Is Dylan full of static or has he got it right when he declares that modern recordings suck?

Is Dylan full of static or has he got it right when he declares that modern recordings suck?
I agree with Bob
58% (102 votes)
Well, maybe not atrocious, just horrible
29% (50 votes)
He's wrong, and here's an example why
13% (23 votes)
Total votes: 175

Bob Dylan says modern recordings sound "atrocious . . . There

John H's picture

He's right, but static is preferable to his singing. I think the word he was seeking is "digital."

jdmccall's picture

I agree with Bob, but there are plenty of good-sounding modern recordings, so the question, to me, is who or what is to blame for all bad-sounding ones?

Blue Mikey F.'s picture

In the old days recordings were less often excellent, but when everything came together the effect surpassed what today's equipment can do. Today, however, the average is much higher.

Bubba in SF's picture

He should know. Highway 61 Revisited had terrible fidelity. He must be referring to MP3 which, depending on the download, can certainly suck. Of course he also probably has 2" master tapes kicking around the studio, so we ought to believe him.

Dimitris Gogas's picture

What does he listen to?

Brankin's picture

Then he should back SACD and put the heat on to release all his work and his lablemates' work, past and current, in that format. Or is he just the typical protesting blowhard who is all talk, little action?

Michael's picture

The only thing I've heard that sounds as natural as vinyl is SACD

Johannes Turunen's picture

I find often that modern mainstream recordings are bad. But there are a lot of old recordings that are bad as well.

JT's picture

Good stuff: Fagen, James Taylor, Joshua Bell, Steely Dan.

Donald N.'s picture

Spot on.

Hugues Ouimet's picture

He is probabbly referring to certain pop-rock recordings. He is right for certain recordings that have no dynamic range and that sound shrill. He is probably not referring to high quality audiophile records, be they CDs, SACDs or DVD-As.

berth's picture

This man is a nothing!

Steve Hornbaker's picture

However, Bob's vocals can be described with just the same verbiage!

Santiago Fandi's picture

I've been playing bass, recording, and doing live sound mixing for 30 years. Musicians do not talk about sound. Most of them always talk about "music." That being relative to their own concepts of quality. I couldn't stand Bob Dylan's recordings. They were so badly played and recorded . But the "concept" or the ideas expressed in them and some lyrics were and are so great, you know?

Scotty Thompson's picture

I think maybe it's time that Mr. Dylan got with the times. There is some great stuff out there sonically and musically. It just appears that the majority of people (including Mr. Dylan), couldn't be bothered to actually spend some time looking for it. A pretty bold statement from a guy who should have just really stuck to songwriting.

Michael Chernay's picture

I think for a majority of modern records they suck. Yes, there is a clarity and lack of noise. But they lack a certain level of detail and depth. A sense of reality.

Steve Baxter's picture

There are examples of rare excellence from every era, and we do not fully understand them, but, overall, I think Dylan is wrong. I am a big fan, but I am a critical listener, too.

Lee's picture

The current "loudest is best" mastering trend—with the severe clipping that results—has taken the sound quality of many new recordings to a new low. And the great tragedy is, I don't see a way out. Do you really think mastering engineers are going to be allowed to make their newer recordings quieter than their previous recordings? We've all been so worried about MP3s and such, when this new mastering trend has come out of nowhere to destroy high fidelity!

Nodaker's picture

I don't think all recordings are garbage, but I think they could do much better on most.

Chris V.'s picture

Research shows that compression and the resulting loss in dynamic range has a lot to do with it. When someone claims that "it just sounds like noise", they are literally correct.

Cihangir G's picture

In fact the ratio of (good music)/(not so good music) dropped dramatically nowadays. Previously we used to buy CDs and listen them for years and they were having 1-2 lousy song(s) in them. Nowadays we buy CDs and listen to 1-2 good song(s) in each CD mostly. Everything is consumed too quickly nowadays.

Alan Matheson's picture

The majority of recordings made today are bad. Over engineered, no chemistry with the band members,and compressed for airplay on TV and radio.'s picture

Digital made them lazy.

G.S.  White's picture

There is a certain palpability to the best recordings of the 1960s that just isn't there in almost everything recorded since. It's like the difference between good tubes (1960s sound) and good solid state (everything since). It would be interesting if someone built a studio with 1960s vintage equipment and used it for modern artists.

macksman's picture

Like Bob Dylan, most of us who are becoming old men tend to speak truthfully and exaggerate grandly at the same time. Major labels seldom get the soul of the music into the sound of their products. At the same time, the vinyl release of Mary Gautier's Mercy Now on Lost Highway goes as directly to my heart as any release from "the golden age". So Bob is correct for the Rolling Stone market to whom he was speaking while at the same time being off base for those of us who seek out the best.

Franklin T.'s picture

Bob, do you sound better or worse than in the old days?

Louis P.'s picture

Well now, let's not talk about what Dylan himself sounds like live. On the tour with Paul Simon a few years back, he sounded like a caveman shouting into the mike. And were All of the recordings back in the sixties that great either, especially when played back on the turntables of the times? Having said that, he probably does have a point. But since 90% of everything is crap, we'll hopefully remember only the better 10% years down the road. But one thing is for sure, vocals are much more intelligible today, even on the radio, than just 10 years ago.

Jim S.  Place's picture

Like my old pappy used to say,"There's good and bad in everything." I've been buying records since the mid 1950s and over the years I've had my share of gems and klunkers in formats, LP & CD. Sure, I have a good number of LPs that sound better than their digital counterparts, From Elvis In Memphis is a great example. However, on an absolute basis, a greater percentage of my CD's are gems while a greater percentage of my LP's are klunkers. With great respect for Mr. Dylan (I have Dylan recordings on CD & LP), perhaps a trip to his nearest high-end audio shop is in order. I'd suggest he bring with him copies of Big Notes by Flim & The BB's, Gordon by Barenaked Ladies, Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits,Pop Pop by Rickie Lee Jones, and Couldn't Stand The Weather by Stevie Ray Vaughn, take a couple of hours from his schedule and simply listen.

Tony P., Washington, DC's picture

Why should we care what Bob thinks? He can't sing, so why should we listen to him talk? What's that? Poetry, you say? What good is poetry if I can't understand a word he says when he sings?

DAB, Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

Bob's always been right; the statement he made is no exception.