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Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, YouTube and Jonas Brothers 468

Posted by timothy
from the projecting-himself dept.
First time accepted submitter CIStud writes "Famed 'Dark Side of the Moon' engineer Alan Parsons, who also worked on the Beatles 'Abbey Road,' says audiophiles spend too much money on equipment and ignore room acoustics. He also is surprised the music industry has not addressed the artists' rights violations taking place on YouTube, wonders why surround-sound mixes for albums never took off, and calls the Jonas Brothers 'garbage' all in one interview."
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Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, YouTube and Jonas Brothers

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:12PM (#38986933) Journal

    Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, YouTube and Jonas Brothers

    Oooh, now this should be good. Let's see what we got here.

    Everybody strives to get perfect sound and we work hard to get the best sound we can. A certain artist or song or style of music will sound a certain way. It would be ridiculous for me to make a Jonas Brothers record using the techniques and procedures I normally use. The techniques used to make many modern pop records involve a lot of compression and that's what those consumers want, according to the labels. A lot of the processing that audiophiles criticize is a style thing and part of the music itself.

    Oh, my god, the Jonas Brothers are so burned! He did not just say that they are trying to get their sound to be a certain way that their audience prefers. Oh no he did not! I can't believe it, I haven't seen a meltdown like this since Christian Bale flipped out on a stage hand. Somebody, call Disney and have them put the Jonas boys on suicide watch tonight in their cells -- not even paper underwear, they know how to hang themselves with that. When they hear this news they'll probably never perform again.

    I think what perhaps critics don’t appreciate is that there is a lot of luck in getting a good sound. It's not all about the equipment, spectral response and compressing. It's all about the quality of the musicianship, the songwriting and the sound reaching the microphone ... that's crucial. It's often been said, "garbage in means garbage out," so if that's the case you won’t get a good sound.

    Wow, I am so glad I'm not an audiophile right now. I would be fuming! Never have I heard such a direct and searing attack on audiophiles. The era of hipster sound snobs may be over as we know it.

    There's another damaging situation: You can complain about iTunes and subscription sites being damaging to copyright owners and having inferior audio quality, but one of the worst culprits is YouTube. You can look for any record ever made and it's on YouTube for free - usually with crappy audio - and let's not even mention the video content that's out there to go with it. I sense there will be a huge copyright court case over the content on YouTube someday.

    Oh, now he's stepping on a big dog's toes. You cannot print that, that is slander and that is libel. YouTube promises to provide only the highest quality sound and video ... Certainly Google's legions of lawyers will see Alan Parsons in court.

    Seriously? That's considered "ripping"? Everything I read was fact and on top of that, he's still predicating his sentences with "I think."

    "Well gee golly, Fred Rodgers, how will we put up with all these harsh words flying out of Alan Parson's mouth?" I think you need to take a trip to the Abuse Department to hear some real

  • by catbutt (469582) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:14PM (#38986969)
    Yes, we all know he was engineer for Pink Floyd, but seriously, isn't his name most known for his own stuff? (Eye in the Sky, etc)
    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:18PM (#38987023) Homepage Journal

      Tales of Misery and Confabulation.

    • by kenh (9056)

      Apparently not, in the eyes of "First time accepted submitter CIStud."

    • by John3 (85454) <john3.cornells@com> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:20PM (#38987071) Homepage Journal

      Although I was a fan of Alan Parsons Project albums, I think the vast majority of music listeners would say "Alan Parsons?", with the logical response being "He engineered Dark Side Of The Moon".

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:41PM (#38987411) Homepage

        I think the vast majority of music listeners would say "Alan Parsons?", with the logical response being "He engineered Dark Side Of The Moon".

        I'd be willing to bet you're overstating "vast majority". By a lot.

        Find 100 people, ask them if they've heard Dark Side of the Moon. Of the ones that say yes, ask how many know who the sound engineer was. I bet you'll find it quite small.

        I've got pretty much everything published by Pink Floyd up until about '95 or so ... and I know Alan Parsons from his band. I was actually going "really?" when I read the summary.

        Then again, I'm neither a musician, nor someone who knows the endless trivia about who was sitting where during the recording and if he was wearing pants or not. That is the "vast majority" of music listeners. The behind-the-scenes talent remains anonymous to most of us.

        That's not to say there aren't loads of people out there who do know these things; but I seriously doubt it's even close to a majority, let a lone a vast majority. It's really only the hard-core music geeks who keep track of such things.

