Luxman se integra de nuevo al audio análogo

Este es el nuevo modelo de tornamesa Luxman, la compañía japonesa que tras 28 años de ausencia tiene nuevamente presencia en el audio análogo. Modelo PD-171, "Made in Japan", precio 6500 USD.[tt_news]=1386&cHash=afe386ecf8

¿Quién hizo qué?

En lo que respecta a los viejos discos de acetato y vinil:

Edison inventó los discos de 78 rpm
Columbia los de 33 1/3 rpm
y RCA los de 45 rpm

SRS Labs en busca de un revolucionario modo de grabación y reproducción de audio.

SRS Labs, conocido por sus sistemas de sonido ambiental virtuales está proponiendo un revolucionario modelo para grabación y reproducción musical basado en objetos. Hace tiempo yo le comentaba a algunos amigos sobre un sistema en que los canales se definiran por instrumento y su rango de frecuencias, creo que esto es algo similar.,2817,2398588,00.asp

La propuesta se basa en la idea de audio multidimensional, que se enfoca en el audio en términos de objetos, en lugar de canales (como sucede con estéreo - dos canales - o sonido envolvente de 5.1 canales). En lugar de mezclar pistas individuales de instrumentos en una canción, o mezclar sonido ambiental, efectos de sonido y diálogo en la pista sonora de una película, el ingeniero toma esos trozos de audio y los dirige exactamente a donde van en la configuración física de las bocinas del escucha, así como la intensidad con la que deben reproducirse.

En otra spalabras, en lugar de que el ingeniero produzca un producto final estático, que se reproduce del mismo modo independientemente de que sistema lo está reproduciendo - pudiendo ser un mal sistema o estar mal configurado - el ingeniero produce un conjunto de meta-datos, completo con instrucciones digitales de donde y como los trozos musicales se reproducen. Entonces un "renderer" compatible con MDA, sea via software o interno en equipos de audio para consumidor, decodifica los datos de modo correcto para el sistema de reprducción del usuario.

Esto a la vez permitiria que las personas pudieran tener eventualmente la posibilidad de crear sus propias versiones echando mano de su propia creatividad y gusto.

"...multi-dimensional audio, which focuses on audio in terms of objects, instead of in channels (such as two-channel stereo, or 5.1-channel surround sound). Rather than mixing individual instrument tracks in a song, or mixing ambient sound, sound effects, and dialog in a movie's audio track, the engineer instead takes those audio pieces and directs exactly where they go in the listener's physical speaker configuration, as well as how loud they play."

"In other words, instead of an engineer producing a finished, static mix that plays back the same way regardless of how the playback system is setup—and if the playback system isn't any good or set up incorrectly, tough luck—the engineer produces a finished bundle of meta-data, complete with digital instructions on where and how all of the audio pieces play. Then an MDA-compatible renderer, either in software or built into consumer electronics components, decodes it properly for the listener's playback system."

Escogiendo conveniencia sobre calidad

Matt Hill is a musician, music educator and The Echo's CD reviewer.
The other day I heard that Neil Young was on his crazy high horse again, complaining about digital music, particularly the MP3 format and how poor it sounds.
"The MP3 only has 5% of the data present in the original recording… The convenience of the digital age has forced people to choose between quality and convenience, but they shouldn't have to make that choice," Young said. He urged young fans to stage a grassroots movement, calling it 'Occupy Audio'.
Young's battle against digital goes back a long way. In 1992 he said "from the early 1980s up till now (1992) and probably for another 15 years to come - this is the darkest time ever for recorded music. We'll come out on the other end, and it'll be okay, but we'll look back and go, "Wow, that was the digital age. I wonder what that music really sounded like."
The arguments over superior audio formats go back well beyond the current digital vs analogue, vinyl vs CD vs MP3 era. In his recent book Perfecting Sound Forever, Greg Milner provides a wonderful history of recorded music. In the early 1900s the battle was between Thomas Edison's phonograph (a cylinder) and Emile Berliner's cheaper gramophone (a disc). Berliner won that battle on a commercial level but then things moved on to acoustic vs electrical recording and later to 33rpm vs 45rpm formats, 16-track tape vs 24-track tape in the studio and eventually on to CD vs vinyl or cassette.
In the early 1980s major record companies like CBS and A&M vehemently opposed the introduction of the CD. The boss of the major record label CBS told the Japanese manufacturers (Sony and Philips) that they would only build a CD making plant if the Japanese would first buy out their cassette making factory. The message from the record labels was that they were tired of being led up the garden path by format changes. By the early 1990s the CD had taken hold and the record companies grew fat again by virtue of people replacing their old tape and vinyl collections with CDs. Then they started crying foul when illegal downloading started up with the MP3.
Looking at this history it seems to me that convenience always wins over quality. However I think it's a bit elitist to dismiss cheaper, more convenient formats. High quality audio is like organic food, or maybe a new car. Once you've tasted the quality it's hard to go back. But you may need to re-order your priorities so you can afford it, and for many people that's just not an option. Neil Young has spent a lot of time in recording studios with some pretty expensive high quality equipment. If your benchmark for listening is a $20,000 set of speakers in an acoustically-perfect room, what hope do you have enjoying music coming out of some iPod earbuds while you're on the train?
There is always going to be a small corner of the market that will buy quality audio, just as there is a market for high quality in most things. Evidently there are some folk who are happy to pay $35,000 for a car, or $60 a month for Pay TV or maybe even $20 for a kilo of blueberries. My priorities include listening to good quality audio when I can, so I forego the fancy car, the Pay TV and the boutique blueberries. I'm grateful that Radiohead offered their latest album for download in both MP3 and higher quality WAV format.
If I have to complain about MP3s it is more about the loss of the musical piracy skills that I learnt as a kid. There was dedication involved. You had to know which blank tape to buy, how to set the levels, how to cue up a tape, how to avoid the sound of the needle drop on your recording. Then there was the mysterious art of putting two complementary albums on the one tape so you weren't always rewinding one side, or selecting just the right tracks in just the right order for the perfect mix-tape. Then there was the laborious task of writing out the tracks on the cover, the fiddly stickers, taking out the tabs on the cassette to stop you taping over it. Now you just click download and you're away.
Come to think of it, I don't miss the old piracy ways at all. Just bring on the NBN so downloading a WAV file won't take so long.