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European Commission to rule on Apple's Beats acquisition by July 30

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Apple will know whether European antitrust authorities will clear its $3 billion deal for headphone maker Beats by the end of next month, paving the way for the acquisition to close before the end of Apple's 2014 fiscal year.


Photo via Paul Stamatiou.


The deadline announcement came from the European Commission earlier Wednesday, according to Reuters. Though there is no word on what the Commission's decision will be -- the body could demand concessions if it views the agreement as anticompetitive --?a challenge is unlikely.

It is still unknown which agency will review the sale in the U.S. Federal law mandates that Apple report the deal to both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice's antitrust division, but the two agencies traditionally divvy up investigations between themselves.

Despite Beats's dominant position in the headphone market, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple expects a swift confirmation from antitrust regulators around the world. Apple chief Tim Cook has said that he believes Beats will add to Apple's revenues beginning in his company's fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in September.

Apple announced the Beats deal late last month, paying some $2.5 billion for the premium headphone business and another $500 million for the nascent Beats Music streaming service. Beats cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will also come on board as Apple executives, reporting to marketing chief Phil Schiller and services guru Eddy Cue.
post #2 of 49
Don't see why/how approval of this could remotely be an issue.
post #3 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Don't see why/how approval of this could remotely be an issue.

 

It's Europe, they'll squash this deal because Timmy and Jimmy rhyme and the names look too much the same.

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post #4 of 49
Lol
post #5 of 49
Apple and Bears are American companies, right? How does the EU commission have any jurisdiction in the matter?

Just for the sake of argument: what happens if they say "no" and Apple acquires Beats anyway?
post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by iaeen View Post

Apple and Bears are American companies, right? How does the EU commission have any jurisdiction in the matter?

Just for the sake of argument: what happens if they say "no" and Apple acquires Beats anyway?

The EU has jurisdiction over what is traded in the EU. But it hardly seems to be an issue .. the anti-trust approval is a formality, but since beats in the EU has nothing approaching market domination in the Headphones market, its not going to be an issue. Regarding other Beats activities there may be some issues, but there will be no show-stoppers.

 

Turning to the other question: What happens if Apple goes ahead despite a veto ... then they go out of business in the EU. I don't think any sane company will try to defy the EU in anti-trust issues. They may dispute the decision in front of the EU court of justice and could conceivably have some success in that, but defying an order would be corporate suicide and apple is simply not that dumb. The stakes would be really high. Antitrust and anticompetitive activity is serious in the EU (also in the US, but on that side of the atlantic there's more lobbyism and bought courts and politicians).

 

So in all there doesn't really seem to be any risk.

post #7 of 49

Yeah, this surprised me. It's a story being picked up by all outlets.

Is this a issue for every / any company that Apple buys (and certainly applying to all other corporations as well)?

 

Maybe this is about the Beats Streaming service lined up with Apple's iTunes Radio (?) I guess I would understand that.

post #8 of 49
"Premium"?
Overpriced junk.
 
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post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

"Premium"?
Overpriced junk.

Maybe, but what headphones that you would use are not overpriced and/or junk?

 

While I don't use Beats headphones because I personally don't like the way they sound, they seem to be decently designed and constructed.   I do like the sound of my relatively low-cost Sennheisers, but the cables on these never last more than a year or two and I find them impossible to re-solder onto a new plug because there are so few strands of copper.  

post #10 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post
 

Yeah, this surprised me. It's a story being picked up by all outlets.

European Commission review of large mergers is standard practice. It is unsurprising to see this headline here, and it is particularly unsurprising to see media outlets picking up on a headline related to Apple. News articles/rumor mongering about Apple generates page views.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

Is this a issue for every / any company that Apple buys (and certainly applying to all other corporations as well)?

No, Apple typically acquires smaller, more obscure companies.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

Maybe this is about the Beats Streaming service lined up with Apple's iTunes Radio (?) I guess I would understand that.

