Are record co.'s ruining any chance that MCH music can be more than a niche market? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-27-2012, 12:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Here we are in 2012 with DVD-a pretty much dead and sacd barely hanging on. I'd hoped that blu-ray might be a way to get MCH music a second chance. There is certainly a good number of homes that are already equipped with the equipment to play MCH music. We here know how much more engrossing an experience MCH is (though there are quite a few 2 CH enthusiasts around). When I demo MCH music for friends, they are usually blown away, but the paucity of software remains a problem.

But now the new releases of older material in MCH seem destined to keep it a niche market, due to the ridiculous prices. I'd love MCH versions of Wish You Were Here and Aqualung, for example, but the blu-rays are only offered in boxes that contain redundant material and undesirable swag. It would be fine to release these sets if there were also separate single discs available, but right now there aren't and I doubt if there will be. Yes, I know that WYWH is available as a separate sacd, but that is also ridiculously priced at over $40 (when shipping is factored in).

It seems to me that if the WYWH sacd (and/or even better, the bluray from the set) was priced under $20, it would sell at quite a good volume and perhaps help to stimulate interest in MCH music. Would EMI make as much money though? Maybe, maybe not, at least in the short run. But even if they made less, they could open up a new set of customers for future MCH releases. They (and other record co.'s) could potentially create a decent size market for re-releases of huge back catalogs. But their short-sightedness has made this seem unlikely now. They know there are a small but passionate core of MCH lovers and they seem content to bilk them for whatever they can, rather than stimulate new growth.

Were the studios burned by the aborted attempts at sacd and dvd-a? Perhaps, but they did such a poor job with the marketing, not to mention the format war, that I don't believe that was an accurate guage of the potential market. With record co.'s slowly declining into obsolescence, you'd think they'd want to try something that might revitalize the industry, at least for a while.

Yes, music these days is all about portability, but aren't there enough of us left that enjoy sitting down and listening to music? Maybe not- maybe I'm just frustated with the lack of MCH music available. I know I'm pissed at the gouging techniques for the recent releases. Is $40 too much for WYWH in surround? Many that have it say it is well worth it and I can see paying that and getting a lot of enjoyment for the price of a meal with a date, but I don't want to encourage that kind of ridiculous pricing. So I'll wait to see if the price comes down or if they eventually release the blu-ray from the box set separately. But it just gets me that much more upset with the record co.'s. I certainly don't condone piracy, but I can understand those who choose to buy the box set, make copies of the content and then re-sell the set at a lower cost. They end up paying a reasonable amount for the content, but the artists then suffer.

Rant off.
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-27-2012, 05:32 AM
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Yes I agree with the fact the industry has shot itself in the foot with pricing and if they wanted to revive it with multi-ch sound on Blu-Ray they are missing a golden opportunity as there are far more players out there than SACD and DVD-A combined.
I have bought a couple myself but the selection is weak and sometimes priced to high
maybe they should look at the economic situation and price accordingly while they still have a business model.
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post #3 of 25 Old 01-28-2012, 05:54 AM
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If they made MCH, and even high rez 2ch, half the price or less of 2ch CDs, MCH and hirez would probably continue to be laggards. Most people don't sit down and critically/seriously listen to music. It's background music at home, phone/ipod, and car listening. And most people are satisfied with less then CD quality music because of how/where they listen. 95% of my music listening is done in the car and at work but I do buy hi-rez audio when I can find it and have a dedicated audio room at home - which for the latter puts me in the vast minority.

From a SQ standpoint, I'd be happy to just have all CDs be mixed/mastered well.

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post #4 of 25 Old 01-28-2012, 06:42 AM
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As PooperScooper said I would be thrilled if they would at least master CD's as good as they could the few that I have really shows off what can be done when quality counts and probably my best recording would be Brothers In Arms DDD.
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post #5 of 25 Old 01-29-2012, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I do most of my listening on the go as well, just because of time. I love my ipod, as I can now have my whole (2 ch) music collection with me anywhere. I can listen as I hike, as I shop, as I wait, etc. and, where I listen the most, in my car. But this as an activity is definitely different from sitting down and focusing solely on music. No, I don’t have the time to do it as often as I like, but I do it regularly. For me, as I imagine for most everyone here, sitting back to enjoy a fine work of music is an activity that is most rewarding; akin to watching a fine film, though the level of immersion is different. Are there that few of us left that devote time solely to musical enjoyment? Are we so ADD as a nation that we need video to go with our audio so that are minds are more engaged i.e. distracted?

