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What is Neil Young touting?
godrick
post Jan 31 2012, 21:48
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His recordings seem to avoid much of the dynamic compression that I've heard in others, and he obviously has credibility as an artist, but I cannot figure out what he is specifically advocating in what is reported as "High Resolution Audio" (caps in articles). I googled and could not find anything more specific than a brief article in the WSJ http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/01/31/...oogle_news_blog

Is Young backing a specific codec and resolution, or is he generally just calling for more than what seems most common today? Anyone with any insight on more details on what specific problems he wants to solve and any specifics of his proposed solution?
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limahuli
post Feb 1 2012, 00:10
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here's video that the WSJ summation was taken from:

http://allthingsd.com/20120131/neil-youngs...-mission-video/

I can't speak for Young, but I have some assumptions.

He wants the labels to provide (at least) Redbook-resolution downloads, and preferably 24/96 resolution, for a start.

Of course, to do this, the major labels would have to offer FLAC files-- and the majors hate FLAC. They consider it the format of pirates and bootleggers. It's probably why you can't play FLAC on iTunes software (without a hack/add-on).

Neil offered some higher-res files on the Blu-ray version of his first Archives volume. Unfortunately you couldn't convert those files to play anywhere other than the Blu-ray media without, again, a lot of steps, most outside the skills of the average music fan. So the hi-res tracks weren't what you could call portable.

Young's trying to raise awareness that there's demand for higher res, and trying to goad the labels and Silicon Valley into talking to each other to make this sort of thing available.

Here's some more background on Young's crusade:

http://blogs.linn.co.uk/giladt/2011/08/lis...-neil-young.php

the following page had a YouTube video showing one of Neil's vintage cars backstage at (I think) Boneroo, with all sorts of rockstars sitting in it listening to high-res. That video has since been taken down, and all content on the Facebook "Occupy Audio" page has been removed. I think you can still "like" the page, though. Who knows. Something new might show up.

https://www.facebook.com/OccupyAudio
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Wombat
post Feb 1 2012, 00:34
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You can of cause just get the impression he only wants to sell all his music once again. First he sold Vinyl then CD, followed by DVD releases and now once more as HiRes download.
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DVDdoug
post Feb 1 2012, 01:17
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I'm sure Neil Young has heard some really good live music and some really good recordings played-back on really nice equipment.

But, what are the odds that he's ever done a blind ABX test? Or, any critical listening tests? I wonder if he knows the difference between file compression and dynamic compression. I wonder how his ears are holding-out...
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JJZolx
post Feb 1 2012, 01:35
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He begins by mentioning recording at 24/192 and calling that "100% of the sound". The file format/codec is incidental to his argument and he doesn't mention one, although he's certainly talking about lossless.
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Ron Jones
post Feb 1 2012, 01:53
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I watched the video. What I saw before me was an old man who does not understand technology, babbling about percentages and so forth in a world where the state of the art has advanced to the point where percentages are largely meaningless. He directly equates bit rate with quality, which only demonstrates a tragic misunderstanding of the applicable tehnology. He does, at least, have a sensible view on piracy.

I have no quarrel with better-quality downloads, but it's rather disingenuous to refer to an MP3 as only retaining 5% of the original quality of a recording.
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JimH
post Feb 1 2012, 01:55
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QUOTE (limahuli @ Jan 31 2012, 17:10) *
Of course, to do this, the major labels would have to offer FLAC files-- and the majors hate FLAC. They consider it the format of pirates and bootleggers. It's probably why you can't play FLAC on iTunes software (without a hack/add-on).

FLAC, even higher bitdepth and bitrate, is available from HDTracks.com. They have a lot of major label content, so I think the majors are not unwilling, for a price.

Apple doesn't do FLAC because it's an open standard. Their users could more easily slip their moorings.
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RobertoDomenico
post Feb 1 2012, 04:06
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ALAC is now an open standard.

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=91530
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Wombat
post Feb 1 2012, 04:23
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QUOTE (RobertoDomenico @ Feb 1 2012, 04:06) *


Yup, exactly that is what JimH critizises. Flac is well known, wide spread and as good as a lossless format can get. Now Apple tries to spread its useless ALAC code while doing nothing to simply provide support for flac.

