Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Anaxagoras » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:57 am

Just wondering if this is some kind of audiophile woo-woo or if he has a legitimate point:

Neil Young says done with streaming due to 'worst' sound quality

Singer-songwriter and musician Neil Young said on Wednesday he won't allow his music to be streamed any more, not because of disputes over royalties, but rather over poor sound quality.

"I don't need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution," the Canadian rocker said in a post on his Facebook page.

"I don't feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It's bad for my music."

Young, 69, was one of the biggest rock stars of the 1960s and 1970s with bands like Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and a successful solo career that has included albums like "Harvest" and "Rust Never Sleeps."

He has long complained about digital audio and, as a result, has developed Pono, a portable player that aims to lend a higher quality than streaming or MP3.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Doctor X » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:15 am

MP3 tends to be of lower quality than "lossless" modalities which are much larger and take far longer to download. How noticeable is it?

His music sucks so badly it is the wrong to use it to judge.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby specious_reasons » Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:12 am

Anaxagoras wrote:Just wondering if this is some kind of audiophile woo-woo or if he has a legitimate point:

Neil Young says done with streaming due to 'worst' sound quality


Both, probably. Young hates how music sounds streamed, and he may have a point, but I doubt he's actually tested it blindly. Plus, he's got a competing product he has to market, and if Taylor Swift can influence Apple, maybe he thinks he can have the same impact.

I won't even notice if his music isn't streaming.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Rob Lister » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:26 am

I'm sure he has a point, not that I can hear it. I doubt even he can hear it (he's 70).

PCMag has a readable overview of the situation. I noted not the least woo. They conclude with
Now that people are streaming 720p high-definition video over the Internet, we clearly have the bandwidth for uncompressed audio as well. Here's hoping Neil Young isn't alone in what he wants out of digital music.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399710,00.asp

That conclusion actually contains a couple of gaffs. But the point remains; there's plenty a bandwidth for FLAC. And nobody wants to ...

buy one, bring it home, rip open the plastic, and spend 20 minutes importing it only to end up with wasted plastic just to get the top-quality sound files. It's a huge waste of both time and materials.


As an aside, the majority of folks that can really tell the difference (i.e. kids) are generally the ones that care the least.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby DrMatt » Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:10 am

I still play CDs on a CD player, LPs on an LP turntable, and cassettes on a cassette deck. And I have an auxiliary cord to plug a mobile device into the amp.

So what, are you going to sue me?

I also possess a few good books. So there!
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby gnome » Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:17 am

IIRC, mp3 format is "lossy" but should you choose, you can create one with more fidelity than human ears can hear if you don't mind a larger file.

Personally (and it was old jj that got me on it) I think recording-end volume compression does more damage to sound quality than anything else.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Rob Lister » Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:21 am

DrMatt wrote:I still play CDs on a CD player, LPs on an LP turntable, and cassettes on a cassette deck. And I have an auxiliary cord to plug a mobile device into the amp.

So what, are you going to sue me?


No, but there are not enough "yous" out there to make the margins worth the work. Neil doesn't care about profit because he's rich. You don't care about profit because ... you're weird. The rest of the industry ...

I also possess a few good books. So there!


I can scan and convert those for you if you like. I have skills there. :)

On an additional note, let's look at Pono.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pono_%28d ... service%29

Ecosystem
The Pono "ecosystem" will reportedly comprise the following components:

A portable music player, "PonoPlayer", costing $399 with 64 GB of internal storage. The player comes with an additional removable 64 GB MicroSD card and larger MicroSD cards can be used. Currently 128GB MicroSD cards are available and can be used. Thus, the total capacity can be 64GB, with no MicroSD card inserted, or more depending on the size and the MicroSD card. The cards can be swapped to allow for a larger selection of data.[20] The press release notes that the PonoPlayer, developed in collaboration with Ayre Acoustics, can store "100 to 500 high-resolution digital-music albums".[23]

The PonoMusic online music store, which will also sell earbud and headphone products suitable for use with the PonoPlayer device.[23]

"PonoMusic App", accompanying desktop-based "media-management" software, which will allow customers to download and sync music to the player.[23]


Not saying there's not a market, but $399? I suppose they did their research. Can they not make this work on an Android device?
Technology

"high-resolution" 24-bit 192kHz

Lossless (within the constraints of the bit-rate resolution and sample rate) one assumes. Big files. From above we can calculate size as
~250 albums
~40min per album
~10,000 minutes per 64gb
~6.5mb per minute
~25mb per song.

did i miss a decimal?

That's 10x the size of a mp3 and half the size of a wav.

And more ...

The mostly dweebs on slashdot are having a fun time with it. There are more funny comments than valid ones. This one is a combo worth quoting ...

