After 30 Years, Is It Time to Bid Farewell to CDs?

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burntham77

I still buy my music on CDs. I just like having a raw version of the music that I can rip to whatever file format I choose.

I am not tied to any one download service. I love trying full albums, because I find so many great songs that I might have otherwise skipped if I only bought single tracks digitally.

As long as I can still buy them, I will. I have a big wish list on Amazon full of music CDs and I hope to own them all someday.

That is also why I will always have at least one ODD in the house, although it gets used so little that I might switch to an external one just to have one less thing in the computer.

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Solange33

Funny...I haven't used a CD in over a year...maybe 2! I have no use for them. There's so many other ways to get/use my media/data. Then just last week my son called. He has a CD player in his car. He needs some music to listen to and guess what...it has to be on CD. I completely forgot where my last 5 or 10 blank CD's are so I had to go to the store. They only had [1] 50 pack & [1] 25 pack of Sony's. I got the 50 because I figured, what if they stop carrying them in the store? I should have some in case they become obsolete to the many but important to the few. How many cars are out there that still have CD players in them? They may be obsolete in the PC world but I don't think they can get rid of them just yet.

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Zoandar

Of course I still use CDs. If what I want to burn is less than 800 MB why waste a more costly larger format piece of media? I also still have a spare XP rig which will forever have a floppy drive. :)) Now and then it does come in handy to access archived files without taking the time to move them all to a disc. I store music digitally, so for me CDs have little to do with music files aside from ripping them when needed.

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reimermatt

With over 1,000 physical cd's can counting I am a very proud to have that much music. TO be able to look over at the shelf and see the collection. And CD quality is 100 times better than and compressed format. Flac and apple lossless are the two format I use for digital audio ripping.

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renodude18

Over the past few years I've not used my computers ODD other than for to install windows or make backups and the occasional game new or old to my computer. I've bought a lot of music online through iTunes as its easy especially since they automatically download to my iPhone when I buy them on my laptop. It makes it much easier. I do admit I do miss going to the record store which recently closed and buying and talking to other people about new albums coming out and learning more about what artists are doing. I still buy DVD's and BD because to me with the way the movie industry is It's better to own your movie rather than have bought it online. Although the few movies I have purchased on iTunes or other services I like because I can access my movies through my network thought my house on any device. Ever since I saw Apple stop putting ODD's in their laptops I knew it wasn't much longer. Then came netbooks and ultrabooks and I knew its just a matter of time till we all are forced to switch to digital media.

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psycoking

I still buy CDs for music, and when possible I prefer to get physical copies of all my media and software. I feel a greater sense of ownership with physical media. Once I buy the disc it is mine and I can do what I want with it. Whereas with digitally purchased goods I am encumbered by whatever restrictions the storefront I purchased from places on me and risk loosing my "purchases" at the whims of the store owners. Consider Valves recent changes to Steam's Terms of Service, and how they locked out anyone who disagreed from their Steam library.

It is because of this that I only buy digital copies when they come at a steep discount. While I've purchased a number of games digitally, I have only done so during Steam or GOG sales. As for media, CDs and BDs often cost around the same as their digital counterparts, come in better quality, and can be ripped digitally if I so desire. So I have yet to see any reason to purchase movies or music digitally.

In the future, when there is no other option, I will acquire all my media digitally, but that future is a long way off (at least another decade or two). Until then I will continue to buy optical disc or whatever other form of physical media replaces them (fingers crossed for inexpensive flash carts).

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noobstix

I still have old CDs laying around. Most of them are music CDs as well as CDs that have important documents and such backed up. Ever since I got my Zune HD, I stopped burning music CDs. However, I still burnt off other things like games (that either fit on one CD or had multiple CDs). I like to keep it old school still from time to time (which is why I'm still running with computer parts that are like 5 years or older).

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Markitzero

I still use CD for different things so I still have a use for optical media like CDs. Also i do have games that require the Disc to even play like GTA IV because of stupid SecureROM DRM.

