Posts Tagged ‘mp3’

I had a client recently who wanted MP3 files in addition to a CD master.  When I ask clients what bitrate they want me to deliver I usually always get the same answer…..”huh?”

I actually prefer this answer most of the time because it gives me the opportunity to educate the client on the different types of MP3 compression and what the pros and cons are.

My client told me that they usually use 128kbit MP3s in house because “they’re just going to be played on crappy earbuds, and the file size is greater for 256”.

The voice inside my head screams, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

This is EXACTLY why you want to use better quality files!  If they medium you are using to listen is already compromised, you should START with best quality product so that you can make the most out of your crappy playback device.  Otherwise it’s going to sound TWICE as bad.   Not to mention, low quality earbuds can sometimes overemphasize the frequencies where the harshness of MP3 is most apparent.  (Not all the time though)

Regarding the other argument, the file size difference is negligible.  It’s a few megabytes.   Nothing in this day in age.  We’re talking a couple extra text documents or emails worth of file size here.

Frankly, I’m surprised that we are even balking at the file size of uncompressed audio anymore.   I have 100mbit/sec internet speeds at my HOUSE.  It takes me like 10 seconds to download a 40MB file.  Hard drives for most people are in the 2-3 Terabyte range.  40-50MB is not a big deal.

But that’s going on a slight tangent.   The real problem here is the misconception that low quality files are for low quality playback systems.  That opinion couldn’t be further from the truth.   Garbage in, garbage out.    The same goes for recording and mastering.   If you start with the highest quality possible, then it’s going to sound better as it gets degraded further down the line.  But if you start with cheap microphones, bad preamps, etc…..it can’t get any better than that.

Of course, anyone who reads my blog is going to be fully aware of these things.  So what’s the point here?

Education.

There are always opportunities like this to let our clients know about good quality audio and what that means for them and THEIR clients.  Don’t be afraid to have that conversation.  They’ll appreciate it.

 

 

This  post strays a little bit from the usual audio talk.

My newborn son was being a bit….extra crabby last night.  So, my wife took him in the bedroom with the lights down to try and calm in down, but it was slow going.  She had been in there for quite some time, so I walked in to keep her company for a little bit.  She says to me, “I wish we had a TV in our bedroom”.

Seems like a simple request, right?

Well if it were 2005 it would be.   You see, we don’t have cable.  We already watch enough TV with over the air broadcast, and Amazon Prime. Not to mention with two kids and an audio job, we’re on a shoestring budget.  Cable is added expense we don’t need.

So, why is this a problem you ask?  *sarcastic tone* Well, kids, back in my day we could just stick a TV with an small antenna in any old room and it would magically work!  These days, you’re in the minority if you don’t have cable/satellite, AND you need a digital antenna on top of your house just to watch FREE over the air broadcast TV.    We have that antenna, but the cabling is run to another room in the house, far away from the bedroom.   I can’t just go buy a cheap little TV and stick it in the bedroom.

Many new technologies have made our lives MORE difficult and taken us BACKWARDS in convenience.

Take lightbulbs as another example.  CFLs are supposed to be more efficient, longer lasting, etc.

Well, they also take forever to turn on, you can’t really get them in NORMAL “lightbulb yellow” that everyone is used to, they don’t really last as long as they claim, are MUCH more expensive, and if you drop one, you better leave the house for a while so you don’t get poisoned.

LED lights are the same way.   You can’t get WHITE Christmas lights anymore, you get BLUE Christmas lights.  White apparently doesn’t exist in LED light land.

The iPad is supposed to make our lives portable and easy right?  Well I just spent 2 hours with my dad this weekend trying to get his iPad to sync to his PC so he could transfer files…..and I STILL didn’t get it working.  Between the fact that you CAN’T use USB with his software, WiFi multicast and Firewall issues, the limited 2Wire Router, and Bonjour,  it was nightmare.  NOT Convenient.

MP3…..that’s supposed to be more convenient for sure right?  At least that’s what everyone says based on CD sales.  You can now “take your music with you”.

Here’s what I did BEFORE the mp3 craze:   (well actually I pretty much still do this)

I bought the CD……….then I put it in my CD player.   DONE!!!!  I’m now listening to music!!!

With MP3 here’s what I have to do:

Either hope that the artist licensed their music to the download service I’m using or buy the CD and wait 10 minutes to rip it into my computer.  Oh wait, it didn’t recognize the CD on CDDB.  Now I need to type all the song titles in manually.  Crap, I’m running out of room on my hard drive, I need to remember to buy a larger one.  Where the hell did I leave my phone?  Oh right, it’s upstairs.  Let me go grab that…..got it!   SHIT, I left my cable up there.  Let me go grab that.  OK, walk around my cramped room to get to the back of my computer and plug this cable in.  Syncing……alright, time to copy music over.  Waiting….waiting………copied.    Take my phone out to my car to listen….shit out of batteries.  Guess I can only listen to this for about 5 minutes of my 30 minute car trip.

ORRRR……..

At the point I would usually grab the cable and sync to my phone, I wait 15 minutes to upload the album to Google Play so I have my music ANYWHERE!!  That’s AWESOME!!  Except when your signal goes in and out during the course of a car ride, OR, the software sucks and it randomly skips from song to song after playing each one for 5 seconds.  Ya….that’s getting annoying.

And all of this works IF I have an aux jack in my car……which I DON’T!

MORE convenient??????  Hardly.

AND IT SOUNDS LIKE ASS!

It’s marketing.  It’s a PERCEPTION of convenience.  It’s the sleek all white, minimalist background of Apple’s advertising.  It’s profit margins.  It’s selling you the fact that companies want to make more money so they stop making that thing that worked JUST FINE for decades.

There are plenty more examples of this, but these are 3 that stuck in my head recently.

New “improved” and “more convenient” technology.   Who needs it?

 

UPDATE:  Just ran across this little gem.  This is EXACTLY the type of thing I’m talking about.  A mouse that require internet account and activation???  REALLY????

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121105/17594020942/when-mouse-requires-internet-connection-youre-doing-cloud-wrong.shtml