Hi Stewart:

Do some reading on the Mastered for iTunes technical discussions and specs. Actually, 
heavily-dynamics-compressed (ie "toothpaste mastered") material can and often does sound WORSE in 
lossy formats, because some of the psycho-acoustic coding changes frequencies and causes digital 
overs. Also, down-conversion in and of itself can cause digital overs. Not to mention that most 
portable players do not have analog stages following conversion with any headroom. One of the prime 
examples of this was Metallica's album "Death Magnetic." People who bought the downloads complained 
that it was so distorted, some sections sounded like crackle in earbuds. The CD itself is almost all 
at digital zero almost all of the time, so it just looks like bricks separated by fade-outs and 
occasional fade-ins. It's not even toothpaste, it's square rock-candy on a string.

I personally don't think critics should be judging music based on lossy files -- in fact if I had a 
record label I would see to it that critics had access to full master-format files (96/24 is widely 
standardized nowadays), but I also understand the argument for reviewing from the release format, so 
I'd be OK sending out CDs for items released on CD. As a reviewer of music, I can tell you that 
labels much prefer to send a download link or, even better for them, a link to a Soundcloud or 
Spotify page. They encourage reviewers to listen to what I consider inferior-sounding versions so as 
to save money and not send physical product. I guess for the woman who wrote that commentary, that's 
nirvana. For me, it's cheap and petty and self-defeating.

For what it's worth, I've heard MFIT versions of some material I've worked on recently and they 
sounded quite good. On good headphones with a good DAC, I could hear all the problems with lossy 
formats (loss of air and space, change in the timbres of some instruments, change in the stereo 
image sometimes, etc). But for on-the-go listening, the end result was more than satisfactory. My 
point in my original post is, I won't pay for a lossy format unless I have no other choice. The very 
fact that it's lossy makes it a ripoff, to my thinking.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stewart Gooderman" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 11:24 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] another "coming demise of the compact disc" commentary

> John, it depends on what she’s critiquing, doesn’t it? If she’s listing to some heavy metal rap 
> group, is she really going to notice that much of a difference between an .mp3 or a CD? And 
> besides that, how will most people be buying the product she’s critiquing? If most people will be 
> buying it by download, shouldn’t she be making her criticism based on that medium?
> DrG
>> On Mar 30, 2015, at 7:56 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I just looked at that.  So let's see, she's a "music critic" and listens
>> exclusively to her ipad and mp3's.  Does she actually review things on that
>> basis?  Apparently. Yikes!  And she has no hesitation about making such a
>> terrible admission, in fact writing a NY Times article based upon it.
>> That's pretty sad. She clearly doesn't really care very much about music.
>> Best,
>> John Haley