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  1. This is dead-on. (Pun intended.) The Dead has always been my band and I know better than to fall deeply down a rabbit hole on a forum like this defending them, BUT I do object to this dismissive idea that they are just drugged out hippies playing to a gullible audience. I appreciate the crowd on this forum as an intellectually curious, open minded (sometimes), opinionated (always) group of music fans. If the Dead isnt to your taste, fine. But do not kid yourselves by thinking their popularity is some sort of swindle or scam, or that it is all about drugs. A few points to consider: NO BAND has effectively integrated so many genres or influences into rock and roll. Bluegrass, country, 50’s rock (not Elvis, but Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry, the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, classical, and world music,….then played with the improvisational ethic of jazz. There are countless stories of other musicians either playing with the Dead or on the same bill and commenting later about how focused and responsive the audience was. They actually listen! This was probably best captured by Miles Davis. After Bill Graham put him on a bill with the Dead and Steve Miller Band, Davis commented that Miller was a “pathetic white cat“ (he might’ve said the same about Clapton) but that the Dead and their audience really “got it.“ They embraced the risk and openness in jazz. They wanted to be pushed. Whereas we can all easily, immediately identify Clapton‘s influences (BB King, Jonny Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy), I would argue that Garcias are far more nuanced and, frankly, interesting. After decades of listening to his music closely I would name his top influences as John Coltrane, Django Reinhardt, Chuck Berry, and Bill Monroe. David Crosby called them “electric dixieland.” That works. You have two guitars, bass, and keys involved in a musical ongoing conversation during each song. Sometimes it works better than others. It is a MUCH riskier proposition than going out night-after-night and recreating the same songs in the same way (like virtually all other rock bands). The Dead have a notoriously loose rhythm section. Phil Lesh constantly improvising in counterpoint to Garcia’s lead, running scales on a 6-string bass while two drummers create a bed of sound. It doesn’t have the strong backbeat that is typical of rock n roll. It can be disorienting to most rock drummers. It is a rhythm section built around a guitar player, designed to ebb and flow as the music and moments demand. Other casual listeners don’t get hooked by the signing. Fair enough. No incredibly beautiful voices in this band. Regardless, they learned to use what they have and their are plenty of high-points to point to. Example: I would also argue that Robert Hunter certainly deserved his honor by the Songwriter’s Hall-of-Fame as one of the best lyricist in rock ‘n’ roll history. (Example: find a copy of the eulogy he wrote for Jerry Garcia in the 48 hours after his passing.) I was listening to last night with a friend who was never that into the Dead. This track broke through for him. Live in ‘89 or ‘90 with guest Branford Marsalis on stage. Encourage any of you to give it time to listen actively. (Maybe headphones with a better source ;-). Listen to Garcia and Branford trade solos throughout the song, culminating in an apex where Garcia’s guitar emulates a wooden flute through MIDI (around 9:27, but PLEASE listen to the entire song). Listen to Phil Lesh’s rapid endless, counter-punctual bass playing, the soft bed of rhythm created by the drummers, the melodic key embellishments from Brent Mydland, and the Scottie Pippenesqe color and support from Weir’s rhythm guitar. Note that Garcia is not the egoist lead guitar god who hogs the spotlight,…ever willing to play the support role or do whatever needed to support the song. People get turned off by the lightness of the Beach boys. But Paul McCartney once commented that it if someone did not recognize the genius behind pet sounds, they were simply “musically uneducated.“ I’d apply the same description to those who quickly dismiss the Dead. Not your jam, fair enough. But do not be so cynical as to dismiss legions of dedicated fans as drugged out marks or to argue that their music is simplistic or they are not talented. That is just not the case. If anyone out there is truly curious to understand what the Dead is really about, I will offer the following: tell me a little about your favorite style of music, maybe some of your favorite artists. I will hit you back with some suggested, relevant entry points to the Dead‘s music. They may not be for everyone, but I can guarantee you there is much more there to discover then you think.
