How Good is MP3 Quality?
One of the primary goals of MP3 was to reduce the file size of audio tracks to enable more music to be stored in a given amount of memory. To achieve this the audio data was compressed using a form of compression known as ‘lossy’ in which data is discarded, or ‘lost’, forever. In fact a 128 kbps MP3 file contains less than one tenth of the original data a CD version of the same track would contain. Consequently, with over 90% of the original data missing, it’s surprising how good 128 kbps MP3s sound.
I remember being surprised when I first met someone who had no records, only CDs. Now I know people who have no CDs, only MP3s. The debate still rages over whether CD audio is better than vinyl, but MP3 is certainly inferior to them both. Consequently there must be a large number of young people who have never heard high-quality audio.
Maybe future generations will rediscover how good music can really sound when it is played from an uncompressed source into a decent stereo system.
If you want music on the move there is nothing wrong with MP3s, but if you want to listen at home and really enjoy every last nuance that has gone into the performance and recording, then it has to be CD.
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