Our Most Popular Articles of 2012

2012 was a good year for Scientist. We started the year with about 10,000 articles being read each month, and ended it with around 25,000.

We also gave away a T-shirt. (Congrats @kittent! Take a look in your inbox for our message.) If the rest of you want to support the site by purchasing one of these handsome numbers, shoot us an email.

It was an especially good year for us because you shared these articles with your friends and with your networks. You wanted these ideas and this research to get out so we could stop wasting our time on silly arguments, and start focusing on the things that matter.

So here are the articles that you were most active in reading and sharing and giving us positive feedback about over the past year. If you missed any, now is the perfect time to catch up. All of them are easy reading and chock full of “science”, too.

Music Business

By far, our most popular articles this year focused on the business of music and other creative pursuits.

Two of our most widely shared pieces were written with musicians in mind: “How To Release an Album in the 21st Century” and “In Defense of Pre-Production.”

We got some of our favorite feedback about these. If we can encourage people to get back to work with renewed enthusiasm and vigor, then we are doing our jobs right. You told us we did a pretty OK job on these. So thanks.

We also took a closer look at business and jobs on the other side of the glass, beginning a new category on our site with “Audio School: Salaries, Opportunities and Graduation Rates for Sound Engineers.”

Finally, we did some stories about the larger trends surrounding the music business and related creative fields. All of them included new research, clear-headed analysis, and a few strong opinions.

Some of our readers’ favorites on that front included:

– “Has The Internship Turned Evil?

– “How The Swedes Fight Piracy”,

– “How To Fix Spotify”, and

– “How To Win The Loudness War”.


Our guest writers also created some of our most viral stories this year. Many of them were profiles.

Dan Schuman interviewed one of my personal favorite producer/engineers working today in “A Point of Departure with Scott Solter.

Steve MacFarlane told the story of electronics pioneer Leo Theremin in “Theremin-A-Mania”.

Gavin Skal wrote about the workflow of a blind audio engineer named Rich Gaglia in “Mixing By Ear: Audio Accessibility for the Visually Impaired.”

And our own Blake Madden profiled a few true legends like producers Giorgio Moroder and Flood, as well as surf-rock guitarist Dick Dale.

Critical Listening

Everyone’s selling something. But music and sound aren’t about talk. They’re about listening.

The two most-shared articles about critical listening evaluated some of Neil Young’s most dramatic claims about the quality of contemporary MP3s and CDs when compared to historic formats, as well as new higher-resolution files.

Far be it for us to tell you what to think. We let your own ears be the judge in:

Take our Audio Poll: Do We Need Higher-Definition Sound?” and

Results from our Audio Poll: Neil Young and High-Definition Sound.”

We also presented another side of the story and asked the mastering engineers who insisted on changes to the protocols to share their point of view: “Ace Engineers Share Tips on Mastering for iTunes”.

The mastering engineers loved that one, but the audio and perceptual scientists didn’t. They thought we left a little bit out, and they might have been right to say so. That’s actually what inspired the Neil Young stories, as well as a few more articles on the same theme: “Can You Hear What I Hear: A Guide To Listening Blind” and “Are You Superstitious About Your Sound?

It’s our hope that these articles would help take the focus off of our tools and on to the creative choices that really make or break any piece of recorded art.


But okay, let’s admit it: We have a soft spot for the tools too.

I wanted to make the case for how to choose what’s easily among the most important piece of gear in your entire chain: Your speakers. They don’t necessarily have to be fancy. But they must steer you in the right direction. If you’re in the market for some, try “The Art of Choosing Speakers”.

On the same front, we did a classic speaker roundup called: “The Great Auratone Roundup (With Reviews of the Avantone and Behritone Studio Monitors)”.

We also asked one of my personal production heroes, Mr. Joel Hamilton, to tell us “How To Fix Flood Damaged Audio Gear(Hint: Just add water).

And we also asked Audio Expert Ethan Winer to share his “Audio Priorities: What Matters a Lot (And What Doesn’t)”.

Of course, there was a lot more than that, from book and record reviews for musicians and engineers, and thoughts on where the industry has been and where it’s headed.

We invite to read and share as much as you like. If you only have a little while, any of the stories above should be a fun read and leave you better informed than when you came in. I know we all became a little bit smarter for having worked on them.

And if you’d ever like to contribute your own stories, just reach out. As of today, we pay.

This entry was posted in All Stories, Featured Stories, January 2013, Most Popular. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
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