Just a warning, the nerd factor on this post is very high…

Shortly, I will finally – FINALLY – be purchasing a new laptop. I am very excited about this, however I am being caught unawares by a particular development: optical (CD/DVD) drives are starting to be phased out. It’s not widespread yet, but it seems to be coming. This is problematic for me because Cate and I buy nearly all of our music (and books and movies) in hard copy and import it onto our computers.

I realize, of course, that this makes me a dinosaur, but I have my reasons. For one, I do rather enjoy the idea of owning a physical disc that holds the music. I like album covers and lyric booklets and all of that stuff. It does strike me, however, that this is an historically odd notion. Recorded music that can be readily purchased hasn’t even existed for a hundred years. Before that, you pretty much had to be at the performance to hear music. So, the whole concept of the album (and the cover and the booklet) is relatively recent when compared with the history of music. Further, if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t really spend much time with those covers. My music collection sits neatly organized on an enormous shelf with only the spines visible. I probably see the covers more when I’m poking around iTunes.

Of course, the big issue with me has always been the concept of sound quality. I have always maintained that CDs sound better than compressed files. Compression is fine for in the car or mowing the lawn, but sometimes, I want to sit down and listen to music in all its glory and I can’t do that with compressed files. Neither can I store my fairly enormous music collection in uncompressed form on my computer.

So it is time, I think, to solicit advice. If you have an opinion at all, tell me what you think. Am I nostalgic for a time that is quickly passing me by, or is there really value in continuing to hold on to these things?

Additionally, sometime this weekend, I am going to conduct and experiment. I have wondered for a while how much difference I can really hear. I have a couple of good stereos and some pretty excellent speakers and so, I am going to test the different formats in different environments with different musical selections and see what I think. I will of course, write another post about that because I am a nerd.