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3 comments

  • JakeLonergan

    JakeLonergan 6 years, 11 months ago

    In a way I very much disagree with the premise, on a historical basis. Many of the complainers about sound quality came from my Baby Boomer generation. We grew up listening to the worst audio quality ever, the AM radio. It wasn't until I was a senior in high school that a listenable FM rock station came to L.A. Without a lengthy treatise on the subject I'd postulate two ideas.

    First: My generation became audio snobs (not necessarily a bad thing in the quest for better sound), searching for an improvement often only measurable by instruments and any step backward is unacceptable.

    Second: As I said, we grew up listening to AM radios in cars. Home AM radios were even worse compromises due to poor listening areas. I remember recording the Beach Boys "I Get Around" on an open reel recorder from my dad's table top radio. Could it get any worse? Even vinyl, played through a mono player with a penny taped to the tone arm, was awful for the vast population. Anyway, for portable music I have to think these kids are way better off listening to an iPod than what my situation was. While I take everything at 128kbps (anything more renders little improvement, to me), it seems to me that their vastly improved (to my teen years) sound quality reduces their feeling of urgency to improve what they are listening to. And don't get me started on the concerts many of us lived for. There's, like, a 10 foot square sweet spot at the Inglewood Forum and, believe you me, I never got one of those tickets.

    I'm not disputing the overall idea. I'm a little sad they don't usually make the effort to find a higher quality sound but, let's face it, WE imbued them their ADHD quality that prohibits them from sitting down and taking the time to listen to better sound what with all kinds of after school activities. My Yamaha RX-V1 isn't a tube receiver (pretty darn smooth audio, though) but my son will never sit down and listen to it for any length of time. And he's an avid piano player!

    Again, Razorback, I'm not saying this is "wrong" and I apologize for taking up so much space here. I'm saying there is historical context. Now, let's talk about the crap stuff they listen to. "Rap" and "music" don't go together.

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    • Razorback

      Razorback 6 years, 11 months ago

      No need to apologize Jake, your input is always welcome.

      I do agree that the medium through which we hear music makes a huge difference. To that end, what we hear on the radio vs. a quality home audio system vs. an iPod will vary greatly.

      I took the gist of the article to reflect on how the finer nuances of some songs get lost in file compression. For example, listening to Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' on vinyl through headphones will yield a far more pleasurable and deep experience than listening to the digital version through earbuds.

      My bigger fear is that the acceptance of digitized music by the larger population may discourage the production of more complex arrangements in the future. I hope that will not be the case but rather the technology will improve so that we can have the best of both worlds.

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      • JakeLonergan

        JakeLonergan 6 years, 11 months ago

        Oh, couldn't agree more. I would hope that much of the fine nuance of music would come through just because of the much higher quality of the recording equipment. But, yes, producers DO need to be aware of where they cut off frequencies though overuse of EQ and other methods which may be more fad than good recording technique. How to enforce use of high quality recording? I don't know.

        One place high quality recording really comes through is movie soundtracks. My wife was sick yesterday so we sat/laid through the final three Harry potter movies. (Hmm, kind of wish I hadn't disclosed that.) The Bluray sound quality and the intricacy of the music was amazing! The Classical music of today really is the movie soundtrack. And to show I'm all in with your fears, I wrote a piece on IDG a few years ago hoping HD-DVD would beat BD and one of the reasons was because they had a minimum audio bitrate spec (video, too); BD has no such thing, you could theoretically end up with worse BD sound quality that you get on a DVD! Argh!

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