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Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, YouTube and Jonas Brothers

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the projecting-himself dept.

Music 468

First time accepted submitter CIStud writes "Famed 'Dark Side of the Moon' engineer Alan Parsons, who also worked on the Beatles 'Abbey Road,' says audiophiles spend too much money on equipment and ignore room acoustics. He also is surprised the music industry has not addressed the artists' rights violations taking place on YouTube, wonders why surround-sound mixes for albums never took off, and calls the Jonas Brothers 'garbage' all in one interview."

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468 comments

Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38986933)

Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, YouTube and Jonas Brothers

Oooh, now this should be good. Let's see what we got here.

Everybody strives to get perfect sound and we work hard to get the best sound we can. A certain artist or song or style of music will sound a certain way. It would be ridiculous for me to make a Jonas Brothers record using the techniques and procedures I normally use. The techniques used to make many modern pop records involve a lot of compression and that's what those consumers want, according to the labels. A lot of the processing that audiophiles criticize is a style thing and part of the music itself.

Oh, my god, the Jonas Brothers are so burned! He did not just say that they are trying to get their sound to be a certain way that their audience prefers. Oh no he did not! I can't believe it, I haven't seen a meltdown like this since Christian Bale flipped out on a stage hand. Somebody, call Disney and have them put the Jonas boys on suicide watch tonight in their cells -- not even paper underwear, they know how to hang themselves with that. When they hear this news they'll probably never perform again.

I think what perhaps critics don’t appreciate is that there is a lot of luck in getting a good sound. It's not all about the equipment, spectral response and compressing. It's all about the quality of the musicianship, the songwriting and the sound reaching the microphone ... that's crucial. It's often been said, "garbage in means garbage out," so if that's the case you won’t get a good sound.

Wow, I am so glad I'm not an audiophile right now. I would be fuming! Never have I heard such a direct and searing attack on audiophiles. The era of hipster sound snobs may be over as we know it.

There's another damaging situation: You can complain about iTunes and subscription sites being damaging to copyright owners and having inferior audio quality, but one of the worst culprits is YouTube. You can look for any record ever made and it's on YouTube for free - usually with crappy audio - and let's not even mention the video content that's out there to go with it. I sense there will be a huge copyright court case over the content on YouTube someday.

Oh, now he's stepping on a big dog's toes. You cannot print that, that is slander and that is libel. YouTube promises to provide only the highest quality sound and video ... Certainly Google's legions of lawyers will see Alan Parsons in court.

Seriously? That's considered "ripping"? Everything I read was fact and on top of that, he's still predicating his sentences with "I think."

"Well gee golly, Fred Rodgers, how will we put up with all these harsh words flying out of Alan Parson's mouth?" I think you need to take a trip to the Abuse Department to hear some real

Re:Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987077)

That's the new "Internet News" media standard. Story titles will flat out lie if they have to get you to click that link. It's all about driving traffic. "A rips B" is a classic New Media headline. BTW, the HuffingtonPost is the worst at this. I used to read it regularly when it was a political site and before it turned into a tabloid Kardashian watch rag.

Re:Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (5, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987571)

Hey, us Trekkies have always been interested in keeping up with the Cardassians. Er, wait...

Re:Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (5, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987129)

We've now reached the point where even the people writing the article summary don't RTFA.

Sensationalizing for Page Hits (5, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987563)

The submitter works for the website that posted that interview. He certainly read it, but chose to make up sensational lies when posting it to slashdot to get more people to click the link.

Re:Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987279)

The worst culprit is YouTube. As far as I know YouTube is one of the best when it comes to compliance. They are not responsible for content posted by users, nor is it feasible for them to police content. As far as them being the biggest offender I was under the assumption that if I posted a video with Alan Parson Project as the background music I am fully allowed to use it under "Fair Use", as long as I'm not making a profit.

Re:Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (5, Informative)

asdbffg (1902686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987575)

As far as them being the biggest offender I was under the assumption that if I posted a video with Alan Parson Project as the background music I am fully allowed to use it under "Fair Use", as long as I'm not making a profit.

