With as much time I spend in front of my computer, I'm now understanding why I should not listen to music on it that often. Why? iTunes through standard issue computer speakers are no match for CDs through bookshelf speakers, car speakers or even boombox speakers.
I love listening to songs that I have yet to burn onto a CD on iTunes. I love the vast library of music I have at the click of a mouse. I love making mix CDs on iTunes. I love the 'shuffle' options if I'm feeling adventurous. I love the fact that the files don't take up a hard drive and a half for all the music I have on there. What is not cool is the playback sound: unless the song is by Michael Jackson, I have to crank up the level to hear a decent amount. Why is this a problem? Because this takes the juice out of so many songs, especially those considered in the "metal" genre.
A few weeks ago, I took a listen to a few Slipknot tracks from their second album, Iowa. I was looking for a certain part of a song that had been stuck in my head for a few days and I thought it was by Slipknot. Since iTunes has the trusty fast-forward/rewind feature, I decided to pull the CD up in iTunes rather than my boombox. As I listened to the first track, I was reminded of how heavy this band is on CD, but they sounded like wimps on iTunes. The same can be said about bands like Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan and my new favorite metal heroes, Killswitch Engage.
I'm not somebody that wants to "feel" recorded music at a loud volume. If the bass lines and kick drums are making my stomach and t-shirt move, then the volume is too loud. I'm a fan of hearing a full representation of the song without any neutering of the sound itself.
My enjoyment of music comes from a variety of CD players and one main MP3 player/program. I wouldn't say I listen to one more than the other, but I like having all of them available in places that I frequent. If I want to listen to a non-remastered Tom Waits song, I'll pull it up in iTunes because the sound quality isn't that much different than on CD. If I want to listen to Killswitch Engage, the boombox, the den stereo or the car stereo are the places that I'm going to hear it.
The point of why I bring all this up is this: I'm not about to become a listener of music through the computer all the time, so the personal and car stereo companies have nothing to worry about with me. MP3s are convenient for some computer use or a walk with the iPod, but that's it for me. I'm a CD fan first and foremost, so all those music industry people crying foul about MP3s taking over should not point the finger at a user like me.