Analyzing Records
May 29, 2005 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Analysis of hit records using sonograms. (Here, for example, are Fleetwood Mac's Rumors, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and Michael Jackson's Thriller.) Also from the same site: a study of RIAA record sales over the entire history of platinum albums; a look at the noise present in vinyl records; and a discussion of slew rates, a type of audio distortion present on compact discs. I'm not an audiophile but I found these articles fascinating.
posted by jdroth (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
On the subject of cool sonograms, the amazing sonogram of Aphex Twin's Windowlicker album.
posted by fatbobsmith at 4:45 PM on May 29, 2005

I'm not an audiophile but I found these articles fascinating.

fascinating they are !
posted by Substrata at 4:56 PM on May 29, 2005

You beat me to it, fatbobsmith, but this is one sonogram that demands to be seen:

Windowlicker /
posted by meehawl at 5:02 PM on May 29, 2005

Awesome! Those face sonograms beat even backmasking. (Alsohere).
posted by jdroth at 5:08 PM on May 29, 2005

I've always wondered what this would look like but not enough to buy the equipment. Thanks for the link.
posted by arse_hat at 5:12 PM on May 29, 2005

posted by Gyan at 5:54 PM on May 29, 2005

great link, I'll be reading this for some time to come. I'd be interested to see the "hits" that didn't follow the sonic pattern though.
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:12 PM on May 29, 2005

If you were a highly skilled surgeon able to use dead people's body parts at will to create a composite human - selecting the best hearts, muscles, lungs, brains, genetic makeups, immune systems, reproductive systems and then you stitched them together with extreme precision using modern laser and other surgery techniques, what you would end up with is a highly anatomically appealing piece of dead meat. Reminds me of the thoughts of the 19th Century German anatomist Rudolf Virchow who declared, much to Wassily Kandinsky's disgust, that "I have dissected many corpses, but never yet discovered a soul in any of them."

See for yourself just how timeless some of the author's own compositions based on his analysis tend to sound.

Interesting in any case but seriously missing the point.
posted by DirtyCreature at 6:58 PM on May 29, 2005

Nice link - the chatty tone of the analysis makes it even more enjoyable/understandable. I'm off to see a Pink Floyd Tribute band next week and the PF section got me all excited about it

(Also, Gyan: missed your last post in our phil. of mind discussion - I've put my email up in my profile if you still wish to continue it)
posted by Sparx at 7:01 PM on May 29, 2005

Sparx: got it.
posted by Gyan at 7:47 PM on May 29, 2005

I found the points he made very interesting, but I wasn't wholly convinced by the logical arguments. For instance, he cherry-picked records which have already sold well for 20, 25, or even 30 years, to compare with albums which haven't had 10 years to get their second retro wind. It's not clear that these are useful contrasts. His arguments about dynamic range are seriously weakened when you consider the MP3 and computer speaker or iPod environment where many people listen to music nowadays. Does dynamic range matter as much? Is that driving the "loudness" trend? If so, does that undercut his argument about sales? I'd like to see some counterarguments and outlier examples. I'd also like to see, for example, some Nine Inch Nails or other famously loud music that still sells pretty well over the long term. It's loud, but does his analysis show compromised dynamic range? Are there other factors involved?
posted by dhartung at 9:13 PM on May 29, 2005

I hate to self-link here.... actually I don't... but I was going to post something just like this as I wrote up a pretty comprehensive thing on how to do this at home.

All you need is a few simple programs and you can do this for yourself.
As for this guy's "analysis," after reading a few of them I am convinced it is utter nonsense. The technology is real, but that is not what it is for. Really, though, check out my writeup, you'll be having fun with this in no time.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:53 AM on May 30, 2005

Interesting stuff, it chimes with much of what DigitalDomain also say about recording technique.
posted by Lanark at 6:21 AM on May 30, 2005

If you look later (or earlier) in that aphex twin song, you see something that really really looks like a DNA test.
posted by Mach5 at 9:12 AM on May 30, 2005

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