Neither service are dominant players. No risk of anti-competitive practices.

 

But the review is the entire business of both companies, not just of specific business units. Clearly there are some things that overlap (streaming audio, earphone hardware design and sales), but there are components that are also related (digital music sales, headphone design and sales), and the merger is reviewed as a whole entity and how it relates to various businesses and competition, not just at a micro level like streaming music services.


Edited by mpantone - 6/25/14 at 7:32am
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post
 

Maybe, but what headphones that you would use are not overpriced and/or junk?

For headphones: Grado Labs, AKG.

 

For earphones: RHA, NuForce.

post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post
 

For headphones: Grado Labs, AKG.

I realize that it's in the eyes of the beholder, but both are fugly beyond belief.

 

Moreover, if you think the way Beats sounds is a problem, change the (what is pretty crappy anyway in iOS devices) equalization setting. With the typical quality of AAC or MP3 files that most of us listen to and the environment in which we often do so (e.g., cars or places with lots of ambient noise), you really can't tell the difference between a high- and medium-quality headphone. (Unless one is an aural snob.)

post #13 of 49

I agree with the comment on aesthetics about Grado headphones, but they do sound great. The SR-80s are a bargain.

 

AKG make a wide range of designs, some look quite very urban like Beats By Dre, others look more like studio monitors.

 

If the headphones have good audio performance, you shouldn't be diddling with equalization controls that much. I use my SR-80s at home listening to lossless rips of classical music with no equalization. My AKGs are the folding type and are the ones I take on the road, but again, I don't diddle with the EQ settings.

 

The point is that headphones and earphones with good audio performance can be found at prices well below what Beats By Dre is commanding.

post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

I realize that it's in the eyes of the beholder, but both are fugly beyond belief.

 

Moreover, if you think the way Beats sounds is a problem, change the (what is pretty crappy anyway in iOS devices) equalization setting. With the typical quality of AAC or MP3 files that most of us listen to and the environment in which we often do so (e.g., cars or places with lots of ambient noise), you really can't tell the difference between a high- and medium-quality headphone. (Unless one is an aural snob.)

 

Maybe I'm a big aural or audio snob, but EQing is a big no, no.

 

The sound has to be good without any processing added to it at all.

post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post
I do like the sound of my relatively low-cost Sennheisers, but the cables on these never last more than a year or two and I find them impossible to re-solder onto a new plug because there are so few strands of copper.  

 

A lot of "pro" headphones have detachable cables, so it's no big deal to replace them, should anything happen.

 

I recently bought a cheap pair of headphones to travel with (ath-m50x), and even that came with 3 detachable cables included in the box.

post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

 

Maybe I'm a big aural or audio snob, but EQing is a big no, no.

 

The sound has to be good without any processing added to it at all.

I don't get it: you've lost tons of data anyway in the process of getting to a typical AAC file, and all that is left behind is a fraction of bits and bytes compared to original lossless version. You're simply manipulating those that are left behind to get a sound that most appeals to you.

 

What's wrong with that? How's it different from increasing the font size or changing the brightness setting for easier viewing? Or adding salt and pepper for a better taste? Wearing fabrics that are not rough on your skin? Putting on some cologne so that you smell better?

 

On the topic of "EQing being a bid no no," do you leave the bass/midrange/treble settings on your stereo at neutral, regardless of your speakers and regardless of whether you're listening to jazz or classical or rock? If you change any one of those, aren't you "EQing"?

post #17 of 49
Talk about sloppy reporting! Reuters announced July 30, 2014 not June 30, 2014. Come on AI, pull it together!!
post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

I don't get it: you've lost tons of data anyway in the process of getting to a typical AAC file, and all that is left behind is a fraction of bits and bytes compared to original lossless version. You're simply manipulating those that are left behind to get a sound that most appeals to you.

 

What's wrong with that? How's it different from increasing the font size or changing the brightness setting for easier viewing? Or adding salt and pepper for a better taste? Wearing fabrics that are not rough on your skin? Putting on some cologne so that you smell better?

