hi-rez are :
    1/ there is no other possibilities to ear this music.
    2/ i only want one or two titles of the album/record.
     
  4. Whistle

    Whistle Forum Resident

    Location:
    Styria, Austria
    to 3/ with Roon you have the search function, so I do not have to remember what I have in my library.

    other points I am with you....
     
  5. jkauff

    jkauff Senior Member

    Location:
    Akron, OH
    I'll be 70 in a few months, and that's changed my thinking about all of this. I have a few hundred LPs, about as many CDs, and thousands of downloaded live shows not available in physical form. All my CDs have been ripped to hard drives, and I have an Ethernet-connected audio system so I can listen to my digital files anywhere in my apartment via a couple of DLNA servers, controlled by apps on my phone.

    When I die, what's going to happen to my collection? I'm divorced, and my ex-wife never liked my music anyway. My adult daughter loves music, but not any of the music I own. My sister and I share a love of jazz, but she's turning 85 soon. I have a huge Richard Thompson collection (for example) but only a few Beatles albums, so my physical music is not very marketable.

    In other words, my physical media is going be nothing but a burden to the executor of my will. I have some friends who share my taste, who'll cherry-pick anything they don't have in their physical collections, but everything else will get dumped. I have lots of books, too, which will suffer the same fate.

    When I'm dead, I won't much care what format my music is in. I can't take it with me, and I hate to think of my family having to deal with it after I'm gone. So for now, I'm most interested in convenience, which means being able to listen to all of my non-LP music on my audio system from my computer. While I'm listening, I can think about what the hell to do with all this physical stuff I've accumulated.
     
  6. coolsound

    coolsound Forum Resident

    I agree, but a search function is not a "hey i didn't remember this one" while looking at your "wall" of CD ;)
     
    Johnta7 and BoogieFish like this.
  7. EdwinM

    EdwinM Grumpy old man

    Location:
    Leusden
    Digital items are things you don't really own. One wrong push on a button is enough to lose it.
     
  8. Jeff W. Richman

    Jeff W. Richman The Richman Curse www.soundclick.com/qoquaq

    I don't mind people streaming songs because it's convenient and cheap.
    But I prefer to give people CD's so they can hear the songs in the
    appropriate order with the segues timed precisely.
     
  9. markp

    markp I am always thinking about Jazz.

    Location:
    Washington State
    I can play cds in disc players in every room at home and in my car. I did buy some hi res downloads. My Oppo disc player had a dac to decide the dsd files, and I could plug a hardrive in through a USB port. Then the Oppo stopped decoding the files. Too much hassle. So I play vinyl and cd for physical media, and stream Spotify and YouTube on my phone and TV sound systems.
     
  10. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    I think that with proper care, digital media in the form of backed up hard drives is just as secure as digital media on physical plastic disks. I actually feel safer about keeping my digital music library than I do my CD collection between my multiple hard drive backups, cloud backup, and everything synced to my iPod as well


    CDs are essentially hard drives made of plastic just from a pure data standpoint so I don't neccesarily differentiate between owning a plastic disk of digital files or a plastic/metal box combo with the identical files on it
     
    subzro, ARK, Starwanderer and 3 others like this.
  11. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    First off, I appreciate the thoughtful response and I think you raise some interesting points for sure

    I definitely think that music has no inherent physical form, not that aesthetic does or doesn't matter or that it has no value - but to me physical doesn't have to matter for those for whom it doesn't matter to for lack of a better phrase lol. Physical aesthetic absent doesn't mean aesthetic/ornamentation as a whole is gone because the peeps not fully into that stuff will supplement the music with watching said artist on Youtube or the album art that is on the screen on their phones that provide aesthetic. I base this on personal experience with myself and my peer group that skew younger than maybe the average SH Forumer and have no nostalgia about CDs

    I think that the booklet, photos, etc. are nice and there for anyone who appreciates it. But I don't consider them an absolute necessary part of my music enjoyment experience overall or a "must have" for every music listener on this earth
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
    ARK likes this.
  12. juss100

    juss100 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    It's actually easier to organise and browser digital albums than physical ones but you have to file and tag them correctly in the first place.

    If you had a bunch of CDs and put them in random piles on the floor it wouldn't be easy to scan through them for what you had.
     
    Grant and ARK like this.
  13. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

    So just How HUGE is your Richard Thompson Collection? We want some juicy details. Do You Hokey Pokey? Wall of Death 12~inch? Please share.
     
  14. Sluggy

    Sluggy Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Red Centre
    Converting over 3000 live CDs from His Bobness' storied career to FLAC files was one of the best things I've ever done. Got an extra room out of it, for a start. And since they're now on my own server, I can listen to them from any room in the house.
     
  15. EdwinM

    EdwinM Grumpy old man

    Location:
    Leusden
    I tried to digitize my collection twice. Both "projects" ended with crashed hard drives and corrupt files. Guess I'm getting to conservative for this.
     
  16. Sluggy

    Sluggy Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Red Centre
    Hear hear. I have no problem with my family hitting the 'delete' key once I'm gone. I'm in it for the music (mostly live), and couldn't really care less about collecting different physical cover colour variants, etc. That's just stamp collecting to me.
     
