CD Bargains

Rudy

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This is the time to scoop up cheap CDs! While poking around eBay, I found a few listings for what they are calling "wholesale lots" of CDs. Basically, a prepackaged box of used CDs for less than a dollar each. Can't pick the contents, but it's great if someone wanted to beef up a collection quickly.

This listing has 100 CD for $24.98, with discounts if you buy more than one lot.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-of-100-Used-ASSORTED-CDs-100-Bulk-MISC-CDs-Used-CD-Lot-Wholesale-CDs/253040564261

Here are 170 CDs for $37.99.

Wholesale Lot of 170+ Assorted Music CDs | eBay

Here's 3,000 CDs for $200. But it's local pickup only.

1 Pallets Music CD's (3000+ CD's) Great buy for resale! All Genres Music Cd's! | eBay

And, 1,000 for $283:

Lots of 1000 Used ASSORTED CD's - 1000 Bulk MISC CD- Used CD Lot - Wholesale CDs | eBay

There are numerous smaller lots where the discs work out to about $1 each.

Sad thing is, these aren't worth a store purchasing for retail, as that is where these came from. Many used record shops can't move CDs anymore--nobody is buying them anymore. My closest used shop won't even buy them back anymore.
 

Bobberman

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This pretty much proves what we all were saying The writing was on the wall for the the CD format and I suspect many more of these online CD sales are going to be happening more often.
 

Moritat

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Rather than buy 170 cds for $37.99 (which would probably result in 10% which I really like, 40% I'm not thrilled with and 50% I dislike), I would much rather be the seller of 170 cds for $37.99! This would result in my cleaning house of cds I'm not listening to and scaling my collection down to just quality cds I really love. As I get older, I find downsizing to be wonderful!
 

Rudy

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I'm going to be in a serious downsizing mode this coming year. I missed a job opportunity across the country because there is no way I could pack up and move everything over the course of two weeks.

In one sense, I could get rid of each and every disc I own--everything is on a pair of servers now, so I have even have a backup of everything I've ripped. Yet there are some CDs that I would want to keep due to the packaging or liner notes, especially with box sets. The overall problem, though, is that legally I have to hang onto the CDs, since technically I would be storing "pirated" copies of music if I didn't have my own originals on hand. (Not like it's ever enforced, though. 😉)

But at least day to day, I would have no issues packing up and storing the CDs, keeping out only those (like box sets) I might reference once every few years in a back room or the basement somewhere. Scanning everything is a possibility, but also a monumental task. (Roon Player has a way to view scanned files as I'm playing them.) It also clears up more wall space for records. 😁

I don't buy CDs anymore if I can help it, though. If I can find the music as a download, I'll buy it that way. In fact, with most new releases available in hi-res, CDs are now an outdated digital format for me. Only rarities that are not available for download are CDs I've purchased this year, and I can count them on two hands. In fact, I'm still waiting on one of my import Tamba Trio CDs to arrive from Japan...
 

Harry

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While most of the time, I listen to music via my computer as a music server, with many of my CDs and LPs ripped for that purpose, I still get a yearning to physically hold the CD, to look at the packaging, read the liner notes, examine the casing, the hub information, pressing details, etc.

Just the other day, I was listening to something on the computer and had to run to my CD collection to find the actual disc, because I wanted to refer to the liner notes or something like that. Though I rarely play actual CDs or even LPs, I am comforted by their presence. They'll be here until someone pries my cold, dead fingers off of them.

When people say that CDs are dead - I can say that mine are just fine.
 

Bobberman

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I just recently had my 58.000 plus music and download audio collection on my laptop copied to a 400gb SD card and bought a higher capacity Samsung tablet exactly the same as my 2017 version but a 2019 upgrade and it's nice to give the laptops a break and still have an extra device to access all my audio and all my SD cards are Sandisk brand which all work very stellar so far I share the opinions of both Rudy and Harry
 

Rudy

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I think my main issue with digital now is that CDs can't hold any resolution higher than 16/44.1, so by default I'm buying the high-res files since they sound better and don't cost that much more. My system doesn't even have a disc player anymore and after five years, I've never missed it. And I sit here looking at three racks of CDs, SACDs and DVD-Audio discs that all have a layer of dust on them, as I haven't even touched them in five years, except for a few titles. The real shame is that most of them are worthless--I probably couldn't even give them away at this point.

