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(Time)   How Dr. Dre convinced the world that you need $300 headphones to listen to your highly compressed MP3s   (business.time.com) divider line 43
    More: Interesting, Dr Dre, Jimmy Iovine, market dominance, NPD Group, LL Cool J  
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9816 clicks; posted to Geek » on 16 Jan 2013 at 10:00 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-01-16 10:12:48 PM
5 votes:
What do you mean "how"? Kids are dumb as shiat and have a farkload of disposable income, that's how.
2013-01-16 06:16:30 PM
5 votes:

FlashHarry: it's sad; there's an entire generation that has never heard an uncompressed piece of music.


Using the volume of sound waves to imprint onto a piece of vinyl is also compressed music.  Speakers uncompress it in a certain way.  To insist that music is only pure if it is provided through a certain medium is as absurd as insisting that you need $500 cables to provide quality.

There's far more damage done by the process of mastering by reducing the range of sound than there could ever be in your choice of compression media.
2013-01-17 04:51:56 AM
4 votes:
There are two completely different types of compression that are being referred to seemingly interchangeably in this thread. Let's just clear up a couple things here: the first occurrence of the word compression comes in the thread name. The compression being referred to here and in a number of the comments in the thread is data compression. This type of compression, used to squeeze a digital signal into a smaller number of bytes, was highly necessary in the early days of digital audio and -- among many other things -- allowed Apple to claim that you could put 1,000 songs in your pocket. They failed to mention that these thousand songs would sound vaguely like oatmeal.

These sorts of data compression algorithms were invented by some very clever people and are based on some fairly accurate psychacoustic masking models, so they are a little amazing in how much they can reduce a song's file size without massively impacting the signal quality... but wow the algorithms can do a real number on fidelity if pushed too hard (which they almost always are). This sort of compression also seems somewhat less necessary these days when portable music players could easily store >1,000 digitally uncompressed songs.


But there's an entirely different sort of compression that's being discussed elsewhere in the comments, namely dynamic range compression. This type of compression reduces the amplitude of the highest level signals and brings up the lowest level signals. It's necessary for LPs because of their inherent lack of a large dynamic range (the difference in the lowest level and highest level signals the record can reproduce). That said, a bit of compression can actually be very musical sounding.

Overuse of dynamic range compression, on the other hand, squashes the sound in a very unpleasant way, resulting in music that lacks dynamics.This makes the music simultaneously unexciting and very fatiguing to listen to. In a terrible turn of events, it also allows mixers and mastering engineers to effectively increase the "loudness" of a piece of music, which is something the marketers and producers really liked: 'Hey kid!.. make this record louder than everything else out there" ... and here we entered an awful arms race that has yet to end.

This tldrscreed needs to end now, so I'll end with a plea to the record industry: leave the music digitally uncompressed and preserve its natural dynamics... and to the listeners: get some decent headphones (good god not a pair of "Beats") and reach for the damn volume knob if you want your music louder.
2013-01-16 10:21:05 PM
4 votes:
Beyond a certain point audiophilia is ridiculous. There is good, and then everything above that is your imagination.

I know, I know, unlike the couple studies where even self-described audiophiles swore they could tell and failed miserably in blind tests, the farkers reading this will insist that THEY have the superb superhuman skills to tell.

/I don't even listen to music, you lose so much by listening instead of reading the notes in their originally written format.
2013-01-16 05:56:32 PM
4 votes:
I have listened to music through some Beats headphones... and I'll take my Sennheiser 598's, for $100 less, any day of the week.
2013-01-16 05:44:34 PM
3 votes:
it's sad; there's an entire generation that has never heard an uncompressed piece of music.
2013-01-17 12:17:12 PM
2 votes:
I'm honestly surprised that hipsters haven't flocked to Koss PortaPros yet: folding headphones with industrial design still the best that 1987 has to offer, but nonetheless the best-sounding audio you can buy for $40 at K-Mart.

But then maybe it's not just looking ridiculous that's important, but the combination of looking ridiculous and paying way too much for the privilege.
2013-01-17 07:58:51 AM
2 votes:
Meh.

