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NOMBEDES

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON COMPRESSED MUSIC

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A quote from Neil:  (from the Boing Boing site)

 

"The compressed, hollow sound of free streaming music was a big step down from the CD and a huge step down from vinyl."

 

"We are poisoning ourselves with degraded sound.  The development of our brains is led by our senses; take away too many of the necessary cues, and we are trapped inside a room with no doors or windows.  Substituting smoothed-out algorithms for the contingent complexity of biological existence is bad for us."

 

 "Engineers often responded to the smaller size and lower quality of these packages by using cheap engineering tricks like masking the softer parts of the song as loud as the loudest parts. This flattened out the sound of recording and fooled listeners's brains into ignoring the stuff that wasn't there anymore"  (MQA?)

 

And further:  "It is an insult to the human mind and the human soul"    

 

I can't argue with Neil.  Plastic nano particles are in the rain and in the snow, no fish is plastic free, governments are worthless.  Hate is ascendant, big insurance companies have tame police forces chasing "insurance fraud", people actually purchase surveillance devices and place them in their homes.  Right wing dictators cut down the rain forest.  And now we know why, low rez compressed music has destroyed our brains.   

 

 


In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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9 minutes ago, NOMBEDES said:

"We are poisoning ourselves with degraded sound.  ...

 

 

Have to agree with this ... a big disappointment years ago was going to a "big show" - and copping an earful of awful sound - "I'm paying money to listen to this !!?" ... Ended up stopping going to anything with a musical accompaniment, via a so-called PA system - the few jewels one came across didn't compensate for all the dross ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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10 hours ago, lucretius said:

Neil is an artist, not a scientist. I take everything he says on this matter with a grain of salt.

When it comes to Neil and (digital) audio engineering, you need to take what he says with all of the salt. Depleting the world's salt supplies would obviously be a bad thing, so it's better to simply ignore Neil.

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11 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Have to agree with this ... a big disappointment years ago was going to a "big show" - and copping an earful of awful sound - "I'm paying money to listen to this !!?" ... Ended up stopping going to anything with a musical accompaniment, via a so-called PA system - the few jewels one came across didn't compensate for all the dross ...

That hasn't been my experience.  I find that, on average the PA systems in place today provide a musical presentation with an accuracy, clarity and detail that was never there before. 

 

Sure, sometimes they get the mix wrong or the singer has a hot mike, but whether big arena events or small local theater, the sound has never been better.  

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42 minutes ago, psjug said:

Neil's ideas on digital audio would seem to go best with bath salts.

 

He was the founding member of Musicians against Digital in the 80s. The surprise was his Pono which supposedly designed to address the digital deficiency.

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15 minutes ago, wgscott said:

Compression and dynamic range limitation on analogue media is "musical."

 

Compression and dynamic range limitation, even to a much lesser extent, on digital media is a crime against civilization.

 

One thing Neil Young is very good at is summoning up some righteous anger.

 

Not always. NY is just like everyone else, he puts his pants on one leg at a time. Yo know the old saying about opinions......

 

Listen to some old Julie London LP's and tell me if you think analog range limitation and compression is good. On a decent system, it sounds like ass.


Current:  JRiver 24 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an I5-2500K with 16 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Pre-amp - Audio Research SP-16

Amplification - PS Audio S300

Speakers: Wharfedale Linton Heritage

Cables:Tara Labs and DiMarzio Interconnects

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14 minutes ago, botrytis said:

 

Not always. NY is just like everyone else, he puts his pants on one leg at a time. Yo know the old saying about opinions......

 

Listen to some old Julie London LP's and tell me if you think analog range limitation and compression is good. On a decent system, it sounds like ass.

 

Sarcasm isn't your thing this morning?


--

Do facts matter?

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1 hour ago, SJK said:

 

If you're happy listening to iTunes lossy files from your iPhone with little earbuds and think that sounds great then you just don't have a frame of reference for anything better - in the same way that some people think cooked frozen burgers from the supermarket taste just great.  

Bit of a patronising statement...

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57 minutes ago, wgscott said:

 

Sarcasm isn't your thing this morning?

 

Is it morning? I have been at work too long this morning.......


