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ARSCLIST  May 2015

ARSCLIST May 2015

Subject:

Re: Is it time to rethink FLAC ?

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 19 May 2015 11:43:19 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (209 lines)

Oy! Keeping with your metaphor, horses for courses. Different hammers for different hands.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "JAMES HOWARTH" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 11:02 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Is it time to rethink FLAC ?


> This is sort of elliptical if not circular. The industry is multitrack music and video production. 
> The archival community is an anomaly.
>
> The work you do (and to a large extent what I do) is utterly atypical of the industry as a wholeÖ 
> so I donít really see how you can contend an industry standard is not a standard because it 
> exceeds your limited needs. Itís the vast majority, the broadly installed base, and BTW ím 
> delivering in MS-based BWAVS I KNOW THE WHOLE WORLD CAN READ BECAUSE ITíS AN INDUSTRY STANDARDÖ 
> and not aifs so itís not like I donít know an industry standard when I see one. There are several. 
> FLAC ainít one of them although itís nice of Izotope to offer the simple "header fill-in-the-blank 
> and run this library" to make a save in that format. Might some day become the industry standard. 
> Neil Young says he can hear the difference between the PCM uncompressed FLAC and a WAV. I canít 
> hear a header. The alter-kochers on the panel just shrugged it off when that came up.
>
> Thereís a lot of bias for the tools we like, and that makes us defend the indefensible, or the 
> marginal, or the non-standard.
> Why so invested in contending that ProTools isnít the predominant industry choice, particularly 
> when your objection is based on the penetration and market share you find onerous? Thatís 
> paradoxical, at best.
>
> Apple and Avid didnít force anybody, they made highly unprofitable efforts to accommodate a small 
> sector of PC users in the 1990s and it almost killed them. They made  great product, and there are 
> still die-hards who prefer Sonic. Which is not the industry standard. Capable, but limited.
>
> They did well, stayed agile, and despite your efforts to talk others out of the obvious effective 
> choice and Iím not sure why bother (for reasons that have nothing to do with the capability of the 
> systems in question - nobody doubts the capability of ProTools or Avid).. the overwhelming 
> capitalist choice has been to make capital investments in the standardized (and excellent) tools. 
> Iíd understand the bitch if the product sucked, it doesnít.
>
> Choice is terrific. You chose to go a different way than the mainstream. For the work I do and the 
> amount of time and energy I want to devote to the work as contrasted to maintaining a stance, itís 
> a no-brainer.
>
> I just put ProTools 11 on a 27inch mac for 550 bucks plus a 600 buck Apollo and ended up with a 
> guitar processor I might never use. Took an hour. No muss no fuss. Back to business.
>
> Same argument for Mac now is the same one used years back to defend the PC ó industry standard. 
> Some guys are just still pissed their horse didnít make it around the third turn without 
> stumbling.
>
>
>> On May 19, 2015, at 7:58 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> OK, we agree on something else. In that strip of professional audio where Protools is mandatory 
>> (ie the shrinking world of large studios, some larger and more complex home operations and some 
>> live-sound applications, plus broadcast production), yes it's a Mac world. However, there are 
>> many other facets to professional audio.
>>
>> For those of us who don't deal with more than two channels most of the time -- and often deal 
>> with one channel -- something so large, complex, resource-sucking and over-arching is a silly 
>> solution. In this world -- archiving, mastering where re-mixing is not required, transfer and 
>> process or 1- and 2-channel audio, etc -- there is no "industry standard." In fact, I've talked 
>> several archival clients out of the assumption that "I need to get funding for a big powerful Mac 
>> and Protools" and instead used that kind of budget for several PC-based Sony Soundforge 
>> workstations, giving them an option that covers all of their audio needs and more, with setups 
>> that a "civilian" can learn without having to go to costly classes, and something that an 
>> institution with a limited audio budget can afford to support long-term. I'm not wedded to 
>> Soundforge either, if they are comfortable with a similar waveform-editor based program I tell 
>> them to go for it. In fact, one archive with thousands of hours and several TB of content still 
>> uses no-cost open-source software (which I thought was too primative for their needs, but they 
>> proved me wrong).
>>
>> As someone not in that narrow band of what I'll call large-scale audio or video production, 
>> looking from the outside, I see a cabal of Apple and Avid that has forced an "industry standard" 
>> on everyone and somehow gotten people to celebrate the lack of choice and competition, in fact 
>> loudly defend their monopoly. It's a curious sight in what should be a business-oriented decision 
>> world, but I think people are less sensitive to lack of choice today after 2.5 decades of gutting 
>> antitrust law and allowing duopolies or monopolies of megaglomerates in industry after industry. 
>> Back to the audio world, I suppose it's about the same as when Sony came in and forced their 1600 
>> CD mastering "standard" based around their U-Matic technology down everyone's throat. And I am 
>> old enough to remember that there was indeed a chorus back then within the industry loudly 
>> chanting the equivilent of "all hail, perfect sound forever."
>>
>> So paint me very skeptical of the notion of "industry standards." It goes against my maverick 
>> capitalist grain. I prefer the idea that choice is always better than "standards," exactly 
>> because it makes people think harder and keeps the marketplace chaotic and innovation-driven. 
>> Given a variety of choices, five audio professionals may choose to do the same job five different 
>> ways and get five varying results. That's good -- it then gives the client or the consumer 
>> marketplace a choice to pick their favorite rather than to eat what's dropped in front of them as 
>> it is today. And by the way, I need only hold up typical top-40 music or mainstream broadcast TV 
>> or radio sound quality as exhibit A why the "industry standard" of today sucks.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jamie Howarth" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 2:37 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Is it time to rethink FLAC ?
