Neil Young disses the CD medium in USA Today

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Frank_S, Apr 11, 2002.

  1. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Here's a snippet from an article in USA Today.
    Preserving his legacy is a priority, yet Young finds the mechanics frustrating and unsatisfying. The problem, he says, rests in the music industry's self-destructive decision to switch from vinyl platters to compact discs.
    Young dismisses music's creative and commercial slumps as mere byproducts of vinyl's extinction. He insists labels sold out quality 20 years ago and short-changed fans by pushing an inferior delivery system, the CD, into the
    marketplace.
    "The videos that came along at the same time distracted us from the fact that music was literally losing its depth," Young argues. "A CD is a reconstruction of the sound. It's not even a clone. It's more like a toy or a robot, just a string of ones and zeros, whereas analog recording is a true reflection, like a pool or a mirror. Imagine telling Picasso, 'That's a nice painting; now we're going to fax it to the public.' There's no doubt in my mind that this is why the industry is failing."
    Consequently, Young plans to issue vinyl versions of all past and future recordings, including Passionate and the archives, on his Vapor label. "I've gone to the highest-resolution DVDs, and I still prefer to hear my music
    on vinyl off the analog masters," Young says. "I look at my whole life's work and realize there's no medium for it."
    You can find the complete article here
    http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/2...ung-inside.htm
     
  2. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    So I guess we won't be seeing any remastered Neil Young CDs any time soon. [​IMG]
    I guess it's nice to have the luxury to listen to them "on vinyl off the analog masters" but most people can't do that. I know he's been an opponent of CDs for a while now, but he isn't going to do much about it. Rather than complaining about your vanilla audio CD, I think the energy would be better spent pushing formats like DVD-A and SACD that have some likelihood of surviving.
     
  3. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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  4. Jagan Seshadri

    Jagan Seshadri Supporting Actor

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    I am a Neil Young fan (most of the time) but I thought that he got hyperacusis in the early 1990s, so what he hears (or doesn't hear) may explain his statement somewhat.
    CD quality can be awesome. I'm not talking about the run-of-the-mill superbassed superloud CDs that are just sonic mush, but I'm refering to well-recorded and well-mastered CDs. Neil's early albums on CD aren't that good, I admit, but I doubt even Neil would pass an ABX test between his beloved analog and a properly-mastered DVD-A.
    Perhaps Neil has a "Golden Ear"? If that's so, sign me up for hyperacusis too. [​IMG]
    -JNS
     
  5. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    So I guess if I ever want to listen to his music he just needs to come over to my place with the band and jam? That would certainly be the truest representation. [​IMG]
     
  6. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    How many folks on this thread have really spent too much time listening to vinyl? Perfect vinyl will crush CD sound. 12" 45 rpm singles with wide grooves are the best possible reproduction IMO. Even the compromise of 33 rpm and narrower grooves will kick CD's ass. If I was given the choice 2-day between vinyl and CD's, I'd buy the most demanding music on vinyl. I'd buy a mixed bag. I'd buy some music on CD or other digital media for convience. Santana's ABRAXAS sounds better on vinyl than SACD. I compared the two this week. We are creatures of habit and one can become accustomed to digital sound but Neil is absolutely right in so much as analog sound is stille better. The only thing I ever disliked about vinyl was it's sometimes lack of durability.

    I tend to aggree with most of what Neil is saying except the part about sound quality killing the music industry. Gouge pricing is what's hurting the industry IMO. People have become accustomed to CD sound and readily accept it.

    np- Vivino Brothers - CHITLINS PARMIGIANA
     
  7. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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  8. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  9. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    Neil's been saying this for many, many years. Another common quote of his is that the last twenty years will someday be remembered as the "Dark Ages of recorded sound."

    If you've got a well-tuned and high-quality analog setup with clean, well-pressed records, you can indeed beat CD in many if not most cases. The reasons for this are legion -- CD sampling is too low to catch the subtler details, CDs are often mastered far too loud with too much compression, the inherent distortions of vinyl are pleasing to the ear ("warmth"), etc., etc..

    But maintaining a great analog setup and a library of greast records is expensive and a pain in the butt. You've gotta clean, you've gotta de-static, you have to isolate everything from vibration, you have replace needles, you have to deal with bad pressings, worn stampers, brand new warped LPs, and on and on.

