How we struggle to keep bad sound
I would suggest that well over three quarters of the CD’s in my physical library suck. Yup. Bad recordings all. Sure, some great music, but when it comes to recording quality not many live up to high standards and even fewer are exemplary.
Isn’t it odd then, given all the poor recordings, that we struggle so hard to perfectly reproduce them?
I have spent a great deal of time in recording studios over the years. Most are pathetic when it comes to fidelity. Based mostly on chip op-amps, heavy EQ, miles of wiring and switches, and less than adequate power supplies, what passes for quality in a studio wouldn’t make it past first base in a high-end two-channel stereo system.
And yet, we cherish those recordings, spending thousands to make sure we wring every last nuance from the recording itself. (Which kind of makes sense since often there aren’t many of those nuanced sounds to be enjoyed).
As I have mentioned in past posts we are building a state of the art mastering and recording studio in partnership with Gus Skinnas and a handful of the few recording experts left that care about quality. We will build that studio in our new facility and from those efforts we intend to reimagine what live sound reproduced in your home really means.
It’s something we are quite passionate about.
Oatmeal’s for kids
If I mistakenly turn the television channel to a standard definition broadcast I am instantly aware of the low-resolution picture and switch to the HD version—which has now become standard for me.
That same degree of difference is not so obvious in audio. CDs sound so good these days that I am hard pressed to tell the difference without a direct AB. A testament to how good it’s gotten.
I could live with CD quality playback without batting an ear.
There is another definition of high-resolution audio—the resolving power of the system itself—the ability to resolve fine and minute details in the same way we see through a magnifying glass (and unlike the murky resolution of many systems).
I have fielded arguments both for and against audio system resolution. On the one hand, it can be said low-resolution masks recording and system defects homogenizing music into a more palatable oatmeal. On the other hand, oatmeal misses the revelatory bursts of concentrated flavors in the same way the rough cut highs and lows—the raw energy—of music are smoothed out of notice.
For me, I’ll take the excitement and the mistakes magnified in full high definition resolution, for it is the bumps and dips that make both music and life interesting.
Oatmeal’s for kids.