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An interesting article in the NYT points out that the dynamic range of pop music has gotten narrower over the decades, comparing Marvin Gaye’s spacious 1971 track “What’s Going On?” to Childish Gambino’s droning current Emmy nominee “This Is America.” The quietest milliseconds of the new song are louder than the quietest moments on Gaye’s famous old song, while the loudest bits of the new track are all equally maxed out.

My impression is that in 1971 ambitious musicians were making music to be played on ever improving component stereo systems, which had reached an impressive degree of fidelity. For example, I once bought a giant pair of Bose speakers whose manual insisted that you place them as specific spots in your living room: i.e., you would need to lay out your living room around your speakers. That seemed perfectly reasonable to me at the time.

But eventually it became less fashionable to make yourself a slave to your stereo. Smaller, more convenient stereos came to be seen as good enough. Today, a huge fraction of music is listened to on tiny earbuds. Current day songs are mostly engineered to sound kind of mediocre.

Similarly, average telephone sound quality is worse today than, say, 35 years ago. Many people have gotten rid of their home landlines and just use cell phones. Not surprisingly, young people don’t much like talking on the phone and switched to text messages.

 
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  1. I spent 15 years in the telecom industry working with progressively lower call quality. VOIP and cell is garbage compared to the PSTN network, truly a gold standard.

    Cell seems to be getting worse my guess is more carriers are backhauling VOIP, which is so inferior it makes you want to hunt down and… well, I shouldn’t say.

  2. Records are worse than live. CDs are worse than records. MP3s are worse than CDs.

    Phone photos are worse than camera photos.

    Cell phones are worse than land lines.

    Cell phones online are worse than computers.

    Digital video is worse than film.

  3. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    Mp3s were a big step down in audio quality from CDs. But nobody cared because they could pirate all the music they ever wanted, could hold all their music on their iPods, no longer had to buy full CD albums just for a favorite song or two, etc.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  4. Similarly, not too long ago many of us tried our best to watch hit movies in cinemas like this:

    And now many, if not most, people find it satisfactory to watch movies like this:

  5. Today, a huge fraction of music is listened to on tiny earbuds.

    And compressed and then compressed again to a much more noticeable degree if played over bluetooth.

    But people preferred music that’s mixed this way (at least in short listening sessions) even on high end systems. It just sounds more exciting and visceral.

    One of the ironies is that it’s vinyl recordings that are currently being mixed with more dynamic range when one of the big advantages of digital music over vinyl is that it allows for so much more more dynamic range (there just isn’t that much difference between the quietest sound thats louder than the backround hiss of vinyl and the loudest sound that doesn’t cause the needle to jump out of its track).

  6. But people preferred music that’s mixed this way (at least in short listening sessions) even on high end systems. It just sounds more exciting and visceral.

    For instance, lots of people instinctually dynamically compress their music by turning up the volume during quiet parts of music. Something poeple don’t have the urge to do with movies, unless they have a hearing problem. And mastering engineers are able to “turn up the volume” even on the quiet parts within already loud parts.

    • Replies: @Jon
  7. The late, great Stereo Review devoted the latter half of its pages to music, and the first half to equipment. I read both the popular and classical music sections, but don’t remember reading a single equipment article or review in ten years of subscribing.

    But others seemed to obsess about it.

    High-end gear probably did wonders for the classical ear, but in pop it just fed the post-Sgt Pepper pretention. (Which, to their credit, the Beatles themselves abandoned shortly thereafter.)

    The best songs of the Fifties and Sixties came across just fine on tinny transistor radios. There are still places specializing in 78s, if that’s your thing. Or earlier media:

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  8. @obwandiyag

    And listening is worse than playing.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
  9. Anon[852] • Disclaimer says:

    Today, a huge fraction of music is listened to on tiny earbuds

    I seem to remember reading that most pop songs of the 1950s and early 1960s were given their final mix after listening to them over typical car radio speakers wired up in the recording studio.

    I wonder if earbuds are used in the same manner today?

    A lot of kids back in the the 1950s and early 1960s got a good portion of their music from tiny transistor radios coming through primitive earbugs while their parents thought they were sleeping.

    Back before digital typography, optical font companies made different versions of fonts for different uses. For headline use they were normal, but the smaller they got they sprouted “resolution points” and “ink traps,” the former to account for photographic negatives and litho plates that rounded off points, and the latter to account for ink blobbing on press that rounded off internal corners on letters.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  10. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Squashed dynamic range is due to a perceived need for tracks to “stand out” to get radio airplay, even on releases everyone knows full well are not going to get airplay anyway. Producers and labels figure that no one is opposed to this and that it might get them that magic shot at airplay: after all, the stations have to play something, right?

    Music consumers have gotten stupider and the interest in serious playback rigs-“high end” equipment-has largely died out, and what is left consists often of people who are technologically ignorant and proud of it. Perusal of sites like Steve Hoffman’s and audioreview.com reveals that many of the commenters are technically stupid and intend to stay that way.

    (This phenomenon is not new: the Letters section of Stereopile after they did a full issue on the construction of what was then an improved amplifier are most instructive in that account.)

    I have long advocated that radio stations playing a large percentage of overcompressed music should be forced to reduce their FM deviation, which would cut down on their “stand out ability” and make them actively seek to play less compressed content.

    I agree that telephone audio quality is much worse today than in the pre-1984 Ma Bell days because VoIP is just not a quality medium unless massive bandwidth using error correction is employed. Also, the mp3 audio standard is radically inferior to better ones but remains a standard because no one cares anymore.

    Much of the perceived bettterness of vinyl albums over CD is that the vinyl was not as compressed and that few mastering engineers understood the real issues with CD (itself a compromised format) until later. Many still just don’t care. And then there are recording engineers like Steve Albini that prefer shitty recording chains and consequently have nothing but mediocre vocal recordings-but they sell anyway, so he won’t be corrected.

    CD is compromised because Sony determined, from conversations with Herbert von Karajan, that the disk had to have a 72 minute playing time because that was the length of Beethoven’s ninth Symphony, and its diameter was set at the same as a 5 1/4 floppy so CD drives could fit in PC case slots for big floppy drives. The bit rate was what the production technology of the time could accommodate given those fixed parameters. Still, CD is perfectly adequate for most pop music as recorded from the thirties until the 80s, but some prog releases and some better classical recordings definitely sound better under later formats like DVD-Audio and SACD.

    I don’t know anyone else under 60 that has a decent stereo rig any more, at least here in town. I still have my Marantz 7 clone preamp, my homebrew tube power amps and Altec 604s in custom cabinets, and a Michell Gyrodec turntable, but to be honest there is a lot of dust on them, I haven’t fired the rig up in at least a year. It’s a dying to dead hobby.

  11. Anonymous[812] • Disclaimer says:

    The youth demographic cohort today is radically changed from 1970! Much more so than the overall demographics.

    America’s pop music now reflects the dim thoughts & dull tastes of the global polyglot horde. Look at where the mass immigration is coming from: shithole cultures with crappy music traditions.

    If you, as an American, traveled overseas outside of the western nations in the 20th century you were immediately struck by the HORRENDOUS MUSIC that was present in that foreign land.

    Now all those crappy sensibilities are here in the USA

    … Convergence.

  12. Pop is getting more repetetive. Here is an interesting TED talk by some guy who used file compression algorithms on the lyrics of pop songs:

    • Replies: @Guy De Champlagne
    , @Lot
  13. Nonono says:

    You’re going to assert metrosexual man-child Donald Glover as being anywhere in the remote vicinity of a modern contemporary of Marvin Gaye?

    Nono no Nono nononono!

    • Replies: @Lurker
  14. a says:
    @obwandiyag

    But all of those worse things are more convenient and that is what wins.

  15. Anonymous[812] • Disclaimer says:

    Calvinist alludes to the dumbing down of the arts. How can it be denied. Hwood pays its bills with cartoon action hero slop to an alarming degree now. WTF.

    The hostile elite is dumbing us down with the chemical exposure, the digital devices, the tabloid media etc.

    On top of all that they are giving the country brain damage via mass immigration of low IQ populations.

  16. @Guy De Champlagne

    Right, vinyl wasn’t ideal for classical music because hiss and frying egg noises were noticeable in the quietest portions. Vinyl was fine for electric guitar music.

  17. @Anonymous

    Still, CD is perfectly adequate for most pop music as recorded from the thirties until the 80s, but some prog releases and some better classical recordings definitely sound better under later formats like DVD-Audio and SACD.

    There are people that will debate that. One of the interesting things about high end audio is that people will make all sorts of emphatic pronouncements about the superiority of some piece of equipment or music format, but refuse to do any blind testing to prove that there is even any noticeable difference. And then their defense of refusing to do blind testing involves admitting that the huge differences they claimed to be able to detect are actually so minute as to make blind testing impossible (and oftentimes not even being convincing that the minute differences couldn’t be put to a blind test). It’s this motte and bailey style argument where they immediately retreat when being questioned that really undermines my faith in audiophiles.

    And there are all sorts of purely technical arguments for why the red book cd format already goes beyond the limits of human perception. This is based on the sample rate being more than twice the highest frequency humans can hear (nyquist-shannon theorem) and the dynamic range (which derives from the bits per sample) being beyond what humans can discern.

  18. Jon says:
    @Guy De Champlagne

    For instance, lots of people instinctually dynamically compress their music by turning up the volume during quiet parts of music. Something poeple don’t have the urge to do with movies, unless they have a hearing problem

    I actually do this all the time, and my hearing is fine. When I am watching a movie at home, if I play the regular scenes loud enough to comfortably catch all the dialogue and background sound, the action/drama scenes really blast me. It drives me crazy, I’m constantly adjusting the volume from scene to scene. The big sound differences are more tolerable in the theater for some reason, though.

  19. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Many of the best classical recordings are still in their definitive versions on vinyl, though. CD rereleases are often less good despite lack of vinyl hiss.

    I had been presented with the SACD set of the RCA Living Stereo (‘shaded dog’) collection of classical releases. These sound a lot better with the SACD layer over the standard CD, they will play as CDs with a standard CD player but a universal or SACD player will play the high resolution layer. I was playing the Anna Moffo release for someone who is really into opera (I am not) and he said that it was good but the original vinyl was better. So he brought over his copy and we listened. He was right: the SACD was cleaner but the detail was better on the vinyl.

    The original fifties and sixties vinyl is often most clearly better than later releases especially on classical and flamenco guitar material. Also, a lot of small independent label country and southern gospel recordings in the mono era are surprisingly good technically if you are into that sort of thing.

    If you really want serious mono playback, a dedicated mono pre is a necessity: these muust be homebrewed or modified as they are not commercially made. With the right circuitry, modern stereo cartridges will work fine, but the real cognoscenti still prefer the old GE ones, now half a century old. They need to be mounted on high mass tonearms generally speaking. To think there was a time that GE made stuff that was actually first rate…..hard to believe, I know..

  20. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Ironically, the Salvation Army and similar stores are filled with mint never played classical albums and occasionally decent jazz and easy listening releases for a dollar or two for anyone who wants them.

    Getting a decent turntable, arm and cart is the hard part now: decent ones new are insanely expensive. Other than DIY for people who own lathes, the cheapest halfway decent set up is into four figures.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  21. Lot says:

    When both callers have solid connections cell calls sound better than landlines to me. The better bass on a phone’s speaker sounds more natural.

  22. Mr. Anon says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Right, vinyl wasn’t ideal for classical music because hiss and frying egg noises were noticeable in the quietest portions. Vinyl was fine for electric guitar music.

    The first time I heard a classical album on CD, it was a revelation. I had a scratchy old vinyl LP of Wagner’s Ring Cycle suites – I got it new, but after a few years, it was pretty well worn. Then a roomate of mine in college had a CD player and played a CD of the same piece. It was like hearing it for the first time – hearing something altogether different. The soft parts weren’t marred by hissing and popping; the loud parts were pure and undistorted. I then set about getting all the same recordings I had on vinyl on CD. It was a noticeable improvement.

  23. Jon says:
    @obwandiyag

    And computer games on cell phones are sh*t as well. I was never a huge gamer, but the last game I did get into was Halo. Recently, I decided to check out some of the free trial games on my phone that everyone is raving about. Compared to Halo, which was almost 20 years ago, it’s all Atari level garbage.

  24. I imagine that at some point that the Chinese anthropologists who colonize the West Coast of America and Canada will explore this issue. The degradation of pop music in the last 30 years will be studied like the decline in statuary from the Roman Empire to the early Middle Ages.

    Cardi B is celebrated as a Slay Queen among our elites in Manhattan and West Los Angeles. Cardi B’s hot takes on the government shutdown and the rise of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are considered invaluable.

    I personally find her latest hit twerk video disgusting. I don’t relate to any of this even though it is supposedly titillating.

    Is this a culture you are willing to fight for?

  25. Mr. Anon says:
    @Clifford Brown

    The hot new artist is K’Ronicca:

  26. @The Last Real Calvinist

    I saw “2001” in 1968 and again in 1978 at the Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd., which was intended to be the best movie theater in America when it opened in the 1960s.

  27. Vinyl LPs are sort of making a comeback, or at least my teenage daughter informs me.

    Saying that pop music today is terrible makes me sound like a grumpy old man (guilty as charged!!!). So I won’t comment on the style or content of modern pop music. (Degustubus non est disputandum).

    However, it seems to me there is no doubt that there is a lack of depth in the sound of recordings today. I don’t think you can attribute this to poorer recording techniques today. I’m sure that the average garage band can cheaply get recording equipment now at least as good as Beatles era EMI or Motown era Hitsville USA. I also do not think you can attribute it to earbuds. Earbuds are still way better than AM car radios. Maybe that’s the reason? Did Phil Spector invent the Wall of Sound to try and compensate for AM radio and poor quality phonographs?

  28. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Many other common products were better in the old days as well.

    Take washing machines. True,the old top load American washers used a lot of water as compared to the current high efficiency models, but they got the clothes cleaner, and the water went into the sewer, and back into the river or ocean, and was recycled by nature anyway. And the better ones like the Maytags lasted longer and were repairable. Current ones tend to be throwaway products.

    Same is true of dishwashers.

    Sears Craftsman hand tools were once quite good: they’re trash now. To get good mechanics’ tools you need to go to a truck vendor (Snap-On, Mac, Matco, et al) or find an industrial distributor handling SK or similar. Or buy German tools from a distributor like Baum or KC Tool.

    Many electrical and electronic test items are inferior now as well. Most DMMs besides Flukes have become so cheaply made they fall apart mechanically even though the chips are as good as wht Fluke uses. You can still get the good old Simpson analog meter, but the price is well over $300 now. And any decent audio bench will still have a HP 200CD sine wave generator, nothing more recent works as well.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Stealth
    , @Jack D
  29. Mr. Anon says:
    @Jon

    I actually do this all the time, and my hearing is fine. When I am watching a movie at home, if I play the regular scenes loud enough to comfortably catch all the dialogue and background sound, the action/drama scenes really blast me. It drives me crazy, I’m constantly adjusting the volume from scene to scene. The big sound differences are more tolerable in the theater for some reason, though.

    I agree; I do the same. And my hearing ain’t bad.

  30. George says:

    As the average age of the population gets older so does the average deafness. Originally pop music had to appeal to teenagers with very acute hearing.

  31. I think we’re conflating two things: technology getting worse and people getting stupider.

    The two are connected, of course. Technology for high fidelity audio still exists, it’s just the public’s decreasingly discerning audio palette isn’t interested. Telcos could connect high quality voice calls, but they can cram far more lower-quality calls on their networks, and most customers have nothing important to say anyway, so why bother?

    So mostly it’s not really technology that gets worse, it’s the people who get worse and the technology caters to them. The underlying causes are well known here: dysgenics and mass importation of low IQ foreigners.

    Perhaps there are untapped niche markets for better audio equipment and higher quality voice calls and the like, but few capitalists seem to want to bet that way.

  32. Daniel H says:

    I love the Beatles and Beach Boys but I could never figure out what all the fuss was about their so-called breakthroughs with recording technology. The technology was there. Just needed a little fiddling to get it right. Take a listen to this Buddy Holly recording (been listening to Holly all month. The 60th anniversary of the Day the Music Died was just last week. The song and performance are not only excellent but the recording nails it.

  33. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    I’m sure that the average garage band can cheaply get recording equipment now at least as good as Beatles era EMI or Motown era Hitsville USA.

    Err, no. Those old Neumann and RCA mics, Telefunken mic pre’s, Fairchild limiters, Teletronix compressors and Pultec EQs are worth a fortune now, for somewhat good reason. That said there are very good modern products out there, but they are not cheap or readily available at Guitar Center.

    Biggest problem is that you have to know what to do with all that stuff, which is where 99% of DIY efforts suck. It takes a long learning process and to earn to be both a musician and a recording engineer takes many years, most would be bands break up because of marriages and kids long before then. The old studios had people who knew what they were doing and they learned the hard way: the old guard were not helpful at all in many cases and you had to “steal the trade” , so to speak.

  34. Anonymous[134] • Disclaimer says:
    @Clifford Brown

    Why would any decent white man kill and die in foreign lands which did nothing to us is beyond me. And if it’s for the love of “our ways” then it’s even more stoopid. If this is what rural rednecks are killing and dying for, then shame on them. They are anyways a hated caricature now. Might as well accelerate and burn the whole thing down

  35. By early 50’s reel-to-reel technology was so good that it stayed largely unchanged in recording studios until around 2000. A stereo 1 inch wide tape moving at 7.5 or 15 inches/second provides a sound quality comparable with CD and digital FLAC formats, but it never really caught with the public because it was more expensive than vinyl (which has IMO awful sound quality) and less convenient than 8-tracks and cassettes that could be used in cars (and have even worse sound quality than vinyl)
    Efforts were made in the 50’s to develop stereo sound by adding a third, middle, channel which would have allowed for a wider stereo sound sweet spot. Than in the 70’s quadraphonic sound with 4 channels was tried for a while. These days blu rays can play surround 5.1 music (5 normal channels +1 for subwoofer). Still, there is very little interest from the public into this and the market for 5.1 music is microscopic.
    Price and convenience beat sound quality.

    Today, a huge fraction of music is listened to on tiny earbuds.

    Tiny earbuds give better sound quality than most speakers.

  36. @Anonymous

    Alas, it’s impossible to argue with any of your points. Woe is us.

  37. @jimmyriddle

    Lyrics are just one dimension of music though. Modern pop music has an incredible degree of instrumental complexity and ingenuity. Music from the past may involve more complex lyrics and music, but often just involved the same instruments being recorded the same way song after song. Modern pop music is made from synthesizers (and more rarely traditional instruments) being processed through complex and novel studio techniques that are constantly evolving and then layered on top of one another. Pop produceres aren’t trying to create complex lyrics or melodies they’re trying to create complex sounds. This details the production of what I would consider to be one of the best pop songs of recent years:

    I’m sure there are much more complex productions even in mainstream pop. And that guy dated Lena Dunhum for half a decade.

  38. @Anonymous

    I haven’t fired the rig up in at least a year.

    Well you should. I have many such rigs and keep several of them fired up every day, all in unison thanks to Chromecast Audio, which (though unfortunately discontinued by G) means I’ve got a marriage of current tech and traditional. And the sound is sublime.

  39. @NJ Transit Commuter

    “Degustubus non est disputandum”

    You can say that taste can’t be disputed, but there are plenty of studies that show pop music has objectively declined in every measurable way: e.g. dynamic range, musical complexity and lyrical sophistication. This is in spite of technology for much higher quality existing.

    Or just click on the twerk song video in Clifford Brown‘s comment above.

  40. @Steve Sailer

    Hey Steve, keen on expanding your empire?
    How about an iSteve audio forum?

  41. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Clifford Brown

    Cardi B is utterly bereft of talent.

  42. Anon[309] • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @Clifford Brown

    From disco to dis ho.

  43. @Steve Sailer

    I saw “2001” in 1968 and again in 1978 at the Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd., which was intended to be the best movie theater in America when it opened in the 1960s.

    Yes, I used to try pretty hard to see big screen extravaganzas in the best possible cinemas here in Hong Kong. There used to be some real barns here, but retail space here is so absurdly expensive they’ve pretty much all been broken up over the years.

    The last movie I really made an effort for was the first installment in the Hobbit trilogy, which was so disappointing it took some of the wind out of my movie-going sails. After that one, I can’t recall another movie I felt I had to see on the best available screen — maybe Interstellar? Scifi does seem to call out for big expanses of screen and good sound, even though in space no one can hear you scream, etc.

    • Replies: @Jon
  44. Anonymous[311] • Disclaimer says:

    Massive AAA immigration (Asian, Arab, Amerindian) is ruining the country in a million ways. But I don’t blame the youth from these groups largely assimilating to non-white pop culture.

    White pop culture is approaching nadir. Not much confidence, not much swagger, not much outlaw cool. More like PC conformity.

    So it is what it is and the minority kids are heading for the dumbed down ghetto outlaw cool. As far as music quality goes well none of the new generation play musical instruments. They rap and otherwise play samples on stage a la Milli Vanilli. What do people expect? These are video performers not musicians. They write their “song” on a looper. That’s why the “songs” are so repetitive, they’re written on loop recorders which alters the songwriting approach greatly.

  45. Anonymous[241] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Anon

    That’s the best Onion video I’ve seen since “Use of ‘N-word’ May End Porn Star’s Career”. (The crazy thing about that one is that just a few years ago it seemed over the top, but today it seems utterly realistic.)

  46. @Almost Missouri

    Or just click on the twerk song video in Clifford Brown‘s comment above.

    I already did, and I wish I hadn’t, but I’ll still hold you partly to blame, AM 😉

    I agree tastes in a number of areas are decaying, but I’m not sure it’s all to do with the people consuming these cultural products getting worse.

    Here in Hong Kong, for example, 20-30 years ago there were a lot of people — well, guys — who were seriously into high fidelity and AV tech in general.

    The people and culture of HK haven’t changed all that much since then, but with the advent of smartphones, geeky interest in, and the spending of time and resources on, high-end AV equipment has severely contracted.

    This leads me to believe that the same people back in the day were perhaps not all that interested in actual sound quality (Cantopop is what it is, for example), but were very interested in showing off and talking about their hardware in order to do some status signalling. This desire was especially acute because both housing and cars are really costly here, so lots of guys couldn’t (and still can’t) afford a cool car or have the chance to engage in DIY house stuff that they could geek out with their friends about. Hi-fi filled this gap very well.

    Smartphones then took over as status-signalling objet for quite a few years, but now they’re so ubiquitous and banal that their impact has to be fading. I wonder what will replace them? Maybe a resurgence of interest in Hi-Fi?

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    , @Kinch
  47. David says:
    @Guy De Champlagne

    I have an objective perspective. My dogs never respond to sounds coming from digital equipment (except for dogs barking in movies, and then not readily). They often look up when something dramatic comes from the turntable. Especially spoken word.

    I suppose the digital sound reproduction sounds inauthentic to them, too tinny, vs analog.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  48. Trevor H. says:
    @Mr. Anon

    I then set about getting all the same recordings I had on vinyl on CD. It was a noticeable improvement.

    Yet today those CDs are pretty much without value in the marketplace, and if you had the LPs to sell in their original condition you could retire on the sale of them.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  49. JimB says:

    If you make it possible for any idiot to record music, any idiot will. And a population with an average IQ of 80 will applaud them. Hip Hop should have died in the early 90s but 3rd world mass immigration has kept it alive. It is basically the music form of the lowest global common denominator.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  50. Trevor H. says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    Yet there’s this in Singapore. An entire shopping mall devoted to high-end audio. Get there or be square!

