An inconvenient truth: Why music sounds bad
A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs New Nashville hotel to showcase local music Nate Rau, The Tennessean 12:16 p.m. EDT October 2, 2013 Barlines, located inside the Omni Hotel, is a new option for local music and entertainment in downtown Nashville. (Photo: Karen Kraft, The Tennessean) SHARE 9 CONNECT 46 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE When the Omni Hotel officially opens this week, it also will mean the opening of a new live music venue that will feature local songwriters and artists. Barlines, a 280-seat bar and restaurant, is anchored by a raised stage in the middle. The goal, according to Barlines manager Rebecca Senita, is to give hotel guests an authentic Nashville experience while also giving local residents a new nightlife option. “We want to be Nashville’s new hot spot,” Senita said. “We’re going to have Southern comfort food and classic cocktails mixed with music and sports.” Barlines will book a variety of bands and have a weekly songwriter night on Tuesday, said Senita, who said the venue is booking its October calendar. Additionally, performances will be recorded and broadcast on the Barlines channel for hotel patrons. “We’re going to have music seven days a week from open to close, with sports mixed in as well for big games, featuring Titans games,” she said. “Our music will range from country honky-tonk style to country-rock, bluegrass, rockabilly. We have a good variety of artists that we’re going to bring in.” Barlines is on the first floor of the west side of the 800-room hotel behind the Country Music Hall of Fame at 250 Fifth Ave. S. Omni actually links up with the Hall of Fame and even incorporates items from country music legends such as Tammy Wynette and Johnny Cash along its main hallway leading from the lobby. Barlines has two full bars at opposite ends, a Southern-style menu and a “Tennessee whiskey trail” with 21 in-state whiskeys.
Phones have already taken over as the portable music players of choice. Do you know anyone who still uses a MP3 player, one that’s not also a phone? Today’s bands and record labels know their audiences aren’t listening at home on a stereo, so they have to make sure the music’s volume never changes. That way the listeners can hear it well enough in the noisiest of places. That’s why engineers compress music, compression boosts the softer sounds, and flattens the really loud bits, so it all comes out sounding the same. From a whisper to a scream, it’s all equally loud. Adding a little extra zing to the mix helps it cut better over the lowest-fi Bluetooth speakers, especially when there’s lots of competing sound on the beach or park or other settings. And since most BT speakers are just one speaker, mono is well on its way to replacing stereo over speakers. They haven’t figured out how to lose stereo over headphones just yet, but given enough time I’m sure it will happen. Of course, folks who occasionally listen in quieter places, over decent speakers or headphones, are rightfully appalled by the sound. They voice their outrage on various forums , including this blog , but we more attentive listeners are just a tiny minority. Most folks happily consume overly compressed and processed music, and sadly, I can’t see that changing anytime soon. That’s reality; the engineers will continue to skew their mixes by pumping up the midbass and adding sizzle to the treble, so the sound cuts through the murk.