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It's official: Audiophiles are over CDs

Stereophile magazine poll finds more audiophiles listening via music servers than CD players.

Steve Guttenberg

The end is near, another war seems imminent, oil prices continue to rise, the dollar is in free fall, and now audiophiles have abandoned the CD.

Don't get the wrong idea: they haven't all dumped their CD players for turntables (I wish). Instead, they've bought music servers of some kind or another. How can this be happening?

I read the sad news on the Stereophile July 6 voting feature (scroll down to see results).

That week's question: how do you listen to digital music? The poll says 34 percent still use CD players as their primary digital source. Yikes, I would have guessed much higher, more like 70 percent. Thirty-six percent use a computer-based server, and 10 percent use dedicated servers such as Sonos or Squeezebox. Another 4 percent use iPods! I felt a little better that 11 percent use a SACD or DVD-Audio player. Another 3 percent voted "other."

Mind you, these are the Stereophile online readers, presumably the print readership would skew towards CD players. Or not.

Regardless, something's going on. Audiophiles tend to be a conservative bunch, or at least I thought they were. Me? I listen primarily to CDs and maybe 20 percent of the time to LPs. I cannot imagine using a music server anytime soon, and sound quality issues have nothing to do with that. I like picking music from my collection. It's a touchy-feely, organic process. One album leads to the next, or I accidentally find something I haven't listened to in years.

What about you? What are you listening with?