Streaming Hurts Music Sales.

I’m a modest music buyer, I spend about 30€ monthly on CDs or legal lossless downloads, with that said I still visit sites like Youtube for movie trailers, oficial music videoclips and live shows. Sadly I have mixed feelings about these kind of services because their rise is hurting the music sales around the world.
Common sense tells me that most people will avoid buying a full album when they can hear it for free online, sure some money might arrive to the industry but in the end only the streaming platform makes real money from pirated music content.

The industry targets piracy sites but forgets that the easiest way to hear music is in fact a legal service, most people will not download big lossless files to hear that new pop hit, they will use Youtube over and over again.
The problem with the music industry now is the refusal to admit that they lost a lot more to free streaming services than what they would like to admit to the public. Sure there are paid music services, but for most people the worlds biggest video platform is good enough.

Explaining why people should actually try to buy music is hard these days, after all even the music store clerks don’t get it, maybe it’s because some of them are young and online services are now a given right.
Being born in 80′s I’m still attached to the physical medium and I really enjoy having a piece of story on my hands, plus a music collection is the window of the soul.

Sure there’s hope, teens these days are enjoying vinyl again and that’s a small victory but only a few will actually keep buying music after they are on their 30′s. Those few are very important if the industry wants to be relevant again for the attention of the mainstream public, because they are the pillars that support the music community, don’t believe me? Look around you’ll be surprised by the music collectors in your own community. Treat them right and enjoy the music ride because they’ll open the doors of your mind to new music.

Using steaming services to hear music is almost a blasphemy to a music collector even if some fail to admit that in all that bad there’s some good.
The exposure of hard to get music to new generations opens the gates to new fans and the rediscovery of the history of music.

A lot was and will be written about music streaming and yes maybe it’s the future for the mainstream consumer, but if you really want to understand the feeling of owning an album maybe it’s time to visit a record shop.
Maybe you’ll make new friends or just find that version you always wanted.

Disclaimer: I didn’t sell my soul to the music industry yet…also I don’t actually worry about the CEOs of the music industry, I do worry about artists that might not get record deals because the industry refuses to make a bet on new talents thus keeping those musicians outside the mainstream attention. New artists need some money to record albums and even if some think Youtube is a good enough platform for some artists, if you ask them I’m sure most will dream of making a deal with a big player on the music industry. I have nothing against Indie record labels but few have the know-how to deliver amazing albums.
Anyway be it big or small ones go buy some music to show your love for a band or artist, sure they’ll make more money in a concert than selling CDs or vinyl but that’s another story.

AKG K-518.

I love the AKG K-518 BLK edition, they are my new headphones for traveling, sure they can be a bit bass heavy but when one is outside that can be good thing.
They are not perfect so if you got a big head these will clamp hard on your ears, in fact that’s also the main reason why they isolate the outside noise so much, also these headphones have a huge and I mean huge cable so be prepared for that.
For 40€ these are great but grab them soon because they were discontinued.

Raspberry pi + Wolfson Audio Card project.

 

So I finally finished my Raspberry pi + Wolfson Audio Card project.

Yea, I was lazy….anyway I now can play 24-bit, 192KHz lossless audio on my rig and there’s no need for a power hungry computer.

The Pi box is behind the TFT, its a simple black box similar with the one with a wood front in the photo. HDD is next to the decks and yea I’m gonna disconnect the blue LED ou cover up that light.
I did a little overclock to the CPU but nothing too serious, heat dissipation is enough and the box has an open back.
I also have a little hub to connect the keyboard and mouse.

Software wise the Wolfson cards suck…most distros out there aren’t compatible with it.
It runs the OS image provided by the amazing Ragnar Jensen.

As for playing music, it does sound nice and there aren’t dropouts or noticeable hum.
Anyway I’ll put a decent keyboard on the thing when I can.

On a final notice, stay away from this board as it doesn’t have decent support.
There are better things out there these days.

Some updates on my gear.

So I bought a new CD player on Thomann, its a cheap Swissonic but for the money it’s pretty impressive.

Massive bonus is the fact it has XLR outputs.
I’ll be sincere I wont use half of the pro specs it has.
It’s a pretty solid piece of gear for the price, the fact its designed for a rack also helps.
Now why the hell did I buy a pro deck..because there isn’t any good Hi-Fi deck on this price range. Second hand is not an option, CD players are awful deals unless you really know the seller, have mad skills at repairing or have plain luck.

