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Discussion in 'Opeth (Archived)' started by Luciferious, Jun 17, 2008.
Fair enough. Why I use eMusic.
i'm pretty sure there about 230948023984 questionable business practices that deliver a CD to Best Buy. and, as long as people are interested in the music art package, (CD, vinyl, booklet) it will be there.
i read somewhere that when mp3s are sold on itunes, the record company only gets about 38 cents or so. i could have read it in some associated article during the fight between NBC and itunes. we know that when an album is sold most bands make 1 or 2 $ or a lil more in very few cases. it all depends how the revenue sharing is set up between the band and mp3 sales. i am inclined to think that if the record company itself gets only 38 cents, they will pass a very small amount of that to the band.
They also use CD sales as a gauge for how big a tour will be feasible, which is why they do still indirectly help the band make money.
Well, really music has been a physical medium for a very short amount of time in relative terms. In a way it's going back to what it has always been. Some people might have argued against the commodification of music through turning it into a physical product.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't all iTunes purchased songs in 128kbps by default? Seriously, my penis has more dynamic range.....
Of course most pop music is so overcompressed it doesn't matter but for something like a Mahler symphony, forget it. Plus, doesn't that result in like a 16k cutoff?
I don't want to start another format war on this thread; I'm just curious.
I'm slightly torn.
I always buy CDs because I want/need the full-throated, uncompressed sound.
The album art is a secondary reason too (very secondary)...
But once I buy the CD, I burn it to my IPOD and then throw it in the closet, never to be seen again.
And then I'm stuck with storing all these hard copies. Like barnacles forming on the hull...
If ITunes sold unrestricted, completely uncompressed albums, I might start doing that instead
But the subtle difference is, originally it was transient, performance based. Then it became a physical item. And now, it is becoming mere information, the physical case discarded, yet still not spontaneous and performance based.
Lately I've been buying only vinyl. CDs, though potentially higher fidelity and dynamic capacity, are never used to their full potential as a result of the loudness war. So I find that for most albums, vinyl actually sounds better. Often it can be cheaper.
i too have been stocking up on vinyl these past couple years. i adore how vinyl popularity is fading away. it allows most vinyl to be infact very cheap. plus, vinyl is so much more intimate. u have to hold the records with care as to not scratch them. to me its the ideal way to enjoy music. pull out the lyrics and listen away.
Try having your itunes autographed by the band...hence retail. The feeling of having the physical product is something that a digital file will never replace. Plus the album artwork is integral to the music for me. It's like the music made visual.
I don't want to, either. I'm just saying that lots of people talk a lot of shit about the fidelity or lack thereof of MP3's. In my personal experience, I can tell you that I most definitely can tell the difference between a 128kbps mp3 and, say, a FLAC file. I've proven it on this forum. But the astounding thing is: A) How hard it was to differentiate between the various bitrates and B) how many people tanked the test--miserably. And it's not just on this forum, believe me. People will say, "Okay, but I was listening with regular old shitty speakers. If I had better speakers (or soundcard, or D/A converters), I'd be able to tell the difference." Which is pure bullshit. If you can't tell the difference on the shitty speakers that you use to listen to all your music all the time, then that's the answer: the bitrate really shouldn't matter to you, no matter what the technical data says. What you actually hear is what matters.
Some people really CAN tell the difference, of course. But, again, I submit that at the higher bitrates, it becomes so difficult to differentiate as to be pointless. I had to listen to music in a way that I simply never do in order to figure out what was what.
That being said, I almost never use the iTunes store. I went out and actually bought the Watershed SE. For everything else, I use eMusic, which has higher bitrates and no DRM.
Some good points for CD here, though. And I apologize for calling those people motherfuckers. I had a beverage before typing. They're just fuckers.
Opeth and a bunch of other bands/labels are now in 256 kbps 44khz sample rate. That puts the cutoff at 22k, above the range of hearing, and the SAME as a CD, which is AIFF at 1440 kbps (I think) and a 44khz sample rate (the same frequency range). However, the massive pile of data in a CD is often "filler space", as converting the files into an actual lossless format-- just big enough to hold ALL the data that's there but not huge as it doesn't need "placeholder space"-- you'll see that many songs are closer to 1000 kbps.
Certainly a lot of data is missing from iTunes files but it has the same dynamic range, same frequency response, and now finally (it was just 128 kbps for way too long) enough data to make it listenable. Also note that it's AAC, and although I have no evidence to back this up I have noticed that AAC generally tends to sound better than MP3 at a given data rate and sample frequency. Much better.
