Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Christmas Rant, Please Ignore


Someone sent me a note about this album last night, and that made me think of it, and thus I'm going to reshare it with you today. The note said they wanted me to rip it in at a higher bitrate because they've grown to love it over the years and if it sounded better they could enjoy it more. Well, sorry, this is what you get. If you want to watch eBay for a while, I'm sure you could find a copy, then buy a small turntable and amplifier, and a computer, download some free software and rip a copy of it, then transfer it to MP3 at 320 kbps. But then you'll find that there's a little noise you don't like, so you'll have to go back and buy another copy of the record, perhaps a sealed one. But by then you'll have found that MP3 is a lossy format, and you'll have to convert it to Ogg Vorbis or somesuch. It's just a never ending cycle. I'm just happy to have shared it and made it available to a few people. I'm sorry if I come off as offended, but I just didn't appreciate the tone of the letter, even though he was trying to be nice about it. I suppose if you don't like what you download for free, upload it back and I'll return your money. Oh, wait, I'm the one paying to let you download it... OK, I've gone off the rails here. That's not what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. If you'd like to hear some great jazzed-up versions of Christmas songs, some of which feature a vocalist doing his best Louis Armstrong, please download The World's Greatest Jazzband Of Yank Lawson & Bob Haggart-Hark The Herald Angels Swing (World Jazz WJLP 5-2, Stereo, 1972). I first shared this back in 2005 when I was ripping at 128, so if you don't like your scratchy vinyl turned into artifacty MP3s, you might want to skip this one. Current records are ripped at 192 VBR, which lets you hear all the artifacts from the noise reduction process quite clearly.

1. Hark The Herald Angels Swing
2. Little Drummer Boy
3. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
4. Silent Night
5. Joy To The World
6. Jingle Bells
7. White Christmas
8. I'll Be Home For Christmas
9. The Christmas Song
10. Winter Wonderland
11. Deck The Halls

13 comments:

gahndalph said...

Ernie, I just wanted to thank you for your generosity over the years for posting some obscure yet great Christmas music.

Anonymous said...

You can't please all of the people all of the time but you can please me with this rip. Super, thanks.

Blog-a-roonie

Tim in the morning said...

I actually found your rant to be quite interesting. While I can't say I've spent that much time thinking about it, I have to admit my curiosity about record collectors converting their analog vinyl records into digital formats. As a record collector, often I have found the original vinyl version of a record to sound far superior to the CD version (Arthur Lyman's Christmas record is the perfect example of this--the CD is ridiculously poor compared to the richness of the vinyl)

I listened to a talk from someone who spends more time thinking about these things than I do who suggested that whereas digital formats present upper limits to the possible quality of the recording due to file size and format, with analog, the goal was always higher and higher fidelity (stereo, quadraphonic, etc.) to closer approximate the original performance.

He than went on to suggest that in a world where truer and more faithful reproductions is no longer the goal, but rather to fit (compress) the information into given constraints, that our world (at least our culture) is a little less truthful and beautiful.

While I have just done the same to this argument, compressing it into the space of a blog comment, nonetheless, thank you for the great X-mas music, regardless of file size or format.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

I hear ya, Ernie.

Been there, felt that.

LeedsDevil said...

Ernie - I just wanted to repeat the gratitude for the sharing of your collection. Being exposed to gems that I otherwise wouldn't have heard is a benefit of your generosity beyond measure. Thank you for the time, effort, taste and music.

Best wishes for a warm, merry Christmas and a healthy, happy 2009.

Anonymous said...

Ernie, I found your blog last year and it's great to be back and discover some more of your great Christmas records. Thanks for sharing :^). I too prefer 320kbps (I can hear the difference between 320 and 128), but hey I'll take what I can get.
Thanks ans happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

Here's my original email - you judge the tone:

First of all - I can't thank you enough for the joy you have brought my family - now for the third year.

Your tireless work is appreciated here so much.

May I make two suggestions. (OK maybe three)

1) would you be able to list the kps you ripped your selections at. It would help me notice the higher bit rates when you re-rip them.
2) may I suggest you rip as high a bit rate as possible. As this music becomes more and more our main holiday listening on our stereos - the higher bit rate would sound better and be even more enjoyable (Please don't see me as ungrateful - I think many people would enjoy this).
3) Could you re-rip and repost "'Hark The Herald Angels Swing" by the World's Greatest Jazz Band. This was presented in November 2006 at 128kps and is "my favorite" Christmas record and reminds me of Christmas with my Dad in the 1970s. That was the first Christmas record we played on Christmas Morning!!!!! So when I found it (and you) in 2006 - my life was changed....

Thanks so much and hopefully you get as much enjoyment from presenting this music as we do listening to it.

Thanks a million!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Dan Warner

ballardkringle said...

Ernie, I appreciate you posting this album in any form. I know you work hard to share these albums for all of us and make them sound as best as possible! They sound good to me! My mother-in-law particularly enjoyed this album last year. She's sorta of a shut-in during the week and likes Dixieland music. It made her Christmas season last year.

PDMan said...

I rip mine at 256kbps, but honestly I can't hear much difference between 192 and 256. Maybe it's time to retire my old Realistic Mach One's from the mid 70's...

Anonymous said...

You are the living spirit of what Christmas is about- giving your time and hobby to people you don't even know. I convert LPs to digital also, and I know the time it takes. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Ernie, thanks for your awesome blog, your hard work IS appreciated.
It appears that you took offense to the request for a higher bit rate, please don’t take the request as a rude or unappreciative gesture.
I saw the request (posted above) as simply a suggestion. Please consider that your shared albums are not merely for sampling purposes; as many of these are no longer available and will never be. I am sure if that if this CD were still in print, the request would have never been made.
No need treat the requestor as if they’re some kind of troll 
Bottom line is: flac/wav is better than 320 kbps and YES 320kbps is better that 128kbps…The difference in compression is more obvious when these files are played back on a larger stereo system. MP3’s are NOT the first choice of audiophiles, but for those of us who would rather not just treat music, even Christmas music, as simply wallpaper for the holidays, the higher bit rate is always preferred.
Thanks again and
Merry Christmas!

ca christmas said...

I think it's fine the way it is. These are vinyl albums, not 128 gazillion bit stereo.

(Of course, I have this album in my collection, and I, uh, had it digitized as an AIFF file.)

But I listen to this era's music on the equivalent of an AM radio speaker...which is how I heard them on the first go round. So ...

Just thank you. I'v enjoyed the shares and appreciated the effort.

Sarah said...

Hi Ernie, I think a lot of people have no idea how much time goes into preparing music files and how much work you have to do to maintain this site. I'm sure it never occurs to them that the request comes across like "this thing you do for us for free, at great time & expense to yourself, isn't good enough for me so please do it over." I'm sure they don't mean it like that.

Don't let it get you down! You are doing a great thing and you are appreciated.

And to the folks who feel like Ernie has a responsibility to transfer music at a higher bitrate for posterity or for the enjoyment of audiofiles or whatever, I look forward to visiting your Christmas music sites next year! I'm sure you will do a great job of locating, digitizing and sharing great music for all our enjoyment.

(I'm only being a little snarky here -- the internets would be a better place if more people did what Ernie does :)