I still enjoy buying an LP--it's so much easier to read, nicer to hold, I can watch it spin around like the old days and yes, us oldtimers still like slitting open new records. 😁
 

tomswift2002

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I still buy CD’s. A lot of time, even on Amazon, I’ll get them for no more than $10 with tax, and on Amazon I might be buying something that I need the extra $5 or so dollars to get free shipping, so I’ll order the physical CD and it’s less than buying a digital license from iTunes or another digital file place, and I even get better sound quality. Plus if I want a MP3 or other file format, I can rip it to my own specs. And I’m still not convinced about the sound quality of the so-called “Hi-Res” files. As Bernie Zelvis posted in the response section for Techmoan’s MQA-CD Video, in the 1980’s, when he worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Design & Development lab, from their tests (and other electronics labs tests at the time) they found that “no one” could “tell the difference between 16 bit 44.1 KHz and higher bit depth and sampling rates” when it comes to stereo.

 

Rudy

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That mqa stuff is bullpoop, largely. I disabled it completely in Roon. There are so many technical and philosophical fallacies that it has become the laughingstock of the audiophile community...except for those who were tricked into buying new DACs that could support it who, of course, are very defensive of it. Since Tidal isn't doing so well, these farcical CDs are a last ditch effort to make mqa "mainstream" and save it. All mqa ever was, was a lossy format masquerading as hi-res (despite all the smoke and mirrors about "unfolding"). The fact that the mqa people won't even take part in a panel about it tells us a lot (they bailed on RMAF a couple of years ago), and bob stuart himself only blurts out technobabble from his white papers about it when asked a question about how it works. Even the "authenticated" part is a joke--nobody has ever proven that any single mqa title has been remastered. Chris Connacker of Computer Audiophile attempted to find a middle ground, but got walked over by mqa shills in the audience; you can clearly feel their desperation. (Video below.) At last year's AXPONA, in fact, both Tidal and mqa were barely a presence, while hi-res and Qobuz (who streams hi-res) were everywhere.

Those so-called studies are also quite suspect--it's pretty much accepted now that hi-res is a better sounding format. No, I won't hear a difference on my garage or kitchen systems, but over good planar headphones or a competent system, it's plainly evident how much better it sounds. I hate to drag out the "more like vinyl" phrase, but perhaps it's better to say "more like analog," since just about every aspect improves in places like clarity of the high frequencies, imaging/soundstaging, and most noticeably in the reverb trails (which fall off rapidly with CD due to the lack of resolution). I've also said elsewhere that if CD resolution were so good, then why didn't studios just stick with it, rather than move to 24/96, 24/192, 32/384 (which is emerging) or DSD? There are a few haters out there, including those who cling to outdated theories of digital reproduction and our ability to hear. But for the most part, it's favorable, is widely accepted, and with Amazon hopping on board it is also becoming mainstream.

Having said that, it's pretty sad that I had to step all the way up to a DirectStream DAC to get CD-resolution digital to sound acceptable to me...it still has its limitations but wow, there are so many details buried in CDs that this DAC reveals. It can bring CD-resolution to nearly the quality of hi-res, while it knocks hi-res (especially DSD) right out of the ballpark.

RMAF 2018: Chris Connaker of Computer Audiophile Looks for MQA Middle Ground (Video) – Twittering Machines
 

tomswift2002

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There’s no denying that a good set of headphones is gonna knock out the quality of earbuds, or that speakers made from wood are going to give a better frequency response than speakers that are made of ceramic. Or studio monitors are going to give a higher response than home speakers.

But it also comes down to the mastering. Even in video, I know that I’m shooting at a higher quality of video than my clients or people watching on TV will see. But there comes a point where the perceived resolution and quality surpasses what the human eye or ear can see or hear? Is that why we still see DVD’s taking a huge bite out of the home video market when there are Hi-Def streams, Blu-Ray and 4K Blu-Ray? Is it the same with CD’s? As Bernie Zelvis said in that post, is the Hi-Res audio war more from poor CD mastering to try to make it seem as if humans can hear “higher resultions” or in digital do human ears max out at the 16-bit 44.1KHz level in terms of what they can make out? And then there is also the question of do older ears not hear as well as younger ears? Can a 24 year old make out something that a 64 year old might not? But if the master is screwed with then you can’t really get a comparison.
 

