After the demise of Audio CD's, will we be able to purchase uncompressed music?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Maserati7200, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Maserati7200 macrumors 6502a

    Maserati7200

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    #1
    Today, after many years, I pulled out my Astro Lounge CD hidden in my drawer. I wanted to see if I could tell the difference between an legitimate MP3 (i.e. not pirated) and CD quality. I noticed it instantly, the difference was night and day. I went back and forth between the two and noticed it even more. The difference is hard to describe, but it's definitely there. Then I found the family's CD of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the difference was even more obvious. FYI, these CD's were ripped god knows how long ago, using iTunes 4.9 at 160kbps MP3.

    This whole thing makes me wonder, though, with the eventual demise of physical media (don't get me wrong, I hate the idea of that, but I've come to realize it's inevitable) will audiophiles have access to uncompressed music? Today, there are already many songs/albums that are digital download only. Those digital downloads are 256 kbps. I have many 320 kbps songs, and uncompressed songs still sound a lot better. So when you go the digital download route, not only are you losing the physical copy (which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preferences) but you are also losing a lot of the quality that some people actually want. So if one wanted an uncompressed version of many songs out today, one couldn't get one if one tried.

    I think that needs to change. I think if we're going to kiss CD's goodbye, then we should at least have the option of downloading uncompressed (either WAV or AIFF) tracks instead.

    Thoughts/Reactions?
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    You do know that audio CD's contain compressed audio right? I think they're around 320kbps and 44,000htz and 16-bits. Uncompressed audio is much higher, about 1,280+kpbs, 48,000htz, and 24/48-bits.
     
  3. Maserati7200 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Maserati7200

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    #3
    That's simply incorrect.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_file_format#Uncompressed_audio_formats

    I have ripped audio CDs to my computer uncompressed to WAV formats, and they're 1300+kbps on average.
     
  4. Tinmania macrumors 68040

    Tinmania

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    #4
    What are you smoking????



    Michael
     
  5. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    My numbers may have been off, but what you get from a audio cd is still not the full quality that the sound engineers hear at the recording studio. However, someday digital audio downloads will be of higher quality then that found on compact discs.

    Accredited knowledge.
     
  6. Tinmania macrumors 68040

    Tinmania

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    #6
    Has nothing to do with your numbers being "off." Asserting audio CDs contain "compressed" audio is outright wrong.

    You don't seem to understand the difference between lossy compression and sampling rates.



    Michael
     
  7. JPM42 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    It might be better to do an A/B test with MP3s ripped today. Because the MP3 codec is often refined, and due to faster processors and better computers in general that improves the encoding, an MP3 ripped 5-10 years ago will sound worse than today.
     
  8. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #8
    lolwut? Where did you get that nonsense from?

    It is in my personal opinion that audio CDs are not going anywhere. Vinyl still has a lot of life left in them, so CDs have forever as far as I'm concerned at the moment. I rarely buy music on any other format than CD, and I know a few people who are the same.
     
  9. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #9
    I think CD's may become less available over the next decade as artists move towards just releasing music in downloadable format. To a limited extent it is already happening.

    As for a difference in compressed vs uncompressed, I can clearly tell the difference. Just to be sure I wasn't hearing anything I downloaded a tune from iTunes I already had an CD. The uncompressed sounds much clearer and fuller than the compressed.
     
  10. Johns12 macrumors regular

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    #10
    There is no compression on audio cds. There is sample rate conversion (dependent on the rate the studio used), and dithering which brings the bit rate down, but it is not compressed.

    New codecs are better than old, but you are still getting information removed.
     
  11. KnightWRX, Nov 14, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011

    KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #11
    It's not compressed. Your accredited knowledge should know that Compact Discs use a format defined in the Redbook (known as Redbook audio). That format specifies the encoding as :

    Linear PCM itself is :

    Where did you get those credits ? I hope you can get your money back, your "credits" are quite worthless.
     
  12. yayitsezekiel macrumors 6502a

    yayitsezekiel

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    #12
    If any of you are EDM fans you can purchase .wav files on Beatport
     
  13. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #13
    Some places like Bandcamp (used mainly by independent artists) offer FLAC downloads. Now that Apple Lossless is open source we might start to see some offerings in that format (why doesn't iTunes sell songs in Apple Lossless? I'd download them if I could...)
     
  14. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #14
    Whoa what? And this is "accredited knowledge" from where? Google?
    Seriously, this is wrong.

    At any rate, I'm not sure CDs are going away. I know a variety of people who still buy them and I also know that I tend to buy them when I can't get the digital download of a particular album (Wilco's deluxe album is a good example). It would be nice to download uncompressed music though.
     
