The Curse of Compression

January by

January 26,2011

Compression, the Curse of the Mp3

I don’t have a problem with the use of digital tricks in a studio, or on the stage for that matter.  It can enhance the listener’s experience and help the song to be well heard.  Using quantization, for instance, to bring everything into line tempo-wise is somewhat reductive but has some practical legitimacy.

But compression……that’s another matter, leading to an insidious dulling of the musical sensibilities of millions, most of them completely unaware of what’s happening to them.

Firstly we’re subjected to the kind of compression that raises the quiet notes, quiets the louder ones. This is to suit radio, in particular car radio, so that the sound can consistently cut through background noise once you set the volume to do so.  Anyone who  has taken in live performance, particular one featuring an orchestra, has experienced the immense emotional power of changes ranging from the hushed to the explosive. On top of compression applied in recording studios, radio stations generally add a whack of their own compression to what is already on most CDs.

On top of that, in order to reduce the byte hit, anything over the internet or in your portable listening devices is compressed in a different way that reduces the musical information you get to only one-seventh of the original. What compels people listen then? Pumping up the bass…..keeping it somewhere in the frequency range of a heartbeat, pump up the volume.

Until transmission rates improve exponentially internet sites can only offer a small taste of what you would experience listening to the music on a CD.

On this site I make the songs available in their entirety, along with the lyrics and chords.  I’m not overly concerned with proprietorship and I’m trying to optimize their chance of having an impact of some sort in people’s lives within the limits of the available technology, even if they have to learn to perform them themselves to get the full experience.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This