I would have thought that the installed base of blu-ray owners would all be potential mch music customers. If you have time to sit and watch a movie, you have time to listen to some music. Hell, it’s a lot easier for me to make some time for music than to set aside time for a movie. But also, the level of involvement is different; music guides the guts more than the mind and the mind is free to travel where it may, whereas movies/TV engage the mind first. While I love getting lost in a good movie, I would never give up the chance for musical immersion.

It seems to me rather ironic that we as a culture have all this amazing equipment in our homes, capable of absolutely stunning music reproduction with vast resources of performances, yet relatively few choose to indulge in that goodness?

As for a desire for better mastering/mixing of CD’s, I can understand that. But doesn’t that also speak to the general lack of musical appreciation? Hot, highly compressed mixing seems to sound “better” if you’re listening on less than optimal equipment and if you’re ears aren’t trained to appreciate the real sound of instruments- kinda like musical fast food; tastes good but not good for ya.
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post #6 of 25 Old 01-29-2012, 10:27 AM
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The problem is the disk. The entire industry is completely getting rid of disks and the music industry cannot seem to figure that out.

If you want 5.1 music you need several things to come together.

First it needs to automatically play on headphones and stereo like it does in your 5.1 setup. This is 100% possible, computer games have been doing it with stunning accuracy in headphones since at least 1998 (when I first started PC gaming). It is not exactly the same but the argument is, you only have 2 ears so technically headphones should be able to replicate anything.

Next the players need to automatically work through multi-channel and stereo / mono with no problems. Given your mp3 player probably cannot do anything with a sacd or dvda format file, why would most people spend the money on this? Keep in mind most people won't go through the trouble of converting.

Finally you need to buy this stuff from all the same channels you get any of your music. For most people now days that means online services. You download it and play it. It simply comes at a reasonable premium for the file. I think that the industry could make alot of money by charging twice as much for a song.

But not many people are going to pay a premium for this if it does not work in their mp3 player, and it cannot play along side all their other music including their 64 kbs old MP3 from napster in 1998.
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post #7 of 25 Old 01-29-2012, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PooperScooper View Post

If they made MCH, and even high rez 2ch, half the price or less of 2ch CDs, MCH and hirez would probably continue to be laggards. Most people don't sit down and critically/seriously listen to music. It's background music at home, phone/ipod, and car listening. And most people are satisfied with less then CD quality music because of how/where they listen. 95% of my music listening is done in the car and at work but I do buy hi-rez audio when I can find it and have a dedicated audio room at home - which for the latter puts me in the vast minority.

From a SQ standpoint, I'd be happy to just have all CDs be mixed/mastered well.

larry

Lower pricing always helps.

But I suspect it's more their constant focus on copy protection.

In the early years of DOS and even Windows, Bill Gates understood that about the PC biz; the music biz should get a clue from Gates. It's complete happenstance that we can rip/copy CD discs.

The best is the enemy of the good. Voltaire (1694-1778)

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post #8 of 25 Old 01-29-2012, 11:35 AM
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The major labels don't care about multichannel software because the potential market is so small and would require advertising support they just can't afford anymore. We are lucky we are still getting CDs for most albums. The whole industry should have shifted to SACD as the main commercial format years ago, but we all know how that turned out. Instead they worried about suing every downloader in sight.
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post #9 of 25 Old 01-29-2012, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

The major labels don't care about multichannel software because the potential market is so small and would require advertising support they just can't afford anymore. We are lucky we are still getting CDs for most albums. The whole industry should have shifted to SACD as the main commercial format years ago, but we all know how that turned out. Instead they worried about suing every downloader in sight.

Major labels can't afford to advertise it? I don't believe that for one second. Record companies are just simply greedy. These guys all need to go back to school and learn how to market and sell.
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post #10 of 25 Old 01-30-2012, 04:43 AM
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I think MCH music will always be a niche market, but one that publishers will keep in their back pocket for a quick profit with their back catalog stuff. Premium pricing will be the norm, but they will be targeting the audience that has the money to buy it. Even as the mass market moves away from physical media, there will be enough customers to keep a few disc players out there and MCH music profitable.
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post #11 of 25 Old 01-30-2012, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by CharlieU View Post

I think MCH music will always be a niche market, but one that publishers will keep in their back pocket for a quick profit with their back catalog stuff. Premium pricing will be the norm, but they will be targeting the audience that has the money to buy it. Even as the mass market moves away from physical media, there will be enough customers to keep a few disc players out there and MCH music profitable.

I think the only hope is if simulated surround for headphones will get adoption. There are several technologies which look promising. And it won't be hard to use them in existing on-line delivery model. They just need to start selling pre-processed two channel files in lossless format. Any existing player then can be able to work with it, so no new hardware is needed. When customers get used to surround, then there will be a market for real multichannel music content for HT setting.
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post #12 of 25 Old 01-30-2012, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

I think the only hope is if simulated surround for headphones will get adoption. There are several technologies which look promising. And it won't be hard to use them in existing on-line delivery model. They just need to start selling pre-processed two channel files in lossless format. Any existing player then can be able to work with it, so no new hardware is needed. When customers get used to surround, then there will be a market for real multichannel music content for HT setting.

Don't surround type headphones cost more money?

Given the above by you, you might buy the hybrid SACD of Bach: The Goldberg Variations 1955 Performance: Zenph Re-performance Glenn Gould (Performer); see: http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Goldberg-...7949319&sr=1-1

Binaural audio (headphones), as well as standard stereo is included, and Gould's vocalizations are wonderfully omitted!

Cost is also nicely low, at ~$7.50 VG-Used to ~$13.50 New.

The binaural tracks on the disc are so excellent it makes me wonder why anyone would want to futz around with surround headphones/sound.

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post #13 of 25 Old 01-30-2012, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

Don't surround type headphones cost more money?
...................................
The binaural tracks on the disc are so excellent it makes me wonder why anyone would want to futz around with surround headphones/sound.

They need not. A sophisticated processor, such as the Smyth Realiser, can provide amazingly accurate multichannel experience with regular headphones: http://www.stereophile.com/content/music-round-45

Now all we need is for someone to implement the Smyth software in a mainstream processor or AVR and at a reasonable price.

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post #14 of 25 Old 01-30-2012, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

They need not. A sophisticated processor, such as the Smyth Realiser, can provide amazingly accurate multichannel experience with regular headphones: http://www.stereophile.com/content/music-round-45

Now all we need is for someone to implement the Smyth software in a mainstream processor or AVR and at a reasonable price.

You DO NOT need to do processing in receiver. Just start selling pre-processed two channel tracks, for listening trough headphones.
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post #15 of 25 Old 01-30-2012, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

You DO NOT need to do processing in receiver. Just start selling pre-processed two channel tracks, for listening trough headphones.

Yes but those tracks are not compatible with listening through speakers. BTW, Chesky is working on doing what you suggested.

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post #16 of 25 Old 01-30-2012, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

You DO NOT need to do processing in receiver. Just start selling pre-processed two channel tracks, for listening trough headphones.

Defeats the purpose of $12k audio setup lol.
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post #17 of 25 Old 01-30-2012, 09:12 PM
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In regard to the original, interrogative premise:

Quote:


Are record co.'s ruining any chance that MCH music can be more than a niche market?

They've already ruined it.

Greed, stupidity, arrogance, ignorance... call it what you will, they effectively knifed the baby. Now it's up to small labels and independents to save it.

What I can afford, when I can afford it...
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post #18 of 25 Old 01-31-2012, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by filecat13 View Post

Now it's up to small labels and independents to save it.

Not going to happen other than in the same niche market, drips and bits we're already getting. I have 4 kids, oldest 31, youngest 13, all of whom have grown up around SOTA music and HT systems in our homes for most of their lives. And they could all care less about the tweaky rituals and obsessive rites we AVSer's go through as they prize portability above all else, consuming movies on their laptops and iPads and music on their phones and iPods. Any progress towards the OP's goals will bump up against those realities...

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post #19 of 25 Old 01-31-2012, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filecat13 View Post

In regard to the original, interrogative premise:



They've already ruined it.