  17. Sluggy

    Sluggy Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Red Centre
    Which is why mine is on server grade hardware and fully backed up a few times a week. Most of my stuff can't be bought, and a lot just can't be replaced at all.

    It did take me nearly a year to complete the conversion tho.
     
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  18. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    I agree - and along those lines with stamp collecting I was actually surprised to see so many people here talking about resale value with CDs being a selling point as to why they are "better" than digital. When I purchase music, physical or digital, I don't think in my entire life I have ever included potential resale value as a factor in my purchases, only "do I want to have this song/album to play anytime I want?"

    I certainly find going digital fine, rather than one day listing my CD copy of Zeppelin II on discogs to sell and make 3 bucks profit from lol
     
    Starwanderer, Sluggy and Mirsset like this.
  19. Django

    Django Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    If I buy downloads (from bandcamp mostly) I usually burn them onto a CDR & (eventually) make a cover. Otherwise I will completely forget about them.
     
  20. Sluggy

    Sluggy Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Red Centre
    See, if you'd bought the blue cover with the white vinyl....
     
    HotelYorba101 likes this.
  21. Kevin Davis

    Kevin Davis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Illinois
    I think the uneasy feeling you describe comes from one of two things:

    (1) People belong to online communities like this, and online communities like this are excellent at generating uneasy feelings, constantly telling people to second guess their instincts, that the version they have of a certain album is obviously the worst-sounding one, that the way they choose to listen to something is somehow less authentic, etc. We make big deals out of things that really shouldn't be deals at all, and compel people to agonize over things that are not important, such as whether they prefer a circular object that plays digital music or a rectangular object that plays digital music.

    (2) Some people do genuinely prefer physical media (I'm one of them, overwhelmingly), but they have taken to heart the prevailing modern wisdom that less is more, collections are clutter, streaming is more convenient, etc. and are wrestling with that feeling that they should give up something that they aren't really ready to give up. The logic isn't crazy: Streaming is more convenient, collections do take up a lot of room, and physical objects can overwhelm a person's space. But, like you say, they're not the same experience, and I think those opposing impulses create a weird internal tug of war for some listeners, especially when item (1) is a complicating factor.

    But, the argument that there is some hardwiring that naturally saddles humans with a strange feeling of incompleteness because they don't purchase collectible physical media feels far-flung to me; if anything, isn't the physical media the thing that represents the break in the much, much longer tradition of how humans have historically experienced music? Did people for thousands of years just mill aimlessly about, feeling an emptiness inside to which they just could not relate, unknowingly waiting for the day when they could purchase a picture of their favorite town minstrel on a t-shirt? I don't deny that there are instinctive, biological ways that people react to music, and that those reactions comprise auditory and non-auditory components, and that we have natural hunter/gatherer tendencies, etc., but I'm not entirely sure I buy that all of that connection is dependent on the physical purchase of CD's/LP's. You can certainly experience concerts, videos, pictures, biographies, even look up album credits, etc., without ever purchasing a physical album.

    In any case, I think the OP was trying to ask a genuine question about why, on a forum where sound quality is said to be paramount, someone would prefer a physical disc with (allegedly) worse sound over the purchase of a hi-res download with (allegedly) better sound. I don't think he was asking why a CD would be preferable to Alexa taking control of your brain. Hopefully we have at least until 2025 before that happens.
     
  22. EdwinM

    EdwinM Grumpy old man

    Location:
    Leusden
    I am developing a severe form of digibetism to prevent this. Plan is that within 3 years I'll be unable to find the on/off button on my laptop
     
  23. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Incompletist

    Location:
    London
    With regards your point 1. above, I think people like physical objects or they don't. I don't think people can be brainwashed/trained into liking to own and collect physical objects by reading online discussions. So I think 2. is the only explanation. And a debate about whether such tendencies are hard-wired? I don't think so. I would simply suggest that it's cultural.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
    pressureworld likes this.
  24. Kevin Davis

    Kevin Davis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Illinois
    I'm not saying that online forums "brainwash" people into liking things, just that the things we read (especially if we immerse in them a lot, and this forum is absolutely filled with debate about the relative merits of physical media) can be one of many influences on how we process our thoughts and feelings. I may instinctively think CD's are worthless and music is just music, but constantly subjecting myself to discussion where people are arguing to the contrary, that there actually is an experiential value to processing music in a physical format -- that might create some disharmony between my feelings and my thoughts. I'm not saying it's some big dramatic thing, just that it is a reasonable explanation for what the previous poster described as "a slightly uneasy feeling."
     
  25. jkauff

    jkauff Senior Member

    Location:
    Akron, OH
    Well, beyond all the official releases (including the ones RT released on his own, like Two Letter Words), Richard & Linda boots and the new box set, I have around 500 live shows acquired mostly through trading (remember CD trading trees?). About 200 of those shows I've been too lazy to look up the setlists to rip them to my computer. They're in a box in my bedroom closet. Does that qualify as "huge" (I know people with larger live collections)?
     
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