There are a lot of talking nowadays among audio people about music servers and about the ripping the people’s CDs to music servers and playing from there. I always feel that it a dummy thing to do. People claim that besides the “convenience” there are technical justifications – the ripped CD reportedly sound better when they played from music servers as better ripping software can red CDs multiple times, buffering and analyzing data, correcting errors and so on. I do not support the view that ripped CD sound better, my own experiment in this did not confirm it but it was long time ago. Nowadays it might be better ripping tools or it juts the people who do CD ripping never had good CD transports. I do not know who it right or wrong. Regardless the results and the reasons – let for the sake of this there to accept the premises that ripped CD sound as good as the original CD, even I never experienced it. If so, then what does it worth to rip CD and to play them of music server.
I have a couple terabyte of music at my music server, 99.99% of the files are FM recording, and I am consider myself a heavy-core music server user. Still, I am not completely comfortable with the notion of virtual management of my file collection and I would prefer to have my recording in some kind of tangible media - let say DVD with uncompressed WAV file that might be played by a standalone WAV file player. Let look deeper in the dark side of my views and preferences.
Here are a few reasons WHY I prefer to have physical disk instead of soft-playable disk (remember, we are under a presumption that the there is no difference in sound quality). The list is without any particular order….
1) Preservation is duplication and isolation. The hard disk in a way is more preserveable then soft disk. Computers crash, the HD does but a disk is sitting on the shelf. Since it is not CD or DVD-A it is not problem juts to copy the WAV file to other disk.
2) Security. Since the music servers become so popular I presume that very soon we will see viruses being written to propagate themselves via the ripped data and to live inside the secure domain of music severs.
3) I like the notes on the CD/LPs and I like to write my own notes on box of the recordings. I like as well to write comments on margins of my favorite books. The editable field on the file’s property does not feel right and too institutionalize my thinking.
4) A location of a disk in your room is a physical location of the performance. You can position it between other performances. You can approach it, you can take it in your hands, you can “hear” it in your head, you can think about your with to play it and you can put it back. I have very different feelings, if any, when I think about the files at hard drive. What I think about the files at hard drive I think it trims of dates and events. What I think about CD or LP I think it term of performances.
5) Call me an idiot but there is something ceremonial in play disk – you have begun of event and end of event. With file off hard driver there are no boundaries of time but rather there a kick-off event. The time while disk spins I value more “expensive” then the time while a file is playing – I do not know how to describe it but it is so. Perhaps it is because I pay for CD but I got the FM files free of the air? I can’t belie that my Jewish frugality have an upper hand in this one!
6) I do not like that fact that my monitor, keyboard and mouth that mange my DAW is separated from my playback. I would like to have it all in my single remote control. I know that all my tonearms, my reel machine, my FM dialers, my volume controls and my CD player are located at the same physical space – I go there is I would like to play music. If I would like to play files from my music server then I need to go and sit at my deck – I do not like it. I am a professional software engineer and I have Pavlovian Reflexes: when I look in monitor I need to be paid…
That is all that atop of my mind as now. So, if it were to me then I would stay with some kind of tangible disks of musical recordings. I do not know but I like them better for many, including the mentioned reasons.The Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche