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brokentulsa
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PostSubject: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:34 pm

Interesting article....
http://www.wired.com/2012/02/why-neil-young-hates-mp3-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/
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corplhicks
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:08 pm

Old news, really. He just recently opted his 60's and 70's body of work, as well as his most recent albums, out of Spotify.
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muckie
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:31 am

I'm more of an OGG Vorbis kind of person, myself.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:33 pm

While Neil can be a bit of a... person I tend to disagree strongly with on some topics, this is one area where I'm on board with him.

That said, all the talk about "boo hoo, iPods sound like crap" kind of miss the fact that there has yet to be a successor to the iPod with more capacity for those larger files. I have two, myself: one with 120gb and one with 160gb (the latter was bought right before they discontinued them) and I listen to all my stuff in lossless, so it can be done. Even the Pono tips off at something like 128gb, but they get around it because half of that capacity is on a MicroSD card and, because you can technically swap those out, it sort of means you have UNLIMITED CAPACITY (if you want to buy and carry around a handful of storage chips the size of a thumbnail).

Seems like an engineering fail to me.
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muckie
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:24 am

I myself have a Sansa Clip + with 8gb built in and a 32GB microSD plugged in with all my current rips. I do not really notice as many subtle difference in most music as the average audiophile, but may at least notice more than a casual listener. Still, I don't need audiophile music. A lot of early recordings from the 20s (think Hoagy Carmichael's stuff) show their age in terms of the noise on the masters, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy them any less.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Thu Sep 10, 2015 4:18 pm

I'd never say that MP3s are unlistenable, but I've done enough A/B comparisons between MP3 and FLAC to know that you can't quite tell which acts will respond better to "lossy" compression than others and I'd rather have a pretty fair assumption that all of my rips are as high in fidelity as the source material allows.

Case in point, I listened to a Tangerine Dream track in 320 MP3 and the track in question opened with a long synth drone. When compared to a FLAC version ripped from the same CD, there was a set of harmonics totally lopped off from that drone in the beginning. Ditto for lower frequency stuff in other "band" recordings from the 70s and 80s. On the other hand, getting an A/B of Devin Townsend's Ki album didn't really reveal much of a difference barring some REALLY subtle drum reverb and a wee small bit of bass response added back in on the FLAC side. Really depends on what the music is and how it was recorded.
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80s Metal Lady
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:54 pm

muckie wrote:
I myself have a Sansa Clip + with 8gb built in and a 32GB microSD plugged in with all my current rips. I do not really notice as many subtle difference in most music as the average audiophile, but may at least notice more than a casual listener. Still, I don't need audiophile music. A lot of early recordings from the 20s (think Hoagy Carmichael's stuff) show their age in terms of the noise on the masters, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy them any less.

I've got a few of those Sansa Clips. They're really cool. I buy a new one during Amazon's Black Friday specials every year. I don't notice quality that much. When I was a kid, I used to listen to third or fourth generation cassette dubs and music recorded off the radio and TV, so anything taken direct from a legit source sounds great to me.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:13 am

S.D. is probably going to have a better explanation than I do for this, but there's a slight difference (technically) between cassette degradation and what happens when you rip to MP3.

With cassettes, my understanding is that each generation introduces more "noise" to the subsequent copy until, ultimately, the original source material was obscured. This is like those old elementary school photocopies teachers would hand out where they ultimately got so dark that you were looking at a black page with some vague things that may have been words on them eventually. For cassettes to get that bad, I gather it takes a good few generations of copying (or a lot of plays) before it gets that bad.

With MP3, the simple version (which is all I know) is that the engineers who came up with basically arbitrarily decided "Anything above X frequency and below Y frequency isn't heard anyway, so we'll save space by lopping it off." So there's actual audio being taken out of the equation entirely, not being obscured. With stuff that's all generated via synthesizer or processed completely "in the box" (i.e. on a computer) at CD quality or lower, you don't stand to lose a lot. For stuff that relies in harmonics and room reverb for the "sound," you can lose a lot. Back in high school, I had this little MP3 player that held 96 megs or something like that, so I started getting creative with my CD rips to see how much I could cram onto it before the files just devolved into noise. At 128kbps and lower, you'd start to notice that cymbals and "s" sounds in vocals would distort and start sounding really "splashy" for lack of a better word. The lower your bit rate, the more these things would distort.

