Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Which sounds better: Vinyl or MP3?

John Meyer of Newform Research has computed the effective bitrates of all the major audio media, from wax cylinder to MP3. While a poorly-encoded MP3 sounds terrible, and a high-end system playing the vinyl or acetate for which it was designed sounds amazingly good, there is a broad spectrum of quality and accuracy between those two extremes. The chart below lays out the pure numbers, but there is a lot of subjectivity that goes into our personal assessment of what sounds good and what does not. Offered for enlightenment:

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