Mr Bill

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I'm with Harry. I've ripped most of my CDs to the computer and, when in my office/work room (Mr. Bill's Creationarium) I listen that way. But when I want to sit down and actively listen, nothing beats sitting in my man cave, stogie in my mouth or adult beverage at hand, listening while I peruse that 5x5 or 12x12 package, which was designed for that purpose. Besides, if my hard drive or computer takes a sh!t, I'll need to re-rip all of it or ot will be lost forever. The only way that will happen to my vinyl or CDs is if the house burns down. And the odds are greater of my computer taking a sh!t than for my house to burn down... I'll keep my tangible physical copies over electrons transmitted through the air or a cloud any time. Just call me "old fashioned" I guess. I can't get my kids to understand either. My son got me Over the Rainbow for Christmas and said it would've been easier to get me the "download." He added, "then you wouldn't even have to unwrap anything!" "Precisely the point," I replied. "What would Christmas bee if I didn't have something from you to unwrap?"

--Mr Bill
 

Mike Blakesley

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This is the most frustrating part of old vs new for "us." The kids don't understand what we find so engaging about physical product.

I suppose in another 20 years there'll be some new thing that'll be the must-have for the youth to communicate with or be entertained by, and their parents will be nostalgically holding on to their smartphones that will seem delightfully old-fashioned and quaint.
 

Rudy

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All I can say about the playback of the physical vs. digital product--you've never tried Roon. For many who have grown past playing digital discs as I have, it is revolutionary. You're still engrossed in the music and the "product" while having a lot more to explore while you listen. It won't make sense until I actually do an article or video about it in the next few months.

Even if you look at current products...what can you play a CD on these days? Not much. Most sound systems are Bluetooth speakers on the low end, and network-streaming speakers in the middle. A mass market CD player these days is low-end. Check out Best Buy--plasticky things with speakers, including boom boxes, dominate the listings. The Magnolia offshoot does have some CD players but they are getting into the higher-quality brands. Gone are the days of spending $100-ish on a standalone CD player; in fact, what came up in my first search were BluRay players, as many can still play CDs.

High-end audio has moved to servers and players. Thanks to things like Sonos and other companies, they've permanently shifted how people are consuming music. The mass market doesn't want wires, separate components, or physical media--they want to pick up a phone and stream it.

Even in video, I know that I’m shooting at a higher quality of video than my clients or people watching on TV will see.
👍👍

High resolution for production use of video and audio is important--we can always downsample to what the end user can utilize on their own equipment. In audio at least, higher resolutions are necessary when editing, due to rounding errors. 16 bits in audio is way too coarse to edit--after a few digital changes, even something as simple as level changes, the sound is noticeably affected. If you decrease the level by 2/3, the mathematical calculations are such that the threshold of the level being assigned to a "bit" at a point in time means that the new level will not exactly match what level the bits should be, and they are rounded either up or down. One iteration might not make that much of a difference. But if your next operation is digital EQ, you are changing levels yet again, and there is another iteration of having to round your signal up or down to match the appropriate bits. When you hop from 16 to 24 bits, there are 256 times as many levels that the digital word can represent. So even though there are rounding errors at 24 bits, the differences in levels between those bits is so small that they are pretty much inaudible. (And I should add that this applies only to PCM digital. Delta-Sigma or DSD digital is a completely different concept.)

I'm not sure of what the video equivalent is, but I would bet it is a similar concept.

As for listening, there are plenty out there who clearly hear the difference at the receiving end. Once you know what to listen for, you can hear the differences. A lot of what bothers me about the sound of digital goes away when I play high-res; some of that is also helped by the digital hardware I've chosen, as I mentioned earlier. (It's just a shame I have to spend a small fortune to make CD "acceptable" but it has been worth it immensely.)

