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View Full Version : THe Death of High Fidelity...


jcrab66
2008-01-03, 01:56 PM
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/17777619/the_death_of_high_fidelity

Not sure if it has been posted here, lifted it from taperssection. Might be the best article i have ever read in rolling stone...

brimstone
2008-01-03, 05:57 PM
Not really any news to me but I gave it a quick read and i found it generally well written. The statements made about the sound quality of mp3:s I found bit to general though.

I think it's good that this issue gets more mainstream coverage, but it's still a long from being well known outside of audio enthusiasts. I remember that The Guardian had an article on it about a year ago:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/jan/18/pop.music#related-info

paddington
2008-01-03, 06:10 PM
yeah, we';ve been discussing this on another board this week.. it's nice to see this problem getting more mainstream coverage.

If they can start telling people their audio sounds like shit, eventually they'll think it does - like theyv'e been told it sounds fine now.

Everyone likes to upgrade.. hopefully some enterprising people will prey on that

jasonrh
2008-01-04, 11:22 AM
As computer speeds get higher, hd space gets cheaper, internet connections get better, and portable players have more space (this is the HUGE one), eventually people will realise they really could have this stuff in better shape, and in fact that buying the CD is not just good for having the cover art.

Modern mixing techniques are horrible. Everything is under a veil of reverb to make it sound 'ambient' (actually set the mikes up properly in the first place if you want ambience!!! :mad: ).

Instruments are pushed unnaturally into the center - with the actual stereo bit being more reverb than anything else on acoustic or 'quiet' material. When things are actually given some real significant separation, it is used as an attention-grabbing 'gimmick' in the mix. I don't want the old twin-track stuff, but give me a clean reverb-less recording with some semblance of difference between the two channels.

Compression is rife (as the article says), and there is tons of fudging which makes old ADT and splicing techniques look pure as a live recording in comparison.

As popular musicians and singers seem to become less and less talented and more and more based on marketing over talent, the more and more engineers fake up their records (and even their mimed live performances) to seem perfect. Kids hear live recordings of the Stones from the early 1970s and complain about how crap they are, because the music they were raised on is 'played' absolutely perfectly in time and in tune every single show. This of course because it is recorded long in advance of the tour and mimed.

I'm not too fond of modern music anyway, so my worry is largely how archival material can get a bit fucked by post-facto fiddling. Mercifully, it is too expensive to go back to the multi-tracks so the dreaded 'remixing' doesn't happen too often.

For the old stuff, give us tube-based mixing consoles if you ever have to do any multi-track remixing, no pro-tools ever (there is too much of a risk of causing harm while trying to help), no compression or NR ever, and just put the earliest possible generation of the original stereo or mono mix on a CD with the volume at a normal level. Then you'll have a very happy Jason.

I dread the day when 5.1 or 7.1 becomes considered 'standard', and the horrible reverby mocked-up mangling that pre-1990s recordings will likely suffer from that will make old 'electronic stereo' seem like religious adherence to the original mix.

door71
2008-01-04, 12:34 PM
Rush's Vapor Trails was the worst fucking sounding CD I ever bought.

They should remix it and give us all a new one.

splumer
2008-01-07, 08:16 AM
Talk of the Nation on NPR was talking about this a while back and I called and mentioned how no one talks about this, and the guest (I forget who he was) said that's a symptom of how the audience for music (i.e. the customers) are getting younger. It's usually older folks who actually sit down and listen to music who are more concerned for quality.

slewofboots
2008-01-08, 05:07 PM
Look at it this way:
The ratio of stupid people to smart people stays the same, but there are more total people. Hence, there are more stupid people than ever before.
Assuming these are the people who think iPods and other .mp3 players sound good and since these people also buy CDs the sound engineers were told by recording industry executives to change recording techniques to market to the .mp3 player listeners instead of the audiophiles. Just proves that greed is the root of all evil as usual.

rhinowing
2008-01-08, 06:02 PM
clipping and shit production is killing "high fidelity" far more than mp3s ever could.

slewofboots
2008-01-09, 01:46 PM
clipping and shit production is killing "high fidelity" far more than mp3s ever could.

Yeah and read the article (RTFA) and you'll learn that recording industry big wigs are admitting that they are using, as you put it, "shit production" that result in again as you put it, "clipping" since everything gets compressed and the loudness increased so much TO CATER TO .MP3 LISTENERS.

In short, you are wrong.

Tubular
2008-01-09, 04:15 PM
The loudness war started around 1992, way before mp3s and mp3 players were common. They are catering to mp3 users as well, no doubt.

ntzanos
2008-01-10, 08:07 PM
all these things happen due to low education level of most people. Then it's easier for everyone else (companies) to persuade them what is good (we sell it) and what it's not (we don't earn money of that).

Dan Belcher
2008-01-10, 09:26 PM
The "loudness war" is very frustrating. Nuance is a thing of the past. Dynamics don't really exist anymore. Instrument separation, likewise gone. It's even happening to remasters of old albums. While a slight bit of compression just to limit the peaks is not really noticable on most music, flattening everything out and clipping everything is just plain offensive.

Thankfully, some musicians, engineers, etc. still appreciate those finer points of sound. Take a listen to any of the 5.1 surround sound DVDs from Steely Dan and/or Donald Fagen for example. Absolutely fantastic sounding. (on Fagen's solo album Kamakiriad, the song Snowbound in particular just comes to life in full surround) The standard stereo CD releases likewise sound great thankfully, even Fagen's Morph The Cat album which was just released last year.

Of course, on the other hand, I looked at the waveform of a few country songs that have come out in the past year or two, and it was ugly. No variation whatsoever, almost completely flat the whole way through. Disgusting. The songs are well written and the playing is good, but the sound quality overall suffers quite a bit thanks to this. Everything ends up blending together and sounding muddy.

Kstyle
2008-01-11, 05:21 PM
Y'all need to get out and hear REAL music more...ie LIVE music.
NO RECORDING EVER can compare to a real instrument in front of you.
Period.
See any band in a small club (free of the modern pos digital PA's) and you will hear what music should sound like. I always try to get front center to hear the instrument instead of the mic'ed instrument.
This is also why jazz rules, and why acoustic bands like Oregon are so sweet.
Truly, mics and speakers are the beginning of the problem, necessary though they maybe.
All the more reason to support your local bands, and hear them at their best, ie as un-amplified as possible.
PS I still love my old Ariston and my vinyl and my AKG-701s, but when I need true sound I pick up a guitar or go see a band live. The rest is just a reasonable (or not) facsimile.
Overtones floating from the instrument excite my ears the most.

ixizachtl
2008-01-19, 12:52 AM
For the old stuff, give us tube-based mixing consoles if you ever have to do any multi-track remixing

By "old" do you mean pre 1970? Solid state consoles became the norm in the early seventies. Tubes didn't come back into fashion until the early 90's or so and even then there are very few models of tube console available (Toft Audio and TL Audio are two that I'm aware of). Forgive me if you are familiar with this already.

MourningStar
2008-01-20, 04:16 PM
The loudness war started around 1992, way before mp3s and mp3 players were common. They are catering to mp3 users as well, no doubt.

Perhaps hearing loss is the real reason. Much more noise in the world.