SXSW 2008: Lou Reed Hates Mp3s (And So Do I)
Jarrett Martineau | March 14, 2008 at 10:39 amby
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During the countless long-haul trips I've made over the years, I have brought an excellent pair of Sony headphones (not tiny earbuds), my reliable, portable Panasonic compact disc player, and a backpack filled with CDs.
Now, as much as I enjoy the lightened load of simply carrying a weightless iPod in my pocket, I just can't listen to mp3s for more than short stints at a time.
I actually hate the sound quality of mp3s.
For those who care, I encode my iTunes tracks at 192 kbps, higher than the iTunes 128 standard bit rate, but not as cumbersome and hard drive-filling as huge 300+ kbps files. It could be that I simply need to encode my CDs at a higher rate, but I think it's more than that.
I think mp3 compression actually affects your experience of music: the lost details, the amplified frequencies, the thinness of the sound -- it all makes the iPod experience, for me, simply less enjoyable.
So I'm going to have to agree with Lou on this one, let's demand a higher standard than the lowly mp3.
Audiophiles and music lovers unite!
Lou Reed is lashing out at new modes of audio technology, saying that "people have got to demand a higher standard" than current MP3 music files.
The edgy rocker delivered the keynote speech at the South By Southwest Music Festival + Conference, which is underway in Austin, Texas. [...]
In typically glib and dry-witted form throughout the wide-ranging 55-minute conversation, the bespectacled Reed bemoaned the current state of audio and other digital technologies, noting that "it's like the technology is taking us backwards. It's making it easier to make things worse.
"Here's our song reduced to a pin drop -- what, what, what?!" Reed explained. "It's like if no one knows any better or doesn't care, it's gonna stay on a really, really low level and people who like good sound are gonna be thought of as some kind of strange zoo animal."
Reed did express some hope that "you hear they've got a newer version (of MP3) that sounds better, and you suddenly hear the other instruments that are on the song. They've got to bring up the standard. You have the world open to you now; you can get almost any song in the world as an MP3, and I suppose if you like it you can go out and try to find a version you can actually listen to -- if you like good sound. If you don't like good sound, none of this matters for a second."
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