As for CD-quality digital played on a common CD player? I have to shut it off after an hour or two since it sounds so buzzy and ragged. The problem out there on the Internet is that the haters are the ones who get all the attention with their self-proclaimed "expertise" or, like I say about another forum I shall not mention the name of, they listen with their spec sheets rather than their ears--the numbers tell them they can't hear the difference. We just had a tiff on another site I occasionally write for, based on one article about high-res--it was a lightweight introductory article about enjoying it, and the "experts" and "haters" piled on in the comments. So it's still a hot topic. Even the Nyquist theorem has been discounted, since it only covers sample rate and not bit depth (which is more important, as I mentioned above).

But the widespread availability of high-res has made it a moot point--it's affordable, easy to buy, and has pretty much made CDs obsolete as a digital music carrier. The only difference between CD and DVD is that BluRay came along as the next video format to supplant DVD, whereas CD had two failed physical high-resolution successors that never caught on with the general public (DVD-Audio and SACD, although SACD is still strong with niche releases and has had a rebirth of sorts because of it).

But there comes a point where the perceived resolution and quality surpasses what the human eye or ear can see or hear? Is that why we still see DVD’s taking a huge bite out of the home video market when there are Hi-Def streams, Blu-Ray and 4K Blu-Ray?
I think that beyond the point of diminishing returns and what the average person can see (DVD to 1080p to 4K to 8K, in other words), a factor in this is that many people have not (and likely will not) upgrade to BluRay players until they absolutely have to, even though DVD players seem to be pretty much gone from the market now. That's the mass market who held onto VHS as DVD became popular. Only when studios stopped releasing movies in VHS did DVDs take over completely as the primary format, and consumers were forced to change over to DVD since that was the only home format available. And since many of these same mass-market consumers can't or won't bother to compare video quality, they will keep on buying the DVDs because they are cheaper. Especially now that DVDs fill bargain bins, and you can buy a lot of entertainment for little money, including many titles that Netflix and others don't offer.
 

Mike Blakesley

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But the widespread availability of high-res has made it a moot point--it's affordable, easy to buy, and has pretty much made CDs obsolete as a digital music carrier.

OK, I'm convinced.... if anybody is qualified to say hi-res sounds better, you are. However, I have already bought most of my music twice, or sometimes 3 and 4 times.... that's not counting albums I've bought multiple copies of. I have a hard time grasping the idea of having to buy my favorites AGAIN, which would eventually mean I'd have to buy my whole collection again. I know this because it's happened multiple times -- anytime I ever give away or throw away a CD, the time WILL come when I want that disk back for some reason.

On the other side of the coin, I'm 63 years old....which means I probably have quite a few years left of enjoying music (hopefully!) and the notion that there might someday be nothing to play it all on is kind of disturbing. Especially when considering that cheap storage notwithstanding, the chances are good that nowhere near 100% of what's available today will still be available - in ANY form - in coming years.
 

Rudy

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OK, I'm convinced.... if anybody is qualified to say hi-res sounds better, you are. However, I have already bought most of my music twice, or sometimes 3 and 4 times.... that's not counting albums I've bought multiple copies of. I have a hard time grasping the idea of having to buy my favorites AGAIN, which would eventually mean I'd have to buy my whole collection again.
I see it this way--I never would replace everything, as not everything is available in hi-res. Far from it. I have thousands of CDs that likely will never see a hi-res release. Or if they do, many of these CDs are ones that I don't listen to all that often. My digital playback is good enough that CD-res digital sounds awfully good and, over the other systems around the house that are used for background, I don't notice one way or the other how something sounds. (I bought up some of the last Chromecast Audio pucks at $15 each--five sitting new in boxes for future use, and at least three others in use around the house.)

For me, it's more a matter of the mastering than anything else. If a hi-res release has better mastering, then I will get it to upgrade how it sounds, and the hi-res is a nice bonus. If it's just the same old thing in hi-res that's already on a CD I already own, I'll pass...unless it's really a favorite of mine. That's what I would recommend for anyone. Mastering makes a much bigger difference than CD vs hi-res. I have a few cases where a well-mastered CD runs circles around the SACD, for example.

In the case of some remasters we are familiar with here at the Corner (Herb's), it only made sense to go with hi-res. I'm able to get the exact same digital quality that Randy, Bernie Grundman, etc. heard in the studio when they were restoring and remastering these titles. Why wouldn't I do that? I get to hear exactly what they heard, but over my own system. No other experience out there gets me closer to those old master tapes than these files, and it's both a rare opportunity and a privilege to own them.

