Compact Discs Still Rule The Japanese Music Business

A nation known for adopting new technology is behind the rest of the world in one interesting way.

Compact Discs

While the rest of the world has happily adapted to new technology that allows them to store their music collections on the computers and in the cloud, and to listen to it on it iPods, phones, tablets, and other devices, the Japanese are still in love with the compact disc:

TOKYO — Around the world, the music business has shifted toward downloads and streaming. But in Japan, the compact disc is still king.

On a drizzly Sunday afternoon recently, Tower Records’ nine-level flagship store here was packed with customers like Kimiaki Koinuma. A 23-year-old engineer in a Dee Dee Ramone T-shirt, Mr. Koinuma said that, unlike most men his age around the world, he spends little time with digital services and prefers his music on disc.

“I buy around three CDs a month,” he said, showing off a haul of six new albums, including the Rolling Stones’ classic “Exile on Main St.” and an assortment of the latest Japanese pop hits.

Japan may be one of the world’s perennial early adopters of new technologies, but its continuing attachment to the CD puts it sharply at odds with the rest of the global music industry. While CD sales are falling worldwide, including in Japan, they still account for about 85 percent of sales here, compared with as little as 20 percent in some countries, like Sweden, where online streaming is dominant.

“Japan is utterly, totally unique,” said Lucian Grainge, the chairman of the Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music conglomerate.

That uniqueness has the rest of the music business worried. Despite its robust CD market, sales in Japan — the world’s second-largest music market, after the United States — have been sliding for a decade, and last year they dropped 17 percent, dragging worldwide results down 3.9 percent.

Digital sales — rising in every other top market — are quickly eroding in Japan, going from almost $1 billion in 2009 to just $400 million last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of Japan.

Turning Japan around has become a priority for the global music business, which has struggled to regain its footing after losing about half its value since 2000, when digital technology began to disrupt the album-based business model.

But accomplishing change has been difficult, according to analysts and music executives in Japan and the West, in part because of a protectionist business climate in Japan that still views the digital business with suspicion.

As the article notes, it’s odd at first glance that Japan is so seemingly behind the times when it comes to how they purchase and consume music. After all, this is the nation that arguably started the entire “portable music” trend with the Sony Walkman, which first entered the consumer market in 1979 and became so ubiquitous in the 1980’s that it seemed as though everyone had at least one “walkman” even it if wasn’t from Sony itself. Several year later, it was also Sony that pioneered the portable compact disc player, and there were a few digital music players out of Japan in the 1990s as well, although they, like their American competitors, were largely pushed out of the market by the introduction of the iPod. More broadly, Japanese consumers have long had a reputation of being at the cutting edge of consumer technology of all types. It’s somewhat surprising then that they’d be so wedded to a music format that is largely dying out in the West.

By contrast, in the United States and Europe, the transformation to digital music is nearly complete. Sales of “physical” music — meaning CDs, cassettes, and LPs, continue to decline precipitously and now account for a small part of overall annual music sales. In these parts of the world, we are already seeing the next wave as digital music sales are starting to decline while online streaming is quickly becoming a larger share of the way in which Americans and Europeans consume music. This seems to be especially true given the fact that a growing segment of the population in these countries, especially younger people, tend to listen to music almost exclusively on their mobile devices. One would think the Japanese would be happily following along with this trend, downloading their music from iTunes and similar services, listening to it on their mobile devices, and slowly shifting over to Spotify and other streaming services.

As it turns out, the reasons lie largely in the nature of the Japanese music business:

Peculiarities of Japan’s business climate have shaped its attachment to the CD, but cultural factors may also be at play, like Japanese consumers’ love for collectible goods. Greatest hits albums, for example, do particularly well in Japan, perhaps because of the elaborate, artist-focused packaging. The hugely popular girl group AKB48 pioneered the sale of CDs containing tickets that can be redeemed for access to live events — a strategy credited with propping up CD sales, because it can lead the biggest fans to buy multiple copies of an album.

Tower Records closed its 89 American outlets in 2006, but the Japanese branch of the chain — controlled by NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest phone carrier — still has 85 outlets, doing $500 million in business a year.

