Sound Check Please, Compact Discs Blow
posted by December 27 at 9:54 AMon
London Bridge Studioís Geoff Ott doesnít describe himself as an audiophile, but he likes his vinyl. And he likes his vinylís warmth and dynamic range.
Geoff says, “I prefer listening to music without having to get a computer involved. I know it sounds stupid, but the Ďexperienceí of vinyl is what listening to music is all about for me. You know, taking the record out, going through the physical motions of putting it on the turntable, and setting the needle. Holding the artwork on the album, the whole deal. It gets you closer to the artist or band. Can I say itís more intimate?”
I guess I will give you permission to say it’s more intimate. Do you sit back and let vinyl overtake you like a cool breeze?
Oh, it definitely overtakes me. I close my eyes and see exactly what the band is talking about. I have KISS concerts in my head. I can smell the pyrotechnics. I see that Love Gun they are talking about. CDís donít allow me to do that. CDís can be too clean. It needs to be more human for me. Hearing J-Lo all auto-tuned is a bummer. Thatís like the fake breasts of music.
You mean J-Lo has no Love Gun?
No, she has a squirt gun, that P. Diddy Daddy gave her. The other thing that gets me about CDís is how hot they are mastered these days.
So you donít think J-Lo is hot?
Ok, sheís kind of hot, Iíll give her that. But the way CDís are mastered and compressed to be as loud as possible is ridiculous. Some CDís lose their life. I think when a song has a quiet part, it should actually get quieter on your speakers. Then when the song gets loud, it has more of an effect on you. Thatís the KISS concert in your head moment Iím talking about.
I found a great article in Wired - here that sums it up for me. They link to a Mr. Show video where heís such an audiophile that he pulls out a mini Victrola in a donut shop to listen to music. And look at the ABBA wave files here:
The top image is taken from the original Polydor CD release. The bottom one is taken from the 2005 remaster. There is a heavy amount of compression and the dynamics and “snap” of the original track have been lost as a result.
I think if we all gave vinyl a chance, we could all have KISS concerts in our head.
Mr. Showís Audiophile: