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RE: You'll find that your billion dollar speculation is more than double the actual $427M answer.

That's not really an argument unless there is something to quasi back it up. People download music and listen to it once and may never listen to it again.

To be fair to digital there is a lot of listening going on via free illegal downloads from various Bitorrent sites and just listening to new music on youtube connected from your computer into a receiver. Free.

I've never understood the fascination with format wars. If you like vinyl then buy vinyl - if you like computer digital or CD or r2r tape then buy it. Why does everyone get so uptight over sound quality and try to push everyone else into buying the format.

I had someone tell me once that he liked his vinyl rig better than his computer hi-res rig (and these are class A+ Stereophile computer rigs where the computer cost $8,000 and the DAC was over $30k. But he said - vinyl was too much of a pain in the ass. It's as if the guy felt some weird audiophile shame that he chose a less sounding digital system because of convenience. No shame in that. It's perfectly fine to have the money for a Ferrari - love Ferrari and choose to buy a mommy mobile mini-van. And if you choose CD over vinyl for convenience or computer audio for convenience - there is no problem with that.

The number of sales of a format doesn't or should not persuade you or anyone else that A is better than B. A Gourmet restaurant selling the best hamburger on the planet sells far less such hamburgers than McDonald's and Bose sells more speakers than whatever everyone in this forum happens to own. And we're not calling Bose the best sounding product or McDonald's the best tasting or healthiest hamburgers.

Vinyl I am amazed does as well as it does. E-Stat noted they have 5% of the sales - that is astounding to me! This is a huge pain in the butt format with a steep learning curve.

Owning Vinyl IMO borders on the obnoxious. You have to buy the big bulky disc. You can't touch the thing anywhere on the playing surface. You have to buy a big bulky machine to play the damn things. You have to be super careful with the needle - any mistake or heavy handedness likely ruins your record or the stylus/cartridge. They always get dirty from basically being exposed to the air for 20 seconds.

After 1000 hours (if that) your stylus is crap and probably destroys your records. You have to spend on some sort of cleaning apparatus for the records and the stylus. Solution that is usually pricey these days because it's not sold at economies of scale.

Then you only get half a disc of play so you have to be constantly vigilant ready to flip the side. Or 3 times for a double LP.

Then there is the fact that so many new albums are made poorly with warp or too much leftover grunge in the tracks making a vacuum cleaning machine almost necessary - there is $500 just for that.

Oh and most new vinyl is just a digital transfer anyway so they're not going to sound better than the Redbook CD version.

I keep on trying computer audio playback because I like that I can just call up any song from any artist from one of my many multi-terabyte hard drives and listen to something instantly or have it play for 8 hours (or basically 24/7 7 days a week until the drive dies).

And it doesn't cost jack squat to get into computer audio. Once you have it set up then it's just a matter adding music to it (music that never degrades with play either).

Having said all that I can't help walk away from virtually all of these digital rigs feeling dissatisfied. They don't glue me to the chair and get me into the music. It's continuously a banal experience for me. Background music while I cook or clean the house or for throwing a party. But just sit and listen - meh.

I am hopeful that at the California Audio Show - someone will have a rig with hi-res that will excite me. It doesn't even need to be as good as Vinyl - just good enough to make my toes tap and get me involved in the music.


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