At Tower’s flagship store, in the heart of the skyscraper-lined shopping district of Shibuya, a group of preteen girls called Kokepiyo performed for fans and autographed CDs one afternoon last month, while their mother-managers watched protectively. Outside, an 18-year-old student who gave her name as Yuria had come to Tower to see her favorite band, the Lotus. She carried a bag full of merchandise she had bought at the store, and said that she frequently buys multiple collectible copies of CDs.

“Each store has its own freebies to give away to sell more CDs,” Yuria said. “So it all depends on how good they are.”

(…)

A distinctive business ecosystem in Japan has kept CD sales lucrative for music companies. Pricing restrictions on retailers keep the cost of most new CDs at more than $20. In the mid-2000s, a nascent download service, Recochoku, was tethered to Japan’s expansive cellphone market, but that system collapsed once the country moved on to smartphones like the iPhone.

Part of the problem, executives say, is the complex array of companies that control rights to the most popular music in Japan, which have been very slow to license new services.

Sony’s Music Unlimited, for example, is the largest available streaming service in Japan, but it lacks the most popular hits there. (Sony declines to say how many subscribers it has to Music Unlimited, in Japan or elsewhere.) Apple’s iTunes store arrived in Japan in 2005, but only in 2012 did it begin to sell the Japanese music titles of its hardware rival Sony.

Executives in Japan and the West blame an overly cautious Japanese music industry for not adapting, and serious worries remain about Japan’s ability to recover from its losses last year.

“A substantial amount of senior management is worried about what happens on their watch, but not necessarily worried about what happens after that,” Shigeo Maruyama, the former president of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, said in an interview.

At some point, I suppose, the Japanese will catch up with the rest of the world. It’s almost impossible to think that they wouldn’t simple because even artists are starting to embrace the digital world more fully than they have in the past. For now, though, Japan seems quite happy with all those little plastic discs.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Entertainment,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Stephen Bloom says:

    CD’s have better fidelity than MP3 or other such files. That is why I buy them. My equipment is of a quality that the difference is obvious.




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  2. Jeremy says:

    Are you kidding? Fax machines are still preferred. All their computers are beige contraptions from the late 90s, and in many cases are still running XP.




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  3. C. Clavin says:

    @Stephen Bloom:
    That’s what I was going to say…CD’s are better than iPods or iPhones, etc…and Vinyl beats them both.
    Neil Young had a new format he was working on…PONO. Now that he’s schtuping Darryl Hannah I fear it may never happen. But there are rumors that Apple is involved so who knows?
    http://www.ponomusic.com/#message




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  4. Since most people aren’t audiophiles the issue of whether CD’s are better than digital music files, or whether vinyl is better than CDs is something that has, at best, a minimal impact on the market i would imagine.

    Additionally, I’d just note that “better” in this context is entirely subjective.




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  5. grumpy realist says:

    The advantage of a CD is you can make another copy from it again when your computer dies or your back-up fails. Also, it’s MINE. I can gift it to another individual, sell the CD, or write down in my will that I want to pass it all on to the local library. Try doing that with your iTunes collection.




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  6. CSK says:

    I still have all my vinyl. CDs are okay, but I find digital music files tinny.




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  7. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Well yes, of course…most people will consume junk if it’s cheaper or more convenient. Think MacDonalds, Dunkin’ Donuts, Walmart, Sarah Palin, etc.
    The difference in quality, however, is not subjective. You couldn’t be more wrong about that.




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  8. Rafer Janders says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The advantage of a CD is you can make another copy from it again when your computer dies or your back-up fails. Also, it’s MINE. I can gift it to another individual, sell the CD, or write down in my will that I want to pass it all on to the local library. Try doing that with your iTunes collection.

    Though, somewhat creepily, I was leafing through my CD collection yesterday and the new U2 album was in there…AND I’D NEVER BOUGHT IT OR BROUGHT IT HOME MYSELF….!!!!




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  9. @C. Clavin:

    That may or may not be true, but you don’t seem to recognize that the vast majority of music consumers are willing to make the trade off between a slight reduction in audio quality that may not even be detectable to many for things like portability.