Fair use allows using copyrighted material for educational purposes, criticism, research, etc. Using a song for background music would not be considered fair use, especially if the entire song is used.

Re:Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (4, Informative)

drerwk (695572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987609)

As far as them being the biggest offender I was under the assumption that if I posted a video with Alan Parson Project as the background music I am fully allowed to use it under "Fair Use", as long as I'm not making a profit.

Have a look at : http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html [copyright.gov] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use [wikipedia.org] re Fair Use.
I think your described use would not fall under Fair Use.

Re:Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987525)

There's another damaging situation: You can complain about iTunes and subscription sites being damaging to copyright owners and having inferior audio quality, but one of the worst culprits is YouTube.

OK, the iTunes store pays a percentage to the 'copyright holders', or rather, RIAA. How is this 'damaging' the 'copyright owners'? Oh, right, RIAA screws them. But you can't say that in an interview, they'll drop you like a lava lamp.

Re:Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987585)

Wow, I am so glad I'm not an audiophile right now. I would be fuming! Never have I heard such a direct and searing attack on audiophiles. The era of hipster sound snobs may be over as we know it.

I would be but my unidirectional Ethernet cable filters out a lot of things. Someone will have to sends me the interview via passenger pigeon or pony express.

Re:Scathing, Absolutely Scathing (1)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987751)

I don't understand your comments. I read the article and he didn't seem to be bashing the Jonas Brothers at all, and didn't really attack audiophiles at all. It's almost like you were being - sarcastic.

First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38986939)

to point out how completely irrelevant Alan Parsons has become.

"Pink Floyd engineer"? (5, Informative)

catbutt (469582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38986969)

Yes, we all know he was engineer for Pink Floyd, but seriously, isn't his name most known for his own stuff? (Eye in the Sky, etc)

Re:"Pink Floyd engineer"? (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987057)

Apparently not, in the eyes of "First time accepted submitter CIStud."

Re:"Pink Floyd engineer"? (3, Insightful)

John3 (85454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987071)

Although I was a fan of Alan Parsons Project albums, I think the vast majority of music listeners would say "Alan Parsons?", with the logical response being "He engineered Dark Side Of The Moon".

Re:"Pink Floyd engineer"? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987411)

I think the vast majority of music listeners would say "Alan Parsons?", with the logical response being "He engineered Dark Side Of The Moon".

I'd be willing to bet you're overstating "vast majority". By a lot.

Find 100 people, ask them if they've heard Dark Side of the Moon. Of the ones that say yes, ask how many know who the sound engineer was. I bet you'll find it quite small.

I've got pretty much everything published by Pink Floyd up until about '95 or so ... and I know Alan Parsons from his band. I was actually going "really?" when I read the summary.

Then again, I'm neither a musician, nor someone who knows the endless trivia about who was sitting where during the recording and if he was wearing pants or not. That is the "vast majority" of music listeners. The behind-the-scenes talent remains anonymous to most of us.

That's not to say there aren't loads of people out there who do know these things; but I seriously doubt it's even close to a majority, let a lone a vast majority. It's really only the hard-core music geeks who keep track of such things.

Re:"Pink Floyd engineer"? (5, Informative)

John3 (85454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987535)

Sorry, I wasn't clear in my narrative.

Me: Did you read that article about Alan Parsons?

Average music listener: Alan who?

Me; Alan Parsons. He was the recording engineer for "Dark Side Of The Moon".

Average music listener: Oh, I know that album, didn't know the name of the engineer.

Re:"Pink Floyd engineer"? (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987723)

Ah, my apologies ... upon re-reading, that is exactly what you said.

Sorry about that, chief.

Re:"Pink Floyd engineer"? (1)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987651)

I think his point was that if someone didn't know him the way you would introduce him was to tell them he engineered Dark Side of the Moon as it is a popular album of which many people are aware.

Re:"Pink Floyd engineer"? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987661)

Just this week I heard a hip hop song on a top-40 station that featured a sample from an Alan Parsons Project song. You might be surprised how stuff gets around.

