Audio News for March 17, 2009

by | Mar 17, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

New Print Classical Music Magazine Launched – In a courageous move, a new bimonthly print magazine about classical music in our daily lives has been launched: Listen. Their web site is www.listenmusicmag.com and they appear to have a tie-in with ArkivMusic.com.  The initial large-format issue features very readable articles on soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, 15 Questions with the Met Opera’s general manager Peter Gelb, the scoop on the Seattle classical music scene, profiles on soprano Joyce DiDonato and pianist Leon Fleisher, and a piece about the transcribing of Bill Evans and Art Tatum solos for classical pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Disc reviews include the Minnesota Orchestra Beethoven Symphony series, Suk’s “Asrael” Symphony, and Julia Fischer’s Bach Violin Concertos.  The annual subscription is $15.

Reference Recordings’ Two New HRx Titles – Reference Recordings has reissued two of their classic titles in their new 176.4K/24-bit super-hi-res format which is only playable on computers or music servers. Malcom Arnold conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra in five of his own overtures, and pianist Dick Hyman solos in piano music associated with Bix Beiderbecke on “Thinking About Bix.”

Blu-ray Discs Preferred Over Streaming Video – According to a new study from Smith Geiger, ten times as many respondents preferred to watch their favorite movies on Bu-ray than streaming over the Internet.  70% of those Blu-ray fans said that one of their main reasons was the portability of the discs. A 400% increase in Blu-ray disc sales is expected for this year vs. 2007, and by 2012 half of all video disc sales will be on the new format, according to another report from Futuresource.

Children Prefer Compressed MP3 Sound
– It’s now official: the youngest generation have had their hearing so corrupted by digital compression that they have learned to actually prefer MP3 versions of music to the CD standard. A Stanford music professor conducted acoustic tests with each year’s group of new students. He had them do critical music listening to a variety of sources, which included compressed MP3s as well as high quality sonics. To his dismay the students each year increasingly preferred the tinny sounds of the MP3s! He believes this has more to do with psychology than audiology – that kids today have altered their perception of what sounds good, and a preference for poor sound is becoming learned behavior. Could this relate to the audiophile debate about the differences between analog and digital?  Perhaps preferences for vinyl or CD are also learned behavior.  MP3s rose to prominence when the new SACD format offered the ultimate multichannel quality from a digital source. But Apple and iTunes quickly took over with the younger set and acclimated millions of listeners to the compromised sonics of low-bit-rate audio files.  Those awful earbuds that are often the first listening experience for youngsters, only made the situation even worse.

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