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New iPod Touch + WIFI iTunes STORE (=the CD is dead) Condenser Microphones
Old 6th September 2007
  #1
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jindrich's Avatar
 

New iPod Touch + WIFI iTunes STORE (=the CD is dead)

Yesterday Apple unveiled what everyone was expecting, an iPod based on the iPhone. The device looks great although a little too big to carry on everywhere IMO. Anyhow, in one year, when the price drops a little and it sports 32GB memory and 10 hour video-playback battery life, it will be an awesome gadget for everyone, from music lovers to kids on the backseat of a car (and just THEN I'll replace my current 30GB iPod Video :-P).


But what I'd like to point out here is at Apple's new WIFI iTunes MUSIC STORE. Jobs has seen the future of audio distribution (for long). The CD IS DEAD. The brick and mortar music stores too. Music will no longer be bought on physical media, but downloaded thru the waves to your music storing device at home, at Starbucks, at the Airports, in big shopping Malls and everywhere where there will be a Net conexion.
The new "music buying experience" will be to browse AND preview content on your iPhone/iPod EVERYWHERE instead of doing it at the Records Shop.

And you will no longer give a couple of CDs to your beloved for Christmas, but an iPod Shuffle (for $79, the price of 3-5 CDs!!!!!!) loaded with a couple of albums. You will first download the music for yourself, and as it will be RIAA-DRM free (EMI as of today), you'll then loaded it into the Nano you'll give as a present. All this is not the future, it's happening TODAY.

Farewell CD, bye bye physical formats. It's the XXI century after all.
With the widespread of the new WIFI iPods -and similar (compatible?) 3rd party WIFI devices modelled after the iPod Touch coming from Microsoft, Nokia, Sony..etc-, the good old CD is about to dissapear. For good. Next in line will be DVDs btw (iPhones and iPods play also Movies, that can be downloaded as easily from the iTunes Store).



I think all this is great. Except for one thing: AUDIO QUALITY.
What all this new distribution method implies is accepting compressed audio as "good". It is SO TERRIBLE. We've been downgrading audio quality SO MUCH, going from the great sounding Vinyl (not all of them) from 30 years ago, to the early horrible sounding CDs (1st generation 16PCM converters), to the *Smashed_To_Death* CDs of today, to the 128kbps songs of the Net.

Granted, Apple has upped the bit rate of its iTunes Store songs from 128-160kbps to 256kbps (optionally), but that is NOT enough. I'm all for this, as long as SONIC QUALITY is preserved. And now that we're at it, lets have it at [email protected] (and NO SMASHING please). Let's at least have it as an option at higher price, say... $15. After all, an Album (60 mins) at that higher resolution would weight around 1GByte. The iTunes Store is selling MOVIES weighting at close to 2GBytes starting at $9.99, so this high-res audio is possible and economically viable.


Should we write a letter to Apple + the Big Four?
Old 6th September 2007
  #2
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jenkel16's Avatar
 

I say yes!
Old 6th September 2007
  #3
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PheelTheMusic's Avatar
 

We really need a way to firmly unite on this. Somehow get AES involved maybe...
Old 6th September 2007
  #4
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lozion's Avatar
 

important issue that gets my bump...
Old 6th September 2007
  #5
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ryst's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post

I think all this is great. Except for one thing: AUDIO QUALITY.
What all this new distribution method implies is accepting compressed audio as "good". It is SO TERRIBLE. We've been downgrading audio quality SO MUCH, going from the great sounding Vinyl (not all of them) from 30 years ago, to the early horrible sounding CDs (1st generation 16PCM converters), to the *Smashed_To_Death* CDs of today, to the 128kbps songs of the Net.

Granted, Apple has upped the bit rate of its iTunes Store songs from 128-160kbps to 256kbps (optionally), but that is NOT enough. I'm all for this, as long as SONIC QUALITY is preserved. And now that we're at it, lets have it at [email protected] (and NO SMASHING please). Let's at least have it as an option at higher price, say... $15. After all, an Album (60 mins) at that higher resolution would weight around 1GByte. The iTunes Store is selling MOVIES weighting at close to 2GBytes starting at $9.99, so this high-res audio is possible and economically viable.