    I wonder about your perception of Peak Smartphone. The young people I know glaze over instantly at the mention of anything audio-related, but are absolutely captivated by anything having to do with phones.

    If you want a young person’s rapt attention, simply pontificate about the arrival of 5G. You don’t even have to know what you’re talking about.

  51. Trevor H. says:
    @Almost Missouri

    there are plenty of studies that show pop music has objectively declined in every measurable way: e.g. dynamic range, musical complexity and lyrical sophistication.

    OMG, can you even hear yourself? That is racist af. Or white af; not sure if there’s any difference between the two any more.

  52. Trevor H. says:
    @Anonymous

    Massive Amerindian immigration?

    What country is this, pray tell?

    • Replies: @Jon
    , @captflee
  53. @Guy De Champlagne

    Vinyl does not have a greater dynamic range than digital.

  54. Trevor H. says:
    @Mr. Anon

    Good God, that is from 2011.

    Comment says: “Undoubtedly one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

  55. jim jones says:
    @Guy De Champlagne

    All my music is stored as MP3s on my PC. I find the quality adequate and the convenience is excellent

  56. Tyrion 2 says:

    Ah, yes, and the dishwasher is not nearly as good as a team of five scullery maids.

    • LOL: Redneck farmer
  57. Tyrion 2 says:

    Tony Blair iSteve reader? (2 minutes in.)

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  58. AndrewR says:

    Perhaps you wouldn’t count me as a “young person” (whether I count myself as one depends on the day), but my dislike of phone calls and preference has nothing to do with difficulty understanding the other person. There are some people [very few] whom I still enjoy long, aimless conversations with. But even with these people, texting can be a lot more convenient. And for most people most of the time, the downsides of phone calls outweigh the upsides, usually by a large margin.

    • Agree: silviosilver
    • Replies: @Corn
    , @Eagle Eye
  59. I heard Billy Idol’s Eyes Without a Face, for the first time in a couple decades, interspersed between more modern fare, and was bowled over by how relatively lush it sounded. I’ve rarely listened to music in the last decade, I I think I now know why.

  60. Jon says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    The last movie I really made an effort for was the first installment in the Hobbit trilogy, which was so disappointing it took some of the wind out of my movie-going sails.

    The Hobbit is an interesting one to consider for this topic. The film was shot with better tech (the high frame rate) but ended up being a much inferior product (the filming style just made it very obviius that the actors were walking around on sets interacting with fake creatures). I recently saw part of the series at home on my TV, and the limits of that medium made the whole thing noticeably better.

  61. Kinch says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    Display cabinets full of Ultraman collectibles aren’t ever going to go out of style 😀

    Have fond memories of buying my first ‘serious’ audio system at the top of Times Square Mall back in the late 90s.

    Considerably less interest in mechanical watch and Leica collecting too these days. Both perceived as being a bit too ‘Uncle’.

  62. Tyrion 2 says:

    That poster these kids have on their walls these days is nothing like the fidelity of the Cistene Chapel.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    , @reactionry
  63. Tyrion 2 says:

    Those dinky fold up bicycles that kids be using are nowhere near as versatile as a proper Irish Thoroughbred.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  64. Tyrion 2 says:

    An ugly email has nowhere near the substance of a well carved stone tablet.

    • Agree: TheBoom
  65. @Guy De Champlagne

    Sample rate and dynamic range aren’t everything. The filters required to eliminate ultrasonic frequency components from the digital input have problematic temporal behavior. This means the wing-to-wing recording-and-reproduction system is at best a dispersive medium with variable group delay.
    Criticize analog all you like, but (aside from anomalies like record groove echo and tape print-through) at least analog didn’t introduce pre-signal distortion effects.

  66. Tyrion 2 says:

    Also kids use text not voice because voice leads to “telephone tennis”, plus it’s “awks”. It isn’t the voice quality. You can have perfect voice quality – too perfect in fact, it’s unnerving – by using data calling.

    • Replies: @JeremiahJohnbalaya
  67. @Kinch

    My dad bought a Leica in Germany in 1959. Most of the pictures of me as a kid that I sometimes post were shot with it. Not an SLR so you couldn’t change lenses on it and it didn’t have an internal light meter. But the built in lens was extremely sharp. I got an Olympus compact SLR in 1976, which was a fine camera, but the 1959 Leica might have taken slightly better pictures if the cameraman executed well.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  68. Anon[111] • Disclaimer says:

    OT

    If San Francisco is so great, why is everyone I love leaving?

    https://sf.curbed.com/2019/1/30/18196549/san-francisco-everyone-leaving-first-person-migration-california

    We are witnessing two migrations. One is the continuation of the Californian dream, where young people flock here for gold and glory, ready to hustle and disrupt, hammering to hit the motherlode and laughing at the odds. The other is the migration of young people out of California, which seems to have affected everyone I know, but which I rarely hear examined. These people want to be artists, teachers, blacksmiths, therapists, mechanics, and musicians. They want to have children, open bakeries, own a house. But they can’t. There is no room here for those kinds of dreams anymore. They hear about someone’s success in New Orleans, Kansas City, or Pittsburgh, and they leave their families and communities behind on the chance they will, ironically, strike gold.

  69. @Macumazahn

    tape print-through

    Like “Whole Lotta Love”?

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
  70. @JimB

    Hip Hop should have died in the early 90s but 3rd world mass immigration has kept it alive. It is basically the music form of the lowest global common denominator.

    On Guadalcanal, the natives periodically wage pogroms against the Chinese merchants, then return to the smoking rubble the next day to try to buy food. My impression is the indigenous youths of Guadalcanal are big hip-hop fans.

    • Replies: @Kyle
  71. @Macumazahn

    I have no idea what a lot of that means. The question is can you tell the difference in a blind test between your preferred analog source and a high quality cd level digital recording of that source played through a high quality DAC? Is there evidence you can point to of anyone doing that?

    And, for the record, my comment was in response to somoone extolling the virtues of high resolution digital audio over cd quality digital audio, not analog over digital.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  72. @Trevor H.

    I’ve got several hundred pretty decent quality but not too rare 1976-1985 vinyl records sitting in a big stack in the garage. I tended to buy first and second albums by groups — e.g., Ramones, Cheap Trick, Clash, Talking Heads, Police, U2 — whose third or fourth albums would be big hits.

    How much are they worth? $1 apiece, $5, $10?

  73. @Anonymous

    I just refitted an old Sansui linear tracking turntable, but only in order to copy various rare/classic vinyls to wav files and then potentially to the highest quality of mp3.

    (My daughter went through a vinyl phase so has a modern Pioneer deck, crappy compared with my old PL12D. Decent NAD amp and I forget which speakers).

    Sad that Shure have stopped making cartridges.

    “It’s a dying to dead hobby”

    On the other hand it means you can pick up a pair of KEF Cadenzas for £10 in a second hand shop.

    Car stereos should have dynamic range compression built in, but AFAIK none do. I believe one or two luxury brands match volume to the ambient noise of road/tyres/engine. Classical music on a car stereo means you adjust the volume more often than you change gears.

    What do people do for broadband when they don’t have a fixed line? Pay a large (comparable with fixed line prices) monthly fee for mobile broadband?

    Another technology that’s worse is hand tools. Cheap far east stuff with dodgy metal. I pick up anything made in Sheffield – saws, chisels, spanners etc – they’ll last for ever.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Lurker
    , @Clyde
  74. @Guy De Champlagne

    Thanks, that’s a really helpful video of a white guy recreating how he sat in a room by himself slowly creating music.

    On the other hand, I suspect that the infinite options of computer synthesizers are less intriguing than the limited but still capacious options that electric guitars offered in the second half of the 20th Century. For example, here’s a novel guitar in 1978 that “The Edge” of U-2 must played over and over:

    Eventually, of course, every instrument gets worn out.

  75. @Tyrion 2

    Britain is so anti-Semitic that the government makes no attempt to track its baleful effects on the Jewish population in terms of wealth, income, employment, criminal justice, education, number of FT100 execs and Oxbridge dons etc.

    Can’t imagine why !

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
  76. @Guy De Champlagne

    Thanks, that’s a really helpful video of a white guy recreating how he sat in a room by himself slowly creating music.

    On the other hand, I suspect that the infinite options of computer synthesizers are less intriguing than the limited but still capacious options that electric guitars offered in the second half of the 20th Century. For example, here’s a novel guitar in 1978 that “The Edge” of U-2 must played over and over:

    Eventually, of course, every instrument gets worn out.

  77. JosephB says:

    “Not surprisingly, young people don’t much like talking on the phone and switched to text messages.”

    I’m skeptical about the causality. I grew up before cellphones, and know many people who despised the phone. It would ring at inconvenient times, but hey, at least is was convenient for the person bothering you. Then you were stuck talking without seeing facial expressions. This was a pleasurable experience how?

    Given a choice, I’m not sure what proportion of people actually liked talking on the phone. Some did, assuredly. But once choices were available it got less popular.

  78. @Guy De Champlagne

    Thanks, that’s a really helpful video of a white guy recreating how he sat in a room by himself slowly creating music.

    On the other hand, I suspect that the infinite options of computer synthesizers are less intriguing than the limited but still capacious options that electric guitars offered in the second half of the 20th Century. For example, here’s a novel guitar in 1978 that “The Edge” of U-2 must played over and over:

    Eventually, of course, every instrument gets worn out.

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute
  79. Polynikes says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Depends on quality (having them stacked in a hit garage may not be a good sign) and rarity.

    Some could be worth as much as $10-20 each. I think I paid $30 for on old lp in good condition of Van Morrison’s Moondance.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Trevor H.
  80. @Polynikes

    In late 1982 I sold a bunch of vinyl LPs when I moved to Chicago. The Record Store Guy in West L.A. was offended that I was selling James Brown Live at the Apollo. On the other hand, he was offended that I was offering my Queen albums to him and refused to even take them for free. So I’ve still got my vinyl Queen albums, which are now back in fashion, although by the time I get around to trying to sell them they’ll probably be out of fashion once again.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    , @Marat
  81. @Anonymous

    Hand tools I inherited from my father (b. 102 years ago) are quite good. Hand tools I bought for myself … not so much.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
  82. Anonym says:
    @Jon

    For instance, lots of people instinctually dynamically compress their music by turning up the volume during quiet parts of music. Something poeple don’t have the urge to do with movies, unless they have a hearing problem

    It’s called “Not wanting to wake up your family”. I often watch English speaking movies with English subs on for a similar purpose.

  83. Back in the late 1990s I talked (for a story I was doing) to a bunch of Hollywood audio engineers about the impact of digital tools on the audio experience of movies. General consensus: when used with care, digital tools can result in mind-blowingly lovely soundtracks that truly enhance movies. The precision and control they offer are an engineer’s (and an artist’s) dream. But producers don’t care much about aesthetics. They want catchy and loud, and they want the work done fast, so everything gets pushed to the surface and cranked up high. Every sound has to be a highlight and every passage has to be a crescendo. Excitement!

    Incidentally, everyone knew even at that time that loud, aggressive, scratchy/rumbling Dolby soundtracks were driving older people out of theaters. Loudness is experienced as exciting by young people (and especially by boys and young men), but after the age of 30 most people start to experience loudness as painful. It’s physiological. So, despite its potential, digital audio was helping turn adults off movies and was helping turn movies into a kiddie art form.

    And of course over time the people who consume this entertainment develop a taste for it. To them the effects, the rumblings and the percussiveness aren’t coarse and overobvious, they’re youthful and exciting. What the older set takes to be failings the younger set embraces as theirs. Effects, highlights, overstimulation, etc become the accepted thing and the common pop-cultural language.

    Fwiw: I’m perfectly happy with digital music so long as it’s 256 kpbs or better. 128 makes my ears ache and sounds to me like big chunks of the music are missing, but at 256kpbs my ears relax and I’m content. And I love digital photography. I take a few thousand photos every year now, while back in the film days I took probably 20 a year. I enjoy the ease of sharing digital photos too. For most of us, good enough and superconvenient makes for a pretty sweet combo.

  84. Tyrion 2 says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    I agree. I also think that with Tony Blair’s mention of “golf clubs” agrees with you. Golf clubs are not any sort of marker of status or high-standing here. I mean they often cost a bit as class markers go, they are very faint indeed.

  85. “Records are worse than live. CDs are worse than records. MP3s are worse than CDs.
    Phone photos are worse than camera photos.
    Cell phones are worse than land lines.
    Cell phones online are worse than computers.
    Digital video is worse than film.”

    When I was a kid, I remember (perhaps incorrectly) that the serrated blade on the edge of the saran wrap roll was metal and sharp and you could easily cut yourself. Today, the blade is plastic, and it doesn’t even perform its primary function (cutting saran wrap when you pull it across the blade at an angle). Every time I have a roll of saran wrap, its warped from my pulling it at an angle on the blade and unsuccessfully slicing it (and instead warping the box)! It also seemed stickier back then.

    joe

    Incidently: after playing Fallout 3, I ‘got into’ old 40’s music-there is a 40’s junction station on Sirius XM on my car radio that I and my kids listen to. Aside from whether I like the music (which I do, though I get a bit tired of the military songs from WWII), it is fascinating to really face what kind of culture we have compared to then. Like it or not, the music was- while sappier- happier, more literate (frequently songs are stories), often witty and full of puns, and simply more pleasant. You don’t have to like the music to realize it reflects a different, ‘nicer’ culture (and that during World War 2!). The music make you want to visit that place and talk to the people in it.

    I’ve often thought the same about 50’s music-the same simple, pleasant tunes, expressing pretty basic human desires an emotions (albeit without the literacy of 40’s tunes-basically what it was-contemporary music dumbed down for teenagers).

    Our entire culture is built on the 1960’s, and so many think the 1960’s were the cultural peak from which we are descending. If you go even farther back, though, you can hear what we really lost.

    joe

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute
    , @Jack Hanson
  86. Jon says:
    @Trevor H.

    Amerindian does not mean American Indian, though the category does inclde them. And the country, pray tell, that is being overrun by them is the good ol’ US of A.

  87. Whitney says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I agree with this also. Getting rid of that hiss and crackle was a real Boon for classical music though I enjoy hearing the occasional cough in the live recordings. Mostly I do listen to classical music but I’m not an audiophile so I listen to digital through a Bluetooth speaker. It’s still a thousand times better than anything today

  88. I’ve noticed in a lot of sci-fi TV shows and movies, they have video or holographic communication, but the quality is really poor. Who knew the directors were projecting current trends into the future?

  89. Nathan says:

    The Loudness Wars was a hot button issue in music… 10 years ago. Metallica took a bunch of heat for releasing Death Magnetic, one of the most insanely over-compressed records of all time, while simultaneously releasing the un-mixed studio tracks on Guitar Hero so you could tell exactly how bad the mastering was on the final product. You see, it was the oughts, and hating Metallica was just sort of the cool thing to do, even though they probably weren’t the worst offenders.

    10 years later, the only thing that’s changed is that nobody cares about Metallica anymore. No technical improvements, practically no changes in pop culture. It’s kind of sad.

  90. Dtbb says:
    @Jon

    I hear ya brother. I am known by my friends for having “microscopic hearing”, but watching DVDs at home I continually have problems understanding dialogue. My theory is sound engineering has gone to shit in the movies.

  91. @Clifford Brown

    I find twerking to be anti-sexy. Just repulsive.

    • Agree: jim jones
  92. @Jon

    I guess i should have said bad hearing or a bad sound system. My point is that people generally like the quiet parts of films to actually be quiet and the loud parts loud not that people like to not be able to hear soft dialogue or hurt their ears/disturb their neighbors.

  93. @Clifford Brown

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a black woman’s skanky, jelly ass shaking in your face–forever.

    • Replies: @Ragno
    , @ChrisZ
  94. countenance says: • Website

    A few years ago, 2015, I noted that a 30-year old song that year sounded way more new than a 30-year old song 30 years ago. Meaning a 1985 song sounded way more new in 2015 than a 1955 song sounded in 1985.

    • Replies: @snorlax
  95. Stealth says:
    @Anonymous

    Don’t forget about clothes. Excepting jeans, which for some reason seem more durable now, clothes used to fit better and last longer, particularly shirts and coats. I remember when I would stop wearing t-shirts after years of use – not because they were falling apart, but because the color had faded to such a degree that they weren’t publicly presentable anymore.

  96. Although under 40, I have always enjoyed vinyl. I was given an early 80s Samsung receiver and a 60s Panasonic record changer when I was young plus all the big band music on 78s and LPs I could buy. Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey through Sinatra, some soul, Beach Boys, Motown too. Later graduated from the Panasonic to a Dual 1019 I found, which has been great. Gradually converting the collection to .wav files using Audacity for listening in the car and on other devices. I love my old 78s, but also that great balanced stereo sound of, say, the Larry Elgart Orchestra’s “Sophisticated Sixties” album.

    I remember stereo/audio system building being in fashion until the early 2000s, even as the look of the equipment changed from the brushed steel look of my early childhood to the 10 CD changer jet black 5 remote setups of my late teens/early 20s. It was not just the smartphone but the prevalence of pirated mp3s that became available through an on campus intranet program called myTunes redux that changed the focus from buying and playing albums to obtaining the single songs you wanted and having them available at all times without having to wait on the radio or play through the album. (MyTunes allowed one to obtain mp3s from the campus intranet via Itunes by connecting to other students’ playlists). Being a jazzophile and vinyl man basically from age 12 or so I was somewhat immune to this, but did record my records onto .mp3s for a few years until I discovered that .wavs sounded much better.

  97. @SIMPLEPseudonymicHandle

    The salient fact that is underlying this whole discussion is that audio recording and playback were essentially perfected in the 1950s. In terms of quality, there has been limited progress in speaker design (although there are speaker designs from the 1950s that are still made and have devoted adherents) and microphone design (ditto for speakers) while studio magnetic tape recorders have never been improved upon in terms of discernable playback characteristics. All the real advancements in audio has been in convenience, size, cost, etc.

    • Replies: @Vegan Shark
  98. @Anonymous

    I recognize the difference between a 128 and 320 kbps mp3, but usually not between a 320 and a lossless format, so I try to go 320 when possible.

    Constant background noise (basically, anything, from church bells to cars to wind to coffee machine etc.) is an issue when listening to classical music, and yes, there is a tendency to lower the volume when the music is loud (not to wake up my daughter etc.) and turn it higher when the music natural volume is very low (so that I can hear it at all), and I think most people (including me) don’t like it, but that’s just the constraint of listening to music with lots of noises and other people around. The alternative would be not listening to music at all.

  99. @Paleo Retiree

    Your comments on theater sound are spot on. Now that I’m a geezer I can’t tolerate cinema soundtracks.

  100. Cortes says:

    In

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2103530.A_Story_That_Ends_with_a_Scream

    Herlihy (“Midnight Cowboy” etc) has a great short story lamenting decline in quality of, well, just about everything.

  101. @Clifford Brown

    I personally find her latest hit twerk video disgusting. I don’t relate to any of this even though it is supposedly titillating.

    It appear rather animalistic or… monkey-like concerning the specific sexual fixation with regards to their buttocks.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Stan d Mute
  102. bjondo [AKA "5 dancing shlomos"] says:

    it’s all progress.
    this is what our best and brightest do.
    cheaper music, cheaper pictures, cheaper food.
    cheaper life.

  103. Watching Top of the Pops (the top 40 on BBC TV) used to be almost a religious experience in the UK. Now the kids are into apps etc. Music has reached a permanent state of looking back. The available library overwhelms any desire to create something new.

    As for equipment, you get more bang for your buck if you buy a 70s era hifi on eBay rather than anything new. If you can add an external sound source, you can attach a cheap Bluetooth input so that you can stream from your phone etc with Spotify or Apple Music etc. The common idea that digital (mp3, CD) music is worse quality is based on a misunderstanding. It’s not digital music which is bad quality, it’s just that music systems since the 80s have been bad, tinny, and cheap overall, so people associate that with digital music. MP3s, CDs and streamed music played through a decent 70s system play very well.

  104. @Guy De Champlagne

    I never did a blind test, but I tried to listen to different formats on the same device a few times, and it appears to me that the 128kbps mp3 is usually good enough, but the 320 is noticeably better. I don’t use anything better than that, because I don’t think I’d notice the difference.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    , @jim jones
  105. @Anonymous

    MP3 quality is highly dependent on the bitrate used to encode the file. 256 and 320 kbps files are very difficult to distinguish from the original CD.

    64 and 128 kbps files are an obvious step down from CDs.

    The Boomer nostalgia about the, ‘perfection,’ of the LP record is embarrassing. That could have been strangled in the crib had the early CD players and CD releases been closer to the maximum sound quality potential of the format.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  106. @Guy De Champlagne

    I think a case could be made that there could be some subconscious difference, which you don’t notice, but is still there. (E.g., to use the now meme expression, the higher quality music “sparks more joy,” and perhaps it might be measured using brain scans.)

  107. @Reg Cæsar

    You’ve hit the truth there. And with the absurd overproduction of pop music how would it inspire anyone to pick up an instrument to try it themselves?
    How many guitar players were inspired by Eddy Van Halen, right?

    The hell of our age is quantity over quality.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  108. @Guy De Champlagne

    A lot of those tiny earbuds provide good quality sound for not much money.

    I spent a portion of my youth trying to be an, ‘audiophile.’ I had a, ‘system,’ with a, ‘listening chair,’ until I realized that I was wasting my time and money on an eccentric, socially isolating hobby.

    Now, I much prefer those cheap and cheerful earbuds. There are some pretty good wireless speakers and soundbars available. So nice to save the money and not have a huge rack, speakers, and mass of cables dominating the living room.

  109. Busby says:
    @Paleo Retiree

    Concur. Good enough and convenient win out over time. Plus, perspective is important. If you grew up listening to popular music on AM radio, playing records on your record player and dreaming of the day when you might have the money to spring for a quality stereo, technical improvements are welcomed.
    You mean I can play my music in the car using your 8 track machine. Sign me up.
    You mean I can play my music on this little disc and there’s no pop and hissing. Sign me up.
    You mean I can put my entire collection of music on this thing the size of a deck of cards. Sign me up.
    You mean I can ditch this player and put all my music on my phone. Sign me up.

    I can do the same same for photos and video.

    Now the quality of the music is a whole other matter. But I’m not sure if it’s just “not invented by my generation” or it is poor. My parents didn’t hate the Beatles. They just favored Sinatra. What I remember most about their preferences, it was mostly individual artists. Singers, or Broadway show cast recordings.

    • Replies: @Anonym
  110. @Steve Sailer

    You’ve got that right. I build timber frames for a living and while my power tools are pretty modern German and Japanese specialty stuff, almost all my hand tools are over 100 years old. My go-to framing chisel and Stanley 10 1/2 rabbit plane are both around 120 years old.

    They relied on their tools then and they were an extension of the craftsman. They weren’t regarded as disposable blunt objects to trash. A well crafted, sharp tool saved a carpenter a lot of effort and was respected because of that.

  111. @Jon

    Uh, modern home theater receivers from the big brands have all kinds of dynamic range compression tools that would save you the hassle. Don’t have to spend much – the recently discontinued Yamaha RX-V 483 is incredible at $250.

  112. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    some prog releases and some better classical recordings definitely sound better under later formats like DVD-Audio and SACD.

    When heard on a decent stereo rig… But see below.