One nice thing about using Qobuz for my music streaming is that they sometimes have different masterings of the albums, in addition to hi-res versions. It is handy because I can compare the hi-res to the other versions, or to versions I own, before deciding to upgrade. There are actually some hi-res versions that sound wretched (having been burned by Nirvana's very poor sounding Nevermind release on hi-res), and it's best I sample them first before buying.

With new releases often coming in hi-res, I will buy them that way. The same with reissues I do not yet own in any format. By taking advantage of discounts, I can get them for around the same cost as what CDs used to be back in the day. If I decide to take the plunge and upgrade my Qobuz account, I can buy all hi-res at half price, which is substantially lower than CD. I would have to purchase about a dozen titles to recoup the additional cost, but the rest beyond that would be much less expensive.

The big drawback to hi-res is if the equipment can play it back sufficiently to hear the difference. In the car, I notice it more as a lack of listening fatigue. And if I dragged out one of my old systems and found a way to stream hi-res to it, I probably wouldn't hear it so well there either. Over my Oppo planar headphones with the Audioquest Dragonfly as the DAC/headphone amp, it can be quite revealing, just as it would be in my main system.

And the type of music also makes a difference. Much of pop and rock music wouldn't make it as evident; classical music, which I listen to often, really shows off a big difference, as does smaller-group jazz. It's spooky when the system is set up properly and you're playing a good recording, and can place the instruments not only left to right, but front to back in an orchestra. A lot of times, it's the simpler recordings from the 60s and 70s that sound most lifelike--with simpler mic techniques, I find I get more of that hall ambiance and placement of musicians. Once the engineers start mic'ing every section up close, some of that unfortunately is lost.

The big determining factor here--can you hear the difference in your system? Or, do you even have a way to play back hi-res easily in your system? If not, I wouldn't even worry about hi-res.

My better half made an interesting observation one day, which startled me a bit. This was prior to hi-res. I have both a CD version of Van Morrison's Moondance album, as well as the Warner/Rhino 180g reissue from about a decade ago, and that record has almost no background noise whatsoever. At a moderate volume, you'd never be able to tell it wasn't digital. She commented after a minute: "This isn't a CD, is it?" Other than my system, she'd never heard an audiophile system before. She'd never sat down and compared CD to vinyl. Never endured the tired CD vs. vinyl wars on the Internet. Yet with only a short listening session, she was able to tell there was that certain "something" that was there with the record that was absent on the CD. It's not an audiophile recording but it is still well engineered for its time.

The moral? Our hearing is better than we think it is. There are even countless stories on the audiophile sites about someone changing a component, or even an interconnect or power cord, and having their spouse hear the system for 30 seconds and asking, "You changed something, didn't you? It sounds different."

My digital playback system (using Roon) has changed immensely for the better. I can play my ripped CDs, downloaded CD-res and hi-res files, and stream lossless from Qobuz for titles I do not yet own, and it's all seamless. I queue what I want to hear and I play it, no matter what the source. To me, having that convergence of all my digital media in one place, through one single interface and one playback component, is a lot more valuable to me than hi-res on its own, and makes way more sense than digging through racks of CDs or poking around directories of files to find an album I thought I downloaded. It was hard for me to understand why Roon was so good at this until I actually used it for a 60 day free trial. It does way more for me, but I won't go into that here.

Especially when considering that cheap storage notwithstanding, the chances are good that nowhere near 100% of what's available today will still be available - in ANY form - in coming years.
I'm thinking that might actually be the opposite, moving forward. The labels can easily put out digital-only releases (streaming or downloads), since it costs them nothing for manufacturing, marketing and inventory. For that matter, a lot of what was in print on CD in years past has long been out of print, but I've seen some titles reemerge as streaming and downloads, even on Amazon. (With a streaming service like Qobuz, you have the option to purchase individual tracks or entire albums on most of their titles.) Even so, if it's something I really want to own, I will download it before it disappears...and that's no different from CDs! How many times have we all said we'd buy that CD "tomorrow" and never see it again?
 