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jedisamurai

If you are worried about audio, you're talking about the wrong format entirely. Music CDs have always had a colder, more austere sound compared to analog recordings. If you are a TRUE audiophile you will be using records and vacuum tubes, not that digital format/hi-fi nonsense (and how about a power regulator to kill your fridge and don't forget to turn off your PC due to the EMI that will distort the sound!)

One day I plan to own a house with a garage, a turn-table with a ton of records, a nice lazy-boy and some old-school analog equipment. Until that day arrives...mp3s will have to do.

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dgrmouse

Maybe it's a cold, austere world? Seriously, for any given budget you can build a more accurate sound-system around digital equipment than analog. If your preference is for records, that's good and fine, but to say that there are no audiophiles that prefer solid state is obnoxiously false.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

He was just yankin yer chain

Nobody can do without digital audio these days

Tubes and turntables are merely preferences that have very little to due with accuracy or "Fidelity"

With phase linear digital EQ's and state of the art digital audio effects software today, you can make it sound however you like in the digital realm and save the result to a new .mp3

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Benjo

I subscribed to boot magazine (Maximum PC's predecessor) back in 1997 because it came bundled with a CD every month. We had a dialup connection and that disc kept the phone line from being tied up too much.

I still listen to music CDs as I can find them cheap in resale shops. In stores I can find "greatest hits" compilations of artists I like that also happens to be cheaper per track compared to digital downloads. Mix CDs I burned 12 years ago still plays fine :)

After two catastrophic hard drive failures I decided to make backups to CDs, then to DVDs. It was only recently (before the floods raised hard drive prices) that I made backups on big hard drives.

My stash of blank CDs and DVDs still see use as Linux install discs.

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philipa25

I'm still waiting for floppies to truly die off (sadly we still use them here at work) I would image CDs will still around for a long time to come even if not used much.

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CaptainDoug

That's amazingly sad. You can buy 2GB thumb drives for $4-5 nowadays. Even less if you buy in bulk. You should start a petition.

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jgottberg

If you don't mind my asking, why do they still use floppies?!

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philipa25

Precision machine shop. A lot of the machines are old enough that they only take floppies.

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jgottberg

Ahhh ok. I guess the saying applies... "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"

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philipa25

Well, when you're talking $500,000+ for each new machine, for a small business, in a bad economy, those machines are being run until they can't anymore.

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D1stinct

With built in ISO and VHD mounting in Windows 8, I've already been using them much less at work.

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warptek2010

CD's??? That's so 20th century. I use those little square "tapes" that you usually see Spock using. The ones with absolutely no way to tell whats on them because they seemingly lack any kind of label cause labels are so 20th century too.

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aarcane

I buy every album worth purchasing on a CD, and take a nice quality FLAC rip of it. Until I can download all my music in FLAC free of DRM Encumberance (Or with a DRM Encumberance which allows me to play back my music on my pure FOSS platforms), I won't migrate to downloaded or streaming music.

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loozer

It really is a pain being limited to crappy mp3 encodes for most online music download services. ~20MB is a lot for a song, but it's often worth it.

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Whatme45

You probably know somebody now that owns shelves of classic Vinyl records. In ten years I'll probably be the guy that would own shelves of "Classic" CDs.

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scoop6274

A common mistake here is that people are referring to audio cd's as a loss less format. This is incorrect. With a brick wall filter at both 20hz and 20,000hz, there is loss in the format. CD's also use compression. The format is PCM. If you want a truly loss less format you need vinyl, DAT, cassette, SACD or DVD-Audio.

That being said, CD is still an excellent sounding format when it is mastered correctly.

I prefer having the physical media.. I have a larger than average CD collection and I love to pull them out and look at them while I play them on my home stereo system. The day they stop selling physical media (CD's, etc.) is the day I stop buying music. The only way I would continue would be if they could offer me a download that included liner notes and stuff that I could read on my tablet or phone and a quality of sound that is at least as good as CD's. Frankly this should be possible now. People stream HD movies, yet I am severely limited in the download quality of music. The music industry is pathetic. Turning out over produced crap, in low quality formats and not finding new and innovative artists.

