Jump to content

Deterioration of the sound standard in music


Recommended Posts

T-Bone Burnett Rocks The Boat At Grammy Producers & Engineers Celebration: Photo Gallery

February 10, 2011 – Record Labels | Rock & Pop

By Phil Gallo, Los Angeles

Figuring he had a receptive audience of producers and engineers, T-Bone Burnett tore into the record industry for its willingness to accept a deterioration in sound quality at the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing's 10th anniversary celebration. "The music business made a mistake in its blind embrace of digital," the analog-loving producer said in the main room at Los Angeles' Village Recordings Studios on Wednesday while accepting a President's Award. "I count MP3s among the worst blights ever on Earth." Burnett went on to quote Marshall McLuhan, demand that analog recording not be abandoned and that the Recording Academy "develop a new audio standard for the 21st century." The speech was partially off the cuff, Burnett said, because he'd had a few drinks backstage, where he was hanging out with Robbie Robertson and Elton John's U.S. manager Johnny Barbis, well-wishers such as Ray LaMontagne and Lisa Marie Presley and others. A film that chronicled Burnett's producing achievements -- from producing Bob Dylan to soundtracks for Coen brothers movies to the Elton John/Leon Russell pairing "The Union" -- preceded a performance from Burnett's latest production effort, the Secret Sisters.

Link to post
Share on other sites

T Bone made a similar statement during the opening ceremonies for SXSW several years back. Unfortunately, the industry doesn't seem to be paying attention. They're not concerned about sound quality, they're worried about money so T Bone's pleas are more likely to fall on deaf ears.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You rest your 'blame' on the industry it appears. I say it's the recipients with 'deaf ears' who embrace the inferior standard that is mp3. I'm not saying there isn't room for digital, even mp3's, but analog should always be the base and standard of recording technology. There is a place for it, but not with crappy compressed music people listen to with junk earbuds from their overworked mulitiple use iPhone's etc. Physical product shouldn't disappear but it looks like the new generations could care less. Deterioration. Yep, that's what it is, sadly. :(

Link to post
Share on other sites

You rest your 'blame' on the industry it appears. I say it's the recipients with 'deaf ears' who embrace the inferior standard that is mp3. I'm not saying there isn't room for digital, even mp3's, but analog should always be the base and standard of recording technology. There is a place for it, but not with crappy compressed music people listen to with junk earbuds from their overworked mulitiple use iPhone's etc. Physical product shouldn't disappear but it looks like the new generations could care less. Deterioration. Yep, that's what it is, sadly. :(

Who drives the industry? It's the casual music consumers that don't care about sound quality. I'm no audiophile but I do know the difference between a mp3 and an uncompressed file. If the sale of mp3's keep the ailing music industry afloat then the powers that be are going to continue to push that format. They could give a shit about sound quality, all they are concerned about is the bottom line. That was my point about the industry being to blame for continuing to push mp3's. Thankfully, there's a few artists out there such as the Black Crowes that also offer FLAC downloads that include uncompressed files but they're in the minority. Vinyl has also made a comeback in recent years but the resurgence is just a blip on the radar compared to the sales of mp3's. Money is what drives the market, not what actual music fans such as ourselves desire, which is superior sound quality.

Edited by Jahfin
Link to post
Share on other sites

You rest your 'blame' on the industry it appears. I say it's the recipients with 'deaf ears' who embrace the inferior standard that is mp3. I'm not saying there isn't room for digital, even mp3's, but analog should always be the base and standard of recording technology. There is a place for it, but not with crappy compressed music people listen to with junk earbuds from their overworked mulitiple use iPhone's etc. Physical product shouldn't disappear but it looks like the new generations could care less. Deterioration. Yep, that's what it is, sadly. :(

I tend to agree with you. It's becoming sort of like junk food, easy in, easy out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nails in the coffin._

I've been thinking about these online music storage 'clouds' and the online streaming music services such as Pandora. Mind you, I'm not interested in acquiring these myself, the streaming that is, but just how it's adding fuel to the downgrade of sound quality._