How I listen to music:

farm4.static.flickr.com

With a SACD player and in surround sound.
2013-01-16 10:43:06 PM
2 votes:
Every time I see someone with a pair of Beats on, I instantly know to not take them seriously. Every time.
2013-01-16 10:34:13 PM
2 votes:
Sony makes ear sofas that deliver nearly as much bass for a lot less.

www.ybsales.net

They do break up before I reach the volume I like though, but it seems people enjoy listening to noise these days.
2013-01-16 10:28:53 PM
2 votes:

Coco LaFemme: I don't care if I'm listening to .mp3s, .wavs, .flacs, cassettes, or vinyl.....I'm not paying $300 for headphones.  I don't see how anyone could blow that kind of money on such a frivolous product.


Non-snark response:

Honestly, why can't you see someone spending $300 on a pair of headphones? Headphones provide the most intimate and often the most robust audio experience currently possible for most consumers. The proliferation of free music of extremely high production quality, coupled with portable devices capable of playing these songs on demand, would only seem to enhance the GENERAL interest in these items, no?

Further, think of those of us who are musicians (or wannabes, at least) and those whom just literally love music, as in it's a passion or a strong interest. $300 to have a great, top-shelf (please, no Fark quibbling on "top shelf", just using it) experience every time you listen to music (which may be upwards of 6-8 hours a day) isn't really that much to spend.

Jussayyiiiiiin.

/I personally think the toughest and best value-for-money set you'll find are KOSS UR-20's. Amazing build for a ridiculous price.
// Panasonic RP-HTF600 now. I like my sets rugged, inexpensive and big. (That's what she said.)
2013-01-16 09:16:21 PM
2 votes:
I don't care if I'm listening to .mp3s, .wavs, .flacs, cassettes, or vinyl.....I'm not paying $300 for headphones.  I don't see how anyone could blow that kind of money on such a frivolous product.
kab
2013-01-17 10:44:14 PM
1 votes:

fusillade762: FlashHarry: it's sad; there's an entire generation that has never heard an uncompressed piece of music.

Kids don't go to live concerts anymore?


You don't think compressors are used live?

This thread is so full of wrong, it's actually kind of awesome.
2013-01-17 03:11:20 PM
1 votes:

Holographic Shimmering Pork: Those are freaking awesome. I've been imagining repurposing a pair of high-quality hearing aids as custom earbuds. The set my ex has was bluetooth compatible, and could be tweaked via bluetooth and proprietary PC software.


If you watch TV or live music, you will see that all the performers today have earbuds.

They are ALL made by Ultimate Ears. All of them.

As an added bonus to sounding more incredible then any earbud has a right to, they provide something like -15 to -25 db noise reduction just from having a good fit in your ear. They are like earplugs that include audiophile quality speakers inside.
2013-01-17 01:23:37 PM
1 votes:

poot_rootbeer: I'm honestly surprised that hipsters haven't flocked to Koss PortaPros yet: folding headphones with industrial design still the best that 1987 has to offer, but nonetheless the best-sounding audio you can buy for $40 at K-Mart.

But then maybe it's not just looking ridiculous that's important, but the combination of looking ridiculous and paying way too much for the privilege.


A design that has existed for over 25 years...and still beats the piss out of Dre's monstrosities.
2013-01-17 01:21:44 PM
1 votes:

thornhill: Meh.

How I listen to music:

[farm4.static.flickr.com image 334x500]

With a SACD player and in surround sound.


That must be a pain in the ass to take on the bus


coolmaterial.com

Not the best sound quality, but they look badass, I got 'em for $20, and the housing is aluminum with a kevlar-wrapped cord.

/You shouldn't be using headphones for anything other than monitoring anyway, if you work in studio production
2013-01-17 01:00:10 PM
1 votes:
"I've seen people wearing them at parties with hundreds of people, and they've got their Beats around their neck. It's no different than somebody wearing a Run DMC T-shirt and Adidas shoes, or the guy who always wears a Metallica T-shirt."

All of those say you're a douche. You go to douche parties. Stop being a douche.
2013-01-17 09:42:18 AM
1 votes:

Fubegra: meatofmystery: Beyerdynamic + USB sound card= still less than the cost of sh*t Beats cans

Dingdingdingdingding! We have a winner! My go-to cans are the DT 770 Pro/80, and my second-in-line are Grado SR60. The Beyers are built like tanks - while the velour earpads no longer look new, they're as comfortable as ever, after five years of heavy use.

My usual listening setup involves an E-MU 0404 USB interface; wonderful sound, but it's now discontinued and no release-quality drivers are forthcoming for Windows 7 or later. Needless to say, I won't be buying anything more from Creative. A Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is in my laptop bag (it works with Win7).

