Where is music headed, and what medium is next?
I guess that I am a bit old fashioned, but change is in the wind with dropping CD sales, with music stores going out of existence, with existing music stores going to more DVDs and less CDs all of the time. Remember not too long ago, being on a record or on a recording really meant something. Now, we have a very watered down huge pool of music, and honestly, not a lot of great music, What is going thru the most popular thing in one aspect is the rerelease of 70s albums into great sounding remastered CD format or SACD. I just got a couple of my favorite Allman Brother Albums in a hybrid CD format that plays SACD on a SACD player or you can play it on a regular CD player. These SACD CDs sound incredible on my multi disc player, a great new invention, plays CDS, HDCDs, SACDs, DVD audio plus it is a DVD player too. The sound is twice as good as a regular CD and I paid about the same price.
What I remember about the LP era, everything sounded about the same in quality, because all LPs except bootlegs were made to the hi quality standards. With CDs, it doesn’t matter whether you have a major label CD or indie label CD, they can be clunkers or sound great. The digital market is flooded with Computer software for recording. Which leads to something else, Remember walkmen? Cassette or CD walkmen? Where did they go? Well, you can find a couple in a store , but people are flocking to the ipod scene, and I know people that take their ipod and go home and plug it into a dock of of a 2 speaker stereo device to play their favorite music that they have legally or illegally downloaded onto their ipods or mp3 player(same thing). So they have their music without CDs or Cassettes or LPs. Just stuff downloaded from a computer. OK, How does this all sound, for example we will take a CD of the same quality, ok, “Another Country” by Tift Merritt, a very well produced and mastered CD. Instead of having the CD, you download the songs from itunes (legal) on to your ipod, now, most downloads will give you a choice of bitrate or quality, for example 32, 64, 128 and higher and higher, the higher you go, the better the quality. So, you pick a lower bitrate, I don’t know much about itunes, but I think all of their songs are the same, I just know that when I see a song playing across a computer the bitrates vary greatly, and for an older computer,it is better to go lower, less memory. I have never downloaded anything, I do not own a computer, I use one at work when I’m off work and this is disabled on that computer. Bottom line, you are listening to compressed music that is not CD quality and if you use a portable device , you are running thru a 25 cent DAC converter, important part.
One stat, and I just wonder what others think. 50% of country music fans do not own a computer ,according to a survey. Do they buy more Cds, I don’t know, What I do know, is I like a well mastered CD with HDCD if possible(This allows you to hear all 20 bits that a song is recorded at, it has to be encoded on both ends ,like Dolby, but I do notice a difference.) The normal CD player plays a CD at 16 bits, A CD is recorded at 20 or higher bits, so part of mastering is called dithering, That is getting rid of 4 bits of music in pure recorded form to make it playable on a CD player. OK, does anybody have any thoughts on this, care about thi topic, I’d love to know what you think.