The Changes Within

 Random Ranting  Comments Off on The Changes Within
Apr 022013
 

Listening to music used to require dedication and effort. Every 20 or 30 minutes you had to get up, pull the LP off of the turntable, flip, replace, and set the needle into the starter groove again. You had to maintain your records carefully or risk a scratched or skipping album, making it useless. There were also many advantages to vinyl, including far better sound quality than even CD. Before you stomp your feet up and down over that consider that most people listen to music on systems that so poorly recreate the recorded music they play as to alter it completely. On a good system vinyl is more dynamic, more alive, spacious, and closer to being there than CD, MP3, 16 – 42 FLAC, SACD, and DVD-A.

rp I have argued the wonders of vinyl before so I will move to the meat of this article. Digital files have all but removed my ability to listen to a complete album. I know that albums are not always thought of as single works of art in the digital age, which is a shame but even when I listen to older music now I spend more time picking through my collection song by song than I spend actually listening. Unless I am doing a review I either use Turntable.fm or use an automated playlist. I have lost the ability to listen to a full album simply for enjoyment.

We live in a one off world where information and entertainment come in bite size chunks. At the same time virtually everything in our lives is being created to the lowest common quality factor you can get away with in court. This has changed how music is written, recorded, mastered, sold, played, collected… everything has changed.

I am making a point to listen to more full albums for pleasure, just kick back and enjoy. What is the last full album you listened to in a single sitting outside of your car?

 

Blogdash

Feb 262013
 

I am taking a few college courses right now and it dawned on my recently that many of the people I go to school with have never known a time when you didn’t listen to music in a digital, mobile format. This got me thinking back to the earliest days when I used Winamp, and then Apple released the juggernaut known as iTunes.  Winamp played hi-res files and the formats I preferred, like FLAC. iTunes had its own format and then, like now changed your music files to a sound like what Apple wanted. iTunes was super easy to use as long as you agree with the way Apple believes your files should be organized, which is kind of like using your floor as a filing cabinet.

cansI hated digital files because I could see where it was headed, the utter destruction of quality recording. Well, thus far it hasn’t gotten that bad but we have some time left. Over the last 15 years I have been methodically moving my extensive music collection to digital. It is time consuming to rip thousands for CDs and especially vinyl records. I have however gotten it done and it became imperative that whatever program I used would never, ever, make a change to the sound of a file, never change a tag, and never do anything I didn’t want it to.

Eventually I loaded Media Center from JRiver onto all of my home computers. It controls as much or as little of my home entertainment systems as I choose. This includes playing ripped DVD and Blurays across my home network or if you feel really adventurous even to your phone or tablet when you are on the move.

For someone like myself, I wanted a clean music interface without all of the clunky video, picture, and crappola in my way. Media Center makes it as easy as clicking few buttons to strip those away so I have an uncluttered interface  with a back end that keeps my HD music files sounding as close to perfect as possible. You will simply hear the best your system is capable of.

The Computer Audiophile has put together an excellent review and how to of JRiver Media Center and explains in detail why it is as good as it is and how you can make it your own.

Do you still use iTunes?