## Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

We are the Borg.
Anaxagoras
Posts: 28502
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:45 am
Location: Yokohama/Tokyo, Japan

### Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Just wondering if this is some kind of audiophile woo-woo or if he has a legitimate point:

Neil Young says done with streaming due to 'worst' sound quality
Singer-songwriter and musician Neil Young said on Wednesday he won't allow his music to be streamed any more, not because of disputes over royalties, but rather over poor sound quality.

"I don't need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution," the Canadian rocker said in a post on his Facebook page.

"I don't feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It's bad for my music."

Young, 69, was one of the biggest rock stars of the 1960s and 1970s with bands like Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and a successful solo career that has included albums like "Harvest" and "Rust Never Sleeps."

He has long complained about digital audio and, as a result, has developed Pono, a portable player that aims to lend a higher quality than streaming or MP3.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
Doctor X
Posts: 73209
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 8:09 pm
Title: Collective Messiah

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

MP3 tends to be of lower quality than "lossless" modalities which are much larger and take far longer to download. How noticeable is it?

His music sucks so badly it is the wrong to use it to judge.

--J.D.
Mob of the Mean: Free beanie, cattle-prod and Charley Fan Club!
"Doctor X is just treating you the way he treats everyone--as subhuman crap too dumb to breathe in after you breathe out." – Don
DocX: FTW. – sparks
"Doctor X wins again." – Pyrrho
"Never sorry to make a racist Fucktard cry." – His Humble MagNIfIcence
"It was the criticisms of Doc X, actually, that let me see more clearly how far the hypocrisy had gone." – clarsct
"I'd leave it up to Doctor X who has been a benevolent tyrant so far." – Grammatron
"Indeed you are a river to your people.
Shit. That's going to end up in your sig." – Pyrrho
"Try a twelve step program and accept Doctor X as your High Power." – asthmatic camel
"just like Doc X said." – gnome

WS CHAMPIONS X4!!!! NBA CHAMPIONS!! Stanley Cup! SB CHAMPIONS X6!!!!!!
specious_reasons
Posts: 6694
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:58 pm

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Anaxagoras wrote:Just wondering if this is some kind of audiophile woo-woo or if he has a legitimate point:

Neil Young says done with streaming due to 'worst' sound quality
Both, probably. Young hates how music sounds streamed, and he may have a point, but I doubt he's actually tested it blindly. Plus, he's got a competing product he has to market, and if Taylor Swift can influence Apple, maybe he thinks he can have the same impact.

I won't even notice if his music isn't streaming.
ta-
DAVE!!!
Rob Lister
Posts: 23212
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:15 pm
Title: Incipient toppler
Location: Swimming in Lake Ed

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

I'm sure he has a point, not that I can hear it. I doubt even he can hear it (he's 70).

PCMag has a readable overview of the situation. I noted not the least woo. They conclude with
Now that people are streaming 720p high-definition video over the Internet, we clearly have the bandwidth for uncompressed audio as well. Here's hoping Neil Young isn't alone in what he wants out of digital music.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399710,00.asp

That conclusion actually contains a couple of gaffs. But the point remains; there's plenty a bandwidth for FLAC. And nobody wants to ...
buy one, bring it home, rip open the plastic, and spend 20 minutes importing it only to end up with wasted plastic just to get the top-quality sound files. It's a huge waste of both time and materials.
As an aside, the majority of folks that can really tell the difference (i.e. kids) are generally the ones that care the least.
DrMatt
BANNED
Posts: 29811
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:00 pm
Location: Location: Location!

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

I still play CDs on a CD player, LPs on an LP turntable, and cassettes on a cassette deck. And I have an auxiliary cord to plug a mobile device into the amp.

So what, are you going to sue me?

I also possess a few good books. So there!
Grayman wrote:If masturbation led to homosexuality you'd think by now I'd at least have better fashion sense.
gnome
Posts: 24858
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:40 am
Location: New Port Richey, FL

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

IIRC, mp3 format is "lossy" but should you choose, you can create one with more fidelity than human ears can hear if you don't mind a larger file.

