How Much Music

by John Holbo on September 21, 2008

I’m curious. How much music do you have on your computer? I just passed the 75 gig mark. iTunes informs me that is 49.5 days worth. That seems like a lot. But I don’t feel that I have too much. How much does the average blog reader have?

In case you don’t have enough music, I kinda enjoyed Grizzly Bear “Two Weeks” (live on Letterman) – downloadable from Stereogum here.



Jonathan 09.21.08 at 2:52 pm

What percentage was downloaded?


Righteous Bubba 09.21.08 at 3:06 pm

83 gigs. I am on a never-ending quest to listen to the music that I don’t actually know well. When I listen, I rate it. The rest of the time I listen to shuffles of what I’ve rated.

Not sure how this worked back in Plato’s day but I’m sure the methods were similar.


Joseph 09.21.08 at 3:07 pm

Around 15,000 songs, a little over 85G. Probably 2/3 downloaded. No, it doesn’t seem like too much, but I do tend to be a completist. My standard for “too much” would be having music that I have never listened to nor become interested in hearing. That would just be wasted bits, although I do know people whose collections meet that standard.


abb1 09.21.08 at 3:16 pm

Damn, only 42 gig here. Guess I need to increase my rate of acquisition…


John Holbo 09.21.08 at 3:17 pm

By downloaded you mean illegally downloaded? Almost none. Except for stuff that’s a bit unclear, like that Grizzly download. I’ve bought quite a bit for download. Otherwise, nose is pretty clean.


John Holbo 09.21.08 at 3:18 pm

abb1 only has a month of music! abb1 only has a month of music!


JSE 09.21.08 at 3:23 pm

27.5 gigs, the large majority burned from purchased CDs. Strangely, that feels like too much, while the same amount didn’t feel so overwhelming when it was on a shelf of physical CDs.


Randy Paul 09.21.08 at 3:24 pm

You should also indicate the sampling rate. I total about 50 gigs. Most of mine is 192KB, but I have bought some at Amazon’s MP3 store, which is sampled at a higher rate.


Matt McGrattan 09.21.08 at 3:30 pm

I keep most of mine in FLAC format so file sizes aren’t a good measure.

But, altogether, around 7000 songs, or about 40GB if they were all in MP3 format.


Aaron Swartz 09.21.08 at 3:30 pm

I thought I was bad, but I only have 15 days.


Slocum 09.21.08 at 3:31 pm

About 40G. But I’ve listening to Pandora a lot more lately and my pace of acquisition has slowed.

Why, BTW, doesn’t Pandora have a text-to-speech option for announcing the song and artist? I’m not necessarily sitting at my computer while Pandora is queuing up the music, and I’d like to know what I’m hearing without having to run back to look. It’s really going to suck if Pandora goes down due to internet radio royalty rates.


Brian 09.21.08 at 3:34 pm

I have 40,156 tracks, 155.48 gigs, 105 days, 1 hour, 10 minutes and 33 seconds.


Ben Alpers 09.21.08 at 3:57 pm

70.81 gigs, including audiobooks and podcasts, much of it (legally) downloaded (mostly from emusic and, most of the rest ripped from CDs that I own.


Jonathan 09.21.08 at 3:57 pm

I knew you were too law-abiding for any illegal downloads, but how much of the whole did you buy online?


Matt McGrattan 09.21.08 at 4:04 pm

Of my total [about 520 albums], about 400 are ripped from CDs I own and the other 100 or so are from EMusic. There’s a couple bought directly from record companies online [Linn Records]. If and when I find a good commercial download source (other than EMusic) I might end up buying more online.

In the UK, it’s often cheaper to buy a CD in the shops during sales or X for N Pounds offers than it is to buy even the cheapest downloads.


Lazygal 09.21.08 at 4:17 pm

Only about 20g… none downloaded (all taken from CDs purchased). What goes on the iPod are either things I really, really like listening to or things that I just bought and want to get to know better (I listen during my commute and the iPod is just easier than carrying around all those CDs). Guess that makes me a hopeless Luddite.


