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Do mp3's and high end gear really mix?


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Just curious-how much has the rise of mp3 influenced how important (or not) high end recording gear is to the recording process, especially for mp3 bound music? For the general listening public (non-engineers/non-audiophiles), is the difference between semi-pro and professional equipment really of any practical significance (generally speaking)?
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Umm, well, yeah, it makes a difference. If something is recorded well and with great gear it will sound better regardless of which format it ends up in. Don't forget, in the "old days" music used to end up being listened to on AM radio more times than not, yet engineers still thought it practical to use the best gear and rooms they had available. In other words a great recording is a great recording and an MP3 of a great recording is still going to sound better than an MP3 of a shitty recording. Just to pop off a specific example out of many, cheap EQ often sounds "phasey" and if you think it sounds crappy through your best monitors, wait till you hear how bad it will sound when it gets converted to MP3. :D This is not to diss cheap gear. I am one of those people with cheap gear. :D I still think I'm getting great results with what I've got, as are lots of people around here. But I won't say that I don't think my stuff would sound even better with a few high dollar mics, pres and compressors - yes, even on MP3. Also, although it is possible to get great sounds from cheap gear, you have to work a lot harder at it. This is where expensive stuff can really earn its keep. The end listener may or may not be able to hear a difference in the end result, but you can bet that the engineer's job, and therefore the entire creative process, is made easier and more intuitive when you can just plug in the mic and it sounds great. Then again some engineers LIKE to endlessly tweak stuff :D , so your mileage may vary greatly. --Lee
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Lee, thanks for your response and excellent (AM radio)analogy. I already shared the same belief that better equipment was easier for someone to work with and creates a better recording. My point is that, however, "good enough" (on up) recordings made on, for example, multi-track mindisc systems (on up), seem fine for the general listening public (my guess 98%+), who listen on computer monitors (mp3), and non-audiophile stereo systems. Therefore, maybe a good way to go is to put our demos/mp3's out inexpensively first, such as at music gigs or mp3.com, before booking expensive studio time to sell cd's on a larger scale.
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I definitely think the reduction in quality due to MP3 conversion is in direct proportion to the quality of the original recording. In other words, let's say a commercial recording is a 10, and my own recording is a 6 as far as the overall engineered sound. It seems like MP3 tends to make the commercial recording about an 8, while my recording is reduced to about a 3. It seems like it widens the gap in quality when comparing the same 2 recordings off of CD, rather then just decreasing the quality of each by a similar ratio...does anyone else think this is the case? Later, kc
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>>It seems like it widens the gap in quality when comparing the same 2 recordings off of CD, rather then just decreasing the quality of each by a similar ratio...does anyone else think this is the case?<< I agree the better recording will make the better MP3. Compressing the shit to a smaller pile won't make it stink any less. :rolleyes:

William F. Turner

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turnersongs

 

Sometimes the truth is rude...

tough shit... get used to it.

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No matter how good or bad one's recording equipment is, MP3 absolutely destroys the high end - it's not that noticeable on small computer speakers, but on a set of nearfields or a good pair of studio cans it's very apparent how much gets lost in the conversion. The difference I suppose is if the original recording was recorded very well, it's not going to sound as mangled when converted over to MP3. But it still loses considerable resolution, and that sucks. We need to get away from 40:1 compression ratios period.

"Don't say I didn't warn ya.."

www.mp3.com/adamkittle

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[quote]Originally posted by steven dunston: [b]The sad thing is that many, many radio stations are now playing mp2's and mp3's instead of CD-quality audio. And their compression schemes are set to rip as quickly as possible. [/b][/quote] What systems are you thinking of here? I'm not aware of much penetration in this market. Automation? name names! I'm curious. Pat
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Most big-market pop stations are now automated, and most of those automated systems default to mp2's for storage, since they are so much smaller than wav files. Radio techs are comfortable with the mp2 format since they get a lot of material in that format from satellite, ftp sites, and Zephyr ISDN links. I recently spent six months editing a nationally-syndicated pop music show. It's distributed via ftp and satellite to hundreds of stations as mp2 files. Many radio stations use Napster-like services to find new singles rather than pay thousands to join a distribution service. Besides... the internet usually has it before they can get it any other way. Add to that the time and pitch compression many stations use (to squeeze in an extra commercial every hour) and the analog compression, static and other forms of signal loss, and it's a wonder we hear anything at all.
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"Add to that the time and pitch compression many stations use (to squeeze in an extra commercial every hour) and the analog compression, static and other forms of signal loss, and it's a wonder we hear anything at all." hahahaha do they really do that? how far would they go? a second, a few more, more more more and more? 10 seconds???? aside from the 'depends on the song' variable do stations really do this? wow. yeah i was thinking a while ago why we are stuck with shit am/fm and phone line quality this day and age, in a purely rhetoric sense so to speak. phone lines are bullshit! hurry up and integrate the pc, mobile and home phones so i can play a track down the line for a friend without it being raped by shitty phone quality. pardon my french there of course. could you imagine if you were a singer, late for a gig, had this new 24/96 phoneline... just call the engineer and sing along and he routes the phone into the mix haha, Shure starts making phones.... ok i will shut up now
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[quote]Originally posted by DRiLoad: [b]"hahahaha do they really do that? how far would they go? a second, a few more, more more more and more? 10 seconds???? [/b][/quote] Yeah, they do it. We're talking the top stations in the top markets. Many stations compress by as much as 6%. They used to buy "overclocked" CD players with sample rates as high as 46khz, which of course would change the pitch as well as the tempo. Now most of them have their entire playlist on hard drive and they do time/pitch compression to keep songs in the same key.
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