MP3 distortion and audio quality

Slashdot | Young People Prefer “Sizzle Sounds” of MP3 Format

Re:Like the phonograph…. The what? (Score:5, Informative)

by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday March 11, @01:58PM (#27154139)

Why would people prefer the distorted sound produced my MP3-128??? As I just said – it’s distorted.

I am continually fascinated by the number of “pedals” and “effects” that electronic guitar players apply to the output of their instrument. Why would people prefer that distorted sound?

There are different levels of distortion. There are different kinds. The ability to detect distortion is a skill, in many cases, and in many cases ‘distortion’ is part of the desired sound. (Why do trombone players stuff a cone in the bell of their instrument, it’s DISTORTION!?)

I prefer the uncompressed FLAC or CD because it’s as close to live as one can get.

When I first read that, I assumed you meant the “made smaller” meaning of compressed, since you were talking about MP3’s and a major factor in MP3 production is the “make smaller” compression. I was going to point out that very few CDs come without the “remove level excursions” kind of compression, and that this compression is hardly as close to live as you can get.

Even so, many CDs don’t come out without multi-track mastering and postprocessing to include reverb and flanging and all kinds of other “effects” being added to the sound. None of those effects are what you would hear live, and some of them are digital attempts at making a studio recording sound more like live.

I can only conclude the college students are nuts to prefer the “buzz” of digital artifacts. I can tolerate digital artifacts, but I definitely do Not like them.

Many people don’t hear them (either because they aren’t trained to hear them or are using less-than-gold equipment like ear-buds). They don’t spend hours listening to live music in sonically pure environments so they could learn what a pure sound is. (Hearing a guitar amplified to 120dB is NOT hearing a pure sound, it’s hearing your eardrums, and every loose object in the room, rattle.) What they hear on the MP3 is what they learn to expect, and if the sound is “odd” then it’s a distraction.

Re:Like the phonograph…. The what? (Score:5, Funny)

by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Wednesday March 11, @02:16PM (#27154465)
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I remember seeing, many years ago, a science programme investigating audiophiles and high end audio equipment. They did all sorts of listening tests with various bits of high end and not so high end gear. Results were pretty much as you’d expect: after a certain price point, there was no real correlation in sound quality. The funniest part, though, was to finish, a string quartet was brought on and played live to the blindfolded panel. They hated it: flat, no warmth, sounds didn’t separate, mastering didn’t feel right, etc, etc. Lots of red faces when the blindfolds came off.

As for scalpers, the simple fact is that prices are too low. If you have people willing to pay often ten times the face value of a ticket, why in the name of god are you selling them so cheaply? Sell them at what the market considers a fair price and the scalpers will be out of business.

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