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July 14, 2014



I'm not buying it.

1. They complain we have sacrificed music quality for convenience. This ignores the fact that we have music available to us anywhere and everywhere, and consume far more of it than we once did, strictly because of that very convenience. If it weren't for the convenience we wouldn't be listening to music in most situations at all.

2. They describe the analog era as some kind of "nirvana, no the group." But vinyl records only sounded great the first few times you played them. They were vulnerable to dust and wear. Furthermore, the dominant music format in the vinyl era was AM radio to begin with, then FM later, neither of which is as clear as a moderately good MP3 can be.


The crappiness of the MP3 files is directly proportional with the crappiness of a lot of music produced these days. Garbage in, garbage out.


As much as I can't stand badly compressed mp3 files, I think the bigger problem today that continues to get worse each year is not bitrate compression, but rather audio compression (ie, the loudness war). So many songs today are slammed into a brick wall in the digital master, sucking all the dynamics and life out of them. I'd rather listen to a dynamic, low bitrate mp3 than a squashed, no dynamic recording, no matter how good the "quality."

Doug T.

I completely agree with Brandon's comments about the diminishing quality of releases due to the effect of the "loudness war." I'm not a fan of compressed MP3, and I still buy most of my music on CD (or even SACD or Bluray Audio) and current mastering techniques clearly make music sound like crap. As an example, compare the 1986, 2004, and 2012 (so-called "25th anniversary") CD editions of Paul Simon's "Graceland." The sound quality has increasingly gotten worse on them. You can easily confirm this looking up the album on this website:


Badly compressed MP3 is often a problem, by the elimination of dynamic range is a much greater problem.

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