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jdm56
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the horrible sound of music

I just destroyed a brand new CD. Chris Isaak's latest to be exact. I bought it a couple of days ago, listened to it almost once, then threw it on the floor and stomped it into little pieces.

You may think I'm crazy, and I could be, but what I definitely am, is sick and tired of paying good money for music that sounds like absolute crap. The CD medium is capable of glorious sound quality and I have many CD's that do sound wonderful, but it seems that almost all "popular" titles that I buy these days, and by that I mean pop, country and rock, sound terrible. Maybe like good AM radio. There is no dynamic range at all. Screams are the same volume as whispers. Drums sound like they're about two doors down the hall from the room everything else is in.
"Flat, two-dimensional and thin" pretty much sums it up, and I'm sick of it!!

You would think that if you were in the business of selling sound, you might be safe in assuming "good" sound would be desirable by you customers. Apparently many record companies don't think so. How long do restaurants that sell lousy food last? So how long will the music industry last if they persist in squashing the life out of music? They all deserve to go belly up. Studios invest thousands of dollars in recording equipment, then intentionally desecrate the artist's work, just so their record will stand out on the radio. The love of money truly is the root of all evil...and of a lot of bad sounding music recordings as well!

All I can do is stop buying ANY new CD's unless I have reasonable confidence that they will at least sound acceptable.

And as for my smashed CD, it's going back to the store from whence it came - in a padded envelope. Or else it's going directly back to the record company. I don't know how else to send a message, however small, that at least one music lover is as mad as an old wet hen and isn't going to take it anymore!!!

edever
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Re: the horrible sound of music

Right on.

rvance
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Re: the horrible sound of music

Yes, jdm56, it's a real crapshoot. Unless the artist/engineer knows something about recording quality and insists on it in the studio, you're taking a risk.

I have many great sounding cd's, SACD's and DVD-A's that make it all worthwhile- and don't forget vinyl. But the clunkers can really ruin your day. I bought Duffy's new cd and it is so shrill and metallic I can't even play it- it breaks my heart- such a talent (and I have very analog-y Marantz and Wharfedale stuff that can be a little warm and lush.) And there's plenty more like that one.

When I hear "your system is only as good as it will play your worst recordings" I wonder what some people have put together that can make these horrible records sound decent!

jdm56
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Re: the horrible sound of music

Oddly enough, Chris Isaaks' earlier releases were great sounding CD's. His last two have been real stinkers, though. I just don't understand it. There is no excuse, as far as I can see, to have lousy sounding recordings in 2009, forty years after we put a man on the moon. As time marches on, video quality gets better, and audio quality gets worse. What's up with that? I've had it. I feel like a complete idiot because I just keep coming back for more. I'm like a junkie, a music junkie, and the record companies are the dealers selling me bad stuff but I keep coming back cause I gotta have it.

cyclebrain
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Re: the horrible sound of music

And it will only get worse. CDs will become extinct. Computer MP3 downloads will become the norm.

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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:
And it will only get worse. CDs will become extinct. Computer MP3 downloads will become the norm.

I gaze into my crystal ball and see greater bandwidth and no compression for anyone in any application by the year 2025, if man is still alive. If woman can survive. They may find...11.3 surround in lossless with goggles in lieu of large screens, and sex robots....

999 Gig flash drives that you carry in a little wallet and plug into your iPod ports, conveniently located - everywhere.

Sonic holograms at the lib-ary. You'll be able to go and hear a Beethoven Quartet on demand.

Beautiful music will return and we will wallow in it. Hell, the sound at McDonald's will be the best you've ever heard "Time Out" sound, and you'll eat your Omega Three and Co-Q-10 burger in order to fend of age and infirmity.

I'm telling ya, the future's so bright, we oughta wear shades.

You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Our sonic future is going to be wonderful.

FrancisRichard
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Re: the horrible sound of music


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You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

For the past couple years scientists have been working on a device that will enable the deaf to hear buy electricaly stimulating the brain. Wires attached to receptors in the brain are fed electrical pulses that the ear would, normaly, have done.