Here's a paragraph from a New Yorker article,_

The most popular alternative to the broadcast model is “on demand,” which usually charges a subscription fee in return for the ability to choose exactly which song you’d like to hear. In Europe, the most prominent such service is Spotify, a Swedish company that has grown rapidly in the past year. In America, where Spotify has yet to début, one of the biggest on-demand players is MOG, a new service that offers a wide array of listening options, the least expensive of which costs five dollars a month. MOG offers the option of streaming 320-kilobyte-per-second files, the highest available digital quality, though customers have been reluctant to pay extra for greater audio fidelity.

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/musical/2010/06/14/100614crmu_music_frerejones

So if listeners are reluctant to pay extra for 320k mp3 streaming, we'll NEVER see lossless FULL QUALITY streaming with the 'new' radio type of format. It's already been lossy for years from XM and Sirius, but the new models are continuing the lousy trend.

It's just sad.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll continue to lament the gradual disappearance of physical media but at least this is a bright spot for download futures. __

Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads__

sxos44.jpg

At the HP event, Iovine summed up his mission and the purpose of this industry initiative.__

"What we're trying to do here is fix the degradation of music that the digital revolution has caused," he said. "It's one thing to have music stolen through the ease of digital processing. But it's another thing to destroy the quality of it. And that's what's happening on a massive scale."__

http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/02/22/24.bit.music/

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Back in the 70s (and the years since) I never would have considered myself an audiophile but I probably qualify as one in the day and age of the lowly mp3 since I demand a much more high quality of sound.

Whatever Happened To The Audiophile?

by LINTON WEEKS

audiophile2_wide.jpg

dogulove /via Flickr

A VU Pioneer TX-9500 II. There are still people willing to drop a large chunk of their income on the best audio equipment available, says music professor Mark Katz. "That said," he adds, "the landscape — or perhaps soundscape — has changed."

You may remember the type: Laid-back in an easy chair, soaking in Rachmaninoff, Reinhardt or the Rolling Stones, enveloped by the very best, primo, top-of-the-line stereo equipment an aficionado could afford.

In robot-like, 1980s cadence, the audiophile could rattle off favorite components, which might include an all-tube Premier One power amp by conrad-johnson, a Sota Sapphire turntable, an Ortofon MC-2000 cartridge and a pair of Magneplanar speakers.

Geeky? Mos def.

To read the rest of the article click here.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

From NPR.org:

The MP3: A History Of Innovation And Betrayal

by JACOB GANZ and JOEL ROSE

mp3-share_custom.jpg

iStockphoto.com

"I don't like the title 'The Father of MP3,'" says Karlheinz Brandenburg. But he kinda is. "Certainly I was involved all the time from basic research [to] getting it into the market."

Brandenburg was part of the group that gave the MP3 its name. The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) lent its name to the process of digital encoding by which audio and video is compressed into a file small enough to be transferred easily. That process — MPEG Audio Layer III — and the resulting file — the MP3 — is ubiquitous today. But the development wasn't simple, and its outcome wasn't inevitable.

The story of the MP3 is the story of how intellectual property became the commodity over which the Internet's greatest wars would be fought, and also how the work that goes into innovating can be forgotten in the face of a technology's rapid spread. Google "history of the MP3" today, and you'll find two options, neither satisfying: brief timelines that privilege the user experience over the process of invention and relentlessly technical, acronym-studded descriptions of the differences between various algorithms.

To read the rest of the article click here.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to hear it's not just me! MP3s sound weird, all treble and bass, no warmth or presence, like ghosts of my favorite music! I made my daughters listen to the Beatles on their ipods through my real (70s) stereo, then we played the same songs on CD, then we played a few on vinyl. The kids were impressed by the CDs but blown away by the records! Digital just sounds dead, even CDs, especially new ones (maybe that's just because most new music sucks). Every effort was made from the 1920s through the 1980s to make music sound better, then we started going towards trying to make music portable and lost sound quality. And those stupid ear buds wreck your hearing much faster!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in the 70s (and the years since) I never would have considered myself an audiophile but I probably qualify as one in the day and age of the lowly mp3 since I demand a much more high quality of sound.