So, not to take away from anyone's enjoyment of MP3s (or beat up cassettes), but I feel accomplished when I drag these nuggets of information from the back of my skull. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:22 pm

Folks want inexpensive and convenient. No matter what new format you invent, if it's doesn't have those 2 basic attributes, it's not catching onto the general public. The horses are already out of the barn. It's too late to corral them in now.

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:36 pm

Average folks want inexpensive and convenient and that's fine for them.  But there are also a minority of us out there that want the best quality available and thankfully there are some avenues for us as well.  I don't think Neil or anybody else expects to convince the general public they need better sound, but he's already got a built-in base of people that do care. Audiophiles have always been niche and they will remain that way.

I don't have a dog in this hunt, could really care less what the average consumer walking around listening to music on their phones with ear buds wants or doesn't want.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:47 pm

Keep in mind, CDs trumped cassette and vinyl because they were more portable, more durable and you could skip tracks at will. MP3 trumped that because they were more portable still, but at the sacrifice of fidelity. If someone came up with an equally easy to use and ubiquitous digital format that kept the portability but gave back some damn obvious fidelity, I think people would jump on it.

Trick is, every time something like Pono comes along, it's priced at some obscene level where the average person will go, "Meh, I'll use my phone."
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:11 pm

Runicen wrote:
Keep in mind, CDs trumped cassette and vinyl because they were more portable, more durable and you could skip tracks at will.  MP3 trumped that because they were more portable still, but at the sacrifice of fidelity.  If someone came up with an equally easy to use and ubiquitous digital format that kept the portability but gave back some damn obvious fidelity, I think people would jump on it.  

Trick is, every time something like Pono comes along, it's priced at some obscene level where the average person will go, "Meh, I'll use my phone."

That's the thing. Affordability. We've got the convenience and portability thing down. But the average Joe isn't going to spend money on yet another new format or device for slightly better sound that they may or may not even notice. Whatever new format you come up with is going to be for a certain small, percentage of the crowd.

As far as the general public is concerned, we've achieved perfection in MP3's. They're convenient, portable and cheap with a quality that is good enough. What can you do to improve on those? It's possible, I guess. There was a time when we thought the compact disc was the be-all-end-all and obviously it wasn't. But it's going to be hard to trump those 3 factors in new technology that the public will latch onto in any meaningful way.

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:24 pm

The problem is mp3s were created at a time when storage was a premium cost so they sacrificed sound for small file size. NOW storage is cheap, we no longer need files to be that small. .Flac or Apple Lossless would work fine for portable devices and they would be identical quality to the original CD.

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:26 pm

It's got to better, more bad-ass and people have to see a real reason to buy it. HDTV really took over because of the huge difference in quality (same with DVD, Blu-Ray.) Can the new 4K surpass HDTV in quality enough that people will be willing to buy it? No idea.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:29 pm

People bought flat screens mostly because it got that big huge clunky box out of the living room and replaced it with something they could mount on their wall. I bet that aesthetic reason was just as common as people looking to get a 16x9 image.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:50 pm

S.D. wrote:
People bought flat screens mostly because it got that big huge clunky box out of the living room and replaced it with something they could mount on their wall.  I bet that aesthetic reason was just as common as people looking to get a 16x9 image.  

YES!


The huge clunky box is now in the kids room. Used for gaming and videos in there. The tuner section isn't even used.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:31 am

S.D. wrote:
The problem is mp3s were created at a time when storage was a premium cost so they sacrificed sound for small file size.  NOW storage is cheap, we no longer need files to be that small.  .Flac or Apple Lossless would work fine for portable devices and they would be identical quality to the original CD.

Not so you'd know. All the new devices coming out have LESS storage than iPods did. That boggles the mind for me.

Also, it's fair to point out that, to rip in FLAC properly, you've got to pick up a few programs, maybe spend money on something, etc. whereas MP3 is integrated in iTunes, which is free. Yeah, the rip quality sucks and most people don't know how to set it up properly anyway, but it's free and relatively easy and integrated. I suspect the only way you'll see things change is if a company (Apple? Pono?) manages to capture some market share and use that clout to introduce the new tech in an existing framework. Realistically, only Apple could really do it at this point.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:54 am

.flac stands for "FREE LOSSLESS AUDIO CODEC" and just like the name implies, there is lots of FREE SOFTWARE out there in both Windows and Mac land that can convert to/from it. It's not rocket science.