You seem to be confusing dynamic range as well as frequency range with data rate. MP3's and AAC files (iTunes uses AAC) have a set dynamic range regardless of the quality you set those formats to use. I believe it is identical to a CD and is quite high, I want to say 96 dB though I'm not sure-- PLENTY of range, which simply is not utilized due to the "loudness war" but would be sufficient if anyone bothered to put good data into the compressor in the first place. The 44khz sample rate allows a maximum frequency of 22khz-- two samples per cycle, top and bottom, though I'm not exactly sure if you can reach 22khz while having anything more complex than a sine wave, aka music would be limited not to a set 16khz cutoff but a variable cutoff depending, basically, on how much is going on in the music at the time... I'm not too sure about that, but remember that the frequency response and dynamic range of iTunes files are no different than CDs though they certainly will have a grainy sound too them some of the time, if the music was high quality to start with, compared to a CD uncompressed file.
To conclude that giant rant on the merits of iTunes and the relatively high sound quality blah blah blah, I'll mention that usually, I buy CD's. I prefer to have the album art, the lyrics, the actual disk not just for looks but also just to have the data somewhere that would survive the death of my hard drive. Not to mention, though the dynamic range and frequency are the same, iTunes does not sound as good. Crepuscularia was off base as to WHY it doesn't sound good, but it doesn't-- though if I want one song instead of a CD or if I can't get to the record store, the quality really isn't that bad at all, it's certainly better than not having the music at all, which in those cases is pretty much the only other option.
I bought the entire album of Morningrise off iTunes though. I figured I wouldn't notice a difference. It sounds terrible (production wise. It's amazing as music) like this though... from what I've heard it has little to do with it having been from iTunes however.
Soundave great posts as always. jrsh92, I'll vouch for your comments on data rate, dynamics, and frequency range. They are accurate statements. I think what makes AAC better than the mp3 standard is the different compression. Even mp3 isn't *that* bad compressionwise, given that you get about 50% (depending on bitrate) of the quality for 10% of the filesize. This is because a lot of what gets cut is repeated digits. For example, mp3 encoders typically look for peaks that are masked by higher peaks, and cut them. That's destructive compression - it actually removes data. Other aspects simply look for areas where, for example, the data is a continuous stream of the same value, cut everything after the first value and insert something equivalent to "hold this for x instances" instead as a quicker annotation. So some of mp3 compression is destructive and some is not. AAC uses more of the latter. There's also a lot of different approaches to the two kinds of compression.
I would always rather get CD's over downloading them, but sometimes I download them because of the area that I live in.
I have downloaded songs off of iTunes only two times so far. The Porcelain Heart single, because I was too curious and I wanted to support the band, and another track because it was an "iTunes exclusive" (ridiculous marketing tick, bah!). I will ALWAYS buy a physical copy, for several reasons. Sound quality of course, but also the feeling that you have your favourite music safely stored somewhere + I love artwork and packaging + just looking at my shelves piling with music, lovely! The same reason I love buying books actually.
BTW: @Shredzilla: Your sig is grammatically incorrect.
It was the packaging that became a physical item. Music has always just been something that traveled invisibly through the air. Physically it might be 'reduced' to just information now, but it was 'reduced to' information when it was put on disc in the first place, it was just encased in physical packaging. I put the quotes around 'reduced' because I don't know if music itself has really lost anything. Perhaps we are losing the art of the album-as-a-whole but I don't know if the majority of people appreciated that to begin with, and the people who did still do. You say that it's "still not spontaneous and performance based", but that's only recorded music, which obviously by definition is fixed. There's still plenty of live music out there, and still plenty of bands doing creative and spontaneous stuff live. In an artistic sense I don't think downloading has hindered music at all, just maybe the packaging.
Is there really any difference dynamics-wise between the CP or LP version of an album? Surely they're the same master of the album?
CD and LP masters are totally different, actually. You have to consider all sorts of physical limitations when cutting an LP. You have to be careful about bass, for example, as typical bass levels of a metal album could cause the needle to jump the groove. You need to consider that as you progress through the side of an album, the audio fidelity decreases. (As you approach the center, the speed at which the needle travels across the surface of the record decreases.) All sorts of wonky shit has to be done to the mix to make it work for vinyl. There was a good article about it in Electronic Musician a few months ago, and I heard Tommy Dowd talk about it, too, a few years before he died. He always said, and I've said this on this forum a few times myself, people who prefer music on vinyl enjoy the sound of the medium over the sound of the music.
D_Cat, who's only resurfaced here fairly recently, is a vinyl guy who could explain the benefits better than I can. He posted some info in another thread that is very convincing. Worth searching for.
True. VBR, for instance, can make a pretty big difference. And not only that, but different encoders encoding at the same bitrate can spit out different sounding MP3's.
And...I still think most people don't have the ears they think they do. [/rant for good]