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Old 17th May 2010 | Show parent
Originally Posted by api2500 View Post
Are you kidding? Are you actually having a bubble?
Your joking right?

Psychoacoustics, what you're referring to, is the process your brain goes through when its "compensating for the missing stuff".
Hi-fi systems and Car sound systems all do this all the time, and in fact its easier on the ear as Low Frequency signals have a lot of wave energy which would hurt your ears (Clubs, Gigs etc). Instead these speaker systems have a higher peak lift above the physical speaker limits and the ear interprets that as 'a clear deep bass'.

Almost all portable radios cannot reproduce anything under 80hz and does that hurt your brain? No.

Psychoacoustics is the way the brain responds to sound in all ways, things like the loudness button doesn't introduce more gain, but all it does it increase High Frequency and Low Frequency content in the infamous 'smiley face' curve. Listening to that probably would cause headaches but MP3s are not damaging to the ear/cause cancer/kill children blah blah blah.

I fathom the only reason you could get headaches from MP3s is by turning the volume up on your iPod too loud. Not a single iPod user has complained that the format they are using causes their ears to bleed.

WAVs and AIFFs are lossless and preferable when mixing because they are truer to the orignal but most importantly, can be the derivative to all other formats e.g. MP3, OGG, MP4 and MOV Audio etc.

There is no way that your brain compensating for anything could ever hurt it i.e. Optical Illusions, Eyes changing to lighting conditions, mental maths. etc
Since I try to stay on the skeptical side of things, myself, I'm trepidatious about giving out with a contrary position to someone who is in skepticism mode...


I won't try to pin down where the fatigue occurs -- I suspect there may be local fatigue both in the ear apparatus -- which, after all, is dependent on a delicate mechanism which uses tiny muscles in the operation of the ear (mostly for protection as I understand it), as well as possibly fatigue from increased lower level brain processing efforts...

At any rate, I think a lot of folks find listening to low quality Mp3s and other lossy codecs -- or worse, some of the early lossy compression codecs like ATRACS, Sony's old MiniDisk codec -- to be wearing and, ultimately unpleasant.

Whether it comes from the ear 'straining to hear' missing information as has often been informally suggested or something else, I don't know. But it's certainly been my experience that quality below the quality of a well-encoded 128 MP3 (which is, after all, usually noticeably degraded, even if not necessarily entirely unpleasant to listen to) is, to me, fatiguing, wearing, annoying, or whatever one wants to call it. And I would bet that, if we could cook up a good objective test of that, the results would bear out that impression, which I've built over a dozen years of playing with Mp3s and, before that, the ATRACS compression of the MiniDisk recorder I bought at the beginning of the 90s. Mind you, get that quality level up a little (~192 kbsp on up works pretty well for me), and I can listen all day long. And do.