December 5, 2016
Another win for high-res audio.
New research conducted by the Audio Engineering Library has found that MP3s and other low-quality compression formats have a statistically significant negative effect on “the timbral and emotional characteristics” of a song, reports What Hi-Fi.
Titled The Effects of MP3 Compression on Perceived Emotional Characteristics in Musical Instruments, the study compared compressed sounds over ten emotional categories at several bit rates.
The results showed that MP3 compression strengthened neutral and negative emotional characteristics (things like Shy, Scary, Sad) and weakened positive emotional ones (like Happy, Romantic, Calm). Interestingly, the characteristic Anger was relatively unaffected.
The study suggested that the background “growl” added by MP3 compression was the source behind the negative trend.
The research also found that certain instruments were more affected than others: the trumpet the most and the horn the least. You can read the report in full here.
In other analogue-digital news, vinyl album sales outstripped digital downloads for the first time last week.
Ed – the title of the piece was changed from ‘Research finds that MP3s make you less happy’ to more accurately reflect the research