    We’ve seen it before. After all, cassettes provided clearly inferior audio quality to vinyl records, but they took off in no small part because it would be darned inconvenient to carry around a record player.




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  10. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Additionally, I’d just note that “better” in this context is entirely subjective.

    No, it’s really not, at least in terms of sound quality. It can be mathematically measured and established.

    Now, whether some people care about sound quality is indeed subjective, but the fact question of whether there actually is sound quality degradation as you compress a sound file is objective.




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  11. Ron Beasley says:

    I must admit that I too still prefer CDs. I no longer have a stereo sound system hooked up but listen to them on my blue ray player and the surround sound on my TV.




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  12. @Rafer Janders:

    And that’s my point. Even accepting the argument that there is some objective way of measuring audio quality that doesn’t depend on the human ear, the extent to which someone values that over things such as portability and convenience is entirely subjective.




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  13. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    We’re saying the same thing…what I call consuming junk you call making

    the trade off between a slight reduction in audio quality that may not even be detectable to many for things like portability.

    As for being detectable…I challenge you to listen to a passage of your favorite music on Vinyl or CD and then through an iPhone or whatever on the same equipment. Unless the equipment is also junk…or you have hearing issues (that you may not even know about) you will be able to discern the difference.
    As a culture we are always willing to accept inferior goods and services (and it’s not limited to music). Go back to Betamax and VHS tapes. Beta was by far the best format…but Panasonic got more programming onto their VHS format faster. Thus VHS won. Those Beats headphones all the kids use is another example. Acoustically speaking they are total junk. There are better headphones available for less money. But every high school and college kid has to have Beats. Go figure.




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  14. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    De gustibus non est disputandum.




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  15. @C. Clavin:

    It’s only “junk” in your opinion because you have different preferences.




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  16. Neil Hudelson says:

    @C. Clavin:

    While I’m not a true audiophile, I usually can tell the difference between mp3’s and a format–like vinyl–which keeps the full recorded range of sound.

    I find FLAC to be a pretty darn good digital format for music. It may not be perfect, but what it lacks will probably not be noticeable for 99% of the listening audience.

    https://xiph.org/flac/




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  17. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Not to flog the proverbial horse…but…
    It is, objectively speaking, junk. Amounts and types of compression, scan rates, wave shapes, temporal distortion…
    Your mileage, based on subjective judgements like cost and convenience, may vary.




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  18. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It’s only “junk” in your opinion because you have different preferences.

    Very post-modern, Doug, your argument that there is no such thing as objective reality, that there are no standards or distinctions between high and low, and that the only thing that matters is an individual’s subjective evaluation, that the mind in essence constructs its own reality. Iggy Azalea is the same as Beethoven! Sidewalk graffiti is on the same plane as Rembrandt! Nicholas Sparks is as good a writer as Tolstoy! Overthrow the old order!




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  19. C. Clavin says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Yeah…Neil Youngs PONO uses FLAC. The big issue now, I think, is available content.
    I think it’s a lot like digital photography’s growth. In the beginning digital couldn’t compete. But today no one will try to make that argument.
    FLAC gets pretty darn close. The next music format will probably close the door.




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  20. @Rafer Janders:

    No, my argument is not that there is no such thing as objective reality. My argument is that consumer choices are based on subjective preferences. There is no “right” or “wrong” in the Compact Disc v. Digital Audio File debate because, in the end, people make the choice based on what they prefer and there is simply no way to say that their preference is wrong. It is, after all, their preference even if you or I disagree with it.




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  21. Guarneri says:

    The generally accepted definition of maximum reproduced music quality is the greatest fidelity to unamplified music. A kazoo may be preferred by some but to cite it as equivalent in quality is a useless standard.

    As for you vinyl- ites, Esoteric , Meitner, dcS and Electrocompianet have offerings that are damned close. Damned close. especially if you use a clock. And that’s from a guy with an MSE 20 with a Lyra Titan cartridge.




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  22. Guarneri says:

    I should have mentioned Meridian, mbl and T&A. That’s right, T& A.




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  23. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Guarneri:

    I’m interested in this T&A you speak of, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.




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  24. anjin-san says:

    @ Doug

    It’s only “junk” in your opinion because you have different preferences.

