Threat of extinction

Posted by: nimrodmr2p on 25 October 2018

Is it possible we will witness the extinction of a whole category of recorded media in the next few years, namely laser read discs, CDs and DVDs. John Lewis announced this week that it will cease to sell DVD players this goes along with Naim reducing their CD player range to one model. We generally felt vinyl was gone but it made a strong return to a smaller but significant position; I am not sure how easy it is to re-introduce cartridge manufacture as against the re-introduction of CD mechanisms from the technical/manufacturing point of view.

I have a strong affinity for CD and favour early versions of some albums but also love re-mastered material when it is done well. Yet I have friends who are vinyl users on vintage Hi-fi and others who only stream on all in one boxes. At the moment I am a digital luddite, happy with discs but on the cusp of streaming for convenience. As regards films I like the booklets and extras that come with DVDs which you do not get with streaming.

Each to their own but we need to at least have a choice. For instance there is a pub in Peckham which has a midweek showing of a classic film which is done using a VHS tape as the source. I believe the sessions are quite successful, nostalgia or is it more than that?

In our days of being 'green' it seems strange to obsolete all those discs already made; you will find CDs and DVDs at carboots for pence and many charity shops do 4 or 5 discs for a £1. Music Magpie will literally give you pence per traded in CD unless it is very desirable.

I am wondering whether to buy a 'spare' Naim CD player to go with the boxed and sealed Samsung VHS I purchased some years ago, I will also have to include a Sony DVD player as these are getting to be quite cheap.

 

Posted on: 25 October 2018 by blythe

Maybe I'd better start ripping all of the large collection of DVD's and BluRay discs I already won...?
Hopefully we will have the opportunity to do so.
Also, remember the days when CD was released? It was the death call for vinyl yet, here we are some 35 or so years later, still able to buy turntables.

Posted on: 25 October 2018 by Hmack

Vinyl and to a much lesser extent reel to reel have made comebacks at least partly because the vinyl and reel to reel media are capable of very high sound quality indeed. It is possible to make the argument that some LPs (on a good turntable) can sound better than their digital equivalents, and with the rise of 'The Tape Project' it has been demonstrated that reel to reel tape masters might just be the best available media format of the lot, albeit horrendously and prohibitively expensive to all but the super rich. However, it is not possible to make the same claims about DVD or in particular about VHS.

VHS is prone to wear and tear and demonstrably inferior to DVD which in turn is demonstrably inferior to Blu-Ray. I find it very difficult to understand why a pub in Peckham would show classic films using VHS tape as the source unless the films they show are not available on a better format, or unless the VHS recorder was sourced on the cheap from a certain Mr Trotter. Even the best VHS recordings look dreadful if viewed on a modern high quality TV.

DVD players and recorders will understandably disappear from the scene, but Blu-Ray players with the ability to play DVDs will be around for some time to come yet. To the OP, don't buy a DVD player - buy a cheap Blu-Ray player instead.

I feel no nostalgia whatsoever towards VHS. Any VHS source material of any note (very little) I owned has long since been transferred to a digital format along with all of my old Super VHS home cinema tapes.   

Posted on: 25 October 2018 by iliria

I do not lament the death of cassette, VHS, Laserdisc, minidisc and DVD at all. None of them can offer a superior quality of respective media compared to the CD-BR-Vinyl.

To the OP: You dont need a dvd player as DVDs can be played on a BR player. And I wouldnt worry too much about CD players and VHS players because you'll be able to get them quite cheap on ebay for years to come.

Posted on: 26 October 2018 by Rich 1

There's always a threat of extinction! Far Eastern markets are quite cd oriented, or so I believe. If there's a viable market somewhere, even if it's not in Europe or USA, then they'll continue to be manufactured for that market. Rich 

Posted on: 26 October 2018 by Clive B

I am not convinced that the rebirth of vinyl is owing to any superior sound quality. Most modern vinyl sounds pretty poor to me. I am not convinced that 180g vinyl offers anything special either. My scepticism is further justified by the turntables I've seen for sale in Fopp and HMV. If people are buying vinyl to play on those record players, they certainly won't experience any superior SQ. Hence, I suspect the current resurgence will ultimately be a short-lived fad.