Murray

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But the widespread availability of high-res has made it a moot point--it's affordable, easy to buy, and has pretty much made CDs obsolete as a digital music carrier.
That's certainly not the case in Canada. There isn't a single company offering high-res streaming here, unless you count Tidal's pseudo high-res MQA snake oil, which I don't! After initially promising that it would launch in Canada "a month or two after the US launch", in 2019 Qobuz announced on it's official Twitter account that "Unfortunately, Canada is not on our roadmap, actually." There are rumors that Amazon might add high-res files to it's streaming service eventually, but as of this date, they don't even offer CD-quality - and Amazon has never sold digital downloads here, only streaming. It is impossible to purchase high-res downloads from any of the major labels, only from a couple of small independent Canadian ones that sell their own stuff.

I've tried to purchase high-res files from US websites, like HDTracks, only to be met with the dreaded "This title is not available due to region restrictions". If I connect to them through a VPN, I can add titles to my cart, but they won't accept my credit card, because it isn't from a US bank. At least with physical CDs, it's easy to order import titles from overseas retailers.
 

tomswift2002

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That's certainly not the case in Canada. There isn't a single company offering high-res streaming here, unless you count Tidal's pseudo high-res MQA snake oil, which I don't! After initially promising that it would launch in Canada "a month or two after the US launch", in 2019 Qobuz announced on it's official Twitter account that "Unfortunately, Canada is not on our roadmap, actually." There are rumors that Amazon might add high-res files to it's streaming service eventually, but as of this date, they don't even offer CD-quality - and Amazon has never sold digital downloads here, only streaming. It is impossible to purchase high-res downloads from any of the major labels, only from a couple of small independent Canadian ones that sell their own stuff.

I've tried to purchase high-res files from US websites, like HDTracks, only to be met with the dreaded "This title is not available due to region restrictions". If I connect to them through a VPN, I can add titles to my cart, but they won't accept my credit card, because it isn't from a US bank. At least with physical CDs, it's easy to order import titles from overseas retailers.
Yeah that’s one thing with digital files whether they are audio or video. They can have region locking encoded in them. And that’s a major advantage that physical has over digital. A CD, I can buy it in the UK, US, Australia and still bring it back to Canada and listen to it here. But digital files, if it’s not on a Canadian site then it won’t work.

And there are CD’s that really sound great through a high-end sound system like the Beach Boys and Carpenters HDCD’s. And then there are other’s (like Coca-Cola’s “Celebrate The Holidays”) where their mastering was poor (that Coke CD was mastered from a very hissy, low fidelity audio cassette that sounded like it was recorded on a consumer stereo at a couple of choir rehearsals) and no remastering or sound system will improve it.
 

Rudy

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I've tried to purchase high-res files from US websites, like HDTracks, only to be met with the dreaded "This title is not available due to region restrictions". If I connect to them through a VPN, I can add titles to my cart, but they won't accept my credit card, because it isn't from a US bank.
Yes, they wised up to that trick, and I had tried the same myself when I wanted to buy some downloads from Qobuz prior to their US launch. Even PayPal would not work, not even using the local currency. It's odd that none of them want to bother with Canada and yes, that mqa nonsense is just a way to pass off lossy files as hi-res. And some of Tidal's sources are suspect even without mqa. I suspect that given the small number of subscribers vs. all the hoops they would have to jump through to secure licensing to stream and offer downloads, they feel it isn't worth it.
 

tomswift2002

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Another issue with Hi-Resolution audio is the number of albums from the late-70’s to mid-90’s that were digitally recorded on equipment that could only do 16 bit/44.1KHz. CD is “Hi-Res” for those albums.
 

Rudy

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Donald Fagen's Nightfly was recorded on a 3M multitrack (16-bit, 50 kHz). These are from a forum post elsewhere about 16 years ago, but provide some background. First source was originally from the DVD Angle site, and the second from engineer Roger Nichols' own site.

