Saturday, 15 December 2012

MP3 sound better than Apple Lossless file


MP3 Sound Better Than Apple Lossless File

 

A great-sounding recording will sound its best only when it's properly mastered to LP, SACD, DVD-Audio, or a high-resolution file. Those formats will reveal the full glory of the music in ways that lower-resolution formats like MP3 or analog cassette always miss. But if you didn't have access to the high-resolution file to compare it with, a great recording will still sound pretty terrific as an AAC, M4A, or 320kbps MP3 file, because the recording innate quality would shine through. On the other hand, a heavily compressed, processed and crude recording will always sound heavily compressed, processed and crude, regardless of whether it's an MP3, FLAC file.

Personal preferences are personal we like what we like; but there are objective standards for sound quality: low distortion, wide frequency response and stereo separation, and uninhibited dynamic range. If you applied those standards to most contemporary recordings, few would do well. Let's first look at dynamic range compression; once the mix or mastering engineer compresses a singer's whisper-to a scream vocal, the whisper will be just as loud as the scream. I love Arcade Fire's music, but their last record, The Suburbs,sounds like crap.

They all make recordings they hope their intended audience will like. The bands and engineers know that most people will be listening on free earbuds, car audio systems or Bluetooth speakers, so they make recordings that sound good over those things, but if that whisper to a scream vocal was left intact by the mix and mastering engineers you'd hear it in the MP3, FLAC file, or on the CD. Those formats are all capable of reproducing music's full dynamic range, but most of today's commercial music has it soft-to-loud dynamics squashed flat.

Most commercial recordings purposely distort and compress the sound of vocals and instruments. And sure, they might even do it in a way that sounds great. That's the idea, after all, but sometimes it's a treat to hear a recording that sounds like the band is in the room with you.

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