cd / vinyl

The Economist has a short piece on the virtues of vinyl and some techniques for transferring records to your computer. I dream of the day I will be able to store my audio in a lossless audio compression format like FLAC. But I also dream of the day live music makes a full fledged comeback. Link

The quality of pre-recorded CDs has taken a nose dive. To make their products stand out on air and thus attract sales, record companies have taken to reducing the dynamic range of recordings in the belief that loudness sells. They compress the signal by boosting the quieter parts and reducing the sound peaks. That stops the music from distorting horribly when the volume is cranked up; but it also means that most popular recordings spend practically all their play time in the top 5dB of the CD’s 90dB dynamic range. The wonderful “airiness” of the original CDs has been lost in the process.

Another recent problem with CDs has been a decline in the quality of materials used to make them. Anyone who has tried to make even half-decent audio recordings on compact disc has learned to buy medical-quality blanks instead of the dismal fare for data storage.