Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trent Reznor, Ear Buds and a Compromised Listening Experience

Much continues to be written about Trent Reznor. When his contract expired with Interscope, he put out his own music and was hugely successful. He took the record companies to task for not embracing new technology. He continues to do so in this weeks New Yorker. The most telling quote comes at the end of the article. Trent notes, “Walk into a Best Buy and everyone’s obsessed with the highest possible resolution for their TVs. 1080p versus 1080i resolution, hundred-dollar HDMI video cables . . . yet everyone still walks around with those terrible quality white iPod ‘earbuds.”

Most digital music files lack the quality of vinyl or CD. Highs, lows and dynamics are lost. Musicians, producers and engineers painstakingly mull over every track to get just the right sound and yet it's not a part of the listening experience for many people. Sub par headphones and compressed files: Could this be why people are turning away from paying for music? Is the listening experience compromised?

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