Posted on: 26 October 2018 by AndyP19

My take on the John Lewis DVD item is it was a bit of a news filler - we havn't got any news so oh look John Lewis are not selling DVD players anymore. They stopped stocking my favourite denim jeans last year. 

As Iliria says above, you can play DVDs on a Blu Ray.

 

 

Posted on: 26 October 2018 by Rich 1

In most cases I find 'old' vinyl recordings better than 'new' ones, although well engineered new one's are at least as good as CD but cost so much more, I might as well download in FLAC. However there are exceptions. So I keep my recently serviced LP12 to play my old LPs. I'm not particularly impressed with the low quality transfers from analogue tape to CD that's been fed to the general public in recent years. Notable exception being Buddy Holly from the master tapes. Just my twopence worth. Rich 

Posted on: 26 October 2018 by Innocent Bystander

I think it will be more than a few years before physical media like CDs, DVDs and  BluRay disks disappear - I guess absolutely at least 10, and very possibly 20, though I guess that by then the writing will clearly be on the wall. The difference between CD and vinyl is significsnt, With no argument of analogue vs digital between CD and other means of transferring the music to the user, somit is more a matter ofthe number if purchasers of the physical media declining to the pointbthat it ceases to be economic to produce - and somewhere mid-term in that would be cessation of dedicated player production.

Posted on: 28 October 2018 by TOBYJUG

Digital media will disappear physically eventually, I think that was the over riding intention from the start of it all.

Although like our own brains - which if it were a mega computer - is hampered and tethered by the download bandwidth regardless of the mega mega storage abilities.

If, like our brains we could somehow quantumise download, then the future/extinction will happen more sooner.

Although there will always be some that will be drawn towards that hands on and watch it going around appeal of vinyl.

Posted on: 29 October 2018 by Gavin B

A minor issue to be sorted out by the purveyors of digital stuff is the gifting aspect. How do I give a download as a birthday present?

This always was (still is?) a problem with Kindle - you weren't able to buy a Kindle version of a book to give to someone else.

I guess the issue is how to pass on that purchase without both parties being able to access it.

Posted on: 29 October 2018 by Bruce Woodhouse
Gavin B posted:

A minor issue to be sorted out by the purveyors of digital stuff is the gifting aspect. How do I give a download as a birthday present?

This always was (still is?) a problem with Kindle - you weren't able to buy a Kindle version of a book to give to someone else.

I guess the issue is how to pass on that purchase without both parties being able to access it.

Send them a loaded USB stick if you want to give a physical present.

Posted on: 29 October 2018 by Mike-B

Qobuz have a gift facility,  the recipient needs an account but the giver does not.  They offer a gift of one of their streamer services or a value (GBP)  for downloads.  15, 40, 60, 100 & 150 GBP.       

Posted on: 29 October 2018 by blythe

There's nothing quite like having or receiving, a physical album or gift, be it music, film (movie) or a book. 
Apparently, after years of declining sales, physical books are enjoying something of a come back.

Posted on: 29 October 2018 by Florestan

Blame this whole phenomenon on the greed of the few who control markets but we each share some part of the blame individually for following in a trance towards to moving bait.  Collectively, we as a group share responsibility for opening our wallets after each format change and not voting with our spending power.

Naim, unfortunately is just along for the ride and have exploited us, its loyal customers, to the same extent as the rest.  They are no different.  It is just greedy people being told by so called 'experts' how to exploit the market as much as they can.

The only thing that will change this whole game played by the most greedy among us is if 'we' collectively shut our wallets and make it known as to how it will proceed and how it will be.  On a macro (mass) level I don't ever see this as a possibility (because most people don't care and/or are not very smart).  On a micro (niche) level, it is still possible.  You see this within the world of analogue (vinyl, film etc.).  

