music, opinion and technology

audio triage

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It’s Sunday, and I’m trying to read one of several books in my reading stack, but I keep falling prey to distractions. There’s news to read (see my public blogroll on Bloglines), episodes of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel, and then there are my ongoing audio triage efforts.

I’ve only bought a score or so CDs since I moved to Dublin, seven years ago, but I bought hundreds in the previous eight years in London. Most of those were budget remainders from the infamous Steve’s Sounds (just off Charing Cross Rd. near Leicester Square), or cheap back catalogue from the big stores. Only a fraction are worthy of keeping, so I’ve devised a system of triage to help me sort through them:

  1. CDs with special packaging, worthy of keeping as they are;
  2. CDs worth keeping for the music: these lost their jewel cases and go into a binder or sleeves
  3. Music worth keeping on the chance I’ll want listen to it someday: these get ripped to MP3 (192kb/s average bitrate), backed up to DVD-ROM, and the discs discarded;
  4. Trash.

Before I left for Ireland I went through this process in part, and put almost all my music in category 2, discarding the cases. I did a lot of CD ripping then (standard 128kb/s), backed them up to CD-ROM and carried them with me, but kept the CDs themselves in storage at a friend’s and eventually brought them to Dublin. Some suffered damage in storage, and I’m downgrading most of them to category 3. Today I’m cleaning up discs as best as I can, ripping them “deaf” (not vetting the results), while I get on with other things. If I find out in years to come that there are errors, there will be swearwords, followed by a shrug of the shoulders.

I have previously put albums in category 1 based on the packaging alone – I hate destroying beautiful things! – but there are currently too many of those, and I’ll have to take a harder line with those. If it’s an album I haven’t missed, or have no reasonable chance of reselling, it’s in category 3, though some will be category 2. One example is David Bowie’s Outside, a category 2 work in a nice Digibox that has got to go.

There are a few I can possibly resell, such as my rare boxed gold disc of Sylvian & Fripp’s Damage – the original squeaky-clean 1994 mix by Fripp, not the revisionist “warm & fuzzy” 2000 mix by Sylvian. I probably won’t, though, since I was at the concert when it was partly recorded (Royal Albert Hall, December 1993), despite a badly-sprained ankle. Both Sylvian & Fripp think it’s an important work, and so do I.


Written by brian t

October 29, 2006 at 2:46 pm

Posted in life, music

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