• Bits and Bytes, Is This Fun?

    Bits, bytes, blocks, Linear Pulse Code Modulation, Fraunhöfer, etc ... I don't know about you but I'd rather listen to music than talk about these topics in "engineering" detail. Five days ago I posted a link in the "Uncompressed v. Lossless Compression" thread here on CA to John Atkinson's article titled "MP3 vs AAC vs FLAC vs CD." The article is pretty interesting especially for those of us computer audiophile's. What I find very uninteresting are the Internet conversations about the article that go into too much detail over the bits and bytes of each codec. I have purposely avoided going into that kind of detail in my posts here on computer Audiophile. I think it is very boring and dry and only leads to confusion and unwarranted confrontation.
    Despite the large amount of posts, in response to the Stereophile article, on many other websites I think relatively few audiophiles care about codecs that much. In my experience people pick the one or two that work for them and call it a day. What's more, this whole codec / compression issue is moot if people would just use wav of aiff uncompressed formats. Many of us certainly discuss compression codecs and file sizes once in a while. But, we have no intention of discussing the predictive power of frequency spectrum comparisons in evaluating psychoacoustic encoders. Does this make us lesser audiophiles or less knowledgeable about any of this stuff? Absolutely not. In fact it may make us bigger audiophiles because according to Wikipedia, "Most [audiophiles] are music lovers who are passionate about high-quality music reproduction." It seems to me that many people arguing about every bit and byte are not really music lovers. They are concerned about squeezing as much music into the smallest file that gives them good sound. Is this a blanket statement covering all people? Of course not. If you want to twist the statement into something that benefits your agenda, go for it.

    Now that audiophiles are arguing over bits and bytes maybe the arguing over tubes v. solid state will quiet down. That only leaves 100 other topic for audiophiles to argue about. For example, speaker cables, interconnects, demagnetizers, power cables & conditioning and on and on and on ... It always amazes me how much audiophiles argue, considering our dwindling numbers and shared passion for music.

    Back to the topic at hand, bits, bytes and an engineering level of detail. I am very interested to know what you think about articles that go into so much detail and the ensuing Internet conversations that go into further detail and end up with argument after argument. Please be honest and say what you think. I expect feedback covering the range of possibilities and it will be cool to hear from all of you. Thanks in advance for posting.

    Reference materials:

    Stereophile article, "MP3 vs AAC vs FLAC vs CD "

    Steve Hoffman forum conversation about the Stereophile article.
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hey Mark - I am a somewhat technical person myself and I do like the technical stuff, to a certain point. Beyond this point the discussion loses any audiophile/music loving flavor for me.
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      ...over here in Computer Audiophile-land. The threads that continue for some time all seem to have that same 'music-loving' flavor to them. There isn't much "traffic jam causing car wreck gawking" going on around here, if you know what I mean.<br />
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