CD's are nothing
I've wasted 3 weeks trying to rip, err archive my 1980's tape collection and all I have to show for it is 1/2 a Thomas Dolby and Best of Madness at 2/3rd time. At least Cd's are digital
Good news. A year on from the ICT debacle at my son’s school, he has ditched the joint and found another place where his skills are more appreciated. Faithful readers may remember - as for all you unfaithful readers, I understand the political parlance is to call you "sluts" - that a couple of days before he was due to embark …
Me and my ever so patient wife spent the best part of 2 months working through our CD collection, in the end we got a grand total of around 45,000 MP3s in two libraries, hers ( all Coldplay, Micheal Bolton and Mel & Kim ) and mine ( Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel )!
We also spent 5 months ripping our DVD collection too ( inlcuding all out youngun's DVDs too ). I spent a week with dozens of Handbrake command line options finding a suitable format that would work on Mac, PC, Apple TV, iPad, iPod, iPhone, Android tablets and phones! We ended up around 7TB of movies and TV shows stored across 2 mirrored NAS boxes. You know what? I sit down on a Saturday evening flick through the library and invariably give up and utter the acursed phrase, "I can't find anything to watch love!".
Once you commit you just have to see it through to the bitter end! It's way better now, the house has no physical media on show as it's all piled 7ft high in lots of teetering towers in the spare room. Out of sight, out of mind!
I convert mine to FLAC first and then MP3 when required, since I don't necessarily want to listen to every CD I own, but on the commute I would like to have a good selection, and MP3 is fine for that.
At home I can 'party mode' my FLACs, or MP3s come to that, or choose to spend 5 mins trying to find that one CD I really want to listen to (or 20 seconds to find it in my collection).
Having just moved at least my CD collection is back into order on my bookshelves - which I prefer to use rather than a CD a rack because it's a lot less hassle to insert a new CD if I should ever buy one.
Do I really need instant access to everything?
Not really. But a physical CD & CD player might be more "instant" than some mp3 solutions out there. Boxee et al want us to think that listening to MP3s requires turning the whole loft into an always-on datacentre. Just getting a quick blast of Pink Floyd is like upgrading an Oracle cluster FPS. You lose heart while the remote control is still booting.
Bring back the fun with a cheap MP3 player + 1 cable + Rockbox. "All off" to "music audible" in 1 second.
I spent a year ripping my CDs.
One. Whole. Year.
Was it worth it? Totally. My entire collection is now on one 3TB drive, with another as backup. Instant access to everything. If I move, which I do a lot, I can pick it up and throw it in a bag. Half of the old frisbees have been sold on Amazon, so I'm not out of pocket.
The files are organised in folders by genre, sub-genre (...), and artist. I don't use a library, and it's all accessible from anywhere in the house on PC, Mac, and assorted audio boxen.
I still miss 12" vinyl album art. But these days we have Wikipedia, which is often far more informative about an album, if not as pretty.
Downside? It took some time, doing a few CDs every evening. Otherwise - none.
I am still ripping all of mine. Rock music is the easiest to do to make a library and a catalogue (oh, for that I use Excel and VBA to build a spreadsheet containing all of the albums and tracks; try doing that in OpenOffice) and that's great.
The problem with classical music is that logical file storage is tricky as very little of it is recorded by the artist. So a Beethoven's Ninth may have to be stored by 'song title' and then under that all of the different composers.
Ripping classical is fast enough (and only FLAC is good enough as I have A Pair of Ears) but the cataloguing is the pain.
"The files are organised in folders by genre, sub-genre (...),"
I salute your dedication sir - this can be a difficult job. I know this, having just finished populating my "Pop Music/Acoustic/Solo/Female/World Music/Eastern Hemisphere/Tropical/Pacific/Easter Island" genre.
Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing the Coldplay concert with Cradle Of Filth as support...
For most people they tend to like a particular genre (be it viking metal, black metal, hard rock or whatever) and then throw a few Iron Maiden albums in for good measure. My personal collection is exceptionally large due to actually liking an extremely wide range of music. I have everything from medieval folk music through to black metal. When you have that range you need to know your genres and sub-genres...
> Boxee et al want us to think that listening to MP3s requires turning the whole loft into an always-on datacentre.
Keep the PC on. Share your files using that thing that moves the "big letter I" around the screen. Done.
Not rocket surgery, even if you are using the NAS approach.
There's an excellent solution to this problem in the Vortexbox appliance. Download the free-as-in-beer ISO (based on Fedora Linux), and install it on an old PC or VM on your network. Once installed you can manage it from a browser. It rips CDs to FLAC, tags them, downloads the artwork, and makes copies to MP3 or AAC for the portable. You can do the ripping while watching TV etc. It's DNLA compliant. It plays nicely with Mac & PC. It just works.
Exactly what I did; they are all sitting on my FreeNAS box, accessible via a MiniDNLA plugin server, via a 2nd NIC, which indexes the files every which way.
I used a fast DVD burner (very fast at reading CDs), and CDEx and foobar2000, on a fast Windows system to rip my many CDs direct to Flac files.
The author keeps makes a storm in a teacup for loads of technical stuff, which is frankly P'easy for someone technical; you just have to make the effort, and time, and get it done; he is probably a lot younger than I am, so his excuses are hilariously lame; I'd call him a Big Girls Blouse, but that would not be fair to geek girls :-P
The process is simple: want music, get music, put music in magic box, listen. Why mess about with that?