Should we write a letter to Apple + the Big Four?
What about before this music gets to mp3 format? What about the loudness wars? Does anyone know if an mp3 of, let's say a Led Zeppelin song at the same bit-rate of a new modern mix sounds any different? I wonder if today's over-compressed mixes and masters have anything to do with the sound quality of an mp3. Bruce Swedien once emailed me an mp3 of a Michael Jackson mix. It had not been mastered yet. It sounded great at 192k.
Old 6th September 2007
  #6
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jeremy.c.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post
I think all this is great. Except for one thing: AUDIO QUALITY.
What all this new distribution method implies is accepting compressed audio as "good". It is SO TERRIBLE. We've been downgrading audio quality SO MUCH, going from the great sounding Vinyl (not all of them) from 30 years ago, to the early horrible sounding CDs (1st generation 16PCM converters), to the *Smashed_To_Death* CDs of today, to the 128kbps songs of the Net.
I don't see this as an issue for long, the new iPod "classics" are going to sport up to 160GB for $349, the days of mp3s are coming to a close as well. I have already ripped my entire CD library into wave files in anticipation that I will be relieved of needing to use mp3s someday. The 250-500GB iPods are not far off...
Old 6th September 2007
  #7
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ryst's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by olivia_nb View Post
I don't see this as an issue for long, the new iPod "classics" are going to sport up to 160GB for $349, the days of mp3s are coming to a close as well. I have already ripped my entire CD library into wave files in anticipation that I will be relieved of needing to use mp3s someday. The 250-500GB iPods are not far off...
As long as the internet speeds continue to increase, I will agree with you.
Old 6th September 2007
  #8
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abell1234's Avatar
 

Its funny last night my band had a meeting about our next release (which we have already started to record) we came to the conclusion that pressing CDs is a waste of money since we still have 750 copies of our last one. We decided we would release the next album on usb flash drives, still looking into to a price that will work for us. But the point is a CD store in our town just went out of bussiness, and thats because CDs are not valued anymore. You can get stuff off the net for free if you want. If anyone has any other ideas as to how to release an album or how music can be distributed without the internet (at shows) I would love to hear them.
Old 6th September 2007
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryst View Post
As long as the internet speeds continue to increase, I will agree with you.
They are currently following Moore's Law. So yes we will be downloading 24 bit audio and saving it onto terabyte iPods in the next 5 years or so. That will not make the high quality playback systems obsolete, provided everyone has a docking station. In fact having great amps and speakers will always be an option for the audiophile, regardless of the distribution mechanism.

So don't target your music for mp3's necessarily. The online delivery medium will evolve as long as its widely available, convenient, and cheaper than physical.
Old 6th September 2007
  #10
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abell1234's Avatar
 

chime in people, this is an imortant topic that effects everyone in our business
Old 6th September 2007
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by diamondjim View Post
The online delivery medium will evolve as long as its widely available, convenient, and cheaper than physical.
While it seems to be evolving regardless, the prices are not cheaper at all. Speaking only of purchased downloads, the price you pay for a low quality file which has digital restrictions equals the cost of the download + internet connection + medium to store it on. I still buy CDs because I can order them from Amazon delivered to my door for the same price as iTunes - higher quality and in physical form (for storage) and including liner notes which I sorely miss from downloads.
Old 6th September 2007
  #12
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drockfresh's Avatar
Rumour had it that itunes on Leopard would have native support for .flac files

Anyone know if this is still planned?

That would be a step in the right direction.
Old 6th September 2007
  #13
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jindrich's Avatar
 

Thx for your comments. Keep them coming.


With this thread I wanted to point at and raise interest over these 2 things:

-The CD is dead
-The new Music Distribution Mode (waves) needs BETTER AUDIO QUALITY (better than Red Book CD)



I just watched the whole Apple's Webcast from yesterday at Cuppertino. Here are some figures that got me:

-32% of albums released in 2006 in USA were DIGITAL ONLY (no CD)
-There are 200+ MILLION iPods out there
-Starbucks has 14,000+ stores worldwide to where now they'll sell music with the WIFI iTunes Store


The REVOLUTION has finally come. Here:

-The CD is dead.
-Manufacturing, Distribution and Retail costs of music are going to dissapear completely. Zero. Nada.That should help lower prices of Music, which ultimately can help reduce piracy, WITHOUT modifying the Label's returns. $5 per record anyone?
-Thus, Albums should sell now for $9.99 OR BELOW, not at the current $15-$25 like in the record stores
-You can put (release) a Record in just an hour Worldwide. No distribution, no wasted units, no unselled units.
-Greener.
-iPods+iPhones selling in the millions per year means the targeted consumers for Music already have the *Storing Device*. Thus eliminating the CD is for the first time ever ALREADY a real possibility.


