The Perfect-sound Myth
By conducting geochemical analyses of the siderophile (iron-loving) elements found in and around the crater fill - and by modelling the impact with computer software - the geologists showed that whatever crashed to Earth was almost completely vaporised on entry.
In the case of Earth, there followed crust formation, the development of an atmosphere, and plate tectonics, hi-end audio among other geologic processes, so the evidence for this early period is no longer preserve
In real life a folk singer isn't as loud as a rock band, but once her recording is compressed she might be as loud as Metallica. Of course, with most types of music the sound isn't turned up to 11 all of the time.
In a recently published study in the international journal Terra Nova, the Trinity-led geologists explain the rationale behind their assertion that the Sudbury Basin in Ontario, Canada, was caused by a comet - and not a meteorite.
I remember just before the CD was introduced 30 years ago thinking that digital hi-end audio would be a giant leap forward in fidelity, but as soon as I heard a few CDs I knew digital wouldn't do a thing to make music sound more realistic. The CD was vastly better than LPs and cassettes in terms of noise and distortion, but voices still didn't sound like they do in real life, and pianos didn't sound as big and powerful as they do in Carnegie Hall. That mystified me; those early digital recordings were compression-free, and I was told digital didn't add or subtract anything from the sound the microphones recorded. Digital sound should have been perfect, but it was just different than the analog recordings I grew up with.
That's when I realized that striving for ever more accurate recordings wouldn't improve sound quality. The things that make sound pleasing to the ear aren't limited to making technically better recordings (or hi-fis). Great-sounding recordings sound great mostly because of the hundreds or thousands of decisions made by the engineers who recorded, mixed, and mastered the music. Their choice of using a microphone that flattered the vocalist or saxophone, the acoustics of the recording venue, the processing that was used to create each sound within the mix make or break the sound. The recording format also plays a role, but analog or digital, they're just a small part of the overall sound picture. Perfect sound isn't really what most engineers are striving for; they just want to make a recording that sounds good. And good sound is a purely subjective call.
That's sad news indeed, but Katz was on that AES panel and he discussed a possible Loudness Wars cease-fire that would involve the widespread adaptation of an automatic volume adjustment technique known as normalization (Apple's Sound Check is such a system). This currently in use process isn't perfect, but Katz expressed the hope that future processors will be better. These normalizing algorithms don't merely squash/compress music's dynamic range, no, they're more sophisticated than that and process long-term dynamic attributes. Katz expressed the hope that when these normalization techniques are perfected, highly dynamic music will be able to coexist with heavily compressed recordings in your music player. The dynamic recordings won't sound too "quiet" when played in shuffle modes, side-by-side with heavily compressed tunes. When truly sophisticated normalization becomes a reality, record producers will be less inclined to overcompress the music. At least there's some hope the record companies will back off on overcompression in a few years.
Collaborative research led by geologists at Trinity College Dublin has found strong evidence that one of the largest preserved impact structures on Earth was caused by a comet colliding with our planet over 1.8 billion years ago.
Professor of Geology and Mineralogy in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity, Balz Kamber, said: 'Our findings provide further evidence that some very large terrestrial impact basins were created by comets, which is important and interesting in the context of the early bombardment of our inner Solar System - it might well be that comets were responsible for bringing volatile elements to the young Earth.'
There will also be a full slate of seminars, including "Ask the Editors," hosted by Stereophile magazine's John Atkinson with panelists Michael Fremer (Stereophile), Alan Taffel (The Absolute Sound), Alan Sircom (Hi-Fi+), Jeff Dorgay (Tone Audio), Stephen Mejias (Stereophile), Art Dudley (Stereophile), and Grant Clauser (Electronic House).
Sony isn't a company I normally associate with high-end audio, but it will be at the show demonstrating its award-winning SS-AR1 speaker. VPI turntables will be giving away a Scout turntable worth $1,800, with a handmade Soundsmith phono cartridge. Local dealers Audio Doctor, Sound by Singer, and Innovative Audio/Video will be on hand and they are promising lots of new gear presentations.
The Loudness Wars refers to mixing and mastering techniques that squash music's natural soft-to-loud dynamics. Obviously, you can control the playback volume of your tunes, but once the engineers compress the sound, there's no way to restore the true dynamic range. This problem doesn't just affect obscure records; Grammy Award-winning CDs, like Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" suffer from loud-all-the-time compression. I love their music, but I find "The Suburbs" hard to listen to. Before we go any further, I'm not referring to MP3 "lossy compression," that's a completely different malady. If you listen to downloaded or streaming music, chances are you're getting the worst sonic effects of dynamic and lossy compression!