Re:"Pink Floyd engineer"? (4, Informative)

snarfies (115214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987241)

And let's not forget, he was the Cambridge physicist who invented the laser!

Re:"Pink Floyd engineer"? (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987419)

Right. He's had one top 40 album of his own, and several top 100 albums.

His own stuff is closer to acoustic folk than rock, which is why he's likely to care about subtle audio quality. Pink Floyd could be played through a bullhorn without much loss.

Those audiotechies killed dynamic range (5, Insightful)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987007)

The loudnesswar has killed virtually anything on a digital medium, resulting in a worse quality masters. Far worse than compressed phonogram recordings in the past. Sadly this seems to be the new standard for every commercial publication. So first give us back the -12dB, then complain about our rooms.

Re:Those audiotechies killed dynamic range (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987101)

Its not the techies who did it, its the marketing departments. Any audio engineer who refuses to over-compress is just going to get replaced by someone else who will.

Re:Those audiotechies killed dynamic range (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987531)

If audio engineers had a little bit of professional self esteem they would refuse to go along with this loudness war thing. All of them. And of course the artists also, but they don't give a fuck it seems. And then we would get back music that is enjoyable to listen to (doesn't matter the genre). I still insult Madonna because one of her last albums Ray of Light was mastered to sound like shit. What the hell. Listen to the original CDs of Like a Prayer, True Blue, Like a Virgin, Erotica. They are all light years more pleasing to the ear than that piece of shit Ray of Light. And it has nothing to do with the music itself, but how it was mastered on CD. This, THIS is the primary reason I stopped buying music cd's. When everything sounds like shit, the pirate version is simply better.

1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987111)

loudnesswar

We have always been at war with loudness...

Re:Those audiotechies killed dynamic range (4, Informative)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987465)

Yeah, they asked him about that and he misunderstood the question to be about lossy audio data compression rather than dynamic range compression:

Q: Do you think that sound quality is driving this trend? Are people tiring of low-resolution sound and compressed recordings that lack dynamic range?

A: That may well be. The majority [of consumers] are happy with MP3, but they donâ(TM)t know what they are missing. Being fast and free are priorities, and thatâ(TM)s why MP3 is popular. Thereâ(TM)s another damaging situation: You can complain about iTunes and subscription sites being damaging to copyright owners and having inferior audio quality, but one of the worst culprits is YouTube.

Re:Those audiotechies killed dynamic range (2)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987549)

The good news is that this problem only seems to affect "pop" music (including popular genres such as Rock, Hip-Hop, Countrry, and Western). Jazz and orchestral seem to be uninvolved.

The bad news is that there is a lot of great new "pop" music, and many of the records have terrible sound quality because of what you describe well as the loudnesswar.

Example: One of the last big label pop albums I bought (a country record) had a beautiful "hit song" on it that was ruined because the "loudness adjustment" caused loud crackling distortion on the recording.

Re:Those audiotechies killed dynamic range (3, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987749)

Yeah, both jazz cds and all 7 classical releases sound fine to me.

Re:Those audiotechies killed dynamic range (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987619)

But of course it's because of piracy why people prefer real life shows and not buy disks anymore.

Re:Those audiotechies killed dynamic range (2)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987719)

You need high end audio equipment and acoustics to fully appreciate high dynamic range and the market for that is small. Most people want to be able to enjoy their favorite songs on their subpar equipment and the engineers give them what they want.

Compressed dynamic range sounds better in car stereos, iPod ear buds and noisy bars, which is where the majority of consumers listen to music. It is annoying to have to adjust the volume mid song because I can't hear the soft parts.

Audiophiles (5, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987013)

Audiophiles are pretty much the dumbest group of people ever.
No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.
No, these cables don't sound "warm".

Re:Audiophiles (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987093)

++ This. Too dumb to become a real geek? Then become an audiophile. All of the angry nerd posturing with none of that meddlesome knowledge.

