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People don't need/want good quality audio!!

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People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby VOLOVIA » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:01 pm

"only sad musicians and technoheads like to listen to music with full quality and range", according to this article.
For those in here who would not touch an interface that works at fewer than 24 bits etc.. this must come as a shock!


The Guardian
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:19 pm

The only shocking thing is that the Guardian employs people who have developed the ability to type without engaging their synapses or checking their 'facts'.

Blogs -- the IT equivalent of landfill!

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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby johnny h » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:26 pm

bugiolacchi wrote: "only sad musicians and technoheads like to listen to music with full quality and range", according to this article.
For those in here who would not touch an interface that works at fewer than 24 bits etc.. this must come as a shock!


The Guardian

The quality of mp3s is pretty good really. Technically it has huge advantages over vinyl and is pretty damn close to CD quality when encoded at 320. As for the mastering process, that's a different issue. Mastering engineers are doing a lot more damage to audio quality than data compression algorithms.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby narcoman » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:40 pm

well - it IS only a blog.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Scope » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:47 pm

Having supplied equipment for a shoot for the Guardian, I can honestly say - they themselves, have VERY high standards !!!!
But then, its very rare to find a "personality" who understands the equipment they use.....
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Scramble » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:15 pm

>Blogs -- the IT equivalent of landfill!

Don't agree. This isn't really a 'blog' anyway. It's a newspaper article packaged as a 'blog' to save money (call a writer a blogger and you can pay him less) and to make it look as though the newspaper is 'with it'.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby _ Six _ » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:42 pm

Most kids don't KNOW what good quality audio is. Low bit rate mp3's and crappy phone speakers etc.

Things are getting better and technology moves on. Quality audio will always be in demand because music is inherent in human DNA.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:07 pm

_ Six _ wrote:Quality audio will always be in demand because music is inherent in human DNA.


So how big is your SACD collection then?

However I do agree with the bit above the quoted part!
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Folderol » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:33 pm

This sounds suspiciously like what my old mum used to call "inverted snobbery". I'll just carry on enjoying music to the best quality I can find, without getting obsessive about it.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Gone To Lunch » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:48 pm

_ Six _ wrote:....because music is inherent in human DNA.

Actually, no.

Music is a much higher order process....
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby oggyb » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:49 pm

Gone To Lunch wrote:
_ Six _ wrote:....because music is inherent in human DNA.

Actually, no.

Music is a much higher order process....
You haven't actually formed a contradiction there.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby hollowsun » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:54 pm

johnny h wrote:The quality of mp3s is pretty good really. Technically it has huge advantages over vinyl and is pretty damn close to CD quality when encoded at 320. As for the mastering process, that's a different issue. Mastering engineers are doing a lot more damage to audio quality than data compression algorithms.
Oh bollocks! Johnny H and I are in complete agreement.

That has to a first - alert the press.

On second thoughts, don't bother - they will only misrepresent it!
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Gone To Lunch » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:56 pm

oggyb wrote:
Gone To Lunch wrote:
_ Six _ wrote:....because music is inherent in human DNA.

Actually, no.

Music is a much higher order process....
You haven't actually formed a contradiction there.

I mean that I disagree that 'music is inherent in human DNA'
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby oggyb » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:25 am

Gone To Lunch wrote:
oggyb wrote:
Gone To Lunch wrote:
_ Six _ wrote:....because music is inherent in human DNA.

Actually, no.

Music is a much higher order process....
You haven't actually formed a contradiction there.

I mean that I disagree that 'music is inherent in human DNA'
I see.

Well, on the one hand you can't program musicality like eye colour, but you can program the big brain necessary to support it. I guess that's why I questioned you
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby johnny h » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:32 am

hollowsun wrote:
johnny h wrote:The quality of mp3s is pretty good really. Technically it has huge advantages over vinyl and is pretty damn close to CD quality when encoded at 320. As for the mastering process, that's a different issue. Mastering engineers are doing a lot more damage to audio quality than data compression algorithms.
Oh bollocks! Johnny H and I are in complete agreement.

That has to a first - alert the press.

On second thoughts, don't bother - they will only misrepresent it!

That's not true, we also agreed about the poor sound of Arturia's CS80 plugin.

Politics isn't so harmonious, but lets keep that to the music lounge.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Gone To Lunch » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:45 am

oggyb wrote:
Gone To Lunch wrote:
oggyb wrote:
Gone To Lunch wrote:
_ Six _ wrote:....because music is inherent in human DNA.