    Given the processing power of the time, real time lossless decompression was not feasible, at least not at the price point they were trying to hit, so the CD format is completely uncompressed… every single sample of the bitstream is written out in plain text. So if you have a 1 second rest, it is written as 000 000 000 on and on 48,000 times. Lossy compression (MP3) is a dirty word (even though with a sufficiently high bit rate the difference is literally inaudible to human ears (except for the ears of stereo snobs – they’re the only ones who claim to be able to hear the difference but it’s like Uri Geller – they can’t do it in a lab setting)), but there is no real downside to lossless compression (such as FLAC) which can squeeze an audio file by 50 to 70% without losing a single bit of data from the original. Had they implemented some kind of lossless compression they could have still put 72 minutes of music on a CD but with much higher fidelity but they didn’t try at all. Once the standard was set, it was impossible to change it later without making all of the existing hardware obsolete.

    I don’t know anyone else under 60 that has a decent stereo rig any more,

    The market has gone completely in the other direction (except for a retro vinyl revival) …toward compressed formats. Not only do these formats not have more fidelity that CD, they have less so that they can reduce file sizes (even though we now have lots of storage capacity and bandwith to send it (in most cases – the big exception being the Sirius satellite service which sounds awful because it is so highly compressed).

    Stereo is an old white guy hobby. No one else cares anymore. Young people listen in solitude and will spend $ on headphones but there is no situation where they want to get together with friends and listen to high fidelity music on an expensive stereo. It is going the way of the dodo along with landline telephones and broadcast television and even driving cars – it just doesn’t fit their lifestyle.

    As part of a declining civilization, people no longer care about achieving the “ultimate” anything. BMW was (according to its ads at least) the “ultimate driving machine” but no one wants that experience – they just want a SUV with a BMW logo on it which is sort of like a refrigerator on wheels (they even paint them the same color as fridges) and young people don’t even want that. And no one wants the “ultimate sound” either.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @snorlax
  113. Rosie says:

    Not surprisingly, young people don’t much like talking on the phone and switched to text messages.

    Forget about trying to hear on a cellphone with children talking and laughing. There really is no point even bothering to answer the phone. Texting is much better.

  114. @Steve Sailer

    Synth pop has been around for a long time. And before commercial synths you had the BBC radiophonic workshop. Delia Derbyshire’s work there in the ’60s sounds like Orbital or Boards of Canada.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/the-women-who-invented-electro-inside-the-bbc-radiophonic-worksh/

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7512072.stm

  115. @Macumazahn

    All filter circuits introduce group delay. There are plenty of filters in the analog signal chain.

    Now, it is possible to limit the group delay caused by a filter. One can implement Bessel topology has maximally flat group delay through the passband. Unfortunately, this is achieved at the expense of flat frequency response in the passband.

  116. @Steve Sailer

    Steve, I would check LP prices on discogs.com.

  117. Stick says:

    Does it really matter given the lack of quality music being written and recorded? Hang onto your vinyl, folks.

  118. Jack D says:
    @David

    It’s possible that they are hearing ultra-sonic (to human) frequencies which you can’t hear – the proverbial dog whistle. But that’s the point – CD’s (and MP3s) are made for human enjoyment, not dog enjoyment. If there is some difference between reproduction method A and B that is literally imperceptible to all humans, then what earthly difference does it make?

    The great irony in all this is that the ability of humans to hear high frequencies declines with age and women can hear higher frequencies than men, so the demographic that is still most concerned with high fidelity (60+ year old white guys) is the group that is least able to actually hear them. But they are also the most OCD group so they care about shit that they can’t even perceive. They KNOW that it’s there and it bugs them even if they can’t actually hear it with their ears.

    • Replies: @snorlax
    , @Lurker
  119. PConnelly says:

    My uncle was a NYC fireman in the 1950’s-1970’s. One day in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s my uncle and a fellow fireman were driving into the fire station (Hook & Ladder 38? in Harlem) from Jersey. It was a rainy and as they’re driving they see a guy over on the side of the road with a spare tire and jack and looking all befuddled. They stop to help. They fixed the tire and tell the guy to get the bad tire repaired. The guy wanted to pay them but they refused. He asked where they were heading and my uncle told him they were heading to the firehouse. The guy asked which one.

    A week later the fanciest Harman Kardon system was delivered to the firehouse with a note, “To the guys at Hook and Ladder 38, thanks for helping out a guy in need. -Perry Como”

  120. OT, but in the UK the campaign against “anti-Semite” (i.e. relative neutrality vis a vis Israel/Palestine) Jeremy Corbyn continues with two new fronts being opened.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6686861/Countdown-star-Rachel-Riley-teaming-advisers-Blairs-government-launch-new-party.html

    Countdown star Rachel Riley and Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling’s agent are teaming up with advisers from Tony Blair’s Government to launch a breakaway Labour Party within weeks.

    The plotters, led by Blair’s former Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell, addressed about 50 ‘potential supporters of a new political movement’ to stop Jeremy Corbyn getting the keys to No 10, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

    The secret meeting on Tuesday night was held in the Central London offices of Ms Rowling’s agent, Neil Blair, where Powell and former Blair speechwriter Philip Collins delivered plans for a new pro-European centrist party.

    Oxford-educated Ms Riley, who is Jewish, revealed last month that her Channel 4 bosses ordered extra protection after she publicly criticised Corbyn and received threats from his hard- Left followers.

    And this is being serialised in the Mail. Tom Bower is the top man of the warts and all biography – I wonder who commissioned it? The title’s pretty partisan, unlike most of his titles.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Bower

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6686593/Jeremy-Corbyns-40-years-plots-lies-intimidation-chaos.html

    For 18 months, Britain’s top investigative author has been uncovering the truth about the Marxist who wants to be PM.

    Tom Bowers new biography “Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot For Power” paints a chilling picture of a bitter extremist hiding behind a mask of geniality.

    Here, our first exclusive extracts reveal Corbyn’s extremist roots; how he took Diane Abbott into his bed; his ‘delight’ with Brexit despite campaigning for Remain; and how his cold-hearted neglect and chaotic finances cost the mother of his three sons their family home…

  121. So, I just discovered that Childish Gambino is actually actor Donald Glover, guy whose face I could easily mistake for several other black actors. Like, I could have sworn he played a Marvel super hero, but apparently he only did voiceover work in the animated Spider-Man movie. He did play Lando Calrissian in that forgettable Han Solo movie.

    I could barely stand 20 seconds of that horrible this is America song and shut it off. I know we like to express reserve about judging the music of the younger generation, and think maybe our elders thought our music was equally bad. But no, I’m pretty convinced music definitely is worse now a days. My dad grew up listening to 50’s doo wop and early Beatles. As a teen, my favorite music consisted of what I considered a holy trinity of heavy metal / hard rock: Metallica, Guns n Roses, and AC/DC. My dad thought those bands were pretty good too.

  122. Jack D says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Even though Leica’s are rangefinder and not SLR , most of them have interchangeable lenses. However your dad (and many other owners) probably just owned the standard lens so you didn’t even know it had that capability. In their day, they were the best available but at some point in the ’60s the Japanese caught up and then passed them as a practical matter. Maybe not in the lenses themselves but a camera is a lot more than a lens and if the Germans were the master of optics then the Japanese were the masters of compact electronics and even in the film era cameras were increasingly electronic.

  123. @Clifford Brown

    20 seconds in: “The top twenty winners will get flewed out.”

    That’s some serious mental firepower she’s working with there.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Hail
  124. Similarly, average telephone sound quality is worse today than, say, 35 years ago. Many people have gotten rid of their home landlines and just use cell phones. Not surprisingly, young people don’t much like talking on the phone and switched to text messages.

    Lol, I highly doubt that is the reason.

    I was about 21 when txting became available, and I jumped on it straight away, just as most of my peers did. Txting was much more fun than just talking, especially for flirting with girls – each txt builds up anticipation and excitement in a way that speaking on the phone doesn’t.

    I never answer numbers that I don’t know these days. My thinking is, if you really want to make contact with me, you have my number, so if I don’t answer your call, just txt me.

    Even with my friends I find it strange when someone calls me for something that isn’t urgent. Why would you call me to tell me that rather than just txt me? So a lot of the time if I doubt there’s any actual urgent reason a friend is calling me, I just don’t answer. Or if they txt saying “call me” I just reply with a txt anyway, and then if it’s really something that is better discussed over voice they call me and I’ll answer.

  125. Some very interesting points I was never aware of (not fuddy-duddy).

  126. Corn says:
    @AndrewR

    I agree with this 100%. Through a combination of modest income, frugal ways and conservatism, I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2007. Now I can’t imagine not having one and I took to texting like a fish to water.

    I prefer texting not because cell phone signals can be spotty, I prefer texting because I can reply at my own leisure, there are no “uhhhs” or “ummms” filling the conversation and there are no more shy or awkward pauses where you are left wondering whether you should say something else or simply say goodbye and hang up.

  127. Anonymous[264] • Disclaimer says:
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    Vinyl LPs are sort of making a comeback, or at least my teenage daughter informs me.

    My theory about this is that vinyl records are being hyped to increase sales for the music industry, which is hoping to get everyone to buy vinyl versions of CDs they already possess to experience superior sound. This was the exact same argument made when CDs burst on the scene – their quality was supposed to be superior to vinyl or audiotapes.

  128. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    Disagree about washing machines. Front loaders were always better and still are. They have now fixed the balance problem with electronics (the old Bendix solution was to bolt the machine to a concrete floor, Whirlpool ballasted the machine with concrete blocks inside the case). And fixability is about the same, although I wish that the manufacturers would give you an access panel for the pump instead of making you take the whole damn machine apart. They really don’t build these (or cars) with future repair in mind – they build them so they go together in the factory quickly and easily and how you fix them later is not their problem. Dishwashers haven’t really changed much under the hood – the same pump fits all GE dishwashers made from 1970 to the present. The internet has been a real boon because there are how-tos and videos and parts available on line – the next time an appliance breaks, try fixing it yourself instead of calling the Maytag man. If you can do simple car repairs then appliance repair is usually easier.

    For tools, meters, etc., it’s all a matter of price point. If there is some tool that you need that you are only going to use once or rarely, then the Chinese crap version may be good enough. If you are professional mechanic and use them every day, then it’s better to buy the good stuff once because you’ll end up replacing the cheap stuff over and over.

    • Replies: @snorlax
  129. Lugash says:

    Is TV audio being formatted for headphones? I had to finally give in this week and buy a set of FM transmitter headphones. I can’t make out a g**damn word they’re saying on a lot of shows anymore over speakers, but headphones are clear as a bell. It seems like ‘old people shows’ documentaries, news and sports are OK, but anything else is Nolan mush. Premium cable is worse than regular cable, which is worse than OTA.

    I’ve also gone back to using my TV’s speakers rather than a sound bar and subwoofer combo. It’s much more clear.

    Re: VOIP and cell phones they seem to be getting much better. I’ve seen fewer and fewer of those stupid Bluetooth headsets, which seemed to be the culprit of bad sound 90% of the time.

  130. snorlax says:
    @Jack D

    The reason people think dishwashers are worse is because the Obama EPA banned the active ingredient of dish detergent a few years back, and the new product is much inferior.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Trevor H.
  131. I used to date a comely young lass who played in a metro symphony orchestra. I pretended not to know much about classical music, because she was very cute when she explained it to me. We used to lie in bed and she would sing the various individual orchestra parts (“then the woodwinds go LALA-LAAAA…”) of whatever they were doing or rehearsing at the time.

    That is far and away the best way to listen to music.

  132. snorlax says:
    @Jack D

    the demographic that is still most concerned with high fidelity (60+ year old white guys) is the group that is least able to actually hear them.

    Not necessarily; it’s more Gen X that destroyed their hearing with loud music than the Boomers.

    • Replies: @Pontius
  133. Lurker says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Another technology that’s worse is hand tools. Cheap far east stuff with dodgy metal. I pick up anything made in Sheffield – saws, chisels, spanners etc – they’ll last for ever.

    Our old friend Chinese ‘quality fade’. We recently had a bloke come round to do some carpentry in our house. I particularly noted a set of wooden handled chisels he had, in a presentation style wooden case, wooden handled, made in Sheffield. I wish I’d noted the brand name. Definitely something to look out for.

    • Replies: @JeremiahJohnbalaya
    , @Corn
  134. Jack D says:
    @snorlax

    Yes, that’s true. The missing ingredient is phosphate. The powders (or liquids) on the market no longer works as a result.There are 3 solutions:

    #1 – buy the top of the line capsules – these are now better than the powders but more expensive.

    #2 “Old” Cascade is now sold as “fryer boil out with phosphates” – only the box has changed.

    https://www.amazon.com/Pack-Cascade-Phosphates-Professional-Fryer/dp/B00PT0324C

    It’s illegal to sell an effective dishwasher detergent but if you want to sell a powder for boiling out commercial deep fat fryers, that’s fine, the government hasn’t made that illegal YET.

    #3 Buy a box of trisodium phosphate – about 1/2 a teaspoon added to the soap dish along with a capsule usually does the trick.

    • Replies: @snorlax
  135. Lurker says:
    @Jack D

    Sitting outside on warm evenings I can still hear bats squeaking, so I think my hearing is holding up pretty well.

  136. Trevor H. says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Condition is indeed very important, but the pressing variant matters too. There are people who will sell them for you and give you half the gross proceeds. They handle the grading, selling, and shipping hassles.

  137. Lurker says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Ah yes, the Sheffield steel reference, nearly posted that myself. The only good track on that whole album. Which, ironically, I still have somewhere – on vinyl.

  138. snorlax says:
    @Jack D

    The main reason CDs aren’t losslessly compressed is the format was designed to be highly fault-tolerant to scratches, manufacturing defects, misaligned lasers and so on, and lossless compression would guarantee all of those to produce audible skips if not render the disk unplayable.

    Lossy compression is much more fault-tolerant than lossless, but the algorithms for it didn’t exist at the time.

    • Replies: @Excal
  139. Trevor H. says:
    @reiner Tor

    However, now that storage is effectively free, there’s really little reason not to use FLAC.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  140. captflee says:
    @Trevor H.

    Perhaps it’s this way just where I travel, and not where you do, but the mass of the gentlefolk whom I encounter, still just the slightest bit damp from their Rio Grande swim, display rather more Mixtec or Yaqui about them than they do the Madrileno. While a few of the Mexican conquistador descended oligarchy do cross over, they tend not to emigrate from a place where things are fairly sweet.
    So, indigenous folk from Mexico/ Central America, etc., or Amerindians….

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
  141. Trevor H. says:
    @Polynikes

    I’ve got Clash, David Bowie, Smiths albums worth 40, 50, and more. I know this for sure because I’ve sold some of them. Also bringing big money are certain Led Zeppelin, Beatles, R&B, and especially jazz recordings.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
  142. snorlax says:
    @countenance

    Part of that is the “80s revival” in the 2010s — a lot of new music deliberately has an 80s-ish sound.

    • Replies: @OFWHAP
  143. Trevor H. says:
    @snorlax

    I’m not sure that accounts for mechanical and electrical faults, which are much more common in today’s major appliances than those of a generation ago.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @snorlax
  144. Trevor H. says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Heard that on digital streaming the other night. Was surprised that no one had cleaned it up. Would be the easiest thing in the world to do.

    Quite possibly there’s a fear of getting trounced for messing with the work of legends, even if said legends developed clay feet lately.

  145. Anon[210] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    If you lived in Japan you could call up Disk Union. They ask how many albums you have, send you the proper shipping boxes, have a shipper pick them up the next day, and a couple of weeks later email you a spreadsheet with their offered amounts. You can accept all or some of them, and they will send back or dispose of the rest, as you wish. The money appears on your bank account a week later. All the shipping costs are on them.

    There were many surprises when I did this. Some things I thought might be valuable only got so-so offers, while other stuff brought surprisingly high offers. But they know their market and were fair.

    I recommend Disk Union even though it violates the KonMari principle of “Just throw it away.”

  146. Jimbo says:

    If you are making a cell-to-cell call these days, you are increasingly going to be using Voice over LTE with an HD codec. It is not only better quality than old land lines, it’s almost unnervingly so. Sometimes when I call my wife it sounds like she’s in the same room.

    Of course, that’s only when you are talking on the phone mic and speaker itself. If you are connected to a car or a headset via bluetooth, you get knocked back down to the inferior codec…

  147. Jack D says:
    @Macumazahn

    This is all just doubletalk. It comes down to the old “if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?” “Distortion” is not distortion if no human is capable of hearing it. You could posit its theoretical existence, even plot it on an oscilloscope, but if no one can hear it (and they have done double blind tests and no one can), then most humans won’t care. The only exception are “because it’s there” type old white guys.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  148. @Tyrion 2

    “telephone tennis”

    You are probably talking about the delay that has been introduced in modern voice, particularly by VOIP, which has an inherent delay induced by a jitter buffer (whose purpose is to handle gaps in arrival time and out-of-order UDP packets).

    I led a team that built a carrier-grade VOIP network about 10 years ago and the thing that broke our hearts was discovering the horrendous delay problems. Which (to the ear) did not exist in the PSTN network.

    Another problem is degredation due to lower rate CODECS. PSTN was all G711.

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
  149. Trevor H. says:
    @Trevor H.

    Meant to add, can’t give my classical music LPs away. So I’m keeping them. I’m sure that the third world immigrants who will compose our nation’s future populace are one day going to pay the big bucks for my priceless Bruckner, Liszt and Messiaen recordings on Deutsche Grammophon.

  150. @Lurker

    “Our old friend Chinese ‘quality fade’. ”

    Third world fabrics… The country folk i know are complaining about it have and increasingly bad effect on their septic systems.

  151. @Mr. Anon

    Would they make a video like this today? “Implicitly racist,” mocking the speech and mannerisms of hip-hop performers.

  152. @Trevor H.

    That’s not entirely true. My smartphone currently only has 64GB storage, while my music collection is over 300GB in 320 mp3 format. My smartphone is a couple years old, while my iMac will have its tenth birthday later this year, so I simply cannot afford to add a lot more music to my library. (Storing the music online or on external drives is difficult with my iTunes, I have tried the latter and for some reason it didn’t work as advertised. Anyway, it’s not very important to me, but not worth the trouble in order to move to FLAC, which I find useless anyway.)

    Long term, of course, FLAC will be the way of the future.

    • Replies: @res
  153. Anon[269] • Disclaimer says:

    OT

    I’ve read many accounts like this on anonymous high school teacher blogs, but it’s nice to see one on Quillett, a teacher’s unvarnished account of teaching at high schools with large black enrollments. The article hilariously does a New York Times and never really mentions race.

    https://quillette.com/2019/02/10/public-educations-dirty-secret/

    She blames it on prohibitions on expelling and disciplining students, but I think the Don’t-act-white culture is maybe a bigger problem.

  154. Corn says:
    @Lurker

    “Our old friend Chinese ‘quality fade’.”

    You or anybody else here ever been to Harbor Freight?

    You may be OK buying a hammer or crowbar but I’ve never bought anything there with a motor or moving parts that wasn’t junk three or four months later.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @Anonymous
  155. Jack D says:
    @Lurker

    Someday they’ll invent a device that can be used to test human hearing sensitivity at various frequencies, but until then, I guess we’ll just have to go by the squeaking bat test.

    • LOL: AnotherDad
    • Replies: @Lurker
    , @Lot
  156. Excal says:
    @snorlax

    I’m not sure that defects and skips were the reason why Red Book didn’t specify compression — it may have just been that the format had to be very simple. It was developed in the late 70s, and even if high-quality lossless compression algorithms had been available then, the hardware to handle them was not.

    You can play FLAC files from a CD-ROM, and those are susceptible to the same defects as an audio CD.

    • Replies: @snorlax
  157. ‘Technology That Gets Worse’

    Another one is CGI versus doing it the old-fashioned way, at least when it comes to aerial scenes in war movies.

    Compare Pearl Harbor to Tora Tora Tora, or (the unwatchable) Fortress to Memphis Belle.

    Real planes are so…real. CGI ones aren’t. No doubt vastly cheaper, but,,,

  158. @Nathan

    I remember hating Metallica for pooping the Napster party of the late 90s/early 00s.

    Lots of other people hated them for releasing St. Anger, which I thought had its moments.

    The documentary where they were crying in therapy didn’t help their image, and their treatment of Jason Newsted was inexcusable.

    • Replies: @Nathan
  159. Anonymous[264] • Disclaimer says:
    @Hyperborean

    It appear rather animalistic or… monkey-like concerning the specific sexual fixation with regards to their buttocks.

    Twerking isn’t feminine, refined, or lovely.

  160. @Dtbb

    My theory is sound engineering has gone to shit in the movies

    Don’t disagree. In the Gambler (2014) there are multiple indecipherable lines of dialogue, even listening with quality headphones.

  161. snorlax says:
    @SIMPLEPseudonymicHandle

    The industry switched to digital masters in the late 80s, or early 90s for the late adopters. Anyone using reel-to-reel after that was deliberately going for a throwback sound.

    Tape doesn’t have the fidelity of digital except in the sense that any recording that was originally on tape (so, anything before the late 80s) obviously won’t sound any better on a tape-to-digital transfer than it does on the original tape.

    Tiny earbuds give better sound quality than most speakers.

    lol, no. Due to the laws of physics the speaker in an earbud doesn’t have the range of motion a larger speaker has and so can’t reproduce the same range of frequencies.

  162. @obwandiyag

    But digital photography is better than film photography. Enough with chemical darkrooms and silver poured down the drain. Interestingly, the lenses are the same (thank you Canon & Nikon).

  163. Svigor says:
    @Clifford Brown

    Black chicks painted up as furries for a pop video is obviously cultural appropriation. Blacks plundering White culture.

  164. Lurker says:
    @Jack D

    Eh, whats that sonny, speak up?!

  165. Lot says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I don’t want to be a downer but probably between 25 cents and $1.50, mostly on the lower end of the range.

    The number of collectors is just much lower than the number of people with unused piles of records.

    I’ve seen the new $60 turntable/MP3 player/bluetooth models in action and they seem to work great.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  166. Svigor says:
    @Paleo Retiree

    Yeah people over 35 who are heavy into metal (haha), play it loud, are weird.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  167. Lot says:
    @Jack D

    No need for a device, free software lets you generate tones. My pitch loss is exactly as expected for my age and sex.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @snorlax
  168. Similarly, average telephone sound quality is worse today than, say, 35 years ago. Many people have gotten rid of their home landlines and just use cell phones.

    This is an underrated development. Modern cell phones are a thin slice above walkie talkies or CB radio when it comes to sound quality. The most annoying part is the slight millisecond delay in transmission which causes people to interrupt and talk over each other and makes for very unsatisfying conversation.

    The acme of telecommunication was talking on an analog phone over a copper cable circa 1985. Perfect quality, you could here a pin drop. I am sure it facilitated the use of all sorts of nuanced communication — intonation and emphasis — that are lost on today’s emoji spewing texters.

    Another reason for the general decline in interpersonal relationships and connections.

    • Agree: RationalExpressions
  169. Jack D says:
    @Trevor H.

    What makes you think that they are more common? American appliance designs are very “conservative” the way American cars once were – they keep the cosmetics that the consumer can see up to the minute according to the latest fashions, but never invest a cent in anything under the hood on the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” principle.

    In a remarkable coincidence, the leading brands of home appliances in the US are now South Korean:

    https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Electronics/Samsung-LG-lead-the-pack-in-US-home-appliance-market2

    Most large appliances are pretty simple devices whose basic design has not changed in 60 or more years – a dishwasher is just a box with a pump that recirculates water over and over onto your dishes. A clothes washer is a pump and a motor that move a drum. A dryer is a drum with a heating element and a blower. An oven is just a box with a heating element. They rarely change the internals. The biggest change is that the cycles used to be driven by a mechanical clock timer and now the controls are electronic. The mechanical timers would break also. Electronic controls may be slightly less long lived but they have a lot more flexibility – you could only get 2 or 3 possible cycles onto the dial of a mechanical timer but the sky is the limit with electronics.

