When CD’s were totally unprotected, I was happy. I own some 400+ CD’s legally purchased. Life was pretty good. I could create custom mixes no problem, backup so that my original CD’s were never at risk of being stolen in my car, etc.
Then they started introducing different forms of copy protection. The first one I personally encounterd was one where they purposefully introduced clicks and pops in the sound and relied on Oversampling to correct for these pops and clicks and eliminate them from the playback stream so the sound would be clear when played back. Now, Oversampling was very common in home CD players but not in car or portable players. So, basically, the CD’s sounded like crap. More like FM quality playback instead of CD quality playback.
When I found that the CD I bought had this in it, I freaked. I was all worried that my players were having static problems or going bad or what not, but when I took it back to the record store to show the dudes what was happening, they explained the whole thing to me and gave me a full refund.
I have hardly purchased a store-bought CD since. And believe me, I would probably have purchased another few hundred or more music CD’s had they not pulled that crap.
Since then, I figured as long as they were selling “FM Quality” sound, I’d just say “Screw 'Em” and start recording music off of MTV and off of an ACTUAL FM RADIO. I’ve done that ever since. Yeah, it can be a pain, but it got better with the increased presence of digital recording instead of analog tape recording.
I have a portable MP3 player that records FM at up to 192kbps, while I have 3 others that record at 128kbps no sweat. So, I moved from recording to analog cassettes and ripping those to my hard drive to recording hours of FM radio and Music Videos.
With the FM radio, I convert to WAV, chop out the songs I want and save each as individual WAV files, then re-convert to 192kbps so as not to lose much sound quality. In the case of the 192kbps source, I can’t tell the diff between the originally encoded MP3 file and the re-encoded MP3 file. With the 128kbps files, I also can’t tell the diff between when they were 128kbps and were re-encoded at 192kbps.
With Music Videos, I simply pulled the audio stream from the AVI file, saved it as a WAV and processed it like I did above, encoding to 192kbps.
I’m just doing what folks have done for decades, and all it costs me is time. Given that I’m saving at least $10 or so per disk and the fact that I can just hand-pick the songs I want or record during times when the local college stations play entire albums in one shot (they even accept requests).
So, I have hundreds of CD’s that cover most of the past, and for the few newer releases out since I stopped buying, I do the capture thing instead. So, I’m pretty well set.
If I could buy legit songs off the web that did NOT have copy protection, I think I’d fork out the 88 cents or what not that Walmart charges or the 99 cents that the iTunes Store charges, without a second look. But the copy protection is just a total pain, and so I don’t.
I’ll survive, in part because they don’t make music as good as they used to, so I don’t feel compelled to go out and get as much music as back in the day. I mean - hey - I’ve already got all my 80’s hair band compilation albums…
So yeah, maybe I’m being silly, but I’m taking a sort of mini-stand and it works for me, so for now and the foreseeable future, I’m good to go.