Some erroneous technical information regarding the DVD-Audio version of The Nightfly has been floating around the Internet of late; namely, that the sampling rate was kept at 24-bit/48khz to avoid sample rate conversion from the original digital master tapes. While the DVD- Audio's sampling rate is indeed close to the native sampling rate of the original recording, there was a slight conversion. According to the album's engineer, Roger Nichols, The Nightfly was recorded on a 32 track 3M machine at 16-bit/50khz. Nichols did the tape transfers for the DVD-Audio disc from the original 3M machine (which he still has) to 24-bit/48khz Pro Tools using Apogee converters.
------------------

The 3M 32-track used 1” digital tape and the 4-track used 1/2” digital tape. They both ran at 45 ips. I guess 3M wanted to sell you lots of tape. The digital audio was recorded at 50kHz 16bits. There were no 16bit converters in 1981, so the 3M system used a 12 bit Burr-Brown converter and 4bits of an 8bit converter as gain-ranging to produce the 16bit results. The “brick wall” analog filters on the 3M machine hand-wound coils and took up most of a circuit board. They sounded good.
As for lower-res recordings? Not a problem there, since that decade or so is such a small portion of decades of recorded music. Rush's latest remasterings (2015) stuck with the resolution used when they were recorded digitally, vs. the upsampling on their last batch of remasters from years earlier. And those oddball sampling rates and bit depths from the early days (especially the Soundstream digital recordings made by Telarc at 50khz, and the aforementioned 3M multitracks) still need to be "standardized" to 16- or 24-bits and sampling rates of multiples of 44.1kHz or 48kHz before any digital release, and in the case of those old Telarc recordings, their subsequent transfer to SACD were known for sounding extremely good for being recorded in that era.

Analog masters from the 50s, 60s and 70s sound wonderful digitized in hi-res (some of those Verve releases I like are superb), and newer digital recordings made at 24-96 or higher sound great as well. Nobody is going to shun or abandon hi-res for a relatively small number of lower-resolution recordings. And if they're upsampled during a reissue and sound better due to some mastering improvements, it's all good. In fact, remastering those lower-res recordings has to happen at 24-bit anyway, or we get back into rounding errors. So if the mastering is good, the end result will sound better.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I’m familiar with the theory regarding 96/24 vs 16/44.1 etc, however, while it looks good on paper, to me in actuality it’s more “snake oil” than fact. Now then in video, the audio needs to locked at 16/48 in order to work with the video signal properly, so if I use music from CD’s, it’s up sampled. But I’ve also used tracks from places like Digital Juice where I’ve been supplied with 96/24 and 16/48 versions, and when I’ve listened to both versions, and even created my own mixes with the supplied individual tracks, I have not observed any drop off in sound on the 16/48 versions when compared to the 96/24 versions.

However, at the same time, if I pass the final mix off to an editor, they could find that at one point the vocals get drowned out or are not clear enough without lowering a section of the mix, even by -3 decibels. So with even high-res material, I would say that it’s the mastering that plays a way bigger role than the bits. And there is also the factor of human hearing and what DAC they are using. Someone in their 20’s is going to have less strained and damaged hearing than someone in their 60’s, and the 20-something person might pick up more nuances than the 60-something person. And as for DAC’s, I know people are surprised when I say that I use my PS3 for my CD’s, since the DAC that Sony used for the PS3 is on the low end, so over the analog outputs it doesn’t sound the greatest. However, I don’t have the PS3 do the conversion, I just have it read the CD and send the data over TOSLINK to my Yamaha HTR-5630 (which can handle up to 96/24) and let the DAC in there do the conversion. And in the case of HDCD’s like the Beach Boys and Carpenters discs, or even my Dual Disc of Barry Manilow’s Greast Songs of the Fifties (especially the DVD side, which I can hear a difference as the CD side sounds narrower in the stereo landscape, whereas the DVD side really uses the full stereo landscape) I think it is more the mastering of those discs (of course you get some odd mastering like the Carpenters “Passage”as has been mentioned on these boards in the past) than the 16/44.1, 24/44.1 or 16/48.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
(I said) Especially when considering that cheap storage notwithstanding, the chances are good that nowhere near 100% of what's available today will still be available - in ANY form - in coming years.
(Rood said) I'm thinking that might actually be the opposite, moving forward. The labels can easily put out digital-only releases (streaming or downloads), since it costs them nothing for manufacturing, marketing and inventory.

