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Does Sound Quality Matter?

Posted by - 08:09 AM on 01/23/09
Do musicians care about sound quality more than audiophiles?

Submitted by CyberInferno
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 45
08:18 AM on 01/23/09
just working on my soul punk opera
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therookielot's Avatar
I know metallica doesn't
08:22 AM on 01/23/09
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08:23 AM on 01/23/09
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jrtbighurt's Avatar
I know metallica doesn't
08:30 AM on 01/23/09
Next Show: Jack's Mannequin NYC 2/3
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ACA's Avatar
God damn AP. I had typed up a long response and it didn't post.

Long story short:

- 95% of my friends can't hear the difference between 128 and 256.
- the only ones who can were heavily involved in the illegal trafficking of advances/promos/etc early in this decade where you HAD to learn
- about a quarter of my friends are musicians and very few of them have any idea
- it's because an entire culture/generation was raised on (old)Napster and (old)Napster-styled P2P such as Kazaa, Limewire, etc where 128 is most common

I know "professional" DJs (ie, they book regularly at weddings, bars, etc) who have 100s of gigs of music that is no higher than 128. No one cares. No one notices. People use shitty iPod earphones (they are absolute garbage, it boggles my mind how people use them). People use FM devices to play their iPods through their radios. There is no dynamic in (most) music anymore.. everything is peaked out, fighting for your attention every second of every song. "Louder is better."

08:33 AM on 01/23/09
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Ha ha. I can tell you that for the most part the answer is no.

Besides, musicians who DO obsess about sound quality ARE audiophiles, so I guess the question is kind of flawed in the first place.
08:37 AM on 01/23/09
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anthony_jr's Avatar
Writing, creating, and recording music [correctly] is more complex than most people could even imagine. While home-sound audiophiles might care about the sound that they're reproducing through their stereos/theaters, you have to keep in mind that they are only dealing with two channels (left and right) of a final product.

Artists and engineers alike have many different channels / tracks to work with then putting together a recording. Having tools ranging from compression to EQ to panning to reverb makes the recording process a bigger "mathematical equation" for the ears.

Honestly though, without musicians perfecting their sound in the studio - where would audiophiles be?
08:38 AM on 01/23/09
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oh...rly's Avatar
People use shitty iPod earphones (they are absolute garbage, it boggles my mind how people use them).

Haha. I know exactly what you mean. The fact is, when you listen to music through those shitty ipod headphones, you aren't going to hear the small details that you are supposed to hear. And sometimes those small details are what make the song so much better.
08:40 AM on 01/23/09
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oh...rly's Avatar
Oh, and don't even get me started on these damn speakers that are built in to the macbook. These things are absolute shit.
08:47 AM on 01/23/09
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ryanhorizons's Avatar
hah thats funny shit and NOT true. i work at a record studio and none of my clients care about my 1/2 inch tape machine that sits in the corner. no musician can pick out 800hz or even 3khz with a high Q. people are dumb these days
08:48 AM on 01/23/09
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zFrog's Avatar
It matters to me... I used to believe that high volume in my ipod = better sound, I was quite surprised when my mom got me those sennheiser headphones and everything sounded so clear with a low volume

I care about sound quality because without it, I have to raise the volume and my ears kinda hurt, plus I don't get to hear all the little details that make me love music even more and that's why I end up buying more cd's and vinyls, unless I have a decent rip of an album I won't download it, I've dismissed so many albums (I ended up loving after) because of it, it's not even funny

I am no audiophile by the way
08:54 AM on 01/23/09
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09:12 AM on 01/23/09
brokenharmonics.bandcamp. com
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AndrewCloer's Avatar
i'm huge on speakers with lots of bass, and bad quality songs sometimes annoy me.

i like the music better in high quality, but i can handle it without it.
09:22 AM on 01/23/09
James Shotwell
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Sound quality is key. I mean, in the current age, kids are stealing rips of low quality streams and calling them ok. That's so freaking lame. For starters, musicians craft a piece of art for you to hear and they want it to be heard as they intended. As quality lowers, that initial piece is put through a freaking combine and you get a shallow version of the rea product. Then kids bitch about how something sounds or wish it would be heavier or deeper with bass, well, that is not the problem, the problem is your rip. Coming from someone who does reviews, streams can be deceitful and if they aren't, the rips are. I have the new Thursday via private stream and it sound 3x better than the pathetic rip. There's nuances, especially with bands like thursday that you need final product to enjoy. Sure, cds are still peaked odd, but its better.

I know we can't converrt everyone to vinyl and 320 mp3s, but I hope to God teens and others learn to expect more from their "favorite bands" (which is a joke since most steal from them). If you want to steal shitty rips, might as well have the tracking version of the album because all that effort to give you the best product (not to mention money) is going to waste.

To me, sound is key. Yes, peaking everything and using the "wall of sound" idea that Spector made popular can be enjoyable simply because of the loudness factor, but thought out leveling and effects are what make an album memorable.

Consider "californication." They went for all peaks and it sounds like crap during parts of the record. Its too much. On the other hand, tracks underdone sound like crap. Yes, there is something memorable about poor quality debuts ("blue skies, broken hearts (though not a debut)," "your favorite weapon,") but in the long run, people want quality.

I think people think the want quantity over quality, but we know that's not true in the long run. So your band has 30 songs ready - who cares if it sounds like crap.
09:25 AM on 01/23/09
James Shotwell
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In addition, to the comment about djs wit 128 music. That is fine because their job and purpose is not to give you the little nuances of "the devil and god are raging inside." The purpose of their music is to make you shake your ass. Most the music in their collection is recorded completely peaked. There is no magic to be found underneath because there is no underneath. Its straightforward, dance or die music. Top 40 is not the place for audiophiles. However, some groups do break through.

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