Quality of sound is not a joke. It leads to quality of life and quality of mental state.
Convenience & cost are the counterbalances to quality. You can go overboard with any of the three. We find the balance in the marketplace largely based on what choices are brought to market in the first place.
If things don’t feel the same as they did in the 90’s or before, it’s because things aren’t the same.
Almost everything man-made we hear these days is lower quality than in the 90’s or decades before. It’s louder and more active but ultimately it’s flat, lossy, small, and less real, thus the emotional letdown is legitimate.
The head-bob test is real. Modern sound devices get people moving less than previous generations.
Modern music production has counterattacked with a full nuclear loudness/ADHD war to end all wars. Everything since 2005 or so is pumped pumped pumped, then chopped & dropped, then spun, flipped, sucked in, spit, split, wait for the drop!!!!. Bunch of sidechain sucking replacing and 10-tracking all kick drums with 4 subs. And this is before the autotune.
Production can do nearly anything in the virtual world now. No limits (until the end) and no way you could even comprehend all of the DSP processing going into modern pop music.
This isn’t just their ADHD and cocaine problems manifest as sound. This is a reaction to the public format being restricted yet again because of convenience over quality.
[This is also why rock and roll is so dead right now. ]
Why this rant today? I get excited when I see things changing. I know I’m not alone because of things like this video, where we have a motley group of important folks on the stage talking about sound quality.
There’s the guy that gets to do Sony Music re-issues direct from the vaults (coolest job ever!). There’s 2 gadget guys from Onkyo and Sony. There’s 2 label executive guys. And the head producer lady from the Recording Arts Society (the Grammy’s).
A good mix of the industry heavyweights and they all get that hi-res audio is the next thing in consumer music. They even give Pono and Neil props before it’s launch (it was recorded in June 2014).
Also, check out the Recordings Arts website qualitysoundmatters.com to learn more about the move away from low-fidelity music.