Janos Gereben quotes:
>For purists, it's the dark ages of recorded sound.
Dark ages?!? To paraphrase Gilbert, the Tales that are Narrated of the
"dangers of compression" are Very Much Exaggerated.
Firstly, it's not as if original, uncompressed files were going to
disappear off the face of the earth. Second, for most practical listening
purposes MP3 will do perfectly well. Third, in any case there are several
new, lossless small-file formats coming into play which will remove the
gap from the "pure" WAV file experience. As the writer of the article
admits, the WAV files suitable for compression onto CD themselves require
a bit-rate reduction, too, compared with what source recordings usually
Most CM listeners are discerning enough not to want to compress their
CDs into a ludicrously small space. I wouldn't be without my portable
MP3 player (or my Sennheiser ear-canal phones) but I don't need to be
carrying around my entire collection at one go. A mere 50 or so CDs,
compressed at high quality onto on two 2MB sound cards will do me very
well indeed, thank you. And the quality is superb.
Just for interest, I invite group members to download (or play online)
two files I've have uploaded - strictly for experimental purposes - of
a 5 minute orchestral piece, recorded in 1973. The "pure" WAV file is
57.8MB, the compressed mp3 (VBR, mp3PRO, high-quality) file a mere 4.6MB.
Can you hear a significant difference, even through high-quality headphones?
This MP3 file is indeed less than 10% the size of the WAV from CD.
But when the author of the article Janos quotes tells us that "the music
contained in these computer files represents less than 10 percent of the
original music on the CDs" he is conflating two very different measurements.
Although the size of the file is indeed 1/10th of the original, the
amount of data is closer to 99/100ths of that WAV file. Compression
is extremely sophisticated these days.
If you'd like to play the pieces online, point your browser to these
Or you can download both in this "zip" file:
There's a (strictly virtual) prize for the first person to mail me the
name of the piece and the composer, by the way!
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK
"ZARZUELA!" The Spanish Music Site
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