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ARSCLIST  May 2015

ARSCLIST May 2015

Subject:

Re: Is it time to rethink FLAC ?

From:

JAMES HOWARTH <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 19 May 2015 11:02:15 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (96 lines)

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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