Alex Halberstadt

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Alex Halberstadt  |  Jun 28, 2017  |  8 comments
"If it measures good and sounds bad—it’s bad. If it measures bad and sounds good, you’ve measured the wrong thing." —Daniel R. von Recklinghausen, Chief Engineer, H.H. Scott.

The main thing I’ve learned after an adulthood of listening to recorded music is that we still don’t really understand what makes it fun. What I mean is the factors that make music reproduction emotionally engaging (as opposed to accurate sounding) remain, to a significant extent, a mystery. This is especially true of digital. Which makes sense—the phonograph disk has been around since Emile Berliner introduced it in 1889. Digital encoding arrived nearly a century later, and after three-decades-and-change we’re still getting our heads around how to make it sound like music.

Alex Halberstadt  |  Apr 06, 2017  |  1 comments
Music reaches us in nearly countless ways. We listen in cars, listen in supermarkets, listen during root canals. Music plays while we’re on hold with the cable company, ordering coffee, waiting for a train. Each of these modes serves a different agenda. My boyfriend is a cartoonist who often draws for six to eight hours at a time. The whole time he listens to music. For him it’s a way to mark the passage of time and stimulate a part of his mind that drawing does not reach. "The music I listen to in the studio must have a certain uniformity to it," he told me. "It should be interesting but not emotionally compelling enough to be distracting." This means that recently he’s listened to many hours of Sibelius symphonies, Jandek, and the Long Island death-metal band Suffocation. Go figure.
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