Producers howl over sound cut out by MP3 compression (and I see, while I was sitting on this, it got slashdotted, though no one took the bait
As Joel Selvin writes for the The San Francisco Chronicle, MP3s have less music:
…the music contained in these computer files represents less than 10 percent of the original music on the CDs.
Wow, I knew that compressed digital audio files contained less data, but less music?
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.
Of course! If they didn’t, we might stop up the tubes that make the Internet — or … um … one tube, apparently. (No wonder congestion is bad if we have just one pipeline! You need it to fit!) And there’s more:
When even the full files on the CDs contain less than half the information stored to studio hard drives during recording, these compressed MP3s represent a minuscule fraction of the actual recording.
It could be that MP3s actually reach the receptors in our brains in entirely different ways than analog phonograph records. The difference could be as fundamental as which brain hemisphere the music engages.
“Poorer-fidelity music stimulates the brain in different ways,” says Dr. Robert Sweetow, head of the University of California-San Francisco audiology department. “With different neurons, perhaps lesser neurons, stimulated, there are fewer cortical neurons connected back to the limbic system, where the emotions are stored.”
I expect that’s true — of 64kbps MP3s played through, say, a tin can. Welcome to the age of recordings: we sacrifice superior formats for inferior formats, yes, as higher-fidelity CDs give way to copy protection-laden, incompatible, inflexible, lossy compressed files. But then people get so upset that they throw out any understanding of the actual music in favor of the recording, artificially elevate old records without any real basis, call into question the basic idea of data compression even though its popularity demonstrates that it can work.