I can see, or should I say hear, it now...we plug a chip, that holds all our favorite tunes, into our ear/forehead/neck or where ever and go about our day in a sonic heaven.

rvance
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Re: the horrible sound of music


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I can see, or should I say hear, it now...we plug a chip, that holds all our favorite tunes, into our ear/forehead/neck or where ever and go about our day in a sonic heaven.

Fran- You and Bruddah are probably right. Which portends another psucko-acoustic phenomenon.

When the right music, recorded properly, is played at realistic levels on a highly resolving system, it is almost incapacitating- it demands your attention.

This would be too distracting for casual play in the future. The industry will have to impose some kind of grunge topology to de-rez all this perfect music or everyone will be zombied out like Woody Allen in Sleeper's sex machine.

Can't win, after all.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:
For the past couple years scientists have been working on a device that will enable the deaf to hear buy electricaly stimulating the brain. Wires attached to receptors in the brain are fed electrical pulses that the ear would, normaly, have done.

Frankly, this is not really possible as (1) you cannot simply bypass the processing done in the cochlea and (2) the incoming afferent nerve fibers have multiple connections. If this succeeds (and it can certainly work), if will be functional on a basic level but not as a bypass.

Kal

linden518
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Re: the horrible sound of music

Call me crazy but as much as I heart well-recorded software, if the music is blindingly good, it makes me forget the crappy sound for a while. This happens to me with Joy Division albums. Some Animal Collective albums, too (although they're the most overrated group of this decade). I also found out I don't really get bothered by the snap/crackle/pops of old 78s.

I agree with Buddha that the downloading phenomenon may be a blessing in disguise for audiophiles. Hi-rez, baby.

tom collins
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Re: the horrible sound of music

i am sorry to hear this as i really like chris' music. i would have thought that he was fringy/indy enough to be able to have good sounding albums. i mean, if the record company does not expect him to have a "radio" hit, there is no need to make the album sound crappy. it is not likely that chris will have a radio hit and people interested in chris would be a different audience than those interested in the ordinary pop stars, so this is totally illogical.

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Re: the horrible sound of music


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Yes, jdm56, it's a real crapshoot. Unless the artist/engineer knows something about recording quality and insists on it in the studio, you're taking a risk.

I have many great sounding cd's, SACD's and DVD-A's that make it all worthwhile- and don't forget vinyl. But the clunkers can really ruin your day. I bought Duffy's new cd and it is so shrill and metallic I can't even play it- it breaks my heart- such a talent (and I have very analog-y Marantz and Wharfedale stuff that can be a little warm and lush.) And there's plenty more like that one.

When I hear "your system is only as good as it will play your worst recordings" I wonder what some people have put together that can make these horrible records sound decent!

Yeah its rather baffling how talented artists can do this to their music, but they are doing it through choice it seems (the notorious Metallica album).
What is really annoying is when a remastered version is released and the loudness/compression is bloody dire, trying to buy an older version without the same problems can be a lot of work and I have had this problem with quite a few rereleases from Supertramp/Fleetwood Mac/etc.

Maybe the change reflects how our western culture these days seem to listen mostly to music while on the go or activities that keep the music as background listening.
In a way the result is that audiophiles becomes an ever smaller niche.

And like the mention of Duffy, it makes me shake my head with regards to The Kings of Leon album Only by the Night can be so compressed even by other modern album comparisons.
Would be nice to hear the singing with some dynamics and drums to sound like drums

Maybe one day Amazon or the other online music databases show the average A-weighted RMS level measurements and also raw for reference.
With audio magazines such as Stereophile and the various others, maybe this is something they can do when reviewing albums.
This would be value-added as no-one else is doing this and add to their album reviews possibly a few mainstream albums/bands in with their reviews.

JA/Kal, is this something that could be viable for Stereophile album reviews and maybe add some mainstream?

Cheers
Orb

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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:
For the past couple years scientists have been working on a device that will enable the deaf to hear buy electricaly stimulating the brain. Wires attached to receptors in the brain are fed electrical pulses that the ear would, normaly, have done.

Frankly, this is not really possible as (1) you cannot simply bypass the processing done in the cochlea and (2) the incoming afferent nerve fibers have multiple connections. If this succeeds (and it can certainly work), if will be functional on a basic level but not as a bypass.