      • Although I was a fan of Alan Parsons Project albums

        I was also a big fan of Alan Parsons Project 30 years ago. Lately, I "accidentally" found a torrent of their discography, and gave it a try. It was not a good idea.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by John3 (85454)

          I was also a big fan of Alan Parsons Project 30 years ago. Lately, I "accidentally" found a torrent of their discography, and gave it a try. It was not a good idea.

          LOL, I think I'd be the same way if I took out the LP's and listened today. I did a lot of college radio, mostly on the engineering and production side, and I collected a lot of albums that had strong production values (clear recording, cool effects, etc). Alan Parsons Project albums were so well recorded and produced, but the actual music probably doesn't stand the test of time. I used to snap up anything recorded or produced by Mutt Lange and Roy Thomas Baker as well, and there are hits and misses in t

          • by bryanp (160522)

            Alan Parsons Project albums were so well recorded and produced, but the actual music probably doesn't stand the test of time.

            Depends on your tastes I suppose. I've been a fan of Alan Parsons and the late Eric Woolfson since I first listened to a cousin's LP of Tales of Mystery and Imagination back in 1978 at the age of 10. While some of the albums hold up better than others, I still enjoy listening to quite a bit of it.

      • Actually, the vast majority of today's music listeners would say, "Oh, yeah, that's the guy that they made that joke about in Austin Powers that I didn't get until I looked it up."

    • by virgnarus (1949790) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:21PM (#38987099)
      I know him most for a giant death ray entitled with his name.
    • by snarfies (115214) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:29PM (#38987241) Homepage

      And let's not forget, he was the Cambridge physicist who invented the laser!

    • by Animats (122034)

      Right. He's had one top 40 album of his own, and several top 100 albums.

      His own stuff is closer to acoustic folk than rock, which is why he's likely to care about subtle audio quality. Pink Floyd could be played through a bullhorn without much loss.

      • by metlin (258108)

        To be fair, most people listening to Pink Floyd are probably high as fuck to even care if it's Floyd or a bullhorn being played.

      • by asliarun (636603)

        Right. He's had one top 40 album of his own, and several top 100 albums.

        His own stuff is closer to acoustic folk than rock, which is why he's likely to care about subtle audio quality. Pink Floyd could be played through a bullhorn without much loss.

        For what it is worth, Dark Side Of the Moon is widely considered as one of the most well recorded albums of all time.

  • by Skinkie (815924) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:17PM (#38987007) Homepage
    The loudnesswar has killed virtually anything on a digital medium, resulting in a worse quality masters. Far worse than compressed phonogram recordings in the past. Sadly this seems to be the new standard for every commercial publication. So first give us back the -12dB, then complain about our rooms.
    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:21PM (#38987101)

      Its not the techies who did it, its the marketing departments. Any audio engineer who refuses to over-compress is just going to get replaced by someone else who will.

      • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:07PM (#38987833)
        Furthermore, it's not the recording engineer who squashes it like that. While they may squash individual instruments with compression, it is the mastering engineer who applies the overall limiting to the mix.
    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:25PM (#38987173) Homepage Journal

      In case anyone is wondering what Skinkie is talking about, here's the link [wikipedia.org].

    • by Paul Slocum (598127) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:43PM (#38987465) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, they asked him about that and he misunderstood the question to be about lossy audio data compression rather than dynamic range compression:

      Q: Do you think that sound quality is driving this trend? Are people tiring of low-resolution sound and compressed recordings that lack dynamic range?

      A: That may well be. The majority [of consumers] are happy with MP3, but they donâ(TM)t know what they are missing. Being fast and free are priorities, and thatâ(TM)s why MP3 is popular. Thereâ(TM)s another damaging situation: You can complain about iTunes and subscription sites being damaging to copyright owners and having inferior audio quality, but one of the worst culprits is YouTube.
    • by jdgeorge (18767)

      The good news is that this problem only seems to affect "pop" music (including popular genres such as Rock, Hip-Hop, Countrry, and Western). Jazz and orchestral seem to be uninvolved.

      The bad news is that there is a lot of great new "pop" music, and many of the records have terrible sound quality because of what you describe well as the loudnesswar.

      Example: One of the last big label pop albums I bought (a country record) had a beautiful "hit song" on it that was ruined because the "loudness adjustment" cause

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Threni (635302)

        Yeah, both jazz cds and all 7 classical releases sound fine to me.

