After buying a Squeezebox music player, I have recently been considering various formats I have music in, their relative merits (both sonically and aesthetically), and their convenience. Over the years, I’ve acquired a fair sized collection of vinyl records. To be honest, I rather like them – there’s a sense of having to look after them, and the artwork of the sleeves has the capacity to be far superior in most cases to that of CD covers. Currently I use a Rega Planar 3 turntable for playback through a Naim Nait 3 integrated amplifier. They sound pretty damned good, too.

Of course convenience leads us all to CD. I have a good number of these now, and a Naim CD3 CD player.

What’s prompted this discourse has been my purchase of a Squeezebox. This is a smart device, that runs an embedded Linux and hooks up through the wireless network to a fileserver holding audio files. The Squeezebox is in turn connected to the amplifier. It can play a wide variety of file formats, including mp3, ogg and flac. So. I’ve been ripping CDs to disk, and using the Squeezebox for playback. Is the quality good? Well, I guess not as good as CD, but that’s countered by the sheer convenience!

So, where does convenience outweigh reduced fidelity? And at what point does convenience restrict the audio experience – for example I like to read the sleeve, or CD case while I listen, and that’s not easy with ripped music.