In my opinion, Naim have lost their way recently as evidenced by its controlling interests.  No longer are they or do they seem to appeal to the people that made them a going concern among those who 'knew.'  Tell me why Naim had to discontinue products for which it already invested all the R & D in perfecting products?  Someone says, "oh, but we need to sell more of the new formats."  Hogwash.  Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?   If you are so confident of the future streaming solutions (as being the future) then why would you not still offer the CDS3 and CD555 for those who have no need for sitting in front of a computer and wasting their lives asking why nothing works?  Simple secret.  Reduce the price of your old formats and I guarantee you that you would see a steady market to keep you more than busy if not forcing a need to expand.  How many people would have bought either of these players had the pricing been in line with reality and what most could reasonably afford?  I don't think I am the only one who would have upgraded to a certain level had these companies not opposed the philosophy that they wanted to hook people on music rather than just enrich a few greedy among you.  It is remarkable how a pricing structure is created in which the next better component is about double the price of its inferior.  Ticked off customers eventually go away and will migrate to smarter companies that understand who their real customers are.

I am not one for being satisfied with inferior products but what is true is that most products evolve until they reach a certain point where the incremental improvements become rather meaningless or pointless.  A grand piano roughly reached its highest evolutionary point around the 1850's.  Automobiles have largely peaked decades ago and now are only being improved by certain functional aspects of modern technology (especially in safety).  Computers now are largely at a level where they are not obsolete every six months despite being told the opposite.  In regards to music formats - what's wrong with CD's, vinyl, even cassettes?

I understand that if something is evolving it is nice to get the next improvement but we have long passed the time of Edison.  In my lifetime, it started with vinyl and cassette tapes and then CD's became the thing.  I have spent the majority of my life investing in these formats.  If I were 20 again then this might be my starting point but maybe not?

The point is that I have spent enough money on these formats.  I am not going to fill the dumpster and start over.  I am more than happy with what I have and if Naim doesn't think I am worthy of buying a product they just developed a decade or so ago then I'll have to go elsewhere.

Bottom line.  These companies think they need to keep reselling you the same old things over and over again.  Vinyl first and then CD's are more than satisfactory for my needs.  We all have surely realized that it is not the formats fault if you didn't use a recording engineer who knows what their doing?  There is a certain percentage in this format that were recorded correctly and the results are unsurprisingly stunning.  If more of us choose more carefully and deliberately where we will spend our hard earned money these greedy bean counters will have to sit up and take notice.  This is the first and oldest rule of the power of money.  It is our faults if we just continually take the bait and fall for the traps set. 

 

Posted on: 30 October 2018 by Bruce Woodhouse

Florestan

Great rant!

I think it can be argued that downloading and especially streaming files have additional functionality over CDs, it is not quite selling the same thing over and over again.

Both allow almost instant and hugely wide access to vast amounts of music, they allow access to different methods of reproduction and storage and can also allow rapid links to video and other information. They are also easier to produce for small bands, and easier to distribute. Easier to store, easier to archive.

Whilst I take the points about how marketing of new media etc work I think that for most users (not just the tiny percentage of HiFi buffs) these new forms of music selling are better than CD in a whole series of ways. Whether the pricing is fair is another point altogether!

Bruce

Posted on: 30 October 2018 by Richard Dane

Florestan, I think it all boils down to one thing - viability. Naim always said they would continue to make and supply CD players as long as there was a viable level of demand to do so and as long as the necessary parts, particularly the laser mechanisms, remained available and of the necessary quality. Unfortunately, I'm told that demand for top end CD players has plummeted and at the same time, the availability of high quality Philips based laser mechanisms has become either practically non-existent in the case of the top end units, or highly problematic with too low a viable yield on mechs like the regular VAM1202.  Add to that the fact that the factory cannot easily grow in size, so everything being made has to earn its place and space, and as much as I love to spin discs of all types, including CDs, under such circumstances I think the decision to cut back on the CD player range to just the CD5Si was not just the right one, but likely also the only decision that was possible or that made any sense.

