Audio News for August 22, 2007

by | Aug 22, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Producer Phil Ramone on MP3 – Ramone has recorded everyone from Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones and won nine Grammys for his album “Getz/Gilberto.” He warns: “Whether you know it or not, that compact disc you just copied to your MP3 player is only partially there… the music contained in these computer files represents less than 10 percent of the original music on the CDs. In its journey from CD to MP3 player, the music has been compressed by eliminating data that computer analysis deems redundant, squeezed down until it fits through the Internet pipeline. When even the full files on the CDs contain less than half the information stored to studio hard drives during recording, these compressed MP3s represent a minuscule fraction of the actual recording.

AM-HD and AM Radio’s Future – The rollout of HD Radio in the FM band is going well, with thousands of stations licensed to the Ibiquity standard. But things are different in the AM band, where only 1775 or so stations have even licensed AM-HD. Some have even tried it and taken it off the air due to problems. Among them are potential new interference for some of their analog AM listeners as well as listeners to stations on adjacent channels. The advantages of stereo and better fidelity don’t seem that attractive to the bulk of AMs running only news, talk and sports. There is also no night time authority for AM-HD.

Some engineers propose that stations should all migrate to a new band for AM – an expanded version where stations could simulcast on their old AM channel and the new one for a time until the proper penetration of receivers occurred. Their best choice is analog TV channels 5 & 6, which will become available when all analog transmitters are shut down in early 2009. In 1945 the FM band moved from 42-49 MHz to its present 88-108 MHz, but few people owned the original FM sets at the time. Today is entirely different, with hi-fi, hi-res audio entertainment available everywhere, plus iPods, MP3 players and the Internet have taken away much of AM radio’s audience. The newly-available VHF TV channels will be auctioned off by the FCC to the highest bidders, and only the giant companies owning many AM stations will be able to compete in the bidding wars. The Canadians are considering adopting Ibiquity for their FM but using Digital Radio Mondiale for their AM stations. It could be a more flexible and worthy option for AM stations.

PGM Recordings Available Again – PGM was a classical/baroque/early music label with very high performance and technical standards, operated by Gabe Wiener, who died in 1997 at the age of only 26. David Josephson of Josephson Engineering has been maintaining a web site at www.pgm.com, but the CDs had not been available. Now most of the titles in the PGM collection covering the baroque and early classical period are again available for purchase.

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