        • by lgw (121541)

          You might be amazed how many classical CD titles there are - likely more than pop CD titles. Classical performers can be quite prolific, compared to pop performers, because they don't need to write each new piece (amazing what happens with out-of-copyright works and creativity). For a while the Academy of St Martin in the Fields orchestra was releasing around 30 CDs a year (they got quite good at the technical aspects of recording a CD). Luciano Paverotti lists about 90 titles on the discography on his w

    • You need high end audio equipment and acoustics to fully appreciate high dynamic range and the market for that is small. Most people want to be able to enjoy their favorite songs on their subpar equipment and the engineers give them what they want.

      Compressed dynamic range sounds better in car stereos, iPod ear buds and noisy bars, which is where the majority of consumers listen to music. It is annoying to have to adjust the volume mid song because I can't hear the soft parts.

    • by hey! (33014)

      The loudnesswar has killed virtually anything on a digital medium, resulting in a worse quality masters. Far worse than compressed phonogram recordings in the past.

      I recently purchased the MP3 of the original Broadway class album of Hair, which was record on May 6 1968. I could not believe how good these tracks sounded. Dynamic range was a big part of that. It's like we've forgotten that a piece of music can get louder and softer. The vocalists' performances really benefited from having that range to work with.

      I wonder whether the reason so many pop songs vocals are so overwrought, but only come out sounding like near-beer blues is that without the dimension of lou

    • by DrJimbo (594231) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @05:11PM (#38988787)

      The loudnesswar has killed virtually anything on a digital medium, [...] give us back the -12dB, then complain about our rooms.

      Alan Parsons Shares Lessons Learned During Legendary Career [prosoundweb.com] (from 4 years ago):

      But one of his biggest pieces of advice for students and anyone interested in recording now is not to join the loudness war.

      "Record labels want their records to sound louder than everyone else's so they compress the s--t out of them," he says. "It's terribly sad and I hope you will support me in resisting this concept.

      "If a song has dynamics and breathes then don't push it. If your record is quieter than someone else's then just turn it up with the volume knob!"

  • Audiophiles (Score:5, Funny)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:17PM (#38987013)

    Audiophiles are pretty much the dumbest group of people ever.
    No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.
    No, these cables don't sound "warm".

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:21PM (#38987093)

      ++ This. Too dumb to become a real geek? Then become an audiophile. All of the angry nerd posturing with none of that meddlesome knowledge.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:22PM (#38987119)

      I've found that cheaper cables taste better, especially with a little ketchup.

    • Re:Audiophiles (Score:5, Insightful)

      by John3 (85454) <john3.cornells@com> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:24PM (#38987143) Homepage Journal

      Probably trolling, but what the heck....

      There are certainly are noticeable differences in the sound produced by different speakers, different amplifiers, etc. However, if the source material is compressed and equalized so there is minimal dynamic range then the differences in sound from one setup to another will be less noticeable.

      • by sjames (1099)

        You may not be aware of the amazing phenomena he is referring to. Yes, there are differences in those various components, but what he is talking about are the people who are sure that only a $9000 speaker cable will do and that the human ear will perceive the difference between that and a good heavy zip cord. He is talking about the people who clip special piezoelectric rocks in a vial to their cables to suppress, well, something they're sure they otherwise hear. The people who actually believe that a speak

        • by John3 (85454) <john3.cornells@com> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:52PM (#38988509) Homepage Journal

          Those people.

          People who would buy this cable [amazon.com] for example. :)

        • Re:Audiophiles (Score:4, Insightful)

          by HornWumpus (783565) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:56PM (#38988583)

          Then GP should have said that.

          Instead he proved he was an idiot. Speakers are the most important and lowest performing part of any audio system.

          You talk about parts without measurable differences.

          He talks about parts with THD measured in whole % (speakers; yes I know THD isn't a great metric).

          Smart audiophiles spend about 65%+ of their money on speakers, 20% on amps, 10% on room accustics, 5% on everything else. They also reject the label to avoid being confused with the 'Black Mamba' 5K$ power cord idiots.

        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @05:15PM (#38988845) Homepage

          He is talking about the people who clip special piezoelectric rocks in a vial to their cables to suppress, well, something they're sure they otherwise hear.

          Piezoelectric rocks?

          WTF? I thought you were just making it up, but sadly, no. You can't make up [audioasylum.com] this sort of thing.

          Fact: Diamonds have good bass but rolled off highs

          Fact: Citrine follows in the similar sound quality.

          Fact: Amethyst has very good top end and upper midrange energy.