Personally (and it was old jj that got me on it) I think recording-end volume compression does more damage to sound quality than anything else.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2
Rob Lister
Posts: 23212
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:15 pm
Title: Incipient toppler
Location: Swimming in Lake Ed

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

DrMatt wrote:I still play CDs on a CD player, LPs on an LP turntable, and cassettes on a cassette deck. And I have an auxiliary cord to plug a mobile device into the amp.

So what, are you going to sue me?
No, but there are not enough "yous" out there to make the margins worth the work. Neil doesn't care about profit because he's rich. You don't care about profit because ... you're weird. The rest of the industry ...
I also possess a few good books. So there!
I can scan and convert those for you if you like. I have skills there.

On an additional note, let's look at Pono.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pono_%28d ... service%29

Ecosystem
The Pono "ecosystem" will reportedly comprise the following components:

A portable music player, "PonoPlayer", costing $399 with 64 GB of internal storage. The player comes with an additional removable 64 GB MicroSD card and larger MicroSD cards can be used. Currently 128GB MicroSD cards are available and can be used. Thus, the total capacity can be 64GB, with no MicroSD card inserted, or more depending on the size and the MicroSD card. The cards can be swapped to allow for a larger selection of data.[20] The press release notes that the PonoPlayer, developed in collaboration with Ayre Acoustics, can store "100 to 500 high-resolution digital-music albums".[23] The PonoMusic online music store, which will also sell earbud and headphone products suitable for use with the PonoPlayer device.[23] "PonoMusic App", accompanying desktop-based "media-management" software, which will allow customers to download and sync music to the player.[23] Not saying there's not a market, but$399? I suppose they did their research. Can they not make this work on an Android device?
Technology
"high-resolution" 24-bit 192kHz
Lossless (within the constraints of the bit-rate resolution and sample rate) one assumes. Big files. From above we can calculate size as
~250 albums
~40min per album
~10,000 minutes per 64gb
~6.5mb per minute
~25mb per song.

did i miss a decimal?

That's 10x the size of a mp3 and half the size of a wav.

And more ...

The mostly dweebs on slashdot are having a fun time with it. There are more funny comments than valid ones. This one is a combo worth quoting ...
A 256Kbps AAC is objectively equal to CD sound quality, as confirmed by double-blind test after test. Furthermore, a huge portion of listeners will be hearing your angel's choir over cheap-ass ear buds or crap laptop speakers. Maybe you have a golden ear and can tell the difference between a CD and a FLAC file (are those good enough for you, or do they lack the sharp ones and smooth zeros of the digital masters?). Maybe you're not actually a delusional once-great who has lousy hearing and permanent tinnitus after years of playing rock concerts, and, well, being almost 70. Maybe your home hi-fi (do you still call it that?) was hand-wired by a wizened master of recording engineering fame. Maybe you have your own private anechoic chamber so you're not exposed to anything but the pure and sweet sounds of your own singing. But the rest of us listen to normal-person music with a dynamic range that's been shot to hell in the loudness wars, via normal-person audio formats, through normal-person digital-to-analog converters, into normal-person speakers, in a normal-person environment with kids playing and horns honking and dogs barking and coworkers chattering.

Your music, pristine to the heavens though it may be, sounds no better than Miley Cyrus when piping out of my MacBook. You've become a crotchety old curmudgeon trying to remain relevant to those kids who won't stay off your lawn, and maybe it's time to sit down with a hot cup of keep your yap shut and enjoy a nice book.

Good day, sir.
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 87285
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Not quite Chicago

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

As I see it, the question is not whether streaming audio is poorer quality than a high quality CD. Of course it is and no audiophile woowoo about it.

But how does it compare with the typical radio broadcast from the days when some people gave a shit about Neil Young?
The arc of the moral universe bends towards chaos.
People who believe God or History are on their side provide the chaos.
whitefork
Posts: 3957
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:23 pm
Title: Nearly Normal
Location: I live in Trafalgar Square with four lions to guard me.