    Well, yes. I prefer music that sounds close to a live performance. I like a large soundstage with precise imaging, realistic decay, trumpets that sound like trumpets, warmth and liquidity in the midrange and so on.

    Music in 21st century America has been commoditized, in large part it is simply a product, like laundry soap. Most of the big stars have elaborate productions to distract you from the fact that they are not very talented. Pay attention to American Idol commercials. They don’t talk about music, they talk about “superstars.” The music is, for the most part, just bad.

    Likewise, the digital media and the equipment most people use for reproduction is crap. As others have noted, mp3 is a compression format – data is discarded. What percentage of Abbey Road can you skip? For me, the answer is zero. Listen to a mp3 on good equipment, and you have the audio equivalent of cardboard. Other file formats are better, but there is still no substitute for reference quality hardcopy.

    I have excellent equipment – not the caliber of Drew’s, but very good – a Pathos amp with NOS Telefunken tubes, a Cary CD player, Harbeth speakers, as well as audiophile cables and various anti-resonance and RFI tweaks & good power conditioning. I promise you, there is a difference, and it is like the difference between Chez Panisse and McDonalds.

    Most people experience music as vocals floating over a music stew. Their brains have to do a lot of work interpolating the instrumental portion of the music, because it does not really sound like music.

    The majority chooses what marketing people have brainwashed them to choose. They don’t know any better.




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  25. anjin-san says:

    in the end, people make the choice based on what they prefer

    Right. The guy driving the Chevy Spark picks it because he prefers it over a Porsche Cayman.




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  26. anjin-san says:

    @ C. Clavin

    Pop a good pair of headphones into an iPhone and the results are surprisingly good. You can get AKG 701s without breaking the bank, and Grado has excellent entry level cans. The problem is that slick marketing has convinced people that Beats are a high end product.

    Same effect with Bose. One of my buddies just dropped five grand on Bose equipment. I did not have the heart to tell him he could have gotten something twice as good for half as much.




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  27. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:

    Yeah…I use a pair of Sony studio headphones…I dropped some coin on them…but they make three hours on a plane bearable.

    I forgot the prima fascia example of people eagerly settling for crap…HARLEY DAVIDSON motorcycles!!!!!

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Well played, sir.




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  28. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    There is no “right” or “wrong” in the Compact Disc v. Digital Audio File debate because, in the end, people make the choice based on what they prefer and there is simply no way to say that their preference is wrong.

    Well, people don’t just make the choice based on what they prefer — they make the choice based on (a) what they prefer, (b) what they can afford, (c) what’s available to them, and/or (d) what they can afford to store.

    I may prefer LPs but buy iTunes. That doesn’t mean, really, that I “prefer” iTunes, just that I don’t have the room in a NYC apartment to store a lot of LPs and a sound system, or that I don’t have a store near me that sells LPs, or that modern albums aren’t even available in LP format, or that iTunes is cheaper.

    Consumer choice doesn’t always indicate “preference” per se.




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  29. Eric Florack says:

    @Stephen Bloom: and therein lies the reason. Remember, analog is still large there, too and for the same reason




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  30. Guarneri says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    No newsletter, just two very high end systems. In one SonusFaber Stradivari speakers, Hovland electronics and SME vinyl equipment with Esoteric digital. In the second, is Audio Research electronics, dcS and Sonus Faber Guarneri Evo’s (get It?) speakers plus the big REL sub. All cabling and interconnects are Kubala Sosna.

    T&A is a relative newcomer to the high end scene. I don’t own anything but have heard pieces. Absolute Sound, Hi Fi + and Stereophile have all done reviews available on line.




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  31. Mikey says:
  32. Guarneri says:

    @anjin-san:

    I haven’t sprung for exotic conditioning or cables for power conditioning. Just basics. Shunyata seems to be the favorite. Do you hear a material difference?




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  33. Guarneri says:

    @Mikey:

    These debates are as old as the hobby. Cu wire for a house is as good as Nordost etc. just do a blind shoot out with equipment that can bring out the differences and you will hear the difference. Vinyl just has that nth degree of bloom and richness. But the very best digital is oh so close.

