Monday, March 28, 2011

Wifey Snorefest

There’s my usual music posts that my wife ignores and then there’s my technical (i.e. BORING) musical posts that my wife ignores. I don’t blame her.

Last year Sir George Martin and company decided to run the entire Beatles catalog through their disgronification process and release ‘em again. After all, the digital technology that we had in the mid-80s is nothing compared to the gizmos we have not. Heck, back then they hadn’t even invented auto-tune so singers actually had to have a smidgeon of talent to go with their market-tested stage presence.

Since I’ve already shelled out the bucks to buy every album (sans a couple of the Anthology releases which are only good for a listen or two) I was glad to see that my tax dollars bought MULTIPLE copies of each re-scrubbed album. I think I saw at least three and possibly for of every title on the shelf of the main branch so you know some ordering monkey is breaking their arm in congratulating themselves on dropping a couple of thousand on such duplicity.

For my test I picked out Rubber Soul and from this album picked “Norweigen Wood” and the beautifully fuzzy “Think For Yourself.” I made WAV files of both the new versions and the original 80s CD release. Then I brought them into my studio software and set them side by side. Visually you could see that the new versions were just a bit louder, which is common procedure in rereleases – compress ‘em and crank up the volume so the consumer thinks it’s better. Fortunately any compression was very slight. Actually, any changes were very slight. Even with my “studio reference quality” headphones (Sony MDR-7506, if you must know) I could only barely detect any difference between the two. If the original was a ten in clarity the new one is a 10.3 (more or less). That’s it. Just a hint of added clarity. It’s such a miniscule amount of added clarity that not only isn’t it worth my money to buy the new versions but it isn’t even worth my time to get the albums from the library and rip copies. Not only do I not think it’s worth a quarter per album to make an “honest” rip but if I were to make even high-quality MP3s of the albums the compression would remove the .3 in added clarity.

For the record (ahem) I called this “lets do the whole catalog” move by Beatles Corp years ago when they re-scrubbed the songs from Yellow Submarine. I think back then I also did an A/B comparison and found little difference. For that matter, I couldn’t hear much of a difference when they gave the rescrub treatment to Alice Cooper’s Welcome To My Nightmare. So either my ears are not trained to detect the subtle nuances (in which case neither could someone who isn’t an audiophile with extremely expensive highly calibrated grear) or this whole digital rescrubbing this is a scam.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Just words

It’s an atypical Friday in that I wasn’t swamped with tasks resulting from people getting to all those things they put off all week and suddenly needing me to do something or get them some information. So what did I do? I let my fingers do the walking.

Yep, I picked up an old fashioned phone book and noticed these colored stripes on the edges of some yellow pages. How long have they been there? Flipping open the first, largest stripe I see that it’s for lawyers, excuse me, attorneys. Seventy pages. Many in full color and spanning two pages for a single firm. Really? We need seventy pages of ads to lure the uneducated into thinking they can sue their way to a better future? I work in a building infested with these vermin and I frequently see these sad, desperate people in the halls, holding a packet of lawyer papers like it’s their golden ticket.

But believe it or not, this not another post about how lawyers and politicians (one and the same) are the downfall of Western Civilization. Not directly. I counted the other striped sections and found that there are about thirty pages for automobiles (new, used, repair, parts), 15 for dentists, 40 for physicians, and 30 for restaurants. BUT SEVENTY PAGES FOR LAWYERS!?!?!?! DOUBLE FOOEY!

As for my 2011 goals… they are mostly on track. I’ve got song #1 of four in target to be completed by the end of the month. Sure, I still need to write half of it and record vocals and bass but it’s got a definite groove going so it’s only a matter of listening to it and letting my mind wander as to where it should go.

In the writing realm I loaded up the non-fiction book I started and found that it was started in 2005. Really?!?!?!? Five years ago? I thought I just left it hanging for a year or two but thinking back, yes, it really was that long ago. I know that a year can fly by but five? Can half a decade just slip by? Is the next decade going to slip by and I’ll wake up one day and find myself being fifty? That’s why it’s important to set these goals and stick to them. The people who do things, like learn an instrument or write a book or start a company or excel in a sport, are the ones who make a plan and then slowly, inch by inch, work on that plan and get things done. It’s that 99% perspiration thing.

Which means I need to stop writing on this blog for the time being and get going on these goals.