Post by Néstor Castiglione Post by Al Eisner
Here's a question I asked in the Fou Ts'ong thread, but it
best asked again under its own subject line: given an Arkiv
describing a particular release available from them as a CD,
a way to tell whether their offering is an original CD or,
their own CD-R copy? The case in point did not say "on
gave a delivery estimate of 4-5 days. However, the issue was
one I think
is out-of-print. Thanks.
Not a definitive answer, but.... I selected a CD from the
ARKIVCD link to their burned CD-Rs and then looked it up
from the main menu. There seems to be no indication that is
is a CD-R.
Having said that, whether that is misleading on the part of
ARKIVCD sort of depends on whether you believe that a CD-R
is inferior in some way to a CD. I've always felt that they
are effectively the same. There are a lot of anecdotal
reports out there warning about limited longevity of CD-Rs.
I seem to recall a Library of Congress study that
estimated CD-Rs could last 100 years if properly stored. I
checked some of my 10-15 year old music CD-Rs tonight at
found them all sounding fine.
If ARKIVCD had a CD-R of music I wanted, I would not
hesitate for a second to buy it. In fact, I have. I do
think they should clearly indicate it is a CD-R, however.
Longevity depends on the brand of CD-R used and whether that brand is particularly sensitive to certain inks printed on the face of its discs. I have a number of CD-Rs made for me over the years by friends, as well as commercially issued CD-Rs from Haydn House, Lyrita, and Hänssler which either exhibit the telltale signs of disc rot or no longer play for me. My rough estimate is that at least 1/3 of the CD-Rs in my collection exhibit these problems. Because of that I have not purchased CD-Rs in nearly a decade. At least in my experience their long-term endurance is a gamble I'm not willing to pay for. Incidentally speaking, all of my discs are kept in a cool place away from sunlight and are treated with care.
Speaking of price, what grinds my gears about Arkiv reissues more than their being pressed on CD-Rs (an economically necessary decision) is that they charge full-price for them ($16.99 US). For CD-Rs and cheap photocopies of liner notes this is a bit much, especially when the discs are reissues of material that had originally been available at budget price. (This Arkiv CD of a VoxBox disc I recall seeing for sale at a local The Wherehouse for $3.99 back in my teen years is a typical example: http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=77386.) Very often the Arkiv CD is priced significantly higher than for what the original factory-pressed CD goes for on the second-hand market.
Thank goodness for Presto and their wide digital offerings, most of them very affordably priced, with a quite a few available at bargain prices. Arkiv CDs were probably a great idea circa 2004, but are now looking well behind the times.
I cannot disagree with your experience with CD-Rs, despite
it differing from my own. Moreover, if there was a
recording I wanted and it was available only on a CD-R that
might last only 5-10 years, I would likely buy it anyway.
As mentioned before, price is determined by supply AND
demand. On the demand side, although a particular ARKIVCD
may be inferior to a new OEM CD for the obvious reasons,
that CD is not available, is it? Inflation aside, when that
CD WAS available, the supply may have been great, deflating
the price. Now the supply of burned CDs is low, inflating
the price. By this I really mean the per CD cost of
manufacture is higher for the low volume CD-Rs that ARKIVCD
burns that it was for Sony or whoever, to print additional
CDs when the recording was in print.
You can't really compare the cost of a CD-R today to that of
a CD some years ago, at least not an ethical sense. The
situation is different and it what it is.