    Some of the old time appliances (fridges) broke less because there was less to break – just a cooling cycle. Modern fridges have self-defrosting, ice makers, water dispensers in the door, etc. so there is just more stuff to break.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    , @1661er
  170. jim jones says:
    @reiner Tor

    Music on TPB is mostly 320kbs so that is what my system contains.

    • Agree: Svigor
  171. Marvin Gaye was the Duke Ellington of the 1970s.

  172. Flemur says:

    Audio technology is far better than ever; a CD can duplicate anything you can hear, include vinyl.
    Digital audio is far superior to analog. Same for photography; there’s really no contest.

    The fact they mix (some) pop music to sound good in bad environments like a car – mostly by compression – doesn’t mean the technology is worse. Beside, nowadays you can get the “hi-res” mixes with less compression (the “hi-res” audio is just a scam, though, 44.1KHz/16 bits can do it all). People can’t tell the difference between uncompressed audio and MP3’s of around 192kbps or more.

    Phones are also better than ever – if you want the old land-line sound, get a land-line, but now you can carry a phone around with you, send texts, take pictures and read a map…thanks to “technology”.

  173. Jack D says:
    @Lot

    Those tests depend on the quality of your sound card and headphones and are not a full substitute for a professional hearing test, but they are probably good enough to give you a rough idea. Costco gives free hearing tests (but they will probably try to sell you a hearing aid).

    • Replies: @Lot
  174. Doug says:

    > Similarly, average telephone sound quality is worse today than, say, 35 years ago.

    The main reason that Plain-Old-Telephone-Service (POTS) sucks is because the codecs are frozen on outdated standards. A telephone call has to be interoperable with any telephone anywhere in the world. That means updating the standards basically impossible.

    In contrast a managed service like WhatsApp or FaceTime is free to use the latest codecs and deprecate older versions of the software. Obviously there’s been massive advances in audio compression in the past four decades.

    The secondary issue is that telecom infrastructure in any non-shithole country is basically 100% digital. POTS is stuck on an analog standard that was designed for 1970s equipment. So basically you have a digital handset, that’s recording digital audio, converting it to an approximation of analog POTS audio, sending that to a digital telecom router emulating a 1970s analog switch, then reversing this same process on the other end that’s probably received by a digital handset anyway.

    • Agree: Lot
    • Replies: @JeremiahJohnbalaya
  175. AnonAnon says:

    I’m in my 50s but the only people I talk on the phone to is my parents and only because they can’t figure out how to Facetime. I much prefer texting to calling or having to log into email. It has nothing to do with sound quality but convenience (I still have a landline because cell coverage in our area is spotty) – texting gets right to the chase as to what they want and then I have a written record of information I can go back to if I have to. As for lengthy social conversations with family members, I use Facetime.

    I grew up with records and I love the convenience of digital music. The mp3 player is one of my favorite inventions, right after the smartphone and microwave. Unless you had a really good system, records never sounded that great and you couldn’t take your music with you.

    As for movies, my husband and I choose theaters based on screen quality & size and pay extra to see movies in high definition. We’ve upgraded our tv and home theater tech to play 4K discs. I can’t stand watching grainy older movies and tv shows. This seems to be a nit with us because we were early adopters of Blu Ray, too, and most people I know aren’t chasing resolution tech on their tvs and systems or will pay extra to see movies in high definition. As for sound on TV, I’ve been watching tv with cc text on for decades now.

    As for the garbage Gambino “song of the year”, I do think rap music has declined in the last decade. I can’t stand it at all now and I used to like at least some of it.

    I honestly don’t think I’m sentimental for anything in my youth, except maybe juicy tomatoes and peaches.

  176. @Mr. Anon

    I then set about getting all the same recordings I had on vinyl on CD. It was a noticeable improvement.

    Congratulations on your discernment. It gives me a slight hope for the human race that at least one other person hasn’t willingly fallen victim to the Big Con that black discs are superior to silver discs.

    Listeners who are mesmerized by LPs deserve credit for one thing, though: at least they still care about sound quality, or at least profess to, whereas for the earbud generation good music reproduction is irrelevant. But for what they consider music, sound fidelity is irrelevant.

  177. @Jack D

    Exactly right, Jack D.

    (except clothes washers have a maze of confusing mechanical things like sliding forks and clutches under there that are (or were) as you say, driven by mechanical timers)

  178. Lot says:
    @Jack D

    My built in motherboard had no issue going higher than I can hear. Verified by a young lady whose pitch hearing goes much higher than mine.

    Same for my older smart phone.

    Low pitch I don’t know about, but there still seemed to be rumble when I went lower that I could hear.

  179. @obwandiyag

    “Records are worse than live. CDs are worse than records. MP3s are worse than CDs.”

    No chance. Concerts include audience noise, wrong notes, ragged ensemble, all of which get scrubbed clean in the editing room.

    CDs are technically superior to records in every respect, that’s just inarguable IFL Science, but some people enjoy the “warm” limited frequency response of records. De gustibus non somethingorother.

    Modern hi-rez SACDs and Blu-Rays are better than listening to the real thing in concert, but a onetime live performance sharpens attention because there’s no rewind button.

    MP3s are subjectively and IFL Science technically worse than CDs, you got that right.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  180. Talking Heads talk and sing about banks.

    1981 Byrne and Eno talk about bush ghosts.

    1981 central banker shyster almost 7 feet tall raises federal funds rate to 20 percent.

    Big business — after the shake-up.

    Plutocrats were told that 1981 federal funds rate jump to 2o percent would bring on massive debt binge once the financial shock was over. Plutocrats were told mass legal immigration and illegal immigration after 1981 would keep wages of Americans down and stagnant. Plutocrats were told that in a few decades the wealth in the USA would be massively concentrated in the hands of plutocrats.

    The above is pure speculation, but it would make for a great campaign to talk about the plutocrats like that.

    1981 saw the Dodgers beat the Yankees.

    What was going on in 1971?

    Nixon took the frigging dollar off the gold standard because foreign governments were demanding gold for dollars, and Nixon told them to go to Hell and the globalized plutocrats knew they could steal everything in the United States better with a debt-based fiat currency system.

    Trump is now pushing mass legal immigration to make sure wages in the USA stay stagnant or drop.

  181. In the realm of classical music, audio quality has increased dramatically since 2000 with the introduction of SACD, DVD-A, and Blu-Ray surround sound recordings.

    But most people are A-okay with streaming 96 kilobit-per-second MP3 dreck and the young’uns in particular have no interest at all in hi-fi. Audiophilia is purely a middle-aged White guy thing now.

  182. The usual cavalcade of ignorance. Especially from the “experts” on here.

  183. Just for instance. Turntables are much better now. Making records much better than CDs.

    Not a one of you mentioned this.

  184. Erik L says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Haven’t bought used records is 5 years. Back then a used record store would sell those for an average of 5-10 dollars with a few that might be 20. The odd super collector item could be in there too. So maybe they would give you 3-5 per record.

    The idea that old record collections are worth a fortune is not correct for most collections.

  185. snorlax says:

    Phones: I’m an age <30 Millennial, so my memory of analog landlines isn't as extensive as older people. And it's probably been at least a decade since the last time I (or anyone else in this thread) had a conversation where both parties were on an analog landline.

    That said, my recollection is that the fidelity of analog landlines was still a bit lower than an in-person conversation. Assuming good reception, I don't remember cell conversations being noticeably worse, or there being a noticeable difference between analog and digital landlines.

    Assuming a broadband connection on both ends, it's easily possible for a VOIP connection over TCP and using cyclic redundancy checks to correct any errors in real time. If they're on broadband WiFi or have a strong 4G signal, smartphones will use a high-quality VOIP connection for calls, and the fidelity is unrivaled. Networking hardware is good enough nowadays that even a UDP connection with no cyclic redundancy checks will have a negligible error rate. Free VOIP services like Skype have relatively poor fidelity less because they lack error checking and more because they compress audio to extremely low bitrates—as low as 8kbps.

    The reason Millennials (and many older people) avoid phone calls isn't because we have any issues with their audio fidelity but rather for etiquette reasons; they're reserved for the highest-priority conversations.

    1. Publicly-visible social media: General well-wishes, response appreciated but not expected. ("Happy birthday!" "Congrats on the new job!" "What a cute baby!")

    2. Email: a. Private but unimportant conversations, response appreciated but not required. ("Check our this article." "Good work on that presentation.") b. Requests where a response is expected but not immediately. ("Can you make the product launch meeting on Friday?")

    3. Instant messages (via social media among friends, Slack or Skype for Business at work): a. Private conversations, quick responses expected but not strictly necessary. ("How's it going?") b. Requests, quick responses expected but not strictly necessary. ("Want to grab a beer tonight?" "Will you be at the product launch meeting today?")

    4. Texts: a. Same as 3. b. Requests, response expected as soon as it's convenient for the recipient. ("I'm at the store. Want anything?" "Can you pick me up at the airport?" "Did I leave my jacket at your place?") c. Intimate conversations or requests. ("Netflix and chill tonight?")

    5. Phone calls: a. Requests or conversations that take priority over whatever the recipient is currently doing. ("I left my wallet at home. Can you bring it?" "Where are you? You said you'd pick me up 20 minutes ago." "Dad fell and he's in the hospital.") b. Person-to-business requests ("I'd like to place an order." "The remote isn't working." "Are you taking reservations for Friday night?") c. For contacting elderly people who prefer it to older technology.

    3/4 is the sweet spot that almost all conversations fall into.

    • Agree: Lot
  186. OFF TOPIC

    Coalition Of The Anti-White Wackos Notices Israel First Adelson Dollar Disorder In GOP

    Muslim broad says Adelson has bought and paid for the politician whores in the GOP.

    Shelly Adelson Pushes Mass Legal Immigration.

    Trump Pushes Mass Legal Immigration.

    Shelly Adelson Puts The Interests Of Israel Ahead Of The Interests of The USA.

    Trump Puts The Interests Of Israel Ahead Of The Interests Of The USA.

    Tweet from 2015:

  187. Thud says: • Website

    A couple of my kids rocking out, at least some youngsters out there don’t like black dominated music.

  188. Between 1971 and 1981 is the year 1979.

    The Police released Reggatta de Blanc in 1979.

    I say bring on the night on globalization, financialization, multiculturalism, anti-White totalitarianism and monetary extremism.

  189. @Doug

    You have f-ck all idea what you are talking about. LECs have been turning analog POTS lines into TDM for a long time. It’s the TDM part of the (inclusive of POTS) PSTN that was arguably the highest quality infrastructure initiative that humanity has ever produced, but then even the carriers started replacing TDM backhauling with VOIP.

    • Agree: Jim Christian
  190. snorlax says:
    @Trevor H.

    The electronics in older appliances used purpose-built analog circuitry that rarely had “bugs” if it was reasonably well-engineered and didn’t have to support too complicated a feature set, and lasted until a fuse or capacitor gave out, which was rarely and if they were a standard size probably a trivial fix, give or take how much disassembly was required to reach them and whether they were soldered to the circuit board.

    Newer appliances use much less expensive software-based microcontrollers, which, in cheaply-built stuff, can be more vulnerable to moisture, dust and high temperature (but actually less vulnerable if the appliance is built and designed the right way). They’re also far more likely to have bugs, but in theory they could be even less buggy—it’s ironically a terrible 1969 technology, the C programming language, that accounts for most of the bugs.

    The purpose-built digital electronics in some higher-end 80s and 90s stuff (particularly from Japanese brands) was in general the sweet spot for reliability.

  191. @snorlax

    It’s been 5 or 6 years since I was neck deep in carrier grade VOIP, but basically none of what you say about the tech was true then.

  192. Kylie says:
    @Tyrion 2

    Lol! I’m surprised that spelling isn’t already mandatory.

    • LOL: Tyrion 2
  193. Ragno says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Not really. Surface noise was/is a severe irritant, regardless of one’s preferred genre of music. Vinyl was like a new car – the minute it leaves the showroom, it’s lost value. Unless one so fetishized the playing of music as to convert the mere act of putting on a record into some bizarre religious rite – and only nippleheads did that. Back when vinyl reigned unopposed, people bought records to play them – and the younger the people, the more often, and enthusiastically, you played them; thus the more scuffed and worn they got.

    Anybody who remembers taping a coin to the tonearm of their turntable to minimize skips knows what I’m talking about. Ditto the aggravation of pops, clicks and sundry surface noises – easy to romanticize them, now that they haven’t been an issue for a generation or more. But trust your uncle Rags: skips, pops and crackles sucked – yea, and mightily.

    Me, I thought CDs were ideal until brickwalling/clipping became the norm 15 or so years ago, and I still do. But neurotically looking gift horses in the mouth is another feature of Western life in the late 20th century. (There are no more gift horses to chide and denounce in the 21st, alas.)

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  194. @Guy De Champlagne

    All the real advancements in audio has been in convenience, size, cost, etc.

    There have been exceptionally good recordings by the standards of their own time in every era, probably including the days of Edison cylinders. But there must be something wrong with me: I can usually tell within a decade when a “real music”* production dates from. A ’50s job sounds like a ’50s job, and often not very realistic. Recordings made in the 21st century can be astoundingly source-faithful compared to those made earlier.

    Let’s recognize quality where we find it. But to pretend there has been no improvement in recording technique is unfair to dedicated and talented sound engineers who have vastly advanced their field.

    * By “real music” I mean music like classical, jazz, traditional international, and other forms intended for actual listening rather than just nervous system stimulation and played on mainly acoustical instruments. I enjoy some electronic and synthesized music too, but fidelity isn’t of much concern in artificially created sound.

    • Replies: @Guy De Champlagne
  195. @Anonymous

    Agreed, however believe it or not there is a whole alternative world existing out there today in which young kids are attracted to and delving into last surviving US art field known as : Jazz, and these kids ( along with many adults) these kids still reflect upon Charlie Parker, Miles, Stan Getz, Dizzy, Chet Baker, etc, and they actually know the difference between garbage and genuine music art.
    Admitted current pop music is junk today, myself I was an avid Temptations fan, however the Jazz world is alive and kicking and it ain’t going away.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US army vet, and pro jazz musician of fifty-plus years.

    PS to Clifford Brown: His “Brownie’s” “Joy Spring” was and still is a killer to solo over, moving half-step section by section.

  196. @The Last Real Calvinist

    The Last, I grew up in the Kensington-Bailey neighborhood of Buffalo, walking distance from my house were three theatres as nice as the one shown, The Bailey, The Kensington and The Varsity.

  197. snorlax says:
    @Lot

    One thing to keep in mind for those tests is that higher-frequency noises at a constant decibel level are quieter to humans (“loudness” from the perspective of our sense of hearing is amplitude, decibels, or loudness from the perspective of reproducing it with a speaker, is amplitude times frequency).

    I recently took one of those tests, which seemed to indicate I’d lost all the frequencies above 10 kHz, an alarming result since I’d always had excellent hearing yet the result was that I had very significant hearing loss at a young age. But then I took the test again, increasing the volume each time I was no longer able to hear the tone, and in fact it turned out I was able to hear the entire range of frequencies.

    As Jack says you also have to be careful because many low-end and some mid-range speakers and over-ear headphones, the amplifiers in some low-end computers and smartphones and all earbuds regardless of quality won’t be able to produce the highest frequencies in the potential human hearing range.

  198. This topic opens up a huge can of worms that seems to have no satisfactory resolution for anybody. Is there an island of stability short of people who think they can hear the difference in precious metal electrical cable connectors where one can discuss that maybe the Shannon sampling theorem, while rigorously correct, may not be enough with real complicated audio signals?

    Neil Young has been openly mocked hither and yon for his attempts to upgrade music signal processing practice. For example:

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/05/pono-neil-young-24bit-192khz-review

    On the other hand I was listening to Erik Davis interview Douglas Rushkoff the other day and among their topics was how nobody talks on the telephone anymore because latency and compression in cell phone communications precludes having a quality conversation. The interview was conducted via skype and it sounded ghastly.

    Than again on the third hand the napster revolution provides me near-instantaneous access (in acceptable quality if I don’t pay very close attention–and nobody always pays very close attention) to virtually the entire life’s work of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, et al.

    My first girlfriend and I talked to one another on land line telephones endlessly. My most current girlfriend more or less refuses to talk on the telephone because she cannot stand it. Neither of us have land lines.

    Fact is we are under the throes of a data avalanche and the people who are skilled at navigating it are quite rare. Most everybody else is completely swamped and doesn’t even notice that Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique’ symphony sounds pathetic on their current rig. Anybody who thinks the digital revolution is the same thing as the printing press event is mistaken. This is totally different.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  199. J.Ross says: • Website

    Michigan Public Radio just interviewed the severely lisping Princeton professor lending Ivy League credibility to the citizens’ gerrymandering scam. This was always a naked power grab by Democrats, but after hearing him thpeak perhaps Republicans deserve to go extinct for letting this happen. The major goal of the thitithens’ commissions after reducing partisan gerrymandering is giving a voice to Democrat nonwhites (“communities of interest”).

  200. @Anonymous

    I’m a flea market guy. I specialize in vintage vinyl. I have customers in their teens and twenties. They are fascinated by the technology. They love the album cover art. But most of all they like the music. Pop music today is boring (not all of it of course). Some are referring to new country music as country rap.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  201. @Anon

    Anon, when I was a kid, my dad and I rigged a thin copper wire the length of the attic. The we put a drop down wire to my bedroom. As a scout project I built a crystal radio and used the ear speaker from an old Bell phone as my speaker. Move the stylus across the copper coil (hand wound) until you found a station. That was so cool. Ran a wire to my neighbors house and set up a Morse Code station at both houses. those were the days. Still miss my Dad.

  202. Anonym says:
    @Busby

    Now the quality of the music is a whole other matter. But I’m not sure if it’s just “not invented by my generation” or it is poor. My parents didn’t hate the Beatles. They just favored Sinatra. What I remember most about their preferences, it was mostly individual artists. Singers, or Broadway show cast recordings.

    Since Napster there is less money to be made by bands, AFAICT. That may be one driver.

    I am waiting on the next Tool album. Every band gets over the hill at some point, but I liked their last one a lot, maybe they still have it. So some good music is still being made IMO. That is a band who consciously ignore producer concerns for the most part and just make an album that seems as great as they can make it. There would be other artists out there who take that approach, but as the exception rather than the rule. Young men are competitive and want to emulate and one-up their idols.

    From their last album, 17 minutes of greatness that raises a giant middle finger to radio concerns.

    They have been doing that since Third Eye on their third album.

    How many kids don’t do sport or music because of consoles or mobile phones? I think that explains something of the length of dominance of the current big 3. Less depth of field. A future Federer is addicted to his phone instead of honing his serve. Ditto with some future Lennons.

    Of course the other issue is that as you age and have a family, you can’t spend the time that a 16 year old does to listen to music and find what is great. That being said, a 16 year old can mine a lot of the classics from all ages today, as he is driven to on the internet and combing lists instead of being fed new music on the radio. A future Kurt Cobain is still going to listen to Beatles albums from before he was born, and other stuff as well. A hundred years from now, people will still listen to Beatles and Pink Floyd. But maybe there is some great new music out there I haven’t discovered that is new.

  203. @Anonymous

    Anonymous, I bought my youngest daughter a Sony turntable, approx. $100. She plays it through a Beats pill speaker. Fits on a shelf. I buy her vinyl albums at the flea market, two dealers selling nothing but, lots of selection all sorted by category. Christmas gift included Beatle Sargent Pepper, BB King, Janis Joplin, Spyra Gyra, Glenn Miller and Chuck Mangione.

  204. @Steve Sailer

    Hey Steve, perseveration is a symptom of old timers’ disease.

  205. @Macumazahn

    If the analog system is not recording ultrasonic frequencies then either they have been removed by an electronic filter or the mechanical limitations of the medium are acting as a filter. The point being: Something is cutting those frequencies out of the analog system, and doing so in a way that obeys causality. That implies the introduction of artifacts in the passband by mathematical necessity.

  206. J.Ross says: • Website

    No amount of mandatory diversification is ever enough: mandatory diversification is a technology that gets worse. Monotone “music” and mandatory diversification are both poisoned by the motives of the creator.
    Notice the Orwellisms, the meeting points of fashion and dishonesty, serving as journalistically unjustifiable filler (here italicized). There was never any backlash about the mandatory diversification of formerly popular movie, television, and gaming franchises — no! With each work cycle, ever more citizens clamor for a quota increase!
    https://entertainment.ie/cinema/movie-news/study-confirms-women-lgbt-and-minorities-hugely-under-represented-in-major-films-237723/

    Absolutely no surprises here, but it’s worth mentioning – women, minorities and people of colour and the LGBT community are consistently ignored by mainstream cinema and have been since 2007.

    A new study by the University of Southern California’s Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative confirmed what everyone’s been saying for quite some time now.

  207. @JeremiahJohnbalaya

    What does “backhauling VOIP” mean?

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  208. snorlax says:
    @snorlax

    Also 5d. Conversations where at least one of the parties is driving.

  209. @Nathan

    The Enlightenment favors science and engineering (knowing and ingeniously applying that knowledge). In fact, that was the critical reward offered by the Enlightenment: people don’t fight, they use reason to avoid fighting, and the new understanding of science and engineering can then proceed and increase general well being, _plus_ you get a peace dividend [1].

    Anti-Enlightenment (starting with Kant and continuing through Postmodernism [2]) is opposed to “technology”, a word seldom heard before c.a. AD 1955. “Technology” means “building stuff”, it does not include understanding and it does not include ingenuity. Science and engineering are replaced by poorly understood manufacturing. New understanding is regarded with some hostility (e.g. Bell Labs shut down, the Biosphere fiasco], and manufacturing is regarded as endangering all life on Planet Earth.

    Computer systems are developed just far enough to remove any need for smart guys in the corporation (the computer does it all, and processes freeze as computer systems become big balls of mud [3], and to be used for surveillance by whoever is trying to run society. There is an effort made to eliminate initiative and produce a dystopia, in which equilibrium is at minimum punishment rather than maximum reward [4]. (Why? Easier that way. Doesn’t take much effort to punish, but reward can be difficult – you might want to give up something that _you_ want.)

    Naturally, you’d expect sound quality to conform to the trend.

    Counterinsurgency

    1]Bloom.
    _Closing of the American Mind_
    2]Hicks
    _Explaining Postmodernism_
    Search Youtube.com for “Hicks, Postmodernism, 2018”.
    3] Foote and Yoder
    “Big ball of mud”
    1999/06/22
    http://laputan.org/mud/
    4] C. Stross
    _Toast_
    See: “Big Brother Iron”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toast:_And_Other_Rusted_Futures

  210. JimB says:

    An interesting article in the NYT points out that the dynamic range of pop music has gotten narrower over the decades, comparing Marvin Gaye’s spacious 1971 track “What’s Going On?” to Childish Gambino’s droning current Emmy nominee “This Is America.”

    When Marvin Gaye wrote “What’s Going On?” he was struggling with depression after the recent death of Tammi Terrell, his duet partner at Motown with whom he recorded such landmark hits as Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, You’re All I Need to Get By, and Ain’t Nothing But the Real Thing. He was musically processing his grief, and in so doing, came up with a sophisticated new sound evoking the feel of an urban cosmos filled with the despair of humanity in conflict. It’s an insult for the NYT to compare his brilliant sonic oeuvre with the toddleresque noise making of Childish Gambino. Probably the best thing about Hip Hop music is that it’s digitally recorded (DDD) and undocumented by sheet music so when a Chinese EMP weapon wipes out Apple’s cloud, it will disappear forever, whereas Marvin Gaye’s hits can all be restored to steaming from the studio masters.

