We are exposed to more music than ever before, but at a lower quality than ever before? Producers and musicians discuss why songs sound worse today than when they were recorded on vinyl or CD, and what platforms are doing to remedy the problem with streaming.

It sounded like a sybarite’s concern, something that would simply deprive amateurs of their sleep by allowing them to talk for hours through cables or speakers about a topic that they didn’t care about. What’s that noise? It, like everything else, will have improved as a result of technological advancements. After all, we’re confident that the technologies on our desks and in our pockets are becoming more powerful, useful, and clever.

Almost no one wanted to have one of those massive hi-fi equipment -those Pioneer amplifiers, those Technics dishes- at home more than a decade ago (the first iPod was released in 2001). that youths born in the 1950s and 1960s fantasized about, and who, with their first paychecks, entered the living rooms of the baby boomer generation (today the shelves specially designed to house the modules of those “chains” accumulate in the storage rooms and the most optimistic advertise the devices in Ebay).

The majority of music is now consumed through digital platforms, the most well-known of which is Spotify, or directly from YouTube. Although collectors keep their CDs waiting for their return as a cult object and vinyl, which has been fetishized, is back in fashion, the majority of music is now consumed through digital platforms, the most well-known of which is Spotify.

We have access to massive collections in a very handy way (convenient), but in exchange, we have placed, in addition to all types of equipment, between recordings and our ears (from the studio microphone to our headphones), Songs are compressed using codecs or algorithms to make them more manageable (so they take up less when transmitted over the internet or when stored on our hard drives).

Some people consider the loss of aural information, which is unavoidable when a file’s size must be lowered, to be priceless. There are however those who believe compressed music is “trash that is destroying our minds,” as Neil Young does. In any case, the recording business has recently placed quality at the top of its priority list.

“The fall is astounding,” says singer and producer Guille Mostaza, a member of the duo Ellos and a veteran of Alamo Shock Studios’ control room. “When the CD was first released, many people complained that it sounded horrible since it was digital, but the digital content is actually quite good. The issue is the compression method, which reduces a 200-megabyte music to a three-megabyte file.”

Too costly, too soon

“The resolution of digital audio is higher than that of vinyl. Another advantage of vinyl is that its color and sound are more appealing to us “Antonio Illán, of MIA Studio and technician for bands like Second and Varry Brava, verifies this. “Now that connections are significantly quicker and we have more storage space on our phones,” Illán continues, “maybe high-definition may start working.”

All attempts to reach the general audience in high definition have so far been unsuccessful. Tidal, the platform that Jay-Z held until recently (this service has the endorsement of Beyoncé, Madonna, and Chris Martin, and boasts of paying artists four times more than the rest) is the only one that has been providing music to its consumers without coding or loss for years. However, it never fully took off: the world reclaimed that platform, which was funded by affluent musicians, as a whim of the rich who wanted to get further richer. Its high-quality offer cost 19.99 euros, more than twice as much as the other platforms. Spotify, for its part, has said that Premium customers will get a quality similar to 320 kbps “the bare minimum with which I am content Everything listed above will be appreciated “Illán adds.

“When I record, I strive to make it sound as good as possible, taking into account the equipment I have and, to a degree, understanding how far I can push it. When I consider an ideal, I’m always aware that it may sound better.” Javier Carrasco, a veteran of the independent sector, offers his thoughts (member of Templeton and White Russians, is also known for his solo project, Betacam).



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Gerardo Franco

Gerardo Franco


Gerardo Franco is a science communicator, with studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology.