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ARSCLIST  January 2008

ARSCLIST January 2008

Subject:

Re: The "dumbing down" of Downloaded Recordings

From:

Clark Johnsen <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 29 Jan 2008 17:05:58 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (215 lines)

"CD-quality and better downloads." Hmmm...

Does the irony in this observation escape us?

CD was touted (granted, originally by its promoters, but then by every
lapdog newsstand paper and magazine, which is to say, all of them) as
"perfect". Now, we have "better"?

Shouldn't this revoltin' development give one pause?

Question: Who serves as arbiter of sound?

Who here, or anywhere, may say with assurance, "this", not "that"?

It's a problem that's been lingering for as long as there's been "fidelity"
(1925), or "high fidelity" (1933), or... or...

Ladies and Gentlemen --

Where are the Sound Standards located, by which one may evaluate new
contenders?

Where may one go to hear? To listen? To the best of the past and the best of
the present, reproduced at the pinnacle of current state of the art?

Nowhere!

That situation has bothered me for over twenty-five years, and from time to
time I shall sound forth on this topic on this list. But let it be noted,
that back in 1986 at the ARSC convention in San Francisco I did address the
topic, along with a panel of experts from my side of the river, albeit to
little lasting effect.

Still the judgement calls are made -- but who's on the bench? Or in the box?

clark






On 1/29/08, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> http://tinyurl.com/3yy9n6
>
> note the correction at the bottom. If Apple truly has reduced the price on
> the 320kbps AAC files to
> 99 cents, that's a good sign. I can see a world where the 128kbps AAC and
> MP3 files, with or without
> DRM, will be essentially free (with the pain of hearing or watching an
> advertisement to get it) and
> the CD-resolution or higher files will cost something around $1 per song.
> That seems to be a
> reasonable market price, based on the heyday of CD sales (ie before the
> price-fixing, which is one
> of the factors that started the decline) -- back then, CD's street price
> was $10-12 per album. I
> also think part of the price for a CD-resolution download album should be
> a printable booklet file.
>
> On the discouraging side, there was an article in the Economist last week,
> I think linked from this
> list, that talked about how the new "strategy" among the lumbering giants
> is to give away low-grade
> lossy songs as part of cellphone subscriptions, but no mention of
> reasonably-priced,
> widely-available CD-quality and better downloads.
>
> Has anyone had any luck with MusicGiants? I tried to use it once and could
> not get it to work --
> wouldn't let me pay nor let me download files. This was maybe 6 months
> ago.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Joel Bresler" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 12:15 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The "dumbing down" of Downloaded Recordings
>
>
> > "With the hundreds of articles I have been reading on the changes in
> media
> > distribution (literally hundreds and is this a REALLY big surprise??) I
> have
> > not read one - not one - that makes any mention of the fact that the
> quality
> > of the recordings being distributed by download are significantly
> compressed
> > and poorer then those distributed on media."
> >
> > Here's one such article, by the way. It ran Monday in the Boston Globe.
> > Someone cares!
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > Joel
> >
> >
> http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2008/01/28/more_music_dea
> > lers_offering_downloads_with_sound_quality_that_rivals_a_cds/
> >
> > More music dealers offering downloads with sound quality that rivals a
> CD's
> > By Hiawatha Bray
> > Globe Staff / January 28, 2008
> >
> > Internet music retailers offer millions of tunes, in every genre from
> opera
> > to hip-hop to Palestinian folk songs. But it's still hard to find online
> > music that sounds good on a $10,000 stereo system.
> >
> > Online music sellers like Apple Inc. and Amazon.com use digital
> compression
> > technologies to shrink the sizes of music files, making them easier to
> store
> > and download. But compression also hollows out the music, eliminating
> many
> > of the sonic subtleties cherished by hardcore audiophiles. That's why
> many
> > finicky music lovers won't sully their ears with today's downloadable
> tunes
> > and are clamoring for something better.
> >
> >
> > Joel Bresler
> > 250 E. Emerson Rd.
> > Lexington, MA 02420
> > USA
> >
> > 781-862-4104 (Telephone & FAX)
> > [log in to unmask]
> > IN CASE OF VERIZON EMAIL PROBLEMS, PLEASE USE MY BACK-UP EMAIL:
> > joelbresler-at-gmail.com
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jim Lindner
> > Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 8:54 AM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: [ARSCLIST] The "dumbing down" of Downloaded Recordings
> >
> > Is it just me who wonders about this? With the hundreds of articles I
> > have been reading on the changes in media distribution (literally
> > hundreds and is this a REALLY big surprise??) I have not read one -
> > not one - that makes any mention of the fact that the quality of the
> > recordings being distributed by download are significantly compressed
> > and poorer then those distributed on media. Of course it does not
> > have to be this way - there is no reason why .wav files could not be
> > being downloaded instead of AAC or MP3 - but no one seems to care -
> > at all.
> >
> > I figure that if anywhere - the members on this list should care. I
> > don't get it - why aren't people complaining? Has our benchmark for
> > quality become Apple Ipod earbuds? Tell me it isn't so. While people
> > are spending untold thousands on Krell's and esoteric speakers what
> > we are witnessing here is a recording media and quality implosion and
> > I for one am concerned that getting a recording that is of the former
> > relatively high (ok we can debate that but this is not the real
> > point) quality of recordings on CD will become an impossibility in
> > the not too distant future. How come there aren't a bunch of
> > audiophiles - or professionals - or both - speaking up and saying to
> > the downloading public and to the distributors - hey wait a minute -
> > if I am paying the same prices for downloading as I am for physical
> > media - the least you can do is give me the same quality.
> >
> > All I hear is - silence. To me this is a HUGE threat - even short
> > term - to what you are going to be able to listen to, and the quality
> > of what you will be able to listen to.
> >
> > So, members of ARSC - I ask you - to discuss this - and - OK I will
> > say it - as an organization - take an actual position on this subject
> > - let the world know that this is a BIG issue. That is right - I am
> > actually advocating for standing up and talking out loud - not to our
> > group but to the rest of the planet. If we are not going to take a
> > stand on this -  what will we take a stand on? Get some manufacturers
> > behind you - you know the Krell and "monster cable" kind of folk that
> > have lots of marketing smarts - because there really isn't any point
> > in spending thousands of dollars on esoteric gear when the quality of
> > the recordings will not let you hear it anyhow. They have allot to
> > lose also. What we are talking about here is the dumbing down - the
> > AAC'ing of all distributed music and I for one think this is an
> > issue. Does anyone agree?
> >
> >
> >
> > Jim Lindner
> >
> > Email: [log in to unmask]
> >
> >   Media Matters LLC.
> >   SAMMA Systems Inc.
> >   450 West 31st Street 4th Floor
> >   New York, N.Y. 10001
> >
> > eFax (646) 349-4475
> > Mobile: (917) 945-2662
> > Office: (212) 268-5528
> >
> > www.media-matters.net
> > Media Matters LLC. is a technical consultancy specializing in
> > archival audio and video material. We provide advice and analysis, to
> > media archives that apply the beneficial advances in technology to
> > collection management.
> >
> > www.sammasystems.com
> > SAMMA Systems provides tools and products that implement and optimize
> > the advances in modern technology with established media preservation
> > and access practices.
> >
>

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