The slow death of the audio CD

I went to Hastings today to look at the used CD selection, which is larger than the new CD selection now. Weirdly enough, they had lots of Stevie Ray Vaughan CD’s in the racks, something I’ve not seen in a good while. I may have some dupes, but I got the record he did with his brother Jimmy.  It is not Stevie’s greatest work, but I enjoy it. The 2-CD set of Styx doing “Pieces of Eight” and “Grand Illusion” in their entirety (with their new singer) was a surprising $7.

I am not one to be such a Luddite when it comes to CD audio, but I do like the older bands and their CD’s (vinyl also if it isn’t too expensive). I do not enjoy the over-produced “loud” CD’s that come out today. Sometimes the clipping is audible even on the MP3 versions of the songs. I prefer to control loudness on my own cheap equipment. I don’t need a producer to do it for me.

I confess that new music (unless it is from a band I am already a fan of) for me comes in the form of MP3’s. I do not bother with quality concerns, because I don’t have the hearing that would allow me to discern the subtleties of a composition. Most people can’t, but more power to them if they want to spend thousands on a receiver/speaker/headphone setup. I just don’t find a use for it. My phone streams google play albums, and my PC is my stereo (with actual stereo speakers!) with Logitech’s finest sub-$50 2.1 speaker set. It sounds great to me. On my Windows PC (that holds nothing but games) uses a $17 amp I picked up on eBay plugged into an old set of Sony bookshelf speakers (from one of their cheaper bookshelf sound systems.) Maybe I’m just wasting my time with these particular setups, but I figure I’ve got enough hobbies. (Audio equipment isn’t cheap.)

I picked up a Uriah Heep “Greatest Hits” CD for $4 used. It’s got all the good songs on that I love from Uriah Heep. And for $4, why not? It’s hard to find Uriah Heep CD’s these days. I really love the song “Lady in Black” for some reason. It’s one of those songs I stumbled upon thanks to a google play radio. 🙂 I found that I believe Ensiferum did a cover of the song (very good).  I remembered Uriah Heep’s music from a Blind Guardian cover of “The Wizard”. I have been into them ever since.

Another band I really like that I didn’t discover until 1992 or so is Nazareth. Sure I remember “Hair of the Dog” on the radio, but I never explored their music very much until I got that album. There’s a song I love on there called “Please don’t Judas Me”.  It’s epic.

Great song, huh? Anyway, I heard that song completely by accident, having thought the cassette was over (the intro is very faint for a bit longer on the audio cassette version for some reason.) But once it got going, the song was (and is) amazing. I guess I was born in the wrong era for music. (Not really, I love heavy metal.)

Anyway, honorable mention in my CD haul are a couple of classical CD’s for $0.99 a piece, and a 1987 synth jazz CD called Tranquility. It’s not bad, and it was $2. All in all I got a good bunch of music to add to my overflowing collection.

Onto the title of the post: The slow death of the audio CD. I am not terribly concerned about its death, though I do wish the music industry had made the pricing competitive (they got caught colluding to keep prices high).  I will miss them, though not as much as I missed vinyl. I didn’t miss vinyl’s fragility or it’s finite lifespan, but I did miss the artwork. Sure hipsters are bringing back vinyl, but for the most part it’s a niche product. And it’s more expensive than 99% of the vinyl I bought in my entire life. That’s the sad part.


I think I’ll go listen to some more Uriah Heep. 🙂