Kal

Yes, you are correct...the function of the ear is not a simple process. This was an article I read a couple years back and, if I remember correctly, vibrations in the cochlea stimulate the cilia thus sending nerve impulses to the brain. It is the nerve impulses that they were trying to duplicate. Yes, if it does work there would surely be limitations...kind of like listening to an MP3.

j_j
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
For the past couple years scientists have been working on a device that will enable the deaf to hear buy electricaly stimulating the brain. Wires attached to receptors in the brain are fed electrical pulses that the ear would, normaly, have done.

Frankly, this is not really possible as (1) you cannot simply bypass the processing done in the cochlea and (2) the incoming afferent nerve fibers have multiple connections. If this succeeds (and it can certainly work), if will be functional on a basic level but not as a bypass.

Kal

Yes, you are correct...the function of the ear is not a simple process. This was an article I read a couple years back and, if I remember correctly, vibrations in the cochlea stimulate the cilia thus sending nerve impulses to the brain. It is the nerve impulses that they were trying to duplicate. Yes, if it does work there would surely be limitations...kind of like listening to an MP3.

It would appear that you guys are talking about cochlear implants.

If so, they partially replace the function of the basilar membrane, etc, with an electronic analog.

This is stimulating the remaining tissue of the inner hair cells, though, not the brain.

The problem is that one can not get the same accuracy of stimulation from the implant as one gets from the basilar membrane, the spread of the stimulus is wider, the ability to change phase at center frequencies is much more limited, etc, due to the fact that the electrical stimulus is passing from the implant through fluid, and thus can't be focused that well. (There are other problems as well, this one is a fundamental one, though. Exact placement remains a problem as well, but may eventually be a more tractable one.)

Doing cochlear processing would not be that hard in a largish device at this point, btw. The issue is how much processing you can throw at the problem, which directly devolves to how big is the battery.

But as far as I know, there's no work on actually connecting to the auditory nerve. One of the problems in doing so is that the auditory periphery is so deep inside the head that it's a touch hard to get to it without causing other problems.

There may be some recent work, but the placement issues are rather large.

The mechanisms are not related much at all to MP3's, by the way. Different set of issues, different set of approximations.

As to hypercompressed CD's, well, I think we all agree. I'm a charter member of the "Turn It Down" crew, and helped set up a workshop on the issue upcoming at the next AES. Won't be speaking there, though, I have a parallel session. (can only be so many places simulataneously) Anything I would have to say about hypercompression here would only be adding to the general rant. It's an odd day when an old Clash album has more dynamic range than a modern country-western album. Gah!

Kal Rubinson
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:
It would appear that you guys are talking about cochlear implants.

If so, they partially replace the function of the basilar membrane, etc, with an electronic analog.

This is stimulating the remaining tissue of the inner hair cells, though, not the brain.

Nope. I was talking about direct brain stimulation.

Cochlear implants are an established procedure but, so far, are somewhat limited to the speech range and, even there, are reported to be very useful but not anything approaching normal hearing.


Quote:
But as far as I know, there's no work on actually connecting to the auditory nerve. One of the problems in doing so is that the auditory periphery is so deep inside the head that it's a touch hard to get to it without causing other problems.

There may be some recent work, but the placement issues are rather large.

Some work on direct stimulation of the nerve and of the cochlear nuclei in the brainstem have been and are being done, although primarily for research into the functioning of the system, rather than for therapy.

That, of course, is a long term goal. The problem of that approach is that there is no single site where the perception or analysis occurs. The auditory pathway is highly divergent and cochlear output is already highly processed. Recreating all the relevant parameters to simulate a real acoustic event is tremendously complex.

Orb
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
For the past couple years scientists have been working on a device that will enable the deaf to hear buy electricaly stimulating the brain. Wires attached to receptors in the brain are fed electrical pulses that the ear would, normaly, have done.

Frankly, this is not really possible as (1) you cannot simply bypass the processing done in the cochlea and (2) the incoming afferent nerve fibers have multiple connections. If this succeeds (and it can certainly work), if will be functional on a basic level but not as a bypass.

Kal

Yes, you are correct...the function of the ear is not a simple process. This was an article I read a couple years back and, if I remember correctly, vibrations in the cochlea stimulate the cilia thus sending nerve impulses to the brain. It is the nerve impulses that they were trying to duplicate. Yes, if it does work there would surely be limitations...kind of like listening to an MP3.