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

give Neil's love of feedback, distortion, hum, fuzz and volume in general, I laugh a little but not as much as I laugh at Donald one no-Trump's attempted use of "Rocking in the Free World". Neil's droll.
I don't own Metal Machine Music but I kind of put this latest news into the same category.
If it's good enough for Nelson, it's quite good enough for me.
Rob Lister
Posts: 23212
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:15 pm
Title: Incipient toppler
Location: Swimming in Lake Ed

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Abdul Alhazred wrote:As I see it, the question is not whether streaming audio is poorer quality than a high quality CD. Of course it is and no audiophile woowoo about it.

But how does it compare with the typical radio broadcast from the days when some people gave a shit about Neil Young?
I posted a response to that but deleted it because I had to give it a harder thunk.

FM channels are 1MHz wide but the maximum deviation from the stations center freq is 75Khz. That's a 150KHz spread. One can't compare that with the sample rate of a D/A converter (that's where I goofed) so it is apples and oranges. There is no sample rate with FM ... or if there is the samples are limited only by the degree to which an analog circuit can respond to discrete changes in current within its operational range, which is infinite for all practical purposes. Other than a lower noise floor (?), I can't believe MP3 would compare well. Doesn't mean humans can hear it.

We used to know a guy that knew that stuff. Why did you make him leave?
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 87285
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Not quite Chicago

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Wrong calculation Ron.

2) Under "ideal" conditions doesn't count.

You mean jj? Fuck'm.
The arc of the moral universe bends towards chaos.
People who believe God or History are on their side provide the chaos.
Rob Lister
Posts: 23212
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:15 pm
Title: Incipient toppler
Location: Swimming in Lake Ed

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Abdul Alhazred wrote:Wrong calculation Ron.

2) Under "ideal" conditions doesn't count.

You mean jj? Fuck'm.
No. AM has little fidelity. Not even under ideal conditions. Amplitude is only poorly moderated and so poorly modulated. The diode does its just just fine though.
Last edited by Rob Lister on Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 87285
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Not quite Chicago

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Exactly.

How do you suppose I listened to Neil Young the first time I heard his shit?
The arc of the moral universe bends towards chaos.
People who believe God or History are on their side provide the chaos.
Rob Lister
Posts: 23212
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:15 pm
Title: Incipient toppler
Location: Swimming in Lake Ed

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Abdul Alhazred wrote:Exactly.

How do you suppose I listened to Neil Young the first time I heard his shit?
Live. At Woodstock. While stoned. Tripping on bad acid (they fucking warned you!). Wet. Dirty. Hungry.

Wait. That's how I always picture you. It is the only possible explanation for your posts.
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 87285
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Not quite Chicago

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

The arc of the moral universe bends towards chaos.
People who believe God or History are on their side provide the chaos.
ed
Posts: 39646
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: G_D

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Rob Lister wrote:
Abdul Alhazred wrote:Exactly.

How do you suppose I listened to Neil Young the first time I heard his shit?
Live. At Woodstock. While stoned. Tripping on bad acid (they fucking warned you!). Wet. Dirty. Hungry. Bitter

Wait. That's how I always picture you. It is the only possible explanation for your posts.
fixed

"I'm not gay."
- Rob Lister

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks"
- Queen Gertrude - Hamlet
Rob Lister
Posts: 23212
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:15 pm
Title: Incipient toppler
Location: Swimming in Lake Ed

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

He was younger then. Still somewhat confused as to his identity.

That was the last chick he ever checked out.
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 87285
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Not quite Chicago

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

I am a bit too young to have been at Woodstock, though I was old enough to want to go. Furthermore, listening to Neil Young under the influence of the brown acid was even lower fidelity than AM.
The arc of the moral universe bends towards chaos.
People who believe God or History are on their side provide the chaos.
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 87285
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Not quite Chicago

### Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Rob Lister wrote:He was younger then. Still somewhat confused as to his identity.

That was the last chick he ever checked out.

Serious biographical fact: I was trying to "cure" myself by chasing women well into my 20s.
The arc of the moral universe bends towards chaos.
People who believe God or History are on their side provide the chaos.
sparks
Posts: 16958
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:13 pm
Location: Friar McWallclocks Bar -- Where time stands still while you lean over!