 

On the topic of "EQing being a bid no no," do you leave the bass/midrange/treble settings on your stereo at neutral, regardless of your speakers and regardless of whether you're listening to jazz or classical or rock? If you change any one of those, aren't you "EQing"?

 

It's just a matter of individual preference I suppose.

 

Listening to things neutral allows me to properly judge whatever it is I am listening to. 

 

And yes, I don't touch any bass/midrange/treble settings on a stereo or speakers either. Of course, my preferences might be different than the average person, since I am involved in audio & music creation, and I need to be able to judge everything from a fairly neutral perspective. I do plenty of EQing and plenty of other processing while creating, but not after the fact.

post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What's wrong with that? How's it different from increasing the font size or changing the brightness setting for easier viewing? Or adding salt and pepper for a better taste? Wearing fabrics that are not rough on your skin? Putting on some cologne so that you smell better?

Listening to music is all about enjoying the sound.
1. Reading text isn't about enjoying the font.
2. I don't add salt or pepper when I'm eating food cooked by a world class chef (or even a half decent one).

Not saying I disagree with you; I just think the analogies are weak (the second one in particular, I think, demonstrates Apple]['s point). I do find it annoying when, reading headphone reviews, people complain that the bass on high quality headphones sucks because it isn't artificially exaggerated.

Edit: formatting.
post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

I don't get it: you've lost tons of data anyway in the process of getting to a typical AAC file, and all that is left behind is a fraction of bits and bytes compared to original lossless version. You're simply manipulating those that are left behind to get a sound that most appeals to you.

 

What's wrong with that? How's it different from increasing the font size or changing the brightness setting for easier viewing? Or adding salt and pepper for a better taste? Wearing fabrics that are not rough on your skin? Putting on some cologne so that you smell better?

 

On the topic of "EQing being a bid no no," do you leave the bass/midrange/treble settings on your stereo at neutral, regardless of your speakers and regardless of whether you're listening to jazz or classical or rock? If you change any one of those, aren't you "EQing"?

Many, if not most (?) high end amplifiers come without eq settings, don't they? The point, as I understand it, is for the system to recreate the recorded sound most accurately. Some of your examples are not really representative, anyway. I think equalizing the sound is more like having the ability to change the colour of the lighting in a room in order to make your art look 'better'. Ideally the lighting should recreate natural light in order to see the art as intended by the artist. Not that I am an audio snob and people can listen to sounds any way they like for my money. Personally I never touch the eq controls though in the future I might. I know that people's hearing change as they get older. 

post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post
 

Many, if not most (?) high end amplifiers come without eq settings, don't they? The point, as I understand it, is for the system to recreate the recorded sound most accurately. Some of your examples are not really representative, anyway. I think equalizing the sound is more like having the ability to change the colour of the lighting in a room in order to make your art look 'better'. Ideally the lighting should recreate natural light in order to see the art as intended by the artist. Not that I am an audio snob and people can listen to sounds any way they like for my money. Personally I never touch the eq controls though in the future I might. I know that people's hearing change as they get older. 

 

I'm not a graphics artist, but I imagine that it's similar to a photographer or graphics artist who has a monitor that is calibrated 100% accurately.

 

If they look at a picture on their calibrated monitor, they'll instantly know if the red color is correct or off. They need to have accurate reproduction.

post #22 of 49
I would like to point out to whoever wrote this article that it is wrong. The headline says by Monday which would be June 30. The deadline, according to Reuters is July 30.
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by iaeen View Post

Apple and Bears are American companies, right? How does the EU commission have any jurisdiction in the matter?

Doesn't Beats claim Irish residency and maintain an Irish subsidiary?? Because American company Motorola Mobility had a factory in China and a research company is Israel they also had to approve the MM deal before Google could close on it.
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post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post
 

Many, if not most (?) high end amplifiers come without eq settings, don't they? 

