This is leading to mixes that are compressed and one dimensional, and sound particularly bad on any system higher end than an iPod (95 percent of everything else). Here are some of the more potent quotes:
"Right now, when you are done recording a track, the first thing the band does is to load it onto an iPod and give it a listen," said Alan Douches, who has worked with Fleetwood Mac and others. "Years ago, we might have checked the sound of a track on a Walkman, but no one believed that was the best it could sound. Today, young artists think MP3s are a high-quality medium and the iPod is state-of-the-art sound."
For example, says veteran Los Angeles studio owner Skip Saylor, high frequencies that might seem splendid on a CD might not sound as good as an MP3 file and so will get taken out of the mix. "The result might make you happy on an MP3, but it wouldn't make you happy on a CD," he says. "Am I glad I am doing this? No. But it's the real world and so you make adjustments."
"Ten years ago, music was warmer; it was rich and thick, with more tones and more 'real power.' But newer records are more brittle and bright. They have what I call 'implied power.' It's all done with delays and reverbs and compression to fool your brain."
All these engineers tend to be audiophiles, the sort who would fuss over a track to make it perfect. But they're beginning to wonder if they should bother.
...engineers experience some nostalgia about earlier technologies. Says Mr. Saylor, "What we've lost with this new era of massive compression and low fidelity are the records that sounds so good that you get lost in them. "Dark Side of the Moon" -- records like that just aren't being made today."
This is so flipping sad and pathetic. And it's short sighted. Who's to say that the MP3 format and iPods aren't going to go the way of the Betamax in a few years?
As all of the reissued Beatles albums and especially the ones that were remixed (Love, the Anthology Series and Yellow Submarine) have proven, if you shoot for the highest possible sound quality at the source, no matter the popular media of the day, your audio can sound rich, warm and timeless decades after it was recorded and the artists are long gone. That was the LAW at Abbey Road studios in the 1960s.
Conversely, certain CDs, when they were first issued in the 80s and not fixed up in any way, had pops and cracks on them because some producers in the 60s and 70s knew that the vinyl LP turntable and needle based format would cover up noises and imperfections. On CDs those same 'inaudible imperfections' are loud as day.
This proved to be short sighted, so why are we doing it all over again? Come on you lazy fuckers, don't cater to the lowest possible denominator!