Digital Music Not Good Enough Quality For Real Stereo Equipment?

from the big-sucking-sound dept

Thanks to Apple, the going rate for digital music stands at 99 cents per song. If anything, pricing has gotten more competitive. So what’s the deal with startup MusicGiants, which intends to charge more? The issue, they claim, is that MP3s and other digital formats compress audio files so much that they sound terrible on real stereo equipment. So the company is bringing to market an online service that provides “CD quality” digital music. (The standard of CD quality is funny, considering how people used to complain about its inferiority. Maybe they’ll complain that the next technology isn’t “MP3 quality.”) Songs from MusicGiants will cost $1.29, there’s a $50 annual fee, and you can buy a $9,500 device to store and play the large digital files on your stereo without going through your PC. As the article points out, the company is dealing with a fairly limited audience of audiophiles for now, but pumps this as the future of digital music. Maybe, but it’s still a difficult proposition. Will people who really want “CD quality” go through all the hoops of extra cost and equipment and time-consuming downloads? Here’s a suggestion for those who want “CD quality” music: buy a CD! And if you want computer-like playback flexibility, you can always rip music from CDs in full audio quality. All in all, this getup sounds pretty burdensome for not much benefit.

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Comments on “Digital Music Not Good Enough Quality For Real Stereo Equipment?”

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TJ says:

Think that will remain a niche market

Most download services already offer at least a 192k option don’t they? And like the article says, Real has recently bumped their service from 128 to 192. 128 sounds muffled or muddy on a good home or car stereo, yes, but already seems a rare bitrate in my experience.

While I couldn’t swear that 192k and CD quality are indistiguishable to the human ear as is suggested in the article, I’ve got mix CDs with some direct CD rips and some downloads of the same artist. I’ve forgotten which songs are which and I can’t tell by listening. At decent bitrates, audio compression is claimed to mostly remove subtleties that speakers can’t even reproduce, much as the facts say about digitizing music into the Compact Disc format.

All but the most expensive audio amplifiers sold now are digital, which some claim strips the warmth from music just as some say CDs do. So unless you are listening to LP records on a tube amplifier through excellent speakers, many an “audiophile” wouldn’t see the point of comparisons between CDs and compressed audio files anyway.

HDMusic1 says:

Wake Up

You would have to be operating off a brain the size of a pin head not to notice the diference in sound quality that musicgiants provides. For those of you still listening to your music on primitive sound systems (headphones included) stick with Mp3’s; musicgiants is way out of your league. But when you are ready to hear what youve been missing give it a try.

slide23 (profile) says:

Re: Wake Up

HDMusic1: Boy, you don’t sound like a schill. While I avidly agree with most of what you are saying, insulting the people you are trying to convince is not very effective.

Moreover, what is up with that lame site? IE only?! What is this, 1997? If MusicGiants wants to cater to a discriminating audience that wants choices, why limit that audience to one browser (regardless of the browser engine)?

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