Current:  JRiver 24 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an I5-2500K with 16 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Pre-amp - Audio Research SP-16

Amplification - PS Audio S300

Speakers: Wharfedale Linton Heritage

Cables:Tara Labs and DiMarzio Interconnects

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25 minutes ago, SJK said:

How so?  People have different expectations. 

 

I work with people who are perfectly happy listening to low res files on their phone.  It's still music.  The fact there may be something better just isn't on their radar.  

OK withdrawn..

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31 minutes ago, SJK said:

How so?  People have different expectations. 

 

I work with people who are perfectly happy listening to low res files on their phone.  It's still music.  The fact there may be something better just isn't on their radar.  

John Harriman records his performances using one of these in case he wants to revisit some aspect. For his purposes, that quality is sufficient, though he obviously wouldn't release it on CD.

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22 minutes ago, marce said:

OK withdrawn..

Hey, no worries - it's all part of any reasonable discussion.  

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46 minutes ago, botrytis said:

 

Is it morning? I have been at work too long this morning.......

 

Sounds like Steve Jobs compressed your whole day.


--

Do facts matter?

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12 minutes ago, wgscott said:

 

Sounds like Steve Jobs compressed your whole day.

 

Just crummy management.......


Current:  JRiver 24 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an I5-2500K with 16 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Pre-amp - Audio Research SP-16

Amplification - PS Audio S300

Speakers: Wharfedale Linton Heritage

Cables:Tara Labs and DiMarzio Interconnects

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Yes, Young's anger is based on a deeply flawed understanding of the digital medium, not to mention his position is filled with contradictions since most of the negative things he says about digital, if true, cannot be remedied simply with higher-res recording and a Pono player.

 

However, I do feel he touches on one important point, which I would be inclined to call a truth even though it is not a quantitative, easily measurable truth: I do think that production trends and techniques are influenced by what the dominant the medium and format is at the time, and that this influence includes both the technical qualities of the medium/format and also engineers' and producers' perceptions or believe about those media/formats, even if those perceptions and beliefs are wrong.

 

So just as the sound of '60s and early '70s rock was in large measure the sound the mics and mixing desks of the time - and also the sound of mixes and compression applied for an AM-radio audience, I do think that Young is correct that the wide availability of compressed digital formats, file sharing, and DAWs, has been a factor in the rise not only of excessive peak-limiting and digital compression, but also in the well-documented decrease in complexity of both lyrics and melodic/chord variety in popular music in the last decade or two.

 

Of course I don't think Young is correct that engineers used compression to louden soft passages because mp3 only provides "5%" of the musical content. But I do think he is correct in that compressed digital music has contributed to a technical and artistic cultural trend that is not a good one. Along with that, I do think there's a decent chance that, had his Pono ecosystem succeeded, it would've given dynamics more prominence in the mainstream cultural landscape around music and might have helped push back against the Loudness Wars.

 

Of course, if that happened we'd still have to contend with an overpriced Pono player, BS claims about it sounding better than iPods, and the annoyingly slow, leaky filters Young seems to prefer.

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2 hours ago, psjug said:

I think his heart is in the right place.  It is just too bad that he doesn't seem to have learned the very basics of digital audio.  For example the misleading stairstep illustration in his new book.  He wants to be a teacher or preacher on this but he doesn't know the material.

 

This.  The truth of what Nyquist–Shannon is telling us about sampling and the fidelity of the resultant waveform to the "original", is hard.  Calculus is hard.  The physics of sound-as-waveform-through-medium is hard.  

 

Most folks don't have the education or interest to get it right.  This is perhaps the truth of certain audiophiles and the 'audiophile press' deference to gurus such Bob Stuart.  Yet in reality Bob Stuart is a charlatan - a "post-Shannon" genius on the level of Copernicus, or so they say ;)

 

Another example:   John Atkinson is a believer in the allegedly erroneous "leading edge" or "transient leading edge" behavior of digital sampling/DAC reconstruction.  Why?  What is the evidence?  Bob S and others (who mostly sell stuff) allege it, but is it true?  

 

 


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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5 hours ago, mansr said:

When it comes to Neil and (digital) audio engineering, you need to take what he says with all of the salt. Depleting the world's salt supplies would obviously be a bad thing, so it's better to simply ignore Neil.

 

I prefer to imagine Neil standing on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

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