In defense of the disc
Brandt Ranj, Staff Writer
February 9, 2012
Filed under Arts & Leisure
This is part one of a two-part article. The sister article will be titled “In defense of the download.”
I still buy CDs. Lots of CDs. More CDs than most people I know combined. No, it’s not because I’m a hoarder. My love and near obsession with physical media can be broken down into two distinct reasons.
The first: is I’m an audiophile. Sound quality is a huge deal to me, so in the case of an album with tons of remasters, I research which disc sounds the best, add it to the list of albums I’d like to purchase and eventually, I’ll buy the album in question.
The process can get a little dicey at times because certain discs haven’t been made in a long time and have become out of print and out of my price range. Suffice it to say a big sticker that says “REMASTERED” doesn’t necessarily make me want to run out and buy it.
For those wondering “Is there really a difference?” yes, there is. An MP3 is a compressed form of music. It sounds best on earbuds and when turned up very loud. It cuts out parts of the song in order to compress it, though; not parts in terms of words or music, but certain parts of a song’s dynamic range, which equates to its quality.
Those who still have the box for their iPod or any other MP3 player will note the statement “holds 10,000 songs” is accompanied by an asterisk or a number. When you find the small print on the back of the box, it clearly states the number of songs is only an accurate count of how many low complexity MP3s it can hold. A lossless audio file is about 10 times larger in megabytes, which allows for better quality, but a lower number of songs you can carry.
So my second defense of the disc comes in terms of financial superiority. For this, I’m going to reference a Blu-ray vs. iTunes pricing scheme for the movie “The Help.” On iTunes, the film is available for purchase in HD at the price of $19.99. At the Sound Garden in downtown Syracuse, the price of the film is $14.99. Not only is there a $5 difference, the video and audio quality of the disc is also superior.iTunes only sells HD films in 720p while the Blu-ray features the film in 1080p.
Movies and music are investments of money that won’t just benefit those who buy it now, but those who wish to enjoy it in the future. If you have an iTunes full of MP3s and upgrade from earbuds to a pair of stellar headphones or a great stereo system, those MP3s will sound distorted and muddy. While they’re still around, I’ll be purchasing a lot of discs while supplementing those with access from the cloud.