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The iTunes sound enhancer, and the decline of Western civilization (sorta)
Old 2nd January 2009
  #1
Gear nut
 
steve.h's Avatar
 

The iTunes sound enhancer, and the decline of Western civilization (sorta)

Let me preface this by saying the reason I had the "Sound Enhancer" on in the first place is because a movie I was playing wasn't loud enough for me to hear, and I was desperately looking for something other than the volume knob (which was already topped out) to "ENHANCE" my listening experience. The "Sound Enhancer" provided a modest volume increase, and so I left it on.

Fast forward to five minutes ago, I pop in my band's recently finished (my)self-produced CD, of which I am quite proud, and as the first track builds up, I start thinking to myself, "wow, this really isn't as good as I remembered. The vocals are completely buried, the solo's are missing, the drums are inaudible, and all I can hear is static-y ****. Is this really the same CD?" I started doubting my ears, my ability to think, and pretty much my very soul. Then I remember that a CD I'd been listening to an hour prior, Cave In's "Perfect Pitch Black" (a masterpiece of awesomeness, by the way) sounded like absolute distorted room-y **** on my mixing setup, also connected to the same computer, playing out of the same iTunes.

Then it hit me: I still had the god-forsaken "Sound Enhancer" running full-blast. I turned it off, and all is finally well. My album sounds the way I remembered it, etc.

The point of this rant? (Which, I now realize, wasn't censored at all as I had originally promised... blame the lack of sleep and New Years' "festivities" last night) How many uninformed/unaware listeners have this horrible useless piece of **** "feature" enabled on their iTunes? It's funny: we all sit here trying our best to make the songs/albums we work on sound as sonically awesome and inspiring as we can, only to be ripped at 96kbps and played through iTunes' "Sound Enhancer" through laptop speakers or iPod headphones.

I realize that particular conundrum has been posted, scrutinized, and generally beaten into the ground hundreds of times on hundreds of messageboards/blogs/etc., but a recent discussion on current vs. 60's/70's recording techniques and trends, leads me to wonder if the reason people seem to be gravitating towards ****tier and ****tier bland, "white-bread & water" (or more like "pure salt & sugar") bands/records, while some of the most truly inspiring, awesome, heart-filled music being made is going completely ignored, is because the listening systems they're using are so ****ty, and that the ****ty bland corporate bull**** music is being tracked, mixed, and mastered specifically with these horrible play-back mediums in mind?

(wow, holy ****ing run-on sentence!)

Essentially, if people were all listening on even modestly decent equipment, would they have a more varied, cultured, honest music taste? Would they stray away from myspace, and get back to the record/CD store? Should we be blaming mixing engineers, fans, or the people making listening to music a "casual, non-engaging experience"? Could the iPod and myspace kill music? People are buying 24" high-def LCD monitors with their computers, and they're still getting the ****ty $5 no-name beige speakers with 'em. Can you imagine if every computer came with an equivalently-priced speaker system? For $300 you could get a pretty respectable entry-level listening system, be it headphone or speaker-based. But instead, you're getting ****ty little 300hz-8khz "radio effect" speakers, to be used as your window to new music through the internet.


Perhaps I'd do better to realize that most people would rather be deaf than blind.
Old 2nd January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
The Beatsmith's Avatar
 

yeah, i think it's pretty bad that it's on by default.
Old 2nd January 2009
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve.h View Post

Essentially, if people were all listening on even modestly decent equipment, would they have a more varied, cultured, honest music taste? Would they stray away from myspace, and get back to the record/CD store? Should we be blaming mixing engineers, fans, or the people making listening to music a "casual, non-engaging experience"? Could the iPod and myspace kill music? People are buying 24" high-def LCD monitors with their computers, and they're still getting the ****ty $5 no-name beige speakers with 'em. Can you imagine if every computer came with an equivalently-priced speaker system? For $300 you could get a pretty respectable entry-level listening system, be it headphone or speaker-based. But instead, you're getting ****ty little 300hz-8khz "radio effect" speakers, to be used as your window to new music through the internet.


I think you have answered your own question. People use to spend time listening to music. Now it is wedged between, or on top of the 50 other things they do for entertainment. The Times They Are a-Changing..
Old 3rd January 2009
  #4
Gear Head
 

What did you expect? tutt
Old 3rd January 2009
  #5
Gear addict
 
Tantrum The Cat's Avatar
 

Remember the giant oak cabinet "hi-fi"s (more like "no-fi"s) from the 70s with the crappy non-diamond stylus and the turntable that stacked the records before plunking 'em down? (Most of my aunts & uncles had 'em, I think the speakers shipped with the tweeters already blown out.)

Remember boom boxes with high-speed cassette dubbing?

Remember, God forbid, 8-track tapes?

Consumer audio has ALWAYS sucked.

The best engineers, producers, mixers, and artists have forged on regardless.
Old 3rd January 2009
  #6
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tantrum The Cat View Post
Remember the giant oak cabinet "hi-fi"s (more like "no-fi"s) from the 70s with the crappy non-diamond stylus and the turntable that stacked the records before plunking 'em down? (Most of my aunts & uncles had 'em, I think the speakers shipped with the tweeters already blown out.)

Remember boom boxes with high-speed cassette dubbing?

Remember, God forbid, 8-track tapes?

Consumer audio has ALWAYS sucked.

The best engineers, producers, mixers, and artists have forged on regardless.
indeed!!
Old 3rd January 2009
  #7
Gear maniac
 

i always thought i tunes sounded ****ty... just thought it was the mp3s and all that junk.... didn't even know about this "sound enhancer" turned it off and its better now
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