  211. J.Ross says: • Website

    One last note about Michigan Public Radio because this one is Soviet enough to justify George Soros’s new opinion piece (which agrees with myself and others that our current elite are like the gerontocracy of the dying Soyuz). When Trump’s State of the Union was discussed, there was no music (which fits Neil Postman’s recommendation that news not have music), and even nominally informational notices were characterized by Grumpy Louise Kelly reliably explaining why Trump is wrong. New Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address was heralded by a trumpet fanfare that would be cheesy in a Richard Donner Superman flick.

  212. res says:
    @reiner Tor

    What I do is rip my CD collection to FLAC and then use foobar2000 to convert that into other formats with the size/quality tradeoff I want. I’m pretty much just using ~192kbps variable bit rate MP3s for listening at the moment.

    The point is that ripping CDs (in large quantity) is a PITA while bulk conversion with foobar2000 is pretty trivial. Just takes a bit of computer time and disk space.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @Jack D
  213. @joeyjoejoe

    Every time I have a roll of saran wrap, its warped from my pulling it at an angle on the blade and unsuccessfully slicing it (and instead warping the box)! It also seemed stickier back then.

    The original Saran Wrap was made by Dow Chemical of PVDC. The current Saran Wrap is made by SC Johnson of polyethylene.

    It’s been 30 years since I visited Dow’s production line for Saran Wrap, but I recall there were some unique challenges with PVDC as well as unique favorable attributes relative to other compounds. Something about melt vs burn and water barrier seems to trigger my synapses.

  214. Well, let’s throw in a bit of provocation & heresy: isn’t music, as such, over-rated?

    Africans, not the most advanced of races, have some nice songs. I’ve listened to some of it & while not great, it was nice. In other areas:

    words (literature, anything expressible in words)- nothing.

    abstract thinking in numbers & science- nothing.

    So, isn’t too much focus on music basically a dumbification? Of course, I’m well aware that from Hildegard to Lassus to Bach and Orff is ennobling etc., etc. & I like anything from Cayun to (faux)-Celtic music. I like Iris DeMent, Rhiannon Giddens & more.

    But: 100 years ago, and even more 200, 300…music did not play any significant role in a cultured person’s life. Now, music is everywhere & idiocracy is steamrolling.

    Thinking, not just trolling ….

  215. this is called the loudness war, and started over 10 years ago, in the 00s. recording technology is not worse today – they are just using it wrong. they deliberately peg the levels for maximum impact on what the listeners are listening on these days – headphones, ear buds, from their mobile devices. it’s for making 3 minute studio pop songs stand out against each other in a short attention span world.

    music is long over now, and is a very secondary form of entertainment these days. you can tell this by who the ‘top’ performers are today – the demographic groups who couldn’t move on to do something else. so they’re stuck in music. not much different than what’s happening in science. particle physics is ice cold, and all the best guys left physics years ago to go into new, emerging fields that are breaking ground, like genetics, computer science, and robotics. hence some of the nobel science prizes becoming stultified like the grammys have become. they are required to be awarded every year, but nothing important is happening anymore. so random irrelevant stuff wins, because the prize has to go to something.

    garth brooks was never even nominated for album of the year. some random, irrelevant, no fan base country musician just won it. not as bad as a moribund herbie hancock winning album of the year in “What year is it?! 2008?!” bad. but bad.

  216. What a depressing thread. Half the comments agree high fidelity is dead, the other half say that’s fine.

  217. @Hyperborean

    It appear rather animalistic or… monkey-like concerning the specific sexual fixation with regards to their buttocks.

    Zoologist Desmond Morris describes and explains this in his 1967 Naked Ape.

  218. @Lot

    I’ve seen the new $60 turntable/MP3 player/bluetooth models in action and they seem to work great.

    I am thinking of buying one of these. Any recommendations?

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @Anonymous
    , @Buffalo Joe
  219. @Stan Adams

    Thanks. I thought it was on Unz.org for awhile, but it’s not there now.

  220. @Barbarossa

    And with the absurd overproduction of pop music

    I remember a music critic mentioning his own guilt at not keeping up, till he realized there was more music than time.

    I think it was in the City Pages, or the Twin Cities Reader before their merger. That was the second-most intelligent and useful statement I’ve read anywhere about music. The topper may also have been in one of these rags; the frontman of the local power-pop band Mile One was asked what was the most important quality a musician should have. His answer?

    “Good taste in music!”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  221. Ragno says:
    @ThreeCranes

    Orwell’s ghost is now ransacking the medicine cabinet, looking for the Brioschi.

  222. @Anonymous

    I did a certain amount of European traveling over a couple of decades ending in 2010 and pop music (in bars, taxis, etc.) was uniformly hideous. Anybody with the patience can listen to Eurovision Song Contests. I do not recommend it.

    Here is Godley and Crème’s hymn to Euro-pop of the 1970s. “Get Well Soon”. Aptly, the song is set in a sickbed.

    I wrote away to Radio Caroline
    I need to hear your saddest reggae song
    And I’ll wallow like a zombie in it
    Tear up my Ipi Tombi ticket
    Let chocolate buttons limbo under my tongue…

    Am I the only one tuned in to Luxembourg tonight
    Do they only programme music to accompany my cough
    Lousy words and drab percussion
    Fading in and out of Russian
    I haven’t got the strength to turn it off

  223. @res

    Anyone know a decent wav to flac converter? Thank you for the foobar2000 tip.

    • Replies: @res
  224. The use of CGI in the movies has certainly been overdone.

    Look at the aliens in James Cameron’s 1986 movie “Aliens” and then look at them in Ridley Scott’s 2017 film “Alien: Covenant”.

    The aliens in Cameron’s movie look so much more realistic than in Scott’s film despite Scott having a thirty-year advantage in CGI technology over what Cameron could have used if he had been so inclined to do so in 1986.

    And it wasn’t just the aliens. Cameron used models for many of his scenes and the effect is much better than the lush, fake-looking landscapes we see in Scott’s later Alien movies.

    So thirty years of advances in computers, and what we see on the screen still looks worse than it did in 1986 with just alien suits and background models.

  225. Jack D says:
    @res

    I agree with your approach in that FLAC preserves 100% of the data present on the CD. You could re-create an exact duplicate of the original CD from the FLAC file. As long as you keep the flac file properly backed up it is a good as owning the CD itself – some people, after ripping with FLAC, give away or sell (legally questionable but the record company isn’t going to check) the CD because they don’t need it anymore. Then for day to day use on your devices you can create whatever compressed format you want out of the flac and if compression technology changes you can reconvert to the new format, but as long as you have the FLAC it is just as good as having the original CD itself.

    If you use some lossy compression format, no matter how good, then you are going to lose information and that loss will be unrecoverable in the future. Maybe 10 years from now they will decide that MP3’s are no good and you should use XYZ’s but if you no longer have the original then it’s never going to get better.

  226. @Paleo Retiree

    Loudness is experienced as exciting by young people (and especially by boys and young men)

    Is that what explains it? I’ve been to just one live rock concert (in my whole life) and I was appalled at how loud it was. I knew it was going to be loud but it was way louder that I ever expected.

  227. J.Ross says: • Website

    –Shmuley, damage control at full kvall, now!
    –Oy vey Captain, my crystals are shpilking as it is, if I do this any longer, I’ll demand to know why I am being made to suffer like this!
    –Captain, damage control can only accomplish so much. Logic dictates that at some point we must shut it down.
    –Ehhhh, excuse me gentlemyen, perhaps I cyan try syometink … Ve vill rewyerse de polyarity of de expectyations …
    https://forward.com/opinion/417394/in-praise-of-dual-loyalty/
    Opinion piece argues that Israeli activities in the United States are no different than the inevitable ancestral loyalty felt by non-Jewish Americans. Like the Irish, who sent money to their cousins in Ulster … No, wait a minute, that’s not a good example to use. It’s more like Muslims telling each other not to cooperate with US law enforcement. No wait, that’s not it either …

  228. Kyle says:
    @Anonymous

    My Ps3 plays CD and SACD and is hooked up to my stereo system with an optical audio cord. It’s pretty cool. But PlayStation does not do that anymore, why would anyone release their music in Super audio cd?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  229. Wency says:
    @Jon

    Do you have a decent speaker?

    I noticed this being a big problem with my TV until I invested in a decent soundbar, which, for reasons I can’t describe, allows the sound of spoken dialogue to carry much better and much clearer without having to crank the volume.

    As others pointed out, there’s also built-in dynamic range tools in the more expensive ones, but I didn’t need that. I spent about $150 on mine, which is a Vizio.

  230. @snorlax

    lol, no. Due to the laws of physics the speaker in an earbud doesn’t have the range of motion a larger speaker has

    LOL

    Why, pray tell, does Shure publish its frequency response when Sonos doesn’t? Note, he wrote “most speakers” – not Wilson Audio or JM Labs or Bowers & Wilkins. I use UE three driver earphones and they sound much better than my Klipsch Reference Series speakers. What they don’t do is move the air volume that my 1,500watts of subwoofer does. Earphones don’t need to move as much as speakers because they are inside your ear canal.

    Unless you’re dropping tens of thousands of dollars on your speakers, a reasonably good set of earphones will sound better. It just won’t shake your family heirlooms off the mantle.

    https://www.shure.com/americas/products/earphones/se-earphones/se846-sound-isolating-earphones-state-of-the-art

    https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/what-is-the-low-end-frequency-response-of-the-play-5-6179811

  231. J.Ross says: • Website
    @JeremiahJohnbalaya

    I wush there were copies of music videos and tv commercials (let alone movies and shows) with the visual clarity I remember taking for granted in the late eighties through the nineties.

  232. Kyle says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Hip hop died when biggie died.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  233. ChrisZ says:
    @ThreeCranes

    Cranes, I believe you’ve written here the first sentence of a dystopian novella that depicts a worst-case scenario of the world were moving towards in a generation or two.

    Title it “Twenty Eighty-Whore.”

  234. Trevor H. says:
    @captflee

    Thanks for your explanation. I wasn’t considering that much of the migration from Latin America is in fact partly or mostly Amerind in origin. That’s likely what the contributor meant.

  235. @snorlax

    Due to the laws of physics the speaker in an earbud doesn’t have the range of motion a larger speaker has and so can’t reproduce the same range of frequencies.

    WRONG!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headphones#Benefits_and_limitations

    High-quality headphones can have an extremely flat low-frequency response down to 20 Hz within 3 dB. While a loudspeaker must use a relatively large (often 15″ or 18″) speaker driver to reproduce low frequencies, headphones can accurately reproduce bass and sub-bass frequencies with speaker drivers only 40-50 millimeters wide (or much smaller, as is the case with in-ear monitor headphones). Headphones’ impressive low-frequency performance is possible because they are so much closer to the ear that they only need to move relatively small volumes of air.

    • Replies: @snorlax
  236. anon[123] • Disclaimer says:
    @Clifford Brown

    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your steatopygous asses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

  237. J.Ross says: • Website

    Familiar yet still depressing and necessary visit to a public school at Heartiste.
    https://heartiste.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/why-white-liberals-spend-big-bucks-to-belie-their-anti-racism-posturing/
    ——-
    The lyingpress seems to be doggedly pushing “Trump at my tax refund” themed stories. There are several problems with this:
    >Now-typical Soviet style writing.
    >No discussion of the Obamacare debacle. I now pay more than I used to get refunded, in taxation without representation, not to the government but to private insurance companies that have better lobbyists than I do. I really honestly do not care about people who have nothing to say about private businesses helping themselves to the public purse, but who are upset because they had set plans depending on their projected tax refund.
    >The people suffering are people who should suffer: blue-zoners who had already been screwing over the surrounding areas for years in both taxation and other attacks, schemers who embrace every government program but who never worry about paying them off. Trump’s tax rebalancing is like actually making immigration advocates accommodate migrants on their own property.

  238. Muse says:
    @Paleo Retiree

    I just use the same cheap earplugs at movie theaters as I do when running my mower, snowblower, or the dreaded gas weed wacker. I suppose if I would quit doing the work other Americans refuse to do, I would not have this problem.

    Earplugs really help and you can still hear perfectly well in the theater. Unfortunately they don’t improve the low quality of the typical movie these days.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  239. Sound quality aside, the one thing clearly better about vinyl was the album-cover art.

  240. anon[166] • Disclaimer says:

    OT:

    The Houston and San Antonio newspapers teamed up do to an expose on child molesters in Southern Baptist churches. The pic accompanying links to article on the twitter article consists of mugshots of the Law & Order type criminals rather than Bonfire of the Vanities type.

    The article itself has the mughots as a background.

    Why don’t other types of crime ever get the mosaic mugshot treatment?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  241. @Steve Sailer

    I have a CD of a Met Opera performance of Verdi’s “Don Carlo” from November of 1950. It’s probably recorded off of a tape of one of the old Texaco Saturday afternoon performances hosted by Milton Cross. Great singing–marred unfortunately by a combination of a generally muffled sound combined with too much background hissing (again, it was probably recorded from a tape).

  242. It’s amazing to me how many tourists in Chicago resort to cell phone cameras (even pad computers!) for pictures instead of even an el-cheapo digital camera. You spend all that money to visit but will not carry a proper camera for lifetime memories.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  243. J.Ross says: • Website

    • Replies: @Corn
  244. J.Ross says: • Website
    @anon

    The Shield is a lot of fun but its racial pandering is ironclad, and whenever the crime is especially heinous, you know the culprit is a respectable-looking white. At one preposterous point, even when the crime is exploiting a particular ethnicity of immigrants with an ethnically-stereotyped crime in an ethnic ghetto, every single one of the bad guys patronizing the bad ethnic facilitator are straight white men. Fox’s entertainment business model since at least Married … With Children was to toe the party line but be a little tiny bit truthful, with the result that it was thought of as either obscene or a righteous truth-teller. But there are some lies that must be upheld at all costs.

    • Replies: @snorlax
  245. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    In the glory days of Vollum, Tektronix promulgated the doctrine that a bandwidth of five times that of the desired signal to view was necessary for true signal integrity. I don’t know if that is true but since all digitizing schemes require “brick wall” low pass filtering, it seems to me that setting that point at > 30 kHz would be a good idea. with an analog first order rolloff before then at right over the 20 kHz point.

    I have never conducted or participated in double blind ABX testing but the high res digital formats such as DVD-Audio and SACD do sound better to me than CD for some types of music, classical, film scores or high pitched female vocals. It would be interesting to know if, say, animal hunting calls worked better in high res formats than in CD or mp3.

    Also interesting is that given the oriental obsession with Restrum Erectric ERPI theater amplifiers and signal chains, none of this stuff has a HF pass over maybe 15 kHz. The transformers (which are worth insane sums) were insufficiently layered and the core materials designed for telco bandpass applications. It does provide a fairly gentle rolloff and it also means that core saturation on peaks is inevitable-the WE124 makes a better guitar amp than a hi fi amp, I have actually played guitar through one. They also don’t have NFB across the output transformer, hence no damping factor, either.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Anonymous
  246. Lot says:
    @jimmyriddle

    “some guy who used file compression algorithms on the lyrics of pop song”

    That topic perfectly matches the still image of the guy.

  247. Lot says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    I just saw a friend showing off a “Victorola” brand retro looking one he got on Amazon for $60 about a year ago (gift for his wife xmas 2017). He was pretty pleased with it.

    I thought the sound quality and volume was good but I am no audiophile.

  248. @Steve Sailer

    I saw “2001” in 1968 in DC, in a theater with side screens. I’ve seen it since on a big screen, but not with the side screens.

    That was supposed to be a brand new technology that would revolutionize movies.

    The old theaters with giant screens and quite a few seats are hard to find. I recently talked with an old lady in a retirement home who used to see movies at the Tower Theater near her home in Upper Darby, right outside of Philadelphia. When I was in college (I am about the same age as Steve) I used to see rock shows in that theater. I once saw the Grateful Dead movie at that theater, and it was a real blast from the last even in the late 70s to see a movie in a theater like that.

    I saw the movie Ran when it came out in a giant movie theater, one of the very last in Manhattan. Unfortunately I had to sit in the front row. Not the best way to see a move.

    To be fair, the IMAX movies have a rather large screen and a good sound system.

    For the regular movies, the theaters get people to come in with more comfortable chairs than in the past. Recliner chairs with lots of room for drinks and popcorn. So people can have the comfort of watching a movie in their living room, but also a pretty his screen.

  249. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    The Boomer nostalgia about the, ‘perfection,’ of the LP record is embarrassing. That could have been strangled in the crib had the early CD players and CD releases been closer to the maximum sound quality potential of the format.

    Just as the “vintage guitar” thing started because Fender and Gibson were cranking out dogshit guitars (which nevertheless are now highly collectible themselves) in the late 60s and early 70s.

    Early CDs were almost universally poorly mastered and early CD players harsh sounding with crummy analog chains. Still-it’s a relatively poor format by modern standards. GOOD digital sounds great when mastering engineers who know what they are doing are used and the playback gear is good.

    The gold standard of audio reproduction is still half inch half track 15 ips analog tape, though.

  250. @Autochthon

    That’s the best picture of this Irish woman I’ve seen. The corporate media and Hollywood is really pushing this broad.

    Every other picture of her she looks odd and somewhat emaciated.

    Florence of Arabia was Irish and had a nose job, wouldn’t make this corporate media Irish creature a bad person if she got enhanced or reconfigured.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  251. snorlax says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    I’m talking about earbuds, not over-ear headphones.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  252. Jack D says:

    (or much smaller, as is the case with in-ear monitor headphones)

    • Replies: @snorlax
  253. @Jon

    The Hobbit is an interesting one to consider for this topic. The film was shot with better tech (the high frame rate) but ended up being a much inferior product (the filming style just made it very obviius that the actors were walking around on sets interacting with fake creatures). I recently saw part of the series at home on my TV, and the limits of that medium made the whole thing noticeably better.

    Yes, that was part (although certainly not all) of the reason for my disappointment with the Hobbit movies. They were supposed to look great, with groundbreaking tech, and they looked to me, at least at times, like a video game.

    And then, of course, there were the script problems, the length problems, the casting problems, and on and on and on.

  254. @Kinch

    Have fond memories of buying my first ‘serious’ audio system at the top of Times Square Mall back in the late 90s.

    Yes, I remember the Hi-Fi shops up there.

    I wonder sometimes if some HK people are still hanging onto those McDonald’s Snoopy collections from back in the 90s.

  255. @Svigor

    So, despite its potential, digital audio was helping turn adults off movies and was helping turn movies into a kiddie art form.

    Same with documentaries and informational videos, children’s entertainment (starting with early Sesame Street, though they learned in time to tone it down), video games, replays from sporting events, TV and radio commercials, and everything else. Why anyone thought hard rock was an appropriate choice outside its limited sphere is beyond me, unless that was all that younger musicians knew.

    As for “hip hop”, that’s just SAHYAM. “Some ******* yelling at me.”

  256. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stan d Mute

    Headphones or IEMs are a different experience entirely than far-field loudspeakers, of any variety, provide.

    I like my Altec 604 Duplex speakers a lot. Fifteen inch woofers and coaxial HF drivers. They were the standard of the mastering industry for 35 years for good reason.

    Driven by a pair of 6550s at 600 vdc B+ through a good transformer (I bought a pair from Sowter in England) they are still magnificent.

  257. @Kinch

    Have fond memories of buying my first ‘serious’ audio system at the top of Times Square Mall back in the late 90s.

    Much of my large collection of ’60s pop records were bought near there. For a song, in the ’70s.

  258. @snorlax

    You’re still wrong because the same argument about pressurizing the smaller volume of the human ear canal applies to earbuds.

    • Replies: @snorlax
  259. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    IIRC my sampling theory (Nyquist), the sampling rate needs to be 2x the frequency response – 44kb sampling gives you 22k frequency response. This is above the cutoff for human hearing so filtering out everything above 22khz only degrades the fidelity if you are a dog.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist_rate

    At 2x sampling, you can fully reconstruct the original wave – it’s not a jagged approximation as you might think from the digital nature of the sampling, it’s the actual wave form.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @res
  260. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    Most of these “turntables” are record killers.

  261. @Muse

    Wearing earplugs to concerts has become a doubly good idea because there are lots of places and sound guys who tune their PA system under the assumption people will wear earplugs.

    So you can attend a concert and get great sound while protecting your hearing. That is one thing that has improved over the years.

    Also, the idiotic pop diva oversinging trend that kicked off in the late 90s seems to have died out.

  262. @Jim Don Bob

    Jim Bob, I went to Best Buy and bought my daughter a Sony turntable for about $100. She plays it through a “pill” speaker, same as she can play her phone or through her TV with a little device she plugs in the side. As you can see I’m not a real tech guy. Our local Flea Market has a dealer who sells records year round in the market building. All in alphabetical order by type; jazz, rock, country etc. He prices them by rarity and condition, mint, VG, Good, reasonable prices.

  263. @Joe Stalin

    Really good compact cameras that stand apart from cell phones are really expensive. I’m referring to the Sony RX100 series and the Panasonic LX10.

    Even so, cell phone cameras on midrange and flagship smartphones are so good they might wipe out premium compact cameras in a few years.

    • Replies: @Lot
  264. MarkinLA says:
    @Corn

    Their biggest problem is that you cannot get parts for anything they sell.

  265. Oh and when you are looking for old vinyl tell me if you can find an album cover better than Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream and other delights.” Some one can post a copy of the cover.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  266. Nathan says:

    So, O/T, but speaking of technology that doesn’t work as well as it used to, the two long articles at Propublica about the current state of the Navy are a must-read.

    Here’s part 2.

    For a generally left-wing source, the article is pretty shocking in that it’s willing to expose some of the insanely bad governance that occurred between 2008 and 2016. They lay the blame pretty squarely on Obama’s Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus- famous for trying to de-gender the names of Navy rates (jobs).

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Den Lille Abe
  267. snorlax says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    It’s not about pressurizing; the surface area of an earbud is too small to provide a signal-to-noise ratio sufficient to cover the whole frequency range of human hearing.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  268. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    That’s the official line, to be sure. But with that brick wall at 22 khz, HF cutoff is total, as it has to be, so that’s something analog didn’t have. Putting that cutoff higher eliminates those concerns.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  269. @Charles Pewitt

    Didn’t I tell you all females are the same with their faces washed?

    You’re comparing natural appearances with feminine deception. You must compare apples to apples. Ronan is gorgeous in any number photographs and appearances; she’s likewise unremarkable (though I’d not say ugly) at the end of the day, without all the lies – but, then, they all are.

    If it goes for the good, it must go for the bad. Review candid photographs, taken without make-up and other trappings, of any celebrity you deem strikingly beautiful. I warrant you’ll be disappointed by at least nine of ten. At least. And the tenth one? She’s probably really good at making make-up inconspicuous.

    glamour (n.)
    1720, Scottish, “magic, enchantment” (especially in phrase to cast the glamor), a variant of Scottish gramarye “magic, enchantment, spell,” said to be an alteration of English grammar (q.v.) in a specialized use of that word’s medieval sense of “any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning,” the latter sense attested from c. 1500 in English but said to have been more common in Medieval Latin. Popularized in English by the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Sense of “magical beauty, alluring charm” first recorded 1840. As that quality of attractiveness especially associated with Hollywood, high-fashion, celebrity, etc., by 1939.

    Jamieson’s 1825 supplement to his Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language has glamour-gift “the power of enchantment; metaphorically applied to female fascination.” Jamieson’s original edition (1808) looked to Old Norse for the source of the word. Zoëga’s Old Icelandic dictionary has glám-sýni “illusion,” probably from the same root as gleam.

    glamour (v.)
    1814, “to enchant, charm, bewitch,” from glamour (n.). Related: Glamoured; glamouring.

