- Tue, 2013-02-26 12:39
A week ago we were invited to London's Press Play Studio to watch a track come together in one afternoon. A relatively short amount of time by any artist's standards, we were there to discover the benefits of the Beats Audio amplifier built (exclusively) into all HTC devices.
It began a few days earlier. We received a brand new Windows Phone 8X pre-loaded with a rough instrumental demo of a track created by producer Jack Guy. The track was sent to six journalists. We were told to listen to the demo then arrive at the studios ready to watch the final track come to life.
Stood among the vintage guitars, compressors, amplifiers and synthesizers collected by studio owner, Stereolab member and producer Andy Ramsay, we were introduced to Jack Guy and young London vocalist Grace Lindsey. Having penned her lyrics, Grace bounded behind the glass and belted out three perfect vocal takes in under ten minutes. Next it was our turn...
Shuffling into the studio, we clapped along to the recording, progressing from disgruntled school chorus to an almost revelatory gospel choir in just four takes. A few journalists took advantage of Andy's collection and laid down a guitar line or two and then Jack was off, cutting, layering and re-imagining our collective efforts in Pro Tools. He created a second rough mix in about half an hour then told us he'd spend the weekend mastering the track in full, smoothing out the layers and editing the finer details before posting the final result on Grace's Soundcloud page:
Beats Audio have always claimed "people aren't hearing all the music" developing their products under the mantra, "there's nothing better than what the artist originally made in the studio." The amplifier built into HTC devices works to achieve the same principle. Enhancing sound with less distortion, as you listen to a track on your phone it utilises the 'Beats Audio profile' using its software to tweak the equalizer settings for your benefit. It should sound clearer. It should have more depth. Also (because there seems to be a little confusion around this), you don't need Beats by Dre headphones to hear the effects of a Beats Audio device, any good set of headphones will do.
Spending an afternoon in Press Play Studio served as a reminder to the amount of work that can go into just one track. If we managed to knock that up in a few days what about sounds that take months to perfect? Artists realising their vision after a year holed up in a studio? It must be frustrating to know some of your audience won't hear everything. Equally, (whatever your taste in music) as a fan it seems crazy to settle for poor audio quality or at least not consider what you may be missing out on.
Obviously Beats Audio isn't the absolute answer to achieving good sound. The source needs to be good. You can't expect Beats Audio to "fix" a crap mp3, you need to invest in a high quality format to have the best chance of a high quality sound. But the Beats Audio message is right (the same message that's partly responsible for the resurgence in vinyl sales over the last five years) and it's raising listener's expectations of sound quality, which has to be a good thing.
Musicians, producers, journalists invited into studios...we're already sold on the idea of quality sound. We're already obsessed, we invest in music, in our headphones, our speakers. It's everyone else that matters. So, there's the question. What about you? Is sound quality important to you? How do you listen to the majority of your music? We'd love to hear your thoughts, answers in the comments below.