Just to expand on the Cochlear model mechanism and implants, not sure how relevant this is but the research was funded to look at improving hearing aids, amongst other things.

Here is quotes from the physorg news, with the full article from PNAS afterwards.

Quote:
The team's discovery has implications for how we model cochlear mechanisms.
"In the long run, this could affect the design of hearing aids and cochlear implants," says Ghaffari.
The research also has implications for inherited forms of hearing loss that affect the tectorial membrane.
Previous measurements of cochlear function in mouse models of these diseases "are consistent with disruptions of this second wave," Aranyosi adds.


Quote:
But the team has now found that a different kind of wave, a traveling wave that moves from side to side, can also carry sound energy.
This wave moves along the tectorial membrane, which is situated directly above the sensory hair cells that transmit sounds to the brain.
This second wave mechanism is poised to play a crucial role in delivering sound signals to these hair cells.

In short, the ear can mechanically translate sounds into two different kinds of wave motion at once. These waves can interact to excite the hair cells and enhance their sensitivity, "which may help explain how we hear sounds as quiet as whispers," says Aranyosi.
The interactions between these two wave mechanisms may be a key part of how we are able to hear with such fidelity - for example, knowing when a single instrument in an orchestra is out of tune.

"We know the ear is enormously sensitive" in its ability to discriminate between different kinds of sound, Freeman says.
"We don't know the mechanism that lets it do that."
The new work has revealed "a whole new mechanism that nobody had thought of.
It's really a very different way of looking at things."

The tectorial membrane is difficult to study because it is small (the entire length could fit inside a one-inch piece of human hair), fragile (it is 97 percent water, with a consistency similar to that of a jellyfish), and nearly transparent.
In addition, sound vibrations cause nanometer-scale displacements of cochlear structures at audio frequencies.
"We had to develop an entirely new class of measurement tools for the nano-scale regime," Ghaffari says.

And the full research article at PNAS:
http://www.pnas.org/content/104/42/16510.full.pdf

Cheers
Orb

j_j
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:
Recreating all the relevant parameters to simulate a real acoustic event is tremendously complex.

Yuh. I surely agree.

It would be interesting to see if there would be a way to establish ordering in the auditory nerve, etc. The difficulties and ethical issues cause me to cringe, however.

j_j
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
For the past couple years scientists have been working on a device that will enable the deaf to hear buy electricaly stimulating the brain. Wires attached to receptors in the brain are fed electrical pulses that the ear would, normaly, have done.

Frankly, this is not really possible as (1) you cannot simply bypass the processing done in the cochlea and (2) the incoming afferent nerve fibers have multiple connections. If this succeeds (and it can certainly work), if will be functional on a basic level but not as a bypass.

Kal

Yes, you are correct...the function of the ear is not a simple process. This was an article I read a couple years back and, if I remember correctly, vibrations in the cochlea stimulate the cilia thus sending nerve impulses to the brain. It is the nerve impulses that they were trying to duplicate. Yes, if it does work there would surely be limitations...kind of like listening to an MP3.

Just to expand on the Cochlear model mechanism and implants, not sure how relevant this is but the research was funded to look at improving hearing aids, amongst other things.

Here is quotes from the physorg news, with the full article from PNAS afterwards.

Quote:
The team's discovery has implications for how we model cochlear mechanisms.
"In the long run, this could affect the design of hearing aids and cochlear implants," says Ghaffari.
The research also has implications for inherited forms of hearing loss that affect the tectorial membrane.
Previous measurements of cochlear function in mouse models of these diseases "are consistent with disruptions of this second wave," Aranyosi adds.


Quote:
But the team has now found that a different kind of wave, a traveling wave that moves from side to side, can also carry sound energy.
This wave moves along the tectorial membrane, which is situated directly above the sensory hair cells that transmit sounds to the brain.
This second wave mechanism is poised to play a crucial role in delivering sound signals to these hair cells.

In short, the ear can mechanically translate sounds into two different kinds of wave motion at once. These waves can interact to excite the hair cells and enhance their sensitivity, "which may help explain how we hear sounds as quiet as whispers," says Aranyosi.
The interactions between these two wave mechanisms may be a key part of how we are able to hear with such fidelity - for example, knowing when a single instrument in an orchestra is out of tune.