You try getting hold of Radio gnome by gong - oh damn, just googled and it appears quite easy....well it won't have weasel ripped my flesh my Zappa - oh for gods sake, it appears that you can get that too. Seems you can even buy Monolith by Amebix....
So why do I still have my massive LP collection of rare oddities.
Apologies Mr Dabbs.....seems you could be right (let the downvotes begin)
I wondered if you had the odd Gong album ukgnome, I always have time for Radio Gnome. :)
I tend to get stuff on CD, and rip it as FLACs onto my hard drive as soon as I next pass by the computer, then place the CD in the bookshelves (where it gathers dust). The thing is that about 20% of the CDs I buy (brand new still in their poxy thrice damned cellophane) are broken before I've even ripped or played them...
It gets really --ing boring returning 1 in 3 CDs, and for some CDs I have been unable to source a defect-free copy. It would be nice if the funts who run the Music industry got off their overpaid arses with a view to shipping working CDs so that the punter has a chance of getting hold of a defect free recording legitimately at the agreed price.
I am fairly sure I'm not alone on this one, although I may be one of the few who care enough to spend 10 minutes articulating the problem rather than spending 2 minutes downloading a working pirated copy.
> forced a youthful Stephen Hawking out of Physics and into Tap-Dancing classes
You never know, it could have freed up the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics thus giving someone otherwise doomed to appearing on X-Factor something to aspire to.
Though we might have ended up with A Brief History of Time being written in txt spk. Would smileys have made it easier to understand?
I used grip on Linux myself to rip hundreds of my CDs - the config options are nice on it (e.g. I like my file naming layout (no spaces for easy wildcarding/copying!) to be Artist_Name/Album_Title/01-First_Track_Title.mp3 - I suspect not many ripping progs will be that flexible).
Worst thing is that the online track DB it uses often has wrong spellings, so I have to correct those. But when the track names are right, it's literally feed in, wait a few mins, auto-eject, feed in next one etc.
There's always Amazon with its Autorip - I got 39 CDs downloaded (had to use a Windows client to do them in bulk, WTF!) without having to put a CD anywhere near the PC.
I was hoping that Google Play Music would be a nice place to upload the ripped MP3s (20,000 tracks for free), but it was painful to get a CentOS Google Play Manager client working (had to use an old version) and it really screwed up pretty well all my Greatest Hits CDs by merging multiple GH CDs into one tree (arrgh!) - and yes, all my MP3s are properly tagged and in separate artist/album dirs. It couldn't even separate the excellent "Bedtime Stories" (David Baerwald) album from the not-so-good Madonna equivalent - both ended up in the same online directory :-(
When it works Google Play Music is fantastic.
I had to copy my whole music collection and run it through winamp's tagging thingy to get everything consistent. Then it worked fine all ~70gb of it.
It's great because I can listen to anything I own at work without having to lug hard drives around or re-sync them. It also works on my phone and the signal is good enough to allow (medicore quality) streaming between work and home.
Also, the instant mix feature is fantastic, you just pick a track and hit a button and you've got a 20-track playlist of similar stuff.
"Artist_Name/Album_Title/01-First_Track_Title.mp3 - I suspect not many ripping progs will be that flexible"
Presuming that the first two are folder names, then, for those few of us Windows users out there, Windows Media Player does that no problem. If they are part of the filename, then you only get one choice of separator.
Still, if I ever do dabble in linux, I know there's something that does what I need it to. Cheers.
Ripping CDs is easy. There was as perfectly n00b friendly ripper (ripperX) on Linux back in the dawn of days. This is not and never has never been a hard problem.
It's just data. There's no DRM or DMCA hurdles involved. Anyone and their mother's cat is free to create a suitable and LEGAL CD ripping program.
DVDs and BDs are a little more interesting because of the DMCA but still not rocket surgery.
There is a nice tutorial on how to do this with a Debian install here :
I did this, it works nicely. Even allows my wife to just wander up to the machine, open the tray, insert a disc, close the tray, and wait till it pops out again. Music added to library and available to the house and all gadgets!
feed in, wait a few mins, auto-eject, feed in next one
Anyone old enough (and stupid enough) to have backed up a Windows 3.x system to floppy disks can tell you what's wrong with this. I stopped doing this when the disk count reached 40.
The interval between "feed" and "feed in next one" is too short to fill with any useful activity, but long enough to be very boring.
I have an old 10-disk CD changer that used to live in the boot of my car. This has got me wondering whether it could feasibly be converted into a multi-ripper.
> The interval between "feed" and "feed in next one" is too short to fill with any useful activity, but long enough to be very boring.
The interval can be as long as you like. You don't need to chain yourself to the desk during this process.
The computer is more than capable of going about it's business without you. Let it.
I like abcde.
It's a dream for the bulk ripper.
Setup your config file then start inserting CDs.
It spits them out when it's done, move onto the next one.
It really doesn't come any more bullet proof.
Also the names easy to remember.
You can even auto load it when you insert an audio CD with a bit of work.
I have no issue with torrenting stuff I can't buy, say old Stones bootleg albums and similar.
But...most of them are in low quality MP3 format, like 128kbit, and that is often noticeable even on the lowish quality of most bootlegs.
So you are much better to rip to lossless flac format, and then convert to MP3 copies in another directory (or whatever format your portable player or car accepts). Oh, and make sure you have a backup copy! An external couple of TB disk is not that expensive and could save a lot of tears later!
