Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mobile Phones and Music | Morrissey on a China Plate

Mobile Phones Make Lousy Music Sound Worse

Using Mobile phones as music devices baffles my mind. Yes, an iPhone might be the exception, only because the "phone" part is almost secondary. If you have seen the HD video and sound that the latest iPhone captures, you would certainly agree with me. What I am talking about is the sound that comes out of the speakers of a non iPhone.

I was crossing the street in downtown Milwaukee yesterday, when I passed by a girl who was waiting for a bus. As I passed, I thought her phone was ringing. To me it sounded like that tinny, over driven sound you may hear when someone has picked a ring tone that is just too much for the phone's speaker to handle. You know what I'm talking about, the sound is all distorted and not very appealing. I was wrong, she was listening to music. It was awful.

I am one of those people who thought that advanced technology would improve the sound that comes out of tiny devices. I'm old enough to remember transistor radios and the sound that they produced. Still, it seems like you just can't make a tiny speaker sound lush, unless you spend hundreds of dollars. If you take a look at the tiny speakers that do sound good, you realize that they are not that tiny. They are just the tweeter portion of what used to reside in a large wooden box, and it sat above the woofer. To me, the only thing that has changed is that the woofer is in a separate box, and the tweeters clutter up your desk, or hang from your living room wall, or sit on thin posts throughout the room.

I have a friend who travels a lot. He lives very simply, to the point where he relies on his iPhone for everything. That phone gets a workout. What I find interesting about this particular friend is that he used to be an audiophile. He is one of those guys who still has vinyl records, and keeps them in individual plastic sleeves. He practically studies the album. He knows who produced it, mixed it, the lyrics, and the performers who played on it. His albums sit high on a shelf now, and he doesn't own a record player anymore. He doesn't own a boom box, or stereo. He plays music through his phone, and that makes me very sad.

Morrissey on a China Plate

I like to do the airport runs for my friend. It's easy, and I like catching people on the way in or out of town. They tend to be excited, or tired, or nervous. Basically, I get to see friends an emotional state that I might not see during other, more normal times. When I came to pick up my friend last Saturday, I found him just about ready to go. He was playing Morrissey through his phone, which he had placed on a china plate on his kitchen counter. The plate he told me, helped to bring out the sound. There was no bass, no mids, just highs and this china plate resonating Morrissey out into his kitchen. How far my audiophile friend had fallen.

1 comment:

jtebeest said...