Sean Carroll 09.21.08 at 4:20 pm

32 gigs, 23.8 days. The ease of downloading (legally!) has increased the percentage of music I purchase and almost never listen to. I have great hopes that the new Genius feature in iTunes will change that, mixing in old favorites with new finds.


abb1 09.21.08 at 4:27 pm

Incidentally, here in Switzerland downloading is not illegal, only sharing is. Or so I was told. Thus the BitThief, free-riding client. I’m pretty sure their highminded explanation of why they decided to develop it is completely bogus.


Scott f. 09.21.08 at 4:32 pm

165 GB of music and podcasts; 250 GB of movie videos, mostly avi files downloaded from Bittorrent; approximately 100 GB application software videos; 32 GB eBooks; 30 GB audio books. I would recommend buying 1 TB or larger hard drive for a desktop. Storage needs grow over time. Multiple hard drive configurations are noisier and more error prone. Make image backups onto separate drive. DVD/CDs are on they’re way out. Buy a mac mini and webify your TV. I’m a software engineer.


Marco 09.21.08 at 4:33 pm

I’ve got 6360 songs for just over 20 days of listening. Some of it is ripped from albums I bought, but the largest bumps in library size have come from fair-use swaps with friends who visited with their laptops. I’m not a completist and am happy to toss all the bad songs from an album to avoid cruft. I assign ratings to everything to make party shuffle and iPod-loading more efficient and pleasing.


Scott f. 09.21.08 at 4:40 pm

Don’t use RAID. Use Acronis Home for backups. It cost $33 and is the worth every penny. Learn how to use Bittorrent.


HP 09.21.08 at 4:42 pm

12,122 “songs,” 62.9 days, 53.78 GB

The reasons for the numbers looking so odd:

1) I listen to very little music that would be recognizable to most people as “songs,” in the standard singer/songwriter-with-a-guitar-combo mold.

2) I have a large number of random and amusing audio clips that are less than 30 seconds in length. They break up the monotony when used in smart playlists, but they artificially inflate the song count.

3) I listen to a lot of vintage (pre-1935) music, which is generally encoded at lower bit rates.

4) I listen to a lot of classic radio transcripts,* radio dramas, and audiobooks, which vary from 1/2 to 2 hours, and are recorded at very low bit rates (e.g. 28.8 kpbs or even lower).

Most of my digital music collection is either PD (pre-1928 recordings; pre-1976 radio), OOP/orphaned vinyl, or production (“canned”) music. A small amount was purchased from sites like iTunes or eMusic.

I suppose some small amount of the music in my collection is technically illegal, but it represents music that has zero profit potential for the industry and will never be rereleased commercially. So it’s a choice between dodgy downloads and not being able to hear it at all.

* If you’re at all a fan of classic jazz and swing, go to and search for “live aircheck.” Hours and hours and hours of Basie, Ellington, Fats Waller, Goodman, etc., performing live without the constraints of the recording studio, never released commercially, and all free, legal, and aboveboard.


John Holbo 09.21.08 at 4:50 pm

I think I’ve downloaded maybe 30 gigs worth. I’ve got quite a few audiobooks and podcasts in there, puffing up my numbers.


sean 09.21.08 at 5:00 pm

19.7 days, much of it downloaded. I also have some stuff on CD that I haven’t bothered to rip yet.


Mwahap 09.21.08 at 5:31 pm

About 750GB, on an external device. It seems this is 81 days. Most of it is FLAC, hence the size on disk.


ah 09.21.08 at 6:54 pm

only 8GB because I have an old computer and have run out of disk space


Rick 09.21.08 at 7:00 pm

I have about 15gb on my laptop, about 30gb on shared portable drive off the other PC. Not much – like others have mentioned, I hit up Pandora and find myself shuffling through what I already have more than picking up new stuff from iTunes.


Jonathan Dresner 09.21.08 at 7:26 pm

I have 11gb, just under 9 days, but I rarely listen to music on my computer. I use it to store the music from CDs which I want to hear on my 1gb iPod shuffle. My spouse has considerably more, and is probably approaching about half downloaded from itunes/emusic, etc., but we also have a prettylarge backlog of CDs we haven’t ripped in yet. (also LPs, but that’s a whole other project).


a 09.21.08 at 7:34 pm

246 giga, AIFF (so only 17 days)


Martin Wisse 09.21.08 at 8:00 pm

120.81 gig or alomost 61 days of music on an external harddrive. That’s mostly pop/rock, a bit of jazz and no classical music, to name the big three western music traditions, let alone anything really exotic.