For me, my music collection is what's on the CDs. I rip only those that I want to listen to on the go but don't delete the ripped files, so they gradually accumulate over the years. As I only use MP3s for listening on my way to/from the office etc. I rip to 128kbps only. I don't consider MP3s as "archive" or "backup" and almost never buy or D/L them.
Thankfully, "party mode" does not concern me as I don't have "party music" in my collection.
Long time ago I had a carousel 5-CD changer. It was convenient but non-essential and I never considered buying one again.
The real problem with CDs is the space they require for storage...
> The real problem with CDs is the space they require for storage...
Not really. Not unless you live in some place like Manhattan where real estate is priced by the square centimeter rather than by the acre.
CDs are not large and need not take up any more space than the media itself, especially if you don't have to keep the media in any sort of "ready to use" setup.
>> The real problem with CDs is the space they require for storage...
>. Not really. Not unless you live in some place like Manhattan where real estate is priced by the square
> centimeter rather than by the acre.
When you have a LOT of CDs it becomes a serious problem, unless you live in a palace.
I found the CD sleeves offered by Discsox allowed me to keep all of the component parts of a CD package (booklet, discs, back cover) without folding, cutting or removing anything, in an archival quality lined plastic sleeve that takes up about a third of the space of a CD case.
This more than doubled the number of discs I could store on my shelves, and should I decide to sell any of them I can put them back into CD cases and they are good as new.
As far as ripping CDs go, I use dbPoweramp which not only rips accurately or tells you when it doesn't (unlike iTunes) but is multi- threaded so can rip up to 4 tracks at once on my i5 PC. It even lets you program custom ways of defining where/how it puts and titles the ripped files according to things such as is it a multi-disc set, is it a compilation album etc.
A Home RIpping Tower? cd drives are cheap, a bog standard tower is cheap. WOuld be great to get a tower with room for 5 plus cd drives and a few handy scripts. In fact, a distro like a knoppix setup, with all the tools to setup the source and destination drives then let rip, (ahem):
So we have:
Gracenote Lookup (or whatever database)
Rip into artist/album/track.flac
Sure, some of the rarer discs may have a problem resolving the names, but they can be flagged to be sorted.
Alternately, send me a an external hard drive, the entire collection and pay me a quid a disc and return postage and I will do it for you.
Your article struck a chord with me.
Ripping CDs would be something I do to avoid doing something much more important. It's a form of procrastination.
It's on a similar line to the "tidying my room" concept whereby one does everything but the task needed doing.
..... lose my love of physical media, simply because of the memories that can become attached to it. Queuing up outside HMV on the day GnR released the illusion albums, the first time my crappy little stereo was pushed to its limits by having When The Worm Turns by FNM played loud and often, and even recently the 20th anniversary box set of RATM first album box set was just like buying it again for the first time (it also cost more than I earned in a week when I first bought it).
Music has been a big part of my life and listening brings up the bad memories as well as good. Even though my life has involved numerous house moves, a divorce and all the other crap that life throws at you I still have all of my vinyl, a box of cassettes and numerous cd's. It has been the one constant in my life. Discovering music before the online age was a totally different beast, it actually required time and effort so seemed to be savored more.
It just makes me sad that my son won't experience it the same way I did.
Reminds me of 10 years ago when I started uni. I remember 2 people I lived with - one had brought a couple of hundred CD's with him. Another had ripped an equivalent amount of CD's to his laptop hard drive. The one who had ripped the music always claimed it was easier for him in terms of storage and moving things about, since everything was on his laptop. The other said he preferred to be able to take the CD's to parties without needing to risk having his laptop damaged.
The end result though, was that at some stage, they both "lost" some of their music. The guy who'd ripped everything ended up needing to delete some, because back then a 20 Gb laptop hard drive was fairly big. The other one had CD's go missing that he lent people or left them lying around.
In the end they both wished they'd ended up doing the opposite thing. Pros and cons, as with everything else.
> Reminds me of 10 years ago when I started uni. I remember 2 people I lived with -
> The end result though, was that at some stage, they both "lost" some of their music. The guy who'd ripped everything ended up needing to delete some, because back then a 20 Gb laptop hard drive was fairly big.
It's funny you should mention this because the hard drive in my laptop 10 years ago was 100G.
Although for real "portability" I wrote my collection to CD/DVD.
20G was NOT a big laptop drive 10 years ago.
I guess El Reg pays by the line. What was all that about? Was there a point in there somewhere? As far as I can tell, the entire article could be distilled down to "I have a lot of CDs, and I'm not sure if I can be arsed to rip them." Did I miss something? Is the article soliciting opinions on this deeply intriguing theme, or just rambling about it? I think I want my five minutes back.
Yeah, some of these columns are very entertaining but this one was bit of a rambling mess. I think there is a point in there somewhere about whether having media in a physical format is somehow "better" than not. In my opinion it is better to own something physical, but space issues in my flat means I'm considering shipping all my CD's off to Music Magpie! There, I think I made the article's point in two sentences.
good idea for a service, but from my experience they are pretty tight with their money.
I've had a box sitting around for months with CD's and DVD's waiting to go off to them, but I cant bring myself to let them go for such a paltry amount. The main reason for wanting to sell them was to free up some space in bookcases, now they are in a box in a cupboard, problem solved.
It seems to be something like 10p for a CD and 30p for a DVD (on average). If you have lots of big sellers, you are likely to get less for them, than if you have loads of hard to find stuff (which you probably wouldnt want to sell anyway).