Re:Audiophiles (5, Insightful)

John3 (85454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987143)

Probably trolling, but what the heck....

There are certainly are noticeable differences in the sound produced by different speakers, different amplifiers, etc. However, if the source material is compressed and equalized so there is minimal dynamic range then the differences in sound from one setup to another will be less noticeable.

Re:Audiophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987623)

Totally. I thinks it's very sad and ironic that musicians spend *years* searching for the perfect tone/sound. Then recording engineers agonize over the transparency of the recording devices. After that, it goes downhill. Someone decides to compress the heck out of it and fools listen to it through earbuds and out of crappy phone speakers. Some would say that it's a destruction of art.

But, it's interesting to note the human condition that __sound quality doesn't always matter to us__. That we are still willing to listen to, buy, and even enjoy music when translated through impoverished media is definite proof that for many songs sentiment, popularity, musical quality, and listener mood are important aspects. Aspects that aren't easily quantified.

Re:Audiophiles (3, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987207)

Audiophiles are pretty much the dumbest group of people ever.
No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.

Um, you're dead wrong about that one.

Re:Audiophiles (2, Insightful)

torgis (840592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987303)

Audiophiles are pretty much the dumbest group of people ever. No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.

Um, you're dead wrong about that one.

Yeah, you're obviously using the wrong cable. If you had something like this [bestbuy.com] maybe you would have a different opinion.

For the record, anyone that pays $1100 for an HDMI cable should be mauled by angry weasels.

Re:Audiophiles (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987497)

For the record, anyone that pays $1100 for an HDMI cable should be mauled by angry weasels.

Nonsense. Somebody who does that you want to sell them a Manglefuser Dipswitch to ensure maximum signal efficiency and (insert technobabble here) for the low low price of only $9999.99.

Fools and money, my friend.

Re:Audiophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987653)

....it needs a new johnson rod

Re:Audiophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987251)

Audiophiles are pretty much the dumbest group of people ever.
No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.
No, these cables don't sound "warm".

Yeah but you sure as hell can hear the difference between the CD/SACD version of Dark Side of the Moon and Alan Parson's bootleg audio highdef edition of Dark Side of the Moon. And you don't even need high end equipment for that.
Just a couple of crappy soundworks speakers.
The point is that even on normal audio equipment you can hear the difference between 128 kbps MP3s, CD audio and DVD-Audio/SACD quality. You don't need to be an audiophile, you only have to listen to the music. Thats the secret.

Of course in an era where even cd quality music is mastered to sound like a 128 kbps mp3 you have to wonder wether its worth the cost of buying a stereo at all. But labels such as DECCA, Deutsch Grammophone and others put out CDs that are worth listening to. Good music that sounds good.

Re:Audiophiles (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987307)

Call me a moron, but I don't get why one would pay the extravagant prices for "audiophile" equipment.

With the same cash, I can go get studio equipment, such as a good set of monitors with a subwoofer, a mixer, an amp, a parametic equalizer, a graph equalizer, and other rack equipment. Heck, with the price of some "audiophile" stuff, I can end up with a mixing deck, a top of the line keyboard, and enough cash left over to treat the room (kill standing waves, have proper bass traps at the corners, etc.)

Adding it up... do I want some "audiophile" stuff with $400 wooden knobs? Or would I be better off spending the money and have not just an accurate sound to listen to, but the ability to cut an album, even being able to record a drummer properly with the needed 12-16 mics (depending on drumset.)

Re:Audiophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987451)

Oh sure, you could buy all that, but I bet you'd wire it up with cables just full of oxygen and terminating in inferior plugs!

Re:Audiophiles (2)

gparent (1242548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987599)

But then aren't you just buying audiophile equipment but different one?

I mean, I wouldn't go back to my $50 pair of Sony headphones I picked up at radio-shit 5 years ago after using A700s this entire time. Anyone who can't tell the difference is probably deaf, it's completely absurd to claim there is none.

Realize that there is affordable audiophile equipment and some that is a lot more expensive.

