I dropped by the local Guitar Center the other day and happened by the PA section. They were playing some rather poor excuse for music through a pair of speakers which shall remain nameless at this point.
The sound was really bad and it was not possible (by listening to only one unknown song) to know if it was the recording or the speakers, or both.
But it did get me thinking, did any of the employees know that it sounded bad, or are most kids these days just unaware of what music is supposed to sound like?
I really don't know the answer to that question. To me it is so obvious that it does not seem necessary to even point it out. But I constantly find that most people just do not hear it. I say, "Can you hear how the bass is almost completely gone from that track?" They say, "Let me hear it again and maybe I will be able to hear it."
The proper balance of frequencies in recorded music has existed since World War II and vinyl has been able to deliver a remarkably solid and full frequency spectrum since that time. In fact, the loudness level of good vinyl is right where I believe we should place the loudness level of CDs and mp3 and HD tracks. In other words, about -16 LUFS and -1 true peaks. (I am no vinyl fanatic, merely pointing out that good sound has existed for quite a while.
If you listen to great music in any genre of the past 70 years, you will hear what music should sound like.
Which is why I gave those Youtube video examples of music through the years. For every song that I suggested, there are thousands that are similar.
What are people listening to? If you have any ideas, don't hesitate to let me know.
When I was analyzing thousands of masters from the vault at BMG, I noticed very quickly that well recorded albums had almost identical frequency response curves. In other words, great sound has existed for decades with great recording engineers in almost every genre of music.
I can hear minute differences on my ipod with my $20 Sony earbuds. (You do not need expensive equipment to enjoy good music)
The fact that distorted music and distorted waveforms and bad music have become commonplace in today's pop music world is no reason that we have to resign ourselves to it.
Start by listening carefully and don't be afraid to say it is bad when it is bad.