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How do you buy your Jazz? Is MP3 good enough quality to do jazz justice

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Showing 1-21 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Mar 2012 20:50:43 GMT
Hello all!

How do you feel jazz should be listened? Does mp3 have a place? Is it good enough to carry Jazz or not? I would love. Hear your thoughts?

Also, I'm in need of some input from true Jazz fans/listeners. It's a quick 9 point survey that will help massively with my study. Your help will be really appreciated.

Hit this link

Thanks very much indeed

Posted on 23 Mar 2012 22:02:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Aug 2012 01:37:10 BDT
Ajarn Col says:
Not being an audiophile myself, I don't tend to get pedantic about the minutiae of recording quality but rather concentrate on the quality of the music. For instance, compare John Coltrane with Kenny G, if you see what I mean. However, what is important to me is having a good set of headphones that deliver sound most suitably balance the overall sound for jazz. To which which purpose SONY PRO MDR7506 Headphones Pro closed suit me fine **

** Especially now that I've interchanged the original Sony earpads with Beyerdynamic DT250 replacements. Hence , amazingly enhancing the overall sound.

Posted on 26 Mar 2012 22:31:16 BDT
zargb5 says:
mp3 has its place. it's meant for car stereos and portable mediums where usually background noise makes low frequencies inaudible - hence dynamic compression of mp3. On any half decent hi fi set up (i'm not talking expensive equipment - a moderate set up costing a few hundred quid) shows up the inadequacies of lossy formats. I really don't bother downloading anything less than 320 kbps unless i have to (ie the item is deleted on hi res format or is only available at low res outputs)
I prefer flac/cd quality every time. Even 320 kbps can sound fatiguing over short periods no matter how musical the actual music. I have tried a couple of recordings on better than cd quality and found them to be excellent (though the files can be huge and have to be played through a suitable dvd player which won't downscale them to 44.1 khz. haven't tried SACD yet due to lack of music i am interested in and the expense of getting a decent player.

To go back to your original question yes jazz does need hi res playback to retain the subtleties and detail/nuances of performance - also the energy, drive and sense of space. Most lossy formats always sound 'thin' to me.

Posted on 26 Mar 2012 23:07:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Mar 2012 23:09:10 BDT
Carradale says:
Why pay?

..when you can have live....?...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Mar 2012 23:18:10 BDT
Ajarn Col says:
I agree ,Carradale., live every time if possible. Although not free, my next is on 11th April - Chick Corea & Gary Burton. In the meantime - despite having just ordered another couple of cd's - I'll be playing my music mostly through my MacBook Pro.

Posted on 26 Mar 2012 23:39:14 BDT
Carradale says:
Lovely! Saw GB with the SNJO as couple of years ago in Edinburgh. Epic.

CC and Return to Forever at Leeds University 1974.....Man was that a gig....?

Posted on 22 Jul 2012 14:18:19 BDT
MP3 is OK. It will give you an idea of what something sounds like as people have commented above (particularly at the higher bit rates). However CD is better, even on cheaper equipment and, on more expensive equipment, much better. The question I have to ask is why would anyone bother with MP3 when the quality is poorer and the cost is the same (and you don't even get a hard copy)? In some cases the MP3 is a lot more expensive than the CD - where is the logic in that?

Posted on 27 Jul 2012 14:53:50 BDT
mancheeros says:
There are some artists work on certain labels I would still only buy on CD. For instance, listening to an ECM production in anything less than CD-quality is a disappointing experience because one knows that ECM spend so much time on their sonic aesthetics. The 60s Blue Note RVG remasters have also been a revelation and they sound much more impressive on CD than mp3. Otherwise one has to be practical about these things and my house isn't big enough to accommodate many more CDs - mp3 files take up a lot less space.

Posted on 28 Jul 2012 14:31:15 BDT
RayB says:
I am 67 years old and this together with the damage done to my ears over the years listening to loud music & some problems with ear infections in recent years have left my hearing a little deficient.
I tried a experiment a year ago where I compared CD's and the MP3 files I had ripped from those CD's. Played through my decent, but not high end, equipment I was able to detect some difference on some tracks, but not enough to spoil my enjoyment of the music. So for me MP3 is OK when the occasion demands but I'll play the CD when available.
Problem is if you get too precious about the quality of the sound you can end up listening to the sound rather than the music and that for me defeats the object.

Posted on 28 Jul 2012 15:26:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jul 2012 07:48:10 BDT
Ajarn Col says:
≥≥Problem is if you get too precious about the quality of the sound you can end up listening to the sound rather than the music and that for me defeats the object. ≥≥

Well said, Ray. I play CD's if they're cheaper than MP3's , or unavailable in a format other than on CD.

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 19:14:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jul 2012 19:16:23 BDT
Larkinfield says:
If one is experiencing the impact, enjoyment and emotions of the music with mp3s, I wouldn't be concerned about the format. On the other hand, if the listening experience is sounding emotionally "flat" for some reason, the extra bits of sound information might make a difference in terms of the intangibles that I feel can help bring the music to life.

