Producers howl over sound cut out by MP3 compression

In its journey from CD to MP3 player, the music has been compressed by eliminating data that computer analysis deems redundant, squeezed down until it fits through the Internet pipeline. […] “You can get used to awful,” says record producer Phil Ramone. “You can appreciate nothing. We’ve done it with fast food.” writes

Oh, Shut. Up.

We had the programmer purists, the linguistic purists, the film photography purists, now we have the music producers too. The guy listens to music live every day and expects that everyone will and should be able to do the same. Well, it’s not that easy to do so.

A lossless codec like FLAC only “compresses” data 51% compared to uncompressed WAVE CD and that’s a lot of MBs for just one CD. Compare that to just 50 MBs that mp3 is able to compress for an album, compared to about 390 MBs of FLAC — storage ain’t free you know, especially for small portable devices. And besides, even the CDs don’t have the best music quality possible even if they are uncompressed, you need the Super Audio CDs for that. Where this going to end? “Rent a band for the weekend to get the best possible quality?”

One thing that consumers can do to listen to music the way the musician/producer intended them to is to buy better headphones and encode their mp3s to 160 or 192 mbps (mp3 won’t scale well to more than 192 kbps anyway). That’s a good compromise and I do agree that every iPod owner should throw away their legendary white earphones and go buy some good headphones.


Stephen Stagg wrote on August 14th, 2007 at 2:22 AM PST:

Of course the record producers would say that!
But for the bands, a bit of quality-loss is a good thing. If fans want a ‘fuller’ musical experience after buying an mp3 of their favourite track, then they can go to a live performance. This way the band gets two sets of income from each fan, and the consumers get what they want.

Thom Holwerda wrote on August 14th, 2007 at 5:50 AM PST:

Well, I don’t like the ‘canned’ and ‘fuzzy’ sound of .mp3’s either. I prefer the warmer and sharper sounds of the ATRAC3(plus codec used on MiniDiscs. They are both compressed, but somehow, to my ears, ATRAC3(plus) comes out better.

Thom Holwerda wrote on August 15th, 2007 at 6:34 AM PST:

ATRAC1 is 292kbps, while ATRAC3 can be 132kbps (LP2, ‘Long Play 2′ mode) or 66kbps (LP4 mode). In other words, ATRAC is the umbrella name, while the ‘version’ number denotes the bitrate. ATRAC3 isn’t a codec in itself.

You also have ATRAC3plus, which is what all HiMD devices use (incl. mine). This can encode in 48, 64, 96, 128, 160, 192, 256, 320 and 352kbps, but only 48, 64, and 256 are supported by the first two generations of HiMD devices (mine is a first gen).

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Eugenia wrote on August 15th, 2007 at 12:52 PM PST:

ATRAC3 is 132kbps and possibly better than 128 Kbps mp3. However, with mp3 you can go to 192 kbps VBR and this blows ATRAC3 out of the water — not because it’s a better format, but it’s more flexible.

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