    Now, anyone want to tell me that Chateau Petrus tastes like two buck chuck?




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  34. Mikey says:

    An interesting take on the limitations of vinyl that don’t exist with CD:

    Why CDs Sound Better Than Vinyl




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  35. Mikey says:

    @Guarneri:

    These debates are as old as the hobby.

    No doubt. And they will continue, of course. Just doing my part. LOL




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  36. da craw says:

    Aw fer cripes sakes…

    Face it: In most of the civilized world, media is downloaded, free.

    If you think I’m wrong, then take me to your Sam Goody / Musicland / Virgin Music location.

    What? It’s GONE? (… duh! )

    Musicians know it… that is why music (when is IS sold) is cheap as a loss leader to drive fans to concerts.

    New to this?

    ITEM #1: Find it — https://torrentz.eu/

    ITEM #2: Hide it — http://btguard.com/

    ITEM #3: Get it — http://www.utorrent.com/

    Now, get back on yer porch old timer, while I tear up your lawn.




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  37. anjin-san says:

    @Guarneri:

    Do you hear a material difference?

    I do, and not a small one. The power supply in any urban area is murky, throw in all the gadgets running in a modern household and the power supply is a mess.

    My only experience with Shunyata was some entry level power cords I bought when I was just getting started, they were certainly an improvement over stock power cords. Lately I have been seeing posts by people who have opened up expensive Shunyata boxes and found what’s inside to be unimpressive.

    The best I’ve heard was a system with 50K of isoClean isolation gear – sonically amazing, fabulous build quality and serious eye candy as well. I have a isoClean AC outlet I am very happy with.

    I decided to go with passive – P.I. Audio Group has outstanding power conditioners that are very reasonable. Likewise my Triode Wire Labs power cords, which chased cords costing three times as much right out of the building. Both companies are small operations run by guys who are doing it more for love than for money. Great products, amazing bang for the buck.

    I would be very hesitant to make specific recommendations for your systems, they are in a different league than mine & I put my research focus on equipment that is in my price range. That being said, isoClean is certainly worth a look, as is Acoustic-Revive. I have some AR interconnects & speaker cables, very, very happy with them, they are serious about what they are doing.

    The Lotus Group carries Acoustic-Revive & a number of other fine brands. Ask for Joe.

    http://www.lotusgroupusa.com

    6moons review of isoClean

    http://6moons.com/audioreviews/isoclean/isoclean.html




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  38. Matt says:

    @CSK: You find them tinny because the compression algorithm is destroying the low and high end while crunching the middle.

    Even with my extremely cheap system (put together from classic pieces bought for cheap off craigslist) I can easily tell the difference between a 320 kb mp3 and flac version of the same song. I’ve done blind testing with my fiancee of the time. Keep in mind I’m working on a degree in electrical engineering so I as able to go in and build my own crossovers and make other modifications to improve sound quality.

    Even my fiancee that has no real ear for music could tell the difference between the old silver sx pioneer receiver and the much newer and many times more expensive Kenwood KAM-1 receiver. We did quite a lot of experimenting because she didn’t believe there would be a noticeable difference in mp3s or receivers.

    I can’t even listen to 128k mp3s they just simply hurt my head/ears. ALl my digital music is in FLAC which gives me CD quality audio. I don’t have fancy expensive equipment or line conditioners and such so there might be something I’m missing in quality loss.

    Oh and dear lord avoid Beats and skull candy like the plague. There are some decent bose products out there but most are junk these days.

    EDIT : My ultimate goal is to build my own matching speaker set.




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  39. anjin-san says:

    @ Doug

    Tell me something – Maria Carey is one of the best selling singers in history. She has actual talent (though no idea what to do with it). Lot’s of people obviously prefer her work.

    Are you saying that a Maria Carey record is just as good as say, an Aretha Franklin record recorded in Muscle Shoals with the Swampers backing her, with Rick Hall and Jerry Wexler in the control booth? All just a matter of personal preference?




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  40. Matt says:

    Beats are basically a fashion accessory now which is why Apple bought them out.




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  41. anjin-san says:

    Interesting timing on this thread, I just placed my first order from CD Japan yesterday.

