What aren’t you hearing with your MP3?
Why true music lovers swear by the Wave music format
Music is now easier to buy and listen to than ever before. Everyone has a music player in his or her pocket. Most likely your phone even plays music. But, do you know what you’re not hearing?
When you listen to an MP3 you actually aren’t hearing the music the artist recorded. Instead you are listening to a compressed version of the sound file. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get too technical, but you need to understand what your MP3 file really is before you can fully understand what you have been missing all these years.
When you go to a concert or when a musician records something in a studio you can hear the sound waves produced by the voices and the instruments. During the studio process those sound waves are digitally recorded and turned into a bunch of information coded in numbers.
The people in the music industry than transfer that information to a few CD’s, sometimes a few vinyls, and they create MP3 files that are distributed to various online music stores. How do they create an MP3? They compress it.
Imagine you have a sandwich and the sandwich is too big to fit in a plastic bag. You smash the sandwich down so it will fit. What happens to the sandwich? It not only looks disgusting, but some of the toppings slide off the side, the bread looses its bounce and is flat. Now, think about conducting a blindfolded taste test. Does the smashed sandwich taste the same as the regular sandwich?
Sort of, but not really. The compressed sandwich has lost something. MP3’s are the same as the smashed sandwich. The compresses version is similar, but it’s missing the essence. It’s just not possible to compress anything without loosing something.
A Wave file has the same information that was there when the musician was recorded in the studio. If you love music you will be able to hear the warmth of a high quality recording. Even the feelings of the artist seem to come through clearer in a Wave file.
Not all MP3 recordings are the same either. Music can be compressed with different bit rates. This basically means some files are more compressed than others, the lower the bit rate, the more information has been lost, the more compressed the file is. MP3’s with 196Kbps bit rate are considered by many music lovers to be complete garbage. A 256Kbps is slightly better, and 320kbps is considered near CD quality. But, even at the high bit rate of 320 kbps you still are missing something from the recording.
Music is more than just melody, harmony, and rhythm. Music is a language that speaks to the human soul. When you listen to an MP3 you are missing some important parts of the conversation. If you want to know what music is supposed to sound like give a high quality Wave recording a try. You will find a whole new level of love.