"We know the ear is enormously sensitive" in its ability to discriminate between different kinds of sound, Freeman says.
"We don't know the mechanism that lets it do that."
The new work has revealed "a whole new mechanism that nobody had thought of.
It's really a very different way of looking at things."

The tectorial membrane is difficult to study because it is small (the entire length could fit inside a one-inch piece of human hair), fragile (it is 97 percent water, with a consistency similar to that of a jellyfish), and nearly transparent.
In addition, sound vibrations cause nanometer-scale displacements of cochlear structures at audio frequencies.
"We had to develop an entirely new class of measurement tools for the nano-scale regime," Ghaffari says.

And the full research article at PNAS:
http://www.pnas.org/content/104/42/16510.full.pdf

Cheers
Orb

Interesting, the non-Zwicker folks are now being vindicated.

I wonder why the earlier work is not referenced? Or maybe it is.

Oh, wait, they did reference Zwislocki (sp?). Looks like he was right. Missing a few steps in the process, of course, given the time he did his work.

Nice to see old theories that got a lot of unnecessary heat getting some nice material support.

Edited for dab spelilng.

cyclebrain
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:
vibrations in the cochlea stimulate the cilia thus sending nerve impulses to the brain.

I've never heard that version of "the birds and the bees"

Kal Rubinson
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:
It would be interesting to see if there would be a way to establish ordering in the auditory nerve, etc. The difficulties and ethical issues cause me to cringe, however.

There is some ordering but it is messy. Even so, direct nerve stimulation still requires lots of preprocessing.

Kal

jdm56
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Maybe the change reflects how our western culture these days seem to listen mostly to music while on the go or activities that keep the music as background listening.
In a way the result is that audiophiles becomes an ever smaller niche.

I think that is a big factor in the problem. I guess the industry thinks they're just "giving the people what they want". I also think the intent is to make their latest single stand out, or at least, not be drowned out on the radio when "everybody else is doing it". Both of these things still boil down to the love of money; commerce over art. It's just so darned frustrating!

I need to read more music reviews prior to CD purchases and hopefully, be able to get some kind of assurance that a given title I'm interested in will sound decent. Knowing what kind of set-up a reviewer uses might be helpful, too. I always liked music reviews that give two ratings; one for artistic merit (singing,playing, writing, etc.) and another rating for sound quality.

STEREOPHILE, you listenin'?

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Re: the horrible sound of music


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I just destroyed a brand new CD. Chris Isaak's latest to be exact. I bought it a couple of days ago, listened to it almost once, then threw it on the floor and stomped it into little pieces.

You may think I'm crazy, and I could be, but what I definitely am, is sick and tired of paying good money for music that sounds like absolute crap.

Look at the customer reviews on Amazon. 52 out of 62 rated the album 4 or 5 stars. Out of the ten that rated it three stars or less, none mentioned the sound quality as a reason for not liking it. We audiophiles seem to be a very small minority; the general public doesn't seem to care.

jdm56
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:
Look at the customer reviews on Amazon. 52 out of 62 rated the album 4 or 5 stars. Out of the ten that rated it three stars or less, none mentioned the sound quality as a reason for not liking it. We audiophiles seem to be a very small minority; the general public doesn't seem to care.

...and I don't get that! How can people not care? Don't we all care about quality in most everything we pay good money for? Why not audio quality?

Again, I think it comes back to the fact that most people don't sit down and listen to music anymore. Why? -I don't know. They listen in the cars, on their ear buds, and on whole-house systems -background music. Peoples minds are not on the music, they're on whatever else they're doing. I guess it's just a small niche of audiophiles that actually get INTO the music. Or so it seems.

And I don't understand that, either. Why would that audiophile niche shrink in terms of percentage out of the general population? You would think that if audiophiles are born, not made, that our numbers would remain relatively constant. But we seem to be a dieing breed.

j_j
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:
It would be interesting to see if there would be a way to establish ordering in the auditory nerve, etc. The difficulties and ethical issues cause me to cringe, however.

There is some ordering but it is messy. Even so, direct nerve stimulation still requires lots of preprocessing.

