We are living in a golden age, as far as access to music is concerned. Its wide availability owes a great deal to the invention of compression algorithms that discard “irrelevant” data based on psychoacoustics to dramatically reduce the size of music files, the so called “lossy” audio formats (mp3, AAC, Ogg, wma…)
Technology has evolved. Our capacity to store data in computers as well as in portable devices has grown enormously, and so has the speed of internet connections. Lossy formats are not that essential anymore, and there is a tendency to dismiss them or regard them as low quality, ignoring that the high end of their spectrum is capable of outstanding results.
“Lossless” formats, on the other hand, which manage to compress audio files to about half the size while maintaining data integrity, are on their way to become the standard because there is no need to degrade music (no matter how slightly) when there is plenty of storage space.
Having said that, I invite you to decide for yourself how well lossy compression compares to the lossless original by taking the blind test I offer in this site, so that you can draw your own conclusions about the relationship between ‘data loss’ and ‘degraded sound quality’.
Take the challenge, enjoy the experience!
March 21st, 2015
Adobe FormsCentral will be retired soon, so I cannot offer my online test any longer. Thank you very much to all of you for the 580 submittals I have been able to collect! I will be posting my results in short. I have worked out an offline solution for the test that you may try on your own. Have fun!