    • Replies: @Charles Pewitt
  270. snorlax says:
    @Jack D

    See here.

    Earbuds can reproduce some bass (and treble) frequencies, but they can’t reproduce the whole human-audible range, and a very expensive set of earbuds will be outperformed by inexpensive speakers and over-ear headphones.

  271. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kyle

    Who has a PlayStation for music? Ridiculous.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  272. @The Last Real Calvinist

    And your feet didn’t stick to the floor. And you were not surrounded by morons constantly talking on cell phones, or texting with the distracting glow from their screens destroying the ability to become absotbed in the movie.

    Our Kurrent Day Kulchur doing its level best to destroy the very notion of respectful behavior in public spaces, in other words.

  273. Anon[121] • Disclaimer says:

  274. Nathan says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    *Sips can of white Monster energy drink nostalgically.*

    Ah yes! The turn of the millennium. Good times. I bet Lars and James Hetfield really resent Guitar Hero. Not only did it expose their shitty record production, but it also exposed their abuse of Jason Newstead on Justice.

  275. OFWHAP says:
    @snorlax

    I can’t really say for sure but it seems as if bands from the 80s are more likely to still be performing in the 2010s than bands from the 50s were to be performing in the 80s. Shoot, during the Grammys last night Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers still looked and moved as though it were still the mid-90s.

  276. L Woods says:

    Everything else is getting worse. Why should technology be any exception?

  277. anonymous[117] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jon

    Agree, I do the same and lower the sound on my TV in the loud parts.
    If I don’t, it makes the dog jump.

  278. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Corn

    Poorly Made in China: An Insider’s Account of the Tactics Behind China’s Production Game is a book by Paul Midler, which chronicles his years spent working with American businessmen whose companies’ products are manufactured in China.[1] Poorly Made in China alleges the practice of quality fade—the deliberate and secret effort of Chinese manufacturers to widen profit margins through the reduction of quality inputs.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poorly_Made_in_China

  279. @Dtbb

    ..watching DVDs at home I continually have problems understanding dialogue…

    I watch almost all DVDs with sub titles turned on for just that reason.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  280. anonymous[117] • Disclaimer says:
    @Regina Phalange

    Don’t worry, Ocassio-Cortez will get rid of planes that fast.

  281. @Anonymous

    I’ve wondered this from time to time, and since this thread’s brought out the audiophiles and engineering lot (shade-tree or otherwise) on the matter, one of you enlighten me please:

    Are these gold discs that were a popular gimmick for while (maybe still are) really worthwhile? I reckon the average CD is astronomically likely to become ruined by scratches or shattering long before corrosion could possibly matter, and, in any event, aluminum is not all that reactive either – it’s no gold, sure, but it’s not the worst thing in the world – or do they actually use an alloy of, say, aluminum and magnesium (which would corrode fairly easily) rather than pure aluminum in CDs? I honestly don’t know and it’s more fun to ask you than to spend sixty seconds with a search engine that will then report my interests to Donna Zuckerburg, the Cobra Commander, the NSA, the Girl Guides, the the Flying Elvises (Utah Chapter), and myriad other diabolical illuminati bent upon my destruction.

    I say the gold CD is mostly a gimmick; a solution to a problem never likely to manifest itself. What say ye obsessive sorts?

  282. trelane says:
    @Stan d Mute

    There’s no bass presentation in an ear bud…none.

    • Replies: @res
  283. Jimbo says:
    @snorlax

    Almost everything you said is wrong. You use UDP for real time traffic like voice because you are more interested in minimizing delay and you aren’t interested in the delivery guarantee that TCP provides. (a voice sample that is late is worse than one that is lost). CRC checks are used on every packet – all they do is check to make sure that a packet has not been corrupted (in which case it is discarded) – it can’t correct errors.

    It’s not abut the error rate – it’s about the codec (both the bandwidth used and the quality of the psychoacoustic modeling built into it) and the end-to-end delay (determined mostly by the physics of the speed of light. Skype actually has a pretty good codec – as I recall they use their own codec that is actually one of the better ones out there.

    • Replies: @snorlax
    , @Jim Christian
  284. And your feet didn’t stick to the floor.

    It’s tough getting that seabird smell out, too.

    Totally OT, from India:

  285. snorlax says:
    @Excal

    Virtually every type of lossless compression was known at the time the CD format was being developed. Compression is pretty computationally expensive but decompression isn’t. Controlling the laser is a significantly more complex task. The decompression logic would’ve added something to the cost of players, at least at first, but not that much.

    Unlike audio CDs, data CDs use cyclic redundancy checking for error correction and FLAC also uses CRC. Nevertheless an audio CD tolerates scratches better than a data CD.

  286. Anonymous[287] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kyle

    Is there anything more cringeworthy and embarassing than a grown, adult white man who listens to rap? Incredible that our culture has degenerated to the point that even “conservative” whites now openly admit to listening to this talentless vulgar trash.

  287. Corn says:
    @J.Ross

    Michael Tracey is my favorite liberal.

  288. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    In the digital world, data is data – if you can read off a bitstream and send it over a digital connection, it makes no difference what the hardware is – it could be a game console, a DVD player, a computer, etc. – it’s just sending a string of numbers down a pipe.

  289. 1661er says:
    @Jack D

    The problem with new fridges is that the social engineering mandate the use of more dangerous(flammable, explosive, higher pressure, noxious) refrigerants. In Europe, that had been a trend of exploding fridges because EU mandated the phase out of CFC/HFC/etc.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1210334/Alert-new-wave-exploding-fridges-caused-environmentally-friendly-coolant.html

    79 people died in London Grenfell tower because of one of those refrigerators.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/23/hotpoint-fridge-freezer-sparked-grenfell-tower-fire/

    The people push it don’t care. Their country pile or Mayfair/Belgravia Maison are so large that any leaking refrigerants are unlikely to reach concentration that go “boom” when you turn on the light switch. It’s only poor people dying in their small enclosed space.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @Jack D
  290. @Stan d Mute

    Agreed. You may be mute, but your auditory equipment sounds like it’s fine.

    Joking, of course, but all ears aren’t created equal. Our hearing hardware is no doubt as determined by our genetic hand-me-downs as athletic ability. And the ability to adapt to novel, unexpected sounds, in unanticipated situations, too.

    As a kid, I noticed my grandmother always yelled everything at my grandfather. At the time, I reckoned it was just because he was very old. But he’d spent years firing Maxim machine guns and being subjected to HE barrages. Also had relatives who were in artillery, in the big wars, and they didn’t seem to have hindered hearing ability. And we know they never used physical hearing protection, other than opening their mouths for the pressure and covering their ears (sometimes).

    And when being taught to shoot, as a youngster and later, I never used ear protection. Now I find myself stopping my car before I get to the outdoor range to put in at least one ear plug (3M 1100s).

    Because one grows old, and it’s unseemly to almost leap out of one’s skin when after a few moments of quiet, an unseen dude a few feet away let’s go with an A10, for example.

  291. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    People are “concerned” about all sorts of stuff that’s imaginary. You just can’t hear frequencies that high, so a hard cutoff means nothing. As someone else pointed out, in analog systems there are implied cutoffs anyway – the equipment can’t pick up, record or reproduce those frequencies even if there’s not an explicit filter.

  292. res says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Anyone know a decent wav to flac converter?

    I think you should be able to do that in foobar2000. You may need to download the FLAC encoder separately: https://www.foobar2000.org/encoderpack
    but I think the WAV decoding side is supported natively: https://www.foobar2000.org/

  293. @snorlax

    You’d better tell these guys all their in-ear and earbuds measurements are wrong:

    https://www.innerfidelity.com/headphone-measurements

    • Replies: @snorlax
  294. Clyde says:
    @obwandiyag

    Excellent commentary from you which is unusual.

  295. Lost my Bose speakers, Marantz receiver, and Pioneer turntable in the divorce. I miss them.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  296. @snorlax

    Virtually every type of lossless compression was known at the time the CD format was being developed

    Wut?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG-4_SLS

    • Replies: @snorlax
  297. @Buffalo Joe

    I had that album. Legend has it that the model was pregnant at the time.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  298. @Vegan Shark

    I was talking about technoology not technique. My point is that some of those astoundingly source-faithful modern recordings are or could just as easily been recorded and played back with 1950s era equipment.

    Technique may have objectively improved but a lot of change is just style and there’s an ingrained presentist bias when it comes to style. And a lot of what you’re hearing in old recordings is various degrees of degradation (supposedly vinyl is actually better than magnetic tape there). And a lot of audiophiles have trained themselves to obsess over the small degree of technical progress that has been made.

  299. Lot says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    “Even so, cell phone cameras on midrange and flagship smartphones are so good they might wipe out premium compact cameras in a few years.”

    Nah, cell phone cameras seem to be scraping close to the physical limit of what you can do in the form factor.

    A circa 2002 digicam’s 5x physical zoom is a lot sharper than a 2017 flagship phone 5x digital zoom. Even apart from zoom, I have lots of digital photos from 2002. In general they are a bit better than my phone’s, especially in indoor light.

    Camera phones rapidly improved between VGA quality around 2003 to around 2013. Since then I haven’t been too impressed other than by fast shutter speed and video quality.

  300. res says:
    @Jack D

    The issue is that perfect brick wall filters don’t exist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-aliasing_filter

    One issue on the playback side is jitter: https://headfonics.com/2017/12/what-is-jitter-in-audio/

    I think the high end audio differences tend to be oversold (in a value sense), but listening to a friend’s ~$25k system was definitely more engaging than mine. Though I have trouble being sure which were the highest value parts of that: better source material, electronics, speakers, speaker placement, etc.?

    Lossless uncompressed digital CD sound either from an iPod, local server, or internet is hard to beat from a convenience, value, and quality point of view.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  301. @Steve Sailer

    On the other hand, I suspect that the infinite options of computer synthesizers are less intriguing than the limited but still capacious options that electric guitars offered in the second half of the 20th Century.

    Even live, electric guitars are made to approximate a synthesizer with an assortment of dial and pedal controlled sound modification devices put downstream of the guitar. And in studio the guitar sound is often even more heavily processed.

  302. @Lot

    Can you be more specific about what model digicam and camera phones you’re comparing?

    I owned a Sony digicam in 2003-04. Today’s phone cameras are far better to my eye.

    Go on Flickr, 500px, or Smugmug. Lots of folks getting terrific shots with modern phone cameras.

    • Replies: @Lot
  303. @Autochthon

    I owned some of these gold discs.

    I thought the U2 albums they did were good.

    The Guns ‘n Roses discs seemed lifeless and inert.

  304. Corvinus says:

    “Current day songs are mostly engineered to sound kind of mediocre. Similarly, average telephone sound quality is worse today than, say, 35 years ago.”

    Normally you have links, or actual evidence. Is this a “get off my lawn” post?

  305. An eccentric friend of mine tells me that Bose speakers are not actually all that great in terms of fidelity (about middle of the road) but that they produce good sound through synthetic smoothing of sorts. Also they have great marketing.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  306. J.Ross says: • Website

    The Oscars broadcast will skip four categories. The categories will still be awarded and in fact their presentations and acceptance speeches will be aired later. The four categories are makeup (eh, pretty reasonable, makeup is important but not as watched as best actress), shorts (stupid, shorts are how new ideas and talent can bypass the normal investment requirements), editing (tendies on the ground), and cinematography (what do you want to bet the diversity officers didn’t know what that was?).

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  307. Hail says: • Website
    @Clifford Brown

    Hey ya’ll!

    I jus’ wanna remin’ ya becuz it’s been a lillbit ova three weeks, ok? It’s been a lillbit ova three weeks:

    Trump! is now or’ering [sic], as in summonsing [sic], federal government workers to go back to work [….]

    Cardi B
    – b.1992, Bronx, New York
    – Caribbean parents (father: Dominican Republic; mother: Trinidad).
    – 1 child, b.2018, with rapper “Offset” (b.1991, GA; 4 children by various women).

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  308. snorlax says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    I don’t have all day so I’m not going to look at all of them, but it appears their measurements are correct in showing earbuds to have severely degraded high frequency response relative to over-ear headphones.

  309. Clyde says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    I watch almost all DVDs with sub titles turned on for just that reason.

    Subs are a necessary. Subtitles yes! SubCons no!

  310. Hail says: • Website
    @Regina Phalange

    “The top twenty winners will get flewed out.”

    Cardi B’s ancestral origins: Half Dominican Republic, half Trinidad.

    acc. to Lynn and Vanhanen,

    Trinidad and Tobago’s average IQ is in the low-to-mid 80s, and the Dominican Republic’s is also in the low-to-mid 80s.

    Nothing from her bio suggests she ever excelled in intellectual endeavor:

    As a youth, Cardi B was a member of the Bloods, and has said she was a gang member since the age of 16.

    Upon being fired from the supermarket, [Cardi B’s] former manager recommended she work at a strip club. She has said she became a stripper to escape poverty and domestic violence, having been in an abusive relationship at the time.[19] Cardi B has also said becoming a stripper was positive for her life in many ways: “It really saved me from a lot of things. When I started stripping I went back to school.”

    So it’s hard to imagine she is anything but in the middling ranks of ever the humble IQ ranges of her parents’ countries of origin.

    Immigration policy failure. Who is responsible for this? We need to talk.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  311. J.Ross says: • Website

    Republicans blink, Coulter vindicated. Will Trump call this a success or declare emergency?
    https://www.denverpost.com/2019/02/11/border-deal-to-avoid-shutdown/amp/
    Republicans were desperate to avoid another bruising shutdown. They tentatively agreed to far less money for President Donald Trump’s border wall than the White House’s $5.7 billion wish list, settling for a figure of nearly $1.4 billion, according to congressional aides.

    That means 55 miles of new fencing — constructed through existing designs such as metal slats instead of a concrete wall — but far less than the 215 miles the White House demanded in December. The fencing would be built in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas [which was talking about building its own “state” barrier anyway].

  312. @Lurker

    Some years ago, at unequally frequented road intersections, they used to install ultrasonic sensors mounted on an arm above the roadway that was less trafficked to detect when cars were stacking up waiting to cross the other road. I could hear those things, and the volume was so loud that I had to roll up the window when I encountered one, they were so oppressive. So being able to hear bats squeaking sounds entirely feasible to me.

    Most intersections seem to be run on timers nowadays, likely because they are less subject to mechanical failures, so my handy hearing tests are no longer in place. But I have generally been very careful to protect my hearing (classical oboist/English hornist) when exposure to high amplitude sound was encountered, whether from mechanical noise, or from electrical sound amplification, so I suspect that my hearing range at the upper frequencies is still pretty good. I was just listening to my old Erato LP of Boulez conducting Messiaen’s Et Expecto Resurectionem Mortuorum on headphones, and could clearly discriminate the higher pitches and the combination tones, and the rich overtone series of the metallophones liberally employed in that score.

  313. snorlax says:
    @Jimbo

    TCP is overkill for audio, but perfectly capable of delivering it in real time over any network connection faster than dial-up. If you watch a video on YouTube or Netflix, it’s sent over TCP and you will note that the audio and far more bandwidth-hungry video are delivered up in real time just fine.

    CRC checks are used on every packet – all they do is check to make sure that a packet has not been corrupted (in which case it is discarded) – it can’t correct errors.

    Literally the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page:

    CRCs can be used for error correction (see bitfilters).

    I was also referring to CRCs (or I’ll grant I should’ve used the more generic term “error-correcting code”) at the application layer and not the network layer.

    It’s not abut the error rate – it’s about the codec

    Literally what I just said.

    Skype actually has a pretty good codec

    I was more picking on “free VOIP services” than Skype in particular—I just named it because it’s the brand everyone recognizes. And implicitly I was picking on free VOIP services as they were 10 years ago or so, which is likely the source of the assertions ITT that VOIP has particularly poor quality—the complainers have no doubt made hundreds of calls since then with VOIP on one or both ends, but they don’t realize it because the quality was just fine or more than fine.

  314. Asagirian says: • Website

    Wow, two Muslim women in Congress have more balls than all the white male cucks of GOP and Democratic Party. Maybe trannies do have a point. Women can be real men while men can be a bunch of pussies.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @Jack D
  315. @Buffalo Joe

    Trump should make you secretary of defense. Then you could fire the half of the pentagon that is useless, and make the rest of them communicate with crystal radios and copper coils.

    Of course if you father were still alive he would be secretary of defense, and you would have to make sure his orders were carried out.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  316. Marat says:
    @Steve Sailer

    For years, there was a radio show on KPFK (Pacifica) Sunday afternoons called “High Fidelity” that had every kind of technical spec on every possible audiophile setup imaginable. The hosts also gave all sorts of tips on suspending speakers from ceilings, subwoofer location, cable comparisons, and turntable repair/improvement. My impression was they did a brisk housecall and aural feng shui consulting business. Certainly, there was no shortage of enthusiastic engineers calling in. But it seemed to dry up by the late 90s.

    Come to think of it, the next show was a 3 hour show on opera – you might even say comparison opera. The host compared performances, interpretations, recordings, companies, careers, voices, and even voice changes over time. No detail too insignificant!

    Both shows were a labor of love. I’d be afraid to tune in and hear what’s in those time slots today!

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  317. @Autochthon

    Now if she were just a true blond – that would be perfection.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  318. @Jim Don Bob

    They pass a high quality Public Switched Telephone call through their servers over the web on the cheap to get it where it’s going. By the time all’s said and done it sounds remarkably like the old short-wave radios.

  319. @Steve Sailer

    I’m pretty sure that I’ve still got that and some other PIL on vinyl. Saw them at First Avenue in Minneapolis and Googling indicates that was on October 25, 1982. Earlier the thought which had occurred upon hearing “Flowers of Romance” was, “Duh, that Middle Eastern riff sounds a little like Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ ” and PIL played at least a little of that in homage on stage before lurching into F.O.R.

    – not bad, but not as good as “Annalisa” on a cassette for driving-to-work:

  320. snorlax says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    The algorithms,* not specific compression standards. As an analogy, calculus existed before the 8th edition of the textbook Calculus by James Stewart.

    *Huffman, 1952; Golomb, 1966; Run-length encoding, 1967; Rice-Golomb, 1971; Arithmetic coding, 1977; Lempel-Ziv, 1977

  321. J.Ross says: • Website

    Re pop music being garbage today, what pop music? You are almost certainly talking about rap-derived twerk croakings. Listen to Modern Music with John Mosier or This Island Earth with Ishmael Ahmed, or check their playlists against YouTube.
    https://wdet.org/shows/modern-music/
    https://wdet.org/shows/this-island-earth/
    What the elites do every time is, they discover the good stuff, they take it for themselves, make it inaccessible, and convince the masses to accept garbage instead. You have to look for what was once taken for granted. Alternately reset the calendar with a different pop tradition; I recently got into France Gall.

  322. JMcG says:
    @WorkingClass

    Hick Hop is the term you want. The local country station is unlistenable now. Thank God for Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius.

  323. @JeremiahJohnbalaya

    I spent 15 years in the telecom industry working with progressively lower call quality. VOIP and cell is garbage compared to the PSTN network, truly a gold standard.

    Same here. From 1982 until I left DC, I saw the entire swath of voice go from safe, high-quality analog right down the drain of the rabbithole with T-1 and then, worse, VOIP and Cellular, which is the unsafe part. I use my CATV’s landline, plain old 2500 desk and wall phones and plain old dial tone. It works very well, the quality is great and compared to cell phones, well, there isn’t any comparison. The old handsets were better, too. Of course, I had to memorize several of my most-called numbers, the rest I wrote down. Contacts in cells ARE easier.

    Our kids are going to pay a price, already are, maybe, for all the cells and wireless nets. 5G is upping the ante and no one gives a shit. There’s no going back. Gone from the poles throughout New England and everywhere, I guess are the heavy copper 500-1000-pair outside cable networks that used to bring phone service. They’re coming down, there’s no need to keep them, no one has copper-based voice service anymore, other than alarms and smoke systems that codes require buildings to maintain.

    Agree completely about stereo. Surround-sound and head-banging subwoofers are a distraction. My Michael Green Design speakers and a two-channel receiver at 100 W give me the music without the distractions. With the drive toward home theater, I thought maybe I just didn’t get it, that the flight decks wrecked my hearing, surround sound was wasted on me, but then over recent years, I found out lots of folks are good with 2 stereo channels, TOO! I screwed up in reverse. Retro was the future. I am convinced of the same with phones. When enough people are provably dead of the cancers 5G will bring (cue the experts to tell me how wrong I am), they’re going to have to learn central offices, telephone poles and fire up the copper mines again, learn the magic of PBXs and switches again. Or quit talking to one another.

  324. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Nathan

    Thanks for that, very interesting. And what’s this?

    “Quantity has a quality all of its own,” Mabus liked to say.

    Who could have foreseen that a naval secretary who had no thoughts about his personnel would be an admirer of Stalin?

    • Agree: Nathan
  325. Excal says:
    @snorlax

    It’s true that linear prediction was known and in wide use by the late 70s, but it was used for voice, not high-res audio.

    An LPC decoder capable of dealing with 16-bit, 44.1kHz streams in real time would have been prohibitively expensive with the technology of the day — and I’d say it wasn’t really needed, as the CD gave long playing time already, without compression.

    • Replies: @snorlax
  326. @Jimbo

    Question, you’re obviously in the business more recently than I. I’m an old analog switch guy, think Phones On Mad Men. The latest-in-tech I got was adding T-1s and PRIs to our Nortel and Toshiba switches, among others. So you get my perspective. So, how is it that an outfit like a Net Talk at $50/year for a ‘landline’ has crummy connectivity, drops, fades and the rest, yet Comcast-to-Verizon landlines, which are digital inbound and outbound to the Central Office at both ends, are so clear? These are perfect, indistinguishable from old analog POTS. Are they passing calls along dedicated nets instead of the Web? The cheap VOIP providers that provide the voice router you plug into an ether net port are barely adequate, but I kept them, they were cheap, but they don’t ring bells very well. When I cut a new deal with Comcast, I moved my landline over to Comcast, bought a slew of 2500 desk phones and the difference was a revelation. VOIP got me used to trash and I was using wireless handsets, which suck. I don’t say I’d buy a landline from Verizon at $80.00/month ever again, but I’d have to find a better solution than cheap VOIP to move from what I have now. Besides, it’s nice to hear the phone actually RING again. Being a phone guy, I have the wires down pat, if not much else. I’ve run ether net all over, too. No more wireless in the house for me. None.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jimbo
  327. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jokah Macpherson

    Bose speakers are detestible as is pretty much everything else they sell. Overpriced junk.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  328. @Lot

    Professional photographers usually use a moderate telephoto lens for taking portraits, right? (Conversely, a super wide angle fisheye lens is the worst for taking pictures of faces.)

    Is there some digital workaround for not having a telephoto lens on a smartphone?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @res
  329. @Reg Cæsar

    the frontman of the local power-pop band Mile One was asked what was the most important quality a musician should have. His answer?

    “Good taste in music!”

    Sinatra had improbably good taste in music.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Anonymous
  330. @Steve Sailer

    Sinatra had improbably good taste in music.

    His favorite composer (of his own songs) was, equally improbably, a WASP, Jimmy Van Heusen, whom he called “Chester” after his real middle name.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  331. snorlax says:
    @Excal

    I’m not an expert on the capabilities of turn-of-the-80s microchips, but I know enough to know there existed at least some forms of lossless compression they could handle, even for large data streams. Even a basic run length encoding, so simple to decode it’s arguably less taxing on the hardware than an uncompressed stream, would’ve provided a pretty decent compression ratio.