I sure hope that's the case, but I won't hold my breath.... there are a number of titles I'd like to get hold of (a very small number, but a number nonetheless) that never saw the light of day on CD and likely will never get released in any form ever again. And, a lot of "lesser" artists or "one hit wonders" from the last part of the 20th century will likely only be represented on "best-of" collections or compilations of "lost hits." There could be different reasons for this, such as licensing costs (over-greedy content owners); un-availability of masters (due to fires, disorganization, mergers, and other ways stuff gets misplaced) or just plain lack of demand. The same thing happens with every format change, and when you toss in the constantly shifting types of storage available, the chances for things falling through the cracks is that much greater.

I'm just glad I have collected the music I have. I also wish there was some service where I could pack up all my CDs, DVDs and BluRays (and a few rekkids) and send them in, and receive back a digital box that would have everything copied into it. (and include a backup.)
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
One problem with streaming and downloads is that, like SACD and DVD-Audio, they are "new formats," so existing licensing agreements that cover LP and CD do not apply to these formats. So for releases to happen, there needs to be new negotiations. That is a drawback to older releases that have never been on CD--if the market for them is so small, it might not be worth digging them out to negotiate the new terms to release them. But at least that would be the largest hurdle in the process. Aside from mastering it to a set of digital files, the remaining costs are minimal (no manufacturing or distribution). One thing I have noticed while looking through Qobuz and even Amazon, I am finding albums reappearing as downloads that have been out of print on CD.

Similar to your ripping idea, I was hoping that someone sold a CD ripper that could hold 100 CDs at a time, where you could load them up and have them all rip sequentially. Since that never happened, at least I had dBpoweramp's Batch CD Ripper to help me out. With two optical drives in my computer, I could rip through 40-50 per hour, about as fast as I could load them in. (It helps that my computer is fast enough to encode them to FLAC without causing any delays.) If you did this every day for an hour, for maybe 20 days out of the months, you could rip 800-1,000 CDs in that time. DVD and BluRay takes longer, but fortunately I don't have that many to worry about. (Never was big on video.)
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
One problem with streaming and downloads is that, like SACD and DVD-Audio, they are "new formats," so existing licensing agreements that cover LP and CD do not apply to these formats. So for releases to happen, there needs to be new negotiations. That is a drawback to older releases that have never been on CD--if the market for them is so small, it might not be worth digging them out to negotiate the new terms to release them. But at least that would be the largest hurdle in the process. Aside from mastering it to a set of digital files, the remaining costs are minimal (no manufacturing or distribution). One thing I have noticed while looking through Qobuz and even Amazon, I am finding albums reappearing as downloads that have been out of print on CD.

Similar to your ripping idea, I was hoping that someone sold a CD ripper that could hold 100 CDs at a time, where you could load them up and have them all rip sequentially. Since that never happened, at least I had dBpoweramp's Batch CD Ripper to help me out. With two optical drives in my computer, I could rip through 40-50 per hour, about as fast as I could load them in. (It helps that my computer is fast enough to encode them to FLAC without causing any delays.) If you did this every day for an hour, for maybe 20 days out of the months, you could rip 800-1,000 CDs in that time. DVD and BluRay takes longer, but fortunately I don't have that many to worry about. (Never was big on video.)
On Amazon I’ve also found a number of albums have been released as MOD CD-R’s, similar to the MOD DVD-R’s at the same time that they’ve been released as MP3 downloads. However the mastering quality and even the packaging quality leaves much to be desired. In a lot of cases it sounds like the playback machines were hooked up to a stand-alone CD recorder, and a CD-R is the digital master that all the MOD discs are made from and the MP3’s are ripped from and uploaded to iTunes/Amazon, etc. So you hear dropouts and other audio anomalies that a proper remaster would’ve taken care of.

As for packaging, the colours don’t seem to have been checked. I have Shaun Cassidy’s self-title album from Amazon’s MOD, and he’s either turning into a carrot or is on fire but his face is so orange, and the other photos are really dark, that it’s clear that no one bothered to make sure that the cover was scanned and adjusted properly.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
Some companies have been doing the " made on demand CDR's to my knowledge since 2007 or thereabouts I have a collection of easy listening instrumental compilations produced by Starborne productions owned by Jim Schlicting on their website they offer their limited edition comps and some proper albums by their artists and they offer some downloads in several audio formats and I remember I mentioned before this was part of the music that was custom radio programming in the waning days of the EZ format on radio I'm happy to say I still have my complete collection which I completed in 2015
 
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