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24bit Music

posted 23 Feb 2011, 05:33 by Chris Beach   [ updated 23 Feb 2011, 05:49 ]
Another Arstechnica article, this time about a push for 24bit/96kHz files.  One quote from Jimmy Lovine stood out: "What we're trying to do here is fix the degradation of music that the digital revolution has caused."  This annoyed me, the 'Digital Revolution' didn't cause the degradation, the codecs and ability to transmit the high quality files has existed from day 1.  What caused the degradation was the industry dragging its heals, refusing to license their content, or only allowing poor quality 128kbps files and still insisting on cd prices.  Which means this push will have to tackle the hardware side as well as the distribution stores.  The latter of which is easy, a file is a file after all.  But the silicon doing the hardware decoding of mp3's, (which gives you the battery life), can't just switch and decode lossless 24 bit files.
It's only now that emusic as 320kbps MP3's are becoming 'normal', but even that isn't close to being a digital copy of the CD.  So I would still recommend buying the CD and ripping manually.  Personally I use 64kbps-320kbps vbr mp3's, in order to strike a balance between quality, file size and file portability.
But I do hope that this push for higher quaility does lead to better lossless codec support on the mainstream devices.