Most people can't afford those, so it's a moot point.

 

Unless you are saying that people who own "low-end" amplifiers should also not change their EQ settings because high-end do not have them. If not, what are you saying/implying? I don't follow.

 

You brought up age, and how our sensory organs change with age. Spot on. But you ignored my point about the type of music (e.g., jazz v. classical v. rock), about the type of speakers one has, about lossy versus lossless, and about the environmental settings in which we typically listen to our music. Not to forget that audio quality is a function of the sound engineer as much as, perhaps more than, it is of the musician.

 

To suggest that EQ should remain at 'neutral' regardless of all these contingencies simply does not make sense to me.

post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iaeen View Post

Apple and Bears are American companies, right? How does the EU commission have any jurisdiction in the matter?

Doesn't Beats claim Irish residency and maintain an Irish subsidiary?? Because American company Motorola Mobility had a factory in China and a research company is Israel they also had to approve the MM deal before Google could close on it.

Having a subsidiary in the foreign country is not necessary for antitrust enforcement. All that is required is a sufficient amount of sales in the host country/region (as was pointed out by another poster). All antitrust policy gives regulatory authority to sales taking place within its legal territory.

post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

Maybe, but what headphones that you would use are not overpriced and/or junk?

While I don't use Beats headphones because I personally don't like the way they sound, they seem to be decently designed and constructed.   I do like the sound of my relatively low-cost Sennheisers, but the cables on these never last more than a year or two and I find them impossible to re-solder onto a new plug because there are so few strands of copper.  

If I could afford- the B&Ws. I prefer the lower end look with 2 wires more than the higher end with one wire even though that sound is spectacular. For the gym and running I use the Bose sports semi- in ear phones. I would never use Beats and would use Senheisers or even Sony for that matter over Beats. Beats is purely a marketing phinomenom. let see if Apple get it's 2.5$billion worth out of them.
 
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post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Having a subsidiary in the foreign country is not necessary for antitrust enforcement. All that is required is a sufficient amount of sales in the host country/region (as was pointed out by another poster). All antitrust policy gives regulatory authority to sales taking place within its legal territory.

Not sure you're entirely correct Anant. From Law360:
"If the private merger or acquisition involves a European entity, approval may be required under the European Commission's Merger Regulation. A filing with the EC satisfies antitrust filing needs within the European Economic Area and usually, no country-specific filings will be necessary.

However, the EC Merger Regulation applies only to transactions where there is a “change of control” under the EC definition, and in some European jurisdictions, there may be antitrust filing requirements regardless of whether there is a change of control.

In addition, non-European jurisdictions such as Russia, China and Singapore have specific antitrust filing requirements. An antitrust specialist should be consulted in all such offshore transactions."

http://www.law360.com/articles/464429/a-guide-to-obtaining-regulatory-approvals-in-private-m-a
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post #28 of 49
Those Beats headphones are gonna change!
post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post


If I could afford- the B&Ws. I prefer the lower end look with 2 wires more than the higher end with one wire even though that sound is spectacular. For the gym and running I use the Bose sports semi- in ear phones. I would never use Beats and would use Senheisers or even Sony for that matter over Beats. Beats is purely a marketing phinomenom. let see if Apple get it's 2.5$billion worth out of them.

 

I agree that the B&Ws are pretty spectacular.   They're used as the CD listening station headphones at the new Rough Trade record shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.    I was pretty impressed with them - they were crisp and clean with great but smooth high end and had full, tight bass.   I don't remember which model they were using, but the P3s are $200, the P5s are $300 and the P7 is $400.   Since it was a listening station, I'm going to assume they were probably the P3s.  

 

Beats Headphones start somewhat less expensive, but quickly meet and then exceed the B&W pricing.    In fairness, I didn't know Beats had all these different models and I have to go back and listen to them all to see if any are any good.   But whichever one I originally listened to, I didn't like at all.  That doesn't mean it's junk or not made well - it just means I didn't like the sound and they all seem too large to wear when I'm on a bike, which is really the only time I'm listening with headphones. 

