common sense for listeners

Over at Kirkville, the valuable Kirk McElhearn weighs in on the fallacies and foolishness surrounding “high resolution” music.

I came to my senses on this subject over the last year or so; McElhearn does a fine job laying out – in a non-argumentative way – why high resolution files make no sense and why most of us do just fine with lossy compression. I’d go further and suggest no one can reliably hear the differences being debated – as far as I know, there has never been a well-documented, repeated, blind A/B/X test of an individual which found anyone able to hear the difference between cd quality and well-compressed mp3s/aac files across a variety of music, let alone between cds and high res files. However, Kirk leaves a little wiggle room for the possibility of someone with truly great hearing and a great sound system, and that’s fine.

Anyway, the way audiophiles generally shape the debate is that listeners are trading quality for convenience. I disagree; over the last few months, I’ve all but stopped listening to new cds – I buy everything online and use iTunes Match. It isn’t perfect, (there are a few things I find maddening about Match),  but not having to worry about where my music is stored is more than a convenience; it changes my relationship to it. I don’t fully understand how just yet, but I’m pretty sure I don’t value what I have less; it’s just different – and it sounds just fine.


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