Also because I wanted free shipping I had to stack some more stuff on my order.
So I also bought two original Beyerdynamic DT-880 headbands and new pads for my DT-880…Always nice to have those in stock even if I know mine will last at least 10 or 15 years until they get awful but better safe than sorry.

I also bought a fender cap, the blackout model. I love this model plus its one of the few ones that actually fits my head. Fender I love you!

Also two months ago I went for a 8Gb Sony Walkman NWZ-E584, my BQ Aquaris E4 smartphone was OK for music with a portable headphone amplifier but the Sony packs a punch even with my Grados. Where it truly shines is with the active noise canceling headphones that are included, sure you lose some details but on a train or bus they are a thing of heaven.
Anyway to comute I use my Sennheiser CX 3.00 in-ears and with the Sony they sound really nice. I don’t enjoy expensive gear when I comute don’t want to get mugged for something stupid as too much bling.

As a follow up to my Beyerdynamic DT-880 purchase I did buy the Lake People headphone G103 and its a match made in heaven.
I don’t actually review gear but the Lake people is not build like a tank, the darn thing is build like a aircraft carrier! 😀

@chiisai-fukurou we both love Japan, you more than me but dude I also love German engineering!

I also got some cheap portable headphone amplifiers one from Creative Labs and one from M-Audio.
The E1 from Creative one can be a nice simple DAC also, as for the M-audio Bass Traveler like the name says it’s has a nice bass boost function that I enjoy using when I comute. I recommend both as entry level headphone amps, they drive my Grado and Shure headphones with ease.

This is a half year list of purchases related to my hobbies, thus it might look like a lot of things but it isn’t all that much if compared with more hardcore  audio enthusiasts.

Don’t make stuff to sell it cheap.

I enjoy crafts, they are fun, you can make great gifts and if you need a second income they might at least pay some bills related with your hobby.

One thing I don’t enjoy is browsing ebay or etsy just to find really good home made gear for cheap. Most of you must think I’m crazy or something but I have a serious reason to rant about DIY gear sold for peanuts.

If you sell cheap you are hurting people who actually build gear to make a living.

People who build gear must sell it to make some profit, besides paying taxes, utility bills, tool repair and replacement, hourly wage and insurances.

Everyone has a different pricing system but it often takes in account all of the above things plus many others related to country lawys, etc.

Now if you just do it for fun selling cheap might be a fast way to get rid of old projects and at least have the price of the components back and that’s fine if you are only selling to your pals, but if you actually build stuff to sell online for a cheap price that only includes your wage and the components price that’s really unfair to all the other makers who try to make a living.

Most people I know who sell cheap gear have a first job and the second income is just to pay for other ongoing projects.

Selling cheap DIY clones is also a great way to hurt companies that actually make R&D for their products.

Remember my rant about someone asking me to sell Grado headphone amplifiers, yea thats pretty much illegal and I really like the Grado family so it would be wrong to do it.

Sadly I see many makers selling Grado clones like its a normal thing to do. Bullshit in my modest opinion.

Also to my attention came the fact that some audiophile DIY gear stores closed their doors, I find it curious that some actually remained open for so long, specially if you know how much money it takes to build a piece of gear and what those stores where asking for the said gear. Selling for cheap in the long run will kill a store if the owner forgets that taxes and other legal obligations must be paid.

Makers should sell gear but always understanding that such gear should be priced in a correct and fair way.

That way some people should at least understand that handmade takes dedication and work.

Stencil on denim jacket.

 

This one I did today and it’s my second attempt at painting denim.
Again stencil on denim with 2 shades of red paint and white posca pen.
I wanted a vintage look and I think it doesn’t look bad.

I don’t enjoy painting letters, not sure why but it’s hard.
Anyway I love the old Indian Motorcycles so I went for that on this jacket.
Took me also less than 3 hours from start to end.
I wont add any Indian logo because I want a discrete jacket.

The hero of DIY audio, Pow Chu Moy.

It came to my attention that Pow Chu Moy the man behind Head-Wize and the Cmoy headphone amplifier passed away in Reno Nevada (US)  on February 12, 2016.

Kevin Gilmore was the bearer of the sad news in the headphone community Head-Fi.

I never had the pleasure of talking with Chu Moy, mostly because his forum went down more or less at the time I finally had access to the Internet, but I know a lot of his work, specially the Cmoy amplifier.
Chu Moy is one of those rare online personalities of whom you can’t find a picture via google.
It’s amazing that a man so loved by the DIY audio community never placed a photo online for us to know his face, but something tells me he didn’t want fame or money.
If that was the case maybe Head-Wize would still be around sponsored by audio companies and with draconian rules uphold by professional moderators to protect the flowing of money.

