WSJ article on suffering audio quality
Mar 1, 2006 at 2:49 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

bmclaurin

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While enjoying my daily morning ritual of great coffee while scanning a crisp copy of the Wall Street Journal, I noticed one of the banner headlines across the top of page A1, Breathing Life Back Into the Hi-Fi: How the iPod era is hurting sound quality--and how to fix it. Here is a link to the article, which actually appears in the Personal Journal section, on page D1. Note that the WSJ Online is a subscription service, so I cannot guarantee the link will work for you if you're not a subscriber, but I think it will.

There was also a separate article on page D1, Apple Goes Hi-Fi, that discusses Apple's announcement yesterday of its new speaker system for the iPod.

Most folks here probably won't find a whole lot in either of these articles to be new news to them, but I like it when things like audio quality, that we hold so near and dear to our hearts, get mainstream coverage and attention.
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 4:35 PM Post #2 of 9

nickd75

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It's interesting to actually see a major newspaper picking up on it. Previously I've seen a lot of antipodeans with just MP3 files, and a 'you want the CD? What for?' attitude. Partly I think it's the travel part (although they've settled here, a lot of stuff, including CDs, is left at home). But also Kiwis, in particular, are early adopters.

Personally I just think it takes some of the experience out of music. Sounds like cr@p, but I like pulling out the CD, putting it in the tray and waiting for it to spin up. I've avoided vinyl so far (because I know it'd be a very expensive habit), but by all accounts that's even more interactive.

Nick
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 4:56 PM Post #3 of 9

Rock&Roll Ninja

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The article has a link to MusicGiants.com , a download service with CD quality sound I was unaware of. Only to go there and find they use Windows Media.

Guess I'll keep buying those CDs!
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 5:09 PM Post #4 of 9

AlanY

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It's nice to see an article on this topic, but it's a fairly mediocre article. There's no mention of the loudness race or increasing compression/digital clipping on mainstream CDs. The main argument seems to be that lossy music compression sounds "worse", but it's not clear that's really true, except at low bitrates. A little less transparent, sure, but the main reason audio quality is so poor is because mainstream material has so little dynamic range (thanks to the loudness race) and a very brittle, digital sound (thanks to excessive processing in things like ProTools).
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 6:21 PM Post #5 of 9

FenderP

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rock&Roll Ninja
The article has a link to MusicGiants.com , a download service with CD quality sound I was unaware of. Only to go there and find they use Windows Media.

Guess I'll keep buying those CDs!



It's WMA Lossless, so same difference really.
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 6:59 PM Post #6 of 9

ScubaSteve87

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Quote:

Originally Posted by FenderP
It's WMA Lossless, so same difference really.



can you convert from WMA to ALAC or to WAV? I use ALAC and would use this if I could get the files out of WMA format
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 7:36 PM Post #7 of 9

AlanY

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ScubaSteve87
can you convert from WMA to ALAC or to WAV? I use ALAC and would use this if I could get the files out of WMA format


Not easily, because of the DRM restrictions on the WMA Lossless files. There are however programs that do allow you to do this by simulating a virtual soundcard and saving the bits to WAV, but discussion of these things is prohibited on Head-Fi.
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 8:15 PM Post #8 of 9

The_X

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If you burned those WMA lossless files to CD, there's nothing to stop you from ripping into FLAC or MP3 or whatever, right? Sounds like a very cool deal even though my main computer is a Mac. I could download them from my PC, burn to CD, and then rip them to my mp3 player and my Mac. Selection kind of sucks, though. They have a decent amount of major label stuff but no independent music as far as I can see.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 12:50 AM Post #9 of 9

fewtch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by The_X
If you burned those WMA lossless files to CD, there's nothing to stop you from ripping into FLAC or MP3 or whatever, right?


But you can't burn DRM'ed music files to "music CD" format, unless you're allowed to by the DRM.
 

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