My guessing is that they get hundreds of copies of the 'big sellers' so don't want to be giving out the big bucks for extras, but are happy to give out a few extra pence for another copy of something that they only have one or two of.
What I'd like to know is what they do with the stuff once they have it.
The stuff gets cleaned up, a new jewel case if necessary -they'll deduct from the price they give you - and then given a new shrinkwrap.
The CD turns up at your local Morrisons or similar supermarket in a bargain bin where its sold for £1 to £2 (or local equivalent)
I've a KLF album which is worth at most about 85 pence by their reckoning.
>> There, I think I made the article's point in two sentences.
Every piece of writing can be made in two sentences.
Hamlet: Angsty Oedipal dude hates his step-dad. Goes nuts.
Any newspaper: Bad things happened. Rhianna shook her arse about again.
Your comment: I wish someone would pay *me* to write that bollox. Unfortunately, I'm not funny.
>> Did I miss something?
Yes, you missed the fact that I've been rambling in this way every Friday for the last year and a half. And please don't do the "I wasted five minutes of my life" line because if you had time to write a comment, you clearly have time to throw away.
"Just torrent them with a clear conscience?"
I agree, if you don't mind ripping them to MP3 when you own the CD, then surely the same applies to torrenting them? Torrents normally have good tags and I believe iTunes will organise them all nicely for you automatically...
Just don't forget to delete the MP3s when you get rid of the CDs, otherwise that's just theft.
(Side issue is the rather small likelihood of being sent one of the those letters from your ISP)
I had a similar problem, and this was my solution. Tesco sell 192-CD zip-up CD wallets for about £12. I got a couple of those, spend an hour or two putting in the disks, while pulling out the cover art inserts and putting them in a box (now in the loft in case the RIAA send rapacious goons to check on my proofs of purchase). I then chucked all the jewel cases in the plastic recycling bin. Now all my CDs occupy 20cm of shelf space and can get to all of them easily. Of course, I then ripped them all anyway, but that's another story.
I also found that CD wallets were the most sensible way to deal with the ever increasing size of my collection a few years ago. Obviously I would have loved to keep all the cases and display them on shelves library style but it just proved too bulky once I reached 200 plus CDs. Jewel cases just add a lot of extra plastic to your collection for no convenience at all in return. One cannot compare the ease of carrying a wallet around with physically moving a shelf and all its content. Plus as SeanEllis pointed out, they're dirt cheap.
Converting all actual CDs to FLAC (for archiving) and Ogg Vorbis (for mobile audio) however is just taking a little longer than I would have liked... I would recommend dbpoweramp and EAC on Windows to whoever wishes to deal with such massive undertaking but ripping an entire CD collection is by no means a quick venture.
BTW, if you think that ripping CDs is tiresome, don't ever try to digitise all your old film pictures. It took me about a month to do that 6-frames at a time a few years ago. I think it used to take about 2-3 minutes per frame with a Minolta slide scanner I borrowed.
Yep, been there. Worse, once scanned in glorious hi-res you realise how crap your camera/film/skills are. My pro friends tell me the grain is normal and part of the charm, but I don't see it (in my shots anyway).
And Alastair - bite the bullet man, put aside an afternoon, rip the lot (it's about 2-3 minutes per disc these days, not 20 like it used to be), and rely on Gracenote/CDDB/whatever it is these days for the titles. For bonus points, give the discs to the charity shop and get the warm fuzzies, at least until the police knock down your door ("No officer, I bought the lot but someone stole my CD collection last month").
'Queuing up outside HMV on the day GnR released....'
There will never not be an opportunity to queue up for something: witness iPhone & GTA5 releases of the last few weeks or a visit to the dark, pleasantly odourous, labyrinth of a new Hollister/A&F store.
Marketing wonks will coninue to create desire & neediness among the disposably incomed.
As to ripping, gather as many drives as possible & rip away. Not that difficult to batch up.
I buy the CD, rip it to FLAC, stick it on a bookshelf (I'm in agreement with the bookshelf vs. CD rack comment above). I've ripped most of my old cassette tapes too. A nightly script then mirrors the FLAC directory structure to an MP3 one, for portability. That way my good lady can have everything on her phone, and not commit crimes against the alphabet after taking them out to use in the car. Its a crying shame Logitech ditched the Squeezebox though.
That said, I can see the author's point. I have a media server and a load of DVDs. I've absolutely no intention of ripping them. For two hours' viewing it's easier to just put a disk in the machine.
They didn't kill mine, I've still got three of them in stalwart daily use (plus software players on just about everything else with a CPU and a NIC in it). They'll eventually turn off the MySqueezebox.com servers, but apart from initial setup I've never used those anyway (and who knows, the community may well devise a workaround for that). The main headache I have now is keeping my system happy with the rather old version of Perl it needs :s
Intriguingly, my ritual is very similar to yours. Could these be symptoms of ownership?
Rip the stuff you like, scrap the disks, buy everything new from iTunes and use iTunes Match so that you have everything you need. You can also listen to lots of new music as Podcasts or on YouTube.
Amazon do something similar with new purchases of a CD, you get the MP3 for nothing, and they're backdating this to cover previous purchases.
Or buy a subscription to Spotify or another Internet music radio station.
Amazon do something similar with new purchases of a CD, you get the MP3 for nothing, and they're backdating this to cover previous purchases.
And, of course, that includes all the CDs that you bought as presents for other people. Which would make an interesting legal debate.
