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12-29-2019 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,672
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 25732
Reply to: 25732
The Audio of 21 century: still not there.
It is the end of the year and while people think about summation of the year’s events, I would like to elevate myself to a higher altitude trying to observe the most significant things in audio with wider lenses.  I am 52 and I begin to play with “improvement” of audio since I was 10. There were some moments of my life when I was involved more or less with audio but I always has some strange interest in the subject. In 1992 I moved to US and since the mid of 90s I was more or less actively observed and was involved into western audio word. If to look back and to observed all events that took place over the last 30 years and try to dissect what was important then. with some sadness, I need to note that there was nothing truly important happened in audio.

Moving from analog to digital, then back to analog and back to hi-res streaming was irrelevant. Moving from dull speakers and powerful electronics, to horns and SED, then to DSET and multi-channel time aligned horns was irrelevant. Buying audio devises or making my own was also irrelevant. Do not get me wrong, there was great difference between performance of audio during all these periods and I do not mean to devaluate the worth of all my moves and the impact of took on my life and music I was listening. However, my moves were in a way a reflection of universal audio progress and from the prospective of audio as an epistemological entity I do not think the answers I founded were discovered in the realms of audio. Of course, as a listener I tremendously evolved, which is the only proper way to evaluate quality of audio,  but  how to differentiate the changes in me that were inspired by audio from the changes that were inspired  by exposé to other people, literature, life experience and other forms of art?
   
This all might a subject of other discussion and I would like to proceed to the main topic of this thread:  does new century has any new form of audio that different or better than what we had before. My answer is No. There is nothing conceptually different or fundamentally more advanced that we have today. We are having live streaming today and if it done at very high sampling rate and deep resolution then it is still the very same paradigm:  a musical event coded as a sonic snapshot shared with listeners. I think here is where we hit the main delinquency of today’s audio: audio is all about sound but it should be about human experiences. If to accept this premises then it is hard not to observe that audio did not offer anything new lately despite of the all appeared irrelevant advancements. 

So, the current mechanism of delivering musical sensations is in my view is faulty.  I do not think that musical sensations should be derived by sound only. It should not be also any multi-media actions, like movie for instance. It should be rather a new form of media where consumers would subscribe some kind broadcast channel where sensations would be delivered in raw, none-converted to language, sound or image format. I do not see any development in this direct in contemporary audio and without it, any pure old-fashion audio auctions, in my view is just like gilding the lilies trying to prevent the swamp drying…


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-29-2019 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
rowuk


Germany
Posts 319
Joined on 07-05-2012

Post #: 2
Post ID: 25733
Reply to: 25732
Audio history
At the beginning, audio was a scientific event. People like Bell, Marconi, Edison all were interested in playback of audio outside of the original performance. One used a telephone, another radio and yet another a medium in between for storage. I think that we have to examine each transfer medium independentally to judge if something has changed.
Using "telephone" as a proxy for all real time transmission of one event live to another place, there has been no change of purpose, but we do have additional access through things like Berlins Digital Concert Hall or the Met broadcasts (only in regard to live performances). Because we have no "prior knowledge", the sensations are new for each performance. Granted, we have the opportunity to replay, but let's just leave that for now. I would maintain that hearing something for the first time uses a different type of awareness and we are open for surprises. I would say that the "quality" of these live transmissions has improved and become accessible to a larger audience - the sensations are unchanged.

Considering radio, we have a problem. The programming is increasingly worse. Either we have completely automated selection from a playlist with no connection between the playlist items or, we have an announcer who has actually spent some time selecting material but reduces their own announcing to information that NEVER would have found its way to an LP jacket due to low quality. I would say that things have gotten considerably worse for this automated play. Because there is no "programming" we have a chaotic sequence of events that does not tap new incite, rather makes us numb to the possible musical message. I would venture to say that the level of awareness is far lower than ever before. Internet radio is simply too convenient

Stored Media. Today we have many options here, it is the question if we use them. We have LP, tape and CDs where a ceremony for playback is possible and we have computer playback where we only can push the start button. WE make the choices, WE determine the ceremony, WE are responsible for "sensations". On the other hand, we have almost unlimited access to the whole world. We have a network of publications and friends that keep us informed and the ability to get recordings in a very short time. I consider this availability to be an improvement - regardless if we are talking about a new Bamberg/Blomstedt Bruckner live recording or finding a long lost Strauss mens choir recording. This availability gives us the possibility to even be more selective about what gets played when.

There is an additional situation which the internet revolution has made possible: worldwide self distribution of "fringe" audio. Here the industry media machine has no say in what we get. YouTube is a big player here. I cite performers like Anna Maria Hefele with her overtone singing or many "folk" musicians from Scandinavia.

I feel that the technical advances can be leveraged for more and deeper sensations. It really depends on our abilities and opportunities in searching. I do not expect deeper from the recording industry or even science. Deeper will only come from a new generation of musicians that do not get handcuffed into contracts and pre chewed concert tours. I recently found a site in Russia http://leonidandf.comthis group started as a birthday present of a producer (Leonid) to himself. Great musicians just got together for fun. In the mean time they have redefined tunes from the band Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears or Earth, Wind and Fire. The videos show musicians of all ages actually having fun. It is not the ultimate playback quality, but that joy of playing is missing in a lot of even the finest traditional recordings. There is no visible marketing machine attached.

Certainly an enrichment for my Christmas holidays.


Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
12-29-2019 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,222
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 3
Post ID: 25734
Reply to: 25733
The "Promise"
One thing I have noticed is that most of the effort for many years has gone to "marketing", and "they" have gotten better at it with the passage of time, at least broadly speaking. At that same time the size of "The Audience" has grown it has also become more fragmented, with more "groups" that are off doing and listening to things I don't care about, often using platforms and playback media and hardware that I may never explore. By this I mean to say, while there is more than ever "going on" there might be even less going on that's of interest to me, personally. In fact, I'm pretty sure this is the case. This could all turn on a dime if I were to hear something that moved me from a streaming system, with a reasonable promise of more to come if I got up to speed. But this has simply not happened for me, and to date I remain stuck with LPs and a few CDs for my "serious" listening. Does this mean that most of the past 50 or 60 years have been "misspent" by the "music delivery" industry? It appears to mean just that, at least for  me, in terms of "Industry Guided", deliverable Music.


Paul S
12-30-2019 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,672
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 25735
Reply to: 25733
Christmas enrichment...
 rowuk wrote:
Certainly an enrichment for my Christmas holidays.

Rowuk, is you would like to get some “enrichment” for holidays, as far as my site concern, then get this link. Even it is not relevant to the subject of this thread but…Merry Christmas…. 
 
http://orchestraondemand.blogspot.com/


If you as lucky as me and can work in headphones listening music then you will find the link very useful…


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-30-2019 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
rowuk


Germany
Posts 319
Joined on 07-05-2012

Post #: 5
Post ID: 25736
Reply to: 25735
It is a small world after all.
Romy,
thank you. Funny enough, one broadcast at the top (Christmas Oratorio part 4-6 with the Bach Choir and Orchestra from Mainz) just happens to be a recording that I performed with... Naturally, there are some interesting sensations attached to the recording... Nothing 21st Century however. Just a standard Naxos recording without too many additional takes.
 Romy the Cat wrote:
 rowuk wrote:
Certainly an enrichment for my Christmas holidays.

Rowuk, is you would like to get some “enrichment” for holidays, as far as my site concern, then get this link. Even it is not relevant to the subject of this thread but…Merry Christmas…. 
 
http://orchestraondemand.blogspot.com/


If you as lucky as me and can work in headphones listening music then you will find the link very useful…



Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
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