Actually, no.

Music is a much higher order process....
You haven't actually formed a contradiction there.

I mean that I disagree that 'music is inherent in human DNA'
I see.

Well, on the one hand you can't program musicality like eye colour, but you can program the big brain necessary to support it. I guess that's why I questioned you

I disagree with that as well !
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby turbodave » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:07 am

Well as much as I like higher quality files..the truth is that an HD telly doesn't transform a crap film into a good one!..so in that regard I am not that bothered. Dave
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby hollowsun » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:19 am

johnny h wrote:That's not true, we also agreed about the poor sound of Arturia's CS80 plugin.
Ah! True

johnny h wrote:Politics isn't so harmonious
Well, I could agree with your politics but then we'd both be wrong!
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Gary_W » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:22 am

Not the best-written article

It's clear there has been a huge shift in the way that many people consume music..... At one point, the industry sold different formats based on 'Audio Quality' or the perception thereof. If you'd told any of us 15 years ago that the predominent system in years to come would go backwards from CD's in terms of audio quality then you'd have had a hard time getting anyone to believe it.

I think SACD's failed due to not knowing what they wanted to be / choice / expense. The person who had the Amstrad stereo couldn't play it and didn't care. The audiophile who had thousands invested in a 2 channel system with a CD player / vinyl was unlikely to jump ship (the marketing folks spent half their time talking about multichannel which meant yet more cash or an 'inferior' home cinema amp so a very mixed message!). Using the SACD failure to say 'people don't want it' is crazy. What is needed is for a superb quality digital format that plays on an iPod and is readilly available at a price people are willing to pay. It's not that people do not 'want' quality. Consumers always want high quality - but it is ONE buying factor. If you can pair quality with convenience with compatibility and sell it right then it's potentially a winner.

I still buy CD's. I rip them to FLAC and to 320k MP3 because 90% of my listening these days is in the car. I think a lot of people care about audio quality but the lure of convenience is strong and, for non-ideal environments, MP3 at a decent bitrate is fine. At home, I listen to the FLAC by one means or another.

There was a discussion on here recently about the difficulty of obtaining decent quality audio files immediately. If Neil Young is able to push higher quality without foresaking convenience then good on him. I received £40 worth of CD's from Amazon this morning; I ordered them last Thursday. I now have to sit and rip them. I don't have anywhere left to store them. For these reasons, I'd much rather have spent that £40 downloading FLACS or similar but, for these artists, could not find them. The whole process is frustrating, wasteful and unneccessary If I can get FLACs or (if Neil Young has his way) better as a download then I'll be a happy consumer.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby desmond » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:18 am

I'm not sure anything much has really actually changed for the worst in practice, in terms of "quality" and "fidelity", on the consumer end.

Sure, kids are listening to music through iPhones and laptop speakers etc, because they want to listen to music and that's often all that's available to them.

But I remember as a young kid listening to AM radio through a tiny clock radio, recording the radio through a cheap mono microphone onto a crappy tape recorder, buying second hand vinyl and playing them on awful turntables and other such things - the quality was *way* worse than listening through an iPhone - and I still managed to develop a deep love and fascination of music in spite of the poor quality available to me back then.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:29 am

I clearly remember the first time I listened to a personal stereo cassette player (Aiwa, Donal Lunny Live).

It blew my tiny mind.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Gary_W » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:31 am

All true, Desmond. I was the same Used to camp next to the mono radio with a borrowed mono cassette deck and a microphone when the top 40 was on. But we knew it was pants (the announcement that it was tea time spilling over onto the mic was very much of its time ) and lusted after better quality (I did anyway).

Not so sure that everyone these days with an MP3 player is quite as aware that 'better is available' as the marketing messages are focussed on 'get it now, and lots of it with no hassle' and fail to mention the quality aspect. The 'need creation' these days is missing the quality trick on the MP3 front which I hope can come back

Having said that, you are correct - the 'poor quality' of MP3 is a heck of a lot better than most of us had growing up in both quality and quantity terms.
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Gary_W » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:38 am

My brother was 10 years older than me. He bought a stereo in the 70's and had it in his room (where I was forbidden to go). I badly wanted that thing, especially as his taste in music was s***e.