          Fact: Diamonds and most other crystals, are thermoluminescent, whereby the crystals pick up stray electrons, trapping them in their latticework, and can release them later along with a photon (QED). This fact is utilized by archeologists to date buried artifacts ( flint and other material normally not datable by carbon), by heating the crystals up to 900 degrees and having a photomultiplier present as they do so to count photons released. Apparently, exposure to even light purges the stray electrons within the crystal thus "resetting" the crystal back to zero, giving a rough time line as to when the crystal or rock was reburied., as the natural radiation i the earth "recharges" the crystal.

          Fact: Amethyst transforms itself into clear quartz when heated to 450 degrees C and into citrine when hated to 550 C.

          Fact: Clear quartz does not quite have the openness of amethyst.

          Fact: In addition to the trace amount of iron, amethysts are supposedly to obtain the darker shades of purple by exposure to natural radiation contained in the soil in which they are buried. The darkest shades seem to come from deeper within the earth.

          Speculation: Being that the piezo effect means that an EMI field hitting a piezo electric crystal can generate movement and thus help dissipate energy, could it be possible that the citrine and diamonds have their unique sound signature because they are absorbing some of the electrons?

          Perhaps amethysts have a lattice work which is "full" and thus more energy is transformed into mechanical motion. While some mineralogists warn that prolonged exposure to sunlight will bleach out the coloring of stones, most amethyst is fairly stable color wise.

          I have tried heating some matched amethyst beads with an alcohol lamp and have succeeded in creating clear and a slight citrine coloration. The experiment was interesting because I could listen to the purple application and then heat the crystals up and reevaluate. One caveat: the crystal can "pop" like popcorn and they are very hot! Theoretically, the crystals remain unchanged except for the application of heat. The molecular structure is supposedly unchanged, but there are distinct differences in color and in sound when applied, with the top end distinctly being rolled off.

          Incidentally, if you missed it over on Tweaks, sugar is also piezo electric and using a sugar cube certainly makes an effect. The cool thing about sugar cubes is that you can shape the cube and it most certainly has an effect upon the sound ( see the post on Tweaks for more information, a reply to FidPup's query about crystal alternatives).

    • Re:Audiophiles (Score:4, Informative)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:28PM (#38987207) Homepage

      Audiophiles are pretty much the dumbest group of people ever.
      No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.

      Um, you're dead wrong about that one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by torgis (840592)

        Audiophiles are pretty much the dumbest group of people ever. No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.

        Um, you're dead wrong about that one.

        Yeah, you're obviously using the wrong cable. If you had something like this [bestbuy.com] maybe you would have a different opinion.

        For the record, anyone that pays $1100 for an HDMI cable should be mauled by angry weasels.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Call me a moron, but I don't get why one would pay the extravagant prices for "audiophile" equipment.

      With the same cash, I can go get studio equipment, such as a good set of monitors with a subwoofer, a mixer, an amp, a parametic equalizer, a graph equalizer, and other rack equipment. Heck, with the price of some "audiophile" stuff, I can end up with a mixing deck, a top of the line keyboard, and enough cash left over to treat the room (kill standing waves, have proper bass traps at the corners, etc.)

      Addin

      • by gparent (1242548)

        But then aren't you just buying audiophile equipment but different one?

        I mean, I wouldn't go back to my $50 pair of Sony headphones I picked up at radio-shit 5 years ago after using A700s this entire time. Anyone who can't tell the difference is probably deaf, it's completely absurd to claim there is none.

        Realize that there is affordable audiophile equipment and some that is a lot more expensive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by maxwellmath (2453528)
      Just because YOU aren't able to distinguish the difference between a cheap speaker and expensive speaker does not mean that there isn't a noticable difference. Several things to consider:

      1. Is the quality of the source material good enough to make a difference? Crap quality audio will sound like crap on any speakers, no matter how expensive. However, if the source is of good quality (and some other conditions are true) then you can definately tell a difference.

      2. Is the sound of the room masking the
      • by jd (1658)

        Absolutely true on (1), though one of the other conditions how good your hearing is. I can hear just fine up to 24KHz, whereas many adults my age would have trouble hearing past 18KHz. That makes a vast difference in sound perception. The sound source and the speaker have to support the best hearing of those listening, but for cost reasons it's usually "better" for a record label to only support the worst hearing of those listening.

        (For those observing that CDs started at 44KHz, it is important to note that

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      The dumbest group of people ever is the one that bases their judgement on other groups of people solely on prejudice.

