MP3 – no substitute for resonance

Yesterday on the radio the presenter was asking listeners what he should do with his old CDF’s now that he listens to music solely through his computer. He was moving house so seeking a way to ditch the unwanted encumbrance of a music collection.

In contrast I’ve recently bought a vinyl deck, some records and have gotten in the habit of listening to music on CD and LP every morning (partly to energize my day and partly because TV is SO DULL).

Having routinely used an Ipod for the last few years (I catch a lot of trains), and listened to all of my music as MP3’s,  I wasn’t prepared to be as astounded by the difference in sound quality between that and the older formats so recently fallen from grace.

I dug out an original copy of Metallica’s Master of Puppets from 1986 (I bought it when I as 15; what an experience when that record first span in my bedroom – I wasn’t sure what I was listening to at first such was the frenetic genius of the music, I digress…), complete with scratches and crackles, put it on the deck and turned up the volume. I was blown away once again.

Of course I knew MP3 needs must diminish quality in order to keep a handle on the file size, and there’s no denying how handy listening to music that way is but it can never replace the profound sounds you get from vinyl and CD. The music is closer to what the artist and producer intended and near screams with vibrancy compared to the shadow copy of an MP3.

There’s no way I’d accept MP3 as the only way to listen to music, just as I wouldn’t eat every meal off paper plates  – it might be more convenient but it’s totally lacking.

My advice to that presenter? Keep your CD’s and enjoy music in all its dynamic strength.

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