Whatever Happened To The Audiophile?

by LINTON WEEKS

audiophile2_wide.jpg

dogulove /via Flickr

A VU Pioneer TX-9500 II. There are still people willing to drop a large chunk of their income on the best audio equipment available, says music professor Mark Katz. "That said," he adds, "the landscape — or perhaps soundscape — has changed."

You may remember the type: Laid-back in an easy chair, soaking in Rachmaninoff, Reinhardt or the Rolling Stones, enveloped by the very best, primo, top-of-the-line stereo equipment an aficionado could afford.

In robot-like, 1980s cadence, the audiophile could rattle off favorite components, which might include an all-tube Premier One power amp by conrad-johnson, a Sota Sapphire turntable, an Ortofon MC-2000 cartridge and a pair of Magneplanar speakers.

Geeky? Mos def.

To read the rest of the article click here.

I'd say the real change has been that audiophile has been replaced by videophile, the kind of person who'd be keen to show you his hifi getting the most out of darkside of the moon is today the kind of person who'll show you his home cinema getting the most out of Blade Runner.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am aware of the difference in sound quality as far as a vinyl and CD is concerned. Believe me folks, I would gladly exchange my CDs and itunes downloads for vinyl 45's any fuckin day!! I am not one of those ignorant consumers who doesn't give a fuck about sound quality. But if any of you come to New Zealand and check out the prices of vinyls, you'll find just one word to describe it "astronomical". A second hand vinyl is typically NZ $ 35 or more. Being a student, I seriously can't afford that! :( While a second hand CD, on the other hand is at times as low as NZ $ 5! :wacko: It's just a matter of convenience and preventing burning a huge hole in my pocket, to be honest! :unsure:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am aware of the difference in sound quality as far as a vinyl and CD is concerned. Believe me folks, I would gladly exchange my CDs and itunes downloads for vinyl 45's any fuckin day!! I am not one of those ignorant consumers who doesn't give a fuck about sound quality. But if any of you come to New Zealand and check out the prices of vinyls, you'll find just one word to describe it "astronomical". A second hand vinyl is typically NZ $ 35 or more. Being a student, I seriously can't afford that! :( While a second hand CD, on the other hand is at times as low as NZ $ 5! :wacko: It's just a matter of convenience and preventing burning a huge hole in my pocket, to be honest! :unsure:

The Vinyl/CD difference is more down to taste IMHO with alot of peoples dislike of the latter being more a dislike of modern production techniques rather than the media itself. CD to MP3 is a pretty clear and obvious decline though, I don't find the latter "unlistenable" but neither would I ever consider owning any music I was espeically interested in on it alone.

Personally I view the whole MP3 culture as a massive ripoff targeting a gadget obcessed public, these days you can pick up pretty much any CD for £5-10 and then rip it at your leasure while still keeping a superior hard copy.

Edited by greenman
Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I view the whole MP3 culture as a massive ripoff targeting a gadget obcessed public, these days you can pick up pretty much any CD for £5-10 and then rip it at your leasure while still keeping a superior hard copy.

Or buy vinyl that comes with a download card. This hasn't caught on in a huge way yet (for instance, the new R.E.M. doesn't come with a download card) but I sure hope it does. Some artists even include the CD (and download card) with vinyl editions of their albums. I still purchase both CDs and vinyl but have never made a mp3 only purchase and I hope the day never arrives where I have to.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Every effort was made from the 1920s through the 1980s to make music sound better

Not really.

8 tracks and tapes sound horrible.

78 and 33 rpm don't sound as good as 45.

Cd's can sound great and vinyl can sound great. It's not the media used it's how it's used.

