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Digital sound quality will soon catch up with analogue says CD pioneer, Classic Rock Magazine, and its interviewee, do it wrong
db1989
post Jun 18 2012, 18:14
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While we’re making threads about silly things, how about this? It’s a diluted version of an interview with The Telegraph, which is probably the better source (of the two, I mean! rolleyes.gif) for anyone with some semblance of an attention span.

What do you think of his assertion that “Sound quality has gone down for the average user over the last ten to 15 years”? Or this?
QUOTE
Only now, [Marantz] says, is digital music turning the corner and beginning to sound as good as vinyl did. He says that at the beginning of each cycle of innovation, the audio industry has consistently sacrificed quality for convenience, and then left others to pick up the pieces.

Aren’t CRM guilty of very bad journalism to have extrapolated Marantz onto a throne as a “CD pioneer”, implying that he was involved in the format itself, simply for the fact that he “was an audio engineer at Marantz when the firm developed the compact disc platform before being bought by Philips”? Which says nothing about whether he had anything to do with the format in the slightest. Did he? The Telegraph is less retentive with information, reporting that Marantz worked on some of the first CD players (probably marketed as ‘high-end’), but that’s not the same – and, as such, it’s not sufficient to support CRM’s headline, even if they had thought to include it, which they didn’t.

What else? Should we be grateful that he, despite being too sweeping in his misgivings about MP3, at least recommended losslessly compressed audio rather than insisting that WAV is the only way? unsure.gif

Even if there isn’t a lot to be said about this, topics like this come up quite often, and that raises a question of its own: Should we have a general thread for… er… misunderstood articles, quotations, and whatnot? It might help tidy the place up a bit, whilst also keeping all the distractions in a single convenient location, for both those who might want to discuss them and those who would want to avoid such discussion (since there have been a few complaints that the occasional group laugh somehow undermines the entire website).

This post has been edited by db1989: Jun 18 2012, 18:19
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Kohlrabi
post Jun 18 2012, 18:36
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I vented in "General Audio" myself in the past, so a "Hall of Shame" forum might be useful to me. smile.gif Though isn't that the point of the "Off Topic" forum? I doubt that it will be useful for HA to have a dedicated subforum to bash public articles by and about laymen.

This post has been edited by Kohlrabi: Jun 18 2012, 18:37


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greynol
post Jun 18 2012, 18:56
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If it has anything to do with audio specifically and doesn't apply to non-audio equally then it does not belong in of-topic. The reason for the awkward qualification has to to with file backup discussions, which typically belong in off-topic.

I once vented about some moronic audiophoolery in off-topic because I didn't think it warranted such visibility. I was wrong in doing so, and not because many here like these types of discussions for sport. wink.gif


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Gecko
post Jun 18 2012, 21:11
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The interview in The Telegraph is all over the place. Apart from the audiophile FUD, I have to wonder if Ken Ishiwata's view is really as simplistic as portrayed. The article stays as far away as possible from any specifics let alone provides any support for the spurious claims, all the while messing up the details. I ask myself: what does the author think of his readers to provide such a drastically oversimplified opinion-piece? It's almost insulting.

In what way has "sound quality" gone downhill for the last 10 to 15 years? Certainly not because LAME has come a long way since the first patches to the 8Hz code (1998), with many people today struggling to identify 96k encodes (see recent listening test). Certainly not because Apple has created a high quality AAC (not MP3, btw) implementation and is meanwhile selling 265k music. Loudness war, maybe? The article doesn't provide the answer.

Alas Ishiwata will soon be selling an iPod dock which allows you to buy "lifestyle" and will surely sound all vinyl like. At £900, it's a steal (<-- irony).

This post has been edited by Gecko: Jun 18 2012, 21:14
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db1989
post Jun 18 2012, 21:20
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QUOTE (Gecko @ Jun 18 2012, 21:11) *
The interview in The Telegraph is all over the place. Apart from the audiophile FUD, I have to wonder if Ken Ishiwata's view is really as simplistic as portrayed. The article stays as far away as possible from any specifics let alone provides any support for the spurious claims, all the while messing up the details. I ask myself: what does the author think of his readers to provide such a drastically oversimplified opinion-piece? It's almost insulting.
Good points, all. I, too, struggled to perceive any clear message, much less quotes to substantiate a good portion of what the journalist wrote as being representative of Ishiwata.

QUOTE (Gecko @ Jun 18 2012, 21:11) *
Alas Ishiwata San will soon be selling an iPod dock which allows you to buy "lifestyle" and will surely sound all vinyl like. At £900, it's a steal (<-- irony).
This is great, isn’t it! I presume that it’ll be obliged to aesthetically and lifestyle-ily jive with most products by Apple in being crammed full of “sexiness” and “convenience” – but that he will additionally, and finally, deliver the quality that everyone has been missing.