>>
>>
>>> It's an industry standard.
>>>
>>> I haven't had a crash in 6 weeks.
>>> Pro Tools is the I industry standard.
>>>
>>> Lotta words, you and I agree on a lotta stuff, but what I do and many others do can't be done on 
>>> a PC. They're just not up to it.
>>>
>>> Fact.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Please pardon the misspellings and occassional insane word substitution I'm on an iPhone
>>>
>>>> On May 18, 2015, at 8:30 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> That's not an "industry standard." That's a herd favorite. With a well-oiled cult-marketing 
>>>> machine behind it. ;)
>>>>
>>>> One man's opinion -- I don't particularly like either operating environment. Computers are a 
>>>> necessary evil (and I mean evil as in time-sucking creativity-dulling, money-wasting) in 
>>>> today's media production. I don't think anyone can dispute with any science that today's 
>>>> high-resolution digital formats are closer to output=input than any pre-digital format, but the 
>>>> extra baggage of computer fiddling and time-wasting is definitely a burden that slows the 
>>>> workflow and requires brain power than at one time was spent in service of creativity and end 
>>>> product (music or whatever else was being recorded).
>>>>
>>>> I'll simply say that back in the early days of electrical recording, a hit could be made in one 
>>>> complete take as part of a 3-hour session, the wax plated and the shellac pressed within a day 
>>>> and known to be a hit within a week or so. This was accomplished by musicians who worked under 
>>>> very primative recording conditions and controlled almost all aspects of the music within the 
>>>> musical realm. As late as the mid 1960's, a hit could be accomplished live to tape within a 
>>>> 3-hour session by musicians controlling many but not all aspects of the music within the 
>>>> musical realm (it's likely that tape editing took place, and many hits of that time had some 
>>>> sort of mixing and/or overdubbing involed), and a 45 single could be on the radio within a day 
>>>> or two. This just doesn't happen today, but I'm sure someone will cite one or two freak 
>>>> examples (not any "hits" as in much radio play and many sales). The main reason it just doesn't 
>>>> happen ... freakin' time-wasting, creativity-sucking computers. Think about almost all 
>>>> commercially viable music today and consider how many aspects are controlled in the computer 
>>>> realm rather than the music realm. Again, I'm sure there are freak examples of a group of great 
>>>> musicians throwing up two microphones plugged into a portable flash recorder and ending up with 
>>>> a viable commercial product (which I'm sure was smoothed out by hours of tedious computer 
>>>> processing in a mastering house). But that is not the vast majority of commercial productions.
>>>>
>>>> Anyway, end of rant. Much learned about FLAC, which was the original intent of Richard's post.
>>>>
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jamie Howarth" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Monday, May 18, 2015 7:05 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Is it time to rethink FLAC ?
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> It is the industry standard.
>>>>> it's in use at every top line mastering shop, and every major and vast majority of minor 
>>>>> recording studios.
>>>>>
>>>>> You guys bet on the wrong horse and simply won't let go of it.
>>>>>
>>>>> Please pardon the misspellings and occassional insane word substitution I'm on an iPhone
>>>>>
>>>>>> On May 18, 2015, at 7:38 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> That's simply not true! It's the most common platform. It's not an industry standard like 
>>>>>> 44.1/16 for CD. I don't know much about digital video, but based on my own experience, I'd 
>>>>>> say it's much more difficult in the Windows world to get the results you can relatively 
>>>>>> easily get in the Apple world (I've used iMovie and I've seen Final Cut Pro in action, and I 
>>>>>> haven't seen any Windows programs that get video editing and production done as quickly in as 
>>>>>> user-friendly a manner). But audio is a different story. It's always been possible to do the 
>>>>>> same things in both worlds. "Creative types" have swooned at Mac style and marketing since 
>>>>>> the beginning, but that doesn't mean you HAVE to be in the Mac world to get great audio 
>>>>>> results or have a smooth and fast workflow. Like I said, not being an expert in video, just 
>>>>>> based on working on some video productions with experts, it seems like video is best done in 
>>>>>> the Mac world. Digital photography is the same as audio production -- it's a matter of choice 
>>>>>> with platforms. To this day, there is a "style tax" for working in the Mac world (ie, 
>>>>>> everything costs 20-30% more, and the hardware can cost 50+% more depending on what's being 
>>>>>> sold at what time by what PC makers). As a rational business decision, it's easy to say "pay 
>>>>>> the man" if you're a video production operation. In the audio world, it depends on what your 
>>>>>> other platforms are in the business. If you're a Mac business or household already, then the 
>>>>>> choice is obvious, and likewise for Windows. Having set up a mixed network at my office, I 
>>>>>> will say that Apple went the extra mile to make their boxes play nicely in a Windows network, 
>>>>>> as a minority player would be expected to do if they wished to be at all competitive. I will 
>>>>>> also say that someone well-versed in the Apple operating environment can get the work we do 
>>>>>> at the office done just as quickly and just as well as someone well-versed in the Windows 
>>>>>> environment. It's really horses for courses in the context of our discussions here, not a 
>>>>>> matter of "industry standards." Except, as I said, in video production.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jamie Howarth" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> Sent: Sunday, May 17, 2015 10:25 PM
>>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Is it time to rethink FLAC ?
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Apple is the industry standard for audio and video.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Please pardon the misspellings and occassional insane word substitution I'm on an iPhone
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> On May 17, 2015, at 8:28 PM, Michael Gillman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Also, I see we have some serious windows defenders on this list.
>>>>>
>>>
>
> 

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