Kal

I'll bet! Even if you can solve the ordering problem, you'd have to have a full cochlear model running with, oh, at least 1,000 channels, just to get to something near real sensation. Even using parallel filter banks for the initial analysis (have to use multiple of them in order to get something like the right time response), I can imagine. I'm not sure I would ever bother to write something that calculated that many partial loudnesses, I suppose I MIGHT get to to run in real time on a current massively parallel machine.

I know you can do about 40 channels, with a lot of approximations thrown in, on one core of a 2.6GHz Core processor. That much I am sure of. Even if we accept that kind of approximation, you'd still have to turn the results back into per-sample PPM at a highly upsampled rate, etc, just to start.

Buddha
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Re: the horrible sound of music

I went looking for the articles written by an audiophile who lost his hearing and then received a cochlear implant and how he endlessly adjusted and tweaked until he could once again discern the difference between similar woodwind instruments.

The articles are a revelation, inspiration, and thankful reminder of just how good the rest of us have it.

As to the fact that most people aren't audiophiles, I think it's because we have the defect. "Civilians" can dig the music just fine wthout needing to fill some sonic fetish first.

We should envy them, not opine what they must be missing!

j_j
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

The articles are a revelation, inspiration, and thankful reminder of just how good the rest of us have it.


Amen.

Quote:

As to the fact that most people aren't audiophiles, I think it's because we have the defect. "Civilians" can dig the music just fine wthout needing to fill some sonic fetish first.

We should envy them, not opine what they must be missing!

Not so sure of that, although I realize you weren't entirely serious. I've played music more than once through a moderately good system, and caused near-instant discontent when they went home to their own system. I actually try to avoid doing it too much, unlike some of these guys here, I'm not out to ruin anyone's enjoyment.

Buddha
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Re: the horrible sound of music

I just saw a 16GB flash drive at Costco for 49 bucks.

Someone posted on a thread somewhere an 8 terabyte server for 600 bucks.

Call a CD 700 megabytes...and that 50 dollar flash drive will hold just about 23 CD's worth of uncompressed music.

The 8 terabytes (8,000 gigabytes) will hold around 11,429 CD's worth. (Forgive my math if I am dropping or adding zeroes!)

Soon, we will be talking about the dark ages of lossy coding...and still kvetching that they keep compressing the damn music!

j_j
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Re: the horrible sound of music


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Soon, we will be talking about the dark ages of lossy coding...and still kvetching that they keep compressing the damn music!

The irony of all this is that lossy coding was proposed for uses like broadcast and low-bandwidth transmission paths, not for storage.

Even way back when, disc wasn't that expensive that it made a lot of sense to reduce the size of the data by 4.

Of course, then somebody (hello?) discovered you could turn down the bit rate even farther and get something remotely approximating the original.

The original talk I gave on this, in 1989, had a last side that says 'don't use it unless you must'.

Yeah, we see how that worked out. (gag, puke)

Buddha
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:
Soon, we will be talking about the dark ages of lossy coding...and still kvetching that they keep compressing the damn music!

The irony of all this is that lossy coding was proposed for uses like broadcast and low-bandwidth transmission paths, not for storage.

Even way back when, disc wasn't that expensive that it made a lot of sense to reduce the size of the data by 4.

Of course, then somebody (hello?) discovered you could turn down the bit rate even farther and get something remotely approximating the original.

The original talk I gave on this, in 1989, had a last side that says 'don't use it unless you must'.

Yeah, we see how that worked out. (gag, puke)

1936: "In theory, this data could be used to create weapons of mass destruction, but nobody would ever do such a thing, so my hands are clean."

Or..."Zyklon doesn't kill people, people kill people. I stand by my factory's work."

The lament of the "innocent."

Sonic genocide.

At least Oedipus had the good manners to pluck out his eyes when he saw what he had done.

j_j
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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
Soon, we will be talking about the dark ages of lossy coding...and still kvetching that they keep compressing the damn music!

The irony of all this is that lossy coding was proposed for uses like broadcast and low-bandwidth transmission paths, not for storage.

Even way back when, disc wasn't that expensive that it made a lot of sense to reduce the size of the data by 4.

