It has always been my belief that the critic of sound recordings stands-in
for the consumer who does not have access to what is under review. It is
his job to describe what he hears for that person. Opinions can be
integrated into the review but it should be clear what is fact and what is
In this case, the listener should be made aware that there is a best file,
sometimes publically accessible, sometimes not, and that what is being
reviewed is a derivitave, with a list of its limitations as compared with
the original or the highest quality availble option, a way to decide how
important these differences may be to them, and what other options there may
be as well. And to write in short, punchy sentences.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stewart Gooderman
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 12:43 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] another "coming demise of the compact disc"
John, I don't necessarily disagree with anything you've written here. But
there are two parts to this story: the performance itself and the quality of
the recording. Should a music critic be critiquing both? Is it their
responsibility to *be* critiquing both?
Tom Fine has put forth that most music labels are sending lossy format files
to be critiqued. If this is what the label is sending to be critiqued,
should it be the duty of the critic to say that they will not base their
judgement on what the label is sending them? When labels were pressing lousy
Lp's, did critics go to the label and insist on a reel-to-reel taped version
if it was available?
These same type of questions haunted the drama critics as well. Should a
critique be based on a preview performance or an opening night performance?
Am I just being au contraire?
> On Mar 30, 2015, at 9:07 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi, Stewart. I'm not buying that heavy metal rap music requires less
> fidelity. There is probably more actual high frequent content in such
> music (a lot of it is electronic) than in a classical recording. As
> long as recording studios are not recording to i-tune format (thank
> God we haven't sunk to that level already), and recordings are issued
> in non-lossy formats, they should be reviewed in the best format in
> which they are issued, because that's how you can hear what they really
> All this dumbing down is a terrible thing. And shameful for a
> so-called music critic. I would agree with you if I-tunes is the only
> format in which something is released.
> Somebod,y somewhere really has to have some kind of standards about
> all this. If a so-called, "self-identified" music critic admittedly
> has none, he/she really ought to be doing something else for a living.
> Best, John