 

Solo HD $170 or $200

mixr $250

wireless $280

executive $300

studio $300

studio wireless $380

pro $400, $450

studio $600

 

Frankly, I didn't realize Beats headphones were this expensive.   When I ride the subway, I see an incredible number of people using them who you wouldn't think would spend that much on headphones.

 

I think it's unfair to claim Beats is nothing but a marketing phenomenon.   I think there's a lot of bias simply because Dr. Dre is involved and people who don't like hip-hop (like myself) are turned off by this.    You can say that about anything, including Apple's products.   I might not like the sound of Beats' headphones, but I don't like the sound of most other headphones either.    

post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post
 

I think there's a lot of bias simply because Dr. Dre is involved and people who don't like hip-hop (like myself) are turned off by this.  

 

Of course there is bias involved, a lot of people don't think too highly of hiphop and don't regard hiphop as being high quality audiophile material.

 

I bet you that if Dr. Dre was not the face of Beats, and a high profile and famous country artist was the face of Beats instead, and the Beats headphones sounded and looked exactly the same, then 99% of people who wear Beats headphones would not have bought them.

post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post
 

Many, if not most (?) high end amplifiers come without eq settings, don't they? The point, as I understand it, is for the system to recreate the recorded sound most accurately. Some of your examples are not really representative, anyway. I think equalizing the sound is more like having the ability to change the colour of the lighting in a room in order to make your art look 'better'. Ideally the lighting should recreate natural light in order to see the art as intended by the artist. Not that I am an audio snob and people can listen to sounds any way they like for my money. Personally I never touch the eq controls though in the future I might. I know that people's hearing change as they get older. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

Most people can't afford those, so it's a moot point.

 

Unless you are saying that people who own "low-end" amplifiers should also not change their EQ settings because high-end do not have them. If not, what are you saying/implying? I don't follow.

 

You brought up age, and how our sensory organs change with age. Spot on. But you ignored my point about the type of music (e.g., jazz v. classical v. rock), about the type of speakers one has, about lossy versus lossless, and about the environmental settings in which we typically listen to our music. Not to forget that audio quality is a function of the sound engineer as much as, perhaps more than, it is of the musician.

 

To suggest that EQ should remain at 'neutral' regardless of all these contingencies simply does not make sense to me.

 

Amplifiers don't come with EQ, but preamplifiers (except for phono preamps) and receivers (which combine a preamp with a power amp) do come with EQ (or tone controls).   That's because EQ is supposed to be part of the control section of an audio chain.   Phono preamps have a set de-emphasis built-in according to the RIAA phono curve.     

 

You are never listening to the music exactly as intended because you are not listening in the same room and with the same equipment as the recording.    The primary purpose of EQ is not to change the sound of the recording - it's to change and balance the sound of the room.

 

In addition, recorded music will sound different depending upon the level that it's played.   At lower levels, we tend to hear less low and high end.   That's why stereo equipment (as opposed to multichannel A/V equipment) used to have a "loudness compensation" switch which increased the low and high end at low levels.  As you increased the level, the compensation would phase out.    These were established according to the Fletcher-Munson curve, which detailed how the ear responds to various frequencies at various levels.    

 

And even in addition to all that, it's simply a matter of personal taste.   If someone wants to hear a little more bass and uses EQ (or simple tone controls) to do that, there's nothing wrong with that as long as only slight adjustments are made.    Same for the high end, especially if you have some hearing loss as the vast majority of middle-aged and above urban dwellers have.   Kids can generally hear to 20Khz or even slightly higher.    Most older adults can't hear much above 13-15Khz and may have threshold loss at even lower frequencies.   EQ can help compensate for threshold loss.   

 

However, if EQ is overused or used improperly, it can result in some phasing problems. 