Of course, then somebody (hello?) discovered you could turn down the bit rate even farther and get something remotely approximating the original.

The original talk I gave on this, in 1989, had a last side that says 'don't use it unless you must'.

Yeah, we see how that worked out. (gag, puke)

1936: "In theory, this data could be used to create weapons of mass destruction, but nobody would ever do such a thing, so my hands are clean."

Or..."Zyklon doesn't kill people, people kill people. I stand by my factory's work."

The lament of the "innocent."

Sonic genocide.

At least Oedipus had the good manners to pluck out his eyes when he saw what he had done.

Thanks a lot.

Now are you going to tell the same thing to the guys who invented vinyl records, only to find that people used cheap vinyl, fast presses, etc? Or how about the guys who Orbanize every record to a 3dB peak to rms ratio? Or should Bob Orban rip his eyes out for that?

Well?

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Re: the horrible sound of music

No, they should poke their ears out.

The guys who invented vinyl didn't purposefully set out to create a playback system that was worse than 78's, did they?

Are you thinking we should excuse the crap that's been foisted upon music reproduction?

Oh, well. You're off the hook, man. It's not like anyone in America is responsible for anything, anyway.

Even our politicians face the tragedy they hath wrought with defensiveness rather than apology. Why should the pillagers of sound quality be any different?

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Re: the horrible sound of music

That's really strange.

Chris Issak is a Studio Rat. He knows his way around the creation of a sound.

Therefore, it is my guess that someone overruled his decisions...someone messed it up for him.

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Re: the horrible sound of music


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Are you thinking we should excuse the crap that's been foisted upon music reproduction?

Err, no, but put the blame where it lies, with the business people, please, the MORE MORE MORE people.

The technology to work (well, i.e. indistinguishable from at least redbook) exists (even short of lossless), but bandwidth is money, and I see nobody trying to support (in any fashion, business or consumer) a high-bandwidth playback system EXCEPT for some few folks who do sales but not streaming. (Say David Chesky, for instance, who does play attention to such issues as lossless and bit rates.)

The people who want MORE CHANNELS are the same people who want MORE COMPRESSION (level compression) and want it all LOUDER.

Ok, when AC/DC fans are complaining about excess compression, you know the the shark is more than merely jumped. They're dancing back and forth over it.

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Re: the horrible sound of music


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That's really strange.

Chris Issak is a Studio Rat. He knows his way around the creation of a sound.

Therefore, it is my guess that someone overruled his decisions...someone messed it up for him.

There is a MAKE IT LOUDER rule in production right now that many studio rats are fighting a (currently loosing) battle against.

Don't ask me, I'm a charter member of Bob Katz' TURN IT DOWN club.

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Re: the horrible sound of music

this is so ironic given the history of CD. when i heard my first CD player in the early 80s, the salesman touted the huge dynamic range and low noise floor. putting aside the faults of CD that later came to bother me, the early CD's i listened to and bought (i bought the player in 83), the dynamics were spectacular. some of the most amazing were the early dire straits albums and crime of the century by supertramp goes from practically nothing to blow out your ears intensity. these were almost like demo albums in their range. it is sad that it has come to where it is today.

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Re: the horrible sound of music


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The people who want MORE CHANNELS are the same people who want MORE COMPRESSION (level compression) and want it all LOUDER.

Not all of us.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: the horrible sound of music

I agree. More channels has nothing to do with compression. IMHO it had more to do with enjoying spatial cues of natural reverb (the acoustics of the recording venue) verses the added electronic reverb that is often used to make a recording sound like it is in a larger space.

I dislike compression as it robs the performance of life and excitement. If I want louder I will turn it up myself. That is probably why I listen to less and less pop music these days.

Jim

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Re: the horrible sound of music


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I agree. More channels has nothing to do with compression. IMHO it had more to do with enjoying spatial cues of natural reverb (the acoustics of the recording venue) verses the added electronic reverb that is often used to make a recording sound like it is in a larger space.

I dislike compression as it robs the performance of life and excitement. If I want louder I will turn it up myself. That is probably why I listen to less and less pop music these days.

Jim

Sorry, the "more channels" I meant was referring to more PROGRAM channels, not more channels in an audio program. Didn't intend to be ambiguous.

