Home | Audio Reviews | Audio Shows | Partner Mags | News     


Enjoy the Music.com
Volume 7 No. 1

The Compact Disc Format
Editorial By Paul Messenger


HIFICRITIC Volume 7 Number 1 Jan / Feb / March 2013  A hot topic in the hi-fi industry today is whether or not the Compact Disc medium has much of a future. Hard it may be to believe the fact, but the CD format has actually been around now for nearly 30 years, which is an unquestionably good run by any standards, given technology's rapid rate of progress. Indeed, I started using CD players (albeit rather reluctantly) some years prior to the arrival of my first Mac, and indeed well before mobile telephones became commonplace.

The last 30 years have seen all manner of changes, in both the music software itself and the means of delivering the music. In the UK at least, sales of downloaded digital music files via the internet (to computers, tablets and smartphones) actually overtook that of other means of music distribution during the first three months of 2012.

While I don't think such a trend necessarily applies to, or has much relevance to a hi-fi listening minority, anecdotal evidence does suggest that CD player sales are currently weak. And it's certainly also true that downloaded files no longer have to be a poor MP3-encoded relation of the full uncompressed 16-bit/44.1kHz resolution that is the CD medium.

So is the CD format on the way out? Frankly, I doubt it. I for one like a solid and physical piece of software, rather than something rather nebulous called a file, sitting in a computer or cloud, especially as said computer is constantly updating itself, and will probably need upgrading in a couple of years.

Computer audio in its various forms clearly represents a threat to hi-fi's traditional component approach, partly because of its potential to deliver 'hires' digital music files that represent a significant improvement over CD's 16-bit/44.1kHz, but probably more significantly for its extra convenience in rapidly accessing one's music. And as far as the public at large is concerned, I'm quite certain that convenience of music access (and relatively low cost) is of vastly greater importance than the possibility of superior quality.

I can't help recalling the era of the Compact Cassette, which offered 'go anywhere' convenience over the vinyl LP, especially for Walkman and in-car applications. Consumers loved it, but the music business regarded it with deep suspicion, coining and publicising the slogan: 'Home Taping is Killing Music'.

Music survived, thanks much more to the creativity of the musicians themselves than the greed of an increasingly profit-driven and accountant-led music biz. I might well have used a cassette deck to record friends' albums back in my impecunious 1970s student days, but it hasn't stopped me from subsequently accumulating an enormous quantity of paid-for music on vinyl and CD. The music biz has done very well out of me.

However, I must admit I've been struggling to find new material that I've wanted to buy and play in recent years. The music biz blames file-sharing for a 40% drop in world sales by value between 1999 and 2011, but I'm inclined to believe that a lack of creativity, the widespread use of dynamic compression, alongside a general ineptitude when it comes to spotting and fostering new talent, is equally significant.


Paul Messenger



Click here to subscribe to HIFICRITIC












































Quick Links

Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews


Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews


Enjoy the Music.TV


Editorials By Tom Lyle
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles

Show Reports
Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest 2023
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2023
Capital Audiofest Show 2022
KL International AV Show 2022
Toronto Audiofest Show 2022
CanJam SoCal 2022 Show Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Report
T.H.E. Show 2022 Report
HIGH END Munich 2022
AXPONA 2022 Show Report
CanJam Singapore 2022 Report
Click here for previous shows.


Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty


Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information


Partner Print Magazines
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
HiFi Media
Sound Practices
The Absolute Sound
VALVE Magazine


For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics


Contests & Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!




Home   |   Industry News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us


All contents copyright©  1995 - 2023  HighEndAudio.com and Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.