Re: CD vs Vinyl
No offense, Occupation, but your comments seem delusional. CDs have not gotten worse in the last ten years (although mixing techniques may have, basing their decisions on use by MP3 players, among other factors), but have in fact gotten better. Analog media (LPs, tapes, etc.) have certainly not gained ground, and the idea that your tape player might wear out before your cassettes do strains credibility. Knowing that some metallic oxides peel off any tape EACH PLAY against a stainless steel head comes to mind immediately. Furthermore, since most tapes, especially cassettes, did not capture information above 15Khz (and even high-end playback decks certainly didn't pass through frequencies above 18Khz) while any CD can reproduce material past 22Khz, proves that your points aren't based on any science the rest of us can agree on.
As far as LPs go, honestly, listening to CDs of well-recorded music (I'd point to Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" or Grateful Dead's "Workingman's Dead" for just two well-mastered pop examples) shows plainly that compared to the cheap mass-produced records of the era, the same CD releases sound far more clean, detailed and quiet. Certainly without the high noise floor of most commercially-pressed records, more detail emerges from your recordings. And even if you're lucky enough to acquire an unusually well-pressed disk, simply owning it for any length of time means continued degradation from repeated needle passes or airborne contaminants. I've already mentioned the constant danger of physical tape's deterioration merely from use, and didn't even mention susceptibility to stray magnetic fields.
And ever-higher price tags? CD players can be had for far less expense than turntables today, if you can find one. And the output of any $30 CD player will sound very close to that of a $2,000 player if you're honest, which you certainly cannot say about a record player. In fact anyone daft enough to play a record on a cheap turntable deserves what they'll get: all the definition and detail it once held lopped off of the grooves by a crude needle and heavy tonearm in just one spin. Compare that to the practically-indestructible compact disk and you can see that the LP has the far more delicate life and must be coddled simply to maintain any semblance of its original condition. Barring catastrophic scratches or a break, a CD will sound exactly the same every time you play it, on every device with which you play it, until there are no more devices left that can read the format.
Finally, after meandering about with the arcane discussion of vinyl (hey, a plastic) versus shellac (hey, bug residue) you state that film cameras are somehow more "green" than their digital equivalents. Ever heard of film (acetate, a plastic)? Processing chemicals? Paper prints? Digital cameras are, based on use, far more "green" than their predecessors since people no longer use toxic chemicals and cut down trees just to see the results of their photo sessions. This isn't to say that digital images are better than analog; they're not. Unlike this digital vs analog music discussion, film is widely acknowledged to remain superior as an image-capture media because digital receptors just aren't as sensitive as film emulsions are (yet).
Of course the fact is, contrary to your notion that consumers worship these shiny plastic disks, most of us pop 'em in, press play and forget that we're listening to a disk at all. Compact disks offer instant random access to material, safety from accidental damage, portable storage, and clarity unheard of at in the analog era. I'd say that digital media merely sounds slightly different, neither bettor nor worse, than the best analog recordings of the same material. But tapes...uh uh.
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