Oh yeah, "Apple Lossless" is really just the fancy name for an ALAC file (Apple lossless audio codec) and it's already integrated into iTunes and works flawlessly with it. Will transfer to iPods are any other portable device that can play a quicktime file (basically any computer/phone from any manufacturer at this juncture).

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:22 pm

thejokeriv wrote:
It's got to better, more bad-ass and people have to see a real reason to buy it. HDTV really took over because of the huge difference in quality (same with DVD, Blu-Ray.) Can the new 4K surpass HDTV in quality enough that people will be willing to buy it? No idea.

That's the big problem as I see it. Yes, the technology is there, or getting close, but how are you going to convince the general public to buy into a new format and/or operating system when what they have now is "eh, good enough"?

Quote :
.flac stands for "FREE LOSSLESS AUDIO CODEC" and just like the name implies, there is lots of FREE SOFTWARE out there in both Windows and Mac land that can convert to/from it. It's not rocket science.

For alot of folks, it is. You need to convince them that there is a reason to do it. "Slightly improved dynamics" isn't enough for most folks.

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:29 pm

It's more than "slightly improved dynamics" (and frankly dynamics have nothing to do with it, that's a combination of the music, the recording and the mastering, not file type dependent). What does matter is instead of deleting 40% of the recorded information to get that little teeny .mp3 file you actually retain 100% of the information from the original CD. It's the difference between buying an original painting by the artist or buying a 5x7 photocopy of the painting.

I know, the general public is dumb as a f*cking box of rocks and probably can't tell the difference anyway. Their loss.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:03 pm

Yea, that reasoning isn't going to fly on a kid that just wants the new Katy Perry single NOW!! Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:12 pm

I give not one solitary F*ck for that kid or his Katy Perry single. lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:49 pm

S.D. wrote:
I give not one solitary F*ck for that kid or his Katy Perry single.  lol!

Which is just about the same as that kid gives about sound quality! Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:01 am

Sound quality is going up and people do care. That's why your seeing more high resolution and vinyl releases. Expensive headphones are selling and iTunes offers higher quality versions now. Sound quality is trending up. Everyone cares about the music they like. The thing is, many folks have no tolerance for the technical and as such are only concerned with listening to the music they like. The biggest and more significate issue is the accessibility. High fidelity is very pricy. Music is a luxury and like cars, most can afford a corolla and, only a few can afford a lexus. High fidelity has always been expensive and those that care will find a way, even if they can't really afford that lexus. It would be nice if high fidelity was the norm.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young on MP3's and his hatred of it   Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:31 am

Something else to remember is that, while tech is more ubiquitous, you need to dig pretty deep to find people who know how it works and finding people who know how to use ALL of it are rarer still. Any moron can buy a smartphone, set up email, etc. but even the supposedly "tech-savvy" kids have to rely on other people to fix their stuff. So yeah, it IS rocket science for the vast majority.

Also, iTunes is NOT what I'd call a viable piece of software for ripping. Too many bad rips with digital errors (and yes, that's WITH error correction enabled) drove me to EAC and now to dbpoweramp for my rips. So iTunes does technically have a lossless format, but Apple has done jack to promote the format and seems to have zero interest in improving their software in that area, so we come back to my original point about them needing to push it.

For that matter, what happened to the old sales approach of actually SHOWING people the difference? Where are the Youtube ads, tv commercials, etc. that push the increased fidelity and resolution on consumers? The reason people don't care is because most people are too lazy to do their own A/B comparisons - which is what I did and why I rip everything in lossless now. So, if the companies want to sell hi-res hardware and tech, they need to show people the difference, not the Pono approach of parading a bunch of music industry fossils and hipsters out who are talking about the difference they allegedly heard when listening to hi-res music in Neil Young's ugly frickin' car or whatever...

It torques me off a bit, actually, because this should be an easy sell, but nobody's really bothering. The people who are actually selling this keep cultivating this snobby audiophile thing which is a drag and the consumer grade companies go with celebrity endorsements to sell schlock (Beats, anyone?). Anyone got a few million sitting around to help me do a startup? We'll probably fail miserably, but in 20 years when someone gets the commercial formula correct, they'll call us visionaries! Laughing
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