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Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, Says CDs Should be in Surround Sound

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, Says CDs Should be in Surround Sound
By Robert Archer
Parsons, producer of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, says audiophiles overpay for equipment while ignoring room acoustics.

In an exclusive Q&A with CE Pro, Alan Parsons, renowned sound engineer for Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and for the Beatles, says hi-fi pros focus too much on equipment and brand names, when they should put more energy into room acoustics. He also says some surround-sound systems from Costco and Walmart really aren't that bad.

All this from the audio wizard behind Dark Side of the Moon, and the name sake of the Alan Parson's Project?



What do you think about the market evolution that has seen the CD format losing sales while the vinyl and digital download categories increasing their respective sales?
I'm not sure vinyl is selling beyond audiophile purists, and I'm not really one of them. I'm reasonably happy with the quality of CDs, but I'd really like to see high-resolution downloads become more widely available.

It is encouraging to see people listening to high-resolution audio. Eventually it's going to be an all-download world computers dominate our lives these days. We are just going to have to be tolerant of the longer download times. It's just the way it is.

Click here to continue.
post #2 of 29
Good interview.

The quality of his work obviously precedes him, and it's good to see that he doesn't subscribe to the esoteric voodoo line of thinking in what makes a recording sound great through a consumer's speakers.
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSmith83 View Post

Good interview.

The quality of his work obviously precedes him, and it's good to see that he doesn't subscribe to the esoteric voodoo line of thinking in what makes a recording sound great through a consumer's speakers.

So I'll be seeing you in the electronic section of Walmark then for your next sub ?

Djoel
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Djoel View Post

So I'll be seeing you in the electronic section of Walmark then for your next sub ?

Djoel

I wouldn't even want to be caught dead inside a Walmart, but you won't see me paying 10 grand for a pre-amp either.
post #5 of 29
I believe the blurb at the top is a complete mischaracterization of what this guy says.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Djoel View Post

So I'll be seeing you in the electronic section of Walmark then for your next sub ?

Djoel

If you read the link though, many of the partial quotes from him were taking at least partially out of context, or at least without the full context provided. The summary is kind of shock journalism.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnycloud View Post

I believe the blurb at the top is a complete mischaracterization of what this guy says.

ooops I see someone already beat me to it
post #8 of 29
The title does insinuate that Mr. Parsons was vitriolic towards those who see more value in high-end equipment than room acoustics. He is opposed to that way of thinking, but he didn't go on some kind of tirade.
post #9 of 29
I believe there to be a sweet spot in audio that many can accomplish with their budgets. I also believe the room is the most important aspect of the equation... the size, layout, treatments if needed, etc...

A lot of people I know don't understand enough about what a nice audio system brings to the table, let alone knowing how to piece it all together within a budget.
post #10 of 29
Good points. Can't really disagree with anything he's said.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathPoobar View Post

Good points. Can't really disagree with anything he's said.

I agree. CD's are nearly obsolete. Downloading high res is much preferable to me compared with having to buy physical media and ripping it. I love HDTracks, now if they would just add multi-channel files.
post #12 of 29
Alan Parsons Project has always been fantastic to listen to. Wish we have more of him in our music industry today. He has the right idea of how it all fits in, from engineering side to performing while recording.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by natchie View Post

Alan Parsons Project has always been fantastic to listen to. Wish we have more of him in our music industry today. He has the right idea of how it all fits in, from engineering side to performing while recording.

And the DSOTM quad DVD-A is brilliant.
post #14 of 29
Sure wish the title of the article wasn't so misleading...

He makes solid points all around.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa View Post

I agree. CD's are nearly obsolete. Downloading high res is much preferable to me compared with having to buy physical media and ripping it. I love HDTracks, now if they would just add multi-channel files.

I'm the opposite. Given a choice of download or disc of the same recording, I'll choose the disc. An exception might be if I only want one or two tracks and I can get just those tracks via high quality download.

Perhaps at least part of the reason I prefer the disc is that computer audio is still too cumbersome to set up at this time.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn94 View Post

Perhaps at least part of the reason I prefer the disc is that computer audio is still too cumbersome to set up at this time.

Yes, the learning curve can be pretty steep.
post #17 of 29
Good interview! More of the same, please.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa View Post

Yes, the learning curve can be pretty steep.

Yes, it can (computers are not my forte). I ended up just getting a USB/SPDIF converter (M2Tech hiFace) to send audio from my laptop to my processor (Anthem AVM20).
post #19 of 29
"You get what you pay for."

and he mentions the word "ignore" exactly zero times.
post #20 of 29
I have a dozen or so DTS disks. Some are CDs and others are DVDs. I enjoy surround sound but there is not a lot available. I think perhaps people today don't take the time to sit down and listen to music one as one watches a movie. I have a small dedicated home theater and on nights I don't screen a movie I listen to multi-channel audio disks. Most of us just listen to music while doing some other activity so the sound quality isn't that important. I would welcome more titles as most of my small collection was recorded or mixed in early 2000.
post #21 of 29
Rush's Moving Pictures on Blu-Ray is another good example of why disc over files. Also, the room is as important as the speakers thus Audessey was introduced. With a perfectly conditioned room you wouldn't need Audessey but that is the minority.
post #22 of 29
Great interview of one of my favorite artist... I replaced all my vinyl A.P.P. with CD's due to the increased quality of his music I heard.

I am somewhat nuts, I know, but I'm not a fan of downloads due to the lack of quality. I have ripped my extensive CD collection to my computer at full resolution... (actually to external 2 TB HDD's connected to my media server) so I can maintain that quality. Sure I could get so much more music in much smaller space, but as cheap as HDD's have become, the compression is not worth it for me.
post #23 of 29
Wow, yeah that headline is a bit over the top. Very good interview, extremely salient points and sage advice from a guy who has to be more discerning about music than most of us will ever be in our lives.

And I completely agree about room acoustics. I haven't done any major treatment since I live in an apartment, but I can say when I recently moved apartments my equipment stayed the same but the living room layout changed dramatically, and the sound from my system improved by no small margin.
post #24 of 29
Good article, and a welcome perspective from a music legend. There is an unfortunate prevalence of navel-gazing in the high-end audio scene that borders on gear porn. At the end of the day the most important thing is not how much your balanced silver speaker cables cost, the platter weight of your turntable, or the frequency response of your headphones: it's about the music.

As for high-res digital downloads becoming more widespread, I don't think that's a pipe dream any more. Technical performance and value aside, companies like Monster and V-Moda have played an important role by convincing more consumers to pay more for better quality equipment. Not too long ago people would think you were crazy for spending even $200 on headphones, to go with a $400 iPod; today, $300 Beats headphones are everywhere you look. The more mainstream higher quality A/V hardware becomes, the more consumers are likely to demand higher quality source material, such as 24bit lossless. The cost of Internet bandwidth and hard drive storage space have dropped to where it's no longer an issue to deliver such content quickly and cheaply.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVTrauma View Post

Great interview of one of my favorite artist... I replaced all my vinyl A.P.P. with CD's due to the increased quality of his music I heard.

I am somewhat nuts, I know, but I'm not a fan of downloads due to the lack of quality. I have ripped my extensive CD collection to my computer at full resolution... (actually to external 2 TB HDD's connected to my media server) so I can maintain that quality. Sure I could get so much more music in much smaller space, but as cheap as HDD's have become, the compression is not worth it for me.

You should have ripped all your LP's as .flac files using EAC software at 96KHz if you wanted 'quality'. You may want to check into the quality of these.
post #26 of 29
I still have all the albums, just not able to feed the signal to a computer with my current set up (unless I get really long audio cables). Would the EAC software help with the extranious pops & clicks some of the older/more listened to/abused albums have?
post #27 of 29
I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Parson on more than one Home Theater Cruise event. In fact, on one, we produced a concert for the ship that ran two shows back to back.

He truly is one person I can truly say I will remember throughout my life as something that brings back such great memories. Something surely for my memoirs.

Photo one... David Bott, Alan Parsons, and Gary Reber (We were the "Cruise Brothers")

Photo two... Phil Ramone (Yes, that Phil Ramone the music producer), Lisa Parsons, Alan Parsons, David Bott, & Brenda Bott

BTW...Did you know Alan was so tall?
LL
LL
post #28 of 29
I find his opinion on vinyl ironic. I'm a huge fan and I have some imported vinyl pressings of his music and the sound is stellar compared to cd copies I have listened to. I am however very impressed with the audio playback quality of Blu Ray discs.
post #29 of 29
I hope to meet him someday!
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