Now, again, the only concerns are SONIC QUALITY. We need to fight for this, for good. Involve Bono, Bob Dylan, Massenburg, Madonna, Eminem, AES etc in a campaign to concienciate people of the importance of Sonic Quality.




The Music industry is saved. And we get WAY cheaper records at MUCH BETTER audio quality. Here are the Steps:

-Eliminate the CD
-Music sold only on the Net (iTunes+WIFI+Starbucks+ similar Websites.... etc)
-DRM free music (device agnostic, easilty transfererable between them, just like any file)
-Prices per album $5 to $9.99
-Reduced (AAC at 256kbps) or Hi Audio Quality ([email protected])

It's so simple.
Old 6th September 2007
  #14
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PhonoquO's Avatar
 

if i'm paying for music, i want full bandwidth audio. why should i accept an inferior version of the recording master? I definately see the online audio for sale going full bandwidth quite soon.
Old 6th September 2007
  #15
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jindrich's Avatar
 

Btw,

Apple has already set the standard. And IT WORKS. Now comes the most difficult part. Convince Jobs to not make the same mistake again and OPEN IT.

I mean for the whole thing to work (ditch the CD, lower prices, save the industry), the iTunes software, iTunes songs and iTunes Store things MUST be compatible in someway with 3rd party devices, including those from Microsoft

That means DRM free files (the Industry's say) and that the iTunes app should be able to receive/send the songs to 3rd party devices.


They have a monopoly now, but it can go the other way round. It happened once already.
Old 6th September 2007
  #16
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neilio's Avatar
 

i dont hate the compressed files, but i prefer everything to be aac format,

when i really want to rock the house, ill use my vinyl.

the new spoon record i bought the vinyl from the bands website and they also sent me a coupon to download the album...

so i prefer that method...

but as far as RIGHT NOW, having a high quantity on my ipod is more important than high quality...as my tastes are eclectic.

as far as apple making higher-fidelity available, i wouldnt worry about it, i think apple needs to make the model totally successful and hi-res will come.

its important to remember that at the very least,steve jobs fancies himself as "artist" type, not just 0's and 1's guy like balmer or gates...at best he does kinda have an artists mentality,and i do believe that he will,depending on itunes future,will make hi-res available.

i have a question for the guru's here; can dsd be loaded on a ipod? or be compressed in a way that it is compatible?

that said, like another poster, when the 500 gig ipod comes out, i guess im going to have load everything all over again to be uncompressed files,which i wouldnt mind.
Old 6th September 2007
  #17
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neilio's Avatar
 

another question for guru's;

if i have an mp3/aac/??? compressed file and i up-convert the file to wav/aiff format do i lose anything? in other words do i now have a full aiff/wav file or do i just have a "translated" mp3?

or if i have my itunes and up-convert back to aiff,will that return all fidelity or just make the song compatible with the format?

thanks in advance.
Old 6th September 2007
  #18
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neilio's Avatar
 

me again,

what format, if it must be, is the gearslutz format of choice for compressed files?

i really like aac, but i know there is ogg vorbis, and flac and others,what say you guys about the best fidelity.

the way i look at it, for portable music,such as a car or a party aac is fine,and also considering what radio stations do to music is the mp3/aac really so bad after all?

if its super high fidelity we need,were not doing that on the way to work in the car,or at parties when chicks want to shake their asses, so do we really need hi-fidelity always when were not at home with the hi-fi?
Old 6th September 2007
  #19
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Auslander's Avatar
 

I think the quality/resolution needs to be greater than 24bit/48k. We already have the ability for 24bit/88.2k which to me is a noticeable step up from either 24bit/44.1 or 24bit48k.

I know that would make filesizes a good deal bigger but that would put to rest any quailty issues that I currently have these other rates.
Old 6th September 2007
  #20
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Some download stores already provide wav as an option.
Old 6th September 2007
  #21
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

I would want to say that the CD is dead as well, altho everything is going DVD soon anyways. It just holds a lot more space. I have a drummer that never knew the CD market, he is still in the cassette world...lol
The honest truth i think mp3 format in the end sounds better anyways, in some ways it give that analog sound back, CDs can be real cold sounding and i never really liked them, however you forgot one thing, some sort of medium will still be here because artist that come to the studio still need a master some they can uplaod, also i do a lot of live CD DVD school plays and chorus shows and parents are gonna still buy the CD and DVD, what am i gonna do, send them home with a file ?
But you are right as far as the band/radio music the CD will die, however that is the only market that i cn think of that this will happen.