Sadly, it seems that I didn't buy from Amazon the BB King boxset that I gave to a mate for his birthday last year :(
Up until this point, I was dismissive of seemingly pointless products such as digital jukeboxes like the Brennan JBs. Actually, I’m still dismissive: what are they for? Don’t answer, I already know. They are for fuddy duddies who don’t own a computer and therefore can’t make MP3s by themselves.
In my case, it is for this fuddy-duddy who keeps his hifi and computers separate and unconnected. OK?
(Actually, my older JB7, with a smaller disc, IS connected to my PC. Which is a bit daft, since all the MP3s are on the computer anyway.)
Penguin because I'm sure the JB7 uses a Linux variant. It can export files whose names contain characters that freak out Windoze....
a quick trip to the bayer of Es still shows that a 200 disc cd carousel unit is a mere pittance a couple of these and (despite the chunkiness) I would vouch that nearly all the CD's are then taken care of ( other than the annoying jewel cases)
You also get a cool transformers like device that has cool whirrs and clicks ( like an olde worlde jukebox ) and you get to keep your dreaded conscience at ease (and your listening happiness) knowing these are all the original unripped recordings.
true not very portable but who gives a stuff... and yes you can then do a really random party mix.
also finding the disc can be bit of a bugger and I know a few of them had a mechanical issue that caused them to skip like a 9 yr old girl in a playground but that's just the fun of having moving physical media!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the one with the keys to the car that has a 45rpm single player in it
I recently purchased an MP3 of a Bruckner 7th conducted by Hans Rosbaud from 1957 on Amazon.
Wonderful performance but the string sections sounded like they only had 2 players each and there was also a curious lack of reverberance so I bought it on CD and made my own rip - much more satisfying, full-bodied sound, apparent even on my N900.
I have a large box full of 35mm slides that I inherited from my parents. There's loads of memories there, but ripping them is ten times the pain it is with CDs, and the indexing is near impossible.
As fr the 8mm cine film, there's no alternative other then send it off and spend a significant number of quids.
"Just imagining a world in which Berners-Lee is a celebrity chef while Hawking is an X Factor judge"
No Internet. That would be great.
We could go back to being human beings again and not some poxy webpage on a server somewhere, talking to our 1,000's of friends that we don't really know and have never seen before.
While you’re at it get rid of the PVR and we could discuss what we saw on telly last night as everyone would at least be watching at the same time.
Life would be so much better. Unfortunately humans get sucked into anything to try and make their petty existence something more than it could ever be!
I have often wondered what would allow a distopian future to come about. Surely, I thought, there would come a point where enough people would say, "hang on, this isn't right" and it would fizzle out. But if these people are all staring at screens or listening to recordings and broadcasts, they wouldn't notice distopia tip-toeing behind their backs.
A lot of albums ( which were a thing back in the day ) consist of songs in a particular order that the artists who created them felt fitted together in some way to form a whole that exceeds the components from which it is constructed.
It saddens me a little to think how infrequently the care and thought that goes into putting together an album as a whole is noticeable once we get to mp3 players on constant shuffle. I don't know if it will result in fewer great albums being made, but I hope not. ( As an aside there seems now to be such a glut of music that even when great music is made, it is very hard to find )
In spite of this my MP3 player is almost always on shuffle. But I do listen to CDs often too.
"A lot of albums ( which were a thing back in the day ) consist of songs in a particular order that the artists who created them felt fitted together in some way to form a whole that exceeds the components from which it is constructed."
Good post. Artistically insightful. Elucidates a point lost on many people nowadays.
I have always felt the same way; in fact, I rarely listen to mp3 any other way than by album. "Shuffle" to me is an abomination, only for groups of songs from (what I consider) one-hit wonders*. When I used to engineer, it was always the case that, even for a three song demo, all the participants would devote a great deal of thought, not merely to picking the three best songs, but to picking the three best songs that also made a coherent whole.
And as John Lennon once complained, the Beatles would invest great amounts of time devising a good running order and then the albums would be re-released in the US, with completely different running orders - and songs added and subtracted. He said "It used to drive us crackers."
* I classify as a "one hit wonder" any entity that has only one song (or very few songs) that *I* like. It has nothing to do with the popularity of said entity on the world-at-large's record charts.
Next time I have a few mates around, I'm putting Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here on in shuffle mode.
PS: Jesus H Christ, it's painful to use Register comments. They could really learn a thing or two about AJAX. Actually, even one thing about AJAX would be a start; i.e. "it exists". Never mind sending me to a whole new page to write a reply, but for an upvote? WTF?
"They could really learn a thing or two about AJAX. Actually, even one thing about AJAX would be a start; i.e. "it exists". "
No chance, they've not even caught on to tables yet. If some information needs presenting which would be best presented as tabular format, there are currently two options: sentences in body text, or (get this) a picture of a table. (And I'm not just talking about stuff copied straight from vendor PR releases here, where pictures rather than tables is almost excusable).
Don't generally need AJAX here (though the upvote/downvote thing is silly), but tables might sometimes be useful before the 21st century is out.
It saddens me a little to think how infrequently the care and thought that goes into putting together an album as a whole is noticeable once we get to mp3 players on constant shuffle.
It's funny how deeply ingrained that idea (sequential play) is. As far as I know, there's only one album that was deliberately designed to be played on shuffle: Minidisc, by Gescom. Exactly how "musical" it is is open to debate, though.
