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Old 09-21-2008, 05:32 PM   #1
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Rediscovering CD sound

For the last number of years, when I buy a new album I immediately go home and rip it to my computer and then listen to the rip. I don't rip at too high of a bit rate, as I would like to fit all my music on my iPod and portable harddrive as well. Because of that, I unfortunately have been listening to everything I own at a lower sound quality than I could have been hearing for years.

Here and there I've been trying to listen to CDs again (at least if I'm going to listen to a full album at home). To some extent, I'd almost forgotten that things REALLY DO sound better on CD. That's one of the unfortunate downfalls of "digital media", we've forgotten that 128, 160, 192, and 256 bit rates are still no match for the CD quality sound.

What do the rest of you do to counter this bit rate/digital files/mp3 inferiority quality issue? How many of you still actually listen to CDs? What quality do you rip your albums at, and does ripping at higher levels cause issues with not being able to fit things on your iPod/digital music device or computer? Let's discuss.
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:46 PM   #2
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I still buy CDs, because they do sound better, and I make a point every time I purchase one to listen to it the first time all the way through before ripping it to the iPod. For subsequent listens, it will mostly be at mp3 quality strictly for convenience.

And usually at home, I'll put a CD on with my home system instead of the iPod, because it's an even bigger difference there.
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:49 PM   #3
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I still listen to CDs regularly, as they indeed do sound better than rips. All albums I purchase I listen to on CD at least once shortly after I've bought them. And whenever I'm doing stuff in my living room then I pop in a CD.
That said, I also listen to computer rips quite often, as I have (almost) my whole music collection ripped to my computer. As I've dedicated a 110 GB disc exclusively to my music collection, I don't have storage issues (yet). I think around 75GB is used at the moment. I rip music at 192 kbs VBR (variable bit rate) to OGG files (like MP3 but a different format with a slightly better quality/size curve).
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:58 PM   #4
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I haven't listened to an actual cd in a long time. When I buy them, I directly rip them into my computer so there's no chance of mishap/scratch in a cd player before ripping. Then I generally just listen to music on my computer/ipod. I rip at 224.
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:18 AM   #5
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When I'm at home I play CDs exclusively, unless I'm in a mood for random listening which is easier with iPod shuffle. I never got into listening to music on my computer, mostly because it distracts me too much from reading and posting.
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:58 AM   #6
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Ive had two burned CDs screw my stereo up.

I always stick to proper bought, thou I don't have a Hi-Fi anymore.
through TV is NOT a good idea
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u2popmofo View Post
What do the rest of you do to counter this bit rate/digital files/mp3 inferiority quality issue?
Alcohol
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:08 AM   #8
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I still buy CDs...but the CD immediately gets ripped onto my computer and then put on my iPod. The CD usually hangs out in the car with me for awhile before it gets put on the rack. Then it's pretty much iPod and iTunes until I want that CD in my car again.

The difference in sound quality is something that I just don't really get bothered by much.
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:27 AM   #9
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I rip my CDs at 128 and I can't really tell the difference to tell the truth (damn my non discerning ears!). I used to have a smaller MP3 player (4 GB) so I would rip stuff at 96 and even 64 - now with those I could hear a difference.

I still like having the CDs though - there is something comforting about owning a physical copy to me but I hardly find myself listening to them, especially since I bought an FM transmitter for my iPod in the car...
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:48 AM   #10
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I still buy CDs and virtually always rip it to the laptop right away. But, I also rip either at 256 VBR or 320 VBR, so the quality's pretty decent, even on my iPod. And, for certain albums, I do have lossless rips, but that's impractical for most things.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:21 PM   #11
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A coworker and I were arguing this very issue the other week. He said there was no difference and I argued that CD's did sound better. The debate went on for a couple of days then I brought in Flying Club Cup by Beirut along with my Grado 225 headphones. Within the hour he brought them both back and simply said "Alright, you win, that was awesome..."

I listen to my iPod so much at work that I really do forget how much better a CD sounds than its digital counterpart. Anytime I listen to something with a lot of depth and layers on the iPod, I'm always surprised by how much more I can hear and notice with the CD version. While digital is by far more convenient, CD wins in sound for me.
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:52 PM   #12
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Bryandiophile's mentioning of Grados brings up a good point, good headphones and speakers also help bring out the difference in audio quality. I still surprisingly see many people using the miserable headphones that come with iPods. I think I used mine for a few songs before switching them out to a $10 pair of crap Sony earbuds that sound 10x better. For those us who do listen to large amounts of music (pretty much every one here), it is well worth your money to buy a nice pair of headphones and/or speakers.

For headphones, I highly recommend Grados as he mentioned. They're handmade hi-fi / "audiophile" headphones. The SR60 or SR80 models are relatively inexpensive, but will truly give you some of the best sound you've ever experienced. Even MP3s sound decent on these: http://www.gradolabs.com/
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:52 PM   #13
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Interference double posted.
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Old 09-22-2008, 04:29 PM   #14
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My sercet identity is no more....blast you Trevor-u2popmofo!!!
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Old 09-22-2008, 04:58 PM   #15
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You're just lucky I didn't call you Pediophile.

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