 

So frankly, I think it's a bit "anal" to say that one is never going to use EQ as a matter of principle.   And if you listen to music on an A/V receiver or controller, almost all of them have room calibration setups (such as Audyssey) that include an automatic EQ (for better or worse) to compensate for the effects of the room.   

post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

 

Of course there is bias involved, a lot of people don't think too highly of hiphop and don't regard hiphop as being high quality audiophile material.

 

I bet you that if Dr. Dre was not the face of Beats, and a high profile and famous country artist was the face of Beats instead, and the Beats headphones sounded and looked exactly the same, then 99% of people who wear Beats headphones would not have bought them.

 

Maybe, but maybe an equivalent number of different people would have....say if Garth Brooks was the face of Beats.   While I personally don't listen to country music, just on his albums that have sold over 5 million units each, Brooks has sold 116 million units in the U.S. - more than any other artist, including the Beatles (107 million).  

post #33 of 49
Originally Posted by Taniwha View Post

Turning to the other question: What happens if Apple goes ahead despite a veto ... then they go out of business in the EU. I don't think any sane company will try to defy the EU in anti-trust issues.

 

EU pretends it can invalidate Apple-Beats deal.

Apple ignores them, continues selling products.

EU confiscates Apple Stores.

US leaves NATO.

One sentence reply, “Have at ‘er, Russia!”

:p

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post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post
 

 

Maybe, but maybe an equivalent number of different people would have....say if Garth Brooks was the face of Beats.   While I personally don't listen to country music, just on his albums that have sold over 5 million units each, Brooks has sold 116 million units in the U.S. - more than any other artist, including the Beatles (107 million).  

 

I don't listen to any country music either, but I agree that if there was a "Garth Brooks" headphone, then a certain crowd of people and some of his fans would probably buy those, but the point that I was trying to make was that people who wear Beats headphones are also biased.

 

Some people claim that people who don't like Beats or Dr. Dre are biased, but wearers of Beats are just as biased.

post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

On the topic of "EQing being a bid no no," do you leave the bass/midrange/treble settings on your stereo at neutral, regardless of your speakers and regardless of whether you're listening to jazz or classical or rock? If you change any one of those, aren't you "EQing"?

 

My stereo doesn't have bass/midrange/treble controls. Input selector and volume only. It does not even have a balance control. None of these controls are necessary if the producer of the recording does his job properly.

 

I have never heard a set of Beats, but from what I read they are definitely not something I would use. There are lots of very good alternatives. Sennheiser, AKG, STAX (but not for portables), HiFiman, Audio Technica, Grado, Beyerdynamic... Personally I prefer Sennheiser and Stax, but I realize they are out of most peoples price range (my SR-009 cost $ 4500 just for the headphones, and you need a separate amp for them...)


Edited by tryd - 6/25/14 at 10:31am
post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

 

I don't listen to any country music either, but I agree that if there was a "Garth Brooks" headphone, then a certain crowd of people and some of his fans would probably buy those, but the point that I was trying to make was that people who wear Beats headphones are also biased.

 

Some people claim that people who don't like Beats or Dr. Dre are biased, but wearers of Beats are just as biased.

I think that's ridiculous.   Buyers of Beats simply related to a marketing campaign and/or the product itself and bought what they liked.   It's no different than relating to a car (whether it's a BMW, a Caddy or a tiny electric Smart Car) or just about any other product, including absolutely any Apple product you can name.     

 

I used to buy ties designed by Jerry Garcia.   Did that make me biased?    No, I simply related to and liked the ties and the association.   

post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post
 

 

 

 

Amplifiers don't come with EQ, but preamplifiers (except for phono preamps) and receivers (which combine a preamp with a power amp) do come with EQ (or tone controls).   That's because EQ is supposed to be part of the control section of an audio chain.   Phono preamps have a set de-emphasis built-in according to the RIAA phono curve.     

 

You are never listening to the music exactly as intended because you are not listening in the same room and with the same equipment as the recording.    The primary purpose of EQ is not to change the sound of the recording - it's to change and balance the sound of the room.

