Tony Andrews, a man dedicated to raising our sonic consciousness, gives a passionate presentation of why sound quality is important and how music is a way that allows us to connect to with ourselves, others and could just save the world. I have transcribed the parts that really sung to my heart below the video.
If bad sound was lethal, it would be a leading cause of death. Sound quality and our sense of hearing is not given the attention it deserves. It’s underrated, regarded as secondary to sight. You just have to look at the public spaces, the horrible things that architects do, which is so intrinsic to the ambiance of a place.
Let’s contrast hearing and sight for a moment: Sight can only look forward. Hearing is appreciated from every direction. Hearing never switches off, it’s always on, you could so easily shut your eyes. There’s only one octave for your eyes (the rainbow) and audio can cover 10 octaves. It’s also about 2,000 more times more accurate than the sense of sight in terms of the separate speed of events it could discern. In general it’s not appreciated how this amazing sense affects our mood and behavior.
A sound system is a chain of events and it’s only as good as the weakest link. Imagine your chain of events is a series of windows and you’re looking at a scene. You only need one dirty window to destroy your clarity of view. I’m afraid this is how it is in audio. And if you don’t have a good reference it’s hard to evaluate the sonic integrity of any piece of equipment because the shortcomings of one piece will mask the performance of another.
We’re not particularly scientists but there’s this thing called a mp3, and 320 kiloBITS per second is supposed to be high quality. Audio resolution is normally measured in sample rate and bit depth but when it comes to mp3s we don’t talk about that because there would be hardly anything to talk about and it’s measured in kilobits per second. A CD is actually 1440 kilobits per second. To pay proper respect to human hearing, it looks like we hear a minimum of 96 kilohertz per second and a bit depth of 24, this translates to 4,608 kilobits per second. Now compare 4,608 with 320, the math is dead easy, it’s 7%. So in other words it’s a complete and utter insult to what god has given us.
There are more ways of corrupting ways of audio than we have time to discuss but it all boils down to one horrible word: Distortion. Distortion could be thought of as a twisting of truth. And truth twisted is lies. And nobody wants to listen to lies. So we’re not longer deeply involved in listening, we’re just superficially hearing.
My personal taste is harmonic, tuneful, key changing, rhythmically satisfying, uplifting music. I believe that music is the expression of the structure and architecture of the universe, so I don’t do darkness and chaos. The harmonic arrangements of everything, from atomic particles to the planets and the harmony of musical scales illustrate this. A natural attraction to harmony and aversion to discord stems from our sense of and our connectedness to the universe. Natural rhythms such as heart beats, breathing, day & night and the cycles of the seasons are all steady and life affirming. Unlike some of today’s rhythms, which if translated to a persons heart beats would probably hospitalize them.
Meditation is quite often an individual experience whereas listening to music is communal. And I would suggest when we have a magic audio moment, a really good gig, or a wonderful dance floor experience, it’s not just because of the music or your involvement in it, it’s cause we are starting to connect with people in the same dimension. That’s what makes it magic. And that’s why this is so precious. It’s so important because it may be a door to an incredibly badly needed new state of being that we need on Earth as soon as possible.