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 20:35:39 BDT
RayB says:
Larkenfield is spot on. MP3s or not are in the ear of the beholder (to pinch a quote from the late great Lol Coxhill). I listen mostly, but not exclusively, to jazz and I have two albums on CD of the "best of" Eddie & the Hot Rods. One is fine and you can see why they were such an influence on what came after, the other is cleaner but totally flat, the same tracks sound uninspiring. I'm not a sound engineer so I don't know what went wrong but it shows that the sound of the music is as important sometimes as the music itself.
I suppose it shows that in sound formats, as in everything else, you pay your money and you take your choice.

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 20:49:11 BDT
Ajarn Col says:
I can remember people saying that CD's sounded like tin compared to vinyl (some still do I guess). Same with MP3's , some reckon that there's something missing in the overall sound compared to CD's. I reckon that unless you're a technophobe there's nothing much in it - except convenience of course where MP3's win hands down.

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 21:49:41 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 30 Jul 2012 21:50:51 BDT]

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 21:50:02 BDT
zargb5 says:
I have two albums on CD of the "best of" Eddie & the Hot Rods. One is fine and you can see why they were such an influence on what came after, the other is cleaner but totally flat,

probably (but without being able to compare them myself) the newer version was probably 'remastered' Often nowadays that means also compressed to cater for the needs of portable mp3. If it sounds flat the dynamics have been flattened so that the 'quiet' bits are just as loud as the noisy bits. If you have portable mp3 or use it in a car it just makes the tracks more audible so that the sound of the engine and other background noise doesn't drown the quieter bits out. Sadly this often means the music suffers - climaxes and build ups just don't happen.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 18:52:04 BDT
Alfie Cooke says:
MP3 can never please the whole jazz community. As someone who took a fair while to be persuaded of the validity dof the CD, I've always been struck by the lack of quality that goes into a lot of CD packaging design. One of the big things about vinyl - sound quality issues aside - was the level of excellent design that it allowed. I can still remember pulling out Lou Donaldson's Blues Walk from the racks at Mole Jazz and thinking 'wow'. These were products that you felt an attachment to. CD was a step away from that sense because it reduced the product to something sellable, rather than something desirable. MP3s, although making the music more portable, have stripped the product down to its bare minimum. Although I think Jackie McLean's 'Love and Hate' on the album Destination Out Destination Out is one of the most beautiful tracks ever recorded, I want to hear it with the rest of the album while I hold the cover in my hand.

Posted on 5 Aug 2012 22:42:26 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 5 Aug 2012 22:48:20 BDT]

Posted on 5 Aug 2012 22:46:27 BDT
zargb5 says:
Yeah i kind of miss the good old gatefold sleeves, there have been some sleeves that have become iconic artforms. The japanese vinyl pressings really went to town with the concept of the gatefold designs. CD sleeves never had that much appeal apart from a few exceptions - usually in a large booklet with photos in a digipak form. Convenience, space limitations (size) and portability are the mainstays of today. The scope is there and the technology to access high res sleeves and notes on flat screen tv's. It just hasn't really come together yet. I don't see why they can't incorporate good sleeve art and virtual design/interaction into a new form of digital 'album sleeves' with the choice to probe the detail as much as you want to. Just add a file to the download. With players now moving into the streamer stage it's not rocket science to put a desirable package together you can look at on screen to go with the music. With the large screen sizes on flat screen and 3D telly's we could really see a renaissance of the album cover.

Posted on 6 Aug 2012 09:37:23 BDT
Might I be so bold as to recommend this gem The Cover Art of Blue Note Records for all you lovers of album art work.

Posted on 7 Aug 2012 16:31:23 BDT
RayB says:
The great thing about that days of vinyl was not only the cover art but the smell. Remember the smell of a record store? Heaven!
Problems very often were lousy pressings, and some record stores whose handling of the discs left much to be desired. Got fed up with taking scratched/warped discs back to local shops so started buying albums from Pete Russell's Hot Record Store in Plymouth by mail, had one damaged in the post once but no trouble with getting a replacement. Russell's no longer exists worse luck.

I did buy a download of an album from Amazon a couple of months ago - it was a Blue Note RVG remaster of "Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims" (very much recommended by the way) and it came with a download of a digital booklet which was the album cover and sleeve notes. I've never come across this before, but why not?

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2012 00:52:46 BDT
Ray - I would concur re Russell's - counting moving on to their successor Acorn was a regular customer for over 30 years. Think I heard that Peter Russell continues to enjoy his retirement although Tim Booth who ran Acorn died around the turn of the millenium. Paul Jones mentioned having bought his first blues records in that emporium ! As somebody who likes artefacts I've yet to be tempted by MP3 and in any case have far too much stuff to catch up on in 'real' formats. Even stronger feelings re Kindle or similar. To get the 'record shop smell' just nose some of your vinyl if you still have any - albeit sometimes masked by musty paper inners !

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Discussion in:  jazz discussion forum
Participants:  11
Total posts:  21
Initial post:  23 Mar 2012
Latest post:  19 Aug 2012

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