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CD is dead, says premium audio maker

Posted at 21 November 2009 00:49 CEST by Jared Newman

A company whose primary business was once in high-end CD players for audiophiles says the CD player is done for.

Glasgow-based Linn is essentially saying what consumers hooked on iPods and iTunes have known for years, but Linn’s customers are different. They’re big spenders who will pay thousands of pounds for a system with superior audio quality, as opposed to a lossy format such as MP3.

But as Linn’s managing director Gilad Tiefenbrun tells The Guardian, sales of the company’s CD players have declined 40 percent year-over year. Customers are quickly moving to Linn’s hard drive-based systems that can stream music throughout the user’s home. Linn Records, a part of the company that sells music, saw a 17 percent drop in CD sales from last year, with people moving to uncompressed downloads instead. For those customers, Linn sells the Majik DS player, which costs £1,750 and pulls music from a computer or hard drive and uses a high quality digital to analog converter.

linn-majik-ds-digital-player-3

For the rest of us, is the CD truly dead? According to The NPD Group, CDs accounted for 65 percent of music purchases in the first half of 2009, and digital files and optical media are expected to balance out next year.

Still, it’s important to make the distinction between CDs and CD players. I still buy CDs on occasion, because I like the the concept of the album, the packaging that comes with it and the idea of having a lossless copy of the music. But in the end, that CD gets ripped into MP3 format and played on my iPod. I wonder how many people in NPD’s research do the same thing.

Even if CDs hang on, I think devices whose sole purpose is playback will fade into obscurity.

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There are 12 comments

DR_CJK
MyCE Rookie
Posted on: 21 Nov 09 02:32
    MP3, of course, is a "lossy" format--not "lossless."
    Blu-rayFreak
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 21 Nov 09 02:50
      Thanks for spotting the mistake! Fixed!
      paulw2
      MyCE Senior Member
      Posted on: 21 Nov 09 02:51
        Most likely their CD players declined to to their high prices.. CDs far from dead in my mind as the current MP3 and the like are far from HiFi.
        redk9258
        MyCE Junior Member
        Posted on: 23 Nov 09 04:31
          I have really slowed down on buying CDs because of how much compression that is now used on them nowadays. I cannot stand the unnatural sound and my ears get fatigued from listening any length of time. No matter how much you spend on the player, you cannot correct the crappy mastering they do now.
          DrageMester
          Retired Moderator
          Posted on: 23 Nov 09 10:23
            Rather than Compact Disc being dead, perhaps it's High Fidelity as such that is dying?
            Aramchek
            MyCE Member
            Posted on: 23 Nov 09 10:45
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by redk9258
              I have really slowed down on buying CDs because of how much compression that is now used on them nowadays.
              You are not the only one with that complaint.

              I very rarely buy music CDs nowadays, the reasons (apart from the above) is that I refuse to buy crippled ("copy protected") CDs (well, actually, I try to avoid DRM infected media in general (so no blu-ray for me), normal DVD DRM being sufficiently broken nowadays to render it pretty much irrelevant). (That was too many parenthesis). There is no longer a CD shop where I live, and I have not found any online retailer in my country that reliably warns if a CD is crippled, and I really don't want to have to go through the hassle (and postage costs) that getting refunds would mean.
              Many of the bands/artists I listen to that have actually been active over the past decade happen to be signed to Mute, so nearly all music CDs I've bought since crippling became fashionable have been from their in-house store, but it has now been closed, and Mute has been absorbed by the evil EMI empire, meaning their albums are hghly likely to be crippled as well.

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by DrageMester
              Rather than Compact Disc being dead, perhaps it's High Fidelity as such that is dying?
              A study (I can't recall where I read it) claimed that The Youth Of Today are so used to listening to (lossy) MP3 that they prefer the MP3 version over the CD version!
              JaredNewman
              MyCE Senior Member
              Posted on: 23 Nov 09 16:45
                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Aramchek
                A study (I can't recall where I read it) claimed that The Youth Of Today are so used to listening to (lossy) MP3 that they prefer the MP3 version over the CD version!
                You read it here:

                http://www.myce.com/news/MP3-sound-preferred-by-young-people-15607/

                :-)
                curious_Paul
                New Member
                Posted on: 24 Nov 09 04:58
                  How common is the practice of DRM crippling?
                  Do any labels cripple all their releases as a matter of course?
                  curious_Paul
                  New Member
                  Posted on: 24 Nov 09 05:15
                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by redk9258
                    I have really slowed down on buying CDs because of how much compression that is now used on them nowadays. I cannot stand the unnatural sound and my ears get fatigued from listening any length of time. No matter how much you spend on the player, you cannot correct the crappy mastering they do now.
                    Is the excessive use of compression limited to artists popular with younger
                    age groups or is the cancer spreading?
                    Those responsible should be burnt at the stake.
                    They could certainly at least do a halfway decent job of mastering and
                    then compress it for release in the inferior formats. I imagine the cost, as usual,
                    is the reason they don't.
                    RCM
                    MyCE Resident
                    Posted on: 24 Nov 09 05:34
                      I still buy CDs pretty regularly, I have only encountered ONE that had DRM on it.
                      Dartman
                      MyCE Resident
                      Posted on: 24 Nov 09 05:41
                        The early CD's sounded much better becuase everyone wasn't compressing the ka ka out of them, might also be somewhat why many think they prefer vinyl records these days, besides the fact that some just enjoy the whole process of cleaning and setting up a record to play. Me I grew up with records and CD's just had less issues and were dead quiet between tracks with mind blowing dynamic range(before they started really compressing them) SACD and DVD Audio are even better of course but try to find any these days and if you HATE DRM you wont like the HD audio formats, though recently I have found some great music on the newsgroups either converted to 5.1 DVD Audio, or native, that can be burned to a disk and play on a capable player just fine.
                        I have a record collection that may have 1000 records in it I mainly bought when CD started taking over and every one was selling their collections cheap at garage sales. I don't drag out and play them often but I do have a couple of mice turntables and some stuff that isn't heard much anymore.
                        Zod
                        MyCE Resident
                        Posted on: 26 Nov 09 03:03
                          To me it seems strange to buy music of Itunes, when its the same price as buying the cd in the store. With the CD I get a physical product, and I can put it in my computers dvd drive, and make mp3's for my portable devices.

                          I get the best of both worlds buying the cd, and I don't have to deal with a format thats restrictive on which devices it can be played back on.

                          That being said, I'm a big fan of Rock, and most modern Rock isn't very good... they'res a few exceptions, but since I established my CD collection in the 90's, all I buy now are new albums by bands that still put out albums from that era.

                          I don't own a CD player though, I tend to use the ps3 or a dvd player to play cd's.

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