Feb 1, 2008

In apology of compression

from my personal blog:

I spent an hour or so organizing some of old CDs (mostly burned) and putting up some posters. On this week's episode of AV Rant, one of my favorite podcasts, Tom Andry expressed his puzzlement as to why someone would need to carry around 5,000 songs in their pocket. Although I share--less enthusiastically--in his lament of the shift towards music that is more compressed and, thus, less dynamic, I refuse to throw out thousands of babies with the mass-produced bathwater.

Even now, as I listen to last year's Myths of the Near Future from Klaxons, I'm mildly distracted by the bass clipping and overall lack of range. Whether it's the original mastering, the digital compression down to a wimpy 128-kbs AAC file, my $50 2.1 speakers, our living room's horrible acoustics, or a combination of all four, the delivery process leaves much to be desired.

However, I didn't get into music because an $800-pair of speakers dazzled me with an impressive sound stage. I love music because it speaks to me; it makes me feel something. The melodies dances around my brain when its absent. I get powerful urges to hear particular songs, and if the thirst goes unquenched, I'm mildly distracted. The best cure for what some might label an addiction, is my iPod classic loaded with 15,000 songs (three-fourths of my iTunes library), many of which are painfully compressed.

Although I'd love a 7.1 audio-centric home theater system featuring the Onkyo TX-SR605 receiver, Oppo's DV-980H up-converting player, and a set of Axiom speakers, I can't bring myself to save my monthly entertainment budget to get them. In the meantime, I looking for a good deal on MDR-V6 headphones, downloading 320 kbs torrents, and re-ripping some of my favorite albums in 256 kbs. That digital artifact I just heard in "Gravity's Rainbow" tells me that Klaxons CD is first.

Read the entire post here.

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