    • Re:Audiophiles (Score:5, Insightful)

      by demonbug (309515) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:01PM (#38987727) Journal

      Audiophiles are pretty much the dumbest group of people ever.
      No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.
      No, these cables don't sound "warm".

      There is a very significant difference between a $150 speaker and even a $500-$1,000 speaker. Not even approaching audiophile territory here, any random person you pick off the street who isn't deaf is going to be able to tell the difference. Stupid audiophile territory starts a little higher; once you get to around $5,000 plus or minus a couple thousand, yeah, you're into the realm of rapidly diminishing returns and you probably aren't going to hear any difference unless you really look for it.

      Agree about the cables, though - that is just dumb.

      All that said, I think the point Mr. Parsons was trying to make is that a lot of people will pour money into their speakers, cables, amps, turntables, etc. but totally ignore the room they are in. There's absolutely no point in my trying to put together an ultra-high-end system because I use it in a room that also has a refrigerator, often times AC or heater running, people walking around, noise coming in from the street, no attention to acoustics, etc. Basically, no matter how perfect the system is, the listening environment is sub-optimal. Unless you spend the money to install some acoustically perfect and isolated listening environment (basically, a recording studio), it makes absolutely no sense to spend tens of thousands of dollars chasing those last tenths of a percent of performance. And if you do install such a room, then I'd have to agree with one of the other commenters - at this point you are more interested in listening to your system than you are interested in listening to music.

  • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:20PM (#38987069)

    In other news, Bose, Monster Cable, Bang & Olufsen and other brands announce a entirely new line of room acoustics kits for the audiophile. The kits will be sold for tens of thousands of euros, and are specially engineered for those who wants to hear those bitstreams as if the mp3s were coming directly from the sound studio.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:20PM (#38987087)

    I think what perhaps critics donâ(TM)t appreciate is that there is a lot of luck in getting a good sound. It's not all about the equipment, spectral response and compressing. It's all about the quality of the musicianship, the songwriting and the sound reaching the microphone ... that's crucial. It's often been said, "garbage in means garbage out," so if that's the case you wonâ(TM)t get a good sound.

    All true, Mr. Parsons, and entirely beside the point. Music lovers care about the music, but they're listening to you because you're exceptionally talented. They love your music so much they're even willing listen to put up with crappy 128kbps encodes on YouTube.

    But we're not talking about music lovers here, we're talking about audiophiles.

    Audiophiles don't use their equipment to listen to your music. Audiophiles use your music to listen to their equipment.

  • Damn it! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by r1348 (2567295) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:23PM (#38987139)
    You slashdotted the site before i could read the second part of the interview! Do you know how BAD that feels? Also, the guy seems very reasonable an pacate, and this is a blatantly inflamatory title. Can we tag titles "-1 Flamebait"?
  • by koan (80826)

    With everything he said.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:34PM (#38987313)

    I want an AC3 file (or whatever) with all the sound tracks split. Vocals, back up vocals, each instrument, etc on it's own track.

  • by sqldr (838964) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:42PM (#38987437)

    Sorry Dr Dre, but having you design speakers is like having an acoustics geek make a hip-hop record.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:50PM (#38987567) Homepage

    IF they spent $100.00 on the fricking room they would make more of an increase in sound than $10,000 in gear.

    Problem is Audiophiles, the type that read Audiophile magazine and Buy bullshit like B&W are not looking for sound quality, they are trying to show "HOW RICH I AM"

    My home theater I built in the basement only tapers from front to back by 1 foot. the rear wall is 1 foot narrower than the front and the ceiling also tapers by that much. Floor is flat except for the riser. This cost me NOTHING extra in the build out.

    I then covered the walls in cheap carpet tile and the ceiling is simply a drop ceiling with 3" of fiberglass batts laying on top of them for weight and more sound control (so I cant hear the wife stomping around upstairs)

    It sounds better than the $200,000 theater rooms I have installed for rich people. Because I have reduced the room nodes significantly by eliminating parallel walls. (rear is parallel to front, but I have bass traps back there.)

  • by steveha (103154) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:03PM (#38987763) Homepage

    Audiophiles are not known for using controlled, double-blind testing. That's a problem, because you can actually control a lot about how you hear things. In short, if you expect something to sound different, you can actually hear a difference; not imagine you hear a difference, actually hear a difference.

    JJ Johnston gave a presentation, Why Do We Hear What We Hear? [aes.org]. (PowerPoint, but LibreOffice should open it just fine.) If you look at slides 14 and 16 you will see him explaining the above points.

