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Optical Media Still Has Legs!

In a world of streaming Internet radio stations and iTunes downloads, it may seem a bit archaic to be writing about compact discs. And yet the CD is far from dead – in fact, I would argue that CDs are on the cusp of a resurgence. Here is why I think CDs might just make a comeback:

1) Audiophile brands are still in the game

If manufacturers are still making high-end CD players, there must still be a market of people who wish to buy them. While brands like NAD may not be as well known as Sony, Philips, or Toshiba, they are a reputable company in the audiophile world.

For over 40 years, NAD have been making audiophile-grade home theater products. They have recently introduced a new CD player, the C 516BEE, which starts at around £250. That may seem like a lot for a CD player, but it’s only because NAD equipment is built to higher standards than the Sony Discman you used to have.

2. Sales of recorded music are up for the first time in 14 years

Another sign that things are turning around for CDs is a recently published report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI. This comprehensive summary of the music industry shows that in 2012, sales of recorded music increased 0.3% globally – the first increase in the past 14 years! Could part of this increase be due to retail sales? The report indicates that yes, that non-digital revenue was up 9.2% for last year.

3. CDs are compressed, but they sound better than today’s prevailing formats

As strange as it may seem, I think that some audiophiles are slowly beginning to embrace the compact disc format. Historically, audiophiles have been all about the "warm, vintage tone” of vinyl records – a purely analog medium. However, the CD sounds relatively uncompressed in comparison to today’s prevailing formats: MP3s and streaming radio.

While these digital mediums suffer from heavy compression (anywhere from 96 kbit/s to 320 kbit/s), CDs are much less compressed at 1,411 kbit/s. A CD still sounds more compressed than a vinyl record, but it’s quite a lot better than streaming.

It’s also a heck of a lot easier to own and maintain a CD player than it is to keep a vintage turntable spinning happily. From expensive needle cartridges to tone arm maintenance, finding a good preamplifier, and selecting an ideal shock-isolated platform, record players are just more work!

4. CDs are incredibly cheap right now, cheaper than records and even digital downloads!

Michael Jackson’s 1982 release "Thriller” is famous for being the best-selling album of all time. You can purchase a digital copy of the full-length album on Apple’s iTunes Store for £6.99

If you hop over to Amazon, you can buy a used copy of the same CD for under a quid. For the whole album. Which you can then rip to your iPod or iPhone using iTunes software. Sounds like a deal to me! Cheap CDs can also be found at eBay,, charity shops, car boot sales, and used bookshops. They are still a great bargain!

What do you think? Are CDs poised to make a comeback, or are they quickly becoming a specialty item in today’s digital world?

Created On  24 May 2013 10:24  -  Permalink


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