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aarcane

From the original recording format to the Compact Disk forum there is absolutely no loss in bitrate or frequency range. There is no format-imposted clamp at 20hz or 20Khz, but most people's ears cannot hear much above or below these frequencies, and as a result much recording equipment can't detect, and most speakers can't reproduce, much beyond these ranges.

Furthermore, DAT uses the exact same bitrate of PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) format and similar bitrates to CDs, with CD QUality (44.1Kbps) being the upper limit on their design specs. Therefore, DAT can at best MEET CD quality, and is often used in so called "DDD" recordings, where the Recording Equipment is digital, the Interconnects are all digital, and the editing equipment is all digital, resulting in no analog format loss.

Vinyl and Casette both result in loss in signal related to storing analog signals. Furthermore, because of the analog way in which data is stored on disk, no checksumming can be performed, no stream integrity, and as such, minor glitches can often result in MAJOR malfunctions, such as static on an audio casette, skipping on a Record, and other sound glitches.

Finally, because both Vinyl and Casette are played back through a physical contact mechanism, and this physical contact mechanism is in direct contact with the storage medium, the data degrades rapidly over time.

Properly "Pressed" CDs have an expected lifespan in the 100s of years, due to the non-degradable nature of the plastics and metals used. Burned CDs have drastically shorter lifespans due to the organic compounds used, combined with often weak plastic outer-layers providing no protection to the data itself.

As for SACD and DVD-Audio, you're correct that these formats provide superior quality audio sound reproduction, due to using greater amounts of DATA and more efficient encoding algorithms. However, no truly great audio was ever released in these newer more robust formats, and they've sadly become as deprecated as the record or the casette deck.

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dgrmouse

@aarcane: There is indeed a brick wall filter imposed at ~22kHz. If not for said filter, any signal above ~22kHz couldn't be reproduced unambiguously. There's a pretty good write-up here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist_frequency#The_aliasing_problem.

With that said, all studios master in digital formats these days, and so many of the most important filters and effects rely on DSP that there really isn't any all-analog recording path that would allow an analog playback device to outshine a digital or hybrid system for most styles of music (anything with vocals, synthesizers, guitars, etc).

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scoop6274

Actually a CD is limited. It can sample up to 22.05khz thus limiting its frequency range. While the human ear cannot "hear" below 20hz or above 20khz, we still perceive the harmonics above and below these frequencies. While analog does have its draw back in both vinyl and cassette, the full audio spectrum is recorded in these formats. This is one reason audiophiles will spend thousands on turntables and buy high quality pressings of records. The average listener is often happy with mp3 because they listen to music as background filler. However, a trained ear listening solely to the music can hear the difference between mp3s and other higher quality formats.

Please note, I don't disagree with any of your points (other than no wall above 20khz). Most this is personal taste. I have heard the benefit of good vinyl, though I can't afford it and wouldn't want the hassle anyway. My compromise is CD. When done well, it provides an excellent, if aging, audio format. And the failure of dvd-audio and sacd was from more than just lack of quality media. Neither group wanted to let their signal be sent digitally for fear of it being copied, so you were often required to hook up six cables from the player to your pre amp/receiver. No one wanted to buy players because they were ridiculously expensive and they didn't want to lose like they did with beta and laserdisc. When record companies saw no one was buying machines, they decided not to produce media. Thus, the death of two very promising formats. Throw in mp3 players and their convenience to produce background noise that is easily portable, and you have the audio "dumbing" of the masses. There will likely never be a new physical media format. It just isn't convenient for the ultra consuming masses that don't take the time to really LISTEN to their music.

Oh well, such is life I suppose.

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HVDynamo

CD's are sampled at 44.1KHz, not 22.05KHz, which allows them to accurately reproduce frequencies that fall below 22.05KHz, This is done to satisfy the Nyquist theorem.

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XA Hydra

Audio CDs generally sample at 44.1 KHz

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scoop6274

Wow, it tripled on me....

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scoop6274

Sorry, double post

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TheITGuy

I'm sick of seeing this stupid argument. CDs will eventually go away but NOT anytime soon. Just as one reviewer stated, you can still walk into a store and buy VHS and Cassette tapes. Downloads just aren't the same. Long live CDs!

