Monday, January 9, 2012

Archives de la Musique Arab - Vol. 1

Here's something for all of you Excavated Shellac fans: The first CD in the Ocora / Institut du Monde Arabe's Archives de la Musique Arabe series, including recordings from the middle east from ca. 1908-1920, with most of them hovering around 1910. 

Listen to brief samples of the songs here.

Get the whole thing here.

I've imported this CD--which itself dates back to 1987, nearly 25 years ago, which seems like the Jurassic Period for music burned into polycarbonate plastic--at a whopping 320 kbps (my usual is 192), given how much surface noise there is from the original 78RPM-to-digital transfer.

Does that mean anything? Are you happier? Honestly, while I can tell a difference between things I've downloaded at 128 versus 192, I'm not sure I'm hearing any real diff above 192. Am I wrong? Should I be uploading at 320 as a general rule? You do know it takes forever to upload at 320, yeah? I mean, I'm happy to blog less but at higher bit-rate if that's going to make you extremely happy.

I feel like I need to do a survey or something to find out what ya'll expect/want/desire/need. How am I blogging? What could be better. Should the CD cover be bigger? Do you need track lists? Am I a terrible excuse for a music blogger for withholding track lists?

In the absence of any real context for any particular CD, are you okay with me just rambling about talking with the bodega owner who sold it to me? Should I just shut up? Would you like more description of the music? More samples? Do you like videos if they're available, or could you care less?


Seriously, I'd love to know what you think.

I found this CD, by the way, at Rashid on Court Street in Brooklyn, a legendary Arabic music shop and former music publisher that closed a year or so ago.

11 comments:

Jessibird said...

Hi Gary, I'm having fun as long as you're having fun. I say, don't make it too laborious for yourself. And I love reading the rambling stuff!

bowerbird said...

320 is worlds better, but the flac folks would say the same thing to me :)

Barron said...

IMHO, only my dog can hear the differnce between 192 and 320. I've been very happy with what I've downloaded from you so far.

I have multiple copies of some titles in various bit rates and often the best sounding copy is at 128. I think it depends on what software you use to rip and how it was configured.

Holly said...

I endorse Barron :-)

peter said...

yes it's the same for me, 192 is sort of the cut-off.. i can't hear the difference in quality with bitrates higher than that

peter said...

when i have the option, i download the highest available bitrate then convert to ~192 variable bitrate for storage space concerns

Gary said...

Thanks, everyone, for your input. It sounds like y'all are happy with 192 for the most part. And, frankly, this CD--one of only a couple I've ever uploaded at 320--has only been downloaded a couple of dozen times, so it may not be the sort of thing people are coming here in the first place for.

Unless there is sufficient outcry, I'll probably continue to upload anything recent and poppy at 192 and maybe save 320 for the rare early recording I might post ...

mmatt said...

Hi Gary,

I love your blog and what you share. Your stories add to the experience of hearing this music. I lived in the lower eastside of NY for 8 years, then jersey city for another 7 years, so your neighborhood/people stories strike resonant chords. I am recently perusing the bodegapop archives, with the intention of downloading a recording hear and there, but you post so many interesting and fascinating artists, I wind up downloading just about all of it!

Thank you three times over; bitrate is fine, the music and stories are sublime.

mmatt said...

Hi Gary,

I love your blog and what you share. Your stories add to the experience of hearing this music. I lived in the lower eastside of NY for 8 years, then jersey city for another 7 years, so your neighborhood/people stories strike resonant chords. I am recently perusing the bodegapop archives, with the intention of downloading a recording hear and there, but you post so many interesting and fascinating artists, I wind up downloading just about all of it!

Thank you three times over; bitrate is fine, the music and stories are sublime.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I just found this blog, and I really appreciate the time you put into it. I guess everyone's hearing is different... mine must be exceptionally good (I have been engineering recordings for a long time) as I can hear the difference between 192 and 320 and a .flac... Especially when the source material has a saturated frequency spectrum and is in stereo. What lossy audio does is compromise the high end which is what gives you your sense of spacial separation in a mix. So, I'm all of higher bitrate uploads, but if it's between 192 and not uploading, well... 192 it is.

Gary said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I've been upping the more recent things at 256 VBR and am considering just going all the way up to 320 moving forward.