(20.22 gig of ‘eavy metal, 6.73 electronica, 12.39 Funk, 2.31 Gothic, 3.04 gig Hip-hop, 4.81 industrial, 3.36 jazz, 15.63 Pop, 9.82 Prog Rock, 13.11 Punk/Post-punk, 24.17 Rock, 1.59 Ska/2-tone. if you need to know)


Rachel 09.21.08 at 8:28 pm

I’ve got 58.9 gig (31.2 days) on my laptop, but another 40 gig or so on an external drive. I do have quite a bit of illegally downloaded stuff because I almost never buy things before downloading and listening to them and I ended up just downloading music illegally to replace much of my CD collection (which was pretty extensive before I stopped using the format) rather than rip everything. The only thing I have done with physical CDs in the last six years is store boxes that I never open, but can’t quite throw out.

I really on ratings and the way iTunes tries to force one to re-rate everything rather than just accessing ratings that are written into files is a continual source of ire in my life. And, yes, I still constantly feel like there is far more good music out there than I possess or even know about.


Eszter Hargittai 09.21.08 at 8:35 pm

1GB, but I listen to either a music service like Yahoo! Music (soon to be gone * sniff *) or radio or * gasp * might just put an actual CD in my stereo. In the car, I listen to radio stations.


abb1 09.21.08 at 8:55 pm

Ah, those antique car radios without USB ports – I remember them well…


Another Damned Medievalist 09.21.08 at 9:15 pm

about 110 Gb. None of it illegal, that I know of. Most from the marital album and CD collection


cpareader 09.21.08 at 9:51 pm

Is it possible that no one here has “Einekleinenachtmusik” or “Tosca” readily available? Geez!


Alan 09.21.08 at 10:20 pm

4455 ‘items’, 15.1 days, 50.56 GB on an external HD, or so iTunes tells me.
Most of that is music, with quite a few downloaded poetry, philosophy, In Our Time etc podcasts. I’ve recently had a bit of a clear out, though. None of my stuff is illegal as far as I know…most of it is from CDs. Some from iTunes.
I listened to Pandora all the time until they disabled UK ip addresses…sniff…disaster.


novakant 09.21.08 at 10:35 pm

Alan, I feel your pain. Luckily, I bookmarked a lot of artists that I discovered through pandora, the accounts are still accessible, so if you did the same at least not all is lost.

Have you checked out – it’s pretty good too. Also, if you install the good old winamp, you can choose from a myriad of radio stations at


jim 09.21.08 at 10:36 pm

Tosca, yes, in a San Francisco Opera live performance, all the Mozart operas, too, but not that much instrumental Mozart. Much of what I have (some on a desktop, some on my laptop, some on an external drive, so I can’t easily come up with a count) is bootlegs of operas. I also have the 1976 Bayreuth Ring (with both versions of Götterdämmerung — different Brünhildes), for example. It’s amazing how much impact mp3s have had on the trading of bootlegs.


notsneaky 09.21.08 at 11:10 pm

Only 2.33gb. But come talk to me when you own an original vinyl copy of Paranoid Time (


ben wolfson 09.21.08 at 11:23 pm

301 gigs.


ben wolfson 09.21.08 at 11:25 pm

Gibibytes, that is. 38000+ individual files.


Jason 09.22.08 at 12:14 am

None, but I think my wife keeps some of her iTunes crap on my hd. And all my CDs are ancient and have skips.


ignobility 09.22.08 at 12:32 am

109.9 days, all music, all the time.


Sam H. 09.22.08 at 12:48 am

218.11 gigs.


conchis 09.22.08 at 1:12 am

70.4 days.


Steve Balboni 09.22.08 at 1:17 am

I have several TB’s of FLAC files, a majority live shows and then many of my CD’s ripped to flac for easy playability. I also have stacks of Vinyl and DATs so I’m more than a little outside the mainstream of music consumption.


Lisa 09.22.08 at 1:23 am

Do records count? Just kidding. I’m one of those freaks who listens to records. I don’t think my ipod has more than a days’ worth of music but I’ve got a few good weeks in records.


LFC 09.22.08 at 3:10 am

I have no music at all on my computer. When I want to listen to something, I usually put a CD on the CD player or turn on the radio (to classical or jazz stations, mostly). Also, off-topic but I can’t resist saying this, it would be nice if all the sound-from-the-ceiling systems were ripped out of commercial establishments: relatively little of this canned “music” is music, and a fairly high percentage of it is annoying, imo.