Chu Moy is probably the best example of a true patron of DIY audio. Others tried to emulate his work but they never achieved his fame, after all he does have a amplifier with his name.
All headphone audiophiles know the Cmoy amp and sooner or later some build it or buy it.

Pow Chu Moy is to DIY audio what Sony was to Portable audio in the 80s.
I offer my deepest condolences to his family, with hope they know his importance to all of us headphone enthusiasts.

Update: 21 Out 2016
More shared online about him. 

On innerfidelity.com, the user Jssnow1 wrote:

“I was saddened to hear about Chu’s passing. I attended high school with Chu and just googled his name to see what he was up to and came across this sad news. As there does not appear to be much info about Chu, I can share a little bit. Chu grew up in Chinatown, NYC and attended Poly Prep CDS before going to Yale for undergrad. He was a very nice person. He was reserved, mostly kept to himself, very studious and hard-working. I will attempt to post a picture of Chu from high school (class of ’79). Best”

On lowyat.net, Jssnow1 also shared: 

“Hi, I was very sorry to hear of Chu’s passing. I was a high school classmate of Chu’s and was just trying to catch up with what he might be up to. Foe some background, Chu grew up in Chinatown, NYC and attended Poly Prep CDS in Brooklyn. He was a very serious and good student; extremely straight-laced with excellent principles. A very nice person. After high school, he went to Yale, and I lost track of him after that. I’ll try to dig up an old photo and figure out how to post it. Best,”

powchumoy

On head-case.org  Tyll Hertsens wrote:

“So I decided to call Frank Patten  at the Washoe County Public Administrator office to see if he could tell me any more about Chu.

He was surprisingly forth coming. He said Chu was “traveling light”, and had few if any possessions. He was renting a one-room apartment week-to-week. It was almost completely empty but for an unopened Amazon box with a Bissel vacuum sweeper inside. There was no bedding.  They could find no job or source of income. He did have a PayPal account but the only thing they found is a few contributions to political parties and disaster relief efforts. They found his deceased dad, and they think he had a sister but can’t find her. He was born in New York. He evidently died suddenly and inexplicably.

And yeah, being alone doesn’t mean he was lonely…but boy, it was a little hard hearing that stuff.”

Assembled or made in Portugal.

I really love Portugal, after all I was born and raised here so that nostalgic patriotic feeling did rub on me, especially from my father who was in the military during the 70′s. So I’m biased when I say, most stuff made in Portugal is of good quality.
The list is not amazing but if you want cork or leather goods, wines, hats, clothes and some typical rugs, my country excels in those areas. We had some pretty amazing heavy industry but due to economic changes around the world and in Europe they all sunk (pun intended…some will get it)

These days Portugal is mainly a services country so it’s normal that many companies around the world use our small factories to assemble things, because Portugal it’s one of the cheapest places to do so in Europe and also because the work force is often very professional about their duty, taking pride in what they assemble. Companies like Camel Active, Leica, gun makers, shoe makers, bag and even car companies assemble things around here and they also often take pride in their Portuguese factories and work force, something you can’t do with sweat shops in Asia for example.

Assembled in Portugal often means parts come from very low wage factories in Asia, sadly some Portuguese companies are now using the “Made in Portugal” stamp to promote shitty electronics made in China but assembled and packaged in Portugal, and when I say assembled it’s more like OS configured and that’s about it. I’m strongly against this practice because such products are not made or assembled in Portugal, they are not even designed in Portugal! The are re-packaged in Portugal and I think this practice should be strongly regulated by the European and Portuguese law.

So next time you buy electronics “Made in Portugal” you might need to check if the parts don’t come from a very low wage countries made by under skilled workers.

A little side note about China and other low wage countries, like I said in the past, their work force is really necessary but I’m against underpaid workers and sweat shops. Some pretty amazing stuff is made in China and they have amazing engineers. People should be paid for their work doesn’t matter if they are Portuguese or Chinese a fair wage is necessary.

Beyerdynamic DT-880.

I feel naked without my glasses but I wanted a new casual social network photo so I took a selfie with my Beyerdynamic DT-880 (250Ω version) maybe this way I actually look like an audiophile. 😄

Now serious, these headphones are pretty amazing and I’m only using a ART HeadAmp4 on my desktop rig. I’m saving to buy a Lake People headphone Amplifier, I need a reference for my DIY projects.

I don’t make reviews so here’s one from Ken Rockwell if you buy stuff online use his referal links, the man is a really nice reviewer.