Edit: sorry, I see you have removed your last post, but I guess my reply above applies just as much to your earlier post above.

Posted on: 30 October 2018 by Gazza

As much as I like CD players, the convenience of the Core and Naim streamer win out for me. I no longer have to put my glasses on, crawl around on the floor looking through 1000 or so cd,s in cupboards. I think Naim have got it right imo.

Posted on: 30 October 2018 by Stephen Tate

I think the VAM 1202 CD mech is one of the cheapest and unreliable mech to have of ever been used. The new style mech on my CD5si is absolutely superb, miles better than the '1202' of old IMHO - Why couldn't of Naim continue making their other CD players in the range with the same mech as what is in the CD5si? What is the mech in the CD5si? My one runs completely silent and hardly ever skips a beat unlike my older Naim players. It loads a disc much quicker and slicker too.

Posted on: 30 October 2018 by Gazza

If it is still a Philips mechanism, then Philips stopped making them some time ago and it would be being built from Naim stock. Thatís a finite run of product if thatís the case. When we visited in April they had just announced the CDX2 would stop production. Trevor the MD said they had looked for a similar quality sounding mechanism, but had not found one. The Core uses a cheap Teac mechanism, but good for just ripping, not playing.

Posted on: 30 October 2018 by Stephen Tate

Oops, very sorry. I've just read Richard's reply above with which I missed before replying myself with those couple of questions. I can now see that it was a very good idea to cut right back on CD player production.

Posted on: 30 October 2018 by nimrodmr2p

This topic seems to have stimulated quite a bit of debate and clearly Naim has quite a diverse range of customers who like to listen to their music in different ways. I may go into streaming but will always wish to put on a CD sometimes. My main focus is to retain the CD replay capability which we are in danger of losing. It would be nice to know in advance if Naim are going to get rid of CD replay and at that point I would buy a spare machine. I have previously discussed servicing of existing CD players such as the XS with Naim and they reckon they can keep players going for many years

Posted on: 14 November 2018 by iliria

I think a lot of us are either unaware or ignoring the fact that the majority of the newer generations (today's 18-25 yr olds) are being brought up on streaming and digital music/movies/games rather than using physical media. The only reason why my son would buy a physical format game for exmple is so that he can get it cheaper. And that is the only motivation.

When you consider that the majority of the mass produced cd players today offer very little (or nothing at all) advantage over downloads then it makes sense to abandon physical media. And that reasoning becomes even stronger when you consider the amount of money that one has to spend on cd player+amp+wire+speakers+stand and the much larger space that is required for it and also... let's face it... the ugly sight that the black boxes continue to be.

Imagine the amount of space that is needed to store 1000 cds and 1000 BR. Imagine the tiny hard drive that you can store them into instead. Imagine having to sift through them all every time you need inspiration on what to play/watch. And yet, imagine how easy it is to scroll through them in digital format, push a button and it's done. And how much easier it will be in the near future when you can say "Nova, play such and such...." ( -hint, hint - ).

The number of people using a CD player nowadays is dwindling rapidly. And the number of people using a high end cd player has been a niche for a very long time.

That's without going into the environmental arguments....

The sole reason I buy a cd nowadays is purely because I can get it for a couple of quid and rip it to FLAC. If it wasn't for that I would never buy a CD/BR again.

And if a 40 year old like me who has been quite passionate about music for a long time is leaning towards streaming/digital then you can imagine what goes on with teens. I have to admit that I like buying vinyl although I am not much optimistic about its future either considering the huge prices that it sells for nowadays.

I applaud Naim's decision to just keep one cd player in their product list. And I would much rather they concentrated their efforts in all in one boxes.