Righteous Bubba 09.22.08 at 3:14 am

Also, off-topic but I can’t resist saying this, it would be nice if all the sound-from-the-ceiling systems were ripped out of commercial establishments: relatively little of this canned “music” is music, and a fairly high percentage of it is annoying, imo.

A society without the opportunity to hear a muzak version of “Born to be Wild” is missing out.


Vagrant 09.22.08 at 4:32 am

Around 18,200 songs consuming 117.3GB of disk space.


Luther Blissett 09.22.08 at 4:47 am

I’ve got about 120 GB on my hard drive, some of which is from bittorrent sites. I buy enough music that I don’t feel guilty about downloading other stuff. As Rachel wrote above, downloading for me is like previewing. If I find that I like an album enough, I’ll eventually buy it. Having the mp3s also allows me to buy the vinyl. Luckily, though, some labels are beginning to offer free mp3 downloads once you buy the LP.

Most recent downloads: The Associates complete works.

Most recent purchases: Numero’s comp of black Israeli soul and their comp of Fahey-esque fingerstyle guitarists. Both on vinyl.


Scott 09.22.08 at 5:56 am

My question, and this really ought to have its own thread, is: How many of you actually enjoy listening to mp3s or compressed music in general? I use an ipod to listen to my music more than anything else, but sometimes find myself resenting the sound quality. I wonder if there will ever be enough demand to raise the standard bit rate (or develop a high quality, low bit rate file) to something approaching cd quality. I hope so.


Henry (not the famous one) 09.22.08 at 6:43 am

I’m with LFC–zero. There is something to be said for listening to someone else’s choices and hearing something you hadn’t heard before. And I’m also partial to classical and jazz, which means an almost endless source of surprises.


notsneaky 09.22.08 at 7:21 am

It’s pretty obvious from the above that most of you are “people that collect music” rather “people who actually listen to music”. If you got 235389459845000000000 hours worth of music on your computer (or in other mediums) it’s pretty clear you’re pretty much downloading everything that any fool tells you should download rather you know, actually, stuff that’s worth listening to. Which is far and in between.


James Wimberley 09.22.08 at 7:52 am

None. Long live Captain Ludd!


abb1 09.22.08 at 7:54 am

It works like this (a friend told me): you hear something by chance, you like it, you find out what it is, you download ‘best of’, and then, depending on how much you like that, you may or may not download all the rest of it.


Fr. 09.22.08 at 8:25 am

I have around 95GB if I count

– audiohijacked radio talks, something I have been doing for ages
– tons, tons, tons of excellent bootlegs
– live mixes in electronic music (avg. length around 2 hours)

The remainder is CD rips. Some artist folders are remarkably huge by themselves: Brian Eno, King Crimson, Magma, Nobukazu Takemura.


bad Jim 09.22.08 at 8:46 am

None. I’m my own Walkman. Whenever I start to get an earworm I summon Schubert’s Quartettsatz or Schumann’s Toccata, a quick and pleasant earwash.

I’ve got a few hundred CD’s, and I actually continue to buy more, and I never got rid of my LP’s. I even have a new Sony turntable. How else could – or should – I listen to Richard Thompson’s “Strict Tempo”?

Perhaps it’s not entirely beside the point that I’ve got some nice big old bass reflex speakers in the living room, 15″ woofers, comfy chairs, middle-aged ears …

Why would an adult be measuring music as a number of songs, though? Unless it’s crippled it shouldn’t need words to move you.


Andrew Brown 09.22.08 at 8:49 am

9973 files; 103 GB; 883 hours. Almost all of this is entirely kosher, either ripped from CDs, bought from emusic, or collected from the Internet Archive. I’m not entirely certain of the legal status of torrented bootlegs from places like Dime, but I don’t share enything that is otherwise sold for profit. Over the last couple of years, though. I have hardly bought any CDs that aren’t classical, which now amounts a a quarter of my collection. I have an 8GB memory card in my phone, which is what I use instead of an iPod. It’s only half full, which suggests that there is not much here I want to listen to over and over again.


