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  • krabapple
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From the mainstream media
From an op-ed in today's New York Times, arguing 'the case against digital textbooks', by Justin Hollander, assistant professor of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts.


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The Polaroid is a wonderful devices for what it is, but it twill and should remain a technological novelty.  On the other hand, few higher-tech formats deliver the lush sound quality of the vinyl record, and younger generations have recently returned to the format.

In other words, we shouldn't jump at a new technology simply because it has advantages; only time and study will reveal its disadvantages and show the value of what's left behind.



  • Kohlrabi
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From the mainstream media
Reply #1
Technological advances have many facets, cultural, social and also technical ones and many more. Of course one should weigh the impact of any single technology in all or as many aspects as possible to make a decision whether something is "better". Some technology which improves social aspects might greatly harm ecological or economical ones and so on. So I sort of agree with the assertion that the advantages have to be carefully weighed.

Of course his choosing of vinyl as an example of this PoV is rather weird, because the main and driving aspect about CD/digital releases vs. vinyl in my book are technical aspects (which technology is technically better/measures better), with smaller aspects of economics (which one is cheaper to produce and transport), ecology (which one is less wasteful to produce and has higher longevity) and aesthetics (which one's packaging looks better). Of course, some people put much more emphasis on the last point, but to me the inferiority of vinyl in all the other aspects far outweigh the aesthetic advantages of vinyl packaging.
  • Last Edit: 10 October, 2012, 02:47:44 PM by Kohlrabi
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

  • krabapple
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From the mainstream media
Reply #2
His last point is unassailable, but his use of the 'lush sound of the vinyl LP' as an example of something most of the newer technologies cannot deliver, is annoyingly uninformed and apparently not fact-checked.
  • Last Edit: 10 October, 2012, 03:04:36 PM by krabapple

  • DVDdoug
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From the mainstream media
Reply #3
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...assistant professor of urban and environmental policy and planning.
Just what every local school needs...  Some arrogant "expert" telling them what's best and most economical.

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...the lush sound quality of the vinyl record
I can't argue with that, since I don't know what "lush" is...    I'd say, "few higher-tech formats deliver the snap, crackle, pop, and distortion of the vinyl record".
  • Last Edit: 10 October, 2012, 04:17:35 PM by DVDdoug

  • cliveb
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  • Developer
From the mainstream media
Reply #4
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...the lush sound quality of the vinyl record
I can't argue with that, since I don't know what "lush" is...

Given that "lush" can mean drunk, I'd say that vinyl's inherent wow & flutter does a good rendition of a drunkard's slurred speech 

  • J.Philippe
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From the mainstream media
Reply #5
Hello, new here... Do you have a link to the article? Honestly, i can probably think of a few arguments against digital text books, which could be applied more generally to digital photography or audio.

I haven't read the article, but i figure the author was not necessarily referring to the "lush sound quality" of vinyl as a superior trait of the format, at least not in terms of audio fidelity. To some, listening to LPs is sensibly pleasing; snap, crackle and pop included.

In the same way, with digital text books, the aesthetic experience of paper is at stake. Everyone acknowledges that the digital book has its advantages. However, it's not really far-fetched to anticipate a return to the paper book (after its demise, which seems to be implied), in favour of 'lushness' over practicality and convenience.

Polaroid was brought up. The counter-example to this is, quite strikingly, Instagram. Showing that not only are digital devices are able to perfectly store analog information (eg. LP transfer, image digitizing, etc.), they can now replicate it from scratch on a consumer level. What has certainly helped this movement is the fact that people are moving to the digital display as a means of... almost everything.

I'm not sure if vinyl is becoming mainstream again, personally i view it as a luxury. Perhaps books will share the same fate.

  • krabapple
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From the mainstream media
Reply #6

  • Martel
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From the mainstream media
Reply #7
He could have a point provided the modern devices weren't able to "emulate" whatever sound profile needed. I'm almost sure that if the vinyl sound made a huge come-back, DAP manufacturers would start including a "vinyl" DSP which would add all that "lushness" to the "analytic" sound of the modern devices.