And again, I still wonder: Was Ishiwata indeed, as The Telegraph state, “a crucial figure in the development of compact discs” who “worked on the earliest CDs”? The article doesn’t go on to qualify this at all; the only detail it provides is that he “was the godfather of the first CD players to offer sound close in quality to their analogue predecessors. A key audio engineer at Marantz, he worked at the firm before it was bought by Phillips to bring out the first CD players.” And, again, working on hardware does not equate to developing the format. Maybe he did! I’ll be happy to be informed. But this reporting isn’t doing anything for me.

Not that it really matters: PCM at 44.1 kHz and 16 bits is what it is, a.k.a. more than adequate for most but not exactly high science worthy of a Nobel Prize. I’m highly skeptical of the claims about the vastly improved quality of the CD players, notwithstanding the idea that they had a high bar to clear after vinyl (described by the non sequitur “their analogue predecessors”).

This post has been edited by db1989: Jun 18 2012, 21:25
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 18 2012, 21:50
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Jun 18 2012, 13:14) *
While we’re making threads about silly things, how about this? It’s a diluted version of an interview with The Telegraph, which is probably the better source (of the two, I mean! rolleyes.gif) for anyone with some semblance of an attention span.

What do you think of his assertion that “Sound quality has gone down for the average user over the last ten to 15 years”? Or this?
QUOTE
Only now, [Marantz] says, is digital music turning the corner and beginning to sound as good as vinyl did. He says that at the beginning of each cycle of innovation, the audio industry has consistently sacrificed quality for convenience, and then left others to pick up the pieces.

Aren’t CRM guilty of very bad journalism to have extrapolated Marantz onto a throne as a “CD pioneer”, implying that he was involved in the format itself, simply for the fact that he “was an audio engineer at Marantz when the firm developed the compact disc platform before being bought by Philips”? Which says nothing about whether he had anything to do with the format in the slightest. Did he? The Telegraph is less retentive with information, reporting that Marantz worked on some of the first CD players (probably marketed as ‘high-end’), but that’s not the same – and, as such, it’s not sufficient to support CRM’s headline, even if they had thought to include it, which they didn’t.


If you do a search on his name, he seems to have no other existence as a paid shill/employee of Marantz. As far as his claim about being there at the beginning when Marantz came out with their first CD player, note that the Marantz CD-63 is said by many to be nothing but a rebranded Philips CD 100. So on the best day of his life, Ken might be able to claim that he signed the purchase order to have Philips deliver a bunch of players that whose cases were silk-screned a bit differently. Sounds like a serious technical accomplishment to me! ;-)
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DigitalMan
post Jun 19 2012, 04:27
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There probably should be a separate thread for this type of stuff. I recommend we don't make the title condescending, etc. or that will just invite more emotion than the topics deserve. Probably something like "Audio Misconceptions" or something like that, somewhat of a "Snopes for Audio."


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stephan_g
post Jun 19 2012, 20:11
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 18 2012, 22:50) *
As far as his claim about being there at the beginning when Marantz came out with their first CD player, note that the Marantz CD-63 is said by many to be nothing but a rebranded Philips CD 100.

Unsurprisingly so, since they belonged to Philips at the time. I must say that the speedy drawer mechanism on the CD73 is pretty cool though, even if that player is said to be a tad adventurous to work on...

BTW, there are two different CD63s. The newer one is the bigger brother of CD43 and CD53, from the early '90s. Arguably the first to feature a "HDAM" module (essentially a discrete FET input folded cascode op-amp) as a buffer. I can see Mr. Ishiwata involved with that one.
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WernerO
post Jun 20 2012, 06:38
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 18 2012, 21:50) *
So on the best day of his life, Ken might be able to claim that he signed the purchase order to have Philips deliver a bunch of players that whose cases were silk-screned a bit differently.


As Ishiwata was based in Belgium since the 70s, and as Marantz product development was done in Belgium and the Netherlands since the acquisition by Philips, and at Philips' premises, chances are that he was a significant bit closer to CD development than your conjecture suggests.

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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 20 2012, 12:30
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QUOTE (WernerO @ Jun 20 2012, 01:38) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 18 2012, 21:50) *
So on the best day of his life, Ken might be able to claim that he signed the purchase order to have Philips deliver a bunch of players that whose cases were silk-screned a bit differently.


As Ishiwata was based in Belgium since the 70s, and as Marantz product development was done in Belgium and the Netherlands since the acquisition by Philips, and at Philips' premises, chances are that he was a significant bit closer to CD development than your conjecture suggests.


We're both speculating and I decline to get into a battle of dueling speculations. ;-)

However, if he's such a technical giant, where do all these weird quotes come from?
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WernerO
post Jun 20 2012, 13:24
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 20 2012, 13:30) *
We're both speculating a


No. You are speculating that I am speculating. Where KI lived and worked in the 70s and 80s is well-known over here. Because it was, literally, *here*.

As for the quotes: what do you get when you let a tech-ignorant journalist interview an excentric audio guru who's job it is to increase sales with all he does?




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2Bdecided
post Jun 20 2012, 13:59
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QUOTE (WernerO @ Jun 20 2012, 13:24) *
increase sales
This is what it's about. Nothing else. What gets into newspapers is stuff spread by the marketing department and paraphrased badly by rushed journalists. The former are trying to sell equipment. The latter are trying to sell copy, that someone else thinks will sell papers.

