Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Sounds Of Science

Here is an interesting article I found on Salon.com regarding sound quality versus convenience. The author goes on to state that he himself cannot, on average, distinguish the difference between a song recorded in hi-fi sound and its less-quality digital format replica. I myself can, as can most musicians and audiophiles that I know. The first thing I learned in my music courses is that it takes a difference, plus or minus, of 3 decibels for the human ear to notice a change, however some musicians and audiophiles are able to notice a change in sound at two decibels. This is due to their ears being slightly more attuned to sound, and most musicians have this capability (excluding those who blew their eardrums out trying to make their amps go to 11, of course). What I found interesting is his reasoning on why people are willing to sacrifice good quality sound, and I agree with his assessment. Most people care about convenience, not quality, and are willing to make that sacrifice, thereby reinforcing the fact that humans are naturally lazy. Why do you think McDonalds is still around? I highly doubt anyone actually eats their food because it tastes good, but if you're tired and sick of traffic and don't want to cook but are looking for a quick two-lane drive-thru with minimal human interaction and immediate gratification, there really is no better place. Anyway, here's a link to the article that the Salon author based his piece on, check them both out, interesting stuff.

Stepping over what now towers to the sky

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