    The main advantage to compression is it would’ve allowed making the discs smaller. The main disadvantage as I said is it would’ve severely compromised the format’s fault tolerance.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Excal
  332. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen (real name Chester Babcock) were Sinatra’s inhouse songwriting team. Cahn wrote a superb book on songwriting and rhyming dictionary. (I gave a copy of it as a present to a certain New York ingenue and songwriter: she took it as a sort of insult, which it was not at all meant to be.)

    Babcock/Van Heusen renamed himself after the shirt manufacturer, oddly enough.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Van_Heusen

    https://www.amazon.com/Sammy-Cahns-Rhyming-Dictionary-Cahn/dp/1575606224

    Interesting to note Cahn’s Wiki page does not mention this book, nor that his son is the very good jazz guitarist Steve Khan.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  333. @J.Ross

    Holy Newton’s Nutsack! Cinematography is cinema (film, movies – call the art what you wish). It’s right there in the word for the slow kids. Cinematography is often (arguably, always) more fundamentally important than direction.

    What in Hell are the Oscars putporting to even be?!

    • Replies: @Kylie
  334. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    A favored camera for portraiture was the long lens Tele Rolleiflex, also the interchangeable lens Mamiya TLRs.

    The “secret weapon” used by a few pros for portraiture of women, especially those “of a certain age” was to cut the front standard off an 80 series small rollfilm Polaroid camera and mount it (usually by cutting down a lens extension tube on a lathe and epoxying or welding a plate on the front) for a medium format SLR with focal plane shutter. It could also be done with a 35mm camera but the lens was a little longer than desirable for portraiture with 35mm.

    Peter Gowland built a large format TLR Gowlandflex on which large format lenses could be mounted and that was also a little popular as all sorts of odd old glass could be cobbled onto those. Old lenses worked better than most of the purpose designed “soft focus” lenses.

    The late Ed Romney, a friend of mine via correspondence for two decades, talked a little about these mods in his camera repair books. SK Grimes and marty Forscher (so famous he got an obit in The Backward:)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/nyregion/11forscher.html

    did a lot of these mods commercially.

    They are of historical interest today: the camera magazines talked a lot about his mods and repair work.

    I would love to see a really sharp facial image of Marilyn Monroe in her last couple of years, I’ve heard she had insane peach fuzz. They had some superb optics by 1962, so the detail could be quite good.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  335. @Hail

    Right now who’s responsible for it?

    He wants Cardi B.’s parents and anyone else who arrives “legally” to come in “the largest numbers ever.”

    Let us knkw how your talk with Backstab McLiar goes, would you?

    • Replies: @Hail
  336. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Sinatra did have good taste, but what differentiated him from most of the rest of the pack is that he had both the industry-leading position and the pure balls to only do what he wanted. Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney knew full well many of the songs they cut were dogshit, but they had to record them because they felt Mitch Miller would make good on his threats to end their careers if they didn’t. Frank just said “F You”.

    Then there was the case of Frank Sinatra. For any number of reasons, Sinatra’s career was pretty much down the tubes by the late 1940s, as were his record sales at Columbia. Mitch Miller thought he could make Mr. S. a star again via his proven formula for novelty songs, and strongly suggested that Sinatra record dreck like “Bim Bam Baby,” and the truly embarrassing “Mama Will Bark” from 1951. The latter was duet between Sinatra and a then-popular, pinup television star named Dagmar. And yes, there was actual barking on the track, though not by Sinatra as is widely thought, but by a dog impressionist by the name of Donald Bain.

    A few years later, when Sinatra’s career was reborn as an Academy Award-winning film star and hit-maker at Capital Records, Sinatra sent telegrams to judiciary and senate committees, accusing Miller of presenting him with inferior songs, and of accepting money from writers whose songs he (Miller) had used.

    Miller always said that Sinatra and other Columbia artists could not be forced to perform anything they didn’t want to. Mr.S.wouldn’t hear of any of it. Years later, it is said, the two physically crossed paths in a Las Vegas casino. Whomever was with Sinatra or Miller on the scene that night tried to affect a reconciliation.

    “F–k y–, keep walking,” was Sinatra’s reply.

    Interestingly, for a music man with the tastes of MItch Miller, he couldn’t stand rock and roll, and is said to have passed on the likes of Elvis and Buddy Holly. Indeed, Columbia’s small share of the rock market was due to Miller’s distaste of it. Miller was much more interested in producing and recording dreck like “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

    http://www.jazzlegends.com/mitch-miller-the-kitch-of-mitch/

  337. @Charles Erwin Wilson 3

    Pffft. If her hair were truly purple no one (except maybe Pewitt) would kick her out of bed for eating crackers….

  338. @Anonymous

    (real name Chester Babcock)

    Edward Chester Babcock. That’s the name on his pilot’s license.

    Cahn wrote a superb book on songwriting and rhyming dictionary.

    I have that, and Cahn’s autobiography as well. Van Heusen wrote with Johnny Burke in the ’40s, and Cahn with Jule Styne. They got together in the ’50s.

    Cahn was an early riser, frustrated by Van Heusen’s barfly ways. (That may have some connection to Sinatra’s affection for the latter.) Cahn also got invited to Burke’s parties, and said he always felt welcome there, but was bothered by Burke’s constant “Hymie” jokes. Burke was, in Bing Crosby’s words, a “leprechaun”.

  339. @Anonymous

    Peter Gowland

    Weren’t a lot of his nude shots of his wife and grown daughters? Show off.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  340. snorlax says:
    @J.Ross

    Southland is a cop show with reasonably realistic perp demographics.

  341. @Anonymous

    And that’s putting it kindly. Simply check out how Bose pursued Consumers Union which once dared to publish a fairly accurate review of their products.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bose_Corp._v._Consumers_Union_of_United_States,_Inc.

    Amar Gopal Bose was a particularly nasty piece of work. I spit on his grave.

    No serious audiophile takes Bose products seriously.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  342. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Might have been. He had a good book on nude photography but I preferred Richard Santuci’s “Fine Figure Photography”.

    The woman in the upper right is, in fact, Debbie Harry.
    Harry was NOT a Playmate: she was a bunny, that is, a waitress at the Playboy Club. So Gowland never worked with her photographically, he did a LOT of Playboy work though.

  343. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Christian

    The 500/2500 desk set and all old mechanical ringer Bell phones require substantial ring current.
    The ringer can be replaced with a Sonalert type device, but that removes much of the Bell/WE charm.

    There used to be a ring booster module available from Mike Snadman, but I think that’s a thing of the past.
    http://www.sandman.com/

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jim Christian
  344. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    http://www.sandman.com/LongLoop.html
    they still make it. Should make any old phone ring even with Magicjack or what have you.

  345. @simple_pseudonymic_handle

    “Neither of us have land lines.”

    Do you find broadband via a cell phone/mobile is OK?

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  346. @1661er

    “79 people died in London Grenfell tower because of one of those refrigerators.”

    I’m not sure what information about Grenfell to believe. I’ve also seen reports that people in the flats were using gas cylinders for cooking, which certainly wouldn’t have improved things as they went off. The authorities have been deliberately opaque in releasing information about exactly who died in each flat and what if any relation they were to the people the council had on record as being tenants.

  347. @Anonymous

    Yeah, ring voltage was 90VAC. The old trick with a newbie was to tell em to hold these two wires right here while I call this number..

    The bells in these phones ring pretty hard off the comcast ring voltage, I suspect it’s 48 volts, they have double gongs and a clapper, but a cheap little board inside with the dial pad and hook switch attached. I’ve already had to replace one in the past couple of years, but they’re only thirty bucks. I got to wondering about the wireless of all sorts, decided to do something about it. I have a half dozen of them spread around, they’re dandy! Guests jump out of their skin when I get a call. Bells they do not expect!

    Meanwhile, I must have traces of twenty different networks of others’, but I turned off all mine inside the house. PCs, TV, DVD Player, CC WIFI radio, all ethernet, the Comcast public and private wireless off. I will say another thing for wired networking–FAST!

    Anyway, thanks!

  348. @YetAnotherAnon

    I’ve done it; it’s okay, especially if you live alone and are not a fiend for video (the throttling will eventually annoy you if you overdo it).

    If you have family, especially if they’ve wanting to watch Netflix and Youtube all damned day (and of course they will), then get Spectrum or some such. It’s usually just $60.00 a month or ao if you only want an Internet connection and don’t give a shit about cable (and who does? If you do want tee-vee, get that shit over the too via Sling or whatever – there is an option for everyone’s budget and preferences. If at all possible avoid Comcast, Cox, AT&T, and Verizon like the plague.

  349. Clyde says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    “Threw a spanner in the works” ____ Dire Straits ___Industrial Disease from about 1983 or so https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=dEn9wvz3teg

  350. @Mr. Anon

    I then set about getting all the same recordings I had on vinyl on CD. It was a noticeable improvement.

    Quite a retirement program for the old rockers. In ten years, they went from Vinyl records>8-Track>Cassettes>CDs. Many of them sold their music with each transition, making me wonder if the format changovers, or the ‘greatness’ of their music was responsible for the millions of records they sold.

  351. @Marat

    Both shows were a labor of love. I’d be afraid to tune in and hear what’s in those time slots today!

    Sports Talk?

  352. @Asagirian

    The Guardian report that there have been 673 complaints of “anti-semitism” against the UK Labour Party, whose leader is shockingly not 105% behind Israel, an intolerable situation.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/11/labour-has-looked-into-673-cases-of-alleged-antisemitism-figures-show

    It would be awful if people were making up these allegations as part of an anti-Corbyn campaign.

  353. @Jimbo in OPKS

    She didn’t even want them. She just kept them because YOU wanted them. Broads!

  354. @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Dammit! You’re the second guy that took up the “XXXX is better than ZZZZ” and with baited breath I waited. So where does Reel-To-Reel rank? In my travels, I’m seeing lots of Reel setups in peoples’ AV rooms, they play it out to the rest of the house. They have a reel for this party, a reel for every day, they play these reels for 8 or ten hours per. It sounds good throughout the house, but my hearing was shattered with the planes of Naval Air, flight decks. The VA threw most flight deck rat-guys a 10% disability when you got out. Of course, later, I did jet aircraft one better with guns and the wind whistling through motorcycle helmets which gets LOUD at speed, even with the Foamy plugs. They claim smoking cigarettes doesn’t help. These days I have Tinnitus to light up the city of Toledo. In a silent room, it’s ‘deafening”, annoying. Out in the world, sound comes through it.

    But I still go to Pops, to Boston Symphony, we go to Kennedy Center occasionally in DC, the Theater Labs. Love that stuff, also the period pieces from Mad Men. Sounds great to me, would probably sound better without the wear and tear.

  355. @YetAnotherAnon

    Not to mention the flammable exterior cladding that went straight up the building, blowing in windows from the outside, spreading the fie from flat-to-flat. Love to see what became of that particular little plot of land. Jewish-Lightning Gentrification? A Cabrini-Green rewind?

  356. Hail says: • Website
    @Autochthon

    “the largest numbers ever.”

    Advice: Impeach and expel President Kushner.

    • Agree: Charles Pewitt
  357. Jimbo says:
    @Jim Christian

    The reason that Verizon and Comcast can run great VOIP services on their own network is QOS (quality of service)- basically, they can mark the VOIP packets and ensure that they get priority in the network. QOS markings are an internet standard, but they are not generally honored in public internet, so even if someone like Vonage tried to mark their packets it wouldn’t do anything. But if you control the network, you can set up end to end QOS pretty easily.

    Interesting historical note: when Verizon was designing it’s FIOS network back in the 90s, the old time phone guys set it up with three separate channels on the fiber – one for packet (internet) data, one for QAM (cable) video, and a smaller dedicated one for TDM voice. You had, at that point, a full 56K voice channel that was sampled right in your home, so it was as clear as POTS could provide. But as the market developed, they realized that was a bit of overkill (and the old circuit switched tech didn’t allow some of the newer features of VOIP) so they dropped the TDM channel and ran VOIP over the data channel. But again, since it’s run on a private network with full QOS, it’s still pretty good. (of course, I still don’t use it since I am cell-only…)

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Jim Christian
  358. Tin Ear says:
    @Macumazahn

    Criticize analog all you like, but (aside from anomalies like record groove echo and tape print-through) at least analog didn’t introduce pre-signal distortion effects.

    I recall an article I saw in an American science magazine circa 1986. The article contended that, while the relatively new CD format offered excellent sound as promised, all the recordings that were considered the most true to life were still being played back on valve (i.e. vacuum tube) equipment.

    The article then went on to discuss how the best source for new valves was the Soviet Union (with the then-little-known Svetlana factory being mentioned by name). Needless to say, audiophiles outside of the Iron Curtain had to work fairly hard in the mid-1980s to find sources that could still supply them with these “obsolete” valves. : )

    (Those were the Good Old Days, eh?)

    I’d give a lot to be able to re-read that article in 2019 (Er, does any of the above sound even vaguely familiar to readers?). I say this because, as far as I know, high-end audio gear is still largely analogue, lo these many decades later.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  359. @Autochthon

    Van Morrison, Scottish guy from Northern Ireland, used glamour in a song and I wasn’t sure why. The Scottish connection to the word glamour seems fitting. To my mind, the Scottish people are wary of things as they appear and they like to see the inner workings of things. That works good in politics and engineering and science.

    Van Morrison’s Dweller On The Threshold:

    I have seen without perceiving

    I have been another man

    Let me pierce the realm of glamor

    So I know just what I am

    Van Morrison’s Aryan Mist:

    What can the matter be

    In a world full of glamor

    Does it lift you up

    Or is it railway carriage charm

  360. @Nathan

    The revelations in both videos are shocking.
    Utter dereliction of duty, incompetence and bad judgement.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  361. Jack D says:
    @Jimbo

    I’ve found that VOIP has gotten better as bandwith has gone up, even without QOS. If you have a really fat broadband pipe, a 56k voice stream is a trivial amount of data and is easy to send without losing packets.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  362. Pontius says:
    @snorlax

    No Sleep Til Hammersmith was responsible for most of my hearing loss. I used to turn the speakers of my boom box in like headphones and crank it to max. Was fun at the time.

  363. Jack D says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Bose made a lot of stuff – some of it is consumer grade junk that is sold in Bose only showrooms, which audiophiles (justly) hate. Dr. Bose was very skilled in the art and science of acoustics (as well as business) and he was not unwilling to use cheap tricks and shortcuts that others might eschew.

    The 901s were “real” speakers but (as Steve mentioned at the beginning) they were very sensitive to their placement in the room (and well as the properties of the room itself, which are impossible to change). So if you happened to have the right room and put the 901s in just the right spot, they were magical – suddenly the room seemed to reverberate as if your living room was Carnegie Hall and an entire orchestra was on the stage in front of you. But with the wrong placement and the wrong room, you had the illusion of a violin that was 10 feet wide referred to in the critical review. The speakers were sort of like fun house mirrors in that if you put them in just the right spot they distorted everything in a flattering way but in a different spot they were grotesque, but audiophiles are always shooting for a clear pane of glass and so hated them no matter what.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  364. Jack D says:
    @1661er

    The Grenfell fridge fire was not caused by flammable refrigerants. In the US these are not used but there is really nothing wrong with them – people use flammable natural gas or propane in their cooking range and it’s not an issue – lots of stuff is flammable. The model fridge that caught fire was investigated and found to be compliant and no different than any other UK fridge. In the UK, fridges may have plastic backs instead of metal which is probably not a good idea but is permitted under their regs.

    The direct cause was an overloaded relay in the fridge that sparked an electrical fire and this in turn was caused because the building was experiencing power surges – many other appliances in the building had previously been destroyed by surges. We are going back to 3rd world standards where people just sort of shrug their shoulders at stuff like this – power surges are burning out your appliances – what are you going to do? Stuff happens. None of the previous surges had sparked deadly electrical fires so no one got excited.

    • Replies: @1661er
  365. Jack D says:
    @res

    The actual limit on human hearing is more like 20khz but CD reproduces up to 22khz. So if the 22khz filter eats a little into the last 2khz it makes no difference. They purposely left a cushion. Quartz crystals are extremely stable – jitter is not a real world problem. Audiophiles go looking for this stuff because it gives them something to do and they miss the old days when most equipment was shitty and only they had the good stuff. Where’s the challenge? It’s like Monster Cable who will sell you super expensive “high quality” digital cables when in fact there is no such thing – either a digital signal goes thru perfectly or else it doesn’t go at all.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Anonymous
  366. @Den Lille Abe

    And the Navy punished the innocent whistle blowers and promoted the guilty higher ups who ignored their warnings.

  367. Jack D says:
    @Asagirian

    There seems to be a lot of alignment between right wingers and Muslims radicals – they both hate Jews (Arafat’s uncle the Mufti of Jerusalem was good buddies with Hitler), believe in family values and oppose homosexuality, etc. So I don’t know why y’all hate each other or why Leftists are so keen on Muslims.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
  368. Anonymous[215] • Disclaimer says:

    Speaking of worsening technology: this comment thread takes almost 20 seconds to load in my mobile browser and freezes while I scroll it. Ron should really change the YouTube auto-embed to be a title-only link

  369. Jack D says:
    @snorlax

    IIRC the side of the CD was determined to be compatible with a 5 1/4″ floppy so they had no need to make it smaller. As it was, it was too small to allow meaningful album art or liner notes. If they had put more data on the disk they could have had longer albums or else they could have adopted a “better” format like SACD so the audiophiles would have whined less, though they were going to whine no matter what.

  370. res says:
    @Autochthon

    I say the gold CD is mostly a gimmick; a solution to a problem never likely to manifest itself. What say ye obsessive sorts?

    I’m not the full on obsessive sort (about this, anyway ; ) and I tend to agree with you (though I would like to hear from others).

    Perhaps best to think of the gold CD as a marketing gimmick to convey visibly that exceptional care is being taken in the CD mastering, etc. That extra care may be worthwhile, but the mapping is imperfect.

    If you have the ears, audio equipment, cash, and obsessiveness it might be worthwhile buying gold CDs on an individual basis based on reviews and your own listening. Probably best when the alternative recordings are poorly mastered.

    Even if there is extended lifetime, the time value of money and technology improvement may mean it would be better to just buy a higher resolution format (e.g. SACD) in the future if your original CD rots.

    P.S. This report about CD lifetimes might give some useful perspective: https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub121/sec4/
    Worth noting that the problem actually does manifest in some cases: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot

    • Replies: @Jack D
  371. res says:
    @trelane

    There’s no bass presentation in an ear bud…none.

    Depends on the earbud (and Stan d Mute linked a hardcore choice from Shure). For another example, try this: https://www.etymotic.com/consumer/earphones/er4-new.html
    The Amazon reviews are worth a look: https://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Research-ER4XR-Extended-Monitors/dp/B01GW786B4
    Even better (and more comfortable!) with custom ear molds: https://www.etymotic.com/consumer/custom-fit

    A bit extreme, but the experience on an airplane is wonderful. You hear nothing except marvelous quality music. And since the isolation is so good you can keep the volume down to avoid damaging your ears.

    For out and about use when you want to hear what is going on around you, something like this is probably better, but they need a good seal to sound their best: https://www.cnet.com/au/reviews/sennheiser-cx-300-ii-precision-review

    P.S. If you are talking monster subwoofers in the trunk levels of bass you are right, of course.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  372. Jack D says:
    @res

    If you are concerned about disc rot then just back up all of your CDs to a hard disk using FLAC. A 5 TB drive nowadays costs around $100 and would hold thousands of CDs. If any CD goes bad you can just re-create it from the FLAC. While you are at it , buy TWO drives – one for archival purposes and the other one to use on a daily basis as a music server. And since you will never physically handle your CDs again (you can store them in a cool dark place) they will last a lot longer and it’s much more convenient to access a drive than to pull disks out one at a time.

    • Replies: @res
    , @EliteCommInc.
  373. 1661er says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    I think there were some early confusion about the isobutane/propane(R-600a) refrigerant fridges. But it’s pretty clearly now that fire started with one of the fridges.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7846133/first-pic-of-the-tiny-hotpoint-fridge-freezer-cable-that-sparked-devastating-grenfell-tower-blaze/

    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/11/fire-risk-fridges-still-on-sale-in-uk-says-which

    The cladding helped spread the fire. But the fridge was where the fire started. There are people who would still be alive is CFC is still legal. Heck, the CFC/HFC ban also bring back Ammonia as a popular refrigerant, which resulted in quiet a few deaths already.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  374. res says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Professional photographers usually use a moderate telephoto lens for taking portraits, right?

    Right. Something around 85mm (35mm equivalent) is popular. That is more like 50mm on an APS-C (crop sensor, as opposed to full frame) digital camera. This page discusses the tradeoffs of different focal lengths for portraits: https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/tutorials/the-best-portrait-lens-three-lenses-every-portrait-photographer-needs-to-consider

    Is there some digital workaround for not having a telephoto lens on a smartphone?

    Sort of (with high res sensors see cropping comments at this link and the following), but it looks like a new trend in higher end smartphones is to include multiple lenses with different focal lengths.
    https://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/101551/camera-phones-with-longer-focal-lengths-for-portraits

    This is a pretty good discussion of zooming vs. cropping if you care about things like this: http://www.boostyourphotography.com/2013/09/zooming-vs-cropping.html

    P.S. For 35mm cameras a 50mm lens is generally considered around “normal” (giving a similar perspective to that of the human eye): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_lens

  375. 1661er says:
    @Jack D

    So you have unreliable power supply that generate sparks, why would you want to use flammable/explosive refrigerants in conjunction with it? Everything else being equal?

    The CFC/HFC replacements are either flammable/explosive, or toxic like Ammonia, or R-744 CO2 that operate at high pressure that faulty brazing can result in injuries. Definitely an example of technology that got worse due to social engineering.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  376. res says:
    @Jack D

    Works for CDs (and DVDs, given appropriate software), but sadly not for laserdiscs (which are analog). Which might be part of the reason it is most notorious there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot#Laser_rot

    That said, I totally agree with your points about CDs.

    You probably know this, but one detail I was unaware of when I started ripping CDs to FLAC was the need to preserve Cue sheets if you want to recreate the CDs: https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Cue_sheet
    Anyone who rips CDs to FLAC with the intent of recreating physical discs later should read that.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  377. Lot says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    The $300 canon compact camera from late 2002 v iphone 7 (and older models).

    The first took pictures of people indoors that are bright and lifelike on automatic mode. On the iphone, they are dark, undersaturated and less sharp.

    Iphone 7 also had an issue during golden hour on a sunny day looking dark and distorted.

    There was a nice vivid rainbow here a couple years ago. My phone barely captured it, the newer but still much older compact digital did great.

    Iphone’s video is much better than old digital cameras.

  378. Jack D says:
    @res

    If anyone still has laserdiscs, you could just play them back and record the signal with a DVR. It wouldn’t be 100% quality but it’s better than losing the content completely.

    • Replies: @res
  379. Jack D says:
    @1661er

    The fire was in the electrical system and had nothing to do with the refrigerant. It was supposedly a bad (high resistance, which creates heat) crimp in a connection and could have started in any electrical appliance. Fridges are vulnerable in that it requires high current to start a compressor motor and the fridge is plugged in 24/7 but this had nothing to do with the refrigerant gas – it would have been the same fire with Freon. That some UK fridges have flammable plastic instead of metal backs probably contributed. However, in a lot of US fridges, the compressor compartment is open to the bottom so if there is an electrical fire it might get the floor going if the floor is a flammable material – e.g. vinyl linoleum.

