Thursday, January 3, 2008

Dearth of High Fidelity

Robert Levine's Rolling Stone magazine online article, The Death of High Fidelity, is another good example of how music quality is diminishing in the age of MP3s. Citing This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession:
Human brains have evolved to pay particular attention to loud noises, so compressed sounds initially seem more exciting. But the effect doesn't last. "The excitement in music comes from variation in rhythm, timbre, pitch and loudness," Levitin says. "If you hold one of those constant, it can seem monotonous." After a few minutes, research shows, constant loudness grows fatiguing to the brain. Though few listeners realize this consciously, many feel an urge to skip to another song.
It's sad to read that "newly re-mastered" music, such as Led Zeppelin's recent "Mothership" collection has been subjected to this form of audio compression. Not everything "new" is better. Here we're getting margarine for the ears.

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