Granted, not all albums benefit from specific ordering. It's often a case of sticking the "hit" tune at the start or the end, with little musical merit in any particular ordering. There are exceptions, though. I couldn't imagine Dark Side of the Moon played in any other order. Sadly, nobody really makes albums like that any more.
The point about Dark Side of the Moon is often made. However, the one album that annoyed me when the record company re-issued it on CD with all the tracks in a different order was Thomas Dolby's Golden Age of Wireless. I had grown so used to the running order on the vinyl version when I was a teenager, and several tracks did actually continue into the next, that the CD version's revised order has never made any sense to me. Right from the first time I ripped it, I changed the sequence back to match the original track order and stuck the extra CD tracks at the end.
But you can keep going back through the formats and bemoaning the loss of something.
For example, I'd say that with CDs you lose the "two sides of an LP" dynamic. For example, there was usually a reason why a certain song got picked as "first song on the B side". On a CD, that just becomes another track in the sequence.
I've also got a lot of CDs (now running in to the thousands).
I've thought about starting the process of ripping them but it would just take too bloody long. The wife would also disown me as she can't be faffed with anything other than grabbing a CD and sticking it in the cd player, and the kids would not be able to find barbie girl or justin beaver or whatever crap it is they want to listen to.
I also like the author love having the physical media, it makes me feel like I've actually bought something. Not only that but people who visit always comment on the music collection and love thumbing through it.
I've also got a fairly high end hifi at home consiting of two speakers, an amp and a cd player. the CD player is magical as it has a magnetic puck! So to put a CD on you - a: manually pull cd drawer out, b: pull magnetic puck off tray, c: place cd in tray, then d: place puck over top of CD and it clamps the CD down, then finally close tray and press play.
Call me nostalgic but it's abit like putting a 12' on a deck and putting the needle on and it never fails to make me feel a little bit good doing it.
I have Mp3s obviously as I listen to music on the go but it just feels sterile putting on of them on.
"I have Mp3s obviously as I listen to music on the go but it just feels sterile putting on of them on."
It is more than that, it SOUNDS sterile putting one of them on.
MP3's are the lowest common denominator sound quality that, regretfully, seems to have been accepted by the common denominator buyer. I use MP3's as my mobile sources - walking and motorcycling - but I pull out my (original source, higher quality) CD when I play at home. I guess that having a high-end system does that to you - you realize just how low a quality some things are (and that includes, regretfully, the production quality of all too many CD's).
It's not all MP3's fault though, most soundcards have shit DAC's.
I burnt something at 128k mp3 (which is noticeably worse than cd) and played it on my NAD cd player and it sounded much better than the soundcard in my pc. The actual cd itself sounded better still, obviously.
But as you say, a lot of it comes down to poor mastering in the first place; some of these 'high res' audio formats sound better because they're mastered to sound on high-end equipment whereas the cd is mastered to sound LOUD on a crappy £80 aiwa stereo in some kids bedroom.
"It's not all MP3's fault though, most soundcards have shit DAC's."
Try an external USB audio interface on the PC. Even the cheapies are an improvement over the average laptop's DAC/output stage. I do amateur sound effects recordings and use headphones a lot. Raw laptop socket is buzz creak overload. Cheapo USB is clean, clear noiseless.
One way or another, you'll pay.
Obviously time to store and/or retrieve CDs for listening is already a burden.
So if you are compelled to listen to a CD, rip it, put it away once, then let that jewel collect dust.
To rip, I use EAC with Lame made so that I get both WAV (could be FLAC) and a decent mp3.
This process is not fully automated - correcting Artist Name, Album && Track Title is mandatory when not using some unfaillable fruity magic.
CUE sheet with pauses matter to me as well - I am paranoid regarding the lifetime of a CD.
To store and listen, I have a an old Thinkpad rigged as fileserver running Linux and Squeezeserver.
If you do not need synchronized music from different sources (like I do), you may use any advanced router with USB and DLNA server.
We're going back about 10 years now but I sacked off ICT when doing my A-levels because it was teaching me office, which I either already knew, or could find out by pressing F1.
My admittedly poor grades in maths/physics were obviously more beneficial to getting me onto a CS course and into employment as a programmer.
I put a couple of CDs in the car to play. The wife and kids have had at them, and now the jewel cases are missing, the inserts are all over the place and the CDs are scratched to buggery.
I've already ripped most of my CDs to mp3, I have an emotional need for physical media; so much so that I have actually started buying vinyl again.
But I've learned my lesson and the kids can play with mp3s to their heart's content.
I ripped my CD and LP collection which I started the early 70's, but I barely listen to it - my tastes have changed. No doubt, part of the reason is I'm no longer a teenager. However, in this post Napster world, I think that the ease with which one can be exposed to new music is more of a contributing factor in evolving musical tastes.
CDs? Pah. Try digitising all your DVDs and BluRays. THAT's a nice timewaster for you. I ended up ripping about 600 or so, all sat on a lovely Synology NAS. Then I discovered the US version of Netflix and realised half the films I've ripped are already there, often in HD, for a princely 7 euros a month...
> Then I discovered the US version of Netflix and realised half the films I've ripped are already there, often in HD
Your DVD rip is still probably better quality.
The features of your PC video player probably trumps whatever Netflix player you're using.
Your DVD rip is playable on just about anything including platforms that Netflix doesn't support.
Playing your local copy doesn't require any sort of external network and doesn't consume your 3G or your home Internet bandwidth cap.