    For anyone interested in checking out the audiophile scene in Japan, take a look at:

    Leben Hi-Fi Stereo Company
    Shindo Labs
    Acoustic-Revive
    Koetsu




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  42. C. Clavin says:

    This has actually morphed into one of my all-time favorite OTB threads.




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  43. Guarneri says:

    @anjin-san:

    Heh. Men and boys…….




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  44. Eric Florack says:

    Let me point out a rather glaring comparison that may help Doug understand the issues.
    I like the programming on sirius/xm.
    I cant listen to it, though, because the audio stream is so bad.

    I run an A/B comparison for various people between the bird, and a CD or even a mid-fi mp3, and a lot of them tell me they cant hear the difference.

    What *I* hear with the bird is a a great deal of phase instability in the audio path. the best way I can describe it is that its what you get if you put a slow speed fan in front of your speakers. (this is the result of running much too narrow a datastream… sounds like around 16kb or so, for most of the pop stations.)

    Yet, the thing sells, and its because a lot of folks cant hear the difference. and thats a point that mystifies me, despite my years of dealing with, among other things, audio processing for broadcast.




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  45. Christopher M says:

    Doug, that was a great post, and this is becoming one of my favorite OTB threads of all time! Who knew there were so many audiophiles in the ranks? I even find myself on the same side as Florack (there’s a first time for everything, apparently)! Now excuse me while I go put a pristine Mobile Fidelity pressing on the Rega and sit back for some great sound!




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  46. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    You do realize satelite radio is only possible because of the Government, right?




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  47. Eric Florack says:

    @C. Clavin: which explains the quality, eh?
    oh… and consider that the military was involved, if you need something to make your head spin.




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  48. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    It’s all socialism…which makes me shocked you would participate. So much for your principles.




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  49. anjin-san says:

    I’m going to suggest foregoing politics on this thread. We have ample opportunities to insult each other.




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  50. anjin-san says:

    @ Doug

    Perhaps your “It’s subjective” comes from having missed the musical golden age that took place between 1955-75. You could not turn on a radio without hearing something that was both amazing and original.

    We stood in line to get tickets for incredible shows. Springsteen at Winterland in ’78? I was there. Side 4 of Frampton Comes Alive? I was there. Elvis Costello’s “Spinning Songbook” at the Warfield? I was there. F**king magic.

    We spent countless hours at Catinia Sound and Pacific Stereo drooling over stereo gear. I was obsessed with getting ever better equipment when I was still in Jr. High School. Check out the record player I had then. Wish I had kept it, you can find them in design museums now.

    Here’s a few links you should check out:

    Muscle Shoals

    The Wrecking Crew

    Tom Dowd and the Language of Music




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  51. Eric Florack says:

    @C. Clavin: actually you’re right, the government did create the thing, but not how you think. Over-regulation of the terrestrials is whBuat caused the new model to come into play. But, we are still left with utter crap. Sorry, what it is.

    Oh, just for laughs….
    Let’s see here. I’m running a Pair of Denon tts… direct drivers, with sure mk4s. (Or station 600s if the mood strikes)

    A pair of Technics MASH CD drives. (1bit)
    A Nakamichi tape deck I recently re-capped. (An external DBX encode/decode on the front end)
    Processing includes
    A 32 band EQ from Ashley Audio
    A 3 band noisegate/dynamic expander (again, DBX)
    A Crown D75 for power.
    A pair of S770 Sansui speakers imported from ‘nam in the 70s.
    An Audio Technica 8*2 mixer
    110 supply is a 3000 watt UPS, fed by four truck batteries. (Cheaper than the stock batteries and larger charge capacity)
    My main desktop computer has both inputs and outputs to the control board. Makes converting to digital or from it to tape, a snap.

    Being on the road as much as I am I don’t get to listen to it as often as I’d like.




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  52. rudderpedals says:

    Yeah Florack’s right. The l/r channels are multiplexed with all of the other streams and the remaining bandwidth is used for forward error correction to get the hundred audio streams to a car moving down the road, going under overpasses, and with all of the obscurations and multipath problems. The l/r is bound to decode slightly out of phase and move around a bit.




