Dumbing down the Aural Spectrum!

  wee eddie 12:49 09 Jul 2009
Locked

Are MP3 Players and DAB Radio dumbing down the Aural Spectrum for a Market that is only interested in the ability of turning the Volume Up to 11?

It seems to me that the Compression needed by these Formats is reducing the finer nuances of all the music/sounds that are being listened to.

Or does it not matter that one can no longer hear a passable reproduction of, a Live Performance, outside the Concert Hall?

  OTT_Buzzard 13:19 09 Jul 2009

Certainly the mp3 format removes a lot of data from an otherwise complete recording. Mind you, for use on an ipod it doesn't really matter too much.

All my CD's are backed up on lossless codecs which while signficantly bigger file sizes than there mp3 counterparts, at least retain their full audio glory!

Not sure on DAB. There must be a fair amount of data that can be transmitted? Certainly the radio that i pick up on freesat is good enough quality for the speakers and (PC based) amplifier i use.

  Stuartli 13:55 09 Jul 2009

This link to DAB, Freeview and FM audio samples may be of interest:

click here

  Stuartli 13:55 09 Jul 2009

This link to DAB, Freeview and FM audio samples may be of interest:

click here

  interzone55 13:58 09 Jul 2009

How far back do you want to look here.

The sampling used for CD recordings cuts out frequencies outside the 20Hz-20KHz range.

These omitted frequencies are essentially inaudible, but add "colour" to the recording. this is why to the trained ear a good clean vinyl record, played on a good turntable, sounds warmer than a CD played on comparable equipment.

MP3/AAC/Ogg Vorbis/WMA remove further frequencies, the amount removed depends on the amount of compression and the bit rate used.

iPods further butcher the sound with an inferior (in my opinion) audio chipset and rubbish earbuds.

A couple of months back the Gadget Show had a comparison test of Vinyl, CD & iPod and they decided iPod was best, then CD, then Vinyl. I can only assume Suzi Perry & Jason Bradbury had cheese in their ears during the test, or they've been conditioned into believing that the warble emitted by MP3 players is how music is supposed to sound...

  wee eddie 14:04 09 Jul 2009

"A couple of months back the Gadget Show had a comparison test of Vinyl, CD & iPod and they decided iPod was best, then CD, then Vinyl. I can only assume Suzi Perry & Jason Bradbury had cheese in their ears during the test, or they've been conditioned into believing that the warble emitted by MP3 players is how music is supposed to sound..."

The answer to that is quite simple.

A fair proportion of their Sponsors, who do so in order to shift boxes, would have deserted the ship had they not.

  canarieslover 14:05 09 Jul 2009

I don't think Dab & MP3 are responsible for dumbing down the Aural Spectrum. The mass market managed to dumb that down many years ago. I can remember when cassette recorders were in vogue and the quality of home made recordings, many on a 'tape to tape' basis, were so poor that I could not listen to them, but many did. As always, if you want to listen to music without anything missing, you are in the minority. The recordings, and equipment to play them on, are still available so make the most of them while you can. DAB is a bigger concern than MP3 as that is going to be forced on us so good FM broadcast concerts will suffer compression as they are replaced with DAB.

  mr_simon 16:20 09 Jul 2009

I think a lot of people would struggle to tell the difference between vinyl and a high bit-rate digital copy, and even if you could, you can't argue against the fact that MP3s are a whole lot more convinient, portable, easier to store and copy etc. There is a reason why no-one uses vinyl any more, it may have better quality but in the end it loses out in every other area.

  interzone55 16:32 09 Jul 2009

"There is a reason why no-one uses vinyl any more, it may have better quality but in the end it loses out in every other area."

In fact vinyl is one of the few music formats that's seeing a rise in sales.

click here

  interzone55 16:39 09 Jul 2009

There are no immediate plans to switch off the FM band. And definitely not before 2015.

There are some high level discussions about standardising the DAB system across Europe, as several European countries have implement DAB+ which uses the HE-AAC+ codec to allow higher bit rates at lower bandwidth than the MP2 codec used by DAB.
DAB+ is not backward compatible with DAB, so many DAB radios will be consigned to the bin if we're forced to switch over to the better format.
Many radios, but not all, manufactured after 2007 will work on both systems.

  canarieslover 18:55 09 Jul 2009

I know that the 'switch off' is not immediate which is why I made the point 'make the most of them while you can'. Having spent many years in search of the best sound reproduction that I can afford I find it disappointing that we are to have a system forced upon us without being able to carry on using the old alternative. I think that if DAB had to make it's own market, in the same way that other new formats have had to in the past, then it would not become a success.

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