A good clue that a headphone maker actually knows what it's doing is when that company also makes professional microphones. Beyerdynamic, AKG, Shure, Sony, Audio-Technica, and Sennheiser all fit this criterion.

Koss and Grado don't fit this mold, but they're also good brands to consider, and I consider the Grado SR60 (or newer SR60i) to be the best deal in audio.


The Grado SR80i headphones are only about $20 more and totally worth it.
2013-01-17 09:26:48 AM
1 votes:

meatofmystery: Beyerdynamic + USB sound card= still less than the cost of sh*t Beats cans


Dingdingdingdingding! We have a winner! My go-to cans are the DT 770 Pro/80, and my second-in-line are Grado SR60. The Beyers are built like tanks - while the velour earpads no longer look new, they're as comfortable as ever, after five years of heavy use.

My usual listening setup involves an E-MU 0404 USB interface; wonderful sound, but it's now discontinued and no release-quality drivers are forthcoming for Windows 7 or later. Needless to say, I won't be buying anything more from Creative. A Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is in my laptop bag (it works with Win7).

A good clue that a headphone maker actually knows what it's doing is when that company also makes professional microphones. Beyerdynamic, AKG, Shure, Sony, Audio-Technica, and Sennheiser all fit this criterion.

Koss and Grado don't fit this mold, but they're also good brands to consider, and I consider the Grado SR60 (or newer SR60i) to be the best deal in audio.
2013-01-17 08:55:08 AM
1 votes:

Artcurus: No, the frequency response on vinyl is limited to the cartridge. The RIAA curve was to correct the lower bass frequencies because it can cause the needle to jump from the groove.


I don't want to start an argument here, but frequency response and dynamic range are two very different and totally independent things. The first is related to the reproducible range of frequencies and the second to the reproducible range of levels. Regardless of any possible differences in frequency response, a vinyl record has a lower dynamic range than a cd, period (typically by at least 50 dB). Mind you, I vastly prefer records! Give me groove hiss over nasty digital artifacts any day.

But this is beside the point, really. The point I was trying to make was that people in this thread were using the word "compression" to refer to two completely different things. It annoyed me a little. I tried to clear it up and probably only won +1 points for pedantry... We all lose today.
2013-01-17 03:15:41 AM
1 votes:

Jizz Master Zero: I had to stop at, "Beats have been praised for their sound." By who? I have yet to hear anyone who knows what they're talking about call them anything other than overpriced garbage.


Silly people. You're not buying them for the sound, you're paying for that logo printed on the side.
2013-01-17 02:59:18 AM
1 votes:
I had to stop at, "Beats have been praised for their sound." By who? I have yet to hear anyone who knows what they're talking about call them anything other than overpriced garbage.
2013-01-17 02:51:37 AM
1 votes:
Etymotic Research ER-4 for me. Best earbuds EVER!
2013-01-17 01:46:34 AM
1 votes:
Bose been doing this for years
/Nothing new
2013-01-17 01:10:34 AM
1 votes:
Dre is not doing anything new. Skullcandy convinced people of the same dreck, using crappy little drivers in their headphones and selling at a markup. Just like the Monster cables that came before, their priduct actually sucks balls, but they are selling a brand on cognitive dissonance. People will buy them, and rather than admitting they got duped out of three hundred bucks, they will staunchly defend it so that they don't look like an absolute fool for being duped.
2013-01-17 12:44:25 AM
1 votes:
Silly subby! Dr. Dre (not a real doctor) convinced the world of nothing. He conned a given amount of people - those who are ignorant consumers, to purchase his over-priced wares. The bulk of these consumers are youthful inner city types with lots of untaxed unreported illegally gained income. They will gladly buy any fashion or item that a person of their race advertises. Shame on these piss poor role models that shyster their own people with inferior goods for their personal monetary gain. It ain't just whitey out to get you, bro.
2013-01-17 12:28:35 AM
1 votes:
Doesn't matter to me.

Too many years of sticking my head near a 100W stack has blown out a lot of my fine hearing.

/ yes, I'm a dumbass who didn't use earplugs.
// I was a teen and therefore invincible.
2013-01-17 12:24:12 AM
1 votes:

rocky_howard: And it's all a sham.