Re:Audiophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987319)

Oh really? Clearly you have never exerpienced the ecstacy of "dancable cables".

Re:Audiophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987357)

Dan Cable cables? Huh?

Re:Audiophiles (3, Informative)

maxwellmath (2453528) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987445)

Just because YOU aren't able to distinguish the difference between a cheap speaker and expensive speaker does not mean that there isn't a noticable difference. Several things to consider:

1. Is the quality of the source material good enough to make a difference? Crap quality audio will sound like crap on any speakers, no matter how expensive. However, if the source is of good quality (and some other conditions are true) then you can definately tell a difference.

2. Is the sound of the room masking the sound of the speaker? A speaker, no matter how good, can NOT compensate for a terrible sounding room. Standing waves, reflections, and damping from the room can ruin the sound of the audio. In order to properly hear the audio, this must be compensated for. Typically, you start by adding room treatment to deal with low-frequency standing waves and then work your way up to deal with high end comb filtering and reflection points in the room. The orientation of the room is important here as well, the optimal sound does depend very much on the placement of the speakers in the room relative to the listening position.

As for cables, the only real difference between cheap/expensive cables is how long they last. A cheap cable will most likely not put up with much abuse where as an expensive cable is more robust.

Re:Audiophiles (2)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987455)

The dumbest group of people ever is the one that bases their judgement on other groups of people solely on prejudice.

Re:Audiophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987513)

No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.

If you're listening to over-compressed crap maybe. Garbage in = garbage out, doesn't matter how nice your speakers are.

Re:Audiophiles (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987591)

*No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.*

WTF? If you care a little about sound, a *quality* loudspeaker will make a big difference in sound. (if the amplifier and the source is good).

I certainly can hear the difference between cheap or run-of-the-mill speakers and high-end ones. *IF* they're hooked up to a good amp. (and by good I mean with a flat sound reproduction).

Try comparing a set of Cerwin Vega speakers with something like Mirage, Mission or Polk (even those will make a huge difference in sound). The Cerwin Vega set will sound *louder*, but will add a bunch of coloration in sound.

For the wires, I agree, I'm using standard 14 gauge zip cord.

Re:Audiophiles (4, Insightful)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987727)

Audiophiles are pretty much the dumbest group of people ever.
No, you can't hear a difference between this $5000 speaker and this $150 speaker.
No, these cables don't sound "warm".

There is a very significant difference between a $150 speaker and even a $500-$1,000 speaker. Not even approaching audiophile territory here, any random person you pick off the street who isn't deaf is going to be able to tell the difference. Stupid audiophile territory starts a little higher; once you get to around $5,000 plus or minus a couple thousand, yeah, you're into the realm of rapidly diminishing returns and you probably aren't going to hear any difference unless you really look for it.

Agree about the cables, though - that is just dumb.

All that said, I think the point Mr. Parsons was trying to make is that a lot of people will pour money into their speakers, cables, amps, turntables, etc. but totally ignore the room they are in. There's absolutely no point in my trying to put together an ultra-high-end system because I use it in a room that also has a refrigerator, often times AC or heater running, people walking around, noise coming in from the street, no attention to acoustics, etc. Basically, no matter how perfect the system is, the listening environment is sub-optimal. Unless you spend the money to install some acoustically perfect and isolated listening environment (basically, a recording studio), it makes absolutely no sense to spend tens of thousands of dollars chasing those last tenths of a percent of performance. And if you do install such a room, then I'd have to agree with one of the other commenters - at this point you are more interested in listening to your system than you are interested in listening to music.

In other news... (3, Funny)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987069)

In other news, Bose, Monster Cable, Bang & Olufsen and other brands announce a entirely new line of room acoustics kits for the audiophile. The kits will be sold for tens of thousands of euros, and are specially engineered for those who wants to hear those bitstreams as if the mp3s were coming directly from the sound studio.

