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October 03, 2010

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Bill Kirchner

You're right, of course, about the Japanese, but no surprise: mp3s and downloads have led American consumers to accept inferior sound technology as a norm.

Ed Leimbacher

Even covers master Burt Goldblatt designed a few dogs. I just hope he wasn't a blue dog Demo too.

David

The popularity of "hi-fi" recording was a natural outgrowth of those old scratchy mono 78s. When I was growing up it was a point of pride to have a formidable stereo system (for males.) One college roommate had four unmatched pairs of speakers connected to his. This didn't improve the sound, but it sure looked impressive. Nowadays everyone listens to mp3s through cheap earbuds, and live music is so loud that you can't hear it. Hi-fi will come back into fashion when everyone has a multi-megabyte connection and stores their music on a cloud.

Rab Hines

It has become a commonplace observation that this generation is the first to make popular and pay for a sonically degraded product - the mp3. Mp3s have the 'virtue' of taking up less hard drive (and iPod) space than a wav file which replicates a CD quality.

Then it becomes a cycle. Many remasters, like the RVG series, merely amplify and boost the signal - they are louder, and folk take this as a better sounding product, but as many audiophiles note (and bewail) the ranges are flat and clipped.

Compare any TOCJ release with any Van Gelder remaster - they are worlds apart. There is - somewhere in blogland - a great article by Barry Diament about this trend; a Google search will probably bring it up.

John P. Cooper

I love Tony Curtis' minimalistic tenor solo on RUNNIN' WILD in SOME LIKE IT HOT.

John P. Cooper

Bad sound on reissues -

It would always amaze me when a major company like RCA would reissued big band sides from the 30s and 40s using half-baked transfers done in the 1950s. Poor condition copies where they would try and hide the scratches by killing off the high end....and they did this with major artists like Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.

BUT when the reissued obscure artists that had not been reissued before, the sound quality was fantastic b/c they had no poor transfers to draw upon and had to start from 'scratch'.

jOhn Cooper

David

Rab comments, "Many remasters...merely amplify and boost the signal - they are louder, and folk take this as a better sounding product." The main way they make these sound louder is by compressing the dynamic range. The rock group "Metalica" actually got some criticism for reducing the dynamic range on their latest release to essentially zero. When you're trying to maintain a reputation as the world's loudest band, this is what it ultimately leads to.

Phil kelly

Marc:

Since the record "industry " is far more interested in selling sonically inferior mp3
"downloads" ( never mind the musical quality of the actual content being offered ), Those of us who insist on better audio quality are increasingly out of luck . The over compressed
electropop material bought by teenagers ( who comprised the vast majority of music consumers
these days ) and delivered thru earbuds and iPods further make audio quality a moot point.

On another note, I obviously find nothing odd about using cute dogs on ones CD covers ( as is evidenced by my latest Origin release -Baallet of the Bouncing Beagles )

www.philkellymusic.com

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  • Marc Myers writes frequently on music and the arts for the Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (University of California Press). In 2012, JazzWax was named the Jazz Journalists Association's "Blog of the Year."
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