Re: Analog Audiophile
You understand. don't you, that just as your eyes "fool you" into perceiving more colors and shades of gray than you can really see (like on TV or in a movie theater, for example), your brain "fools you" when you listen to recorded sounds to make up for the parts that are missing or wrong. People can listen to MP3s, with their loss of quality, because their brains fill in the missing information to make the audio sound okay. Your mind fills in the blanks all the time, filtering out what you don't need to perceive, focusing narrowly and enhancing that which you're interested in.
If you are searching for pristine audio in recorded media, it was never really there in the first place; the best recordings cannot capture all the waveforms of a live event, modern studio recordings sound nothing like live music anyway since the microphones dump right into digital recorders, your ears, after the age of, say, 30, are increasingly fallible, and the most important aspect of your listening experience is usually how your room is shaped and what furniture you own, not your reproduction chain.
Given all this, I take with a pretty big grain of salt the position of many audio purists who think that by extracting every single gram of fidelity out of their sources and reproductive gear, they can reach audio nirvana. It's just not that likely for most individuals, either due to the limitations of their listening environment or the fallibility of their own bodies.
The only point you made that I really agree is important is that engineers are indeed squashing recordings to get uniformly loud music out of portable and mobile equipment, and that's a loss for everyone with more to listen with than laptops, cars and iPhones. This means if you want better recordings, vote with your dollars for artists that insist on quality engineering for their music. If more people buy Paul Simon (a fidelity purist) and less Britney Spears, we'll wind up with less compressed recordings and better-sounding music.
Oh, and as far as near-field monitors, that's nothing new. Studios have used small desktop monitors and headphones since the dawn of record engineering. But it's for mixdowns, not final mastering. Most studios (and individuals who record their music DIY) play back their final mixes on normal speakers in larger rooms to see what their music sounds like in the "world".
"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone."
— Bjarne Stroustrup (creator of C++)
Last edited by GrtGrfx; 04-17-2011 at 02:02 PM..