Greed, stupidity, arrogance, ignorance... call it what you will, they effectively knifed the baby. Now it's up to small labels and independents to save it.

I don't agree with the greed part as they are a business and they are in it for the money. That's ok by me. The other three, I'm with you, but they apply to their product decisions as a whole, not just MCH.

The market for MCH music is small. Most people don't go to concerts and sit on stage in the middle of the band. The music comes mainly from a point source in front of them. Yes, because of room effects, it does seem to engulf you on both side too. This can still be accomplished through good recordings, speaker placement and room optimization with a 2CH setup.

To me MCH music is a gimmick. It doesn't have mass market appeal. The reason I buy it is because the recording and production quality is usually better than that done for a CD.
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post #20 of 25 Old 01-31-2012, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Robert View Post

Not going to happen other than in the same niche market, drips and bits we're already getting. I have 4 kids, oldest 31, youngest 13, all of whom have grown up around SOTA music and HT systems in our homes for most of their lives. And they could all care less about the tweaky rituals and obsessive rites we AVSer's go through as they prize portability above all else, consuming movies on their laptops and iPads and music on their phones and iPods. Any progress towards the OP's goals will bump up against those realities...

John

I agree. Our only hope is that consumers start demanding better quality recordings as the technology improves enough to support them.
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post #21 of 25 Old 01-31-2012, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Robert View Post

Not going to happen other than in the same niche market, drips and bits we're already getting. I have 4 kids, oldest 31, youngest 13, all of whom have grown up around SOTA music and HT systems in our homes for most of their lives. And they could all care less about the tweaky rituals and obsessive rites we AVSer's go through as they prize portability above all else, consuming movies on their laptops and iPads and music on their phones and iPods. Any progress towards the OP's goals will bump up against those realities...

John

True, but this can actually flip. As the next phase to portable music players will be integrated dacs and amps. This is where their crappy 64/128kb music is gonna shine, opening a new world of audiophile quality demand to them. Question is, when?
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post #22 of 25 Old 01-31-2012, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

They need not. A sophisticated processor, such as the Smyth Realiser, can provide amazingly accurate multichannel experience with regular headphones: http://www.stereophile.com/content/music-round-45

Now all we need is for someone to implement the Smyth software in a mainstream processor or AVR and at a reasonable price.

My ref was the binaural part of Gould's Bach/Goldberg/Zenph re-performance on hybrid SACD at very low cost (~$10).

Which you managed to respond to with the $3k Smyth unit.

Which ended with your: "Do I still hate headphones? Yes, but now with no vehemence."

Wow! You seriously need to get a clue.

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post #23 of 25 Old 01-31-2012, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

My ref was the binaural part of Gould's Bach/Goldberg/Zenph re-performance on hybrid SACD at very low cost (~$10).

Which you managed to respond to with the $3k Smyth unit.

Which ended with your: "Do I still hate headphones? Yes, but now with no vehemence."

Wow! You seriously need to get a clue.

I have a clue: I cannot listen through headphones for more than a few minutes at a time. I hate having it on my head, on my ears or in my ears. That's not how I listen to music at a concert or at home, regardless of whether it can work for others.

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post #24 of 25 Old 01-31-2012, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

I have a clue: I cannot listen through headphones for more than a few minutes at a time. I hate having it on my head, on my ears or in my ears. That's not how I listen to music at a concert or at home, regardless of whether it can work for others.

Thank you for that open statement.

I agree that you have a clue; certainly much more than me when it comes to music surround sound.

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post #25 of 25 Old 01-31-2012, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venomous View Post

True, but this can actually flip. As the next phase to portable music players will be integrated dacs and amps. This is where their crappy 64/128kb music is gonna shine, opening a new world of audiophile quality demand to them. Question is, when?

Well, that quality will certainly be of interest to audiophiles, but to the Gen X, Y and Zer's? Based on my own interaction with them, they're perfectly happy (hard as this is to conceive and accept) with low res MP3's as long as they're accessible across multiple devices and platforms. There are many upgraded portable amp/DAC's available now, all of little interest to them.

I'll believe the tide has turned when Apple releases an audiophile oriented device marketed specifically for sound quality...

John

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