High Street chain collapse sweepstake

james2001
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Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

I've never really understood the vinyl craze myself, it's always seemed a bit hipstery to me. It's arguable whether the audio quality of vinyl really is better than that of CD (though it's obviously better than the lossy internet downloads and streaming most websites offer), especially as much of the content will have been recorded and mastered digitally anyway (certainly pretty much anything recorded in the past 25 or so years) so even if there is an advantage to analogue audio, then it's not there anyway unless it's a release of archive content directly mastered from the original analogue tapes. Though there is the argument that vinyl releases don't tend to have much of the post-processing that's usually added to CDs, so they are better in that sense (though it's not an advantage of vinyl per se, as they could release the CDs without the processing if they wanted to).

The even stranger thing is seeing cassette players starting to pop up again recently, as nobody's ever claimed they're better than vinyl or CDs, plus you have the wonderful experience of your tapes being chewed up randomly. Apart from playing back old tapes that you haven't got on CD or digitised, I don't really see why anyone would want one.
Martin Phillp
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It's worth noting that in London at least, most Amazon deliveries are made by Amazon Logistics using freelance couriers, Royal Mail is their second port of call, so is rare to get Hermes. The last time I had them was to collect a parcel, which was surprisingly early!
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james2001
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Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

We had Hermes for an Amazon delivery last year. We were away from home for a couple of days and came home to find the package had been left outside pushed behind the dustbin. And it had rained heavily in the meantime and got ruined.

Thankfully they sent a replacement free of charge that wasn't delivered by Hermes.

Sadly you don't know in advance who's going to deliver it until it arrives at the depot and shows up on the tracking page. And when it's Yodel or Hermes your heart sinks.

Though Royal Mail did the same once to us with a quite important letter that was supposed to be signed for, but had instead been shoved behind the dustbin (presumably the postman had "signed" for it himself) for 2 or 3 days. Thankfully it hadn't rained on that occasion. We probably should have filed a complaint at the time.
Martin Phillp
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Despite having an Amazon courier operation, they recently dumped my Echo Dot outside the front door.
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WillPS
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james2001 wrote:
Sat 29 Dec, 2018 22.47
I've never really understood the vinyl craze myself, it's always seemed a bit hipstery to me. It's arguable whether the audio quality of vinyl really is better than that of CD (though it's obviously better than the lossy internet downloads and streaming most websites offer), especially as much of the content will have been recorded and mastered digitally anyway (certainly pretty much anything recorded in the past 25 or so years) so even if there is an advantage to analogue audio, then it's not there anyway unless it's a release of archive content directly mastered from the original analogue tapes. Though there is the argument that vinyl releases don't tend to have much of the post-processing that's usually added to CDs, so they are better in that sense (though it's not an advantage of vinyl per se, as they could release the CDs without the processing if they wanted to).

The even stranger thing is seeing cassette players starting to pop up again recently, as nobody's ever claimed they're better than vinyl or CDs, plus you have the wonderful experience of your tapes being chewed up randomly. Apart from playing back old tapes that you haven't got on CD or digitised, I don't really see why anyone would want one.
I can see the appeal of vinyl - if I wanted to own music I would probably go for vinyl as the physical product is much nicer than a tiny flimsy jewel case. That is really the only part of the 'experience' of an album which streaming can't do, after all.

It's harder to make a case for cassette tapes other than straight-up nostalgia. Cassette tapes are capable of really decent sound output too, although both the blank media and the decks to get such results are now 15-20 years out of production.

I agree with your point about how any analogue benefit is completely null and void when the record itself was mastered digitally, although if I am completely honest I can barely hear the difference between any half-decent stereo recording of any type. The speakers or phones used are ultimately the only piece which make any real difference, for me at least.
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Philip
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One of the reasons why audiophiles buy vinyl instead of CD is because the vinyl release of an album often features a quieter, less compressed mastering, due to the inherent limitations of the format. Most albums released on CD, or downloads/streaming, suffer from the effects of the "loudness war". It's not something that I think most people are sensitive to or care about, but it's something that I noticed growing up, having to turn down the volume on certain albums and wondering why it was so tiring to listen to them in full, before finding out the reason why.
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james2001
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Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

I did already mention that, though as I said it's technically not an advantage of vinyl itself, as there's nothing stopping them releasing those things on CD or download without said compression if they wanted to. Though I guess if they can use the lack of processing as a way to flog more expensive vinyl copies...
Charlie Wells
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Location: Cambridgeshire

In Cambridge whilst the HMV store closed a while ago there is a branch of Fopp, which it transpires is owned by HMV. The Fopp store seemed smaller in size than some of the HMV stores I've been in, however had a similar range of products. With HMV back in administration I wonder whether Fopp will be saved / sold off, whilst the HMV stores will close and become online only.

With regards to WH Smith one thing I spotted whilst at Euston that amused me was a store entitled 'The Bookshop by WH Smith'. Going back 20 years or so (blimey I feel old) WH Smith in Cambridge was the place I went to for books. Having revisited that store some months ago the first floor where the Children's books used to be looks like it's seen better days. It does make me struggle to work out what WH Smith stands for, with stationary being cheaper at Wilko/B&M/Poundland, and a wider range of books being available from Waterstones and Amazon. These days it a bit like a glorified newsagents, and I suspect the post office franchises have helped it to survive.
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thegeek
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Charlie Wells wrote:
Wed 02 Jan, 2019 15.51
In Cambridge whilst the HMV store closed a while ago there is a branch of Fopp, which it transpires is owned by HMV.
Fopp went under for the first time in 2006 or so - they had taken over the ailing Music Zone [Trade Direct], which appeared good for business at the time but the liabilities they took on with suppliers sunk them. HMV saved them, and kept on three or four branches (including a couple of long-standing ones in their home city of Glasgow), and grew the brand, including some new stores co-located with Waterstones in studenty locations.

I wonder if the brand will have a third reprieve?
Martin Phillp
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Charlie Wells wrote:
Wed 02 Jan, 2019 15.51
These days it a bit like a glorified newsagents, and I suspect the post office franchises have helped it to survive.
Almost certainly the PO franchises have saved stores. Locally, all the stores without a franchise have closed. It has led in some cases post offices moving out of purpose built sized branches into tiny WHSmith stores. The WHSmith in Beckenham is tiny, yet they still squeezed a PO in there from what was a large branch.
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Martin Phillp
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MarkAshley wrote:
Thu 03 Jan, 2019 15.48
My local sex shop has closed down. Sad times.

https://goo.gl/maps/Zmkhg4BqwMG2

Don't know where I'm going to be able to get butt plugs at 10 in the morning now ...
Amazon Prime Now? Not that I've looked....
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