03/27 2019

The Truth About the Quality of Digital Music

There are great advantages of digital music, but one of the comment that is leveled at it is that the quality of sound is not as good as other formats. Vinyl lovers will bend your ear that digital music does not hold a candle to the warm and all-encompassing sound that a record can give. In some respects, this is true, some digital music files are indeed not large and therefore cannot possibly have the same quality than a vinyl record. However, there are many myths that surround the MP3 and other digital music files, and we thought we would dispel one or two.

File Formatting

As the saying goes you cannot polish a proverbial turd, and this is completely true. If a track has been properly produced and then mastered it will sound great on digital format. But if the track has been produced in a back-street studio then it will sound bad on whatever format it is released on.

Cutting the File Down

Many record companies compress their audio files to reduce their size, and you can get a great deal more smaller files on one compilation. There is minimal loss of sound quality when this is done, only at the extreme higher and lower ends of the sound spectrum. However, making the file even smaller requires taking away bits that will change the track forever. The damage when this is done is irreparable and this is a big criticism of digital music. But the real truth is that our ears cannot physically capture what is on a recording, and most of the time a file is compressed it is reduced to the human limits of hearing capacity, and so untraceable.

We Listen to Music in Noisy Places

Most of the time we enjoy music is when we are out and about in pubs, clubs, and discos. It does not really matter how bad the sound system is just that we enjoy ourselves. This is true, the vast majority of public sound systems are pretty bog standard so it would not matter what type of music format you played on them. It is also true when we are on the beach or in the car listening to radio, as the signal fluctuates so does the sound quality and often the speakers fitted to such devices are of real poor quality. The point of all this is that for 90% of the time a digital file is more than good enough to store the music, and the quality does not depend on the file but the equipment playing it.

Compromise is King

The digital file is a sign of modern times, it is rare that you have the time to set up a sound system that replicates a home hi-fi system every time you are having a party or at a function. Sound systems are more portable these days with smaller speakers and less quality, few DJ’s carry around multiple vinyl boxes anymore, so it is logical too that their music libraries are reduced in size. It is all about compromise and the advantages of digital files certainly outweigh the disadvantages.

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