This post has been edited by Wombat: Feb 1 2012, 04:24
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kraut
post Feb 1 2012, 04:26
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QUOTE
What I saw before me was an old man who does not understand technology, babbling about percentages and so forth in a world where the state of the art has advanced to the point where percentages are largely meaningless.


I have seen before me a lot of young idiots babbling about the influences of audio cables, the audio qualities of a capacitor or the effect of a cryogenically treated receptacle. Idiocies are not age related, neither is the understanding or not of technology. I am fucking 62 years old and put together my own music server with installing all the necessary hardware and software to get it to run.

So, stop your fucking age references, old doesn't mean stupid, neither does being young mean being smart. The criminal stats proof otherwise.

This post has been edited by kraut: Feb 1 2012, 04:29
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RobertoDomenico
post Feb 1 2012, 04:57
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QUOTE (Wombat @ Feb 1 2012, 04:23) *
QUOTE (RobertoDomenico @ Feb 1 2012, 04:06) *


Yup, exactly that is what JimH critizises. Flac is well known, wide spread and as good as a lossless format can get. Now Apple tries to spread its useless ALAC code while doing nothing to simply provide support for flac.


What makes ALAC useless? I seem to have many uses for it, I'm sure other do to especially people with Apple hardware. Lossless is lossless does it really matter what the file extension is?
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Wombat
post Feb 1 2012, 05:04
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For me and many others ALAC is useless because it is one of the worst lossless codecs around. My answer was more meant to JimHs point. If the apple universe would have added support for flac it wonīt be so hard for lossless codecs to be available in the music download market.

This post has been edited by db1989: Feb 1 2012, 20:41
Reason for edit: deleting pointless full quote of above post
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RobertoDomenico
post Feb 1 2012, 05:11
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Seems like you have a personal gripe with Apple.
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JJZolx
post Feb 1 2012, 05:15
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QUOTE (Wombat @ Jan 31 2012, 21:04) *
If the apple universe would have added support for flac it wonīt be so hard for lossless codecs to be available in the music download market.


What's your reasoning behind that conjecture?

Apple pretty much created the music download market and still controls the lions share. They've had ALAC available to them since about 2004 but have chosen not to make lossless downloads available. I don't see how adopting FLAC would have changed that.
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Wombat
post Feb 1 2012, 05:23
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If the rest of the world offers flac for download and apple still doesnīt support it, donīt you think it is because they want to keep their itunes in their own format? Only making it harder for their users to use other platforms like HDtracks? Once used to use itines you will have a hard time adding your flac download to your library so you better leave it alone. I think this is one strong marketing point.

This post has been edited by db1989: Feb 1 2012, 20:41
Reason for edit: as in post #12
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Ron Jones
post Feb 1 2012, 05:43
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QUOTE (kraut @ Jan 31 2012, 20:26) *
Idiocies are not age related, neither is the understanding or not of technology. So, stop your fucking age references

I never said they were age-related. I suggest you calm yourself.
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Ron Jones
post Feb 1 2012, 05:51
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QUOTE (Wombat @ Jan 31 2012, 21:04) *
For me and many others ALAC is useless because it is one of the worst lossless codecs around.

That's only the case if you disregard a good percentage of lossless codecs which are quite a bit worse than ALAC with respect to compression ratio, encoding speed and decoding speed. Apple Lossless is very much a middle-of-the-pack technology as far as lossless is encoding is concerned: neither near the front nor near the back of the pack.
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Wombat
post Feb 1 2012, 05:57
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At least the last poll shows that only 6% of Hydrogen voters use it. For flac it is above 65%. I wonder if these 6% mostly use it simply because it is part of their OS enviroment.
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=92660
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godrick
post Feb 1 2012, 06:43
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limahuli, thanks for the links - those were helpful in understanding more what Neil Young is thinking. I cringed like I'm sure many did when he made is 5% statement, but in the overall context I think that (over)simplification is not the essence of his point of view. His donkey imagery gives me hope he gets it at some level that there are many steps in the production, delivery and playback chain that are involved in communicating the artists' original intentions to the end user. I really liked his comment about (concept) albums versus tracks. At a more basic level, I've found myself struggling to tag tracks with a "5" (my favorites) and how those reflect my favorite albums, and I've found that many of my favorite albums are missing because the impact of the tracks on such albums do not resonate with me as ad-hoc singles but only when played as an entire album. I've toyed with creating an album rating tag for my use and have a playlist of favorite albums distinct from my favorite tracks.

