If you didn't know

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If you didn't know

Some of the very best recordings I love are standard resolution CD quality and the opposite is also true. Some of the worst are high resolution.

This means, of course, that it's the recording quality that really determines if something is good or bad, great or awful. A high sample rate bad recording sounds a bit worse than a standard resolution version because the higher resolution brings us closer to what's wrong.

How many times have I fallen into the trap of buying the higher resolution version of music new to me without first knowing if the recording's any good?

Terri put on a new album by a group called Local Natives last night. The music's really good and refreshing. Though it played in the background as I prepared dinner, I kept getting agitated that perhaps something's wrong with the system. Dirt on the needle maybe? Nope. Needle's clean. The high levels of distortion on the record were apparently intended by the musicians. Ugh. A good way to destroy great music.

High resolution recordings can make better what is already good, but you don't want a better copy of what starts out badly.

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Paul McGowan

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