Plus, carrying a vinyl player around is so convenient.
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;

  • Nessuno
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From the mainstream media
Reply #8
I think that the "fear of the unknown" plays an important role in this refuse of new technology: the average joe could (think to) understand with a little effort a needle producing sound while tracking a groove (or a chemical reaction to light, FWIW, because chemistry has been around for centuries and its effects are no more considered magic).

The same apply, for example, to the reinassance of mechanical watches against quartz ones, which are better in every measurable aspect and way cheaper, but if you ask, people will tell you that the old one has "a soul"...
  • Last Edit: 12 October, 2012, 07:41:04 AM by Nessuno
... I live by long distance.

  • pdq
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From the mainstream media
Reply #9
I find it amusing that there is expensive equipment sold, whose function is to "wind" self-winding watches (i.e. shake them), whose owners apparently are unable to wind them in the way that they were inrended.

  • soundping
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From the mainstream media
Reply #10
From an op-ed in today's New York Times, arguing 'the case against digital textbooks', by Justin Hollander, assistant professor of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts.

I seen a judge ruling saying scanning books is fair use. I suspect that may be some concern for book print houses.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10...-books-victory/
"Truth will mess you up."
- Radiohead

  • krabapple
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From the mainstream media
Reply #11
He could have a point provided the modern devices weren't able to "emulate" whatever sound profile needed. I'm almost sure that if the vinyl sound made a huge come-back, DAP manufacturers would start including a "vinyl" DSP which would add all that "lushness" to the "analytic" sound of the modern devices.



vinyl emulation plugins already exist

From the mainstream media
Reply #12
Sure, vinyl sounds beautiful with a brand new record with a brand new needle with a top of the line turntable but lets come back in 3 years after constantly playing to see whether it holds up and maintains its playback quality.

  • Martel
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From the mainstream media
Reply #13
vinyl emulation plugins already exist
I was trying to say that if the vinyl sound was such a terrific feature, all DAPs would come with it (and even have it enabled by default).
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;

From the mainstream media
Reply #14
Sure, vinyl sounds beautiful with a brand new record with a brand new needle with a top of the line turntable but lets come back in 3 years after constantly playing to see whether it holds up and maintains its playback quality.


It doesn't, but all of us who lived in the days of vinyl should know that.

For old-timers, the vinyl listening experience is affected and often enhanced by memories and sentimentality.

For new timers it is affected by the thrill of hearing something new. In general, vinyl recordings sound different from CDs of the same music.

There is a tendency for people to interpret different as better even if it is worse, at least for a while.

Vinyl itself is prone to production problems that can make even new LPs unlistenable.

There's a reason why vinyl went away as a mainstream medium and that is because it just didn't sound as good over the long haul, and not by just a little.



  • Kohlrabi
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From the mainstream media
Reply #15
There is a tendency for people to interpret different as better even if it is worse, at least for a while.
Often the vinyl masters are "better" (which is of course subjective, but for me that means less brickwalling, compression and artifacts). I'm really interested whether the win margin on vinyl is larger for the music corporations compared to CD and digital. Maybe the loudness war and all the shoddy mastering of CDs is not really by accident and ignorance after all?
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

From the mainstream media
Reply #16
There is a tendency for people to interpret different as better even if it is worse, at least for a while.
Often the vinyl masters are "better" (which is of course subjective, but for me that means less brickwalling, compression and artifacts).


This being HA the brickwalling and artifacts mention may beg for TOS 8 actions.

The compression is often very audibly egregious but its not related to the medium as such, and therefore should not be ascribed to the medium.

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I'm really interested whether the win margin on vinyl is larger for the music corporations compared to CD and digital.


I don't think that the large music corporations have enough dogs in that fight to even care. IME most vinyl on the market today come from little specialty houses that would have no businesses or far smaller businesses if they didn't have the vinyl drum to beat on.

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Maybe the loudness war and all the shoddy mastering of CDs is not really by accident and ignorance after all?


The loudness war is about about music producer perceptions. Most people who work with music producers don't have high estimates of the competance of all but a few of them. To some degree their business decisions are based on the old "Throw it at the wall and see if it sticks" methodology. No thinking required! ;-)