Saturday, April 1, 2017

Reconsidering CD

Recently, I have been thinking maybe—maybe—I’ll give CD another chance.

In a way, it’s strange that I’d think of giving CD another chance. I’ve frankly been an analog die-hard my entire audiophile life. Vinyl has never come back as far as I’m concerned simply because it never went away. Indeed, I had a good system for nearly ten years before I started seriously playing with CD—and even then, I went with a used, dirt cheap budget CD player, and it was used very much as a “second format” once the novelty wore off.

Past this this, it’s also worth noting that CD is a dying format. Why bother with it?

Actually, being honest, a major reason why I’m suddenly interested in CD is entirely because it is a dying format. CD is less and less popular, and thus the used market is flooded with CDs, which are priced at next to nothing. I have seen prices as low as a quarter each. In some cases, a CD may sell for much more than a quarter—but still be considerably cheaper than any LP edition of a given work. (Classic jazz recordings are a good example.) From a view of building a music collection on the cheap, the CD has become what the LP was 25 years ago.

At the same time, however, I see one big problem to pursuing cheap CDs. My current digital hardware is...uh...lackluster. It is adequate for background music much of the time, and it’s acceptable enough that I occasionally (but only occasionally) seriously listen. So if I were to give CD another shot, I should also plan to do hardware upgrades.

Needless to say, upgrades mean spending money. Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I need to spend money wisely. I am not the Mobile Home Audiophile because I’ve found a mobile home has the best possible acoustics! I frankly wonder if I’d see enough return on cheap used CDs to justify hardware upgrades. (Of course, with digital upgrades, I’d be able to do things I can’t do now. Such as playing high resolution digital files. But, again, I’m not sure it would be worth it to me—at least until I have the budget to be able go on a high resolution audio recording shopping binge.)

It also doesn’t help that I remain quite happy with analog. Even if there had never been a rebirth of vinyl, I’d survive. I had no trouble finding worthwhile music to listen to during the nearly 10 years I did nothing with CD. Yes, I sometimes wished I could play a newer release. But there was a lot—a lot—of worthwhile music on old LPs.

In the end, I keep flip-flopping on whether I want to give CD another chance. One day I think yes, and the next day I think no. We’ll see what happens in the end, I guess.

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