AES New York 2009
Workshop W13

Saturday, October 10, 4:30 pm — 6:00 pm

W13 - 1080p and MP3: We Got the Picture. What Happened to the Sound?

Michael Fremer
John Atkinson, Stereophile
Steve Berkowitz, Sony/BMG
Greg Calbi, Sterling Sound
Alan Douches, West West Side Music - New Windsor, NY, USA
Randy Ezratty
Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering & DVD - Portland, ME, USA
EveAnna Manley, Manley Audio Labs

Over the past decade, video has gone from 480i 4:3 to 1080p 16:9—the bigger the screen, the better. Audio? Not so much! The bigger the audio system, the more you are mocked for hearing quality that supposedly doesn't exist. The "mainstream" audio standard has degraded from 44.1 K/16 bit (arguably insufficient to begin with) to low bit rate MP3, now considered "more than adequate" by mainstream listeners. As a consequence, people "hear" music while engaging in other activities. Actively listening to music (to the exclusion of all other activities) once commonplace, is almost unheard of (pun intended) in 21st Century life. This has had terrible consequences for both professional and consumer audio and the engineers working in both areas. Most consumers have never heard their favorite music on a good audio system and because of "big box" retailing can't even experience high quality 5.1 soundtrack sound on a good home theater system when they shop. How does the industry reconnect consumers to good sound? And why are young people snapping up vinyl records when they can download MP3s cheaply or for free?