2008-09-29

Compression: The bane of modern music

I stumbled across a fantastic article in Rolling Stone about the trend of increasing compression in CD masters. It explains the problem in laymans terms, and if you're not worked up about the problem already (I have been for years, but nobody listens to me) you probably will be when you're done reading.

What bothers me the most is the idea that portable music players require a highly compressed waveform to eke the best fidelity out of a compressed format. That may be the case if you're buying crap quality tracks from Steve Jobs. Those of us who do our own compression are using variable bit rates of 192k average, or more. With a quality set of headphones, you should be able to achieve highly dynamic sound in almost any environment.

This is, as with so many other problems, simply a failure of education.

I also take some umbrage at the blanket statement that 'nobody buys high-fidelity stereo equipment any more'. Yes, this is generally the case, but I'm of the CD generation, and I own a system that by any objective standard can be considered hi-fi. These days it's more affordable than ever to buy a great stereo system. Stereos just aren't cool. IPods are.

I guess I'm just not cool.

3 comments:

alex said...

THE CURRENT PLAGUE OF OVERCOMPRESSION IS LIKE TYPING IN ALL CAPS WITH NO PUNCTUATION

BUT WITHOUT IRONY

GOOD TOPIC I LIKE IT BECAUSE I TINKER WITH STUFF TOO AND COMPRESSION IS LIKE YOU DO IT ONCE AND IT MADE A DRUM SOUND SUPER SICK AND THEN YOU ARE LIKE LEMME JUST DO IT TO THAT NEXT SOUND AND THEN OH THAT WHOLE TRACK AND THEN THE ENTIRE THING

DRYWALL OF SOUND

deprogram said...

Compression! The bane of ALL CAPS POSTING!

That's actually an incredibly good analogy. Wow.

alex said...

I was more stoked on "drywall of sound."

But thanks, sall bout Rules 39 and 40 of the Internet...still have to steer. Compression is huge on drums, I love crunching shit, allowing them whaCRAKKKs to really slap...but you can't go overboard or else it's ALL_CAPS all the time...

man, that IS a good one. I fully agree with you, agreeing with me...

hahaha