These will blow the hell out of any of the Dre abortions, but more power to him for finding fools to get richer:
(click on the image for more details)

[ecx.images-amazon.com image 333x500]


I give you: the ATH M50-R. Same headphones, but with a removable cord so you're replacing a $10 cord instead of a $150 pair of headphones when the cord breaks 6 months from now.

/Had Seinheisser 280 Pros. And then the cord broke in about a year and a half (and they had 0 bass).
//Then had Audio-Technica A-900's. And the cord broke in 3 months. And I sent them in for repair, got them back, and then the cord broke again a month later.
///And now I have these.
2013-01-17 12:03:54 AM
1 votes:

TexanBoy: Every time I see someone with a pair of Beats on, I think instantly know to not take them seriously. Every time. someone around the corner is going to knock their block off for them

FTFY
2013-01-16 11:33:53 PM
1 votes:
How Dr. Dre convinced the world a small group of easily-led chuckleheads that you need $300 headphones to listen to your highly compressed MP3s

FTFY

Also, "the world" has been convinced to buy everything from $2,000 HDMI cables to Crocs, for Christ's sake. Why would headphones be any different?
2013-01-16 11:33:24 PM
1 votes:
If your entire article can be summed up in one word ("marketing"), don't write it.

/crappy listening devices have killed dynamic range in music
/headphones, earbuds, and shiatty laptop speakers are no way to go through life replacement for a good home stereo, son
2013-01-16 11:24:06 PM
1 votes:
Link

/have rough-mixed my last three sessions on a pair of Audio Technica ATM-50's
//even a $300-per-hour mastering engineer asked me what my secret was
///I like bass
2013-01-16 10:50:52 PM
1 votes:
2013-01-16 10:36:55 PM
1 votes:
Beats are overpriced and mediocre.

I've got a set of Vmoda Crossfades with partial metal construction on the cans and band attachment. Great sound and they're built like a tank, the cable is wrapped in kevlar for durability. Excellent sound reproduction at all frequencies, and they can produce enough volume that I could use them as desktop speakers, without any audible distortion (I run my soundcard output at just 15% with them plugged in and it's plenty loud).

And those only cost me a hundred bucks. If I was going to spend the kind of money for Beats, I'd buy some of those Audio-Technica ones with the wooden cans.
2013-01-16 10:17:44 PM
1 votes:

error 303: It seems like we've been on mp3 for years now. When can I get an mp4?


If you buy from iTunes you haven't been getting mp3s for quite some time now.  You're getting 256kbps AACs in m4a containers.
2013-01-16 10:14:16 PM
1 votes:
I like my $13 a pair KSC75s.
2013-01-16 10:12:14 PM
1 votes:
they're bass heavy

some guy at my work years ago bought em and let me try.

i'm used to studio quality accurate headphones
or the crappy sony pair that seem to have lasted for years

and given the choice of paying hundreds for the Dre or 20 for my shiatty phones
i'd save my money or buy something much better for the same price.
2013-01-16 10:06:24 PM
1 votes:

FlashHarry: TheBeastOfYuccaFlats: Yeah, because the RIAA curve required to make something reproducible on vinyl is so pure?  You're fooling yourself.

where did i mention vinyl?


Let's put it this way:

Unless you've been to a live concert, everything you've every listened to in terms of reproduced music has not been anywhere near what the studio track started as, so complaining about "compressed music" is pointless.
2013-01-16 10:04:24 PM
1 votes:

jaylectricity: With the ability to store more data in smaller vessels, might we be able to start keeping our music in .wav format?


It's not that hard to get something from CD to FLAC/ALAC.  Hell, if you're not bothering to pay for your music it's trivial to find a torrent that has FLAC rips for just about anything.
2013-01-16 10:03:43 PM
1 votes:
Beyerdynamic + USB sound card= still less than the cost of sh*t Beats cans
2013-01-16 10:03:04 PM
1 votes:

FlashHarry: it's sad; there's an entire generation that has never heard an uncompressed piece of music.


Yeah, because the RIAA curve required to make something reproducible on vinyl is so pure?  You're fooling yourself.
2013-01-16 09:43:16 PM
1 votes:

FlashHarry: it's sad; there's an entire generation that has never heard an uncompressed piece of music.


Kids don't go to live concerts anymore?


GAT_00: I can't stand earbuds,


Seconded. I don't see how people can use them.
2013-01-16 08:55:10 PM
1 votes:
Fashion over function.
 
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