Do you download and listen to MP3 files? What do you think?

Do you download and listen to MP3 files? What do you think?
I use it and love it!
22% (45 votes)
I use it and hate it!
7% (14 votes)
I use it sometimes and don't really care
16% (33 votes)
I tried it once and did not try it again
9% (19 votes)
I've never tried it
23% (46 votes)
Not interested
23% (46 votes)
Total votes: 203

The MP3 audio format has been garnering significant press coverage of late: record labels abhor the piracy problems, consumers love the ease of use and access, and audiophiles can't stand the compressed sound. Does any of this matter to you?

Martin Bruczkowski's picture

I tried it once. It sounded HORRIBLE. You could just as well listen to the music via a telephone.

Troy McHenry's picture

I'm tired of hearing about audio compression as the savior of music as we know it. I'll sacrifice sound quality for perhaps a news broadcast on the Internet, but when it comes to listening to "real" music, I'm sorry, but I'd have to say thanks but no thanks. It seems that there are two tribes in the audio world today: those of us trying to get more from the music (aka 24/96), and the group that wants compression and portability (aka MiniDisc and MP3). I do sincerely hope that one day my CD player can be the size of a walnut and the quality top-notch, but until then I have no qualms. MP3s? Sorry, but not for me. My portable CD player is fine for now, and I have better things to do with my Internet bandwidth.

Nikolaj Hermann's picture

According to my knowledge, is the fidelity of the MP3 encoded music quite inferior compared to all other music sources

Eric Gordon's picture

Just like any other compression system, put your head in a tin box and it'll sound fine!

David Schwartz's picture

My audio system is for listening to music, not my computer. I could care less about MP3 or any other format. I'd much rather listen to my Apogee Duetta Signatures than my little computer speakers.

Charles Gordon's picture

The quality is radio-like, but guess what? I've tripled my CD purchases since using it, because it's a free sampling of music.

Nick Fulford's picture

It would have one function, from my standpoint, and that is to see if I liked a performance. If I liked it, I could then decide to buy it. In combination with a website that sells recordings, it may be a good way to market music. Of course, the lo-fi end will simply copy and use it, and this is what the labels are afraid of. But then, people used to record off the radio, didn't they?

Dan Landen's picture

I tried compressing my own CDs, and it sounds disgusting. It may work for broadcasting, but for serious listening, regular CDs and HDCDs sound superior. I have yet to hear any of the 96kHz CDs, so I can't comment on those.

Willis Greenstreet's picture

After spending $50,000 on equipment, why would I do this?

Bertus Wiltvank's picture

The system operates at its best in my car. There, it don't matter. At home, it is terrible.

James Mitchell's picture

If you are an audiophile, low-resolution capability = who cares? That's coming from a software engineer.

Kevin Horning's picture

MP3 audio lets lesser-known artists distribute their music to a much broader audience than ever before. It is a true outlet for people who just want their music to be heard.

Tom Selnau's picture

Downloads will be come useful when I can record them to disc for portability. However, I believe they will be one more option available. Similar to buying online is now, you still have your local retail outlet with its social interaction.

Paul W.  Simoni's picture

Who cares? More important, who has the time to spend hours downloading music, then listening to it? Please, it's fun for computer geeks and teeny-boppers who listen to crap like N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, etc. Besides, the last people I want involved in determining sound quality are computer people, whose priorities are hopelessly distorted.

Scot Forier's picture

I have never tried MP3, nor will I. In the past, and in the future, if there is music I'm interested in I will purchase it. My problem is the lack of new music that genuinely gets me motivated to actually purchase it.

Stephen Curling's picture

you'd need a good set of speakers connected to your computer to make it worth it...seems like to much work to me

Eric Favrod-Coune, Geneva's picture

I listen to music at home, trying to re-create the emotion of a live performance; I am not interested in a lossy compressed format, love classical music, and am, by the way, NOT interested in home theater. (Should all of the above invade Stereophile, I would cancel my subscribtion, with regrets, because I presently like you!)

erich's picture

MP3 sound just bites!

Craig Okruhlica's picture

Here's an interesting experiment to try: Download an MP3 of something you already own on CD or vinyl, convert it to a .WAV file, and burn it to a CD. Then do an A/B comparison between the CD and the MP3 on a high-end system. Notice the rolling off of the highs, the grain throughout the midrange, and the general loss of life from the music. Now, this isn't to say that MP3 is a bad format for the Internet. If you did the same A/B comparison on a pair of cheesy computer speakers, you probably couldn't tell the difference. However, from a purist standpoint, MP3 has no place in the High End.

Keith Miller's picture

I've downloaded a dozen or so MP3 songs off the Internet(all but a couple legally), and while at its best, the sound is a notch worse than CD, it is acceptable for my computer, and the songs take up much less hard drive space than wav files.

Tony Esporma's picture

It sounds terrible. It's OK at work when I forget to bring in my CDs (which sound terrible to begin with!). I guess it's OK for background, but even with the crappy soundboard with my work computer, I can hear the sound difference between a CD and MP3. (I use a pair of Grado SR80s.)

John Atkinson's picture

Downloading music from the Net (especially Grateful Dead concerts) is fun! And while the sound quality isn't too good, that hardly matters when the original is a cassette of the band's board mix.

David L.  Wyatt, Jr.'s picture

MP3 is useful for auditioning unfamiliar but potentially interesting music. Computers are wonderful tools for gathering and disseminating information. They will never, ever replace my stereo.

Bill Gates's picture

it's the way it should be.

mats neander, sweden's picture

I tried once and found two things out: terribly time-consuming but not sounding too bad.Not HiFi, but usable anyway.

Anonymous's picture

I am going to give it a try, then say NO!!

Les F's picture

Judging by the handful of MP3 tunes I've downloaded, the "artists" who distribute their wares on the Net don't have recording contracts with the majors for a reason.

Greg Carlin's picture

It's too bad the quality is not that good. But the great thing is, a lot of independent bands can get their stuff distributed w/o the big record companies filtering it for us.

John Crossett's picture

If I want to listen to music, I'll fire up the old system and listen. If I want to listen to compression, I'll listen to my car radio!!!

Peter Randell's picture

I use it when buying new CDs sometimes. Usually when Real Audio is too poor quality to listen to.