I want my MP3

archie4oz mystack smYou cannot call me reactionary. You cannot call me a dinosaur. You definitely cannot call me mediaphobic. I actually understand new media. But file-sharing debates aside, MP3s just sound bad. At any bit rate.

I have spent an unusual amount of my adult life in search of the highest quality sound attainable. From mega-dollar boutique stereo components, to oxygen-free speaker cables (whose gauges are comparable to the suspension cables on the Verrazano Bridge but cost a bit more), to the promise of CD’s “Perfect Sound forever,” to the rise and fall of SACD, HD ProTools rigs, mixing consoles that cost more than the average American’s home mortgage, software plug-ins that require logarithmically more computational horsepower than a Cray Supercomputer, hand-wired precious metal precious gemstone LP phono cartridges, selective capacitance balanced preamplifiers, matched toroidal transformer monoblock power amps that weigh more than a Toyota Prius (and draw more power than the Hoover Dam can generate in an hour), electrostatic speakers poised on spike-footed stands that have a nasty habit of driving their pointed toes deeply into your parquet flooring…but I digress.

Musicians, recording artists and “producers” continue to spend untold hours and high-interest speculative dollars in the pursuit of sonic masterpieces or, at least, the best they can burn.

To what end? The MP3???!

Squashed, limited dynamic range, LOUD, frequency challenged…and accessible.

Uh, wait a minute…did I say “accessible?” Yeah, there it is. The dollars and sense of this brave new world. Even though MP3s are woefully inadequate in their sound delivery, the medium gets the songs to the masses. The hope is, once the audience is hooked, they might actually seek out different and higher quality forms of your brilliance, uh,… product.

But my hope for the future of music and MP3s is, keep pushing the quality envelope while pushing the new media mechanisms.