Hi, folks. I'm new to the 12k forum but NOT new to 12k. I'm an avid collector of electronic music, and I have been purchasing CDs since their dawn. I recall they first became available in '81 or '82 for me because I was able to afford my first CD player. I was around when 12k came into existence and have gotten most releases on CD.
CDs are an obsession for me, and like many others on this forum, I really enjoy the packaging and physicality of the discs.
However, when I recently relocated after Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans to Austin, I was reminded about the space requirements for storage, and the slow degradation of the packaging as well as some of the discs. Additionally figuring out a way to find music via a filing system is mind-boggling with my collection.
Solution: THE HOME MUSIC SERVER
For the last 3 years I have been ripping every disc I have to FLAC. Currently I have over 71,000 files, about 4-5000 of which are MP3.
The server allows me to access my files in any room of the house via a variety of remote controls. I can use an iPod Touch, an iPhone, an Android phone, a remote that comes with the server hardware, or an iPad. I can also use any computer in the house including my netbook. Also each playback device has an interface for locating music.
The server itself is a low power computer that sits in a closet with two 2 terrabyte drives with the files. Via my plain-jane Wi-Fi network, I can listen to music in all areas of the house using the Logitech Squeezebox playback devices including the Radio, Boom, and Touch. Any computer with speakers can also serve as a playback device as can my iPad. The Touch in the living room is capable of playing back higher resolution 24 bit / 96 kHz files than can be obtained from CDs via my stereo music system. Files like this can be obtained from folks like HDTracks.com.
Once I've ripped the music into the server, my access to that "CD" is immediately improved and, if I back it up which I always do, that "CD" is now immune from degradation/oxidation. Access is via search of artist name or title, or just browsing through thumbnails of CD covers. I can also browse via genre and date of production. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE WITH CDS.
Also you can view the full size CD art on the iPad but also get lyrics, information about the artist, and even links to buy more of the artist's music.
Since I put the system into place, I have listened to my music so MUCH MORE because of the access issue. There's no excuse to NOT listen.
So for me, I still treasure CDs but I am buying more and more FLAC and WAV files directly from artists, labels, and distributors like Boomkat. I have run out of physical space but my hard drives are ready.
Once you have experienced a music server such as Squeezebox or Sonos, it's hard to imagine NOT having one. And the Squeezebox line of products is very affordable. Each playback device is in the range of 250-400 USD. Sonos is about 50-100% more per room.
So for me CDs have become a method of transporting the files and much less of a playback medium. I rarely put a CD into a player anymore except in my car.
There is nothing quite like reading about a new artist and album, purchasing and downloading the files immediately, and then listening within a few minutes of reading about the artist.
iPad interface: http://zzzone.net/photo/server.jpg
CD library: http://zzzone.net/photo/2009/music1.jpg
Squeezebox interface on a computer - New Music folder: http://zzzone.net/files/new-music.jpgTo summarize:
Things you can do with files that you cannot do with CDs or any other medium:
1. Play high fidelity files 96/24 or better (this morning I got Elvis Presley and Nick Drake music in this format)
2. Play music over your home music server in any room, different music in several rooms, all controlled by several different wireless remotes
3. Queue up hundreds of your favorite songs to play all day without interruption
4. View full-size album art, lyrics, and related information via live links from the song or the artist
5. Purchase more music from the artist via links from the music on the tablet remote control
6. Play your stored music via streaming on a telephone from anywhere in the world
7. In return for uploading your play stats to last.fm, last.fm will allow you to stream your music to you anywhere you have a internet connection
8. Use the storage space for CDs for something else. Hundreds of thousands of hi-fi .flac files can be stored on a 2 TB external hard drive with another one used as a backup.
9. No worries about CD deterioration or damage (make sure your files are backed-up though)
10. Listen to the same music at the gym while exercising vigorously (CDs will skip)
Things you cannot do with music files:
1. Hold the CD or the case in your hand and review the printed paper album notes and art
2. Put the CD in the player with your hand
So for me, it's not about one or the other, but I do foresee that CDs will garner less of a market share as time goes on and more folks get on board with home music servers. Just like CDs supplanted vinyl and cassettes, the hard disc or solid state drives will replace CDs as the playback medium. http://www.logitechsqueezebox.comhttp://www.sonos.com
or just Google "home music server"
I hope I have added another perspective to this discussion