Audiophiles don't listen to music. (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987087)

I think what perhaps critics donâ(TM)t appreciate is that there is a lot of luck in getting a good sound. It's not all about the equipment, spectral response and compressing. It's all about the quality of the musicianship, the songwriting and the sound reaching the microphone ... that's crucial. It's often been said, "garbage in means garbage out," so if that's the case you wonâ(TM)t get a good sound.

All true, Mr. Parsons, and entirely beside the point. Music lovers care about the music, but they're listening to you because you're exceptionally talented. They love your music so much they're even willing listen to put up with crappy 128kbps encodes on YouTube.

But we're not talking about music lovers here, we're talking about audiophiles.

Audiophiles don't use their equipment to listen to your music. Audiophiles use your music to listen to their equipment.

Re:Audiophiles don't listen to music. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987157)

Real audiophiles only listen to pure sine waves!

Re:Audiophiles don't listen to music. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987219)

Audiophiles don't use their equipment to listen to your music. Audiophiles use your music to listen to their equipment.

Wow, this is the most accurate and insightful description of audiophiles I've ever read. :D

Re:Audiophiles don't listen to music. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987487)

Indeed it is! I know. I'm an audiophile. OTOH, sometimes--just sometimes--there's fun in listening through the equipment to the music. It happens, and when it does, life is good. I have a Mobile Fidelity pressing, vinyl, of DSOTM. Trust me, it's fine, but nothing to write home about.

Re:Audiophiles don't listen to music. (1)

judoguy (534886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987327)

...Audiophiles use your music to listen to their equipment.

I've never understood this way of thinking. Sure, people waste money on lots of things in their lives, but having good equipment set up well in a good room is somehow silly? By that logic having the slowest possible computer must be a better experiance than a fast one. Watching the lowest res video must be more "pure" than high res video. After all, watching blu-ray is just snobbery. Real film buff insist on VHS if they can't get it on someing more primitive.

Re:Audiophiles don't listen to music. (4, Insightful)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987541)

Having good equipment set up well in a good room isn't silly, but paying thousands of dollars for a speaker cable [pearcable.com] and a few hundred more for a CD/DVD demagnetizer [gcaudio.com] ) is.

There are two definitions for audiophile. You seem to be using the "someone who loves good audio" definition. The person you're replying to is using the "someone who spends ridiculous amounts of money on things that claim to work in ways that would break the laws of physics" definition.

Re:Audiophiles don't listen to music. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987545)

There's buying good equipment, and there's pissing money up the wall on cable stands, wooden knobs, magnets, "audiophile quality" power outlets & cables, and $2000/ft. speaker cable.

Re:Audiophiles don't listen to music. (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987629)

A faster computer, a higher res video, and better audio equipment all give you a better experience, but at a higher price. However there's two things to keep in mind:
1) The law of diminishing returns: at some point, throwing increasing amounts of money at whatever it is you're buying will result in ever smaller increases of benefit. The difference between a $100 and a $1000 speaker is huge, between $1000 and $5000 it is appreciable, between $5000 and $10000 it's noticable, but spending $50000 or more? Meh. Even spending more than 5k is pointless unless you a re a discerning listener with cash to burn.
2) Snake oil: plenty of it out there, especially in cable land. I am talking Monster cable, special "fast" HDMI cables, speaker wire of $1000 / meter, crap like that. In this case spending more will net you no benefit whatsoever. Unless you count bragging rights or hard-ons from shiny equipment. Perhaps that's what the parent meant by audiophiles using music to listen to their equipment.

Re:Audiophiles don't listen to music. (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987593)

I'm sorry, but I am well aware that there is plenty of music that is greatly enhanced given better sampling and other quality improvements. I can recall plenty of songs that I've initially heard from Youtube in poor quality samples but purchased later and heard instruments that I could not recognize in the lower-quality version, or instruments producing sounds that never ends up being experienced in the lower-quality version. Though there is in fact times where I want lower-sampled versions compared to their higher-quality alternatives. Prime examples are soundtracks from video games from past consoles (NES, SNES, Genesis). Adjusting the sampling rate has a drastic effect on the sound produced, and my preference stands on the weaker end. Regardless, quality plays a big role in the presentation of music, so don't act like it does not alter anything to a listener's perspective.