I'm fine with more channels in ONE audio program. The rush I see is to MORE PROGRAMS MORE PROGRAMS. Nobody can tell me where all of the material comes from, and when I listen (briefly), well, I could venture a guess ...

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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:
The people who want MORE CHANNELS are the same people who want MORE COMPRESSION (level compression) and want it all LOUDER.

Not all of us.

Sorry, Kal, badly phrased, I mean more channels of program material, i.e. more programs, with 2 audio channels each.

I'm all for multichannel audio, myself, but not at 96 kb/s, saints and demons preserve us.

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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
The people who want MORE CHANNELS are the same people who want MORE COMPRESSION (level compression) and want it all LOUDER.

Not all of us.

Sorry, Kal, badly phrased, I mean more channels of program material, i.e. more programs, with 2 audio channels each.

I'm all for multichannel audio, myself, but not at 96 kb/s, saints and demons preserve us.

What, 48 kb/s? 24?

Kal Rubinson
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Re: the horrible sound of music


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Sorry, Kal, badly phrased, I mean more channels of program material, i.e. more programs, with 2 audio channels each.

Hmm. I am for more channels of program material, too, because classical music is a niche today and is likely to be squeezed out with a limited number of channels. I get lots of music channels on my cable but only one is really classical.


Quote:
I'm all for multichannel audio, myself, but not at 96 kb/s, saints and demons preserve us.

Understood. I have just been listening to lots of streaming internet radio, thanks to an Arcam AV888, and it is surprising to hear the trashy sound from the majority of established channels.

Kal

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Re: the horrible sound of music


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
The people who want MORE CHANNELS are the same people who want MORE COMPRESSION (level compression) and want it all LOUDER.

Not all of us.

Sorry, Kal, badly phrased, I mean more channels of program material, i.e. more programs, with 2 audio channels each.

I'm all for multichannel audio, myself, but not at 96 kb/s, saints and demons preserve us.

What, 48 kb/s? 24?

Eww, I actually READ that.

Don't even get me started about some of the more, um, "reduced rate High Efficiency" systems.

If you want a hoot (but not much in the way of music) take Ry Cooder's album "Jazz" and put the last track (We Shall Be Happy) through one of those codecs.

Don't listen too hard, please. and then wash out your ears.

You may notice I stopped working in the realm of perceptual coding when that kind of codec came along. Working on spatial perception and how multichannel can work to help with spatial perception and realism is much more interesting than trying to "make things only sound bad".

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Re: the horrible sound of music


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Hmm. I am for more channels of program material, too, because classical music is a niche today and is likely to be squeezed out with a limited number of channels. I get lots of music channels on my cable but only one is really classical.


Me, I want the Baroque channel, and the Classical Channel, and the Romantic Channel, and the early music channel, and the French Romantic Organ channel, and ...

But I want them in something resembling the sound of music.

Quote:


Quote:
I'm all for multichannel audio, myself, but not at 96 kb/s, saints and demons preserve us.

Understood. I have just been listening to lots of streaming internet radio, thanks to an Arcam AV888, and it is surprising to hear the trashy sound from the majority of established channels.

Kal

Like you said. What WAS that noise?

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Re: the horrible sound of music

Ultra-compressed mastering has ruined pop/rock music as we know it. New releases aren't even a crap shoot anymore, it's more like Russian Roulette with only one empty chamber.

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Re: the horrible sound of music


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Ultra-compressed mastering has ruined pop/rock music as we know it. New releases aren't even a crap shoot anymore, it's more like Russian Roulette with only one empty chamber.

Even one?

Unless you go outside the majors...

It's awful.

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Re: the horrible sound of music

This article is about 1 1/2 years old but probably still very relevant:
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/17777619/the_death_of_high_fidelity

Unforunately even if Michael Fremer's prediction that most music will be available as high rez downloads comes true, unless the recording and engineering is done well, it will still sound like crap.

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Re: the horrible sound of music

Unfortunately, for most of us, this is all old news. We know how things used to be recorded and how they should still be recorded. Audiophiles and music lovers are a very small segment of the buying public. This means our opinion is pretty much worthless to everyone except other audiophiles and music lovers. Just try to explain the concept of dynamic compression or lossy data compression to a

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