  15. applefan289 macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Same here, I download everything on iTunes unless iTunes doesn't have it, in which case I buy the CD.
     
  16. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #16
    I'll happily swap over to digital downloads when they're available uncompressed. If the only available music was compressed, I wouldn't be happy.

    I do buy some music from iTunes, but usually stuff that I don't care about too much - and mostly single tracks where I know I'd never buy the full album.

    My CD buying is mainly from Amazon, and I'll buy used CDs to save money where I can. All I want to do is to rip the audio - the CD cover details are usually pretty worthless.

    That said - I took delivery of a couple of CDs yesterday that I'd bought from Korea. Each CD came in a DVD sized package, with a 20+ page book printed on good paper (one came with a much larger hardback book). These weren't any more expensive than Western CDs either... kind of makes you realise why the unimpressive packages most Western CDs come with aren't valued.
     
  17. Maserati7200 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Maserati7200

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    #17
    Good responses. This has had me thinking about buying CD's to make WAV files to replace the MP3's on a lot of my favorite songs.

    Question - do you think it would be ethical/legal to buy CD's, rip all the songs to WAV files, and just sell the original physical copy back on ebay? I think it's a grey area because while I'm technically not copying the CD and selling it, I'm keeping the benefits of the CD and selling it. Thoughts?

    That got a huge laugh out of me. Very clever. Just thought you should know.
     
  18. Maserati7200 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Maserati7200

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    #18
    For example this song is only available on digital download. I was looking for a CD to buy to start this whole process and already I've hit a wall.

    The video is swagalicious, you should watch it.
     
  19. dawiyo macrumors member

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    #19
    I really wish there was an option to buy lossless files on iTunes. I could see them charging more for it though :(
     
  20. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

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    #20
    Intell is both right and wrong.

    Wrong in that audio CDs are at 320 Kbps. The number is actually closer to 1,411.

    Right in that the music itself has often been run through an audio compressor during the mastering phase to create a steady volume (at cost of dynamic range), and resampled from whatever frequency/bit depth is used at the studio. Music studios these days often use 24-bit or even 32-bit sound tracks recorded at 96 KHz sample rate or higher. Resampling from 24-bit to 16-bit would remove some of the audio data, as would resampling from 96 kHz to 44.1 kHz sample rate. This can be thought of in broad terms as a form of lossy compression (discarding of data to fit into a particular data size/bitrate).

    On top of that, music studio projects are multitrack; the final output we hear is usually a single stereo track.

    There is currently no widely-available audio file format that depicts what engineers and producers heard in the studio. DVD Audio and SACD are closer than audio CD, but not by much.
     
  21. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68020

    SactoGuy18

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    #21
    Now that Apple has made the Apple Lossless (ALAC) codec Open Source under the Apache License 2.0 spec, don't be surprised within the next 2-3 years you will start seeing all the major labels offer their music in ALAC format.

    Yes, FLAC is nice but the need to convert this format to an iPod-compatible format can be an issue, since the vast majority of computer users don't want to go through the whole rigmarole of file conversion. Just about all current non-shuffle iPods, all iPhones and all iPads can play back ALAC files natively, and since this is essentially most of the portable music player market anyway, the potential market for ALAC-encoded commercial music is huge.
     
  22. cube macrumors G5

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    #22
    Dynamics compression has nothing to do with data compression.

    Downsampling is not compression.
     
  23. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #23
    Personally I don't hear enough of a difference for it to matter. I have heard people go on and on about records sounding better, but when listening the differences are negligible to me.
     
  24. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

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    #24
    Agreed on both points. But both cause wavedata to be irrevocably altered from the original, just in a different way from compression via MP3/AAC/other lossy encoding schemes.

    Admittedly, downsampling's effects are quite subtle to 99% of listeners. Dynamics compression is more noticeable. However, since both happen at the mastering phase before the song is released, very few people really care about these. They just wanna hear the next hot beat.
     
  25. RByers89 macrumors newbie

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    #25
    Just to have a day in this. I wish iTunes would offer music in lossless. If you say you can't tell a difference then chances are you only listen to your music on stock car speakers or cheap headphones. Some people are fine with that and that's great. But those of us with sound quality car stereos and high end home theaters and headphones can't stand the lower quality stuff. If music goes all digital in the future not too sure how I'd feel about that. I guess the only thing ok about it is most music these days isn't worth buying. Lol. So I can live with my iTunes library for a while. I have around 11,000 songs in my library and around 7,000 of those are apple lossless format ripped from cds. For music types like alternative, indie, jazz and things like that instruments and vocals just aren't the same in a song bought from iTunes as popping in a cd.
     

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