The quality of the track will most likely not make or break a music piece, but it does have the potential to improve or degrade the listening experience. Some individuals are passionate enough to try an achieve as much as they can to reduce anything that may otherwise impede on the presentation of the audio so they may garner as much audible bliss as they may receive from it. I agree some go to unnecessary extremes well beyond rational thought. But for the most part, the pursuit itself should not be judged negatively. As an example, I personally listen through a music piece several times, and I will often adjust my perception of it to enjoy it in a new venue. Sometimes I will focus on the lyrics; sometimes I will focus on the artistic prowess of the instrumentation; most often I want to simply indulge in the aesthetics of the audio. But the fact remains that either way I listen to it, I am enjoying it. Call me an audiophile in a derogatory sense, but my pursuit has always been to cherish and appreciate music and enjoy it to the best capacity I can.

Oh Christ He Has That Laser Beam On The Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987107)

The only thing we will be listening to is screams.

Damn it! (4, Insightful)

r1348 (2567295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987139)

You slashdotted the site before i could read the second part of the interview! Do you know how BAD that feels? Also, the guy seems very reasonable an pacate, and this is a blatantly inflamatory title. Can we tag titles "-1 Flamebait"?

I mostly agree. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987201)

I'm sort of an audiophile myself, and I agree with most of his points, especially the stuff about expensive gear versus room acoustics and "garbage in, garbage out".

As for the YouTube comments, I doubt he knows how much YouTube actually does do for artist's rights. Didn't YouTube pioneer some audio-video matching algorithm to quickly identify infringing content? Don't they use hits to direct traffic to places to legitimately purchase music and videos, rather than just removing videos? This approach is much better for artist's rights than simply censoring things.

Then again, I abhor almost all pop music (all styles, including rock, etc.), and most of what I'm into is pretty underground, and that does contribute a bit to my attitude.

Re:I mostly agree. (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987481)

Then again, I abhor almost all pop music (all styles, including rock, etc.), and most of what I'm into is pretty underground, and that does contribute a bit to my attitude.
So you're saying that diglett is your favorite Pokemon?

First time accept submitter? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987309)

Shit--I had forgotten how only the "in" crowd gets to have their articles accepted by the editors.  Is it it better or worse now that Taco is gone?

an old guy (-1, Troll)

Gripp (1969738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987311)

an old guy who doesn't understand the internet rips on the internet. go figure.

Re:an old guy (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987621)

an old guy who doesn't understand the internet rips on the internet. go figure.

Seriously, did you RTFA?

All he said was that the sound quality of things you find on You Tube is generally low. That's it.

The tone of his answers bear no relation whatsoever to the summary ... he didn't rip, blast, shred, flame, or even really put down anybody. He offered up some opinions, in a polite way, and without a whole lot of bile attached.

The entire summary is a joke, and is almost entirely unrelated to the interview except that it was Alan Parsons, and he did mention You Tube and the Jonas Brothers. Oh, and he also said that while you could spend an outrageous amount of money on equipment, it made only an incremental difference in his opinion.

I want the editor's tracks. (2, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987313)

I want an AC3 file (or whatever) with all the sound tracks split. Vocals, back up vocals, each instrument, etc on it's own track.

Re:I want the editor's tracks. (3, Insightful)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987439)

How about a couple sub channels of editing instructions like how much compression and post processing cues.

That way you could adjust them on you new MP5 player?

So the player processor would take all the channels and combine them in realtime to play them and you could have a nice friendly knob to dial up or down compression as they play back.

Room acoustics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987315)

Yeah - I just bought 2 front presence speakers for my Yammies, and 2 rear presence speakers

That will improve the room acoustics!! The only bad thing is the music on youtube is sampled too low (128kbps) is just too low.

Well, he's as good as dead... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987323)

Audiophiles? Ok. Youtube? Fine. But bashing the Jonas Brothers?? Do you have aaaaaaaaany idea what army of girls they command? They will eat you for breakfast...

