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Deep Listening: Why Audio Quality Matters

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Deep Listening (w/video) interesting panel discussion of industry professionals. Includes a wide range of opinions.

Steve Berkowitz is Senior Vice President of Sony Music's Legacy Records.

Greg Calbi worked on such 70's classics as John Lennon's "Walls and Bridges", David Bowie's "Young Americans" and Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." ...The Ramones, The Talking Heads and Patti Smith. In his wide-ranging career, he has mastered music by Paul Simon, James Taylor, U2, Norah Jones, Bad Brains, The Beastie Boys, John Mayer, and Emmylou Harris, among many others.

Evan Cornog is now Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Publisher of Columbia Journalism Review.

Michael Fremer is a senior contributing editor at Stereophile magazine.

Kevin Killen has spent the last 29 years compiling an impressive list of credentials among the premier pop artists in the music industry, including Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello, Kate Bush, Jewel, Bon Jovi, U2, Bryan Ferry, Lorenna McKennit, and Duncan Sheik.

Craig Street is a record producer who has worked with a host of artists, including Norah Jones, k.d. lang, Cassandra Wilson, Chris Whitley, John Legend, and The Gypsy Kings.


(Searched Head-Fi and didn't find a previous posting...)
post #2 of 13
It's a good video, however it is pretty long. I wish I could find a higher-quality one.... I'm friends with one of the panelists, and he sent me the video just after the discussion was completed.

Good stuff!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yes, it is long, but I was intrigued enough to finish. Well known battles are touched on. Though more interesting discussion is on ambience during recording and playback.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFerrier View Post
Yes, it is long, but I was intrigued enough to finish. Well known battles are touched on. Though more interesting is discussion on ambience during recording and playback.
I'd agree. I'd like to sit-in on a discussion with any of those gentlemen.
post #5 of 13
I didn't watch the video, but I'm going to comment on it anyways.

I think high audio quality is a must for more delicate, intricate music like symphonies and what not, but if you're listening to blaring rave techno/rap, you'll be alright with a 128kbps track. *twitches* Ewwwww mp3s!!!
post #6 of 13
This is a great video!
post #7 of 13
Geez, what I wouldn't give to sit down and talk music with Greg Calbi…me and everybody else, I s'pose.

Chris Whitley (R.I.P.) could really play, but I don't think he made great records. I wish Craig Street had brought the workshop tracks he produced for Norah Jones' first album…I've always been curious about those.

Steve Berkowitz has told that story about 'Round About Midnight alot, and it's always funny.

I don't think Sufjan Stevens has 50 states worth of good musical ideas in him (that Brooklyn Academy of Music thing that Michael Fremer missed was a drag…I was there), but Illinois is a fine album.

I think Kevin Killen played the one decent track on that Bacharach/Costello disc.
post #8 of 13
Thanks for this link! It was long, but well worth it. Getting the insights of these gentlemen was 2 1/2 hours well spent. In particular, their comments on how we only sample music now and don't "feel" it as we used to was dead on. And the loudness wars is a common topic which they understood very well.

However, one of the things that I found interesting were the comments I actually disagreed with. Example: Their constant bashing of DAP's, but only mentioning iPod's (again, that iPod = MP3 player mentality. The Zune was mentioned once, but as a joke). I found it interesting that they mentioned the subway several times as their judgment on what people do with their DAPs - there are many other places that people listen to music than a subway car - they need their music loud, but that doesn't mean everyone does. And vinyl were mentioned repeatedly as superior, but the reality is that it's much harder for the average consumer to go that route. I personally hated vinyl when I was young, because of the maintenance needed. Also, the average consumer is also not going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on audio equipment - not because they don't want to, but because they can't afford it. This is a reality that is not going away - we need a solution that sounds great, but also has the portability and convenience that vinyl lacks.

Interestingly enough, it was only at the very end that I saw a glimmer of hope for the poor digital world, via the eventual commercialization of lossless audio. But that conversation was cut short.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by roebeet View Post
I found it interesting that they mentioned the subway several times as their judgment on what people do with their DAPs - there are many other places that people listen to music than a subway car - they need their music loud, but that doesn't mean everyone does.

Interestingly enough, it was only at the very end that I saw a glimmer of hope for the poor digital world, via the eventual commercialization of lossless audio. But that conversation was cut short.
Good point about the subway…that might show a bit of NYC bias on the part of the panelists, since most live in the New York area. Also, I've never been interested in SACDs, but the conversation got me curious about them—even though that technology is toast at this point.

Tangentially, I was struck by the conversation about ambience, about how artists employ engineers, producers, whatever to recreate the sound of, say, a concert hall, party or bedroom. What this means is that they kinda understand intuitively that audiences experience music in a visceral, sensual, associative way that has a lot to do with memory, and sometimes may have little to do with the music itself. What I sometimes wonder is whether or not this feels restrictive creatively...I can remember talking to the guitarist Derek Bailey about records once, and he remembered how different and freewheeling live gigs were before people got totally acquainted with recorded music and LPs, i.e., before they had a musical "snapshot" in their minds. He felt that once folks starting coming to shows after hearing records, musicians were then expected to play what was on the records rather than explore. Bailey was known as a free improviser later in life, but for nearly 25 years he was a much sought-after session guitarist around London. Interestingly enough, in hindsight his later work might be seen as a reaction to the perceived expectations.
post #10 of 13
Great link, thanks.
post #11 of 13
Very enlightening. 2 1/2 hours well spent. Thanks.
post #12 of 13
I definitely agree with what's been said on the panel

"Super Audio CD was the closest we ever get to the master tape"

"I never thought 16 bit 44k was good enough."

"SACD is so many orders of magnitudes better than red book CD."
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tru blu View Post
Chris Whitley (R.I.P.) could really play, but I don't think he made great records.
Dirt Floor is great album IMHO, the high resolution recording sounds perfect on DX1000
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