The essence of his points seem to be:

- poor quality is not required for convenience
- gotta pay attention to many elements in translating the artists' original intent all the way through to delivery (his donkey image) (although he may in fact believe the key is in going to 24/192k since this was the only specific item he mentioned, but I hope not)
- gotta get a "rich guy" on board (I think this means he wants market makers to step up to lead change)
- need more attention to fulfilling the artists' original intent in what is offered to consumers (album versus track purchases seem to be some or a big part of this)

I also found the comments regarding Steve Jobs intriguing. The vinyl comment has merit to me if it's a reflection that rock recordings before the Loudness Wars can have significantly better dynamic range, but we can only guess at this point concerning Steve Jobs' views on that. I also was intrigued by the tidbit that Jobs was surprised at the degree to which consumers had traded quality for convenience.

If anything Neil Young does results in an end to the Loudness Wars and an improved focus by content distributors and equipment manufacturers on convenient truly high quality playback, then I'll accept a gratuitous increase in sampling rate and bit depth and buy bigger hard drives. If he's just or mainly about 24/192k, meh.

This post has been edited by godrick: Feb 1 2012, 06:58
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JJZolx
post Feb 1 2012, 06:57
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I didn't take any part of his conversation to be about dynamic compression or loudness wars. Merely that he was upset about consumers having few other choices of download beyond lossy encoded files.
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godrick
post Feb 1 2012, 07:01
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You're right, nothing directly mentioned in the video linked above. But my hope springs eternal.

This post has been edited by godrick: Feb 1 2012, 07:02
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Carledwards
post Feb 1 2012, 08:47
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QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Jan 31 2012, 16:53) *
I watched the video. What I saw before me was an old man who does not understand technology, babbling about percentages and so forth in a world where the state of the art has advanced to the point where percentages are largely meaningless. He directly equates bit rate with quality, which only demonstrates a tragic misunderstanding of the applicable tehnology. He does, at least, have a sensible view on piracy.

I have no quarrel with better-quality downloads, but it's rather disingenuous to refer to an MP3 as only retaining 5% of the original quality of a recording.


Yep. That's my view, also.
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2Bdecided
post Feb 1 2012, 11:28
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QUOTE (Wombat @ Feb 1 2012, 03:23) *
Flac is well known, wide spread and as good as a lossless format can get.
I think that last part is probably overstating it.
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ramicio
post Feb 1 2012, 12:38
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QUOTE (limahuli @ Jan 31 2012, 19:10) *
It's probably why you can't play FLAC on iTunes software (without a hack/add-on)


FLAC isn't supported in iTunes (and others) because it competes with their own lossless codec. The industry simply does not like lossless because bandwidth costs them money. They dislike it for the same reason that they dislike CDs, because it's something tangible that cuts into their profits. Also because they could care less about you needing to convert to other formats and having generational loss of quality. They care about immediate quality, and to the world, MP3 is good enough because it takes a few seconds to download, versus a few minutes for lossless. Society is 100% about instant gratification.
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Busemann
post Feb 1 2012, 21:34
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QUOTE (ramicio @ Feb 1 2012, 04:38) *
QUOTE (limahuli @ Jan 31 2012, 19:10) *
It's probably why you can't play FLAC on iTunes software (without a hack/add-on)


FLAC isn't supported in iTunes (and others) because it competes with their own lossless codec. The industry simply does not like lossless because bandwidth costs them money. They dislike it for the same reason that they dislike CDs, because it's something tangible that cuts into their profits. Also because they could care less about you needing to convert to other formats and having generational loss of quality. They care about immediate quality, and to the world, MP3 is good enough because it takes a few seconds to download, versus a few minutes for lossless. Society is 100% about instant gratification.


Or, perhaps the demand for CDs and FLAC (or lossless in general) just isn't there..
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