Thursday, September 1, 2011
Hey Baby, You Know There Got to Be Some Changes Made
I know that I've taken off most of this summer and that my posting frequency ain't what it used to be. Much of that has to do with work taking up a lot more of my time. When I first started this blog in January 2009, there wasn't much happening with my sales job on account of the lousy economy. I had an abundance of spare time on my hands, and I figured that blogging would be a worthwhile free activity in which I could engage myself. Even though I'm not convinced that the US has completely emerged from the Great Recession, my business has picked up substantially during the last two years and eight months. This has allowed me to acquire a lot more albums for my record and CD collection, but not as much opportunity to write about them.
As some of you also know, my wife and I went on a fantastic vacation in Malta during the end of July and early August, and it took me awhile to get back into the swing of things. Additionally, I've been working on upgrading my desktop's sound system, which has been one big pain in the ass. I'm not a very technically-minded person, so I inadvertently knocked the computer out of commission for a couple of weeks, leading to even more delays. However, I'm pleased to announce that everything is up and running again, and I hope to resume blogging with more regularity.
That said, I'm going to have to start doing things a little differently in order to keep Record Fiend going. One of my goals for this blog was to have it serve as a platform for my writings and as a way to get noticed by magazine and book publishers. I'm very pleased that my little place on the interwebs has succeeded in this fashion. It has directly or indirectly been responsible for some of my work appearing in printed media, with more probably on the way. Because I now have other writing projects that are keeping me busy - not to mention the fact that I'm a painfully slow writer - I'm going to have to cut down on the size of my posts and keep them at two paragraphs or fewer. Some of my favorite music bloggers take the "less is more" approach and write everything that needs to be written in just a few sentences. I wish that sort of thing came to me more easily, but I'll find a way to make it happen. Hopefully, the end result will be shorter entries but more frequent posting.
The other thing that I'm going to be doing differently from now on is archiving my albums in FLAC format only. With technology advancing as rapidly as it does nowadays, the storage capacity of electronic devices is increasing at an exponential rate. Large files are no longer as much of an issue for media devices and file-sharing services, so I'm not doing any more MP3s. I regret if this bothers anyone, but it requires little effort to convert files from FLAC to MP3 if you have a strong preference for compressed audio. Moreover, FLAC files sound way better than MP3s (as long as you have the proper audio setup) and can easily be converted to WAV format if you're really old-school and want to burn an album's worth of material onto a CD-R. The primary upgrade that I did to my computer was installing a 24-bit sound card, so all vinyl rips going forward will feature deeper and better sound. However, for those of you who care about such things, I'll be doing all recordings at 44.1 kHz. Some people brag about their 24-bit, 96 kHz vinyl rips, but everything I've read indicates that particular sampling rate is excessive and largely pointless.
Finally, I'm going to start using RapidShare exclusively for archiving my files because they offer free unlimited storage with no restrictions on file size. As usual, everything you need to know will appear in the comments section of each post. What you do with that information is entirely your decision and responsibility. (Update - September 6, 2011: I decided to start using MegaUpload as well, but please don't ask me to use any other file-hosting services.)
Addendum: A friend of mine who is much more technically astute pointed out that those who want to burn 24-bit FLAC files onto a CD-R so they will play like a conventional CD will first need to convert them to 16-bit WAV format. Most decent audio software will allow you to do this, although I don't know if this is an option with free versions of such software. For example, Pyro Audio Creator LE (which is what I use to convert WAVs to FLACs or MP3s) makes it possible to change the bit depths of files with the Encoder function. Similar varieties of software should allow you to do the same thing. For those who want to play 24-bit FLAC files on their computer, any media player will do. However, you will need to have a 24-bit sound card as well as good speakers to hear the difference in audio quality. Computers with 16-bit sound cards will play 24-bit files at 16 bits without any difficulties. Audiophiles who would rather not use their computers as a sound system and who have the technical know-how can convert 24-bit FLAC files to 24-bit WAVs and then burn them onto an audio DVD as long as their DVD player will play audio DVDs . For more details on working with 24-bit audio files, go this site, which features some good basic information. And finally, for those who want to turn 24-bit FLACs into MP3s, I'm pretty sure that you can convert them to this compressed audio format without first changing them to 16-bit FLACs or WAVs. If you don't already have software that will make the FLAC-to-MP3 conversion, I suggest downloading Free MP3/WMA/OGG Converter if money (or lack thereof) is an issue for you.