  2. Yawn. Here he is, blues blasting away on someone else’s song. A fine musician. Sure. But what exactly did he ever do to push the boundaries of anything? He stuck to one genre (blues) and didn’t really even innovate within that genre. He’s a fine player. Smooth, great tone, technical, soulful. Fine. But where is the innovation? Where is the creativity? As Garcia used to say, Being a talented player is fine, but do they have anything to SAY? By the way, if you are looking for the real cover of this great George Harrison song (with an actually creative solo), here you go…
  3. Bullsh!t, strawman argument. Calling out wrongs in the world is not “cancel culture.” Blatant racism is not something to simply not “like”…it is morally wrong. And no one is “eliminating” Clapton. People are simply choosing not to listen to him as an artist.
  4. https://hackaday.com/2021/04/21/mythbusting-tidals-mqa-format-how-does-it-measure-up/
  5. So a device like this controls Roon, which runs on a nuc installed in the car, feeding a separate DAC with RCA to amps?
  6. Cool, I guess? The car audio designers seem intent on multi-channel (maxi-channel?) “immersive” sound. But I am suspicious of the intense processing applied to 2-channel music files when played on these systems. I wish they would take a more purest approach to optimizing “stereo” (or 2.1, 2.2, etc).
  7. One of the weakest links in the car audio signal chain would be the DACs used in car audio head units. it would be easy enough to run a mobile DAC into an RCA input on a mobile head unit. But then you lose ability to control / navigate music vi head unit screen. You would be forced to use a second device as your interface. @The Computer AudiophileMentioned trying to get Roon your car. Have you given this any more thought?
  8. OK, but MQA aside, does anyone know how this mobile headphone amp performs vs. something like AudioQuest Dragonfly?
  9. No, sorry. I was just referring to a hypothetical situation. Musicians do move; stages are different sizes, etc. I understand that stage position matters to musicians (I play drums), but after reading your article it occurs to me that we listeners may imbue “soundstage” with more importance than do the musicians themselves. I thought the point about the stereo image collapsing as the you move farther from the stage was especially interesting. The point I was trying to make is that it does seem arbitrary and unimportant that stereo or multi-channel mixing generate a soundstage that “accurately” reflects the placement of musicians at recording. What is more important (to me) is that the mix serve the music and how it will sound coming out of two speakers in my living room (or car, or headphones, etc). Will more stereo separation help me hear each instrument more clearly? Will it better serve the song? That is important; not where the bassist sat in relation to the pianist in a studio when it was recorded originally. The “accuracy vs realism” frame is interesting, but my guess is that many producers are going for neither accuracy nor realism, but rather for what makes the recording sound most pleasing and engaging through speakers. After reading your piece, I am more at peace with that.
  10. Great article. Raises a number of interesting questions and pushes on a few sacred cows. I certainly question the value of pursuing some platonic ideal of “accuracy” in soundstage. We can fret over whether the guitar appears Left-Center-Left as it did the moment it was recorded, but the reality is the musicians didn’t really obsess over their seating arrangement and half-way through the song, the bass player moved to the other side of the stage, so where does that leave you? I definitely take the point that with un-amplified live music, there is a single point source for most seats in the house. The more important thing to me is that the sound is clear and mixed in a way that best serves the music and the song,...not in a way that accurately reproduces some arbitrary spatial soundstage, which brings me to this question: Does stereo serve another function (other than reapers in an “accurate” soundstage)? By mixing various instruments so they are distributed among different channels reduces “congestion” at any given frequency and makes it easier for our speakers to reproduce all sounds more clearly. Isn’t THAT the more valid justification for stereo, multi-channel mixing? If an artist wants to create a spatial mix that serves their music, who cares if it accurately reflects where musicians were sitting during recording?
  11. well, my case isnt rock solid. Still researching. But one reason is the convenience of the interface. I find it better than other NAS interfaces for managing files and folders. Why would I need to do that? Mainly has to do with my massive collection of live Grateful Dead recordings. The metadeta conventions are, how do you say, a “dog’s breakfast”? Anyway, a lot of manual tweaking of folder and file names. I have used mp3tags software, but there is still a lot that needs to be done manually. Also, I use Dropbox already for personal files, pay for significant space, and just find their offline sync integration with Windows and iOS better than anything else I’ve found. I need to do a little testing.
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