Posted on: 14 November 2018 by kuma

This was the obsolete list 5 years ago.

I see actually some of them are coming back. ( like typewriter and wrist watch )

the ones gone from the above list:

VHS, Rolodex, Hotel Key, Grammar, Film, Encyclopedia, Dictionary,

I should dust off my old Rolodex as a password keeper.

Posted on: 14 November 2018 by Bert Schurink
Florestan posted:

Blame this whole phenomenon on the greed of the few who control markets but we each share some part of the blame individually for following in a trance towards to moving bait.  Collectively, we as a group share responsibility for opening our wallets after each format change and not voting with our spending power.

Naim, unfortunately is just along for the ride and have exploited us, its loyal customers, to the same extent as the rest.  They are no different.  It is just greedy people being told by so called 'experts' how to exploit the market as much as they can.

The only thing that will change this whole game played by the most greedy among us is if 'we' collectively shut our wallets and make it known as to how it will proceed and how it will be.  On a macro (mass) level I don't ever see this as a possibility (because most people don't care and/or are not very smart).  On a micro (niche) level, it is still possible.  You see this within the world of analogue (vinyl, film etc.).  

In my opinion, Naim have lost their way recently as evidenced by its controlling interests.  No longer are they or do they seem to appeal to the people that made them a going concern among those who 'knew.'  Tell me why Naim had to discontinue products for which it already invested all the R & D in perfecting products?  Someone says, "oh, but we need to sell more of the new formats."  Hogwash.  Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?   If you are so confident of the future streaming solutions (as being the future) then why would you not still offer the CDS3 and CD555 for those who have no need for sitting in front of a computer and wasting their lives asking why nothing works?  Simple secret.  Reduce the price of your old formats and I guarantee you that you would see a steady market to keep you more than busy if not forcing a need to expand.  How many people would have bought either of these players had the pricing been in line with reality and what most could reasonably afford?  I don't think I am the only one who would have upgraded to a certain level had these companies not opposed the philosophy that they wanted to hook people on music rather than just enrich a few greedy among you.  It is remarkable how a pricing structure is created in which the next better component is about double the price of its inferior.  Ticked off customers eventually go away and will migrate to smarter companies that understand who their real customers are.

I am not one for being satisfied with inferior products but what is true is that most products evolve until they reach a certain point where the incremental improvements become rather meaningless or pointless.  A grand piano roughly reached its highest evolutionary point around the 1850's.  Automobiles have largely peaked decades ago and now are only being improved by certain functional aspects of modern technology (especially in safety).  Computers now are largely at a level where they are not obsolete every six months despite being told the opposite.  In regards to music formats - what's wrong with CD's, vinyl, even cassettes?

I understand that if something is evolving it is nice to get the next improvement but we have long passed the time of Edison.  In my lifetime, it started with vinyl and cassette tapes and then CD's became the thing.  I have spent the majority of my life investing in these formats.  If I were 20 again then this might be my starting point but maybe not?

The point is that I have spent enough money on these formats.  I am not going to fill the dumpster and start over.  I am more than happy with what I have and if Naim doesn't think I am worthy of buying a product they just developed a decade or so ago then I'll have to go elsewhere.

Bottom line.  These companies think they need to keep reselling you the same old things over and over again.  Vinyl first and then CD's are more than satisfactory for my needs.  We all have surely realized that it is not the formats fault if you didn't use a recording engineer who knows what their doing?  There is a certain percentage in this format that were recorded correctly and the results are unsurprisingly stunning.  If more of us choose more carefully and deliberately where we will spend our hard earned money these greedy bean counters will have to sit up and take notice.  This is the first and oldest rule of the power of money.  It is our faults if we just continually take the bait and fall for the traps set. 

 

In a way you bring some valid points. But I also think that you canít stop a development, and that often means the extinction of another. And went the benefits are perceived higher in hindsight you also can see a swing back, like with Vinyl. And itís in my opinion not only a question of money...