    High rise buildings are supposed to be designed so that any fire is contained within the unit that is involved. High rises have fires all the time, mostly caused by residents cooking (in the old days by smoking in bed) and the fire dept. is called and they put out the fire in the unit and that’s that. The real cause of the tragedy was the flammable exterior cladding material that allowed the fire to spread. The original building was a brutal 1970s concrete building and the now gentrified neighborhood was sick of looking at it, but if they had left it alone instead of dressing it up with this junk, no one would have died. The flames in a fire often burst the windows and then the flames lick up the side of the building, but if the building is concrete or brick nothing more happens. You get some soot stains and that’s about it. The cladding looked like it was aluminum but really it was flammable plastic with a paper thin aluminum skin and it caught fire. And the way it was affixed created chimneys that ran up the side of the building in the gap between the old skin and the new.

    UK building codes are also more lax. If this building was in the US it would have had some features – self closing doors, 2 separate sets of fire stairs, nowadays sprinklers, etc., that would have prevented this tragedy or at least reduced the # of casualties.

    • Replies: @1661er
  380. @Jack D

    There seems to be a lot of alignment between right wingers and Muslims radicals – they both hate Jews (Arafat’s uncle the Mufti of Jerusalem was good buddies with Hitler), believe in family values and oppose homosexuality, etc. So I don’t know why y’all hate each other or why Leftists are so keen on Muslims.

    Today’s leftists love Muslims because they’re neither of Europe nor of Christendom. *Some* anti-semitic right wingers hate Muslims for the same reasons that leftists love them, in addition to the fact that Islam has been been a much bigger threat to Europe, e.g. Tours, Constantinople, Vienna, etc, (as well as much of the rest of the world) ever since its inception than Judaism ever was.

  381. @Jim Don Bob

    Jim Don, I heard that too and I hope they didn’t use Gillette shaving cream.

  382. Excal says:
    @snorlax

    The problem is the number of gates you can get on a chip for a decent price. As you increase the word-length used in the digital signal (i.e., 16 bits vs 8 bits), the number of gates you need to handle it increases dramatically. With the processes available in the late 70s, you could maybe handle 6-8 bits, which was fine for voice and things like Speak’n’Spell; but for quality, you really need 16 bits at minimum, and then you need working memory to run the algorithm — it all could get very expensive very quickly — not good for a consumer format. And we haven’t even touched on clock speeds — 8MHz was a challenge at the low-end in those days.

    Today, geometries are so small that you can do pretty much whatever you want. If the CD format were being designed today, compression would obviously be part of it.

    Run-length encoding is unfortunately not very useful for audio signals, which are always changing. The only audio data that RLE can usefully compress is complete silence, and even “silence” in digital audio will often consist of small random numbers.

    Things like Huffman coding and Lempel-Ziv are also not very useful for audio since they depend on recurring sequences, which are very rare in an audio signal.

    (Sorry to do this to death a bit. I should probably be more concise. 🙂 )

    • Replies: @Jack D
  383. Maybe I am an outlier, but the difference for me is not quality, it’s convenience.

    When I jogged I carried a mini-cassette recorder — for your kids – it’s a small device on which sound/music/voice was recorded on tape, all the rage, despite the limit on the amount music. They sucked a lot of battery, if not careful, the tape could be easily marred by the wheels on which the tape rotated. There was radio, but one was subject to the choice of the DJ. In the days of tape track, one had to literally stop and rewind to replay a song, and that could be a hassle, going too far, not far enough . . .

    Making the choice from cassette to digital was not a matter of quality, but effeciency, more choice, no marred tapes, droning tunes from battery loss . . . in fact, the move from digital disks to a simple hard drive that gave nearly unlimited listening choices of one’s choosing, could withstand being dropped whether jogging or riding . . . No jamming cd’s in the player . . . or skips as the result of some jolt from a bumpy roads . .

    Even at home, I have given up my disks for piping youtube now that I exercise on the rower. Unless the stereo is down for some reason in which I revert back to my zune player. Again unlimited music and even choice of music genre’. If one signs up they can create their mix and formats . . . I am not a joiner so I settle for what plays in any given genre’ usually – occasionally something comes up that I cease exercise to stop and switch — that’s rare. Each song has a time stamp, which is helpful in guaging the length of music to the exercise progress. And when I am done, I can just shut if off without risk of damage any time: before a song, between songs, in the middle of a song . . . no offense to any artist, the ability to simply shut the music down anytime without damaging any part of the system . . .

    convenience as opposed to quality.

  384. I learned photography in HS. And I have no doubt the quality of digital to reveal every tiny detail. However, nothing can replace the SLR black and white photo on film for me. I certainly enjoyed studio photography. I wonder how much it has changed in the years since stopped.

    No amount technology is going to change the studio dynamics of photographing a family of five or a child of two.

    laugh.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  385. Kylie says:
    @Autochthon

    “What in Hell are the Oscars putporting to even be?!”

    A non-stop paean to the talented womyn and PoC who made cinema into the great art form it is today and who were systematically robbed of recognition by the white men in charge of the studio system, a system of oppressive racism and sexism.

    Had enough?

  386. @Jack D

    As someone who still purchases CD’s and DVD’s

    appreciated the reference and the reminder about backing up.

  387. Excal says:
    @Autochthon

    Mostly just marketing, like everything, but the “gold” composition may be a little less likely to suffer CD rot, down the road. Maybe the bit-error-rate was a bit less.

    I suppose it’s possible that sometimes the mastering was a little more careful, and the pressing a little better, but I doubt it was ever any better than it had to be. Record companies were always looking for an excuse to up the retail prices a bit — lots of ways to play fun little accounting games.

  388. res says:
    @Jack D

    Definitely better than nothing, but losing the chapters/menus, some of the soundtracks (laserdiscs lasted from analog audio through Dolby 5.1 so play some funky games there, e.g. commentary on alternate selectable tracks), and likely some of the video quality is a high price to pay.

    The ability to make perfect copies and do processing completely in the digital domain are the killer aspects of modern digital media IMHO. Of course, the first of those is troublesome for content providers.

  389. res says:
    @Jack D

    A lot of truth in that comment, but 20-22 kHz is not that big of a margin. Filter design math is not my forte, but response falloff is typically described in dB/decade and 20-22 kHz is a small fraction of a decade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-pass_filter#Ideal_and_real_filters
    Even ideal filters introduce ringing and non-ideal filters are going to cause both phase and amplitude distortion near the top of the pass band.

  390. @Charles Erwin Wilson 3

    Charles, Thank you, very nice reply my friend.

  391. Eagle Eye says:
    @AndrewR

    But even with these people, texting can be a lot more convenient. And for most people most of the time, the downsides of phone calls outweigh the upsides, usually by a large margin.

    With hindsight, text-only mobile devices could have created a huge market many years earlier than voice models did, perhaps as early as the 1980s. Of course, no major player at the time had the vision to make a big bet on text-only devices.

    Current usage patterns across all demographics prove beyond a doubt that a broad-based system of text-only devices would have been a run-away hit.

    Voice-capable technology requires many times more bandwidth and took many years to become ready for the mass market.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Anonymous
  392. Jack D says:
    @Excal

    FLAC uses a variety of methods to squeeze the signal, depending on what it is going on (e.g. blocks of silence) but the basic compression method is called linear prediction coding which is useful for compressing stored audio waveforms. Basically the way this works is that you predict the waveform of the next block of sound based upon the waveform of the preceding block. And then rather than storing the whole waveform, you only store the difference between the predicted form and the actual. Except for transitions, each block of sound (x milliseconds) is more correlated with the previous block than it is with a random value or zer0 so fewer bits are required to store the differences than is required to store the whole signal. Then to reconstruct the wave, you play back the predicted wave plus or minus the stored difference values – addition and subtraction are much easier for computers than say multiplication.

    To take a trivial example, if an entire CD was nothing but a pure 440 hz tone, on an ordinary CD it would require the exact same amount of storage as a complex symphony, but FLAC would squeeze it down to next to nothing because each block would be exactly the same as the previous block and it would just have to store same, same, same. If it was a hour of random noise, there would be no compression savings. In reality the music keeps changing but it is less than random so you can reduce it by 25 to 50%.

    Whether this kind of decompression would have been within the capabilities of early 1980s hardware I don’t know.

    • Replies: @Excal
  393. Jack D says:
    @Eagle Eye

    Text pagers were (one way) text only devices which were around before cellphones.

    Cell phone texting arose sort of by accident in that cell phones (even the early analog ones) had a digital control channel so that the system can keep track of which tower the phone is talking to, so it can be signalled to ring, switch to a different frequency, hand off to a different tower, etc. – all the nuts and bolts that actually make a cell system operate. But the signal channel didn’t have a use for every byte – after they had used up all the bytes that they needed to actually operate the system, there were 140 bytes per frame left over that weren’t being used for anything – they were just padding the end of the frame with 0’s. They discovered that they could piggyback text messages onto the unused space. The brilliant thing about this is that since these signals were going out anyway, it costs them effectively NOTHING to send a text message – the analogy is if I am mailing you a bill and I enclose a little note in the envelope – it doesn’t cost anything extra because I am mailing the letter anyway and it is still under 1 ounce. But they were able to sell these message for big $ – hundreds of billions of revenue. This was one of the most brilliant business moves of all time.

  394. Excal says:
    @Jack D

    Yes, that sounds about right — though I’m not sure they are using the previous block to predict the next, but are analyzing each block separately — is that right?

    The “variation in methods” seems to be in the linear prediction — they choose from one of four predictors, per block. The residual is always Golomb-Rice coded.

    Though now I look at the Wikipedia for it, I notice they DO go for RLE if they detect a constant signal. So that’s an alternative method.

    My contention in this discussion has been that, while pretty much all the math for sophisticated encodings like this was available by then, and they could have been implemented on some of the bigger computers available at the time, it wasn’t close to feasible to build it into mass-market consumer products — especially considering all the development work for audio CDs was done in the late 70s. Chips just weren’t up to the task at that time, and I think it wasn’t until the late 80s, maybe early 90s that they might have been.

    So, basically, whether compressed audio is more susceptible to surface defects is not really relevant — it just wasn’t an option at the time.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  395. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @EliteCommInc.

    Standard consumer digital cameras can not rival film for resolution. When people say “digital is better than film” they are talking about medium or large format sensor cameras that cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars and are not usable by consumers. And again, there is no archival digital format available commercially. Black and white conventional films if properly (archivally) processed can be packaged, buried and forgotten for decades, maybe centuries.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  396. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Tin Ear

    Yes.

    The vacuum tube “revival” has petered out somewhat but many resources still exist.

    Far and away the best audio magazine in the US was Ed Dell’s The Audio Amateur. It ceased publication when Ed Dell died. Its archives were bought by Steve Ciarcia’s Circuit Cellar.

    Most “common” audio tubes are produced primarily for the guitar amp market and vary in quality: some are pretty good, others poor.

    The real “tweakos” or “twiode twats” want the old simple triode low amplification factor tubes which are less expensive to make but since they have money, producers soak them for them. The WE 300B is considered the gold standard in Japan, but the original audioneurotics in the US preferred the 10, 45, single plate 2A3s, and the 845 modulator tube.

  397. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    “No Highs, No Lows, It Must Be Bose” was the saying for years.

    Bose was always overpriced and marketed heavily to people who were not really audiophiles but wanted”something better”. They did make some audiophile oriented products like the 901 speakers but they were overpriced and marketed with much nonsense. Klipsch had the famous Klipschorns which were aldo critically room dependent, but they really worked, whereas the 901s rarely did in real ife-no one had “the right room” besides Bose showrooms.

    Bose also spent much money on showroom display hardware that tried to trick the unwary into thinking their consumer equipment was equal to or better than “real” audiophile equipment, such as their “Wave Radio” that was really a decent $50 table radio but it cost $500.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  398. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    The actual limit on human hearing is more like 20khz but CD reproduces up to 22khz. So if the 22khz filter eats a little into the last 2khz it makes no difference. They purposely left a cushion. Quartz crystals are extremely stable – jitter is not a real world problem. Audiophiles go looking for this stuff because it gives them something to do and they miss the old days when most equipment was shitty and only they had the good stuff. Where’s the challenge? It’s like Monster Cable who will sell you super expensive “high quality” digital cables when in fact there is no such thing – either a digital signal goes thru perfectly or else it doesn’t go at all.

    The cushion needed to be substantially bigger. Remember Tektronix telling scope buyers they needed five times the bandwidth of the signal they wanted to accurately study?

    • Replies: @Jack D
  399. @Hail

    Offset’s fambly potrait. Notha pickaninny girl hairdo.

  400. @ThreeCranes

    Mandelbrot’s Fractal Hairdo, like Basquiat.

  401. Jack D says:
    @Excal

    There are two issues – encoding and decoding (which is much less taxing). If encoding 1 hour of audio took a whole day, that would not have been good but maybe surmountable. Not having enough CPU power to decode in real time would have been 100% a killer.

  402. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    Textronix was trying to sell you more hardware than you really needed. And what you need for lab work is different from what your ears can actually hear. The entire basis of MP3 compression is that you can chop out whole parts of the signal because your ears just can’t hear them – the weakest link is your ears so the reproduction doesn’t have to be any better than your ears are. It’s not just frequency response. Yes, a pre-teen girl can hear a 20,000 hz tone in absolute silence but if there is a rock band playing loudly in the background even she is not going to ear the tone so if you leave it out of the signal no one will ever know the difference.

  403. @Anonymous

    I don’t regret my days behind a camera or the work in a dark room.
    I think my beef with digital is not much of a beef. It’s a great format for creative work and the downside is it’s a great format for creative work.

    analog / film is tough to manipulate images. With digital, you make any falsehood true or vice versa.

    appreciated your observations

  404. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Eagle Eye

    For a while they had “Narrowband PCS” two way paging. It was too little too late. A bunch of brigands from Nortel bought a Canadian company named Glenayre and made a bunch of money on a pump-and-dump operation off it.

  405. 1661er says:
    @Jack D

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/817651/london-fire-grenfell-tower-block-cladding-latest-updates-european-union-regulations

    The upscale neighbors may had pushed for the cladding for aesthetic reasons, but the cudgel used was EU Energy Efficiency Directive of 2010. Did EU directive forced Kensington and Chelsea to use the cheaper flammable cladding*? Not exactly. But such tragedies are often the result of such social engineering unfunded mandates pushed by champagne socialist of London/Bruseel/DC.

    *Personally, if I can afford it, I will use tungsten cladding over calcium silicate insulation for my own residence.

  406. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @1661er

    Freon was a lifesaving invention since previous refrigerants were all either toxic or flammable or both. It’s fun to read prewar and immediate postwar books on fixing refrigerators and stuff and look at the tables of refrigerants and what happens when they get loose.

    The refrigerators usually used R-22 which was much less supposedly destructive than R-12, but they banned it anyway. And they required replacement refrigerants to be trapped and recycled while still permitting the exact same refrigerants to be used as aerosol propellants! It’s all a bunch of shit and everyone knows it.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  407. Hail says: • Website
    @ThreeCranes

    Offset’s fambly potrait

    What set off his hair?

  408. Hail says: • Website

    iSteve post/comment dynamics note:

    Who’d have thought that a post titled Technology That Gets Worse would end up being Steve Sailer’s most-commented-upon post of the 2019, 1.5 months in? This post is numbered #423 as of this posting and there still looks to be some momentum left.

    Technology That Gets Worse is set to pass 2019’s current number-one-slot holder, the 435-comment Update on Smollett “Hate Crime” (Jan. 30, 2019; last comment received Feb. 7).

    Other big-hitters of 2019 so far (rounding out top 10, per Unz.com sidebar analytics):

    — 392 comments: My New Taki’s Column: “Identity Stalinism” (Jan. 23, 2019; last comment received Jan. 27);
    — 378 comments: Corey Booker Announces His Candidacy (Feb. 2, 2019; last comment received Feb. 6);
    — 378 comments: Why Aren’t Gillette Razor Blades the Best That Blades Can be for More Than a Few Months at the Beginning of Each Product Cycle? (Jan. 15, 2019; last comment received Jan. 20);
    — 363 comments: The Sixties vs. the Current Year (Jan. 24, 2019; comments trail off by Jan. 27 with a few latercomers thru Feb. 2);
    — 344 comments: WaPo Corrects Itself: Nathan Phillips Didn’t Fight in Vietnam (Jan. 22, 2019; comments trail off Jan. 25, one laggard on Jan. 27);
    — 332 comments: Tucker’s Monologue (Jan. 5, 2019; last comment received Jan. 8);
    — 324 comments: Democrats: Americans Don’t Deserve a Wall (Jan. 8, 2019; last comment received Jan. 14);
    — 313 comments: Taleb: “IQ Is Largely a Pseudoscientific Swindle” (Jan. 1, 2019; heavy commenting thru Jan. 4, twelve laggard comments came in days/weeks thereafter)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  409. @Jimbo

    So, Jimbo. T-1? 24 channels, 64KBS wide. If I recall, the voice was 56K wide, the caller ID/DID/incoming and Disco signaling and control data took up 8kbs per channel. I had customers who had WAN, or point-to-point T-1 between offices, but also out to carriers, Verizon (Ok, ok, BELL, I’m old, sue me, heh) and later, after the breakup, AT&T and anyone else with longlines and a switch in a basement selling service. But mostly those were long-distance. Local calls into CLECS didn’t come along until the late 80s if I recall. We had to do outrageous, detailed, tedious Least Cost Routing tables to get LD calls out over long line companies’ T-1s, all a pain in the ass. It’s simpler now, no one needs to deal with that crap anymore, LD is basically free. But in the day, a hassle to program.

    So I know how the T applied to my Nortel SL-1s and or PBXs, but the 24 channels, at what point did those calls hit the PSTN? PRIs were simple, 23 channels, 64KBS wide, the 24th channel had the data and control of the other 23. They were useful for local DID and Hotel/Motel packages. It wasn’t my baliwick outside the building, but I always wondered how the T-1s became ‘part of the world”. Or were central offices the key there? Man, there were some whacky telecom outfits, sometimes they’d SLAM my customers from one carrier to their own in the flash of an eyelash. From afar.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  410. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Good audio system need not be wasted on junk like this.

    How did music become this bad?

    https://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/bg_hits/bg_hits_2016.html

  411. Tyrion 2 says:
    @JeremiahJohnbalaya

    No, I am talking about calling someone and them not being immediately available so they call you back and you are not immediately available so you call them back and so on.

    Whereas, “running late, I’ll be there at 7” is 2 seconds of texting and read at the other person’s leisure.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  412. @Tyrion 2

    Texting is great for that.

    I would assume, however, it’s not so great for long meandering romantic conversations like telephones were in the 1980s. But what do I know?

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
    , @JMcG
  413. @Hail

    Thanks.

    Sometimes posts get a lot of comments because I didn’t do much else around that day so commenters take it upon themselves to carry the discussion.

    But clearly the Technology Gets Worse post elicited a lot of comments.

  414. Tyrion 2 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    As long as the calls were local then it wouldn’t have been expensive.

    As long as you both were punctual, then one wouldn’t have waited next to the phone for ages clueless about what is wrong.

    As long as you could both stay in one place then you’d have the time.

    As long as no one else wanted to use the phone, too.

    Under those conditions, I wonder why you wouldn’t just meet up.

    Regardless, if we’re going off on a technology is worse nowadays jaunt then the magic modern-day mobile phone, that knows everything and can do everything, is not the place to start.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  415. @Jack D

    I’ve found that VOIP has gotten better as bandwidth has gone up, even without QOS. If you have a really fat broadband pipe, a 56k voice stream is a trivial amount of data and is easy to send without losing packets.

    Then I wonder what is the problem with the carriers of cheap ($55.00/year) VOIP companies? I’ve used three of them over the last five years. Drops of calls longer than ten minutes (the other end is just lost), echos, lousy, short-wave radio sound quality and such). So where is the pinch? My internet is 250MB/S (it’s a measurement back to Comcast’s CO, but still pretty fat). Is Comcast screwing with VOIP from other carriers? Most of the cheap VOIP carriers I’ve used, the plug into a port sorts, are only pulling 4 or 5 KB/S on-hook and 8 or 10kb/s off-hook/in use. Maybe that’s the problem?

  416. @ThreeCranes

    Those spikes, bet they’re filthy. They don’t get cleaned up often.

    Also, this guy, I gotta say it because everyone’s thinking it: Mug Shot!

  417. @Anonymous

    Bose also spent much money on showroom display hardware that tried to trick the unwary into thinking their consumer equipment was equal to or better than “real” audiophile equipment, such as their “Wave Radio” that was really a decent $50 table radio but it cost $500.

    My C-Crane radios are sufficient sound, but far, far better receivers than the Bose. If I could count all the guys that bought Bose 901s and Sansui Receivers with the vu meters. Those were high-current amps back then, 19A IIRC. Turn on the amp and the lights flicker all over. My Sherwood of today doesn’t do that, heh..

  418. @res

    P.S. If you are talking monster subwoofers in the trunk levels of bass you are right, of course.

    We used to sell a powered woofer called the Great Mother Of All Sub Woofers from an outfit name of Parasound. 800 watts or some such. A movie theater woofer, really. A football player name of Brian Mitchell bought one for his basement while he was still a Redskin. His receiver, satellites. whole-house everything was all THX-Certified. Beastly. I remember, over and over while I was cleaning up the cartons, drinking lots of beer, Brian kept playing “Gangsta Paradise”. That tune reached him for some reason, but it was that era in DC, the Blacks were murderin’ each other over crack. For me, over the GMOASW, it merely gave me a fuggin’ headache at the end of a long day, heh.

  419. @Steve Sailer

    Learned a lot on this one. I’ve been outta the cutting-edge commercial phone business a long time, amazing what they’ve done with it. Other than an occasional infrastructure fin, they don’t need phone guys at all anymore, heh.

    What one learns with these threads, as I do, is that some folks have forgotten more than I will ever know.

  420. @Steve Sailer

    Learned a lot on this one. I’ve been outta the cutting-edge commercial phone business a long time, amazing what they’ve done with it. Other than an occasional infrastructure fix, they don’t need phone guys on-site at all anymore, heh. Good thing I became an electrician. What was one more career-change? Jesus!

    What one learns with these threads, as I do, is that some folks have forgotten more than I will ever know.

  421. Jack D says:
    @Tyrion 2

    The modern mobile phone is better at everything except for actually making phone calls.

  422. Jack D says:
    @Jim Christian

    As I understand it, all calls are carried within the PSTN system as DS0’s (digital signals) EXCEPT for the local loop – the last mile between the switching office and your house, where the call is carried as analog over a twisted pair (phone calls have not been analog end to end for decades). (DS0s are 64kb digital channels that are specially tailored for voice and work great – the problem with VOIP is not that it is digital but that it shares the internet with other traffic. ) A T1 carries 24 DS0’s all the way to your premises. The PBX has to handle the task of converting your analog voice to a DS0 signal and injecting it into 1 of the 24 channels on your T1. Once the call is injected into the T1 it gets carried the same as any other DS0. Each DS0 contains not only the encoded voice but they also rob bits from the channel to convey signaling information.

  423. @Anonymous

    It’s all a bunch of shit and everyone knows it.

    True, but think of all the people who made money by the mandated switch from Freon (which was selling for $1 per can at the time) – AC techs, suppliers of equipment to AC techs, appliance manufacturers, DuPont, regulators, etc.

  424. Lurker says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Well those are certainly a bit more tasteful.

  425. JMcG says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Yeah, how do you do the old “You hang up first. No, you hang up first!” exchange if you are texting? I don’t believe it can be done.

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