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AntonioGarrison

Not to be sarcastic or pretentious. Where does one go to find VHS anymore? I haven't seen a VHS tape being sold in a store in quite some time. All I see are bins and rows of DVDs / CDs. Cassette tapes can be rounded into that as well.

Physical media is going the way of the Dodo. With more and more business trends steering toward e-commerce, the easier way to distribute is through a digital medium. A movie/music store online, for example Google, Amazon, Apple, and numerous others that we may see in the future.

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goomothesumo

Of course I still use CDs! They make really pretty shiny Frisbee's!

Eh, CD's will be around for a while longer seeing as how I can still walk into a Dollar General and buy blank VHS tapes. I rarely actually use CDs for music anymore. I did when I lacked a decent mp3 player but that wasn't all that great either. I don't own a portable CD player and my only thing to play CDs on (other than my DVD player and my computer) is my 4-n-1 stereo from like, 1993-95-ish. It's a POS for playing CDs.
Usually, when I buy music, I buy cassette tapes. I have a working portable cassette player and my stereo has a tape deck. Tapes don't skip if I go for a walk.

But yeah, back to CDs. I use them occasionally for their intended purposes.

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ThomasLG

I did a little digging, and although the first pressed audio CDs DID come out in 1982, as the article states, the "CD" as we know it in the PC world is nowhere NEAR 30 years old.

The CD-ROM standard came out in 1985
The CD-R standard was published in 1988, but the first drive availavble for less than $1,000 appeared in 1995(!)
The CD-RW standard was published in 1997.

That leaves the age of "the CD" at somewhere between 15 and 30 years, depending on WHICH "CD" we're talking about.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

We were listening to Audio CD's long before CD-R's, RW's & ROM's

The discussion is about the original CD-Audio format that started it all and was based on Denon's 1972 invention called PCM digital audio

This is not a discussion of computer based digital formats that came years later

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kenlau

For me, the change from ODD to other media, i.e., thumbdrives and online storage was abrupt enough that I am caught with a shitload of blank DVDs/CDs. The only reason I still burn CDs or DVDs occasionally is to burn some music for use in my car's disc changer and even that, I foresee will go the way of the dinosaur when I next change my car. So, oh yes, ODD is going the way of the floppy disc drive. You just need one drive somewhere as backup in case you come across a disc you need to access, pretty much why I still have a floppy drive on one of my old PC.

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TheMissingPiece

I don't think CDs will be dead anytime soon. I believe that software manufacturers will force us to use disks when buying in a brick and mortar store due to the low price of disks. I mean, until 8 GB flash drives become less than 25 cents, we'll be stuck with disks for a long time.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

I like mixing my own CDs for the road. I'd be buying discs every week if the economy hadn't taken a giant shit all over my life.

CD's rock. Shove your digital distribution and cloud services.

And never a day goes by that I'm not burning data onto a DVD. See how much your ISP enjoys you backing up terabytes to your stupid cloud.

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Dartht33bagger

If I buy music online, I still back it up to a CD. I like having a physical copy of what I bought. I don't think that will ever change for. As amazing as digital downloads are, I still don't completely trust my hard drive to not blow up.

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Asterixx

CD's, DVD's and Blu-Ray are already obsolete as far as I'm concerned. I consider the Blu-Ray to be the modern version of the LS-120 "Super Floppy" - a final gasp attempt at trying to keep a dying form factor alive. I haven't touched an optical disc for years. I don't think I've ever had a blu-ray in my blu-ray player (I only bought it because it allowed me to watch Netflix on my TV via w-fi, and even then I don't even use it for that anymore now that I've got an HTPC connected to every TV in the house). All of my vehicles have stereos with USB ports that I just stuff a thumb drive into. When I do buy a DVD (such as a season of the Simpsons or Family Guy) I immediately rip it onto my NAS box so I can stream it throughout the house. I've also got all of my music and photos on this box, and I've got the contents of the NAS box backed up to a 3TB drive in the detached garage in case the house burns down or something.

