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ARSCLIST  January 2008

ARSCLIST January 2008

Subject:

Re: The "dumbing down" of Downloaded Recordings

From:

Steve Abrams <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 17:29:15 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (112 lines)

I have now made five attempts to send this reply in the last hour.  None 
have got through to the archives but two other, trivial, posts on this 
thread from me have got through.

SA

Pardon me, but I think that all of the posts so far on this thread have
completely missed the point.  MP3 was a useful dodge when internet
connections were slow and memory was expensive.  There is no reason not to
use lossless compression today - FLAC, APE &c.  Pristine Classical now make
their transfers available in FLAC format.  Internet lists for free downloads
of out of copyright recordings now offer high bitrate MP3 (e.g. 320 mbps)
and lossless files.  Even Mike Richter has moved on from 32 kbps MP3 to APE
in some instances. There is a lot of material on the Internet Archive in
SHORTEN and FLAC.  Apple have their own lossless codec. Linn offers 24 bit
downloads.

Don't panic.  Progress has not suddenly come to an end.  The general public
never did like Hi Fi.  They preferred Walkmans and before that trannies.

The people on this list who bemoan the loss of hi fidelity are, in a number
of cases,  themselves the ones who are trying to kill it off.  They will not
mention SACD without insisting that the format is dead, which is absurd.
And you will find that they play their SACDs and CDs on DVD players
connected to near field monitors and surround sound systems.

I think it is surround sound that offers the real challenge to good sound.
A hopeful sign is the fact that manufacturers are increasingly offering
stereo only SACD players.  You can get a decent player for $1000.  There is
no great point in playing SACDs on cheap equipment.  However, since most
SACDs are so-called "hybrids" and compatible with ordinary CD players, it is
worth buying them, if only for the DSD mastering.  Hi Fi dealers and
manufacturers of expensive CD players are the ones who have conspired
against SACD.

Steve Abrams


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Lindner" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 1:54 PM
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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