"Why Music Doesn't Sound As Good Anymore..."
"I'm your density."
Very sad, but not surprising. I also read some articles online that compressed music formats, like MP3's and others, can cut out some detail of the music in an effort to get more music in the same memory space or through the same bandwidth. In the beginning of compressed formats, the emphasis was on only cutting out detail that audio engineers could not actually hear. But I wonder if the second generation of compression didn't go farther in an attempt to wean the audience off of clarity in favor of electronic space. Perhaps some of the audio experts here can comment.
just another reason to see acoustic music live and in person with as little sound equipment as possible.
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Agreed. Also a reason to buy self-produced CDs directly from the artists.Originally Posted by
I've said it before, so naturally I'm going to say it again: The sooner the "major label" oligarchy collapses the better off we will all be. Record labels and big-deal recording companies are absolutely anachronistic, not needed anymore for the delivery of music to mass markets. For $3k-$5K - about what you would have spent at one time to get a master recording done - you can buy all the equipment you need to record, mix and burn your recording to CD; and for a few bucks more you can mass-produce your own CDs.
But why bother with pre-recorded CDs? Sell your music, downloadable, off your own website. Much cheaper for musician and consumer and you're not supporting a bevy of fat cats who are getting wealthy off YOUR music without doing, let's face it, not very much for it.
"I'm your density."
To say that music producers are not doing much to earn their keep is kind of naive, I have known a few in the business end of the music business and their stress level is through the roof.Originally Posted by (chad @ July 11 2007, 23:05)
You can't just carry boxes of CDs over to Sam Goody and ask him to sell them. You can't get many radio stations to play a CD just by asking them.
I agree that technology provides many more distribution opportunities, and that this will provide huge competition for "big music", and thats as it should be, time moves on.
It´s interesting enough to compare high quality recordings such as the Acoustic Disc (Grisman operated) releases, notably the Tone Poems / Tone Poets releases, with regular pop/rock/seemingly acoustic releases of major labels. The first category of music releases features a crystal clear sound with interesting dynamics. In some recordings you may even hear side noises (There is a Karajan concert in Berlin where you can hear the sound of bombs drop in the very background - the concert was in WWII). It is evident that the trend to crank up the volume is fueled by the idea that drowning out all other sources of sound (when playing the cd or when mixing the sound at a concert) makes people focus on the music-source. This is shortminded though as the quality of the material suffers just as has been stated it the above mentioned article. Also, the idea to crank up the volume means that there will be no end of it. It is noticable today that people seem to have a much higher noise tolerance that just a few years ago. To my mind the audience´s perception of sound is quite impaired now than just a couple of years ago though. I just wonder when it will be noticable for the frequent "noise-concert-goers" that they are unable to enjoy the "music" because their hearing is impaired. Will there be an awakening then?
That's true about MP3's. While useful they don't deliver very good quality sound because the high & low ends are clipped and compressed to minimize the file size. It is possible to get electronically high quality sound files but they're big. But over time I'm sure that will become less & less of an issue.Originally Posted by (jflynnstl @ July 11 2007, 22:35)
There are three kinds of people: those of us that are good at math and those that are not.
On an aside, I recently bought the new DVD-MVI format of the new Rush CD "Snakes & Arrows" (there's lots of mandolin family stuff there so it's applicable here). It's an awesome way to listen to music, such clarity & I can only imagine how good something like the Tone Poems & Poets projects would sound on that format.
There are three kinds of people: those of us that are good at math and those that are not.
That article is a gross over-simplification. Compression is an audio processing effect just like any other: reverb, chorus, flanger, etc. And just like any other audio effect it comes in a thousand different varieties. It's effectiveness (or lack thereof) depends on the style of music and the the artistry of the engineer.
If I have any general complaint about so much popular music it's that so much of it depends on looping, making it sound monochromatic and machine-like.
MP3 players are great. You put them on random. Pop in your ear buds. Put on a pair of shooting muffs over your ears. Crank up the John Deere. And the hour you spend cutting lawn is done before you know it.
"Dust off those rusty strings just one more time. Gonna make em shine!" -Robert Hunter
Sounds like the obligatory " technology is bad" that comes around regularly. LP's were better than CD's, tape better than digital etc. Having done both, digital is far superior for various reasons. At the highest sampling rates, the detail and quality far surpass any analog technology. The average home digital set-up exceeds the capability of pro studios of only a few years ago. The compressed formats like MP3 give you options no analog format could match. I can record my parts on an MP3 file and send them to other players who can rehearse with them or add their parts. The options available via digital formats put more music within reach of more people more easily than any development in years
Style is the sum total of your limitations
Just for clarification, the compression referred to in the article is not the same compression that is used to shrink the size of audio files, i.e. MP3. They are completely different topics.
