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View Full Version : Bob Dylan says we've been listenig to static



agentsmith
2006-08-23, 00:56
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060822/wr_nm/leisure_dylan_dc_2

Dylan was pretty blunt about the quality of modern recordings. I always thought my old records sounded better, but I attribute it to nostalgia...

Skunk
2006-08-23, 05:21
"I don't know anybody who's made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really."


Really? Neil Young's Prairie Wind sounded pretty good to me.

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-23, 05:41
The problem is, CDs have been mastered with next to no dynamic range for a while now.

I was going to say I think 20 years is a bit of a stretch, but now that I think of it, it's almost right on the money. Seems things started to change after 1990.

Contemporary CDs are loud and compressed. Take a look at one in Audacity and note how often clipping occurs. They sound noticably louder and less well-defined than CDs made earlier.

There have been complaints on the Internet for a while now but no one's listening. I'm not a Dylan fan but hopefully someone in the studio pays attention. They completely ignore how to properly use the technology.

The CD format is getting pretty old but it's like the industry has forgotten about what they bring to the table.

smc2911
2006-08-23, 05:58
Have a look at this thread http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=22115 for a lot on the topic of clipping.

Kyle
2006-08-23, 06:06
So, is the problem with the CD format itself, as Dylan seems to imply, or with the recording and mastering techniques? Is he saying bring back vinyl?

smc2911
2006-08-23, 06:12
Probably one for the audiophiles, but while the dynamic range of a CD is intrinsincally more limited than analog (or indeed other digital encodings) it would seem that many CDs could sound better than they do. Compressing the range and pumping up the volume is leading to clipping.

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-23, 06:44
It's hard to interpret what he means by this statement:


CDs are small. There's no stature to it.

If this is merely an indictment of the physical size of the media then that makes no sense whatsoever. I had hoped that he was referring to how CDs are presently recorded and mastered, but now I'm not so sure.

As usual, I just don't get Dylan.

Sir G
2006-08-23, 06:56
May it's time for Mr. Dylan to realize that the times they are a'changing, and not necessarily for the better

funkstar
2006-08-23, 08:27
They were speaking about this a lot on BBC 6Music this morning. Interesting that they got the completely wrong end of the stick on it too. They interpreted Dylan as meaning that the music was static, not the recording.

Kyle
2006-08-23, 08:40
They interpreted Dylan as meaning that the music was static, not the recording.

They may have gotten it wrong, but I can't say that I disagree.

cliveb
2006-08-24, 04:40
So, is the problem with the CD format itself, as Dylan seems to imply, or with the recording and mastering techniques? Is he saying bring back vinyl?
As others have pointed out, it's often hard to figure out what Dylan is on about. (He makes about as much sense to me as Dylan from the Magic Roundabout).

The problem with hypercompression and clipping is down to decisions taken at the mastering stage. It's not the engineers' fault: they know what they're doing is wrong, but the artists/producers/record companies are insisting that their CD must be louder than everyone else's.

Bringing back vinyl would solve the problem, not because the medium is better, but because the mechanical limitations of the medium prevents such ludicrous amounts of compression being used. (Or rather: if you cut an LP as compressed as modern CDs are, you'd be lucky to get 5 mins per side).

davep
2006-08-24, 05:23
I think Dylan was lamenting the worsening sound of modern recodings (the "static" comment) as well as the loss of the artefact which was the whole LP package (the "stature" comment). Many people feel the same, that there is no substitute for holding the - dare I say - artform that was the 12" vinyl record and its sleeve. The CD package and the CD itself do not have much "stature" and it may therefore feel that the whole experience has become somehow devalued as a result.

Us SB users of course don't even have the shrunken-sized jewel case and impossibly small writing to squint at anymore. At least in my case the original CDs are all boxed up in storage as back up to the dreadful day my HD goes phut.

But you can't put the genie back in the bottle and we have to adjust to a more virtual world. In any case, I know my Transporter is going to have tons of stature...

davep

earthbased
2006-10-04, 11:31
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060822/wr_nm/leisure_dylan_dc_2

Dylan was pretty blunt about the quality of modern recordings. I always thought my old records sounded better, but I attribute it to nostalgia...

I think we can blame the influence of rap. It is all bass and loud volume.

JohnnyLightOn
2006-10-10, 15:36
Probably one for the audiophiles, but while the dynamic range of a CD is intrinsincally more limited than analog (or indeed other digital encodings) it would seem that many CDs could sound better than they do. Compressing the range and pumping up the volume is leading to clipping.

Are you sure about this? I think there's a lot more dynamic range available on CD (90db) than there is on analog tape (50db to high 60's) and on vinyl (60db).

Check out this site for good background info on this issue:
http://georgegraham.com/compress.html

dgstrat
2006-11-14, 11:18
a well mastered cd can sound pretty sweet. Problem is there aren't too many around these days.

adamslim
2006-11-14, 16:11
What's the need for all this compression and loudness malarkey when you have a volume control that goes up to 11? Slim Devices - the saviour of the music industry :)

anon`
2006-11-18, 10:43
What's the need for all this compression and loudness malarkey when you have a volume control that goes up to 11? Slim Devices - the saviour of the music industry :)
That's the problemn, see. Today's consumer market for music (at least here in the US) equates "loud" with "better sound." So records are being released that are mastered with a higher average level, because that makes them *seem* louder. You may be able to turn the volume up to 11, but so can everone else, so by default *your* album needs to be louder to start with. And then they sound like crap forever after as a result.

Of course, this line of thinking completely collapses the dynamic range of CDs and can lead to clipping. Ironic, as I believe the huge dynamic range of CDs was one of the major selling points for them two decades ago when players were starting to become reasonable pieces of equipment.

Mark Lanctot
2006-11-18, 10:53
Before this gets out of hand, I believe adamslim was kidding.

The SlimServer volume control goes to 11 simply because that's how they decided to scale it - not that a Squeezebox can go louder than any other piece of equipment.

They did it as a funny reference to Spinal Tap and most people really like seeing it. It shows that the company does have a fun attitude.

I am in total agreement regarding hypercompression however. It's totally out of hand now.