TEST: does MP3 sound bad – and can you hear a difference at all?

Always the discussion about the horrible sound of MP3, very interestingly quite often from sound engineers in clubs that have unfavorably room acoustics plus a shit p.a. installed.

I heard enough terrible MP3 files in my life but I learned that it mostly is from crappy converter software, wrong adjustment of the settings or terrible original material (as rotten vinyl recorded with bad equipment or even worse like rips from ultra-compressed Youtube clips or such). With good equipment, knowledge and a bit of passion, a high quality MP3 does sound: Good!

The sound of a vinyl record is a story on it’s own. Digital always means reduced mechanical scanning (digital “stairsteps” no matter how fine), on the other hand theres so much additional disturbance sources in the vinyl audio chain: stylus, preamp, interference, feedback, dust, wow & flutter (disability to hold the correct speed that is) wich we are so used to that we actually see some of the imperfections as “warm sound”, I indeed do so.

So do you believe you can hear the difference between uncompressed high-definition audio, a 320kbps MP3 and a super-compressed 128kbps file?
The american National Public Radio, NPR created a test. Turn up the volume and give it a try!

NPR test to MP3 sound quality

With a proper headphone plugged right in to my (totally average soundcard) laptop, I guessed 3 WAV’s out of 6, the other 3 were 320 files. And to be honest: with Neil Young it was random that i didn’t chose the 128kbps file…

My claim: MP3’s bad image seems to be much imaginantion, a lot of wannabe expert knowledge plus tons of poor converting – but not much substance.


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