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cjr

Download v CD. Cost - VFM & Sound Quality.

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Download v CD. Cost VFM, Sound Quality.

Is it just me, but why on earth buy a “download†@ 320 kbps, when you can buy the actual CD only £1.96 more ? Ie you can buy the CD then rip it yourself @ 320 kbps. The actual CD has 4.4 times the bitrate of the download. Am I being daft here ? also if you have a HDD failure of some sort and have bought say 100 £6.99 downloads, you have just lost £699 worth of music, where as hard copy wise. You’d just rip again onto a new HD.

http://www.play.com/Music/CD/4-/3515420/Dig-Lazarus-Dig-/Product.html

£8.95 (free postage) Full CD, ie 1411 kbps

http://www.play.com/Music/MP3-Download-Album/4-/5168543/DIG-LAZARUS-DIG-/Product.html

£6.99 320 kbps MP3.

And to think Play are one of the better “download†stores with 320, Apple is 256. I know Linn offers full resolution downloads at same price as CD, ie 1411. Why on earth are downloads when their quality is so crap.

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A few people try to tell me that the 320 sample rate is sound AS GOOD as original! not in my experienced though, infact to me the different is massive :pooter:the silver disc sound so much better.

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ob1 wrote:

A few people try to tell me that the 320 sample rate is sound AS GOOD as original! not in my experienced though, infact to me the different is massive :pooter:the silver disc sound so much better.

I agree & I've used mp3 for around a decade now.

EDIT: they should offer files in lossless or WAV, so that the user has a choice of formats & compression.

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ob1 wrote:

A few people try to tell me that the 320 sample rate is sound AS GOOD as original! not in my experienced though, infact to me the different is massive :pooter:the silver disc sound so much better.

Not to my ears, 320 can sound very good, but at high volumes can sound ragged & bass light compared to the original IMPE, I can see why some people would struggle identifying the 2 under blind conditions FWIW though - ie at moderate listening levels.

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cjr wrote:

ob1 wrote:
A few people try to tell me that the 320 sample rate is sound AS GOOD as original! not in my experienced though, infact to me the different is massive :pooter:the silver disc sound so much better.

Not to my ears, 320 can sound very good, but at high volumes can sound ragged & bass light compared to the original IMPE, I can see why some people would struggle identifying the 2 under blind conditions FWIW though - ie at moderate listening levels.

If it sounds almost as good, then why not pay almost as much?

There are plenty of folks out there for whom buying, waiting, ripping and all of the associated complications are not for them. There is a simplicity to downloading which suits a lot of people.

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There was a Wigwam/HFC blind test on this - only a couple of people with pretty high-end systems could tell 320 kbps from uncompressed, once burned back to CD and played on the same CD player. No-one could spot the lossless (FLAC) tracks.

Downloading is useful for try-before-you-buy, IMO: but only if you don't have to pay! ;) If stuff is any good, I will buy the proper CD. :)

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320kbps is respectable enough but if I were spending with real money I buy the CD because you have the bes possible quality, and you have the physical media as back-up. You can rip it how you like and should have no ties. Buying the CD and ripping it is the ultimate way, IMO. Free downloads offer the best VFM though, being free.

People who buy 128kbps downloads from iTunes are being ripped off, but they have no care for this or understanding, so it doesn't really matter to them.

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meninblack wrote:

There was a Wigwam/HFC blind test on this - only a couple of people with pretty high-end systems could tell 320 kbps from uncompressed, once burned back to CD and played on the same CD player. No-one could spot the lossless (FLAC) tracks.

Downloading is useful for try-before-you-buy, IMO: but only if you don't have to pay! ;) If stuff is any good, I will buy the proper CD. :)

:goodone:

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darrenm wrote:

320kbps is respectable enough but if I were spending with real money I buy the CD because you have the bes possible quality, and you have the physical media as back-up. You can rip it how you like and should have no ties. Buying the CD and ripping it is the ultimate way, IMO. Free downloads offer the best VFM though, being free.

People who buy 128kbps downloads from iTunes are being ripped off, but they have no care for this or understanding, so it doesn't really matter to them.

:goodone:

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Couldn't agree more CJ, why would you pay almost as much for a download as having a secure physical recording. I guess the only advantage is that you only download the track you want, rather than paying for a whole cd that may have duff tracks.

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Jasper wrote:

Couldn't agree more CJ, why would you pay almost as much for a download as having a secure physical recording. I guess the only advantage is that you only download the track you want, rather than paying for a whole cd that may have duff tracks.

Spot on Jasper, I did this for £0.79 for "Teardrop" off the Newton Faulkner, handy to hear the track - but I ended up buying the CD anyway. I agree about the 128 issue chaps, madness.

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darrenm wrote:

People who buy 128kbps downloads from iTunes are being ripped off, but they have no care for this or understanding, so it doesn't really matter to them.

It fits the purpose of what it was intended for with most people:

A cheap and easy way to get new music quickly (i.e instantly) onto a mobile device that probably wouldn't be able to exhibit a marginal difference in SQ over some cheap bundled headphones anyway.

It's only the people who are genuinely bothered about SQ and bitrates who care that iTunes or whatever are low quality files and in the real world they (we) make up a small number of the actual users no doubt.

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And lets not forget, some cd's tend to have fairly decent covers, slip notes etc. And if there's a limited edition with extra tracks or videos I like to go for that, often they're only a couple of quid more. I've yet to see a album download with a free bonus dvd.

I quite liked NIN's recent strategy, where you get half the album as free download, then you can either buy the rest of the album as a CD, download or super swanky version with loads of art and gubbins.

The other problem with downloading a lossy file, is although it maybe pretty good quality to start with (e.g AAC 320Kbps), but what if you need to transcode it for use on something else that doesn't support AAC or you just to save space/battery power on your personal player? Moving from one lossy format to another really messes with the sound quality. Now if you had a flac or other lossless format you can transcode that to any format you like with the minimum of quality loss. So you could have top quality at home, a compromise for space/battery usage on your personal player and then for streaming to media server in kitchen a simple lossless to mp3 encode.

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