The Distortion of Sound: A Call to End Compressed Digital Music


Have you ever stopped to ponder the question, “What is music?”  Audiophiles, I think, intuitively experience this question each time they sit down to listen to the attempt to reproduce music from their systems.  I think that all of us—not just audiophiles—have this same intuitive experience.

Think about it, can you tell the difference between a live performance or a recording?  Of course you can. You don’t need to be an audiophile to make that distinction.  That’s just an inherent part of the human experience.  
As an audio lover and an audiophile it’s extremely disconcerting to me when we, the consumers, settle for and support sub-par musical recordings and audio quality.    To those of us in audiophile circles, this observation and indeed our visceral reaction against compressed audio, such as .mp3 files, is old news.  For many consumers, however we’re talking about a concept that’s not well understood.  In other words, “what’s the big deal all about?”
I wanted to highlight this 22 minute video done by Harman International called, Distortion of Sound.  I’ve spoken about Harman and Harman’s ground-breaking acoustic and psychoacoustic research several times on the site.  

The full video, which you can play above, is a great overview of the problem of compressed files.  It’s great to see artists, researchers, and manufacturers banding together to say that we expect—no, we demand—to have great sound.  I applaud Harman for putting this short together and making it available.