Should you abandon your archive of CDs for the convenience of streaming services? The answer isn’t as simple as it appears initially, as the loss of sonic detail is very noticeable. If you want to extract the full potential of your compact disks and see what you’ve been missing out on, an effective CD static killer agent is required.
The price of progress, or how we’ve sacrificed quality for quantity
If you live in same timeline as all of us, chances are that you own a smartphone. This gadget has become so ingrained in our daily lifestyle, that it’s hard to imagine a life without one (even though that was exactly the case only ten or so years ago). It has everything you need: apps for work, news, books, games, music – 90% of our life right now is connected to your use of this universal gadget one way or the other. But we want to talk about music, or, to be more specific, streaming services.
Back in the 1980s, when CDs were first introduced, the raging debate between the old school fans of analogue and progressive devotees of digital sound was born and continues to live on even now. The problem of digital audio quality was already heavily discussed back then, since analogue fans looking to switch to a newer and seemingly superior format were unimpressed with CDs’ performance. To this day, that poor first impression is one of the reasons many vinyl enthusiasts just don’t trust CDs to deliver the sound that fits audiophile standards, although as we’ll see later, they are able to produce great audio – you just need a particular setup to experience it.
While CDs were certainly far easier to store and take care of, those looking for better sound weren’t exactly thrilled when digital audio performed yet another metamorphosis, as streaming services were introduced. With the rise of smartphones, Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services took over the industry and cemented their place in gadgets all over the world.
So what’s the problem, then? Isn’t it amazing that most songs you know and love stay on the same platform? After all, now we don’t have to carry around bulky CD players and several disks along with them – Spotify has over 40 million songs for you to choose from!
Well… it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. In many ways, Spotify is the personification of what’s wrong with today’s music industry – monopolization, unfair pay for artists, preferential treatment, audio piracy and oh so many others that we could spend countless hours discussing. But we’re not here to trash Spotify specifically, as our original subject of discussion was digital audio quality. So what’s wrong with streaming?
The format that is used for streaming audio is extremely lossy. Depending on what quality of audio you’re streaming, it ranges from horrible to passable, but a huge amount of audio detail is lost in conversion to a streaming format. Meanwhile, the format of CDs is lossless – and is generally considered the closest to the original setting (bypassing quality limitations of streaming and physical limitations of vinyl). Of course, “vinyl vs CD” is whole another topic with both sides presenting great points, but both agree, that with good gear any physical record will sound infinitely better than anything from a streaming service, even with the highest bitrate possible.
So this means that if I play a CD, I’ll get the best sound possible? Not quite. Most audiophiles will tell you that the greatest obstacle in the way of great sound is static. To battle it, people take all kinds of measures (from raising the cables to voodoo magic), but for real difference of any significance to take place, we have to look at where static generally occurs. During play, your CD spins at high speeds, while the laser beam reads off digital data and begins the process of conversion into an audio signal that travels to your speakers. Heat causes the gradual build-up of electrostatic fields. Visually they aren’t evenly spread – rather, they appear similar to blobs on the surface of a disk. If these fields get strong enough, they distort and warp the signal, leading to poorer quality and sonic anomalies. Obviously, this spoils your listening experience, which is why we’re talking about CD quality in the first place. As you can see, the disk itself isn’t the cause of the problem, it’s the physics of a complicated process during data conversion.
This is why in order to achieve true audio glory you not only need hi-end gear, but also an effective but safe CD static killer (remember, CDs are quite fragile and sensitive). Now, the topic of getting a hi-end setup would require an entire series of articles, but here’s a little hint: cost does not equal quality in the world of audio, as pawn shop gear is usually already “broken in” and requires little to no adjustment. Finding a good CD static killer is certainly a bit harder, as being able to tell the difference between “snake oil” and the real deal falls entirely on you – the market for this specific product is anything but vast. Chisto’s Disk and Black Analoguers, however, have been reviewed and tested by audio aficionados from all corners of the globe, so its efficiency as a CD static killer is undoubtable.
As you’ve hopefully learned from this article, getting better CD quality isn’t a senseless thought to have – audiophiles all over the world strive to achieve the best sound imaginable, and owning a digital sound enhancer akin to our line of Analoguers that act a CD static killer is very helpful in your quest for sonic heaven.