30 Minutes with Tom Scholz of Boston Page 4

Switching gears here, what's your take on digital files and iPods? Don't get me started on MP3s...

No, please, do get started! This is what we live for! [laughs] I'll just leave it at... [pauses] I hate them. People find it hard to believe, but other than the obvious noise-floor considerations, cassettes sounded much better than any of this digital crap. For everyday use, I still use constant quick-reference mixes in the studio - different arrangements, different guitar parts, different singing parts, different mix ideas - so I always have a loaded, ready-to-go mix deck hooked up to my stereo bus. At any moment, I can push the button, record, and sit back and A/B the different parts and ideas. If I didn't have a cassette deck doing that job, I'd be lost. I was so worried about it that I bought a second cassette deck and then I bought boxes and boxes of the Maxell tape that I use since I figure at some point they'll stop making it. I depend on it so heavily. There's nothing else that will quickly reproduce an accurate representation of sound to exacting standards.

Like you said, reel-to-reel was the best, and I always have to put cassette right behind it, the only thing being the noise-floor issue.

I remember Columbia tapes back in the day wearing out after many repeated listenings. Right. Not only that, but I used to get half a dozen tapes of an album and I'd put them on one after another, and the differences in the EQ and the high end between them would be all over the lot.

Are CDs in danger of becoming extinct? Do you think we're moving to a purely digital-delivery age? There's no question in my mind that the companies are going to be able to sell low-quality audio product in massive numbers far more easily than they can sell a true high-quality reproduction. Unfortunately, people have shown by their dollar votes that they don't care about quality nearly as much as they do features, convenience, and cost.

It's a little ironic, because I remember when I was in school [in the late '60s], the thing to do was buy the parts or kits and spend hours and hours building your own amplifiers and preamps and all this stuff so that you could get absolute, primo, best possible sound. I did it, and most of the college kids I knew did that. They were the first to embrace stereo broadcast with full-frequency reproduction. Today, college kids are buying this low-grade, cheap, kinda crappy audio sound. It's bizarre. I'm still trying to figure out what happened.