 

In addition, recorded music will sound different depending upon the level that it's played.   At lower levels, we tend to hear less low and high end.   That's why stereo equipment (as opposed to multichannel A/V equipment) used to have a "loudness compensation" switch which increased the low and high end at low levels.  As you increased the level, the compensation would phase out.    These were established according to the Fletcher-Munson curve, which detailed how the ear responds to various frequencies at various levels.    

 

And even in addition to all that, it's simply a matter of personal taste.   If someone wants to hear a little more bass and uses EQ (or simple tone controls) to do that, there's nothing wrong with that as long as only slight adjustments are made.    Same for the high end, especially if you have some hearing loss as the vast majority of middle-aged and above urban dwellers have.   Kids can generally hear to 20Khz or even slightly higher.    Most older adults can't hear much above 13-15Khz and may have threshold loss at even lower frequencies.   EQ can help compensate for threshold loss.   

 

However, if EQ is overused or used improperly, it can result in some phasing problems. 

 

So frankly, I think it's a bit "anal" to say that one is never going to use EQ as a matter of principle.   And if you listen to music on an A/V receiver or controller, almost all of them have room calibration setups (such as Audyssey) that include an automatic EQ (for better or worse) to compensate for the effects of the room.   

Great explanation. And I certainly defer to your expert knowledge. Personally I never mess with the EQ except when mixing audio in video, which is a whole different ball game. The reason I don't mess with the EQ is just that I am not an audiophile and cannot be bothered. It has nothing to do with principle. In the past when I used a separate amp I always used the loudness button for low volume. These days I don't usually play music quietly in the background.

post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by tryd View Post
Personally I prefer Sennheiser and Stax, but I realize they are out of most peoples price range (my SR-009 cost $ 4500 just for the headphones, and you need a separate amp for them...)

 

Woah! I thought I went up-market when I paid $300 for my Bose Noise Cancelling headset!

post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by iaeen View Post

Apple and Bears are American companies, right? How does the EU commission have any jurisdiction in the matter?

Just for the sake of argument: what happens if they say "no" and Apple acquires Beats anyway?

 

They don't.  They can't stop Apple from acquiring beats- but they can stop Apple and Beats from selling products in the EU.  On the whole its pretty much a rubber stamp approval in this case.

post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post
 

Yeah, this surprised me. It's a story being picked up by all outlets.

European Commission review of large mergers is standard practice. It is unsurprising to see this headline here, and it is particularly unsurprising to see media outlets picking up on a headline related to Apple. News articles/rumor mongering about Apple generates page views.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

Is this a issue for every / any company that Apple buys (and certainly applying to all other corporations as well)?

No, Apple typically acquires smaller, more obscure companies.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

Maybe this is about the Beats Streaming service lined up with Apple's iTunes Radio (?) I guess I would understand that.

Neither service are dominant players. No risk of anti-competitive practices.

 

But the review is the entire business of both companies, not just of specific business units. Clearly there are some things that overlap (streaming audio, earphone hardware design and sales), but there are components that are also related (digital music sales, headphone design and sales), and the merger is reviewed as a whole entity and how it relates to various businesses and competition, not just at a micro level like streaming music services.

Well, except that it's not a "large merger". Just an expensive one (by Apple standards). Beats was a private (or non-public) company.

And I wasn't saying it was strange that AI published the story, just surprising to me that this particular deal has come under EC scrutiny to such an extent, that all media outlets are running with it as a story.

 

My second point was just that companies merge every day, (and larger than Beats) and I don't hear {quite} so much about it from SEC - EC.

Also: If the EC review is not pertinent to "anti-competitive practices", what would it be about?

 

I guess I'm just saying that I saw the Beats deal as having very little overlay (yes, some). And therefore am surprised at the scrutiny.

In the end, it seems like it's probably about the price tag more than anything. (shrug)

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