Why do we accept MP3 format as a standard? Does size really matter?Locked
While immensely popular, the MP3 format is really just garbage that sounds similar to the original recording, but is FAR from the same quality of the original studio work.
128kbps reproduction is ridiculous especially today when such quality surround systems are commonplace for PC’s, even notebooks have somewhat decent speakers these days. You can make tracks that sit around 256 or 320, but even 320 doesn’t really cut it for a good recording.
I am just wondering how, after all the format wars, have we ended up with MP3? Poorly compressed, completely eliminating massive portions of an album’s sound and dynamic presence all in order to save space.
Not just downloads, even downloads offer FLAC, or DTS copies of good music, but still MP3 leads the pack.
Have we forgotten what musical dynamics really are?
Have we not realized that iTunes is crap audio and MP3 is no better (even though a more portable format)?
Does teh average music listener even use or know about FLAC and other lossless formats for recording or portable devices (usually requiring the Ogg Vorbis codecs are available)?
Is today’s music even worth high bitrate?
1) Most new music is so poorly engineered, produced and compressed that the dynamics are really limited, especially electronically reproduced music that doesn’t have any sonic or dynamic quality to begin with.
2) Most other music has been carefully engineered for dynamic presentation, it offers a great soundstage where instruments can be heard a few inches to the left or right of one another, or where you can tell if an instrument is closer to the recording source or farther away. This offers a sense of spaciousness to the music, increasing the realism and listeners enjoyment.
3) The other problem I see is VERY low quality disks being used, almost like when KTel made vinyl turn into a cheap, wafer thin disk that came warped right out of the wrapper.
Quality recordings: bands such as Dire Straight have always taken a great deal of time to create a sonic masterpiece even when starting with digital bed tracks.
Then you look to companies like Telarc which, while mainly Classical and some Jazz, offer unsurpassed digital reproduction that makes it sound like high quality vinyl (minus the scratches) or Chesky, one of the most famous audio recording engineers to date; it CAN be done.
There are even ‘vinyl plugins’ for most mixers (like Cubase, Cakewalk, and even the beginners favorite, ProTools)these days that many artists use to add an imperfect/poppy sounding flavour to make their music appear more natural and less canned and compressed.
So why do we accept such poor portable formats when there are better choices already available to us?
As they say, size isn’t everything, and with the large storage sizes of todays music player and SD cards, size no longer plays much of a role in portable music.
Its almost like they were pushed and pushed ot crate a good digital format, and they created many, but finally stopped and made a sacrifice. Heavy compression at the smallest size and people gobbled it up, thanks to P2P sharing for that I guess.
I don’t blame the creators of these formats, some are really good (again, I must plug FLAC files which are EXCELLENT), I blame the lazy assed consumer who said “1000 songs will fit on my player now? good enough for me!”
And that was it, nothing more has been demanded of them. Sure many of us use fully lossless formats but not enough it seems.
1) because todays music is of such low quality and is so poorly produced and engineered that it just doesn’t matter?
2) nobody knows or appreciates good quality audio anymore?
What’s funny is that the Digital Video market is the exact opposite. They are constantly puching for better formats, dynamic quality improvements and better separation, and people pay the money for it and appreciate it.
When it comes to music nobody seems to care anymore though, just pop in a couple of low end earbuds and play an MP3 recorded at 128kbps. Despite owning a $6000.00 car stereo that reproduces frequencies that no human can hear anyway.
What has happened to quality and sonic reproduction? No wonder everyone downloads music these days and nobody is out there buying it too. The stuff off teh shelf ir crap so the lower quality downloads don’t make mushc difference.
To drone on some more, I had a friend over on teh weekend and was playign a few tracks to demonastrate what a soundstage and dynamics and separation all meant. His jaw was on his chest as he said, which recordign is this? He was hearing all kinds of tones and misical nuances he had never heard before, listening to teh same track. Well one reason is that I have some pretty high-end audio equipment (vintage) and teh other is that he finally got to hear what the original music was actually supposed to sound like (even though it was just a burned CD at a high bitrate).
Shakespeare said “If music be the food of love, play on.” Unfortunately music is now becoming an issue of less time and less space.
Next gripe: Why do people buy massive, powered subwoofers that get sub20hz frequences when most bass notes don’t drop below 47hz and most people can’t even hear 20hz?