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Neil Young: Say No to MP3s

Rich Pell
2/22/2012 05:33 PM EST

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WKetel
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
WKetel   2/28/2012 3:46:13 AM
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What nobody has mentioned yet is that the real reason to make a change is to sell "new and improved" equipment. Yes, poor quality MP3s sound worse than good vinyl, but that is not the reason. The new format will have far more RIAA-mandated anti-copy functions than anything we have seen yet. Just wait, with the new format you can download to your portable player, but you can't copy it to your home player. Let us be realistic: it was never about sound quality, it was about money, both for the recordings and also for the equipment. Neil Young is OK, but listen to Erick Clapton for the very best music.

another nickname
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
another nickname   2/27/2012 9:18:20 PM
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I think Neil Young should stick to music. The real world standard of sound quality is live music on a stadium within a crowd of several thousands drunken devotees. He should know better that music experience is not limited to a sound and even sound itself as neuron excitements caused by air vibrations is not making complete picture. People listen to music and it reminds them something and it results in some emotional experience and that is way more important then loss of quality due to encoding and compression.

cello1000
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
cello1000   2/27/2012 7:36:06 PM
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There are a considerable number of issues involved here which many of the above responses have touched on. Although I work as a power supply design engineer, I grew up as a teenager playing classical symphonic music in various youth orchestras. Audio became a hobby for me only as I progressed into my 20’s and 30’s. I have spent about 20 years of my adult life building and listening to home audio equipment to help sort out these subjective issues. Correct engineering of equipment is a necessary but not sufficient condition to guaranteeing good sound. It takes many years for the human ear/brain mechanism to learn how to “perceive” music and sound, just as it takes many years to become a fine wine or gourmet food connoisseur. I have yet to hear of any serious, scientific “double blind” tests run for wine tasters or for food critics. Yet taste is a subjective quality just as hearing is. People who subscribe to scientific reductionism are unwilling to accept the current shortcomings of the electrical engineering paradigm that prevails in the "scientific" audio community. Most double-blind studies that have been run have been "rigged" by the biases of the people who constructed them to disprove the phenomena of subjective audio quality. The intent has been to prove that linear, steady state, Fourier analysis is sufficient to characterize the sound quality of equipment and recording formats. Without giving a whole seminar on the subject the basic problem is this: You do not listen to just MP3 or vinyl or CD’s. You listen to the entire sound chain plus the source material. Quality problems in just one area or several can influence whether or not you can hear differences with other parts of the sound chain. Further, differences in ear training make a tremendous difference in how good/bad something actually sounds. Getting the entire sound chain right and developing the ear training to hear problems can easily take half a lifetime to accomplish.

Walter Schoombie
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
Walter Schoombie   2/27/2012 6:49:51 AM
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For anybody interested in Audio reproduction and the myths surrounding sound production - PLEASE read the audio critic. (www.theaudiocritic.com) There is a collection of magazines - although 10-15 years old that is still very relevant. The issue today is NOT the signal chain - even cheap CD players measure such that you are not able to hear the difference. The big issue is still at the input and output (microcphones, recording, speakers & room) of the system.

Clance
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
Clance   2/25/2012 11:07:55 PM
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I have, for some years, used a laptop for music at live shows (difficult to find pianists). The method I use is to make the WAV file mono (I don't need stereo) and save the resulting file as ADPCM. The resulting file is only fractionally bigger and can be played on an elderly (slow) laptop using SNDREC32 as provided by Microsoft. This player has the advantage that it stops at the end of the data stream (Media Player does not). The audio result is of sufficient quality for the purpose. I have had people give me particular tracks in MP3 format which I have to convert to WAV. Some of them sound terrible, probably due to a low bitrate.

TFlynn
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
TFlynn   2/25/2012 7:30:23 PM
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So much confusion. Opinions on what's better & what's good enough. This isn't an argument about vinyl vs CD vs MP3. It's about moving the bar higher. Look a video. It's progressing, VHS/Beta (mono to stereo to surround) then DVD (stereo/surround/DTS)to Bluray (High defs) to 4K in future. I'm mean to refer to the content is improving, 320i, 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 4K (rough trend). You can buy the same video content in improving quality. Some people have paid 3 times for the same content (VHS, DVD & Bluray). What about audio? Hasn't really improved much. Some argue it has stepped back. I think the jist is to get together & move the bar higher. The source is recorded in multi channel high bit & high bitrate format. It then gets beaten & stuffed into a lossy MP3 or AAC format. Perhaps the argument is create a "standard" higher bit/bitrate multichannel Audio consumer format. Kind of like 7.2 DTS without video. I'm not sure if I made sense!

seaEE
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
seaEE   2/25/2012 6:15:37 PM
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I think there is some confusion here. It's not the sound that was really better in the 70's. It's the music itself that was better. "I wanna put on my my my my my dancin' shoes"

Dale Shpak
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
Dale Shpak   2/25/2012 5:50:13 PM
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Many people are impressed when they see photo of a Bernini's "Apollo and Daphne". Most of these will appreciate it more after they visit Galleria Borghese!. You will only appreciate the difference if you actually experience HD audio. (But make sure that the source material is of "Bernini" calibre).

abraxalito
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
abraxalito   2/25/2012 2:06:42 PM
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The 'digital vs analog' arguments will run and run without ceasing while they're about formats rather than real world implementations. The 'vinyl is superior' crowd are generally in the $10k+ arena - and most people's digital implementations suck. The 44k1/16 bit CD format sounds fine to my ears but that's only with semi-custom engineered converters, not the off-the-shelf 'low bit' aka sigma-delta ones which are audibly not transparent owing to noise modulation effects.

Dale Shpak
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re: Neil Young: Say No to MP3s
Dale Shpak   2/25/2012 1:09:00 AM
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The trouble with subjective evaluations is that they are subjective. To many people tube gear "sounds better" because the harmonic distortion that it adds to the signal is psychoacoustically pleasant. This distortion also helps to mask other nasty errors in the recording process. I prefer high-resolution digital audio. If you have 192kHz/24-bit recording/playback and the A/D, D/A, amplification and transducer chains have excellent linearity, low timing jitter, fast response (speakers too!), and are "time-correct", you realize that vinyl + tube gear isn't accurate, it is just "warm and fuzzy". Historically, the biggest problem with 44.1 kHz recording was the phase distortion introduced by the antialiasing filter, but there have been improvements since then. The only problem with a truly accurate signal chain is that you hear all of the mistakes, poor recording techniques, and poor electronics used in the recording. There are many recordings that just don't sound good if the audio system is "too accurate" and unforgiving. I suggest playing excellent source material using accurate equipment and playing less-than-stellar material using warm/fuzzy gear. Music is not simply sinusoids: temporal response is very important, not just frequency response. Do yourself a favor and listen to high-resolution audio on an excellent sound system ... I guarantee that you will be amazed. MP3's are a just a convenience that caters to our modern low-quality "throw-away" society. Friends don't let friends do MP3's.

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