(Credit: Steve Guttenberg)
First things first, I'm referring to soft-to-loud dynamic range compression, not MP3 or other types of lossy data compression. Dynamic range compression has been around for almost as long as recorded music has existed, but over the last decade or so the public has demanded ever higher levels of dynamic range compression. The so-called lowest common denominator approach to mixing and mastering music boosts all of the softer/quieter passages to be loud all the time. That process obliterates all of the original details, subtleties, and nuances of the instruments and vocalists. Once the mix has been compressed, it can never be uncompressed by the end user.
Here are the top 10 reasons why music is compressed:
No. 10: Compression is part of the sound of contemporary music. Completely uncompressed music would sound lifeless and boring to most listeners. They crave more energy than unprocessed sound offers.
No. 9: Louder music, even if it's just slightly louder, almost always sounds better than quieter music.
No. 8: Most music is listened to in the background to accompany some other activity like working, reading exercising, driving, or cooking. When you're doing something else, uncompressed music's constantly shifting volume level would be an annoyance.
No. 7: When listening in shuffle mode, there's ... [Read more]