1 March 2013

An embarrassment of musical riches

Back in the 1980s, technology triggered a tidal wave of experimentalism in popular music. Punk had established an “anything goes, anyone can do it” attitude, and punk bands like Tubeway Army, Wire and DEVO began to explore the possibilities of the cheap synthesizers being built by companies like Casio, Korg and Roland. This grew into the new wave movement, with groups like The Human League, Depeche Mode and OMD achieving chart success with stripped-down experimental sounds that would never chart today. ... Read more

7 February 2013

Nexus 4 vs Galaxy Nexus

My wife’s 3-year-old phone has been irritating her with its lack of app space, so I gave in and bought a Nexus 4, passing my Galaxy Nexus on to her. I thought I’d write up a quick review comparing the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus, for the benefit of anyone not sure whether to upgrade. From the front, it’s hard to tell the two phones apart. The Nexus 4 is 0. ... Read more

4 February 2013

Where to buy music in lossless formats

The last CD has been ripped. I now face the problem of finding out where to buy lossless audio files. Criteria for stores: Must sell something I’m interested in listening to, i.e. not just folk and jazz. Must sell to the US. Must have more than a token number of releases available in lossless format. Must sell music by someone I’ve heard of already. I know there are lots of talented unsigned artists out there, but I’m viewing that as a separate problem. ... Read more

22 January 2013

CD bronzing

If you’ve never seen factory-pressed CDs decay, or think it’s a myth, well, I have some photos to show you. Here’s an overall view of the label side of the CD. Notice the strange swirly patterns. That’s not a camera artifact; the label part of the CD seems to have some separation from the metal layer, resulting in the interference patterns. Here’s another view, showing that part of the label embossing has caused brown patches. ... Read more

21 January 2013

Memo to music corporations

If you don’t offer lossless downloads, you’re leaving money on the table. Here’s why: People who are serious about music and buy a lot of it tend to be serious about sound quality. In my own tests, I’m able to distinguish lossless files from even 320kbps MP3s. Therefore, I’m very reluctant to buy anything but lossless music. Right now, the CD is dying. Amazon is full of people selling their old used CDs. ... Read more

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