The whole idea of raping albums with compression and clipping has gotta go though. The worst part about it...Good bands have fallen into the trap just b/c it's became the norm.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not really.

8 tracks and tapes sound horrible.

You didn't quote the second part of the sentence which reads, "then we started going towards trying to make music portable and lost sound quality" which I'm guessing is a reference to 8-tracks, cassettes and CDs.

78 and 33 rpm don't sound as good as 45.

These days, vinyl is played at 45 rpm. At least that's true of most of the records I've purchased. Records that would normally would have fit on a platter meant to last 40 minutes or more (the traditional length for most vinyl) is now split into 2 LPs.

Cd's can sound great and vinyl can sound great. It's not the media used it's how it's used.

The whole idea of raping albums with compression and clipping has gotta go though. The worst part about it...Good bands have fallen into the trap just b/c it's became the norm.

Mp3's aren't going to suddenly disappear from the landscape but some artists are making uncompressed FLAC files available to fans that want them. The Black Crowes and Gregg Allman are two that I can think of just off the top of my head but there are many others.

Link to post
Share on other sites
These days, vinyl is played at 45 rpm.

If it's a single. I bought the new Orb album f/David Gilmour not that long ago, and you play it at 33 1/3 rpm, not 45 rpm. I would never play a full-length album, whether it's one disc or two, at 45 rpm unless I wanted it to sound like the Chipmunks had recorded it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's a single.

Usually but not always. I have some 7" singles from U2's Joshua Tree era that are meant to be played at 33⅓ rpm. As you can see from the photo below, each side features two songs.

XRf1.jpg

I bought the new Orb album f/David Gilmour not that long ago, and you play it at 33 1/3 rpm, not 45 rpm. I would never play a full-length album, whether it's one disc or two, at 45 rpm unless I wanted it to sound like the Chipmunks had recorded it.

I stand corrected. For some reason I was thinking some of the new vinyl records were meant to be played at 45 rpm. I have been purchasing some of the newly manufactured vinyl records for the past several years but without a turntable, I've had no way to play them. Still, some of the albums I've purchased would have previously been released on a single slab of vinyl but these days are released on two separate LPs. Why this is, I'm not sure. I'm not referring here to CD length records which can run over 60 minutes but albums that are around 40 minutes long.

Years ago one of my older brothers purchased a 12" version of Rita Marley's "One Draw" that he listened to at 33⅓ for the longest time until I let him know it was actually meant to be played at 45 rpm. Thank goodness for 12" dance remixes and club DJ's as they are what kept vinyl alive all of these years.

*Edited to add: I just found out the reason that some vinyl albums are stretched out across two platters is because it increases the sound quality.

Edited by Jahfin
Link to post
Share on other sites

What a shame. I don't think we'll see a return to the days when (for example) Brian Wilson spent months in the studio on a record like "Good Vibrations," making sure everything was glorious and thrilling to listen to.

Link to post
Share on other sites

*Edited to add: I just found out the reason that some vinyl albums are stretched out across two platters is because it increases the sound quality.

180 gram vinyl and 45rpm records have deeper grooves. 180g records have a shorter play time per side as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What a shame. I don't think we'll see a return to the days when (for example) Brian Wilson spent months in the studio on a record like "Good Vibrations," making sure everything was glorious and thrilling to listen to.

Funny, I sure find Sigur Ros' music "glorious and thrilling to listen to." Same with Radiohead, Coldplay, and Goldfrapp. I guess I'm just lucky like that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

180 gram vinyl and 45rpm records have deeper grooves. 180g records have a shorter play time per side as well.

Since posting even that edit, I've learned that some new audiophile 12" records are meant to be played at 45 rpm.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since posting even that edit, I've learned that some new audiophile 12" records are meant to be played at 45 rpm.

The best Led Zeppelin albums I've ever heard are Classic's 45rpm vinyl box set(now out-of-print) of all the studio albums...simply stunning to hear, especially on a crackin' good system.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...