Why MP3’s Sound Bad

mp3 has made music more accessible to people, it has also degraded the quality of music. Here are few ways other music files that aren’t mp3 may add to your listening enjoyment.

1. Mp3's compresses sound: Mp3 is a lossy format, which means it sacrifices audio information for a smaller file size. This loss in information results in a lower quality sound. Often files will sound “tinny” or too bright. There is no depth and parts that would otherwise sound clear, now sound muddled.

2. Listen to lossless files: Lossless files sacrifice no audio information. Some of these file types are .WAV; .AAC and .FLAC. These files are uncompressed, so they take up more disk space, but the quality is significantly better.

3. High bit rate mp3's: Mp3s normally come with a bit rate of 128 kbps (in which 90% of audio information is lost.) Higher quality mp3 will come with higher bit rates such as 160 kbps or 320 kbps. While these may sound a little better, they are still generally low quality when compared to other audio formats.

4. Here is an example of the difference between FLAC files and mp3. Visually, you will be able to see more detail and resolution in the waveform in the top right when the FLAC file is played. The bar graph will have higher valleys and peaks in FLAC because of the greater depth in sound it produces. Sonically, mp3s will sound fuzzy, distorted and two dimensional. FLAC files sound clear and articulate, with great spread and depth to the sound.

Remember, always try your best to listen at least on a good pair of headphones. Avoid laptop speakers at all costs! Happy listening.

One Comment

  • “often” files will sound tinny or bright….
    only below a certain rate. 320k+ MP3s are barely distinguishable except by very trained ears on very good hardware.

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