Are CDs and CD players irrelevant?
Digital downloads are rapidly overtaking CDs as the preferred format for music sales. Will the reduction in CD sales make CD players irrelevant? Let’s see who’s still making CD players and where CDs are headed in the future.
CDs replaced cassette tapes because they were clearly superior in every way. CDs sounded better, quieter, and allowed you to randomize and skip tracks without waiting. Digital downloads are replacing CDs but adoption isn’t as quick as when it was the transition between cassette tape and CDs because CDs still do some things better than digital downloads.
First and foremost, CDs sound better than the majority of digital downloads, unless you get high resolution downloads from sites like HD Tracks. iTunes and Amazon provide digital downloads encoded in 256kpbs AAC and MP3 respectively. While it still sounds good, audiophiles will still go buy the CD for the full resolution. Another way CDs excel over digital downloads is the fact that they provide a physical booklet of lyrics and artwork. This may not be important to everyone but those who truly love an artist’s music will appreciate the work that goes into making a booklet.
While I do think that CDs will continue to decline in favor of digital distribution, I think the CD still has a lot of life, perhaps following in the footsteps of vinyl. Many high end audio companies still produce amazing sounding CD players and hopefully will continue to produce them. Some people have thousands of CDs in their library and it would be a shame to not have a means to play them.
If all this talk about audiophiles and high end audio has you curious as to what CDs and your other music is capable of sounding, invest in a decent pair of speakers. Polk Audio is a good place to start for those who are on a budget. The Polk Audio Monitor 70 blk 2-way floor standing speakers are a great pair of speakers to start with. They are big so they’ll require some space in your living room but they sound great, especially for the price.