So I got this meme on my FB feed (courtesy of Manchester MIDI School), and it’s funny, but it got me thinking. Clearly the point of this cartoon is to highlight the absurdity of recording audio on very expensive, esoteric equipment only for it to me heard (by the majority) through a supposedly sub-standard audio digital encoder on crappy sub-$20 earbuds.
On the other hand, for the home recordist on the shoestringiest of shoestring budgets, is this actually good news? I couldn’t hope to afford the pro-standard equipment shown here (I don’t know exactly how much my studio cost, but it’s a fraction of a $4000 Vintage British Class A Mic Preamp), but if most people are listening to music through cheap headphones + MP3 encoding, surely the benefit of recording on such high-quality equipment is greatly reduced? In other words, the paucity of listeners’ habits acts as some kind of leveller for skint producers(?)
Or maybe it means home recordists have to work even harder to get what they produce not to sound rubbish? I’ve accepted (grudgingly) that I’m not going to be able to produce music of the same quality as in a pro-Studio. I’ve also accepted (willingly) that I can make what I record of a higher quality than I do now.
But at what point does the possibility of the latter become the impossibility of the former?
Supplemental: I’ve only been looking at one half of the equation. I’m in total control on how I distribute (for wont of a better word) my music (for wont of a better word): I put it on SoundCloud. Therefore, I know how my music will be heard by others: encoded to MP3 and streamed to a computer, phone or tablet, and most likely listened to through a set of headphones. The only mix I need worry about is one that sounds good under these circumstances.