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  53. grumpy realist says:

    Oh, I MUST post this: (F&S)

    Both:
    I had a little gramophone,
    I’d wind it round and round.
    And with a sharpish needle,
    It made a cheerful sound.

    And then they amplified it,
    It was much louder then.
    And used sharpened fibre needles,
    To make it soft again.

    Today for reproduction,
    I’m as eager as can be.
    Count me among the faithful fans,
    Of high fidelity.

    High fidelity,
    Hi-Fi’s the thing for me.
    With an LP disk and an FM set,
    And a corner reflex cabinet.

    High frequency range,
    Complete with auto-change.
    Flanders: All the highest notes neither sharp nor flat,
    Swann: The ear can’t hear as high as that.
    Flanders: Still, I ought to please any passing bat,
    Swann: With my high fidelity.

    Flanders: Who made this circuit up for you, anyway? Bought it in a shop? Oooh, what a horrible shoddy job they fobbed you off with with.
    Surprised they let you have it in this room anyway, the acoustics are all wrong. If you raise the ceiling four feet… put the fireplace from that wall to that wall… you’ll still only get the stereophonic effect if you sit in the bottom of that cupboard.
    I see… I see you’ve got your negative feedback coupled in with your push-pull-input-output. Take that across through your redded pickup to your tweeter, if you’re modding more than eight, you’re going to get wow on your top. Try to bring that down through your pre-amp rumble filter to your woofer, what’ll you get? Flutter on your bottom!

    Both: High fidelity,
    Flanders: FFRR for me.
    Both: I’ve an opera here that you shan’t escape,
    On miles and miles of recording tape.

    High decimal gain,
    Is easy to obtain.
    Flanders: With the tone control at a single touch,
    Swann: Bel canto sounds like double Dutch.
    Both: But I never did care for music much,
    It’s the high fidelity!




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  54. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. The above is “A Song of Reproduction.” Look for it on YouTube.




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  55. anjin-san says:

    @ Christopher M

    What Rega/cartridge do you have?




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  56. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I had saved all my vinyl, and I was SO excited when I purchased a B&O turntable (Beogram 4004)…

    Then… the sump pump failed… and I was not home.

    By the time my wife found out, water was 4 inches deep. Not so much really. Hardly a crisis.

    She had put all the albums (that were on the floor, of course) in the bathtub, where the cardboard quickly became moldy paper mache.

    This made my transition from Analog to digital fairly… well, easy.

    And I never even got the chance to fire up the 4004. Just a frickin Greek tragedy, it was.

    Now, my music and video resides within a server, accessible via XBMC / Kodi (http://xbmc.org/ – great free media center)

    I have 3 buildings wired with access to all the media via gig ethernet. They all share the same library info via MySQL within XBMC.

    As to the main playback system, as I live in a historic modernist home, space is limited. The Onkyo Amp (TX NR-818) and all other assorted tech is tucked up into a shelving unit behind the TV, and the only visible items are the 65″ plasma screen, Magnapan MG-12’s and a Klipsch sub. (OK, with few assorted speaker ceiling and wall flush mounted)

    When I take the iPod Classic for a ride, hook it up the Blaupunkt San Diego, hit shuffle… it tells me that I have about 32 days of non-stop music lined up.

    That likely would have been all my albums, filling up the back of the vehicle… and not even room for a turntable.

    I do miss that scratch when the needle hits the record. Maybe I’ll download an MP3 ringtone. 🙂




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  57. PAUL HOOSON says:

    My only complaint is that cds aren’t higher quality yet, such as recording audio on BluRay type discs. Digital downloads just don’t have all of the cool packaging, booklets or quality. You need something to store on a library shelf to prize and treasure…




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  58. Eric Florack says:

    @PAUL HOOSON: Most players won’t go to a higher bit rate anyway.




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  59. anjin-san says:

    @ Guarneri

    This interview with Ken Ishiguro is worth a look:

    http://highfidelity.pl/@main-374&lang=en




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  61. Christopher M says:

    @anjin-san: I have a slightly modified RP3 (changed out the subplatter and mat) and a Dynavector 10X5 cartridge. Great combo. I had the Elys cartridge on it before, which was OK but not great.




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