Thursday, 11 October 2007

The Sad Truth About Digital Music

Vanessa is totally bummed about the new Radiohead Album. It's not about the self-service. She paid what she’s felt the download was worth and paid more than Fred “AVC” apparently (10 pounds to his 2.45) only to realize that there was going to be a "real" CD released later next year.

Why does she care? Well it's a question of quality. So for that, she went to our friend Gary who not only being an awesome digital ACD is a musician (was in an 80's band and most recently a blues band called Catfish). Here is the sad truth about digital music from Gary's perspective when asked:

"Ok, here it comes, straight and simple, answer
....nope, there will be no love there.

Here is the long answer: after many, many layers of
compression (from actual mastering of the CD to the
final mp3 format)lots of nuances are lost forever. I’ve downloaded mp3s
that are 320kbps, and although the sound is much
better on my iPod, it does nothing for my speakers at
home. No audio space.

The file format just does not compare to your usual
AIFF which is what is on the CD. Even the Apple
lossless... none of that is meant to be heard on
Boston Acoustics, or Meridian or Vandersteen...
speakers (you can tell I’m a bit pissed about it)
But then again, I grew up in the era of audiophiles...
and LPs, so maybe I’m a snob.

So, if for nothing else but the convenience, I burn
CDs of my mp3s and play them in the car.
If you are looking for the beautiful sound experience,
you’ll be disappointed."

Hum...In Vanessa's own words "Damn, I shoulda paid 'em less”.

Who knew, maybe Fred the VC knows something about valuations, even micro ones, that we don’t. ;-)


Nav said...

Yeah, I feel the same way. I love my eMusic subscription and get a lot of new music that way - but there have often been times when I really like an album I've found there and then find the sound quality lacking (like the new Stars, for example). It's nothing specific really - just a sense that the music is missing 'bigness' or something.

Leigh said...

Bigness and depth I agree. Oh well, the truth is our generation will probably all be deaf anyhow from our years of listening to portable music too loud!

And you never know, just like Radioheads latest, maybe vinyl will make a comeback?

RSDA said...

Quality is still better than standard iTunes tracks...

"Sometimes it seems that most of the Internet bandwidth not occupied by spam and pornography is filled with bloggers obsessing over Radiohead’s every cryptic lyric and musical aberration — or today complaining that the “In Rainbows” album online is not a full audiophile-quality file, which would be much larger and slower to download. (One frequent suggestion within the music business is to offer low-fi music free or inexpensively and higher-quality versions at full or premium prices, as Radiohead will do with its CD releases of “In Rainbows.” But even at 160 kilobits per second (Kbps), “In Rainbows” is a sonic notch above the standard 128 Kbps iTunes download, and on a portable MP3 player through good earphones, it has plenty of detail.)"

Leigh said...

I actually like the low-high price differentiation.

As for bloggers in general being obsessive, audiophile lovin' friends put any bloggers who i read to shame.

As for myself being obsessive about Radiohead? Guilty as charged. Seen them every time they have been in Toronto since OK Computer. And I have a wee crush on Thom. :)


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