Posted tagged ‘music’

Anniversary Songs

August 10, 2018

words and musicIf you’ve been coming around Older Eyes, Bud’s Blog for a while, you know he loves music.   His life has a soundtrack of thousands of tunes, tied to good memories and bad.  Mrs. Eyes (also known as Muri to my Bud) is not the music lover her husband is but our 50 year marriage (tomorrow) still has a soundtrack of love songs.   I thought I’d post a few today in preparation for the big day.

Our courtship began with coffee dates at The Campus Restaurant at the University of Connecticut.  This was likely playing on the jukebox and it still takes me back:

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Fidelity and Philosophy

July 2, 2018

This is Part Four (and the conclusion, finally) of a post on the journey of my music listening from high-fidelity to mobile phone earbuds and back again.  You should probably go back and read Part 1 , Part 2, and Part 3. Or not.  If you’ve stuck with me through four parts, thank you.  I hope you learned something … I certainly did (which, of course, is one of the reasons I write).

AGPTEKAs of Father’s Day, I was the proud owner of an AGPTEK H3 HIFI High Resolution Lossless Digital Audio Player and a pair of 1MORE Triple Driver In Ear Headphones.   Anxious to try them out, I installed a 128 gB mini-sd card and loaded my music collection, mostly stock MP3 files.  As I mentioned in Part 3, high-resolution  audio should be regarded as a marketing term.  Case in point: my player can’t play in high-resolution unless the music files are … and MP3 files are not.  Still, the difference from my phone and basic earbuds was striking.  Acoustic guitars were crisper and clearer, drum beats were sharper and orchestral passages didn’t sound as muddy.    Since the source was my MP3 files, the improvement in the sound he heard is due to high-quality electronics in the music player and the quality earbuds, not so-called high resolution or even better file formats.  But it does speak to the improvement in fidelity that better equipment can provide. (more…)

Fidelity and Resolution

June 30, 2018

This is Part Three of a post on the journey of my music listening from high-fidelity to mobile phone earbuds and back again.  You should probably go back and read Part 1 and Part 2.  Or not.

earbudsAt the end of Part 2, I was listening to music stored in the MP3 format on my smartphone, happy as the proverbial pig to have my music portable where I could listen as loud as I wanted.   But I kept seeing articles about high resolution audio online.   Neil Young, of all people, made a passionate plea to save music through his high resolution  player and streaming service, Pono (since abandoned).   Other articles sing the praises of so-called lossless compression formats like FLAC and ALAC.  On Amazon, I found pocket devices claiming to be high resolution music players ranging in cost from $25 to almost $4000.  Even given the tendency of audiophiles to equate high cost with high fidelity, that seemed suspicious.   Suspiciously, too, I can find articles claiming high-resolution audio is anything from audio Nirvana to practically a scam.  So just what is high resolution audio?
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Fidelity (Part 2)

June 24, 2018

This is Part Two of a post on the journey of my music listening from high-fidelity to mobile phone earbuds and back again.  You should probably go back and read Part 1.  Or not.

CDThe early 1980s brought a revolution in the form of the Compact Disc, popularly known as the CD.   According to Wikipedia, a CD is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings but was later adapted for storage of data.  Suffice it to say that digital meant the music was stored at exactly the value recorded in the studio and that optical meant the music was read with light … no needle to scratch the surface or gradually degrade the fidelity.   CDs were smaller than vinyl records and durable, too, making them suitable for cars and portableindex players.   When recordable versions appeared, CDs quickly supplanted cassettes and gradually displaced vinyl, too, a music companies delivered more music on CDs only.   CD players appeared in cars and in portable units.  Not everyone was happy … some audiophiles lamented that music from records sounded warmer or more realistic.  But the tide had turned digital even though some hardcore audiophiles insist vinyl sounds better.  Older Eyes added a five disc CD changer to his music system. and his CD collection grew.
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Fidelity (Part 1)

June 22, 2018

This (probably) three part post requires an introductory explanation. For Father’s Day, my wife Muri bought me a High Resolution Music Player and a pair of audiophile quality earbuds. The quality of the sound is astonishing, reminding me of the way music used to sound before music moved from large music systems to phones and earbuds. This is a (probably geeky) retelling of that process in my music-listening life, with perhaps some old-guy philosophizing at the end.

IMG_7786When I started listening to music, there were two popular forms of recording … 45 rpm discs, popularly known as 45s … and Long Playing or 33 1/3 rpm discs. High quality recordings and players capable of reproducing the sound at a level of quality commensurate with the recordings were termed high-fidelity, or hi-fis for short. Of course, exactly what constituted hi-fi depended upon who you talked to. The Magnavox TV and Music Console in my parents living room was (according to the brochure that came with it) hi-fi but the group of sound equipment aficionados known as audiophiles would find that hysterical. Butw-5m our stereo was good enough for me to develop what would be a life long love of music. In high school, I built a 25 watt Heathkit amplifier which I combined with a set of cheap speakers and a turntable, my first component hi-fi. Audiophiles were still laughing. When i got married in 1968, I bought my first serious system, a Yamaha receiver and turntable and a pair of Heath speakers. (more…)

Beauty

June 6, 2018

segerstromconcertSaturday night, my wife Muri and I went to hear the Pacific Symphony’s performance at the beautiful Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, billed online as Rach 2.  If you are a fan of classical music, you know what that means … Rachmaninoff’s Concerto for Piano No. 2 in C minor … one of the best known and most loved pieces in the classical repertoire. Written in 1900-1901 by Sergei Rachmaninoff after three years of depression over the critical panning of his Symphony No 1, Rach 2 includes some of the most beautiful melodies and pyrotechnic piano parts ever written. Even if you are not a classical music fan there’s a good chance you would recognize the main themes. They have been the basis for popular songs and widely used in films, as in this trailer from 1945’s Brief Encounter. (more…)

Mom and the King

March 10, 2018

muscialsI grew up to the sound of music (and, yes, The Sound of Music) on the TV/Stereo Console in the living room, right under the picture window that looked out on Bradley Street. That is, I grew up to music when Dad wasn’t home.  Dad liked it quiet and I can remember Mom lovingly lifting the needle for one of her favorite LPs at the sound of Dad pulling into the driveway.   I get it.   I would have music playing all the time (it actually is, in my head) … my wife Muri sees it as background at best, off even better.  Like so many things that define me, I got my love of music from Mom.   What did she listen to?  Yes, there was some obligatory Montovani, 101 Strings and yulFerrante and Teicher but mostly she played big bands (especially Glenn Miller), classical music (she favored symphonies) and Broadway musicals.   I still remember the lyrics from South Pacific (Some enchanted evening …), Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plains ...) and My Fair Lady (I’ve grown accustomed to her face …).   Then there’s The King and I.  My Mom’s favorite.   She saw it in New York and immediately had a crush on Yul Brynner.   It was the only time I remember my Mom owning up to a crush.   I think my Dad was OK with it because he had more than a little bit of the King in him.  Then I went away to college and became educated (technically) and sophisticated (supposedly), too cool to listen to Broadway musicals.  Once I was married, my wife and I became fans of live theater, but I resisted seeing those uncool musicals.   It would be years before I admitted my love of musicals and began to add them to our theater repertoire.   Sophistication be damned, right?   At 73, I’m nostalgic. (more…)