Tuesday, May 11, 2010

NY Times: In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back

excerpts:
 
 The last decade has brought an explosion in dazzling technological advances — including enhancements in surround sound, high definition television and 3-D — that have transformed the fan's experience. There are improvements in the quality of media everywhere — except in music.
 
In many ways, the quality of what people hear — how well the playback reflects the original sound— has taken a step back. To many expert ears, compressed music files produce a crackly, tinnier and thinner sound than music on CDs and certainly on vinyl. And to compete with other songs, tracks are engineered to be much louder as well.
 
In one way, the music business has been the victim of its own technological success: the ease of loading songs onto a computer or an iPod has meant that a generation of fans has happily traded fidelity for portability and convenience. This is the obstacle the industry faces in any effort to create higher-quality — and more expensive — ways of listening.
. . .
 
The change in sound quality is as much cultural as technological. For decades, starting around the 1950s, high-end stereos were a status symbol. A high-quality system was something to show off, much like a new flat-screen TV today.
 
But Michael Fremer, a professed audiophile who runs musicangle.com, which reviews albums, said that today, "a stereo has become an object of scorn."
 
The marketplace reflects that change. From 2000 to 2009, Americans reduced their overall spending on home stereo components by more than a third, to roughly $960 million, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, a trade group. Spending on portable digital devices during that same period increased more than fiftyfold, to $5.4 billion.
 
"People used to sit and listen to music," Mr. Fremer said, but the increased portability has altered the way people experience recorded music. "It was an activity. It is no longer consumed as an event that you pay attention to."
 
Instead, music is often carried from place to place, played in the background while the consumer does something else — exercising, commuting or cooking dinner.
 
 
 
full @ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html




The New Busy is not the old busy. Search, chat and e-mail from your inbox. Get started.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home