Neil Young: MP3 Isn't Good Enough For Music

edwardquilo - February 8, 2012 09:32AM in Music / Video Players

Vinyl lovers out there have probably been lamenting for ages about the sound quality of digital music, especially since the MP3 format took over the rest of the world. MP3s may have a small file size, but contains no more than five percent of a song's original source data, making the format a horrible choice for discerning music enthusiasts. Enter Neil Young, who's more than happy to put the MP3 format to its virtual grave, and lavish our typically ignorant ears the kind of sound quality its not used to hearing. "Steve Jobs was a digital pioneer, but when he went home, he listened to vinyl," remarked Young in a recent interview. Had Jobs lived longer, Young speculated that it's very likely the former Apple CEO would've made a gadget that supported digital music playback in its pure form. Still, Young remained optimistic that another tycoon with deep pockets might be developing something like it.

Unfortunately, having pristine audio in a digital music player does have its drawbacks. For one, high-quality formats like DSD (Direct Stream Digital) amount to 300 MB for five minutes of audio. With that kind of size, a 200-song playlist is going to eat up a lot of space, even on a beefy 64 GB portable music player. Streaming songs online with audio files this big isn't going to make your ISP happy. Go the high quality route, and you also lose the accesibility of a fast download with an MP3. That's assuming you can find an online music store selling a single song with a 300 MB footprint. We're still a long way from matching the sonic clarity of vinyl against the convenience of a bite-sized MP3 file, but surely we'll get there someday.