    CDs easily beat LPs for me at home, but that's because my turntable is cheap and I haven't taken the time to hunt down the best pressings of stuff.

    The analogy I like to use, which I'd credit if I knew who originally came up with it, is that with vinyl you get a (quality range on a scale from 1 to 10) of anywhere from a 3 to a 10, depending on all the variables I mentioned. With CD, you're guaranteed any copy from the same master will sound the same, probably around a 7. SACD and DVD-A will give you a consistent 8 or 9.

    I'll take a consistent, maintenance-free, buy any old copy off the rack, plug-it-in-and-it-works system over a cranky, delicate, hit-and-miss system that can potentially deliver superior sound. Others have different priorities, which is of course fine.

    Ryan
     
  10. Craig_T

    Craig_T Second Unit

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    The biggest problem with CDs today is with all the compression because of these legions of louder is better morons.
     
  11. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Exactly how good do you think Neil's hearing is these days, after decades of touring? Do you really think he's been using ear plugs all these years? Hypercacusis or not.

    I don't deny that vynil sounds great, but one can get very good sound from CDs with average gear.

     
  13. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    Music is an ANALOG phenommena. All of the improvement in the world to a digital delivery will not recapture the analog nature music resides in, IMO.

    Sure, vinyl has issues, as does every delivery of recorded music. The fact of the matter is the best source is and has always been the analog master TAPES. Seems to me a cassette type dilivery with an improved tape would have been a viable alternative. The industry probably didn't want that for pirating concerns. The bottom line is greed and how much money they can get from the consumer. Neil Young is an artist that understands the CD was RIP OFF, not only for the consumer, but for the artists as well.

    He wouldn't allow some of his crucial releases to be put on CD because he didn't like the way the product sounds. For that, I salute him. Greed (on his part) did not enter into the equation, which is a rarety now.

    Now I got to go dig up my vinyl "AFter the Goldrush".
     
  14. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Ryan said:Quote"You've gotta clean, you've gotta de-static, you have to isolate everything from vibration, you have replace needles,you have to deal with bad pressings, worn stampers, brand new warped LPs, and on and on. "
    You are indeed correct but if you love music, it's worth it.
    A lot of Baby boomers, including myself were led to believe that CD was the end all medium. I bought into it in the 80's but after spending countless hours and lots of money on digital gear, I concluded I was'nt happy with what I was hearing. I have a few, very few CD's that sound good, but my vinyl collection has many more satisfying recordings. My best sounding CD can't compete with the majority of my LP's.
    I buy more vinyl than I do CD's and I'm not getting involved with SACD or DVD-A. I have heard both mediums played back on mega buck systems and they don't impress me enough to get involved. That coupled with all the new copy protection crap that's evolving and pretty soon you won't be able to burn CD's or copy anything digital in the future, if the studios have their way. I enjoy having CD's for convenience but if I really want to enjoy 2 channel music, I always choose vinyl.
    Last year turntable manufacturers sold more tables than the previous year. There were more TT manufacturers at CES this year also. Simply put, vinyl is'nt going away anytime soon.[​IMG]
     
  15. luke j. chung

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    What version of Planet Earth is Neil living on? Vinyl, when properly presented is a better-sounding format, but a helluva high-maintenance pain in the butt! Don't get me wrong, I buy vinyl when the artist is someone I care about like Neil, but let's face it, vinyl is less than 1% of the commercial market for the music business these days and I frankly don't see it surviving the coming decade. It's not something I like to admit, but face it, the LP is basically a dying breed![​IMG]
     
  16. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    The CD is a compromised format. There is no doubt about that to my mind. LP is usually better, as is DVD-Audio and SACD. I agree with Neil Young. However, I also question his decision to re-release his works on vinyl. My feeling is that there will be limited interest in such LPs. The LP is alive and well in audiophile circles, but I don't feel many audiophiles are going to buy Neil Young on vinyl. I agree with the sentiment from some here that he should release more titles in high-resolution digital, where there is a chance that Best Buy and/or Circuit City would expose more people to the "more" of his music that these new formats can deliver. If Neil Young re-releases his albums on vinyl, fine, but also give us some better digital releases. Based on contractual obligations, I would expect to see Neil Young on DVD-Audio, not SACD. Live Rocks is already out on DVD-Audio. Let's see more!
     
  18. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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  19. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jack said:
     

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