Colin Danby 09.22.08 at 10:15 am

Uses of the PC differ, Scott: I’m closing in on a half terabyte but it’s all wavs ripped from my CDs, so much less total time than folks above. I agree that compressed music sounds like crap, and hard drive space is so cheap that it’s not even worthwhile fooling with lossless codecs. About half is Indian stuff including multi-CD recordings of Carnatic concerts that have become available in recent years; the PC is great for that ’cause you can make playlists plus not worry about disk deterioration. I use Foobar 2000 0.8.3 to play; it can be set up to bypass most of the ways Windows screws up sound, and it has a wonderfully geeky subculture.


Eszter Hargittai 09.22.08 at 10:45 am

it would be nice if all the sound-from-the-ceiling systems were ripped out of commercial establishments

I’d like to put in a vote for this regarding music when one is on hold on the phone.


John Holbo 09.22.08 at 11:50 am

I knew that Ben Wolfson was going to have the most.


Ben 09.22.08 at 4:41 pm

I have around 35 gigs, most of which is comprised of the entire back catalogues of favourite bands, and multiple recordings of classical pieces (like the Beethoven piano cycle by Barenboim, Schnabel, Richter, and others).


Ben 09.22.08 at 4:44 pm

An interesting related investigation is, if you have it, to check out iTunes’ most played songs function. Mine came up with a few surprises – Nina Simone and a random Zappa tune were pretty high up there, but I don’t remember listening to them that obsessively.


Miss Mussel 09.22.08 at 5:22 pm

I’ve got 35.7 days or just under 63 gigs at the moment. About 60% is classical ripped from a CD owned by me or one of my friends. Most of the pop is bought online because I’m not so bothered about liner notes or compression with that type of music.

To go with Ben’s suggestion, the top three most played songs are:

Cantique de Jean Racine (26) Choir of King’s College Cambridge
Les Baricades Mistérieuses (22) Alexandre Tharaud (piano)
Chasing Cars (22) Snow Patrol


Martin Wisse 09.22.08 at 6:13 pm

How many of you actually enjoy listening to mp3s or compressed music in general?

I don’t notice much if any difference between an mp3, a proper record or cd, nor between high end and cheap ass stereos, unless it gets really bad. Mp3s are a godsend to me, as they’re small enough to be usuable and still good enough for me to listen to. I love having a huge collection of music to listen to, something to fit my current mood; there’s so much good stuff out there and unlike books or movies you do have a decent chance of listening to a good percentage of it in your lifetime.

Anybody who has to have a special system set up just right to be able to listen to their music is not somebody who’s actually into music, but somebody who fetishes his consumerist cravings. Pop songs were made to be heard over crappy transistor radios, classical music is written for concert halls, so you’re fooling yourself if you spent serious money to improve your “listening quality”.

(Just thought I’d balance out Notsneaky and other snobs here)


abb1 09.22.08 at 6:21 pm

66, I’ll second that.


Righteous Bubba 09.22.08 at 6:36 pm

I don’t notice much if any difference between an mp3, a proper record or cd, nor between high end and cheap ass stereos, unless it gets really bad.

“Unless it gets really bad” is pretty much the point and that line is variable. If you’re a close listener you get irritated by more and if you’re forgiving you get irritated by less. My hat is off to you: you have a better time listening to music than I do.


R Gould-Saltman 09.22.08 at 6:57 pm


Who’s actually listened, more than once, to fifty-plus days of continuous music at home in the last five years?

My father, who’s (a) 82 this year, and (b) a serious amateur chamber musician, probably owns about 3000 vinyl albums, and maybe a quarter of that number on CD. He owns no IPOD, and has no music stored on a computer. He’s listened to all of everything in the collection at least once, (KLH turntable/amp combo, circa 1968) and much of it repeatedly, with a score in front of him. As far as I know, he still consciously spends some time each week this way, i.e. listening to music to the exclusion of anything else.

I’ve got maybe 1000 CD’s; mostly jazz, with much smaller “modern classical” (or, as some would say “20th Century western through-composed art music) blues, “world music” and “pop-ish” chunks. My computer has some of this uploaded to put onto my IPOD for portability, some additional stuff from library CD’s, and now about a day’s worth of on-line downloads. Those are, in order of file volume, e-music, and “public fair-use because they’re no licensing available” downloads (obscure “bootleg” audience recordings, or air-checks, of jazz from 20-30 years ago never commercially released, etc.)
My “song count” is relatively meaningless; the recently downloaded “Weather Report: live at the Agora, Columbus Ohio, 1972” is two files, each about 20 minutes long, and I’ve got a whole host of stuff (Cecil Taylor, Morton Feldman, Terry Riley) that comes in at 50 minutes plus per “song”.

