I’ve been slowly making the transition to lossless audio. Flac, Lossless compression or whatever else you want to refer to it as. In order to do that I’ve had to upgrade all the hardware that I’m listening to my music on, as well as devices. I’m finding out the hard way that even with all of these modifications they mean nothing if the music isn’t available in great quality.
If you listen to something on the Tidal streaming service like Jadakiss‘s latest album: “Top 5 Dead Or Alive”, it’s a sonic mess. Every song is mastered differently, so there’s zero cohesiveness in sound levels and vibe. The mixes are mediocre, at best, and the better sounds only really shine on the track titled Jason. I would have preferred 10 solidly produced and mixed songs over 18 mixtape-quality tracks. It would have made my listening experience better and the production might have commanded better sounds all around, and better mixes.
Chief music critic for the LA Times, Mark Swed says:
The justification for MP3 compression is that the ear can be tricked through psycho-acoustics. I can attest to that. As a student, I had a friend who was an organist, and I would walk by the chapel on campus and listen for the organ to see if she was there. Time and again, I thought I heard the sound of organ pipes faintly in the distance, but when I peeked in, the organ loft would be empty. It turned out that a nearby hissing steam generator produced white noise containing all frequencies and that my ear picked out the organ frequencies I had been listening for.
Something similar occurs when you compare the newly remastered recordings on MP3 and hi-res. There is too little there with severe compression. Missing is the palpable sonic presence to draw a listener in. Suitable for background, the shallow MP3 encourages grazing and has undoubtedly contributed to the shortening of musical attention spans.
Mark uses Qobuz to get his HiFi sound. I, as of today, am using Tidal. Either way that experience is pointless without better quality from the artists.
And then I go through the submissions pile of music we get sent, and I find a great tune like “Gone Are The Days” by HONNE. The vibe, the groove and the energy of it are all awesome. They are perfect in all the various facets and categories that one could come up with. I only wish that I could listen to something that sounded as if I were sitting right in front of them during a rehearsal rather than feel like I’m listening it through a radio station from a boom box back in the early 90’s. I want those transients blowing passed my shoulders rather than being skimped of them all around. Compression is a motherfucker.
Still, “Gone Are The Days” is a smash hit. It’s good music that features beautiful vocals and great composition. The catchiness of the bassline, the melody, it’s harmonies and the most repetitive set of lyrics found in the song make it gold. If only it had the production value that all the new Adele music has behind it, it would make it timeless.
free your mind,
help you lose control.”