"With the hundreds of articles I have been reading on the changes in media
distribution (literally hundreds and is this a REALLY big surprise??) I have
not read one - not one - that makes any mention of the fact that the quality
of the recordings being distributed by download are significantly compressed
and poorer then those distributed on media."
Here's one such article, by the way. It ran Monday in the Boston Globe.
lers_offering_downloads_with_sound_quality_that_rivals_a_cds/ More music dealers offering
downloads with sound quality that rivals a CD's
By Hiawatha Bray
Globe Staff / January 28, 2008
Internet music retailers offer millions of tunes, in every genre from opera
to hip-hop to Palestinian folk songs. But it's still hard to find online
music that sounds good on a $10,000 stereo system.
Online music sellers like Apple Inc. and Amazon.com use digital compression
technologies to shrink the sizes of music files, making them easier to store
and download. But compression also hollows out the music, eliminating many
of the sonic subtleties cherished by hardcore audiophiles. That's why many
finicky music lovers won't sully their ears with today's downloadable tunes
and are clamoring for something better.
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From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Jim Lindner
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 8:54 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] The "dumbing down" of Downloaded Recordings
Is it just me who wonders about this? With the hundreds of articles I have been reading on the
changes in media distribution (literally hundreds and is this a REALLY big surprise??) I have
not read one - not one - that makes any mention of the fact that the quality of the recordings
being distributed by download are significantly compressed and poorer then those distributed on
media. Of course it does not have to be this way - there is no reason why .wav files could not
be being downloaded instead of AAC or MP3 - but no one seems to care - at all.
I figure that if anywhere - the members on this list should care. I don't get it - why aren't
people complaining? Has our benchmark for quality become Apple Ipod earbuds? Tell me it isn't
so. While people are spending untold thousands on Krell's and esoteric speakers what we are
witnessing here is a recording media and quality implosion and I for one am concerned that
getting a recording that is of the former relatively high (ok we can debate that but this is not
the real point) quality of recordings on CD will become an impossibility in the not too distant
future. How come there aren't a bunch of audiophiles - or professionals - or both - speaking up
and saying to the downloading public and to the distributors - hey wait a minute - if I am
paying the same prices for downloading as I am for physical media - the least you can do is give
me the same quality.
All I hear is - silence. To me this is a HUGE threat - even short term - to what you are going
to be able to listen to, and the quality of what you will be able to listen to.
So, members of ARSC - I ask you - to discuss this - and - OK I will say it - as an
organization - take an actual position on this subject - let the world know that this is a BIG
issue. That is right - I am actually advocating for standing up and talking out loud - not to
our group but to the rest of the planet. If we are not going to take a stand on this - what
will we take a stand on? Get some manufacturers behind you - you know the Krell and "monster
cable" kind of folk that have lots of marketing smarts - because there really isn't any point
in spending thousands of dollars on esoteric gear when the quality of the recordings will not
let you hear it anyhow. They have allot to lose also. What we are talking about here is the
dumbing down - the AAC'ing of all distributed music and I for one think this is an issue. Does
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