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Uncompressed digital music downloads coming soon??

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This might, however, turn some people off:

For starters, songs cost $1.29, vs. 99 cents or less at most online sites. There's also a $50 annual membership fee (waived for anyone buying more than $250 worth of songs). The higher prices help cover the higher costs of distributing music in lossless format, such as extra storage and bandwidth bills for those huge files.


What do ya think?

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I think the article is correct that it will be a niche market "for the serious audiophile." I doubt Joe Consumer will think that price is worth it. I also don't know that much of today's music has enough fidelity in its multitrack/master format that a listener will notice much difference between compressed vs. uncompressed formats.


Maybe in a few years there will be more of a market for this, as the technology matures, and hopefully as recordings start to get better. As it is now, people would probably only be interested in back catalog stuff and they probably already own "Dark Side of the Moon" on vinyl, CD, SACD and every other format in the universe. :D

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Sounds cool, but I'd probably agree with the author as well. Still, I know I'd be far more likely to purchase something in a lossless format. The tunes that I've gotten from iTunes don't sound all that great, and when I've played them here at school, people frequently notice the difference, even in the Sean Paul song, which isn't an aural tour-de-force to start with! :D
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I don't like the restrictions that downloaded tunes have. It makes more sense to buy the CD, then make compressed files from that. They sound better too.


I just used Windows Media Player to rip my entire CD collection at 160kbps. The files sound great and it's nice to have all that music cataloged in one place.


But the WMA files I've purchased from Walmart.com don't sound that great when I burn them into standard audio CDs. They have quite a bit of midrange, but somehow just don't sound smooth. Simply put, they're not as enjoyable to listen to in a critical listening environment (a quiet living room or through headphones, for instance).


Plus, Walmart.com allows you to burn these files to CD a limited number of times (10). Granted, you can then copy the CDs, but I don't need this restriction - and others.


By purchasing the CD and using that to make the compressed files, I can take those files anywhere and play them on any machine. I can't do that with Walmart.com files. Sure, I can load them onto a media player, but I can't copy the files themselves (along with their licenses), and play them on more than two computers.


Here's what Walmart.com says you can do with the music you download from their site:


By purchasing a music download, you can:


Download the music to 1 computer and back up music to 2 additional computers


Make 10 burns to a CD


Make unlimited transfers to a portable device


I dunno. Unless I'm looking for just one or two songs from an album, buying the CD still seems like a better alternative.

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I think it's great news and the fees are well worth it if the variety of artists is still the same or greater (or thereabouts).....


About 6 months ago I contacted Napster and asked them if they offered a "premium" service where I could purchase individual CD-quality soundfiles for a higher individual and/or subscription fee. Unfortunately, at the time they said no, so I cancelled my subscription, thinking that it was all masterminded by the RIAA or something, still basically making people that want good quality soundfiles to have to go out and buy the CD's from either the stores/online stores etc, just like it was in the "old" days, before the whole online music-sharing issues began....


Around that same time I also talked to a few people who told me about the WMA files (I forget the name of the provider) but they were still only 160kbps which to my ears is a noticable degradation in quality, and also, at the time I checked, were only available in a streaming format - not for download....


FWIW, I generally listen to "rock n' roll" and where I notice the degradation the most is with the drummer's hi-hats. For some reason on files converted with either a bad MP3 converter or at a low bit-rate, the hats always sound WAY to crispy - almost to the point of gritty.... in a bad way.


On the up side though, the service will undoubtedly get cheaper as time goes on.... any ideas on when this is going to be avail ?

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Reminds me of way back in the mid to late 70s when you could get classical LPs that were first generation cuts called direct-to-disc. An orchestra would do a live performance in the studio and it wouldn't go to tape but cut directly right to the LP! The term predates direct-to-disc hard drive recording. It was a one off and they were quite expensive. It was a desperate world for audiophiles back then.


Question: I'm not aware of any compression schemes for DVD quality music yet although I'm sure its in the works if not perfected. Would a compressed DVD file sound better than a full CD quality wav file? Would the file sizes be comparable?


Discuss amongst yourselves.



You shouldn't chase after the past or pin your hopes on the future.
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Originally posted by where02190:

I've no complaints at all of the quality of iTunes Music Store downloads. Unless it's major dynamic classical or solo music, comarison to the original CD audio yields no audible difference in most cases.

Lucky you. My girlfriend downloads hip-hop stuff, and it doesn't really sound quite the same when it's played on a nice large stereo, so much so that a few friends have made comments about the sound quality.


On a boombox, however, it sounds good and I can't really tell the difference.


Maybe it's just the stuff that she's downloading?

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