As for the security of a physical copy, it would take a disaster of biblical proportions to destroy all of my digital copies at the same time. For movies, the house and garage (which are 75 feet apart) would both have to go. For music: the house, garage, iPhone and three cars would all have to go at once (and even then most of the music is on iCloud as well). I think this is far more secure than just being able to put my hands on a CD... In fact years ago my car was broken into and a bunch of CD's were stolen. Several hundred dollars worth, some fairly rare. Nowadays the worst I could lose would be a $5 thumb drive and the few minutes it would take to reload a new one.

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hades_2100

I also have the same setup. 14TB central server (can handle 1 drive failure - so risk is somewhat negated), HTPCs hooked up to every TV. Except I store my backups of the server on 3 separate HDs at my university, which is supposed to be very disaster-proof and is 20km's away.

Still have DVDs, a few blu-rays, but aside from those, I loathe physical media. Sold what I could. It's so much nicer not using the physical space in our house to store boxes and boxes of stuff.

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illusionslayer

"I don't have a use for them so neither does anyone else."

You're right, we can all afford and should have several hundred dollars wrapped up in a scheme to help rid us of the tyrannous CD.

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Asterixx

How long has it been since thumb drives cost hundreds of dollars? I just bought two Lexmark 8GB thumb drives for $9.98 at Wal-Mart. Even at their presently high prices hard drives are still cheap (somewhere around $120 for a 2TB external drive locally). The Pioneer CD/USB/SD deck that I just installed in my old beater Dodge Dakota truck cost me all of $67.99 (again, Wal-Mart, and for the record, the CD function of this deck has never been used and likely never will be). My Hyundai Sonata and Chrysler 300 both have USB jacks and/or audio input jacks from the factory (something very odd: the 300's stereo has a 6-disc changer, input jack, AND a cassette player!), as does virtually any vehicle made since 2008 or so.

Digital storage may be more expensive than optical media, but certainly not by much. And one of the arguments for CD's (having a physical copy) isn't even a valid one, since A)A USB thumb drive IS a physical object, and B)A USB thumb drive is a lot more durable than a CD, and any data on it is very likely to exist elsewhere in the owner's home (such as on the computer that was used to put the file on the drive in the first place). Yes, thumb drives can be lost and/or corrupted, but so can CD's (the CD's I had stolen from my car, for an example of "lost", and any scratched CD for an example of "corrupted").

Hang onto your obsolete media all you want, but the fact is these form factors are going away (at least out of the mainstream), just like cassettes, 8-tracks, and vinyl.

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Baer

I also still have some vinal from the 60's but they are in storage in a big box, put away for posterity.
I still use CD's, for example if you hear a great local group or even a street musician sometimes you want theuir music and most of them sell inexpensive CD's with some great music. I only usually use the CD once or twice to load it losslessy to my drive or the drive in my car then I store them. I do not see the CD going totally away for some time.

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Abbidos

Never had a CD that crashed.
have lost soo much terabyte of data to Hard drive compared to Disc backups

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DoctorX

i use my optical drive at least every week. Until flash gets down to the same price as 1 dvd, then i will continue to use it. I never bought blueray because sony is satan. I refuse to buy anything sony ever since the rootkit fiasco. I ripped all my music to high variable mp3 and cannot tell the difference in quality to the cd. I use dvdr for burning os and cd for linux. I will give my kids something burnt to cd/dvd, but not usb drives, because they are still expensive and cdr/dvdr are dirt cheap.

ps... if i am signed in... get rid of the fucking captcha!

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kenlau

Just thought I add I do not buy Sony products, but not because of the rootkit fiasco, but because they insist in the early days on using memory sticks, may it rest in peace. For the same reason, I do not use Apple products. I hate proprietary tech.

It's fitting that Sony won the BD/HD DVD battle, only to lose the war.

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illusionslayer

How would captcha stop people that make accounts for bots to spam with then?

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boidsonly

I have a very large music CD collection and long ago saw the handwriting on the wall-so have the sellers since the price of original CDs has risen. And up they will go as the CD is phased out.

It is unfortunate that on line storage is still so expensive-I would move my collection online if it were worth it. But lossless quality takes space and space equates to $. I suppose I will be forced to invest in 3TB drives until another solution comes along.

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