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Old 1st January 2005, 03:51 PM   #1
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Default Bad recordings. Could they care less?

Many audiophiles agree, the quality of todays recordings, especially cd's, are terrible. But could the recording companies care less? How about the majority of the cd purchasers?
Back in my high school days, almost 30 years ago, I noticed a phenomenon. The kids would return from the latest live concert and discuss not the music... but the costumes, lightshow and special effects, and stage antics of their favorite "artists". No mention of the music.
I notice a similar trend to this day. When I'm at work they listen to country music. Other than the occasional "nice voice" comment, they talk about the personallity, ie, how the singer dresses, their marital status, life history, etc. Sort of like discussing soap opera stars( hack).
My point is, the recording industry has obviously picked up on this. It's where the interest is. It's where the money is. Or as an earlier poster to this forum put it, "Where have all the ugly singers with great musical talent gone?"
And if the "sound" is secondary to the "show", why should the recording companies care about sound quality at all? Heck, those cds are just gonna be played on a $75 boom box anyways!
Audiophiles... You're in the minority.
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Old 1st January 2005, 04:03 PM   #2
Duo is offline Duo  Canada
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Boy oh boy what a minority. I personally don't know more than about three or four people who have a true interest in the quality of a musical reproduction. I certainly agree that many recordings have, at best, satisfactory sonic qualities. It's tricky sifting through what's good and what isn't.

I am, however, one of those who still has more respect for the music itself than just the quality of its recording. I do admire a quality recording though.
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Old 1st January 2005, 04:18 PM   #3
sweet is offline sweet  United States
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I'm one who is also in the minority...however I believe after reading through this BB I think you might find it a majority here.

Most CD's don't even start out with quality let alone wants it goes through someones sound equipment. I look at a Factory made CD with a frequency analizer and watch the drop offs at 18k or less. The same album on Vinyl on the analizer goes well above 23k. t's not that cds' aren't can not reproduce the same it's just cheaper to run off inferior sonics.
All of this of course is just MHO.

We haven't even gotten into the crappy music itself yet. half of what I hear now a days is electronicly enhanced Bass. I try to tell my kids bass should be "Thump Thump" not "Hummm Humm"

This subject hits a sore spot with me.
enough of my rambling on...once again IMHO

Steve
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Old 1st January 2005, 06:39 PM   #4
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Unfortunately, all we can do here is moan and groan. I've recently added about 100 CDs to my rock collection and I'm appalled by the quality.

I often hear some of the same tunes on the soundtracks of movies, both VHS and DVD, and they sound great. So, at least in some cases, it's not the recording but in the mastering. I guess the film industry can pay enough to have a song remastered.

There would be no way to appeal to the music industry except through the performers. Does anyone know how we could go about getting something done? I'd write letters to bands if I knew their addresses.
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Old 1st January 2005, 07:04 PM   #5
Hennie is offline Hennie  South Africa
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Bill, you touched on something there that I've noticed too. I've heard snippets of sound on some DVD's that sound quite natural. To me it sounds like the unnatural eq and compression present on CD is absent on some DVD's. Maybe a treble emphasis, but that is all.

On their website TACT recommended the use of the parametric equalizer in their room correction unit to get rid of the so-called "presence band" emphasis on most CD's. I tend to agree with that, for me the most obvious problem with CD sound quality is this excessive presence band emphasis and compression.

CD seems to be mastered for radio, but DVD has a different target audience and often sounds more natural because of this.
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Old 1st January 2005, 07:05 PM   #6
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It's about demographics.

Sting and Diana Krall not only have excellent recordings, masters and pressings, but also release in high resolution. Their audience is not only older but (on average) wealthier. It doesn't always translate, but more money usually means that a Bose system is in the house. As much as "we" malign the Lifestyle systems, they are still better than just about everything in the under $500 category.

Sadly, the 18-34 crowd is also the under $500 demographic. Guess what? That's where the audience is for Britney and Jay-Z. If I were most record producers in the Pop category, I wouldn't spend the bucks when I know the music will be played on equipment that cost less than the hourly rate for the sound engineers.

Of course, I wouldn't be like most since I hold to the basic tenet of garbage in -> garbage out. Probably why I don't do it for a living, I wouldn't be making any money. Clean, accurate and dynamic maybe... but not profitable.

:)ensen.
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Old 1st January 2005, 07:10 PM   #7
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Hey, if you have any CDs or DVDs that are particularly bad, add them to this thread.

What's the worst audio you heard recently?

I'm hoping it turns into a list of "buyer beware" software.

:)ensen.
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Old 1st January 2005, 07:14 PM   #8
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It just occured to me... maybe the THX label is actually forcing better masters for movie sound. My thought is that even those movies without the certification have to be better just because of the proliferation of THX rated equipment. The soundtrack engineers take the original tracks and re-master them for the film and they end up sounding better than the CD release because the typical home theatre components are still better than little cheap mini-systems.

:)ensen.
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Old 1st January 2005, 07:57 PM   #9
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Unless there is something I don't know about, I have trouble believing that it's a financial issue.

The extra cost of producing a good sounding CD will be amortized over the sales life of an album. With a lot of rock, that's going to be 500,000 copies. No one will have a problem if the retail of a CD goes up by $.10. If even one penny of that dime gets back into corporate coffers it will easily pay for the excess cost of good production.

The kids won't care, we'll be happy and corporate won't feel a loss.

But, as always, there's more.

If a kid has a favorite bad sounding CD and listens to it on a good system it will still sound crappy in most respects. So where is the motivation for them to think in terms of quality and equipment upgrades? They stay stuck in the boom box rut and sales of quality gear remain low. It's a vicious cycle.

Seems to me that if artists and manufacturers of decent equipment got together and insisted on quality software, a win win situation could arise.

But what do I know? I'm just another dumb schmuck from Oregon.
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Old 1st January 2005, 08:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by purplepeople
Hey, if you have any CDs or DVDs that are particularly bad, add them to this thread.
No need. There is a thread for good sounding CDs and that serves the purpose better if only it were used more frequently. I'd like to see more entrys in the rock/pop area. That's where the **** poor quality is.

However, in keeping with the spirit of this I offer as particularly bad:

Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand

It's gotten rave reviews for musical content but I can't listen to it.
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