Audiophiles have complained forever about the loss of sound quality because of the compression and I’m not going to argue that. People complained about the warmth of a song on a vinyl record being lost when the cd came out, but going from cd to mp3 was a much bigger loss. Luckily bandwidth has improved so much in the last couple of years that downloading and using any music in less than 192Kbps is a complete waste of time. If more music was available in 320 Kbps we would have music that is audibly almost as good as the original wav file from a store bought cd.
Funny thing that with all this modern technology we are creating a whole generation of people who walk around listening to music with their ear buds that, in simple terms, is the difference between AM and FM radio. I remember joking that my dad had AM or Mono ears because he couldn’t tell the difference when stereo first came out.
Ironic how a whole generation grew up listening to High Fidelity records and cd’s and now the latest generation is growing up listening to lousy sound quality songs from the iTunes store. In my mind the record labels made a huge marketing mistake by not using the sound quality angle. Hey, you can drink a PBR or a nice micro brew. Both are beer, but they’re definitely not the same.
There is an audible difference between an AAC, MP3 and Wav file. Try it at home with a song that you have from the original store bought cd, then make a MP3 version of the song and after that download the same song in AAC format from the iTunes store. Unless you have mono ears like my dad, you’ll hear a clear difference.
If you still don’t believe me, I imported the “Nickodemus” song “Cleopatra In New York – Karuan Remix” into Adobe Audition and you can visually see the difference in quality.
If you’re going to compress your music, only use the highest bit rate MP3 your computer and hard drive can handle. MP3 needs to become the defacto standard in compression. Don’t use AAC. Don’t use WMA.