April 20th, 2010  |  Tags: ,  |  Leave a comment

Amazon used to consistently offer excellent prices on art music CDs, typically selling full-price releases for 70% or less of their (inflated) MSRP. Then they started selling digital music downloads. Since then, anything that Amazon offers on physical media seems to go for awfully close to list price if it is also available as a download, e.g.:


I’m sure this is simply a freak coincidence.

RIYL: Scarcity (in 2008)

Revisiting “digital audio quality” and minidiscs

March 19th, 2009  |  Tags: , , , , ,  |  Leave a comment

John S. Gray writes, in a comment on one of my all-time favorite posts, to share an endorsement of Sony’s ATRAC3Plus codec for classical music recording. As far as I can tell, Gray is the audio archivist for the Canadian Music Centre, so I’m inclined to accept his perceptions as sound. I also find Gray’s claim that a high-capacity Minidisc beats a slow tape for fidelity on long recordings extremely plausible.

I am rather dismayed that solid-state and hard-disk based recorders seem to have displaced the Minidisc from its former prominence. The media were cheap, the devices were small and convenient — and more than suitable for field (and performance) recording as well as mobile listening. (The ubiquity of iPod-like players that can handle days of music in AAC or lossless formats certainly reduced the utility proposition of MDs for playback.) In fact, the only inconveniences I experienced with my minidisc player over many happy years were political, not technical.

Revisiting this post also reminds me that it has been a long time since I’ve had a friendly argument with Pliable — like the one that led to the “digital audio quality” post in the first place. Perhaps it’s time to write more about music.

RIYL: what Jerry Bruckheimer teaches you about digital signal processing — a pet peeve so well-documented that my close friends form mirth vortexes at the mere mention of “enhance.”