Mp3, lossy audio, vinyl and studio masters

The modern mp3 format was developed primarily on a song called ‘tom’s diner’ by Suzanne Vega (also a terrible choice of song. Very little nuance). In 2015 Ryan Maguire released a song called “moDernisT” an anagram of tom’s diner, which is the sounds that are lost in the mp3 coding process. The following video also features what remains left behind after mp4 video compression.

And you can hear what is missing. Environmental sounds such as reverb in the vocal recording, elements of the voice, breath, transient elements of the percussive sounds. Once you add in the inaudible parts of bass, that you feel with your body, and that shake the room – in a concert, or on a record (even with less lossy mp3s) – you can really see why people are turning back to vinyl and HD flac and apple encodes. Whether you can pick it or not, yourself, its there. And as studies have shown, many can pick the difference between 320kpbs and flac, let alone vinyl or 24 bit and 320kbps.

I did a little blog post a while back, about loseless audio, and the difference that makes. Well it turns out, that the experience of listening to something in 24 bit, 96 khz, is exactly as rich as listening to vinyl, whether the source is a vinyl or even better, a studio master.

Muse and the glitch mob noteably have studio masters available for purchase for their albums. There are several online specialists in HD audio. If anyone is keen to hear that warm, full bottom end, the nuance of an acoustic guitar, strings or piano – that warmth, and sparkle – I highly recommend checking out 24 bit flac files. Be warmed, they are often about a gig for an album. But these days that’s much less of an issue.