So, who’s listening, and who’s just sampling, or downloading for the sake of numbers?


Doug K 09.22.08 at 8:03 pm

about 5g, mostly ripped from LP, cassette tape and CDs. The older cassettes were actually improved by the transition to MP3, since I was able to muck with the sounds using the Goldwave editor..
most of those are old South African pop music that isn’t available anywhere, so it was cassettes or nothing. The mixtapes also got duplicated onto CD, so I can now listen to the hiss and pop of the original LP on CD in the car. Yay.

Another 3-4g of audio books from the library, put onto MP3 for the kids’ players on long plane trips, but this fluctuates wildly depending on travel plans. I don’t keep these around, as a way of honoring at least the intention of library borrowing.

I don’t have time to look for new music, so not much downloaded.


Watson Aname 09.22.08 at 8:05 pm

Size on disk is pretty hopeless to compare. We’ve got maybe 700-800 CD’s, probably all of them are ripped onto harddrive. I’ve probably something like 10,000 additional tracks from various legal sources, which don’t have a CD. So a medium size collection as these things go.


Watson Aname 09.22.08 at 8:10 pm

How many of you actually enjoy listening to mp3s or compressed music in general?

I can only listen to mp3’s if they are high quality, but this depends quite a lot on the complexity of the music, the dynamic range, the context you’ll listen in. Blasting some pop song while you do dishes is a bit more forgiving than listening to a favourite string quartet.

On a related note, a musician friend of mine asked about the best way to transition his collection at least partially to digital. He’s got about 6-8,000 LP’s and 45s, and another 5,000 CD’s (much easier). Any ideas the best way to do this reasonably inexpensively?


The Modesto Kid 09.22.08 at 8:11 pm

I’m with Martin and abb1; I grew up listening to music on LPs which were mostly in poor condition so the clarity of mp3’s is a step up. (I didn’t really make the transition to CD until roughly 1999 so the intervening period of listening to music on clean CD’s was relatively short.)

I haven’t got all that much music on my computer, maybe 7 to 10 G. But it seems to be increasing pretty rapidly; a year ago I had almost none.


Righteous Bubba 09.22.08 at 8:21 pm

Blasting some pop song while you do dishes is a bit more forgiving than listening to a favourite string quartet.

One of the funny things about mp3s is that distorted guitars sound really shitty when compressed. The most bone-headed heavy-metal song stands to lose a good deal more than a piano solo at low sample rates.


Watson Aname 09.22.08 at 8:40 pm

One of the funny things about mp3s is that distorted guitars sound really shitty when compressed.

This makes sense. There is a psycho-acoustical model running that will penalize noise, which is essentially what you’ve got with distorted guitars. If enough people cared, the model could be tuned for metal (as it probably already is for `rock’ guitar distortion).


Markup 09.22.08 at 8:57 pm

I want to know how many backup there are out there, especially online [mozy-esque]. Apple sells an iTune, lets say “Trust Us (Take 9)”. Apple sells the D/L which is served/stored redundantly for our convenience, which we then duplicate one or more times for our convenience and protection.

How many copies do we need and what is the cost of making, having, and keeping them?


Colin Danby 09.22.08 at 9:09 pm

Martin I’m not sure pop and large-hall classical exhaust types of music. For most of what I listen to, small-ensemble acoustic of various genres, it’s nice to be able to hear individual musicians clearly enough to follow their interactions, and you can get that level of quality without much expense. Computer audio in particular is cheap: a terabyte of storage is a little over $100, so are fine usb output devices, and software is free.

Internet radio, especially dare I say at tolerable rates of compression, is a wonderful thing. And yes, sure, music is always better than no music, and anything that lets people listen to more is a good thing. I grew up listening to records on one of these things,
thank you very much.

