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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Nigel 11

I'll happily listen to music on a cheap FM transistor radio (just as long as it's amp is passably free of crossover distortion and its speaker isn't scraping on its magnet). Or listen to a pre-war recording that happens to be the best-ever interpretation of a work. What comes out is music, plus harmonic distortion that is melodically indistinguishable from the music (just a change of timbre), and minus some bass and treble (again a change of timbre). Oh, and some interference crackles that are easy to ignore if not repeated too often or too loudly. I'd far rather a crackle, than a digital silence.

Music after MP3 compression has added - repeat ADDED - non-harmonic distortion. That means random if faint notes of random frequency, that are not related in any way to anything on the original. If you have a musician's ear (ie perfect pitch or perfect relative pitch, and a deep love of harmony), this rapidly takes away much of the enjoyment in the recording.

As I've commented, it's not a problem with speech, only with music.

My mother is 87. Last time I visited her, her music sounded horrid. A quick inspection while she was out of the room revealed she'd accidentally switched the receiver from FM to DAB. I switched it back and said nothing. A couple of days later she asked me if I'd done anything to it "it sounds much nicer since you left ... I was going to ask you about it but I forgot." QED. DAB sounds crap, even if you're 87. The best you can say for MPs is that they are less awful, in the same way that a mozzie bite is less horrid than a bed-bug bite.

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