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Beatles Remasters: Reviewed by Lefsetz on a PC?

I’ve never heard of Bob Lefsetz, though his biographer certainly thinks highly of him:

From Lefsetz’ blog

Bob Lefsetz is the author of “The Lefsetz Letter.” Famous for being beholden to no one and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to EVERYBODY who’s in the music business.

Maybe Steven Tyler and Bryan Adams pore over every word this guy writes, but please tell me that not everybody in the music business is captivated by CD sound quality comparisons done on a PC.

In his review of the new remastered Beatles CDs (“The Beatles Remasters“) Lefsetz does a nice job conveying his feelings on listening to music he lived with and loved as it was released. He also rightly rails against the sound quality of modern rock and pop recordings, badly compressed in one way to sound loud, in another to “be” small (the more easily to fit onto iPods).

However, Lefsetz steps in it about two-thirds of the way through this review of comparative sound quality. My friend Michael Levinson says it more succinctly than I can:

From Michael Levinson’s Facebook comment

“Upon insertion of ‘Help!’, I was told by computer…” = FAIL

If that sentence had been at the beginning, I would have been spared the four minutes I took reading the rest of the article, which included such gems as “This was no longer a record, this was someone real singing.” and “Listening for hours, all I can say is…I believe in yesterday.”

Was Lefsetz really inspired to write such treacle – and to make such detailed comparisons to the previous CD issues – by the listening experience on his computer? Even if he has a tricked-out setup worthy of his station in the “music business”, who’s going to believe his sound quality claims when this is his sole reference to the reproduction system?

Sigh. Let’s look forward to next week, when the CDs are available to regular consumers. The hoi polloi might not share the “intense brilliance” of a Bob Lefsetz, but they might have the sense to blog responsibly about how these CDs differ from their predecessors.


  1. Bob Lefsetz

    Wow, I DM you on Twitter telling you what computer speakers I use and then you stop following me on Twitter and work me over?

    As I told you, I use AUX speakers. Which are professional level speakers, the identical ones used for concerts. The fact that they’re hooked up to my computer makes my opinion irrelevant?

    I’d be stunned if these speakers aren’t better than any stereo you own, and they’re certainly better than the speakers the “hoi polloi” own.

    Read about AUX here:

    Posted on 01-Sep-09 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
  2. @Bob Lefsetz: I don’t think I ever consciously followed you on Twitter, but I haven’t unfollowed anyone in a while. And as of this reply I don’t yet have a DM there from you (I’m @ethanprater on Twitter, if you need to find me).

    I’m glad to read that this review of the new set was on a good system. I think mentioning it, even in a footnote, would go a long way to supporting that point, especially since the only other reference was just to the PC source.

    Posted on 01-Sep-09 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

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