    With double-blind testing, the audiophile will not be able to tell the difference between a $2 cable from monoprice.com and a $1000 cable from some audiophile scam web site. Without the double-blind, a confident audiophile will hear differences that favor the expensive cable.

    The crazy thing, and I'm not making this up, is that some audiophiles claim that double-blind testing "doesn't work". They claim that you introduce errors that mask the superiority of the expensive equipment.

    P.S. If you would like to have quality audio gear, and you would like to see the gear tested scientifically, you have to check out the NorthWest AV Guy [blogspot.com] blog. He bought a $1000+ DAC/amplifier that audiophiles like and that tests well objectively, and then he designed a very inexpensive headphone amp that in double-blind testing cannot be distinguised from the expensive one... and he open-sourced the design; you can build one if you like, or buy one pre-built. He uses professional test gear, and for example he showed that the Sansa Clip really is a good-sounding media player (which plays Ogg Vorbis and FLAC, by the way). Check it out. (And NWAudioGuy, if I ever meet you in person, I'll buy you lunch or something.)

    steveha

    • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:32PM (#38988233) Homepage

      The crazy thing, and I'm not making this up, is that some audiophiles claim that double-blind testing "doesn't work". They claim that you introduce errors that mask the superiority of the expensive equipment.

      But they're right. The problem is not with the audiophiles, but with the testing.

      A _proper_ double-blind test would involve you, the tester, telling the test subject the names of two competing brands of audio equipment, but not their price. The subject would then hold lengthy conversations with his peers about how much better the equipment makes everything sound without ever plugging it in. Whichever brand leaves him feeling more superior at the end of the test is clearly better.

      If you're just going to bring stupid crap like listening to music into it then you're completely missing the point and your testing methodology is doomed to failure.

  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@nosPAm.hotmail.com> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:11PM (#38987887) Homepage

    I must disagree about this point:

    It would be ridiculous for me to make a Jonas Brothers record using the techniques and procedures I normally use. The techniques used to make many modern pop records involve a lot of compression and that’s what those consumers want, according to the labels. A lot of the processing that audiophiles criticize is a style thing and part of the music itself.

    Crushed dynamic range and signal clipping are not a "style" or "part of the music itself". They are production errors. They are defects. If done in purpose, they are a sign of defective thinking -- "it has to be as loud as the latest #1" rather than "it has to sound as good as possible".

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:16PM (#38987969)

    I know an audiophile and so am privy to that world. They do care quite a lot about room acoustics, contrary to what this guy is saying. Also, serious audiophiles don't just go out and buy the most expensive equipment available. Serious audiophiles obsess over what to buy before they actually get it. The ones who go out and buy the most expensive equipment are poseurs who want something they can brag about. A lot of them are very technically inclined. I knew this guy who was an engineer and actually built his own speakers.

  • by steveha (103154) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:17PM (#38987983) Homepage

    $300 power cord containing $15 worth of parts:
    http://gizmodo.com/371536/300-audiophile-grade-power-cable-is-really-worth-15 [gizmodo.com]

    $1000 power cord on sale for a mere $750:
    http://www.essentialsound.com/essence-power-cord/index.htm [essentialsound.com]

    $2000 power cord:
    http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/125/24045 [dedicatedaudio.com]

    $695 cable for digital signals... that's right, a $700 S/PDIF cord:
    http://www.lessloss.com/digital-cables-c-70.html?zenid=l5tu6jq73toh5mk09a315pkid0 [lessloss.com]

    Machina Dynamica. Oh man. I really wonder if the guy running this site even believes in his own products, or if he is gleefully exploiting the gullible. Products include "The Clever Little Clock" which seems to be an ordinary travel alarm clock with magical powers, "The Super Intelligent Chip" which not only improves the sound of your CDs, but does so permanently (by altering the structure of the CD in some hand-waving "quantum" fashion), his new product, "The Quantum Temple Bell", a decorated bell you walk around your house ringing and your audio sounds better, and my favorite "The Teleportation Tweak" where he calls you and plays magical tones through your phone, and your audio sounds better afterward.
    http://www.machinadynamica.com/ [machinadynamica.com]

    steveha

  • I don't listen to the radio. My friends post YouTube suggestions of artists they like. I check them out, and if I like them, I buy their music.

    Music sales are up in the digital age and some point don't seem to understand that.

  • Better Summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by fibonacci8 (260615) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @05:37PM (#38989123)
    Alan Parsons thinks the music industry should focus on producing quality music before and during the recording phases, instead of worrying about distribution formats that package music after the fact.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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