A 256Kbps AAC is objectively equal to CD sound quality, as confirmed by double-blind test after test. Furthermore, a huge portion of listeners will be hearing your angel's choir over cheap-ass ear buds or crap laptop speakers. Maybe you have a golden ear and can tell the difference between a CD and a FLAC file (are those good enough for you, or do they lack the sharp ones and smooth zeros of the digital masters?). Maybe you're not actually a delusional once-great who has lousy hearing and permanent tinnitus after years of playing rock concerts, and, well, being almost 70. Maybe your home hi-fi (do you still call it that?) was hand-wired by a wizened master of recording engineering fame. Maybe you have your own private anechoic chamber so you're not exposed to anything but the pure and sweet sounds of your own singing. But the rest of us listen to normal-person music with a dynamic range that's been shot to hell in the loudness wars, via normal-person audio formats, through normal-person digital-to-analog converters, into normal-person speakers, in a normal-person environment with kids playing and horns honking and dogs barking and coworkers chattering.

Your music, pristine to the heavens though it may be, sounds no better than Miley Cyrus when piping out of my MacBook. You've become a crotchety old curmudgeon trying to remain relevant to those kids who won't stay off your lawn, and maybe it's time to sit down with a hot cup of keep your yap shut and enjoy a nice book.

Good day, sir.
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?si ... d=50120909

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Thu Jul 16, 2015 2:52 pm

As I see it, the question is not whether streaming audio is poorer quality than a high quality CD. Of course it is and no audiophile woowoo about it.

But how does it compare with the typical radio broadcast from the days when some people gave a shit about Neil Young? :coolspecs:
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby whitefork » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:11 pm

give Neil's love of feedback, distortion, hum, fuzz and volume in general, I laugh a little but not as much as I laugh at Donald one no-Trump's attempted use of "Rocking in the Free World". Neil's droll.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Rob Lister » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:49 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:As I see it, the question is not whether streaming audio is poorer quality than a high quality CD. Of course it is and no audiophile woowoo about it.

But how does it compare with the typical radio broadcast from the days when some people gave a shit about Neil Young? :coolspecs:


I posted a response to that but deleted it because I had to give it a harder thunk.

FM channels are 1MHz wide but the maximum deviation from the stations center freq is 75Khz. That's a 150KHz spread. One can't compare that with the sample rate of a D/A converter (that's where I goofed) so it is apples and oranges. There is no sample rate with FM ... or if there is the samples are limited only by the degree to which an analog circuit can respond to discrete changes in current within its operational range, which is infinite for all practical purposes. Other than a lower noise floor (?), I can't believe MP3 would compare well. Doesn't mean humans can hear it.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:10 pm

Wrong calculation Ron.

1) How about AM.
2) Under "ideal" conditions doesn't count.

You mean jj? Fuck'm.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Rob Lister » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:13 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:Wrong calculation Ron.

1) How about AM.
2) Under "ideal" conditions doesn't count.

You mean jj? Fuck'm.


No. AM has little fidelity. Not even under ideal conditions. Amplitude is only poorly moderated and so poorly modulated. The diode does its just just fine though.
Last edited by Rob Lister on Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:15 pm

Exactly.

How do you suppose I listened to Neil Young the first time I heard his shit?
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Rob Lister » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:28 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:Exactly.

How do you suppose I listened to Neil Young the first time I heard his shit?


Live. At Woodstock. While stoned. Tripping on bad acid (they fucking warned you!). Wet. Dirty. Hungry.

:o

Wait. That's how I always picture you. It is the only possible explanation for your posts.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:31 pm

:p
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby ed » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:02 pm

Rob Lister wrote:
Abdul Alhazred wrote:Exactly.

How do you suppose I listened to Neil Young the first time I heard his shit?


Live. At Woodstock. While stoned. Tripping on bad acid (they fucking warned you!). Wet. Dirty. Hungry. Bitter

:o

Wait. That's how I always picture you. It is the only possible explanation for your posts.

fixed

:D
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Rob Lister » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:10 pm

He was younger then. Still somewhat confused as to his identity.

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That was the last chick he ever checked out.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:20 pm

I am a bit too young to have been at Woodstock, though I was old enough to want to go. Furthermore, listening to Neil Young under the influence of the brown acid was even lower fidelity than AM. :oldman:
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:23 pm

Rob Lister wrote:He was younger then. Still somewhat confused as to his identity.

Image

That was the last chick he ever checked out.


:roll:

Serious biographical fact: I was trying to "cure" myself by chasing women well into my 20s.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Postby sparks » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:19 pm

Tin cans with string>AM radio>mp3/streaming>FM radio/good vinyl>CD>HD files.

Pretty much in that order of ascending quality. (I left out HD radio because the audio is squashed down to an mp3 for transmission and therefore sucks ass). Further, whoever does live streaming has control of the quality, but in the end, to prevent buffering, quality levels that suck ass must be used to avoid buffering interruptions. Eventually streaming will work. Just not now all that well.

But why not just pay for and download a nice 96 kHz-24 bit wav file and have a good one?
Nice things? Hell no!

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