We rehearsed yesterday and today and I am very happy with the sound of the new quartet. Another rehearsal on Tuesday and then off to Florida.
I thought of an interesting storyline. An alien comes to earth and gets sick. His system has a much higher resolution than the human body and so the constant flicker of modern life becomes an assault on his brain. Lights turn on and off sixty times a second, music is just a series of brief snapshots, movies, DVDs, TV screens, it all constantly flickers, makes him in turn sick and angry…
Then what happens?
Maybe he blows up planet earth and goes home.
Or he throws up a lot, is disoriented and keeps losing his equilibrium. Looks pale, like David Bowie in “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, and is held captive by government forces, who interrogate him constantly.
Or, he uses a magneto bomb to destroy most computers on this planet and starts a glorious new analog era. Perhaps his world took a different approach, something they call organic computing. This organic computing does not work with zeros and ones, perhaps it does not work with machines at all… instead the organic computers are genetically modified plant structures. A computer that does not need electricity, but which needs a certain amount of care, some water and a place near light.
Audio snapshots… mosaics constructed from colored stones which are supposed to become finer and finer until they, someday, are indistinguishable from reality… Ha!!
Jon told me that the really high-end mastering labs now do the following in order to convert a bitrate of 24, which is used for recording, to the bitrate of 16, suitable for CDs and mp3 files: they run the digital 24/88.2 or 96kHz stream through a custom digital-to-analog converter, the analog output of which is routed through a custom analog-to-digital converter which turns the analog signal into a 16 bit stream…
No doubt, the custom D/A and A/Ds are very expensive and these Mastering Labs charge a lot of money for for doing this bitrate conversion. I wonder who would actually do this, when the result is a file that is traded for free on the internet in 128kbps form?
From an email SM sent to me this past weekend:
I think you are definitely on to something regarding what you have been calling “flicker.”
I went down to Denver with a friend of mine to have his iPhone 3GS screen fixed, and while it was being repaired, we went down to ListenUP! and listened to turntable based analogue systems. (((Listen Up’s website)))
We both agreed that the difference wasn’t all that marked between the turntable into a solid-state amp, and a turntable into a tube amp, but that the tube sounded more neutral.
There was tremendous difference between the all digital playback and the nice turntable and vinyl. The tube amp with the vinyl vs the all digital system had the most stark contrast.
We did a comparison of some Keith Jarrett stuff as well as a Jan Garbarek recording. The flicker manifests itself as auditory fatigue.
So, I now have empirical evidence that we actually HAVE gone backwards: mp3s -> CD -> vinyl to where it’s inferior to what we had in the 70s, rather than a feeling or impression of having done so.
I remember Jon saying that listening to compressed audio, especially music that has been volume as well as data compressed, creates hearing fatigue. He used the same word as SM did in this email, and I concur.
Girl Falls In Mall Fountain While Texting (YouTube)
I am glad she wasn’t driving.