Clark 2-point #39
Rigel A Natural
This issue is discussed fairly frequently on some of the recording forums. Most on those forums (some of which are pretty heavy hitters) really dislike the louder is better mentality. The basic comsumer, frankly, can't tell the difference or does not care. How are they really supposed to know if most of the product they have to choose from is treated in this fashion by the recording and/or mastering engineer. The technology is bad comment has nothing to do with the compression argument. Granted, digital has much more headroom than analoge recording, which helps facilitate this problem, #but I think it is a mindset issue on the part of the record companies.
The MP3 thing is a very convenient format for loading a bunch of sound files onto a small device so that one can have the convenience (this being the opertative word) of carrying around a thousand tunes on a small playback device. If anyone should think that MP3s are in any way comparable to the uncompressed formats (Cds, LPs) in terms of sound quality, then those folks are not really listening very hard. Not a slam on MP3s, but if one is wanting to hear the best quaility sound, MP3s are not it. I do not currently have an MP3 player, but I will probably get one one of these days for the convenience of being able to have so many tunes within easy reach, very cool deal. These different formats serve different purposes, both legitimate.
I agree with Harry's comment about how great it is for people to be able to get into digital recording these days, at a price unheard of just 5-10 years ago. It is truly amazing what someone can put out in their own home studio.
While CDs certainly have very good sound (great sometimes), I still think vinyl can sound better/warmer - depends on the quality of the recording and the pressing of the record. #Not everyone agrees with this, but I have put the same CD and a record on the same system, through relatively high quality components (including the playback devices), and it was pretty obvious to my ears. I have not had the pleasure of checking out the DVD-A or SACD formats, with their higher resolution. I have certainly read some good things about them, so maybe these formats offer more of what I am looking for. Not sure how well they are doing in the marketplace, though. With that, I have managed to steer these comments way off topic, sorry.
You can simulate s-e-x digitally also, but it's not quite the same. At least that's what I've heard!Originally Posted by
while entertaining, the discussion has wandered away from the OT.
Wasn't that article really about the problems coming from using too much audio compression (not digital compression) to make everything sound louder, which effectively reduces the dynamic range of the material?
It reminds me of how TVs are set up in showrooms ... brightness and contrast cranked so that the picture looks "vivid." Never mind that you lose detail and have no dynamic range
Anyway, I would be interested to know to what extent this is really going on. Is it just popular music or is it prevalent in acoustic music (Bluegrass, Dawg music, etc)?
Righto! Plus, if you're strutting the latest iPod, the neighbor kids really will know you're "hip."Originally Posted by (kvk @ July 14 2007, 12:53)
Unless your lilly white stomach is surrounded by that raspberry farmer's tan, and you're wearing the dark socks and patent leather shoes wielding the ol' weed whacker...
dont forget your corner-knotted bandana to keep your weed whacking scalp from getting sunburned .
and take 10 extra hip style points..
writing about music
is like dancing,
I think the article is mainly talking about mainstream music ie; Rap and Rock which makes up the bulk of sales.
Generally in the kind of music I like and listen to (bluegrass, Old Time, mountain music and old OLD country no one turns the sound up loud anyways.
Also the noise that is generally considered music nowadays is beat driven anyway not lyrically driven. Who can understand what they are singing about anyways?
Audio compression is done with both anologue and digital equipment. It is done with limiting and/or compression. Jim is right, it is mainly done on popular music - rock, rap, hip hop, etc. Acoustic music does use some compression, sometimes, to tame the peaks, but nothing like what the article is referring to - it is not done to increase the loudness in the music. Compression is not a bad thing, in and of itself, if used appropriately. When Nickle Creek played here a few years back, they all had compressors on their instruments (at least their touring rack had the compressors that, I think, had the band members names on each unit).
I agree with everything in your post.Originally Posted by (tterral @ July 16 2007, 13:31)
Though I think I wasn't clear when I said audio compression versus digital compression. I was loosely referring to automatic gain control as audio compression and loosely referring to digital encoding/compression (e.g. mp3) as digital compression. I realize the former can be done with either analog or digital.
I'm glad to hear heavy "audio" compression isn't being used on most acoustic music.