It took 2 years of a Saturday job for me to finally buy a MIDI system. It was pants but I loved that thing. Following years saw many upgrades. I only really cottoned on to the 'law of diminishing returns' when I treated the study here for recording purposes. I don't now gladly listen to music in our living room.... Despite it being a reasonable setup, the abundance of rockwool in here makes my little den system sound a lot more expensive than it is
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:57 am

I don’t think anything has really changed. The mass population has always been content with mediocre sound quality provided the music itself is good. In the 50s they were quite happy with knackered 45rpm singles in jukeboxes played through rubbish speakers, and mono AM radio. In the 80s they were quite happy with cassette Walkmans and FM radio through tiny portable radios. In the 2000s they are quite happy with modest rate MP3s.

Most can appreciate better quality if it’s presented to them, but convenience is usually more important. The inherent cost and domestic compromises required to benefit from high quality music reproduction is what stops people from embracing it. 24 bit downloads won’t change that because it doesn’t offer anything usefully new or convenient.

I doubt Young’s 24 bit downloads will go anywhere, because people can already download adequate quality AAC files from iTunes, and the 24 bit aspect is utterly irrelevant to anyone other than the marketing people. I’ve been using 256 and 320kbps MP3s on my iPod for years without any concerns at all – it was more than good enough for listening to on over ear-buds on trains and planes. I can hear the slight quality loss on a decent monitoring system in a decent room, but that’s not a typical situation for most people.

In reality there are precious few listening environments where you can actually enjoy the full dynamic range of a 16 bit system – CD was always and remains perfectly appropriate for domestic music reproduction as far as dynamic range is concerned. Added to which most music is battered to death in mastering and barely uses more than 20dB dynamic range anyway. (I agree with the comments that the breed of ‘mastering engineer’ has done more to damage music than anything else.) The 24 bit option is very handy when you need to record and mix with decent headroom margins, but utterly pointless once that margin is no longer required after mastering. (And let’s not forget that few converters can really achieve more than 21 bit performance anyway…)
SACDs are still being made and purchased in reasonable numbers, largely because the ubiquitous hybrid form is usable as a stereo red-book CD. But the format is flawed (24/96 is technically better…) and few people are interested in surround music at all for the simple reason that it’s just not convenient to use.

Like Gary, I still buy CDs – probably averaging 8 a month. I rip them to Apple Lossless (because of the convenient metadata facilities and compatibility with my iPods) and play them from a NAS via Sonos Connect boxes into my various monitoring systems. Since doing that I’ve actually listened to a lot more music than when I had to go and dig out specific CDs. The convenience is superb, the quality is superb (on decently produced material), and the only thing lacking is the ability to read the sleeve and booklet notes. But at least I’ve got those with the CDs which I wouldn’t have if I just bought downloads…

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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby hollowsun » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:35 am

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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:17 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote: the only thing lacking is the ability to read the sleeve and booklet notes. But at least I’ve got those with the CDs which I wouldn’t have if I just bought downloads…


I'm with you 100%.

There will be a generation of people left with no physical products because of downloads (music, games, books and films). Some time in the future historians will wonder why there is nothing from this century!
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:31 pm

Richie Royale wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote: the only thing lacking is the ability to read the sleeve and booklet notes. But at least I’ve got those with the CDs which I wouldn’t have if I just bought downloads…


I'm with you 100%.

There will be a generation of people left with no physical products because of downloads (music, games, books and films). Some time in the future historians will wonder why there is nothing from this century!

...and then they will discover Hugh's buried time capsule of CD releases and all with become clear


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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Athanasios C. Paschalis » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:28 pm

High Hugh

Myself I never stop listening to CD's in my modest hi-end system (I don't even own a DAC - yet). The wonderful surprise is that as time goes by, more people seem to join me in music listening evenings. First, it was my family, then my best friends and recently I have people visiting just to listen to music. Most of them had never listened to music on a hi-end system. All of them like it so much that they come back for more. I have become something like a small scale hi-fi evangelist.

I think that the one battle the music industry has to win, in order to continue its existence, is to lure people back to listening to music on their living rooms with decent hifi systems. If they achieved that then the sales would increase.

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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby N.icholas » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:04 pm

my children now seem to be into vinyl as are friends kids - funny story of a friend searching the house for his old record deck - his wife had thrown it out - but all was not lost she had kept her Dansette!
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Re: People don't need/want good quality audio!!

Postby Goddard » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:56 pm

Wish I'd known about this sooner, could have avoided equipping for blew ray and just picked up some old videeyo seedy production discards instead.

Wonder if many people would notice if their CDs/downloads were only 8-bit/22k, that could save me some cash too...
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