Watson, I don’t know any other way than hooking up the turntable to the PC and doing the conversions yourself, which is cheap but labor-intensive. Even people who do digital conversions commercially usually won’t do lps because of copyright worries.


novakant 09.22.08 at 10:55 pm

Fortunately I listen to a lot of electronica, trip hop, lounge, downtempo, singer/songwriter stuff and as far as classical goes, I prefer to listen to sonatas and the like at home, so the compression doesn’t make that much of a difference (though I’d recommend a 192 rate) and a pair of mid-range headphones will do.

But for jazz, orchestral music and heavier pop and rock stuff a good home theatre system can make a world of difference – so if you’re into that, you need one and should stick to CDs.


notsneaky 09.23.08 at 12:10 am

I don’t know what you mean by “balanced” but I whole heartedly agree with 66. In fact, I LIKE the crackles on the records, though with a lot of music I listen to, it really doesn’t matter.


Righteous Bubba 09.23.08 at 12:25 am

I LIKE the crackles on the records

There’s something about those that are exciting, probably from childhood conditioning in my case. Hear the crackle, anticipate something exciting.

On the other hand, digital noise lets you know you have the inferior version of something.


Bob 09.23.08 at 12:46 am

I’ve never found compression to matter *much* for music unless it’s in the unlistenable range below 128k. However, I had trouble blind-testing my own 128k rip of a song from the flac original, so I’m not sure compression is as bad as it looks. Being that I *could* tell the song from the original by virtue of cymbal hits, I want 192 or more just to be safe =)


Reinder Dijkhuis 09.23.08 at 6:22 pm

55 GB on the main box, on an external drive scavenged from my old PC. Another 10 GB on the iBook – both collections partly overlap. I listen to it all – for the iBook, I have a semi-random smart playlist that ensures I get to listen to new records at least as often as I have listened to the oldest material on it.

A small percentage fell off the back of a truck and some is downloaded through iTunes (where I avoid stuff that isn’t iTunes Plus); most comes from my CD collection or those of my friends.

Compression is rarely a real issue for me with the stuff that has a permanent place on my computers. I’m just glad I got rid of all my cassettes.


vanya 09.23.08 at 7:20 pm

notsneaky says it’s pretty clear you’re pretty much downloading everything that any fool tells you should download rather you know, actually, stuff that’s worth listening to. Which is far and in between.

Hardly. There’s more worthwhile music out there than you will ever ever listen to in your lifetime. In classical and jazz alone I have several hundred albums worth of music, more than I really have time to listen to but all of it very good, and every month I discover some new Serbian folk singer or Brazilian pop group or whatever doing something a little different and interesting. And all that recorded music usually pales next to live performances and or simply the fun of playing myself. It must be nice to have such narrow taste.


Lemmy Caution 09.24.08 at 12:13 am

It’s pretty obvious from the above that most of you are “people that collect music” rather “people who actually listen to music”. If you got 235389459845000000000 hours worth of music on your computer (or in other mediums) it’s pretty clear you’re pretty much downloading everything that any fool tells you should download rather you know, actually, stuff that’s worth listening to. Which is far and in between.

You are kidding yourself if you think there is less than 300gigs of listenable music in the world.


Robbie Taylor 09.24.08 at 1:13 pm

it’s pretty clear you’re pretty much downloading everything that any fool tells you should download rather you know, actually, stuff that’s worth listening to.

As a lover of music who also participates in karaoke, I can tell you that anytime someone is making a joyous noise, it’s worth listening to. I can’t stand people who lay claim to being TRUE Music Lovers(TM) but who deride other people’s taste out of hand, and usually without truly listening.


Doug K 09.24.08 at 2:22 pm

Watson @ 72: the question of conversion is a thorny one. There are services that will do it for you, but typically these aren’t cheap. For example is $25 per LP.

The simple way is to get a USB turntable. There are several makes, all of which are adequate but certainly not audiophile standard. Just plug it in to a USB port, set up the recording software (usually Audacity) and off you go.

The hard way, to get better sound:

I like the Goldwave sound editor for cleaning up the digital music after recording,


Scott Wood 09.24.08 at 9:28 pm

“Anybody who has to have a special system set up just right to be able to listen to their music is not somebody who’s actually into music, but somebody who fetishes his consumerist cravings.”

Martin, do you consider cd players and turntables “special systems”? These are the devices millions of people once used to listen to music. The suggestion that hoping digital music will eventually match their quality makes someone a snob is laughable.

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