PBS of the Mixtape Game
The KPFK archive mp3s are 32kbps. The Soundcloud of this episode is 128kbps. I could listen to a 128kbps all day, but 32kbps seems mostly unlistenable. Are people that desperate for good music that they will listen to to two hours of a 32kbps mp3???
Does the 32kbps sound the same as the stream on the archive? If so, it's hard to tell a difference on computer speakers beyond the volume being low. In answer to your question, I really think people don't care because most are listening on computers or through crappy iphone ear buds. For me, I tend to vary my audio expectations depending on what I'm listening to, and why I'm listening. Download or buy an album (in any format), the sound quality is part of the experience and better be good. Listening to a radio show I'm far less picky about my sound quality expectations. I guess it all goes back to listening to static filled radio as a kid.
The range between 128kbps to 192kbps is widely considered the sweet spot for mp3 compression, because it nicely balances file size and audio fidelity. Above 192, most people won't notice an improvement. But below 128, the differences become noticeable. And at 32kbps, I would guess that most people could spot the difference in an A/B test.The vast majority of free online music streaming services use this 128-192kbps. Spotify is 160. Mixcloud is 128. Soundcloud varies between 128-192. Pandora is mostly 128. Rdio is an exception here, but there lowest is 64.I'm no audiophile snob. I can happily listen to a 128kbps recording of something good if I have no other options. It still has a decent stereo field. But 32kbps is just bad. No matter what the recording is, its acoustics will start to sound like they are going through a tunnel. Some people are cool with that. But there is a lot missing in the recording at that quality. I guarantee you would notice the difference, even on standard earbuds. If you don't notice the difference, you must be living In Pleasantville!
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