I am curious as to what people's expectations are of the music they pay for?
As a young fella, many years ago there was always a prestige with owning a quality sound system to reproduce the sound as close as possible to the original recording. Nothing short of a flat analog 20Hz to 20KHz response was acceptable.
Music and sounds originate as an analog signal. In the studio they are recorded as analog on tape, although I note some studios I have researched are now digital.
If we consider that a pure sine wave audio signal between 2 points in time has an infinite number of steps of variance and that to convert this range into a digital signal we need to sample this signal at a fixed data rate - obviously turning our beautiful sine wave into a serious of steps. The rate at which we sample our signal will determine how much of the original signal is kept. - see the image I borrowed from "How Stuff Works"
As a digital recording a snapshot of the analog signal recorded to CD is taken at a rate of 44,100 times per second and measures each snapshot with an accuracy of 1 in 65,536 possible values.
Not to mention that the harmonics must also suffer. In an analog world, 2 disimilar notes being played at the same time produce not only the original frequencies, but also the addition and subtraction of the frequencies, and each of those harmonics will continue the same effect in a diminishing way. Sort of looking at a mirror in a mirror.
So we started with vinyl records where we had as close to the original sound as possible, albeit with the disadvantages of dust and disc damage to distract. We then chop the sound up into a series of sampled steps for a lossy CD reproduction.
Now we have have "progressed" to a second level of sound degredation with the conversion of the lossy digital sound to a further loss to MP3 or other compressed format.
As a lover of music I am astounded at the numbers of people that are satisfied with purchasing MP3's or similar forms of digital offerings from the likes of Apple and others.
I think that we are all getting ripped off.
What are your thoughts?