Any task is going to be harder if you procrastinate until you have a huge mountain of work.
That's what I've always done, at least, and I keep the MP3's backed up on a total of 5 storage devices across 3 addresses to prevent data loss (well, 4 at the moment, one of them got dropped while moving, hence the need for backups) - and you can keep a clean conscience because you did buy the music.
Also, shame on you for sending your kid off to college with a phone with 4GB of storage and a broken headphone jack! What will he listen to during lectures?! Why, I'll bet that thing won't even run the latest games!
Maybe I have a poor understanding of England's education system but at least here in the US, anything you do before college/university is more or less irrelevant.
Personally, I taught myself how to program when I was ~10 years old and by the time I was in high school (mid 90s) I was making a non-trivial amount of money developing and selling shareware for Windows CE devices. I had never taken a single computer class.
(As for ripping the CDs, just put a stack of them next to your computer and feed a new one in every ~8 minutes or however long it takes with error correction enabled. Replenish the stack as necessary. I'm sure you'll be done in a couple weeks at most. First world problems.)
Basically my entire music collection consists of FLAC files that I've personally ripped from CDs. Almost all the CDs are ones I've borrowed from the public library. Every song that I listen to on my smartphone is in lossless format. I choose to rip from actual CDs instead of downloading the FLAC files from torrent, because I know what I'm getting. You never know, some idiot might have heard that "FLAC is better" and so he converted his MP3s to FLAC and decided to upload those.
For me, it's about choosing not to sacrifice audio quality. Do I claim to be able to hear the difference between a 320kbps MP3 and uncompressed CD audio? Who knows, maybe I can't. But here's one thing I do know: I'm utterly sick of listening to MP3 artifacts everywhere I go. From horrible streaming services such as Sirius/XM to people playing their iPod playlists at parties, it's quite frankly pathetic how our standards have receded. Seriously, does nobody else find it bizarre that the "gold standard" of sound quality today (high bitrate MP3) is actually _inferior_ to what everyone listened to 25 years ago (cd audio)? All of this despite the fact that listening to all of our music in full CD quality is 100x cheaper and/or easier than it was back then.
My FLACs are my oasis of escape from the bullshit. I can rest assured that no matter what song I'm listening to, no matter what I think sounds strange or odd in the song, it has NOTHING to do with some quality-sacrificing codec artifact.
THAT, and THAT ALONE, is the reason why I have still have use for CDs.
I recently purchased a 7.1 surround home theater setup with Polk Audio speakers. Afterwards I started to notice the difference in quality between the 256kbps .mp3 files I had originally created from my CD collection and the original lossless CDs. It was a subtle difference in the very high and very low frequency ranges that I could never hear on the cheap setup I was using before. So I re-ripped my entire collection to FLAC using EAC. It took me a few weeks but it was worth it :) I also love that I can convert the FLACs to other formats (for devices that don't support FLAC) without having to get the original CDs out again. Now all my CDs reside in storage =D
I completely understand why people loved vinyl - the large black disc with the music actually etched out on it. I remember carefully holding the blunt end of a darning needle onto an old record that my mum owned and hearing the faint crooning. Fascinating. And the lovely dusty crackle of the needle as it moves along the groove. (Don't worry, it was some old shite record that was better off broken in pieces and buried in the garden.)
CDs on the other hand, I don't get. There's nothing to love. I can't even imagine saying to the wife "Here, which album do you want to listen to in its entirety from first song to last?", and then walking over to the wall of CDs, picking it out and having an argument about why "Tom Petty" was in the "Stone Roses" case. Oh, and then it's skipping for some reason. All optical media is doomed. Every time I rent a DVD I end up taking it out at 1 hour 15 minutes to scrutinize it for scratches, JUST when we're about to find out whether or not the butler did it.
My listening mode is this: I'm in the mood for [INSERT MOOD] music. This doesn't tend to be all from one genre, let alone band, let alone album. Nope, I'm 100% against Mr Author here.
Well, in counterpoint, I don't get the warm fuzzies from having to dig up a physical CD, shove it into the player, and hope it works. My current portable has no CD drive (second battery instead), because I found portable CD/DVD drives to be FAR too unreliable to actually expect to be able to put a disk into it and expect it to work (unlike desktop drives which are reasonably reliable in general.) I have no issue ripping a stack of CDs -- it's fast -- but have zero interest in the CDs afterwards. I can share my MP3s a hell of a lot easier than sharing a CD, then hoping it comes back, too.
I won't belittle anyone for liking to keep the phyiscal artifacts around, but I'm simply not one of them and it sounds like the writer's son isn't either.
I've said it before: Simplicity doesn't sell these days.
There is nothing simpler than just putting in a CD. And it starts playing. All by itself.
I don't have to worry about backups or media corruption either. Some basic respect and handling of the CD and it will last until the plastic finally deteriorates, which is what, about 20 years? Anybody still have a working hard drive from 20 years ago? (yeah not many of you, is there?)
But what if I want a playlist/mix tape? I can make my own CD for that as well.
But lately, I've been using YouTube to create my playlists. It may not have the odd song that only hipsters both young and old and I have ever heard of, but I'll live.
Although you do have to be careful that some of your songs haven't been pulled by copyright notices. In which case, I just look for the official version or sub a new song.
But simplicity doesn't sell. Shiny complicated bling does.
English schools I have no idea about. Good luck to your son.
RIAA does not like me.
I buy my music on CD.
I buy them used and next to free;
RIAA does NOT like me.
My dialup line is far too slow
To download music don't 'you know?
My radio is on the air,
For online music, I don't care.
And in my player, decades old,
I've folk songs, klezmer, Russians bold....
With obscure labels yet untold,
My carousel is quite enrolled.
RIAA does not like me
I buy my music on CD
I buy them used and next to free;
RIAA does NOT like me.
RUM tiddle iddle iddle RUM tim tum!
RUM tiddle iddle iddle RUM tim tum!
RUM tiddle iddle iddle RUM tim tum!
And now my little rhyme is done!
Author -- Myself
As far as I'm concerned, the CDs _themselves_ are the mere slipcase the actual songs come in - I rip them and use the resulting MP3s exclusively, due to their massive advantages regarding accessibility in random order (I have seen exceedingly few albums where the ordering _actually_ did matter, I couldn't care less for mr. Artist's preferences in general), endurance when properly backed up, portability (as far as I'm concerned ever since mobiles got SD cards PMPs of any sort became pointless) and sheer playback flexibility: they'll play on basically anything with speakers these days. Oh - and regarding that "horrible, lossy" MP3 format - maybe I could tell apart a CD and a 256-320kbps MP3 in a proper double-blind test, maybe I couldn't. But the very fact that I have no idea whether I could shows I simply notice no difference in daily use, which renders the point moot for me, so I just don't bother with FLAC and whatnot (not nearly as widely playable anyway).
"What if Richard Dawkins had been bumped off the zoology course at Balliol College and sent to a seminary instead?"
Well, it would've at least stopped him from releasing all those baseless books of fiction that he seems to enjoy writing and that, sadly, Joe Bloggs takes as being (if you will pardon the pun) gospel and never go and check for themselves the actual facts.
The chief problem I have with both iTunes and WMP is that you can't influence the levels while you burn a "security copy", so those party mixes everyone loves tend to feature random volume settings.
Well, that and the totally f*cking lame state of the iTunes "Gracenote" database o' album covers. About 4/5ths of my 65gb collection is identified in iTunes as "white box with musical notes".
Couldn't find "Close to the Edge". Couldn't find "Bridge Over Troubled Water". Couldn't find "Aladdin Sane". Couldn't find "Amok" by Atoms for Peace ffs.
Must be the easiest database in the world to back up on account of there being only a handful of pictures on the bloody thing.
... most of the music I appreciate currently, 98% of the music I listen to, does not come on physical media anymore- and if it does, then only as bonus for hardcore fans. So digital is the only way to go, and I have just as much pleasure to sort it into a proper collection, edit the MP3s with tags, find the album art for them, etc.
80% of all music I listen too is on top of that released under CC license, and there is more good stuff out there than I can process (and I am NOT talking about all that dub-step-crap).
That said, I do have an issue with not being able to listen to my ~300 LPs at the moment because I can't afford a really good record player- and don't want to subject them to a bad, or even mediocre one.
I could of course simply find the MP3s for them on the interwebs and pretend I ripped them. Problem is, at least half of them did never come out as CD and hence do not exist as MP3s out there. And let's be frank, actually ripping a LP to MP3 is a really bad idea...
So I will just have to wait until I afford the luxury of a good record player again. And then it will be:
"want music, pick music, carefully unpack music, gently prepare music, put on headphones, lay back and drift away".
Oh well, when the kids get bigger, I guess... :-D
As for the ~250 CDs, yes, I also listen to them still the old fashioned way. Didn't bother to rip them either.
I'm getting pissed off with artistes who release their cds in oversized sleeves.
Just bought Arctic Monkeys AM and it doesn't fit in the rack (neither does "Panic of Girls" etc) so instead of being proudly displayed in the rack they get lost in the cupboard
It might be Big but it aint Clever !
Just to add my tuppence...
CD's ripped to FLAC using Foobar2000, and then album art embedded and tag data corrected manually in MP3Tag.
If I could reliably buy FLAC versions of albums instead of CD's I would. For portability I can bulk down-vert to Mp3 using Foobar. The advantage to streaming FLAC rather than listening to CD's is the total removal of digital errors from the CD transport. The remaining sound quality is then only a function of your DAC (and then the rest of your HiFi)...
Albums are organised by 'Album Artist' field, every album is in it's own folder with a copy of the album art stored as 'folder.jpg'. I have a RPi running MPD that auto mounts my music shared folder, MPDroid is the client 'controller' from my phone, and the RPi is connected by USB DAC to my (astonishingly good) HiFi. An install of Nginx webserver delivers the correct album art from the RPi to the MPDroid client, rather than using it's own attempt to download matches from Last FM.
HiFi is not dead, there's a growing interest in the quality of digital music and it's re-production, it's just being misrepresented. There are lots of excellent little USB DAC's and headphone amplifiers coming into the market. Yes, quality of studio production matters enormously, but there's no substitute for high quality speakers and amplification.
I love CD for exactly the same reasons. I like the ability to re-gift anything I no longer listen to. But I do miss my favourite piece of HiFi. My 200 CD disk jukebox. Burnt in a housefire around 1999 and eventually gave up the ghost a few years later.
I could load up my whole CD collection and select a disc number and play. Putting it in on random play was an amazing although eclectic experience. Moving from Nirvana to Beatles to Tom Leuhrer to David Williams to Hitch Hikers you get the point.
The thought of ripping my CD collection has left them sitting in a box for over a decade. Every year I resolve to rip it and become easily distracted after about 10 cds.
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