Can anyone explain to me why every performance I’ve attended in the last several years, whether movie or concert, small club or large auditorium, all except symphony orchestra, has been over amplified, obnoxiously loud, often distorted, and in every case badly EQ’d with overblown bass and excruciating treble? Why are our ears being assaulted with damaging sound pressure levels? Who thinks it sounds good?
Along with poor concert audio is poor home audio. Most of the time it’s not terribly bad, just subpar and lacking. What has happened? There are a slew of explanations, technological and sociological. The effects are cumulative. Together they’ve changed the landscape of music listening. Other than at concerts, few people take time to simply listen to music. We hear more music than ever on our super convenient portable devices, but that’s not the kind of listening I’m talking about. I mean pure, focussed listening, like being at a concert. Then, if we do devote time to listen, how do we know if the music sounds right? The opportunity to hear real live acoustic instruments free from any electronic manipulation—the only true reference for comparison—is becoming rarer, and with public performances giving us a dismayingly poor standard of reference, few know how real music really sounds. Add to this recording standards which have devolved into the inexplicable use of dynamic compression, compounded by gross over processing. As the potential quality of live and recorded music has never been better, it underlines the puzzling and inexcusable slump in the realized quality.
Today, we have the knowledge and technology to consistently produce astoundingly good live sound and superb recordings. We also have easily within our reach equally high quality playback at bargain basement prices, yet these same potentials have been turned against us, ruining our ears subjectively and literally, sapping away listening time, and sucking the life out of music. Lost in the mix is the real prize—deep-listening experiences of music. It’s time to speak up and take action.
Enter Save The Stereo Project. At their website you can read about their mission, take the survey, and spread the word. It takes only minutes : [Save The Stereo Project]
Plus ear opening links to save our ears.
Note the date on this letter : [Audio Prayer]
Further discussion : [Enemies of Our Ears]
More criticism of untrained and hearing impaired live sound operators : [More Enemies]
Dangerous SPLs at concerts : [Go Deaf Sooner]
The cold, hard misconceptions : [Disturbing Facts]