Before i got great preamps and some mastering tools, some of my best work that artist loved was recorded to a CD then dump to itunes mp3 + eq etc then back to the CD for a master. If fact i did one of my personal CDs like that and its the best sounding one i have.
We will sit back and watch all this unfold.
FOR GOD SAKES MP3 IS A TON BETTER THAN XM RADIO <<< THINK ABOUT THAT !!

WITH CDs ON THE WAY OUT, THE CONCERT PRICES ARE GOING HIGHER AND HIGHER, IM ALREADY NOT GOING TO ANY CONCERTS SO THAT WILL NOT EFFECT ME. IF YOU HAVE TO PAY MORE THAN $40.00 FOR A TICKET YOU HAVE A SERIOUS ISSUE ANYWAYS.
Old 6th September 2007
  #22
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BezowinZ's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by neilio View Post
...i bought the vinyl from the bands website and they also sent me a coupon to download the album...

so i prefer that method...
I dig this method.

While killing off the CD, resurrect vinyl, and include a digital download with it. Recording off vinyl and getting it to an iPod is a pain.
Old 6th September 2007
  #23
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Cellotron's Avatar
There are numerous fully stably functioning lossless audio compression algorithms already out there - i.e. Monkeys Audio, FLAC, Shorten, WavPack and Apple even has there own ALAC algorithm - Apple Lossless - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - which seems to offer the potential for excellent performance. The biggest barrier is that the lossless codecs seem to be stuck with a 2.5:1 data compression ratio at best currently - but with processor speed increases and the fact that band width is increasing I believe that this barrier will only decrease in the future. I agree that the pressure needs to be put on all digital distributors to offer downloads using a lossless compression algorithm for the exact same price as the lossy downloads.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 6th September 2007
  #24
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Cellotron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post
Btw,

Apple has already set the standard. And IT WORKS. Now comes the most difficult part. Convince Jobs to not make the same mistake again and OPEN IT.

I mean for the whole thing to work (ditch the CD, lower prices, save the industry), the iTunes software, iTunes songs and iTunes Store things MUST be compatible in someway with 3rd party devices, including those from Microsoft

That means DRM free files (the Industry's say) and that the iTunes app should be able to receive/send the songs to 3rd party devices.


They have a monopoly now, but it can go the other way round. It happened once already.
I agree with you whole heartedly that this would be "the right thing" for Apple to do. As they are indeed a corporation ultimately concerned with one thing (profit) I highly doubt they will initiate this themselves unless there is a distinct market incentive for them to do this.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 6th September 2007
  #25
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I think that there will be a market even for the cd but a smaller niched one. Ever lost the music that you have downloaded?

My self would always buy uncompressed audio whenever its offered.
Old 6th September 2007
  #26
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Cellotron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
The honest truth i think mp3 format in the end sounds better anyways, in some ways it give that analog sound back,
Having grown up with analog reproduction I can say with the most absolute conviction that in no way does an mp3 offer closer to analog sound than an uncompressed digital audio file. To my ear it only imparts artifacts and gives absolutely nothing "back."

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 6th September 2007
  #27
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neilio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
Having grown up with analog reproduction I can say with the most absolute conviction that in no way does an mp3 offer closer to analog sound than an uncompressed digital audio file. To my ear it only imparts artifacts and gives absolutely nothing "back."

Best regards,
Steve Berson
thats not what he said...he was comparing to compact discs,particularly early ones.
Old 6th September 2007
  #28
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Auslander's Avatar
 

So far, I haven't bought one song from the iTunes store yet. I've got 4 iPods. I rip everything from CDs.

I'd gladly buy higher-resolution audio files though, or, preferably, just support the new medium that holds them if there is one, so I always have a backup on a CD type disk etc.
Old 6th September 2007
  #29
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

I download singles off of iTunes, but I still buy CDs when I want the whole album. I want a hard copy.
Old 6th September 2007
  #30
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abell1234's Avatar
 

I haven't bought an album in years.......ok I have bought like 4 albums in the past 3 years
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