Parsons is (mostly) right (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987433)

Many, if not most, "audiophiles" will drop obscene amounts of money on esoteric gear that will produce changes (notice that I did not say "improvements") in the sound that are infinitesimal compared to what can be done by cleaning up the listening room's acoustics. Don't get me wrong. The Wilson WATT/Puppy, for example, is a great speaker system, but spending one tenth their cost on some other speakers and another couple of tenths to tune the room that they'll live in and you'll have better sound almost every time, not to mention more money in your pocket. And don't get me started on cables. Even the most gifted "golden ear" can not pick one cable over another in true, blind, A-B-x testing. Not saying that there isn't a measurable difference (sometimes), but it's clearly not enough to matter when it comes to subjectively grading "the experience".

As for the engineering of most modern recordings, it blows. I don't suppose dynamic range matters much on hip-hop or Jonas Brothers recordings, but there are places where it is a "part of the music", so the engineering should respect that, instead of compressing the hell out of everything. And don't get me started on AutoTune.

Re:Parsons is (mostly) right (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987693)

I think it's still cheaper to buy an expensive speaker than to buy a new house or remove a wall.

then again, there's Beats by Dr Dre (5, Funny)

sqldr (838964) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987437)

Sorry Dr Dre, but having you design speakers is like having an acoustics geek make a hip-hop record.

I agree on his point about the room. (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987567)

IF they spent $100.00 on the fricking room they would make more of an increase in sound than $10,000 in gear.

Problem is Audiophiles, the type that read Audiophile magazine and Buy bullshit like B&W are not looking for sound quality, they are trying to show "HOW RICH I AM"

My home theater I built in the basement only tapers from front to back by 1 foot. the rear wall is 1 foot narrower than the front and the ceiling also tapers by that much. Floor is flat except for the riser. This cost me NOTHING extra in the build out.

I then covered the walls in cheap carpet tile and the ceiling is simply a drop ceiling with 3" of fiberglass batts laying on top of them for weight and more sound control (so I cant hear the wife stomping around upstairs)

It sounds better than the $200,000 theater rooms I have installed for rich people. Because I have reduced the room nodes significantly by eliminating parallel walls. (rear is parallel to front, but I have bass traps back there.)

YouTube court case already happened (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987669)

If you put copyrighted music on YouTube, they spot it within minutes, put advertising next to your video and give a share of the proceeds to the copyright owner.

How audiophiles can fool themselves (5, Informative)

steveha (103154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987763)

Audiophiles are not known for using controlled, double-blind testing. That's a problem, because you can actually control a lot about how you hear things. In short, if you expect something to sound different, you can actually hear a difference; not imagine you hear a difference, actually hear a difference.

JJ Johnston gave a presentation, Why Do We Hear What We Hear? [aes.org] . (PowerPoint, but LibreOffice should open it just fine.) If you look at slides 14 and 16 you will see him explaining the above points.

With double-blind testing, the audiophile will not be able to tell the difference between a $2 cable from monoprice.com and a $1000 cable from some audiophile scam web site. Without the double-blind, a confident audiophile will hear differences that favor the expensive cable.

The crazy thing, and I'm not making this up, is that some audiophiles claim that double-blind testing "doesn't work". They claim that you introduce errors that mask the superiority of the expensive equipment.

P.S. If you would like to have quality audio gear, and you would like to see the gear tested scientifically, you have to check out the NorthWest AV Guy [blogspot.com] blog. He bought a $1000+ DAC/amplifier that audiophiles like and that tests well objectively, and then he designed a very inexpensive headphone amp that in double-blind testing cannot be distinguised from the expensive one... and he open-sourced the design; you can build one if you like, or buy one pre-built. He uses professional test gear, and for example he showed that the Sansa Clip really is a good-sounding media player (which plays Ogg Vorbis and FLAC, by the way). Check it out. (And NWAudioGuy, if I ever meet you in person, I'll buy you lunch or something.)

steveha

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