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There’s been a lot of talk recently of how people are rejecting MP3’s in favour of vinyl and CD’s when buying music. There are probably all kinds of reasons for this including nostalgia for the record buying experience as a social event on a Saturday morning or whatever. Possibly it is to do with a desire for the physical product complete with artwork and sleeve notes that people can display on a shelf so their friends know what kind of music they like and it sparks a conversation and an exchange of musical tastes. Whereas these are certainly factors I believe that many people (especially those who have only known MP3’s) are realising that the quality of MP3’s is not really doing justice to the music they are buying. Compressed audio, as in an MP3, does produce a reduced dynamic range and frequency response which may be fine for your ipod but it is not the best source for your “all singing and dancing” music system in your living room or car.
Adding to the problem on all formats is that studio engineers are under pressure to maximise the loudness of tracks at the mastering stage in the recording studio. This has become progressively worse as labels believe that the louder the track is perceived to be the more it will stand out, and may be a factor in whether or not people buy it. So there is a bit of a sonic arms race going on which is adding to the reduced quality of the finished product. The recent “Turn Me Up” (http://www.turnmeup.org/ ) campaign was focussed on retaining the dynamic range and quality of recordings by not processing them to death and thereby giving the end user more control over their music listening experience.
In all the years we have been producing music for clients at Moogang Media Music we have never had anyone say they would prefer to have an MP3 than a wav file. This is purely because the quality of a wav file is so much better –especially on large PA systems at events where compressed audio will start to really struggle. But we also like to keep the music as real to the recording as possible by not over processing and excessively using loudness “maximisers” at the mastering stage. So our tracks may be a little quieter than other companies but it allows you, the end user, more control and a better quality product to enhance your project.
Apparently, as I have recently discovered, I see something that others don’t. It is not a gift or talent in the least but it is something that I have seen for as long as I can remember and just assumed that everybody else saw the same. But I’m told they don’t. It even has a name: Synesthesia. And I am a Synesthsete (apparently!)
When I think of days of the week I see colours. Monday is a yellow. Tuesday is a dark blue. Wednesday is a slightly lighter shade of blue. Thursday is a light brown/Orange. Friday is a light yellow. Saturday is a blue. Sunday is an orange colour. It’s the same with numbers: I won’t list them but suffice to say each number has it’s own colour which has remained unchanged since my earliest memories. This phenomenon varies according to the individual: some have a taste experience when they think of numbers or days of the week; others, like me, associate colours.
The question is why? My theory is that synesthetes use colours, tastes and smells as a memory aid. People with extraordinary skills in remembering things (multiple decimal places of Pi or large numbers of household objects on a table etc) generally use association to remember things; maybe synesthetes (and probably everyone else) are subconsciously using the same techniques. I’m told that when we leave a room we apparently cross an “event horizon” which affects our ability to remember stuff. You know the feeling when you go into another room to get something and completely forget what you went in for? That is because you have crossed the event horizon (ie left the room!) and lost the association that would have allowed you to have remembered the original thought you had. By returning to that place where you had the thought you quickly remember what it was you were trying to find.
What has this got to do with music? Absolutely nothing. It was just something I discovered this week and wanted to share.
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