Don't expect the result to bare any resemblance to scientific reality.

Just like most sane people don't expect the news in newspapers to bare any resemblance to what actually happened.


It's like looking to a Britney Spears song for advice on how to make a lifelong success of your marriage.

Cheers,
David.
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godrick
post Jun 20 2012, 15:06
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With respect to articles and quotes that are misunderstood, misunderstand scientifically valid concepts, or propagage myths as many of us see things:

In addition to threads that deal with such mass media communications, I suggest HA consider (if you haven't considered it already) reaching out to certain credible media outlets to make a select list of moderators available for comment on audio-related matters. For example, contact The Telegraph, succinctly describe Hydrogenaudio as an audio enthusiast's site from a scientifically valid perspective (I'm sure many can come up with a better positioning soundbite to describe HA, but you get the point) and offer to make a few subject matter experts available for comments on articles from time to time to offer a view that can help separate rhetoric from reality in a fast-changing audio world (or similar value proposition soundbite).

One of the weaknesses in "competing" against audio misinformation is that many communicating the misinformation have a profit motive, which generates proceeds and motivation that make it easier to continue or escalate the spread of misinformation. But such a profit motive seems like more of a weakness in the eyes of a credible media outlet when looking for an objective opinion, so I would hope credible media outlets would value HA's opinion in certain matters. I know many credible journalists love to have a contact list of credible subject matter experts, so that they can fill out an article with quotes. Many writers don't have or want to invest the time to critically investigate claims they broadcast, and just seek a quick contrarian or thought-provoking quote instead, but that's still better than nothing in the writers' eyes and also I think in ours.

A great deal of frustration is expressed in threads on poorly written or one-sided articles, I think reflecting that it's very hard after-the-fact to undo the damage caused by such articles. This suggestion won't solve all problems or be welcomed by outlets like TAS, but why not seek to get some of those comments in some articles from more credible outlets to begin with? Doesn't seem like a big effort, or that there is much, if anything, to be lost in trying, and something to be gained in spreading the message of what HA stands for and elevating informed discussions. Start small with just a few publications and go from there. Just a thought.
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greynol
post Jun 20 2012, 15:20
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Sounds like a good plan.

Can we get them to stop prefacing something plural with the word there's while we're at it?


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db1989
post Jun 20 2012, 16:32
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godrick, I like your idea. I’m definitely not qualified, but there are a good number of staff and long-term members here who could be very well-suited to such commentary.

QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 20 2012, 15:20) *
Can we get them to stop prefacing something plural with the word there's while we're at it?
Hahaha oh wow, this a million times! For everyone. Ever since I noticed this at my workplace and in general, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. But then so are any other egregious failures at language. This is just one of the most blatant.
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rick.hughes
post Jun 20 2012, 19:41
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Jun 20 2012, 11:32) *
QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 20 2012, 15:20) *
Can we get them to stop prefacing something plural with the word there's while we're at it?
Hahaha oh wow, this a million times! For everyone. Ever since I noticed this at my workplace and in general, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. But then so are any other egregious failures at language. This is just one of the most blatant.

than -> then

I sometimes wonder if the word than will become archaic since nobody seems to use it anymore. (Not referring to your use of then above, which is correct)
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Kees de Visser
post Jun 20 2012, 20:13
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QUOTE (rick.hughes @ Jun 20 2012, 20:41) *
than -> then
Its one of many problems out their (blame the smartphones?).
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db1989
post Jun 20 2012, 20:25
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QUOTE (Kees de Visser @ Jun 20 2012, 20:13) *
Its one of many problems out their
Yea, I see alot !
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dumdidum
post Jun 20 2012, 20:32
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QUOTE (Kees de Visser @ Jun 20 2012, 21:13) *
QUOTE (rick.hughes @ Jun 20 2012, 20:41) *
than -> then
Its one of many problems out their

flamebait?
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Gecko
post Jun 20 2012, 21:26
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Jun 18 2012, 21:20) *
[...] And again, I still wonder: Was Ishiwata indeed, as The Telegraph state, “a crucial figure in the development of compact discs” who “worked on the earliest CDs”? The article doesn’t go on to qualify this at all; [...]

Spending some time searching the net for Ken Ishiwata, I didn't come up with a proper answer. However there are a number of Youtube videos of him talking and an oldish interview which sheds some light onto his person and puts the recent interview in The Telegraph into perspective. Whatever he may or may not have done in the past, today he is introduced as "Brand Ambassador" of Marantz. Judging by what I watched/read, I guess his job when appearing in public is to present the company and its products as interesting on an emotional level and prevent any connection to the (seemingly) dry world of audio-engineering. As such, I do not expect much from his musings.

Even so, I don't think the article does the man justice and I blame the author/editor for that. He seems to have filtered out all the substance leaving just a few stereotypes: "analog good, digital bad, buy this new digital thing". LOL WUT?! Never mind the CRM rehash.
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