Comments on: The upside of lo-fi A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: CASLondon Mon, 14 Dec 2009 17:14:19 +0000 “We’ve left the world where recorded music tries to replicate the live experience with maximal fidelity; we’ve entered a world where recorded music is its own art form, as well as acting as an advertisement for a separate-but-related art form of live music. ”

Ah, recorded music stopped trying to replicate the live experience decades ago, the whole studio as art canvas began with Sgt. Pepper and peaked in the 70s. Queen didn’t have 9 vocal tracks on stage to layer like Bohemian Rhapsody. Moving up from 8 to 24 tracks, increased separation and overdubbing capabilities, etc.

Music was always listened to in a compromised way. The whole of mono recording and mixing techniques from the 50s and 60s was geared towards a.m. radio, not exactly hi fi. CDs are compressed, and modern studio mixing is super compressed, low dynamic range (see multiple screeds from mastering engineers online).

I wouldn’t call the modern live music scene the most lively or interesting, its going the other way…. acts using Logic and pro tools to trigger lots of secret studio audio into the “live” act, making it more a reproduction of studio and less spontaneous and genuine. Studio isn’t an ad for live, live is a canned repro of studio. Including the use of auto-tune for its intended purpose, to fix up poor singing.

Auto-tune pumped up as in hip hop is the equivilent of the 80s gated drum, a technology turned into a gimmick.

By: tepr Mon, 14 Dec 2009 10:38:09 +0000 Uh, Radiohead is not “done” with LPs – I’m afraid your info is a little out of date. See here: head-to-record-new-album-this-winter/

By: Anonymous Mon, 14 Dec 2009 02:35:30 +0000 To: Anonymous @ 4:36: 128Kbps MP3 quality is more than adequate for many listening environments. Is it what I listen to at home, where I have a decent hi-fi setup? Of course not. But does the convenience of having my entire CD collection on my iPod outweigh the loss of quality when I just want to listen to some music on the bus on the way to work, or at work where I can’t play it loud enough for critical listening anyway? Absolutely.

By: maynardGkeynes Sun, 13 Dec 2009 18:43:32 +0000 To: anonymous. It was meant as a silly joke (ie, a vacuum tube iPod), but not well stated. iPods sound horrible to me. We agree. Really.

By: Anonymous Sun, 13 Dec 2009 16:55:47 +0000 maynardGkeynes said:

“All that an iPod needs to sound like music is a pair of Telefunken 12AX7s in the output stage.”

As record producer with at least two dozen pieces of high-end tube (that’s what a 12AX7 is for the uninitiated) audio gear, I can’t begin to tell you what a stupid and unuseful statement that is.

By: Anonymous Sun, 13 Dec 2009 16:36:55 +0000 It’s depressing that people think a 128kpbs .mp3 file is adequate. And more so that the real state of the art in audio is much better than CD, or any PCM format, namely 1 bit, and it sounds stunning.

Of course it’s even more depressing that as a society we’ve decided it’s ok for music to be uncompensated.

Now there will never be another Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin again. No one would finance such an expensive recording with no prayer of return.

So we must listen to laptop-produced auto-tuned garbage till the end of time.

Just the latest in a string of depressing things going on these days.

By: maynardGkeynes Sun, 13 Dec 2009 16:22:09 +0000 All that an iPod needs to sound like music is a pair of Telefunken 12AX7s in the output stage.

By: KidA Sun, 13 Dec 2009 14:38:10 +0000 I am a huge music fan. Fidelity has always been important to me. When I first got an mp3 player in the late 90’s I did not have the hard drive space to keep good quality mp3s. So I kept less of them.

I ripped 320mbps mp3s from my CDs for years and built up a decent collection. I generally have had to do it from physical CDs and over the years I can not tell you how much I have spent on CDs to use them once to rip them and put them away in a closet after. At the time you were lucky to get a 192mbps variable bit rate on a commercial site.

Over time the mp3s available have become better. has 256mbs mp3s as their standard (which are acceptable), and they have carried 320 constant bit rate mp3s for some albums (I believe Radiohead required it for sale of In Rainbows last year).

The iPod actually has great sound quality if you add a good pair of headphones. I use a pair of Etymotics and 320mbps mp3s. The sound is good. I am sure a purist could explain why it is still not like listening to studio monitors, but I will bet the reproduction I get is better than 99% of equipment used to listen during the best days of the CD player.

How many CD buyers were going home and listening on studio monitors? Or even a decent pair of speakers running off a decent amp? How many home CD stereos would have compared to the sound produced by an Apple iFi with an iPod playing a lossless compressed track? Probably not many bought outside of a specialty store.

The fidelity is out there for those who want it as has been the case. As the cost of storage and bandwidth continues to drop the availability should increase.

If record companies want people to fall in love with that depth of sound again they need to speed up the process. With the advances in production styles and techniques I do not understand how there is not a greater push in that direction yet from the artists if not the record companies… but it will come soon enough.

By: MattF Sun, 13 Dec 2009 14:01:52 +0000 Actually, the audio quality of the signal from an iPod is comparable to what you’d get from a good CD player– the losses in quality come from encoding and then pushing the result through earbuds.

Current popular digital audio formats generate files that are about a tenth the size of the unencoded, uncompressed files on an audio CD– lossless compression will decrease the CD file size by about half, so downloading lossless encoded albums multiplies your storage and bandwidth needs by about a factor of 5 to 10. Which is too much for most users. And when you send that signal through earbuds, you’ve lost the regained quality. I’d go for a small increase in encoding quality (maybe 384 instead of the current 256 from the iTunes store), but more than that would be a waste.

By: maynardGkeynes Sun, 13 Dec 2009 04:14:40 +0000 Younger listeners don’t necessarily prefer mp3s, they are choosing the price-quality ratio they prefer — 1411Kps (CD) for $18 vs. 128kps for $0. Not a hard choice, apparently.